Travelling is my favorite activity off the busy routines and office deadlines. This time around, I planned to visit Himachal Pradesh and witness the ethereal beauty of the mountains. Staying in a metropolitan city one will come across huge building and infrastructure marvels, but out there in the foothills of Himalayas lies a beautiful world. This world is also called Himachal Pradesh which is often referred to as the land of snow. Being single, I planned my trip with my best buddies and went to every single destination that the state has to offer. It was a month long trip and we pretty much covered every nook and corner of the state. Below is a detailed account of some of the highly visited location in Himachal Pradesh and which are worth the visit.
North Indian state Himachal Pradesh is known for its mountain peaks and cold weather. Of all the hill stations that the state has, Shimla is one of the most popular holiday destinations and remains the summer capital of British India. Situated at an elevation of about 2,200 meters, the place remains the terminus for narrow gauge Kalka- Shimla Rail line. Be it summers or winters, Shimla is the ideal travel location not just for locals staying in nearby areas like Chandigarh but also for people from far off places and for foreigners as well. During summers the place turns out to be mild and pleasant for tourists, while autumn presents a luxurious, velvety touch to the mountains drawing the attention of the travelers. Also, in winters, the area gets covered with thick snow turning the entire surrounding surreal as travelers run for experiencing the perfect skiing location. Apart from snow-clad hills, pine trees facing towards the sky and a hush mall road, Shimla has many temples and museums for spending at least two to three days. Some of the other attractions include-:
Shyamala Devi Temple
Shimla inherited its name from the deity Shyamala Devi, who was an incarnation of Goddess Kali. The temple has been constructed as reverence for the goddess and is situated on the Kali bari road in Shimla.
Jakhu Temple is another temple located uphills Shimla on Jakhu hill. The temple is around 2 km trek from the ridge at mall road and is an uphill trek in between the deodar trees. Dedicated to Hanuman, the temple has the tallest and the highest Hanuman Idol as it is situated at about a height of 2,455 meters. Besides these temples, the best places to visit include mall road which is a colorful market for shopping, Christ church, Kalka-Shimla rail, Kufri, solan among others.
Nearby Areas in Shimla
Though Shimla is a key travel destination, it’s nearby places are also worth exploring. One such place is tattapani that is around 51 km from Shimla. The place is best for base trek, rafting and trout fishing.
It is another hilly spot near Shimla that is known as the best skiing spot in winters. Located at a height of about 2,800 km, the place is a popular travel destination among travelers. Horse ride to Mahasu peak is one of the activities that makes it an interesting experience. The horse rides between the muddy road and traverses towards the upper hills making it even adventurous.
Manali is another hill station in Himachal Pradesh that is nestled between Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges. It is bestowed with dense forests with Beas tributary meadowing between mountains that creates a spellbinding scenery. From museums to temples, trekking trails to river activities, rafting to skiing, Manali is a travel magnet for tourists. Some of the best spots to travel to while staying in Manali are-:
Hidimba Devi Temple
Hidimba Devi temple is one of the most popular temples in Manali. The locals call the temple as Dhungiri temple and is located amidst the dense forest. The temple is named after Hidimba who was the wife of Bheem, the five Pandavas. This conically shaped temple attracts a lot of tourists throughout the year.
Trekking freaks in large numbers throng the Solang valley that is located in Manali. The valley is famous for trekking activities and adventure sports parachuting and paragliding. This is a must visit the spot which is only 14 km from the Manali. During winters, the valley gets covered with snow which then becomes the playground for skiing activities. But as the snow melts, the place becomes an attraction for zorbing.
Manali Club House
Manali has a small clubhouse that is actually a gaming and eatery joint. The club also has river crossing activities as small tributaries of river flow from there. Inside the clubhouse, games for children, haunted house and boating activities are available for fun which keep the kids engrossed and one can also experience the natural high mountains.
Shri Manikaran Sahib
On the outskirts of Manali, there stood a Gurudwara called Shri Manikaran Sahib that is the key spot for hot water springs. The shrine is of religious importance for Sikhs and Hindus and is located in the Parvati valley in Kullu district of Himachal. The spring water that naturally occurs at this place contains sulfur, uranium and other radioactive elements that are believed to miraculously treat all diseases.
Vashisht is another hot spring spa that is located just 3 km from Manali. The place is dotted with ancients sandstone temples and is filled with travelers including foreigners. It is also famous for cheap hotels so many of the tourists like to stay here rather than spending more on other hotels. The temples find the attention of shutterbugs and are located in the beautiful surroundings of Manali.