If you really want to have a long lasting love affair with Himachal Pradesh, you must see what’s best in it. Visiting popular tourist destinations like Shimla, Manali, Dharamshala and Kullu has become a cliché. These places are commercialized centers and overly crowded. You can no longer seek peace and seclusion in their midst.
But, this is not where the story of Himachal Pradesh ends, rather this is the point where it begins. There are many virgin lands all across the state, far away from the hustle bustle of the towns. They include beautiful lakes and mountains, temples and monasteries, valleys and villages, etc. that have remained hidden for long. This is where the best in Himachal resides. So, read below and get acquainted with some of these places.
Nature at its best, this is what defines the Trithan Valley in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. It’s your gateway to the Great Himalayan National Park and carries the tag of being an eco tourism destination. The place has derived its name from the Trithan River. It meanders through the entire region, circling around forests and hamlets in the valley.
For off roaders, many tiny paths from villages of Chalogi, Mungla and others, lead to snow fed river, where you can clearly see big stones through its crystal clear waters. Many camps are organized by the river side. The most popular activities around is fishing. The waters of the river are lush with brown trout and rainbow trout. By night fall you can barbeque your own meal, play some music and have a nice holiday with family and friends.
Location– It is situated at an altitude of 1600 meters in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh
Climate – Summers are pleasant, with temperatures remaining within 24 degree Celsius. Winters are chilling, and since the area has the River in close proximity, it mostly remains humid.
Best time to visit– The spring season is the best time to visit Trithan Valley. It blooms with apple blossoms and the entire valley gets laid with beautiful flowers and the air breathes fresh after the prolonged winters.
Getting here– The nearest Airport is in Bhuntar, near Kullu. Railways don’t have access to the place. And if you take the road, from Chandigarh, you cross the towns of Bilaspur, Mandi, Pandoh, Gushani and then finally Trithan.
The isolated yet enchanting Pabbar valley is in close proximity to the capital city Shimla. From tourism point of view, it still is deserted, and yet if one wants to enjoy beautiful landscapes, streams and lakes, mountains and peaks, nature walks by the river and forests; you cannot possibly miss the Pabbar Valley.
The Chansal mountain Range is a favorite amongst trekkers, and remains open from May to October. Also the Kupper Valley Trek is quiet frequented mostly by foreign tourists. National tourists are yet to throng this place due to lack of commercialization, and it’s advisable before that happens, you take a sprawl its virgin beauty.
There are many sacred temples in the valley, and a must visit is the classic temple of Hatkoti. It is dedicated to Goddess Durga and rests in hilltop in Rohru. It’s surrounded by lush green fields and you will always find shepherds grazing their sheep and cattle all the way up to the temple.
Location– The valley can be easily approached via Shimla. The closest town Rohru is 115 km from Shimla.
Climate– The region experiences pleasant summers, and then good rains. The winters are chilly and the climate makes the belt amongst the best apple producers in Himachal Pradesh.
Best time to visit– Spring is best time to visit the valley. Apple orchards are lush with blossoms and the fields are green and vibrant.
Getting here– The best way of getting here is from Shimla, passing through the towns of Theog and then reaching Rohru.
Prashar Lake pecked at a height of 2730 meters, has remained hidden from much human interaction due to its location and lack of good connectivity via road. And, probably this attribute makes it even more sought after. Its pristine waters rest in the calmness of surrounding grasslands, which are overlooked by snowy peaks.
Legend says that Rishi Prashar had once meditated on the banks of this lake and that is when they built a three storied pagoda temple dedicated to the wandering Sage. Made of Deodar wood, the temple has lavish carvings depicting serpents and other animals. Some say it was built by 18 year old boy single handedly and others believe it was carved from a single deodar tree.
The lake can reached via road and you can trek all the way up. Trekking is a better option for exploring the region and its fauna and flora. It will take about 3 hours uphill and about 2 hours downhill, but the effort is worth the climb.
Location– Prashar Lake is situated 45 km from the town of Mandi in Himachal Pradesh and rests at an altitude of 2730 meters above sea level.
Best time to visit– The summer season and the months after monsoons till December is a good time to visit the Lake. During the month of June every year the temple organizes a fair, which is attended by many devtas in the region.
Getting here– The nearest town is Mandi, 45 km from the Lake. Mandi is well connected to all parts of Himachal and other major towns like Delhi and Chandigarh.
In the cold desert of Spiti, in a small village Tabo, at a height of approximately 10,000 feet lays this amazing ancient wonder, the Tabo Monastery. It is regarded as the oldest Buddhist pilgrimage center in the region and is second in importance to Tholing Gompa in Tibet. Reigning in this arid land where only 10,000 people reside, the harsh weather keeps many people away from its allure.
Most fondly referred to as the Ajanta of the Himalayas, this monastery is beautifully carved and its walls are up with colorful murals and thangkas. The paintings on these murals depict the ancient history of the region and how Tabo was the meeting point of both the Tibetan and Indian cultures.
The monastery is quiet in sync with the rest of the town in its appearance. Its mud and stone structure blend well with the houses surrounding it. Walking around the two is best way of exploring it. Local people are welcoming and are always delighted to share their history and stories with visitors.
Location– the Tabo village is situated at an altitude of 3280 meters in the Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.
Climate – the land experiences arid climate with little or no rain at all. Winters are extremely cold, with temperatures remaining below zero degrees Celsius. The local population stores buffer stock of all essentials before the advent of winter, when even getting out of house becomes difficult.
Best times to visit– best time for a visit are the months from May to October. There after the roads are closed for the winter.
Getting here– Tabo is 4 km from Kaza and hiring a cab to reach here is the best way. You can access Kaza via Shimla as well as Manali. The Shimla road takes you to Kaza via Rekong Peo, 445 km and you can also use the route via Manali, Rohtang and Kunzum, about 213 kilometers.
There are some places on this earth, which once visited, will never get out from your head. Sangla Valley is exactly one such place, whose hidden beauty captivates every person who comes here. Lined along the banks of the Baspa River, the valley gurgles with roaring waters on the southern side and rests against a backdrop of snow clad mountain ranges in the north.
For those who wish to relax in peace and serenity amidst nature and its beauty, Sangla is a good option for you. It is also famous as the flower valley of the region and during spring, you will see entire hillsides covered with known as well as wild species of flowers of the most exotic colors and textures. Many camps are organized by the department of Tourism of Himachal Pradesh, and you can go fishing, mountain climbing, or even a try wildlife excursion.
You can go for a number of walks and treks around the region. Just 24 Kilometers from here is the village Chitkul; perhaps it is the last inhabited village before the Indo-Tibetan border. Reaching here might seem slightly difficult, the roads are narrow and every year the monsoons grumble them up. But, nonetheless the spectacular views it offers are worth all the effort.
Location– it is situated at an elevation of 8900 feet above sea level.
Climate– Summers here are marked with a pleasant chill, not too cold, but too hot. Winter is severe and temperatures often trudge below the zero degree mark.
Best time to visit– March to October is good for visiting the valley, especially the months of spring when you can see the true colors of the valley.
Getting here– It is 176 kilometers away from Shimla. You can first come to Kalpa first and then hire a cab or take a bus that will take you to the Sangla Valley.