Himachal Pradesh Tour :Himachal Pradesh iterally “snow-laden province” is a state in northern part of India. Situated in the Western Himalayas, it is bordered by states of Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west, Haryana on the southwest, Uttarakhand on the southeast, and Tibet on the east. As its southernmost point, it also touches the state of Uttar Pradesh. The state’s name was coined from the Sanskrit—Him means ‘snow’ and achal means ‘land’ or ‘abode’. Himachal is in the western Himalayas. Covering an area of 55,673 square kilometres (21,495 sq mi), it is a mountainous state. Most of the state lies on the foothills of the Dhauladhar Range. At 6,816 m Reo Purgyil is the highest mountain peak in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
The state is spread across valleys. About 90% of the state’s population lives in rural areas. Many perennial rivers flow in the state with numerous hydropower plants producing surplus electricity that is sold to other states. Tourism and agriculture are also important constituents of the state’s economy.
The drainage system of Himachal is composed both of rivers and glaciers. Himalayan rivers criss-cross the entire mountain chain. Himachal Pradesh provides water to both the Indus and Ganges basins. The drainage systems of the region are the Chandra Bhaga or the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas, the Sutlej, and the Yamuna. These rivers are perennial and are fed by snow and rainfall. They are protected by an extensive cover of natural vegetation.
Himachal Pradesh has around 463 birds, 77 mammalian, 44 reptile and 80 fish species. The Great Himalayan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Pin Valley National Park are the national Parks located in the state. The state also has 30 wildlife sanctuaries and 3 conservation reserves.
Shimla or Simla is the capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh in India. It is a very popular holiday-retreat during the summer months and is well-known for its Victorian architecture, which is reflected in certain areas of the Mall and The Ridge. It is also a famous holiday spot for honeymoon. The elevation of Shimla is 2276 m above from the sea level.
There are quite a few theories regarding the origin of the word Shimla. Locals insist that the name originates from Shyamali Devi, a re-incarnation of the fearsome Goddess Kali.
Himalayan Destination Provide Himachal Pradesh Tour.
How To Reach
The nearest broad gauge head is at Kalka – a four- to seven-hour journey from Delhi. After that, take the mountain train from Kalka to Shimla, it takes time around four hours. This railway track has recently been granted the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The view is stunning, with the line passing through an amazing 103 tunnels.
It takes only 2 hours from Kalka to Shimla and takes 6 hours from Delhi to Shimla by car. Govt. & Pvt. bus services are also available from both Chandigarh & Delhi to Shimla.
If hiring a private car, ensure that the driver has experience driving in hilly regions and is not deprived of sleep.
What To See
The Mall: The Mall is the main shopping centre of Shimla. This shopping centre has a good number of banks, restaurants, post offices, clubs, bars and tourists offices. There is a famous theatre of Shimla called Gaiety Theatre. The Mall is also the main meeting place for the people of Shimla. Statue of Mahatma Gandhi just outside Christ Church located at the heart of the Mall.
The Ridge, built at the top of the town at 2230m, The Ridge is the center of Shimla’s cultural and social life – an excellent place to view the surrounding mountains.
Christ Church, The Ridge (Near Municipal Library). Open every day, services Su 8:00AM-11:00AM. Constructed in 1846, this is the second oldest church of the North India. The stain-glass windows, representing charity, faith, patience, hope, fortitude and humility, and 19th century organ are particularly impressive. The fresco that surrounds the chapel window was designed by Lockwood Kipling, Rudyard Kipling’s father.
Lower Bazaar, The Mall (Below Central Section). Shops Open Mo-Sa. The Lower Bazaar is home to the city’s less expensive hotels, cheaper restaurants and stores, and a congested wholesale vegetable market. Although less opulent than its upper neighbor, the Lower Bazaar retains an old worldly charm and is an excellent place to try some Shimla specialty dishes, like Uradh Dal with rice or Shepard’s Pie. It also sells clothes and household items.
Viceregal Lodge, The Mall (A top Observatory Hill), Open every day (Only the entrance hall and gardens are open to the public). This lodge is now part of the Institute of Advanced Studies. An imposing British-raj mansion built under the guidance of Lord Dufferin in 1888. Manicured British style gardens surround the mansion on three sides, while the fourth side is a place to relax and watch the sun dip below the Himalayan foothills. The teak-paneled interior is impressive, and well worth a viewing. This lodge is a 1 hour walk from the end of the mall, near the Oberoi hotel.
