For Those Planning a Trip to DevaBhoomi in 2019: 10 Best Places to Visit in Himachal Pradesh on Your Trip to the Land of the Himalayas.

For Those Planning a Trip to DevaBhoomi in 2019: 10 Best Places to Visit in Himachal Pradesh on Your Trip to the Land of the Himalayas.

Himachal Pradesh is on the bucket list of many travellers. This is because Himachal is the perfect amalgamation of the life-supporting forests and the barren and rugged mountain peaks. It is an abode of nature enthusiasts. If you are planning to travel to Himachal this year, we suggest you check out these amazing places.

Travel Tips for Your Trip to Himachal Pradesh

Documents, Official Permits & Emergency Contacts

Far from the maddening crowd and hectic pace of city life, Himachal Pradesh is an inviting destination with lush greens and tranquil atmosphere. The snow-clad mountains and deep river valleys can infuse a sense of freshness in anyone.

Before you travel, it is good to be aware of any documentation you may require. While most places in HP do not warrant a protected area permit, foreign nationals visiting the Spiti Valley Regions do need one, given its close proximity to the Indo-China border, in case you have friends or contact visiting from abroad. Shimla, Kullu & Manali, Kaza & Rekong Peo and Rampur require permits to be acquired.

Best Time to Visit the Devabhoomi

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Himachal Pradesh is usually looked as a holiday destination during summers by domestic travelers. For winter enthusiasts, winters here are perfect with snow laden mountains . During monsoons , Himachal is equally stunning with nature coming alive with rains. If you’re keen on adventure sports like rafting , then the best time to visit HP is during the monsoon season.

Review Your Hotel Choices

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Before you book your travel, it is recommended to look for comfortable accommodation. In that respect, do a proper check on a hotel’s amenities and ratings before firming up your bookings. Look for additional facilities like a heater, extra bed/blankets, refreshments in the room, etc.

If you’re traveling with Kids or Elders , you may want to look for a place closer to the mall roads or low altitude and don’t forget to look for cancellation facility for any last minute changes.

Best Places to Visit in Himachal Pradesh

Manali

A high altitude Himalayan Resort Town , Manali’s no less a paradise and is known as a backpacker’s delight and a popular honeymoon destination. Located on the Beas River, Manali’s a gateway for skiing and trekking, a jump-off point for paragliding and ideal for rafting & mountaineering as well. Amongst its most popular places to see, the mall road and its market are the town’s main go-to point, while the old neighborhood houses conventional stone constructs, apple orchards and temples. Manali has a highland climate, with mild to warm weather during April through October, rainfall in July through August and cool to cold with snowfall in December through February. The busiest period to visit Manali is May-June.

When it comes to exploring activities or visiting places, Solang Valley’s a favorite spot for summer/winter sports like paragliding, adventurous expeditions, skiing and camping. The Pin Valley National Park has a mountainous terrain with Buddhist Stupas. You can have a picnic at Rahala Fals or visit the Manali river through Old Manali and indulge in fly fishing. There’s sulphur hot springs with medicinal properties at Vashisht, a 4000-year old temple, in addition to the Hidimba Devi Temple which is nearly 1500 years old and is built of wood with intricate carvings & a shrine in the midst of a cedar forest. You can experience mountain treks in the company of snow-capped peaks, open valleys and babbling brooks en route to the scenic Mirror Lake or enjoy river rafting at the river Beas ** while riding the rapids from mild to challenging!

Then there’s the Alpine Lake trek where you can pitch a tent against the beautiful Himalayan backdrop or have a fabulous shopping spree at the Manali Mall road with shops for rugs, pashminas & local handicrafts , snoop around for souvenirs like Tibetan prayer wheels or ornate carpets around Manali Gompa. For the soulful foodies, there’ an assortment of Indian, Asian and Italian cuisine, and local fruit wine made from the rhododendron flowers, plums or apricots harvested at Manali’s Orchards.

