Monday, July 4, 2022

10 Best Places to visit in Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is a haven for every vacationer, from solo traveler and peace-seeker to trekker, pilgrims, and newlyweds. Here’re the best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh. 

Himachal means the land of snow, more specifically, “snowy slopes.” The state attracts national and international tourists to immerse in the endless beauty of this state and feed their souls with peace and tranquillity. Himachal Pradesh has something to offer to everyone – be it a solo traveler, peace-seeker, trekker, pilgrims, or newlyweds.

If you are planning a visit to the state, beware, it could spoil you for choices. There’s no dearth of tourist attractions here, making it difficult to plan a wholesome itinerary. Breathe easy and read on, as we recommend the 10 best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh. 

10 Best Places to visit in Himachal Pradesh

1. Shimla

ShimlaIt’s presently the capital of Himachal Pradesh and the erstwhile summer capital of the Raj. The Indian summers were unbearable for the Britishers who used this place as their summer escapade. But the history of Shimla is way older than that. It is a town located at the height of 2276 meters above sea level, nestled in the lap of the Himalayas. Earlier it was called Shamla or Shyamalaya, which is the other name of Goddess Kali who is said to reside here. Shyamalaya means blue house. There are several tales about the city’s name.

What makes Shimla one of the best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh is its culture and architecture. Several colonial buildings here scream their British connection. The scenic views with snow-capped mountains, cool, soothing breeze, and a distinct culture add to its appeal. When visiting Shimla, you cannot miss certain places at all. The Ridge is the place where one must spend an evening. Mall Road is nearby, and you can enjoy shopping, eating, clubbing, and more. If you are interested in history, visit Scandal Point and the Town Hall. Jakhoo Hills is a lovely place for pilgrims and trekkers. Then, there are Chadwick falls, Kalka-Shimla Toy Train, Summer Hills, Naldehra, Kufri, etc. that deserve your visit.

2. Manali

ManaliAs one of the places to visit in Himachal Pradesh, Manali is a heaven for peace-seekers, trekkers, adventure lovers, pilgrims, snow-lovers, etc. Manali is called a gift of the Himalayas, and its ancient history is as rich as a jeweler’s chest. It is situated in the Kullu district at the height of 2050 meters above sea level. The town has derived its name from Manu, known as the ancestor of ram and the ancestor of humankind, the progenitor of man after the great Holocaust. He parked his ark here and started the race of humans. 

The town is the synonym of peace, tranquility, serenity, love, and fun as well. The hotels, resorts, eateries, fields, mountains, hills, meadows, temples, adventures, etc., make it one of the leading Himachal Pradesh tourist places or for that matter the best tourist destinations in entire India.

It is a place for some exciting excursions, notably paragliding. As you make your way to Rohtang Pass to experience light snowfall, you come across mountains covered in white sheen. It’s a perfect camping site with streams, waterfalls, and lots of visitors from June to August.

Only 13 km from Manali is the Solang Valley or Solang Nullah, which is a year-round tourist destination. Paragliding, zorbing, skiing, quad biking, etc., are the main attractions here. The other tourist places to visit are Hidimba Devi temple, Vashishtha Temple, Mau Temple, etc.

3. Kasol

KasolIf you visit Kasol and find the signboards written in Hebrew, don’t worry. You are still in India. The place is called mini Israel of Himachal Pradesh due to the significant population of Israelis. It is situated at the height of 1640 meters above sea level and on the banks of the Parvati River. It is the place where backpackers, trekkers, travelers, and nature lovers find their fantasies in the physical form. Drowned in the natural beauty, it is nestled between Bhuntar and Manikaran as one of the top Himachal Pradesh tourist places.

The first thing one must do in Kasol is to take a walk beside the frothily flowing Parvati River. The greenery on either side of the river is a balm to the soul. The sound of the churning river is pure music. The towering pine and deodar are natural residences, and when you dip your feet in the cool water, your stress and worries pass to the water in the river. 

If you are looking for air laced with cannabis, visit Tosh. It is a European styled place, and the natural beauty here is unparalleled. Near Tosh is Malana. You better not touch their walls, or they will wash them with the blood of buffalos. Sounds gross, right? But it is their rule. They believe that they are true Aryans and the descendants of Alexander the Great. Outsiders are not welcome in their place, so you better be careful. Apart from its natural beauty, you can do shopping, or visit KheerGanga and Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara. 