Tara Devi Temple is named after one of the many forms of Goddess Kali. This well-maintained temple is located at the top of a steep hill about 11 kms from Shimla bus stand. There are stunning views of Shimla town and the Himalayas. This is a perfect location for people who are looking for some rest and peace at a high altitude, around 6070 ft. The temple is very clean with a beautiful flower garden surrounding it.
Chadwick Falls, 7 km away from Shimla, the inviting spot of Chadwick Falls is a premier travel destination. A trip to the Chadwick Falls during the monsoons will be an unforgettable experience. Located in an incredible landscape, the place is home to some old shrines that are sites of immense significance for pilgrims.
Dorje Drag Monastery, Sarasvati Garden Estate, Kusmuti. A monastery in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, also known as Thubten Evam Dorje Drag.
Hip Hip Hurray Amusement Park (9000 ft) & Kufri Fun World (9000ft), Kufri (NH-22, 16 Kms. from Shimla), Nagsons Amusement Park,HIP HIP HURRAY, Kufri, is the only amusement park located at 8500 ft. above sea level offering adventure activities like Burma Bridge Crossing, Flying Fox, Commando Net, Rock Climbing etc and also activities like Boating, Bump’em Cars, Rides, Indoor Golf and a number of virtual reality, redemption & video games. Other attractions include Restaurant, Coffee Shop, Shopping, Telescopic View etc. The food at the restaurant is excellent.
Sankat Mochan, A popular Hanuman temple is located here. We get an excellent view of Shimla from the temple. It can be reached by car or on foot.
Manali, at the northern end of the Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh, is a hill station situated at a height of 2050m (6398 ft) in the Himalayas. Situated on the Beas river (Vyaas in Hindi) and near its source, it is a popular tourist spot for Indians in summer and a magical, snow-covered place in winter. A staging point for a number of treks (Beas Kund, Chandrakhani Pass) and sports such as white-water rafting, Manali is also on the road to Ladakh via The Rohtang Pass which is the main attraction near Manali and Lahaul & Spiti valley.
How To Reach
Manali is 570km from Delhi, the capital of India, and there are buses connecting the town with Delhi, Shimla, Dharamshala & Leh. The approximate travel time from Delhi to Manali is 14 hours, from Ambala to Manali is 10 hours, from Chandigarh is 08 hours and from Kulu to Manali is 3 hours. If hiring a private car, ensure that the driver has adequate experience driving in hilly regions and does not have the habit of drinking alcohol. Also make sure the driver has made the trip at least once before and knows all the routes well. Also, you need to make sure that the driver is habituated to long, continuous driving routines.
The nearest and major Broad Gauge Railway Station is Delhi & Chandigarh / Kalka. From there tourist need to travel by road only to reach Manali.
The nearest airport is Bhuntar (Kullu) Airport, 50km from Manali, 10km from Kullu, it’s about two hours away from Manali. However the services is very irregular.
What To See
Rohtang Pass, at an altitude of 3979m (13,050 ft) above sea level, is another adventure tourist site where it can be cold even on a summer day. It is the highest point on the Manali-Keylong road and provides a wide panoramic view of mountains rising far above clouds, which is truly breath taking. Close by is a small lake called Dassaur Lake. Beas Kund, the source of river Beas, is also nearby. In winter, the road of Rothang Pass is closed. Beas Kund, an igloo shaped temple, on top has a spring which is the origin of River Beas.
Important to note that the road to Rohtang Pass is closed off at Manali bridge, on all Tuesdays 09:00-18:00 for carrying out road widening work and repairs. If you are able to leave early, before 09:00, you can avoid the traffic rush (found on all other days).
Rohtang Pass can also be accessed on foot, if there are stoppages beyond Snow-Point. However, it is a strenuous climb and also needs a good guide to show the short cut routes to the Pass.
Please note that due to heavy traffic and narrow road condition permit may not available.
Rahala waterfalls: About 16km from Manali at the start of the climb to the Rohtang Pass, are the beautiful Rahalla Falls at an altitude of 2,501m.
Rozy Falls: On the way to Rohtang amazing water fall worth seeing. this water fall looks amazing between the high hills.