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Shimla

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Capital to the Northern state of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is renowned for its handicrafts, wooden toys & artifacts. One of the most popular hill stations in India, Shimla has just the right blend of Indian grandeur with British elegance and has a sacredly stunning landscape and lovely climate through most part of the year. The best time to travel there is during the warm months of May through June , before the monsoons set in during July to August. The second best time of the year to visit Shimla is during winters, December through February with its cold weather, snowfall and ice skating!

Of the places to see and things to do in Shimla, the Jakhu hill at 2,455m above the sea level, is the highest point known for its sunrise views across the Himalayas. The town’s British majestic architecture speaks of a rich heritage that includes Gothic Victorian buildings like the Gaiety Theatre and Christ Church, there are Hindu shrines like the Kali Bari temple near Mall road and Jakhu temple on the Jakhu hill. The ridge road presents a large open space in the heart of Shimla and is considered the hub for all cultural events and shopping escapades. The Viceregal Lodge or the Rashtrapati Niwas situated at the Observatory Hills houses some of the most ancient pictures and articles from the British rule era and was residence of the British Viceroy of India . Enjoy a meal or two on the grassy hillocks with breathtaking mountain views or sylvan patches next to a stream.

Learn the basics of skiing on the gentle slopes of Kufri in powdery snow with gorgeous Himalayan views. There’s the Chail Sanctuary with a large forest cover, which houses the Sambar, Cheer Pheasants and Goral at Blossom and Jhaja with Barking Deer and Kalijin that can be seen early morning or at dawn. There’s the Himalayan Nature Park also which has a zoo housing snow leopards and brown bears with an opportunity to walk through the forest, discovering native trees and plants on a forested mountain trail rich with birds. You can also play golf at a British era 18-hole Golf Course.

Kasol

Known as India’s Little Israel , Kasol is a hill station, set in the Parvati Valley , en route to the holy Manikaran . A popular tourist spot that’s been in the limelight off late, Kasol’s a hub for nature enthusiasts, backpackers and trekking fans. This quaint little village is enriched with picturesque views and untouched by urbanization or commercialization. Set in the midst of the Parvati River with gorgeous views of the snow-capped mountains for a backdrop, Kasol’s perfect for strolls by the river and just relaxing in nature’s tranquility. With a blend of smooth rocks, clean white sand that sits aside the green grass and by the bubbling aqua green waters with rhythmic cascades, Kasol is known for its trek trails that cover the Yanker Pass, Sar Pass, KheerGanga and Pin Parbati Pass . Inhabited by a large number of Israelis, Kasol has an abundance of Israeli food as well as signposts adorned in Hebrew on the streets. There are a number of street cafes as well that offer local delicacies in the midst of dark green forestry and breathtaking milieu of the mountains. You can pick souvenirs, semi-precious gems, trinkets or jewelry to take back home from Kasol’s flea market.

Being a part of a multi-religious and multi-lingual state, the town of Kasol observes the Himachali culture and religion. Kasol’s quite a party town as well with rave parties, which though are illegal, if caught, but are conducted in plenty all over the town, albeit discreetly. The best time to visit Kasol is October through June . The weather is mostly pleasant throughout the year, but the wilderness in town is best experienced from March-May , with oscillating temperature of 15-22 degrees Celsius. Winters are chilly with varying temperatures of 3-10 degrees Celsius.

Dalhousie

Spread across 5 hills near the Dhauladhar Mountain range, Dalhousie is home to colonial era buildings that include the St.John’s and St. Francis Churches from the 1800 British reign. A hill station in Himachal Pradesh, Dalhousie is ideal for unwinding from the hustle & bustle of your life back home in the tranquil and serene surroundings. The tiny & glitzy town of Dalhousie is heaven on earth that boasts of an old world charm, captivating natural landscape, floral meadows, pine-clad valleys, gushing rivers and glorious misty mountains with some of the most spectacular views in the world. With an abundance of Victorian & Scottish architecture , the air in Dalhousie evokes the pristine British setting.

In terms of things to do in Dalhousie, trudging up the Dainkund peaks will lead you to Pholani Devi Temple, while to the north, you can enjoy the Subhash Baoli with its panoramic sights and pine trees. St. John’s Church from 1816 is a British Protestant Church adorned with glass paintings, while the Star Village Fun & Food Café is a quiet parkland with small cascades and a monument honoring the revered patriot Ajit Singh . Dalhousie is a perfect getaway with bright green pastures of land with snow-clad mountains with their resplendent beauty in the lap of the glorious Himalayas.