4. Kullu

KulluFeast your eyes on the “Valley Of Gods.” Every temple and every site has a story to tell. Sitting at the height of 1200 meters in the lap of the Himalayas, this place has something for everyone and witnesses thousands of tourists every year. After all, it’s one of the best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh. It was called Kulanthapitha or Kulat in ancient times, which meant “The End Of Inhabitable World”. Unlike today, it wasn’t easy to reach here.

The history of the place dates back to Ramayana and Mahabharata. It is said that Sage Shringi attended the Putreshti Yajna” here, which was conducted for Lord Ram’s birth. The Arjun Gupha or cave is also situated here where Arjun had meditated to please Lord Shiva for Pashupatastra. The tales are endless and intriguing, only if you have time to listen. 

The place is filled with temples. There is Sayali Mahadev Temple known for its architecture. Witnessing this temple’s walls, ceilings, pillars, and overall design is an architect’s dream. Bijli Mahadev Temple is another stop for pilgrims. Every year, the lightning destroys the Shivling in the temple, and priests restore it with butter and Sattoo. It is believed that Lord Shiva pays for the sins of the locals by undergoing disintegration. 

Vishveshwara Mahadev temple was built between the 9th and 12th centuries A.D. There are several deities present in the temple. But what attracts the tourists is the architecture and the view from up here. The Valley of Gods is a large district, and top tourist places in Himachal Pradesh like Manali and Kasol are a part of it.

5. Solang Valley

Solang ValleyThe stunningly beautiful place is nestled between Beas Kund and Solang Village. It is only 13 km from Manali and at an altitude of 2560 meters. As one of the best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh, it welcomes tourists all year round. People come here to paraglide, ski, ropeway, zorbing, to spend peaceful nights under the starry sky, dip their boots in fluffy snow, and sip tea with hot Maggie.

The place witnessed heavy snowfall every year, and that is its major attraction as ski lovers come here to roll down the snowy hills. Quad biking is another fun activity ideal for every age group. Trace the terrains of Beas River on the bike or visit Shiva Temple, it’s up to you. The handicrafts shops here are amazing and offer very beautiful and inexpensive jewelry. 

Solang has two jump stations that attract an influx of paragliding enthusiasts. It is the most sought-after adventure sport of Solang Valley, where you can have the experience of flying in the air. To enjoy the valley’s natural beauty, you can sit in the cabin and enjoy the ropeway ride. There is the Great Himalayan National Park for trekkers, campers, and nature lovers who can enjoy the company of animals and birds.

6. Kasauli

KasauliKasauli is a small town famous for its architectural wealth. This is situated in Solan district at the height of 1800 meters. The place emerged as a hill station during the British reign, and the history of this little town goes back to 150 years. It is said that Kasauli got its name from the hot water spring in Kasaul, which flows all year round.

However, some also believe that it is named after Kausalya spring or Kusmali, meaning flower maiden. For trekkers, nature lovers, photographers, snow-enthusiasts and peace-seekers, Kasauli is one of the most coveted tourist places in Himachal Pradesh. 

It was made known by the Britishers who wanted a cool place to spend their summers. Kasauli was a perfect fit with a cool climate. So, you can see the colonial-style bungalows, buildings, cobblestone sidewalks, and gardens here. Kasauli is also the birthplace of great writer Ruskin Bond, so it’s a reader’s paradise as well. 

To get a beautiful view of the town, visit Monkey Point. The town looks magical from up here with River Satluj flowing on one side, the green hills surrounding the town, the fog engulfing the streets, and the all-encompassing serenity. There is an almost 168 years old Christ Church, which reflects the presence of Europe back in time. 

Then there are Krishna Bhavan Temple, Baba Balak Nath Temple for pilgrims, Gilbert trail for hikers, Kasauli club and rich bookstores for readers, supreme cafes and restaurants for food lovers, and the entire town for a photographer’s lens.    

7. Kangra

KangraYou must have heard the name of the town. After all, it houses one of the oldest and largest forts in the Himalayan range and one of the best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh. Kangra is situated at an altitude of 733 meters above sea level. It is one of the ancient towns of India whose history can be dated back to the Mahabharata when it was known as Trigarta. Chinese traveler Huen Tsang has also talked about it in his travelogues. 

The town has footprints of some of the prominent rulers and attackers in history, such as Mahmud Ghaznavi, Akbar, Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb, Firoz Shah Tuglaq, Sikh Chief Jai Singh, Sansar Chand, etc. The former name of the place was Nagarkot.

