Himachal Pradesh – A Dream-Reality Perplexity

Discover the best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh. Find out why should you visit these incredible tourist places in Himachal Pradesh.    

places to visit in Himachal Pradesh

A state known as “A Destination for All Seasons and All Reasons”, cradled in the Himalayan ranges, gets as absorbing as eagerly turning every single page of a compelling storybook!

As much as the province is the Dalai Lama’s favorite choice for his residence; it is also the Indian moviemakers’ favorite choice for dazzling the silver screens.

Where many like to come here accompanied by their families for the taste-n-touch of snow for the very first time in their lives; there are many more solo backpackers who like to delve into the unknown or unfrequented territories in search of lost valleys.

While gangs of friends come to enjoy the stunts of ice skating and mountain camping together; some folks come with the purpose of finding inner peace at the primeval religious shrines which sustain their regional customs with fervor.

On the one hand, frozen icicles lining tree branches and cold air entering your lungs urge you to get underneath your warm blankets along with sipping a cup of hot cocoa by the fireplace; whereas on the other hand fabled crests and shining tributaries invite you with wide open arms.

As the topography unfurls before you every step of the way, you realize how photo-worthy almost every setting you set your eyes upon is! It makes you wonder if it is verily the reality in Himachal Pradesh, or if it is utterly inside a dream bubble!

So, let’s get started and uncover all the invigorating places in the ‘Abode of Apple Trees’ – quite rightly so for the best in quality apples are very well grown here; the lovely fragrance of the apple blossoms envelops Himachal during the blooming period (April-May), after which the toothsome red fruits are borne and harvested (September-October).

Let’s know the incredible places to visit in Himachal Pradesh!

  1. Shimla
  2. Kufri
  3. Kullu
  4. Manali
  5. Kasol
  6. Manikaran
  7. Tirthan Valley
  8. Solan
  9. Kasauli
  10. Dharamshala
  11. Kangra Fort
  12. Bir Billing
  13. Palampur
  14. Indrahar Pass
  15. Khajjiar
  16. Dalhousie
  17. Tattapani
  18. Kinnaur Kailash Mountain
  19. Keylong (Lahaul)
  20. Kaza (Spiti)

 

1. Shimla

tourist place in Himachal Shimla

Come summer, Shimla at 2276 m, flaunts its ecosphere in shades of yellow, blue, green and orange that go easy on the eye; insomuch as come winter, the ‘Queen of the Hills’ gets gift-wrapped in sheets of pearly white snow which is striking to the eye!

Shimla has been a crowd-pleasing hill resort station since the time of the British, and still continues to live on with the colonial hangover. Its rise in popularity has to be owed to the “British Jewel of the Orient” [Kalka-Shimla Railway line].

At convenient driving distances from Delhi and Chandigarh, the commercial and cultural capital of Himachal Pradesh, lures travel bugs into its mesh of ‘vanilla frosting’- like snow-topped hills, bestrewed neo-Gothic structures & cedar trees with spiked branches and leaves that look like feathers as stiff as needles!

The Ridge (view point), Annadale (racecourse) & the Mall (shopping) are the local hangouts; besides which Jakhoo Temple, on Jakhoo hill, the highest peak of the city, Christ Church, Kali Bari temple and Tara Devi temple are important places of worship.

Chadwick Falls, Mashobara and Chail are other nearby cool retreats that are worth every dime!

2. Kufri

Kufri Himachal Pradesh places to visit

Those who make a stop at Shimla, will definitely make a stop at Kufri as well; owing to the close proximity between the two stations.

Being higher in altitude than Shimla (2720 m), the brilliant ski-track formation in Kufri during white-coated winters is a standout!

Lesser familiar aspects of Kufri are its (i) profitable potato plantations, and (ii) the Himalayan wildlife zoo.

3. Kullu

places to visit in Himachal Kullu

Kullu Valley is the most beautiful, frame by frame, so much so as it owns:

  • the best of picture perfect Himachali towns (Manali, Naggar, Malana)
  • the best of adventure zones (river rafting, camping, skiing),
  • the best of trekking mountainscapes (Beas Kund, Hampta Pass, Brighu Lake, Rohtang Pass),
  • the best of revitalizing riverscapes,
  • the best of evergreen forest belts,
  • the best of hot springs (Vashisht, Manikaran)
  • the best of temples (Hidimba Devi, Jagannath Devi, Bijli Mahadev, Manu temple)
  • the best of culture-n-tradition (Kullu Dussehra, Basantotsav)
  • the best of horticulture & floriculture,
  • the best of rare wildlife &
  • the best of natural reserves!