With its perfect climate, Dalhousie is a year-round destination, which is best visited between March through June , when the snow starts melting in March-April and its luminosity can be witnessed with the sun’s rays hitting the mountains and pastures. This period is chilly, with the temperature rising in June and the monsoons are pleasant too with moderate rainfall.

Spiti Valley

Spanning the river Spiti, Spiti Valley’s one of the most glorious & precious gems in the crown of Himachal Pradesh. With its long winding roads and valley s that bring to sight beautiful glimpses of snow-crowned peaks and cold desert, Spiti Valley stands at an altitude of 12,500 above the sea level and receives sunlight only 250 days in a year making it one of the coldest places in the country! Due to the thick snow, the valley’s usually cut off from the rest of the country for nearly 6 months in a year and hence accessible via a motorway during summer months.

The Spiti Valley separates India from Tibet and is sparsely populated, albeit it is considered the adventurer’s paradise with scores of trek trails to choose from. The starting point for the treks is Kaza, capital to Spiti and the base camp to various Alps from where you can enjoy the scenic views of the Himalayan Mountains. About 1.5km trek along the River Spiti from the Dhankar Monastery to the lake offers beautiful village sights. Another popular tourist attraction is the mountain ropeway from Kibber to Chichum with a bird’s eye view of the neighboring mountains and glorious sights of the gorge below.

Being the middle ground between India and Tibet, Spiti Valley follows a mixed culture and tradition. It serves as a research hub for Buddhists on account of the presence of innumerable temples and monasteries, with the Tabo Monastery being the Dalai Lama’s favorite and one of the oldest Buddhist Cloister in the world. Home to the last few Buchen Lamas of Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism, life at Spiti often results in following the austere lifestyle for most of its inhabitants. You can visit Gue Mummy, the Millennium Monastery and Rock Carvings at Tabo , trek up to the nomadic plains of Angla and Phela, walk to the popular rangrik rewa cave, visit the Snow point Kunzom or attend the cultural shows and experience the traditional photo shoots at Nadang Lhakhang.

Khajjiar

Khajjiar is in the Chamba District and is known to be one of the most gorgeous valleys in Himachal Pradesh, where you can relax and enjoy the fresh and beautiful landscape. A small town neighboring Dalhousie, Khajjiar offers a unique combination of pastures, lakes and forests for travelers and its enthralling beauty has inspired many kingdoms over the years. Located 6,500ft above the sea level, Khajjiar has a 9-hole golf course nestled in the heart of lush greens and captivating settings. The region is known for its attractive temples, and is popular for its different adventure sports like horse riding, paragliding, Zorbing and trekking.

Because of its natural similarities with Switzerland, the valley is called ‘Mini Switzerland’ , and the saucer shaped green meadow of Khajjiar is surrounded by Deodar trees with a lake right in the middle. There’s a wildlife sanctuary at Kalatop which house a variety of plants and wildlife including the Himalayan Black Marten, Leopards, Bear, Deer, Jackals, Barking Goral and an assortment of birds. The Khajjiar Trek is a 14km hike through the landscape with some breath-taking sights and challenging trails.

There’s an 85ft Lord Shiva statue which one of the tallest figurines in Himachal Pradesh, polished in bronze and is a sight to behold. The Khajj Nag Temple is another spot worth visiting from the 12th century AD, in honor of the Lord of Serpants-Naga. It has a wooden construction with images hanging from the ceiling depicting the epic battle of Mahabharata. Enjoy shopping at the HP State Handicrafts Center with its offerings of local souvenirs, shawls, artifacts, etc. Khajjiar is a year-round destination with a chilly winter and occasional snowfall. The best time to visit here is during summers when the temperature’s warm, still pleasant and the nights are long & cold.