Kothi, is located at the bottom of Rohatang Pass. It is a beautiful and photographic village where tourists can capture different thrilling views of the deep gorge through which the Beas swiftly runs. This is an amazing place to experience the natural beauty of high altitude mountain.
Nehru Kund: Nehru Kund is located at the distance of around 6 km from Manali. It is one of the natural springs of natural water in India. Nehru Kund is named after the late Prime Minister Jawar Lal Nehru. Nehru used to drink water from this Kund, while his journey to Manali. Nehru Kund is on the Manali-Keylong road, about 6 kms from Manali.
Vashist Hot Water Springs and Temple, situated around 3km from Manali, across the Beas river is Vashist, a small village with natural sulphur springs. Modern bath houses, with Turkish-style showers, have the hot water piped into them for the convenience of the visitors who come here to benefit from the medicinal properties. Vaishisht, also boasts a pair of old stone temples, opposite each other above the main square. Dedicated to the local patron saint Vashista, the smaller of the two opens on to a partially covered courtyard, and is adorned with elaborate woodcarvings.
Jogini Falls, situated about a 2km trek from Vashisth Temple. Going to the top of the falls would need a guide and quite a bit of trekking, but if you wish you could just keep asking for directions from Vashishth temple and reach the first level of the falls.
Solang Valley, popularly known as Snow Point, is 13 km northwest of Manali and famous for its 300m ski lift. It is a picturesque spot and offers splendid views of glaciers and the snow-capped mountains. Solang valley also offers attractions like paragliding, snorkeling etc.
Hadimba Temple: It is an ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, who was a character in the Indian epic, Mahābhārata. The temple is surrounded by a beautiful cedar forest (Dhungri Van Vihar) at the foot of the Himālayas. The sanctuary is built over a huge rock jutting out of the ground, which was worshipped as an image of the deity. The structure was built in the year 1553. If you’re walking to the temple you can take a short cut up the hill through the woods instead of walking along the road.
Monasteries: Manali is known for its shiny gompas or Buddhist monasteries. One of the monastery is located at the central of the town and near the Mall. Manali Gompa was built in 1960. It is one of the most important places for Buddhists. Buddhists come to this place from Ladakh, Tibet, Spiti, Lahul and Kinnaur. Manali Gompa is world famous for a large statue of Buddha and for its wall paintings. It is maintained by donations from the local community and by sale of hand-woven carpets in the temple workshop.
Maa Sharvari Temple, is represented as KULDEVI of the kings of Kullu in early times and is worshipped as a manifestation of Durga, and image of the goddess is also enshrined here. The divinity is popularly worshipped throughout the region during the festivals and the Goddess is transported to Kullu to visit the Lord Raghunath Jii during Dussehra festival. This temple is on the top of above the Shaminallah village, which is around 5km from Manali, accross the Beas river on the left bank on the way to Naggar Casttle.
Kalath Hot Water Springs, situated around 6.5 Km downstream from Manali, natural sulfurous water flows from the bowels of earth, public bath areas and private bath areas are available.
Old Manali: At a distance of 3km northwest of Manali is Old Manali, famous for its orchards and old guesthouses. Calm and serene surroundings coupled with the sound of Beas river is a very peaceful experience. There is ruined fort here by the name of Manaligarh. There is also the Manu Maharishi Temple, dedicated to sage Manu.
Gauri Shankar Temple at DASHAL village(700m from Sarsai ) on the main left bank Kullu Manali Highway. It is a 12th century protected monument. Also see lush green apple orchards,play with water stream out there
Naggar: The Castle, Roerich House and Art gallery are places to see. Moonlight dinner on the balcony of Hotel Castle restaurant is worth experiencing, with the lovely sight of twinkling lights below in the Beas valley. Bijli Mahadev temple, about 20km from Naggar, is also worth visiting.
Krishna Temple at Thava: Ask for directions to this temple from Naggar Castle and do a small trek of half an hour through dense pine and deodar forest to reach the beautiful Krishna Temple. With hardly any tourists around, this place is magical.
Jana Water Falls: 15km from Naggar and 35km from Manali, at Zana Village, beautiful Water Fall is worth visiting. The valley provides amazing views. There is one water fall on the road side and two other water falls which are not much explored by tourists and are amazing. Moreover Traditional Himachali food is available here at small hut like shops.
Jagatsukh: Jagatsukh, the former capital of Manali, has a few nice temples done in Shikhara tyle. You can visit them while travelling to Naggar.