Seated within the Lower and Greater Himalayan ranges, Kullu is by all means precisely a “Heaven on Earth”!!

4. Manali

Himachal Pradesh tourism places Manali

Manali is the place which follows very closely on the heels, in terms of commercialization and tourist footfall, after Shimla.

You may go in search of offbeaten routes/ paths less trodden/ hidden neighbourhoods with scarce population/ risk laden quixotic ventures; but nothing quite matches up to the mirthful vibes of Manali!

The colors of Old Manali Market, the chimes of Hidimba Devi Temple, the devil-may-care Rohtang Pass, and the steams at Vashisht, will forever attract and stay on tirelessly in every excursionist’s mind-n-soul!

5. Kasol

Kasol Himachal Pradesh places to visit

An ‘addiction’ to the crude village-scapes spread over the mountainous and valley-cious countryside can happen to anyone in Kasol!

True to the verse, “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware” – {Martin Buber}; the Parvati Valley can draw up any person into its ambiguousness without prejudice!

While most people would know of Parvati Valley as the nerve centre for clandestine cultivation and consumption of weed, a fewer of the lot actually know about the unsullied thorps in which the camouflaged and self-isolated communities live.

Kasol is one such hamlet which has come into the glare, thanks to travel addicts who have discovered dozens of tantalizing nature trails combined with bucolic rural life, in and around the place!

Roads from Kasol can reach other out-of-sight villages such as Malana and Tosh. It is also the take-off point for breathtaking treks to Khirganga, Sar Pass and Pin Parvati.

Visit Kasol and not taste Israeli food? No chance! Since Kasol has become the possessive home of Israeli youths in the last many years, it is as easy as a pie to spot cafes with signboards in Hebrew. Treating your tastebuds to Israeli cuisine especially the desserts is a must!

6. Manikaran 

Manikaran tourist spot in Himachal Pradesh

At a stone’s throw away from Kasol, Manikaran is on the banks of river Parvati in the Kullu district; alongside being a significant place of pilgrimage for Hindus & Sikhs, the tourism perspective has highlighted the naturally present ‘hot springs’ in the pristine environment.

In particular, the ‘bath’ enclosures next to Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara, are richly loaded with beneficial minerals, and also deemed to be sacred by pilgrims who mandatorily believe in taking a ‘holy dip’.

7. Tirthan Valley

Tirthan Valley Himachal Pradesh places to visit

A vivacious dale – surrounding the jewel-blue Tirthan river that sparkles like a thousand diamonds under the sun; the chiseled peaks touching the atmosphere, with an air so refreshingly pure; the nutty brown forests with a pulpy smell, crunchy twigs below the feet, nectar sweet flowers & orchard sweet berries – this is the entrée to the ‘Great Himalayan National Park’, and also serves as the base for Jalori Pass trek, Serolsar Lake trek and Tirath trek {source of Tirthan river}.

8. Solan

Solan Tourist places in Himachal

We’ve generally never heard of the “Mushroom City of India” or the “City of Red Gold” until we’ve stepped into Solan and get introduced to these phrases from the locals themselves; because of the large-scale mushroom & tomato farming that is taken up here.

Located between Chandigarh and Shimla, in the Lower Himalayas, Solan is highly recommended for the Shoolini Devi Temple, Yungdrung Tibetan Monastery, Solan Brewery and Kuthar Fort.

9. Kasauli 

Kasauli coolest places in Himachal Pradesh

An oldfangled cantonment on the hills that has not woken up from its bygones like a sleeping beauty since ages and aeons is the Solan district’s Kasauli!

Simplistic yet classic in nature whether in its lifestyle or its buildings, is quite reflective of the Indo-Sarcenic impressions that were left behind but not erased even until now – The Central Research Institute is an exemplary awe-inspiring standing proof of this very fact.

Kasauli beckons those who are on a hunt for a quiet scenic holiday, watching sunrises/sunsets and birds, attending masses in churches, binge shopping and then letting up on a mug of foamy beer – so full of old-world charm!

10. Dharamshala

Dharamshala places to visit Himachal

(i) Headquarters of the Tibetan Government in exile and (ii) one of the world’s most picturesque and highest cricket stadium, is what we remember when we hear about Dharamshala!

