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A travel guide to Himachal Pradesh: Beyond Shimla

by Amelia Curran

 About the author: 

Rohit travels to the most sought after travel locations in India and reviews the numerous sights the country has to offer. He shares his experiences and adventures on TransIndiaTravels.com.

Deep, plunging valleys and looming mountain ranges that are breathtaking and heart-stopping all the same, Himachal Pradesh is a heavenly abode that none can forget once visited. Treacherous trekking routes and magical rivers along with quiet monasteries and relaxing resorts, there is so much to explore in Himachal Pradesh that you just can’t get enough of it. Whether it’s exploring quaint hill stations of attempting the impossible through paragliding, here’s an intrepid travel guide to Himachal Pradesh.

Places to Visit

  1. Shimla and Manali

Manali in the snow with lots of domestic tourists

Photo by Nishanth Jois, CC BY 2.0

Two of Himachal’s most popular and loved destinations are Shimla and Manali. With the large number of tourist attractions in Kullu Manali, it would be unwise not to pay a visit to any of them. A lot of the smaller towns and districts are located very close to Shimla and Manali, which makes it easier to take one-day trips and returning to your accommodation in the major cities. Planning travelling and gaining tourist information from Shimla or Manali is also a lot easier than doing it in the smaller areas.

2. Bilaspur

the water body leading to Bhakra Dam in Himachal pradesh

Photo by Pateldushyant, CC BY-SA 4.0

Bilaspur district is another one of Himachal’s popular destinations. Sights like Bhakra Dam, Baba Nahar Singh Ji Temple, Deotshidh Forest Bachhretu Fort and others are the highlights of this small town. Trekking and hiking opportunities in this quaint region are endless, and many of the villages and other towns can be accessed from Bilaspur pretty easily. The view of the Pir Panjal mountain range from certain parts of this town is a sight to never miss.

3. Dalhousie and McLeodganj

Colourful buildings built into the steep hillside of Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh

Photo by Manuel Menal, CC BY-SA 2.0

A visit to Dalhousie is incomplete without visiting its twin McLeodganj and vice versa. Add Dharamshala to the mix and you’ve got a wonderful package tour of memories to cherish later on. Dalhousie is a quaint little town in Himachal famous for its monasteries and quiet resorts. McLeodganj is known for the Tibetan museum, Buddhist monasteries and the Dal Lake along with many other smaller sights to see. As these two are out of the various tourist spots of Himachal, it is always recommended to visit them at least once during a trip.

Where to Stay

The steep hillside setting of famous Shimla with its winding roads

Shimla, Photo by vincent Desjardins, CC BY 2.0

Himachal can provide you with cheap as well as luxury hotels and resorts to stay in, like the following:

  1. Holiday Heights is one of the best resorts in Manali
  2. Hotel Deyzor in Kaza
  3. Norwood Green in Palampur
  4. Hotel Mount View in McLeodganj
  5. Grand View Hotel in Dalhousie
  6. Hotel Shobla International in Kullu
  7. The Lost Tribe Hostels in Central Himachal
  8. Whistling Pines Homestay in Solan

Things to Do

Solang valley ropeway with snow topped mountains in the background

Solang valley ropeway, Photo by Joginder Pathak, CC BY 2.0

There are a plethora of things that one can do while in Himachal, and the possibilities are endless. Below are some of the most popular activities to do:

  1. River rafting in Manali
  2. Toy train ride from Kalka to Shimla
  3. Trek in Spiti Valley
  4. Heli Skiing in Hanuman Tibba, Rohtang Pass and Deo Tibba
  5. Zorbing in Kullu and Manali
  6. Paragliding in Solang Valley
  7. Mountain Biking in Bilaspur
  8. Camping in Dalhousie
  9. Trekking in Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal
  10. Rock Climbing in Jorkanden, Rangrik Rang and Shila

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Things to See

Malana Village in Himachal pradesh with forests, snow clad hills in the background

Malana Village, Photo (Cropped) by Travelling Slacker, CC BY 2.0

Himachal has plenty of tourist attractions in various destinations to choose from, and the following are some of the most popular ones:

  1. Shimla: The Ridge, Chail, Kufri, Shali and State Museum
  2. Manali: Solang Valley, Rohtang Pass, Manu Temple, and Bhrigu Lake
  3. Dalhousie: Satdhara Springs, Lakkarmandi, St. Andrew’s Church and Subhash Baoli
  4. Malana village
  5. Kasol
  6. Jalori Jot
  7. Hamta

A travel guide to Himachal Pradesh – Traveller Tips:

  1. Carry sunscreen, moisturisers and lotions to protect from the sun.
  2. Woollen clothes are a must when visiting Himachal, as some areas are chilly even during the summer. Appropriate winter shoes and boots must also be carried to ensure a hassle-free trip.
  3. If you’re planning to explore adventure sports and trekking, appropriate shoes, gear, clothing and backpacks should be taken along.
  4. Always carry a bottle of water or two while touring. Caps and sunglasses are also recommended.
  5. Camera batteries, cell-phone chargers and the likes are important as clicking photographs is an obvious advantage of visiting Himachal’s tourist spots.
  6. Id proof and essential documents should be carried along safely as well.

Himachal’s unmatched beauty can’t be contained through our mortal eyes, but experiencing the grandeur of this destination might just get us closer to feel the magical essence of this holiday spot in India.

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