Nestled in between the snow-capped slopes of the Pir Panjal and the Dhauladhar ranges, Manali is one of the most popular hill stations in the country. With jaw-dropping views, lush green forests, sprawling meadows carpeted with flowers, gushing blue streams, a perpetual fairy-tale like mist lingering in the air, and a persistent fragrance of pines and freshness – Manali has been blessed with extraordinary scenic beauty. From museums to temples, from quaint little hippie villages to bustling upscale streets, river adventures to trekking trails, Manali has every reason to be the tourist magnet it is, all year round.
Clean roads, swaying eucalyptus trees, endearing little eateries, small kitschy local market places, and cafes which serve delicious local food at unbelievable prices, Old Manali is a serene, tranquil place, whose lingering silence is broken only by the twittering of the birds and the sound of the roaring waters of the Kullu river.
Solang Valley is the of the most visited places in Manali, with the drive up to Solang being as picturesque as the valley itself. Not only does Solang Valley offer some breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, but its slopes are also a very popular skiing destination, especially during the winters. In summers, the place turns into a paragliding haven. If you’re an adventure enthusiast, Solang Valley has adrenaline-pumping activities such as zorbing and horse-riding available.
With more than 25 lakh visitors every year, Rohtang Pass easily stands out as one of the most popular scenic spots to visit in Manali. Connecting the Lahaul and Kullu valleys, the Rohtang Pass is famous among nature lovers, photographers and adventure seekers alike. Mountain biking or skiing whilst surrounded by the awe-inspiring glaciers and snow-capped peaks on all sides is an exhilarating experience.
Manali is also home to a tiny slice of history, in the form of the Naggar castle. Located among the breathtaking forests in Naggar town, the Naggar Castle is a stunning historical edifice. Once used as the residence of Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu, the castle is a fine blend of traditional Himalayan and European architecture. With majestic fireplaces, beautifully built staircases, and meticulous wood and stone works, the Naggar Castle is a must-visit when you’re in Manali.
Situated at a height of 2200m, Shimla is the capital and the largest city of Himachal Pradesh in India. Set amidst beautiful hills and mystical woods, Shimla has been a very popular hill-station among Indian families and honeymooners since the last 50 years.
British loved this city so much that they made Shimla their summer capital in 1864 and used to rule the sub-continent from here whenever the temperature rose in the nearby plains. Shimla still retains its old world charm with beautiful colonial architecture, pedestrian-friendly Mall Road and beautiful churches.
The weather is pleasant for most of the months with tourists flocking especially during the summer months. The winters are cold with some days of snow from mid-December till February end. Tourists flock to the centrally located Mall Road and the Ridge, a walking only area which is lined up with multiple shops, cafes and restaurants.
Shimla has been the host to some of the most important meetings in the Indian history, including the Simla Conference of 1945 and the Simla Agreement of 1972 between India and Pakistan. The Old Viceroy Hall now houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study and is a popular tourist attraction.
Shimla is often covered with nearby towns of Kufri, a hill-station almost always covered by snow and Chail, famous for a huge palace and the highest cricket ground in the world. Tourists also visit the famous Jakhu Temple and engage in sightseeing at various viewpoints during their trip to Shimla
Shimla is well connected with many cities and is just 4 hours from the nearby city of Chandigarh. The city has an airport as well however there aren’t many daily flights from here. The railway station connects Shimla with the plans and is famous for the Kalka-Shimla train route, a UNESCO listed World Heritage site.
Mcleodganj is a hill station near Dharamshala, popular among trekkers. Its culture is a beautiful blend of Tibetan with some British influence.
Also known as Little Lhasa and famous around the world for being home to the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, Mcleod Ganj is a beautiful town situated near upper Dharamsala. Nestled amidst majestic hills and lush greenery, this town is culturally blessed by a prominent Tibetan influence owing to the major settlement of Tibetans here. Mcleodganj has one of the most mesmerising landscapes in the entire state of Himachal Pradesh and attracts a lot of tourists throughout the year. The towns of Dharamsala, Mcleodganj, Bhagsu Nag and Kangra are situated very close to each other and tourists must cover all these destinations while travelling here. Few of the most eminent and religiously significant monasteries in India are located here, including the Namgyal Monastery and Tsuglagkhang, where the spiritual leader Dalai Lama resides. Tourists must also visit the scenic Dal Lake and Triund, which are apt for quiet picnics.
The tiny tinsel town Dalhousie tucked away in the lap of Himachal Pradesh is a piece of paradise for all the travellers. It boasts of old world charm, mesmerising natural landscape, pine-clad valleys, flower bedecked meadows, fast flowing rivers, magnificent misty mountains and some of the most spectacular views in the world. The air smells of the Scottish and Victorian architecture and the ambience reminds you of the pristine British flavours.
Dalhousie, one of the favourite among most tourists travelling to Himanchal Pradesh is famously known for its mesmerizing natural beauty and its old world charm. This hill station was one of the most favourite summer destinations of the ruling Britishers and this is truly reflected in the majestic Victorian style mansions in this region. Situated far from the buzzing cities in the country, this quaint town transports you to a pollution-free environment in the lap of nature. Dalhousie is known for its scenic beauty has a number mountains and river streams that tourists must visit. Among them the most famous are Panch Pulla, Satdhara Falls and the Daikund peak.
Long winding roads and valleys that present unforgettable glimpses of cold desert and snow-crowned mountains welcome you when you set foot into Spiti Valley. Bordered on all sides by the Himalayas, Spiti Valley, located in Himachal Pradesh, has an altitude of 12,500 feet above sea level, and gets just around 250 days of sunshine in the year, making it one of the coldest places in the country. With the thick Himalayan snow cutting Spiti off from the rest of the country for around 6 months a year, the summer months are the only time Spiti is directly accessible via motorway.
The term Spiti means ‘The Middle Land’, as Spiti Valley separates India from Tibet. Scantily populated, Spiti is an adventure lover’s paradise, with a number of trekking trails that tourists can choose from. All of these treks start from Kaza (Spiti’s capital from where you make your base camp) to various peaks from where you can get panoramic views of the Himalayan mountains. An easy 1.5-kilometre trek along the Spiti River from Dhankar Monastery to Dhankar Lake promises gorgeous views of the villages below. The Dhankar Lake itself is a place where you can sit back and relax amidst the cool mountain air.
The mountain ropeway from Kibber to Chichum is also another popular tourist attraction that offers spectacular views of the gorge below, as well a bird’s eye view of the surrounding peaks.