Bir Billing

Bir Billing is the Mecca for adventure sports which makes it top the list for places to visit in Himachal Pradesh. A small village on the western side of HP, Bir Billing has a refreshing climate and is also considered one of the best spots for Paragliding in the world. Another sport which is a major crowd puller from most parts of the country is Hand Gliding for which Billing is the launch pad and Bir the landing site. April through June’s quite pleasant in Bir and hence the best time to visit here. October through November are best for flying. The ideal time to visit Bir is between March-May or Late September-November.

A significant hub for meditation and spiritual studies, Bir is inspired by the Tibetan culture and has a major community settlement of Tibetans. The scenic beauty of this lovely town can be experienced by exploring the place on foot and enjoying it at your own pace. With a subtle yet vibrant culture of shopping in Bir and a handful of the local markets, you’d love to lose the sense of hustle & bustle here. There’s the Tibetan colony which is popular for handicrafts and local Tibetan cuisine. The Bir Tea Factory’s another popular tourist attraction near the bazar with the tea plantations and gardens overflowing the town.

One of the most famous monasteries in Bir is the Chokling Monastery which houses a majestic and huge stupa and a captivating statue of Padmasambhava. Then there’s the Dharmalaya Institute , an eco-campus where one can volunteer for a number of environmental programs like green building, organic farming or sustainable village development and more in addition to different spiritual activities like yoga or meditation.

Malana

An ancient village in Himachal Pradesh, Malana is a solitary township in the Malana Nala, a side valley of the Parvati Valley on the north-eastern side of Kullu and is somewhat isolated from the world. Malana’s a hill station is most unlike the other hill stations and holds a number of unique experiences and activities. For instance, the locals in Malana follow their own rules and stepping away from those rules can invite a penalty! All business here is conducted through a link via earth or the air, resulting in goods being exchanged either by hurling them at the receiver or keeping them on the ground to be picked up by the recipient.

Malana’s known for its Marijuana and attracts a lot of tourists for its premium quality, it has one of the oldest democracies in the world, where the decision making lies with a council consisting of 11 members only. Malana has a special ancient language, Kanashi which is still used by the locals here and no outsider’s allowed to communicate in this language with the villagers. It is popular for its strong cultural beliefs and religious sentiments.

Malana is ideal for those seeking spiritual guidance as well for adventure enthusiasts for trekking needs. The temples of Malana, include the Jamadagni and the Shrine of Renuka Devi, which are two of the most popular tourist attractions in the area, built closer to each other and known for reverence of several Gods & Goddesses. The Muzik Café in Malana symbolizes perfect hospitality that you can enjoy with a short hike. With snug rooms, delicate decorations and yummy food, you can enjoy the owner’s juggling act too! The trek route to Malana is resplendent with lush Deodar vegetation with a small view of the Malana Dam. And of course, coming to Malana and not trekking through its dense forests would be a waste. The treks here take you through the gorgeous valley and end in a cascade of sparkling water, making it a lovely experience and totally worth the effort.

Mashobra

A lush green expanse in Himachal Pradesh, Mashobra is tucked away in the corner at an altitude of 7,700ft offering a pure and liberating experience with its scenic sights and nature undamaged by human contact. Given its close proximity to Shimla, Mashobra’s the ideal alternative for travelers on the lookout for a quiet little hill station, and with just the right number of enchanting natural resources and resorts, Mashobra’s perfect for a weekend getaway or a week long holiday.

One of the most popular spots to visit in Mashobra is Craignano, an architectural wonder-an Italian Villa, flanked by pine trees, oaks and streams encompassing it and structured with wood. A perfect spot for adventure sports with an assortment of rappelling, rock climbing & other activities, Craignano’s considered an exceptional Italian Marvel. Then there’s the Reserve Forest Sanctuary, one of Asia’s largest watersheds that is behind Shimla’s water supply. A must visit, the Sanctuary is good not only for the lush coniferous trees surrounding it but also for its bird population. The weather being pleasant for most part of the year, camping here or trekking to the Sanctuary is an activity you wouldn’t want to miss.