As a matter of course, Dharamshala which is present right under the nose of the Dhauladhar mountains is bestowed with immense natural beauty typical of all towns of Himachal Pradesh.

  • McLeodGanj – a suburb near upper Dharamshala, is defined by its core Tibetan populace who ardently follow their spiritual and religious leader, the Dalai Lama (XIV th) who dwells inside the ‘Tsuglag Khang’ complex.
  • This complex was one of the earliest to be built for His Holiness and also houses the Namgyal monastery, Stupa, Buddha Statue, a museum, a library and a café.
  • Considered to be the largest property outside of Tibet, it is heartening to see the discipline and faith with which people regard their Buddhist culture:

The intricate details in the bright frescoes of the Temple, the neatness and a sense of calm that is maintained in the complex, & the sincerity and devotion with which the monks sit down for their regular prayers and traditional practices, explains a lot about their history and hence a demeanor controlled by their unshakeable beliefs.

  • Dal Lake – a walk away from the McLeodGanj Market, a pretty lake confined in a profuse coniferous habitat.
  • Jwalamukhi (Goddess of Flames) Temple – At one and a half hour’s driving distance from Dharamshala, a Shakti Peetha.
  • Norbulingka Institute – Instituted for educating and training Tibetans in Tibetan art and heritage; the Japanese gardens in Norbulingka enhance the aura of the Institution.

ALSO READ: Explore the 10 Best Places to Visit in Rishikesh

11. Kangra Fort 

Kangra Fort tourist spots in Himachal Pradesh

Having its origins traced back to the Trigarta Kingdom of the Mahabharata, Kangra Fort/Nagarkot is the oldest and largest Himalayan fort, which is built on a cliff that can be found near Dharamshala. Even now, the ruined fort which was once noted for its grandeur is seen as a symbol of grace-n-glory which held the honour of the royalty [Katoch dynasty] at the highest esteem.

The specimen characteristic of the Fort is that it supposedly has more than twenty ‘treasure wells’; some of which were looted by the Sultan of Gazni, some by the British, and the rest have not even been unearthed till date!

12. Bir Billing 

Bir Billing places to visit Himachal

How many of us know that the “First Paragliding World Cup of India” was conducted nowhere else but in Himachal Pradesh in 2015, in the airy surroundings of Bir Billing near Dharamshala? Bir Billing is now better known as the ‘Paragliding Capital of India’!

Smooth air currents for gliding, safe landing zones and a trouble-free cloud base have elevated Bir Billing’s status from that of a simple village to an international paragliding destination! Leaving aside the monsoons and winters, the rest of the year is great for trying out the galvanic aero-sport.

The entrancing sensation of feeling weightless and flying like a bird over the exalted Dhauladhar ranges, is out-of-this-world and way beyond any wordy elucidation!

13. Palampur

Palampur Places to Visit Himachal

Vast hectares of tea estates dictate the terrains of Palampur!

Since the British occupied a central position in this tea town on account of trade & commerce in the past, the influence of the English style of architecture {in the mansions and other buildings} is clearly evident, which looks pleasant against the natural landforms of the Kangra Valley.

[I] Jakhni Mata Mandir and [II] Tashi Jong Khampagar Monastery are two notable places of worship in Palampur.

14. Indrahar Pass

Indrahar Pass places to visit Himachal Pradesh

The crossover trek between the Kangra and Chamba Valleys, is the Indrahar Mountain Pass in the Dhauladhar ranges at a gigantic altitude of 14,245 feet above sea level.

The moderately difficult trek route (about 16 km) starts at McLeodGanj and ends at the Pass from where the alpine Pir Panjal ranges are an irresistible sight!

[McLeodGanj ® Hanuman Tibba ® Gallu Devi Temple {Dharamkot} ® Triund ® Laka Pass ® Lahesh Caves ® Indrahar Pass]

The Indrahar Pass Trek is preferred to be undertaken during a window of time from May to October leaving out the monsoons in-between; it is essentially a “pathway which threads through the mountains; to hike here is to weave oneself into nature and become a part of the fabric of the place.” – {Angela Abraham}

ALSO READ: 10 Best Monsoon Destinations in India Rainy Season Lovers Must Visit

15. Khajjiar

Khajjiar places to visit in Himachal

The numero uno spot in Chamba Valley is indisputably Khajjiar which looks exactly like a ‘piece’ of Switzerland! The green peridot like place is a magnetizing tri-ecosystem comprising of glassy lakes, fertile meadows and thick pine growths – so dreamlike as if out of touch with reality!