This district allures tourists with its natural beauty. They call it Devbhumi, meaning the Land of Gods. Of all the places, you must visit Kangra Fort first of all. Now, there are only ruins of the fort, but they scream the fort’s former glory, wealth, and beauty. Its grandeur is intimidating. 

Baijnath Temple of Kangra is one of the most famous tourist places of Kangra. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva who blesses everyone who offers prayers here. For trekkers, the Indrahar Pass in the Dhauladhar range is a dream come true with lakes, streams, forests, gorges, and gorgeous hills. The Jwala Devi Temple is a must-visit where the eternal flame keeps burning 24/7. 

The other attractive places include Chamunda Devi temple, Brajeshwari Temple, rock-cut temples of Masrur, Art Museum, Kareri lake, etc. Don’t miss any of them.

8. Spiti Valley

Spiti ValleyIt is a place for explorers who wish to wander in the natural beauty, glimmering lakes, and barren mountains to find peace in the monasteries situated in the valley. It is a cold, barren, and desert mountain valley that includes several tiny hamlets and monasteries. Its natural beauty is so pure and tranquil that you won’t leave it on your own. Here the time just stops. Situated at the height of 2950-4100 meters above sea level, this is one of the best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh, especially in June when the temperature is only 15-20 degrees.

Feast your eyes on the Chandrataal Lake, which looks like a handmade painting by a nature lover. The turquoise blue crystal clear lake is a favorite among campers. Moving forward, you see Dhankar Lake, which is surrounded by mountains and filled with transparent water. Amidst the brown desert, mountains are the small hamlet Komik, the headquarters of beauty with its green meadows and fields. 

If you are a peace-seeker, visit Tabo monastery, which houses nine temples. The nearby Tabo caves are a boon for history lovers. Kaza, Kibber, Suraj Tal Lake, Lahaul valley, Pin Valley National Park, Spiti River, Nako Village, Kunzum Pass, etc., are other places in Spiti valley that you cannot afford to miss.

9. Dharamshala

DharamshalaDharamshala means an overnight shelter for pilgrims seeking spiritual enlightenment or those on their journey towards religion. Today, its name stands true for Tibetan residents and government-in-exile. This city is a window for all those who want to have a look at the rich Tibetan culture. For sports lovers, there is a picturesque international cricket ground here. This city is sitting at an elevation of 1457 meters and welcomes tourists every season and every month of the year to witness its spirituality, culture, tranquility, and purity.

This place is surrounded by the Dhauladhar mountain range on all sides, and you can see snow-capped mountains greeting you. The upper Dharamshala is called McleodGanj, which is the epicenter of Tibetan culture and the home of the Dalai Lama. It is the place where you can taste authentic Tibetan food and shop for Tibetan arts and crafts. Adding to the city’s beauty is the St. John’s Church, which is the epitome of non-Gothic architecture. It was built in 1852. The other leading Himachal Pradesh tourist places here include Bhagsunag Falls, Kunal Pathri Temple, Indru Nag Temple, and Gyuto Monastery, among others.

10. Dalhousie

DalhousieDoes the name remind you of the British Governor Lord Dalhousie? It should, as it is named after him. Located in the Chamba district of Himachal, this town is situated at an altitude of 1970 meters above sea level. The town spans over five hills and is known for endless meadows, green mountains, and rich vegetation of pine, deodar, and oak. Visit this town in winter, and you will find it covered in snow. Adventure sports like trekking, camping, canoeing, etc., are most popular in the winter months.

Satdhara Falls is the first place you should visit when in Dalhousie. Its water comes from seven different springs, and thus, it is named Satdhara Falls. For adventurers, Diankund peak is a great spot. The Singing Hill, as it is popularly called, is a great camping site where you can hear the singing voices of the wind and spend the night while watching the starry sky overhead and a beautiful town below. Subhash Baoli is another popular place to visit, famous for its spring water and some association with Subhash Chandra Bose. It is believed that the healing properties of the spring cured Subhash. Some of the other well-known places to visit in Himachal Pradesh here are Panchpula, Khajjiar Sanctuary, Bakrota Hills, Ganji Pahari, etc.

Final Thoughts

Himachal is rich in beauty and culture with tourism being its mainstay. Few places offer you a view of the diverse culture of India, and Himachal is one of them. You can find colonial buildings here, beautiful churches, century-old temples, ancient Gurudwaras, Tibetan Monasteries, Buddhist temples and statues, and whatnot. Describing the natural beauty of this state is beyond words. So, if you are planning a tour, consider the above-mentioned 10 best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh to sink in nature’s essence.

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