The Wildflower Hall Hotel in Mashobra, built originally as a residence to Khartoum’s Lord Kitchener, the building was known to be Lord Ripon’s favorite retreat, but was rebuilt as a hotel as part of a joint venture between the HP Government & the Oberoi Group of Hotels, after the building was destroyed by fire in 1993. If you like participating in festivals and enjoy cultural activities, then the Mahasu Peak in May is something you’d enjoy. Conducted on the 3rd Tuesday of May, the Mahasu Jatara Festival celebrates the idol shifting of Lord Mahasu. The best time to visit Mashobra is between April through June, and summer/spring is when the town is in its best form! Clear skies and long days make summer delightful, while winters are really chilly with an occasional snowfall between December-February.

Palampur

Palampur is known for its Pine & Deodar forests, tea garden and numerous streams, an enchanting blend of nature and water. Nestled between the glorious Dhauladhar Ranges, Palampur is popular across the world for its tea plantation and premium tea leaves. The remnants of its majestic past with the Britishers, is well reflected in the union of the stunning English styled constructions and the scenic landscapes. Despite its popularity, Palampur remains untouched with its quaint and tranquil atmosphere.

From the places to see in Palampur, the Tashi Jong Monastery is a safe haven for various Tibetan refugees in addition to being the worship center for Buddhists. The complex also houses a college for freshers and a Tibetan restaurant besides the temple. Popular for being the Tea Capital of North-West India, Palampur attracts tourists from far and wide for its lush greens and tea plantations. The Saurabh Van Vihar is a beautiful parkland with rich greenery, encompassed with mountains and scenic views, enhanced with the presence of water bodies, picnic sheds, open air theatre, children’s park & more. The Neugal Khad is a picnic spot 2kms away from town, a gorgeous place to enjoy and take in nature’s beauty.

The Andretta Pottery’s a lovely place that conducts pottery-making classes & designing with an opportunity to pick up the course while living in the Dhauladhar Himalayas in the Kangra District. You can also visit the Baijnath Temple in the Kangra valley, one of the most beautiful temples known that of Lord Shiva with a marvelous architectural feat that closely resembles the Jagannath temple in Puri. In terms of shopping, you can try your hand at Tibetan handicrafts, Thangka paintings, woolens, carpets and Kangra Tea at City Shopping.

Palampur’s weather is pleasant through the year and the average temperature doesn’t rise above 30 degrees. Monsoons witness moderate rainfall while winters are freezing at times with temperatures running below sub-zero levels.

Bonus Tip: Travel Precautions for Himachal Pradesh

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Known for its captivating landscapes, temples and monasteries, Himachal Pradesh is the land of snow and is ideal for all kinds of family trips, couple holidays or solo trips. But before you pick your bags, here are a few pointers to keep in mind during your travels.

  • Your visit’s successful only if you get to enjoy the weather. Some areas in HP may be hotter in comparison to the rest, for instance – Una, Solan and Bilaspur are exceptionally warm in summer & mild to pleasant during winters while, parts of Kinnaur, Kullu, Shimla and Spiti are mild/pleasant during summer and freezing during winters.

  • Pack your luggage depending on the destination and month you’ll be traveling in. Full-sleeve t-shirts/sweatshirts would be work for summer, while heavy woolens & shoes are more feasible during winters. Given the uncertain change in temperature at hill stations, it is good to have a windcheater with you and wise to rent gum boots, if you are visiting during snowfall, from local vendors.

  • Keep emergency contacts handy when traveling, that include emergency contact numbers in HP, details of your hotel, and share them with your family and friends as well. Avoid eating from roadside stalls or unhygienic eateries. Go for bottled water and not tap water, to avoid getting stomach infections. Carry over the counter or doctor prescribed medicines for common cold, flu, gastric issues or injuries.

  • Honor the social norms and cultural beliefs of the places you are visiting to avoid running into unnecessary troubles. Take appropriate safety precautions when traveling, like standing far from cliffs, river banks for clicking pictures. Given the strong current in rivers in HP, it could be dangerous to be reckless.
From our editorial team

Experience Nature Up-Close by Visiting these Places in Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is a nature lover's paradise. The dense forests with desodar, pine trees, the variety of animals and birds, which chirp to enlighten your mood, and the snow-capped peaks, all provide a memorable experience. So do visit this nature's paradise to experience sights and sounds you have never experienced before!