At a height of 6500 feet, and 26 km from Dalhousie, people are fond of visiting the (i) Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary, and the (ii) Khajji Naga Temple.

The terrific slopes in the region can be taken advantage of, for the hysterical pleasure of rolling yourself down inside a zorb, or for setting yourself onto some challenging trekking!

For the golfers’ passionate interest, Khajjiar also possesses a well kept nine-hole golf-course.

16. Dalhousie

Dalhousie tourist place in Himachal

Also within the Chamba Valley and enveloped by the Dhauladhar mountains, this Himachal town named after Lord Dalhousie and which caught the ‘eye’ of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, was under the heavy guard of the British Raj, as it was their most sought after summer camp. Thus, the Scottish and Victorian overtones on the local architecture contribute to the special ambience of this place even today.

Top spots for sightseeing in Dalhousie include St. John’s Church, Panchpula, Satdhara Falls, Dainkund Peak, Subhash Baoli, Rang Mahal and Tibetan Market.

17. Tattapani 

Tattapani Himachal Pradesh places to visit

51 km away from Shimla in the district of Mandi, on the banks of River Sutlej lies the tiny ‘Tattapani’ village whose name literally means ’hot water’; so true to its meaning, it is extremely famous for its sulphur-abundant thermal springs, especially during winters, which are said to be helpful in healing human bodily ailments.

Other than that, ‘Shiv-Bhakts’ appear in large numbers on all auspicious dates of a year in Tattapani, to pay their respects at ‘Shivji Ka Gufa’- Lord Shiva’s Cave.

In recent times, the HP government has assured the public that major plans are on to increase the tourist traffic at Tattapani by popularizing aqua-thrills like jet-skiing and water-boarding around the area, and also by constructing a ‘floating restaurant’ on the river!

18. Kinnaur Kailash Mountain

Kinnaur Kailash Mountain tourist place in Himachal

Looked upon as hallowed as the Mount Kailash in Tibet, the Kinnaur Kailash range plunges into the heavens with its 6000 m high altitude!

One of the most demanding and daring treks of all, the consecrated ‘Shivling’ monolithic rock pillar {79 ft tall} is found at 4700 m of the Kinnaur Kailash Mountain, cushioned in oodles of cottony snow. It is said that the Shivling constantly changes color based on changes in intensity of sunlight falling on it.

Getting to see the ‘Brahmakamal’ flower and ‘Parvati Kund’ below the monolith is as much exciting and a blessing as it is with the monolith itself!

19. Keylong (Lahaul & Spiti) 

Keylong Lahaul Spiti tourist place Himachal

On the Manali-Leh circuit, lie the barren, spectral and desolate, harsh and craggy mountainous valleys of Lahaul & Spiti.

Once the winters are done pounding the region with heavy snowfall, the rest of the seasons begin to reveal raw, rustic & sandy earthen tones of the landscape interspersed by a few rivers sustained by glacial melts, scarcely dotted with single-roofed flat houses, with the only splash of colours in the form of some Buddhist monasteries, Lord Buddha’s statues, prayer wheels and prayer flags teased by the wind.

The admin headquarters of Lahaul & Spiti is Keylong, often termed as ‘The Land of Monasteries’, some of which are several centuries old. [Kardhang monastery, Shashur monastery]

Baralacha La Pass (4890 m) is a wonderful convergence point between Ladakh, Lahaul and Spiti; a mandatory target stopping point for those on biking journeys.

Pin Parvati National Park is one more key point of interest designated under the Cold Desert Biosephere Reserve.

20. Kaza

Kaza places to visit in Himachal Pradesh

Encased between snow-capped mountains and situated alongside the Spiti river, Kaza though just a hamlet is the largest commercial centre of Spiti valley. Kee Gompa (on a hill top) and Sakya Tangyud Gompa (at the edge of a canyon) are two very ancient monasteries, with stunning mural art works, quite famous in Kaza.

So these were the beautiful tourist places to visit in Himachal Pradesh. If you loved reading this post on best Himachal Pradesh tourist places, do remember to share this Himachal travel blog with your friends. Subscribe us on our Youtube channel to know the best places to visit in India. Also follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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Author:

Sandhyaa V.

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