Shimla

Shimla, the then summer capital of the British during their rule in India, is now the capital of Himachal Pradesh. This charming town lies along a mountain ridge amidst dense rhododendron, pine, and oak forests. The town’s colonial style buildings and railways fascinate.

A prominent landmark of Shimla is the old Christ Church. The Observatory Hill, Kalibari Temple, Tara Devi Temple and Jhaku Temple, which is located on the town’s highest peak are worth visiting. The Mall is a shoppers’ haven. The town also organizes ice skating festival and other adventure sports.

When in Shimla you cannot miss the toy train from Kalka to Shimla. It is like a time machine. It takes you back in time in 1903 when the British built this railway line. UNESCO has granted World Heritage status to this train. It travels around 60 miles (96 kms) and passes through 800 bridges, 102 tunnels, 900 curves and 20 stations. The most spell-binding view comes from Barog to Shimla.

Kullu

Kullu was called Kulanthpitha, meaning “end of habitable world”. Beyond this rise the mighty Himalayas. The banks of the sparkling Beas River house the legendary “Silver Valley”. The valley harbors nature’s treasures, including enchanting flowers. The entire Kullu Valley is an attraction. Bijli Mahadev Temple and Prashar Lake are worth visiting among others.

Manali

This place soothes senses and tranquilizes the mind. It is almost impossible to think of worldly worries when in Manali. The beauty captivates so much that visitors here are completely rejuvenated. The raging Beas River infuses energy in onlookers. The cool pine forest helps to meditate.

The Solang Valley is a blissful place. The Hadimba Devi Mandir is one of the most popular tourist attractions here. The Rohtang Pass is one of the most spectacular places in Himachal Pradesh. Snow-capped peaks, sparkling streams, misty waterfalls, and scenic beauty at every nook and corner make this a favorite tourist destination. This Pass is the chief route to enter Leh Ladakh. Para-gliding is one of the activities for adventure lovers here.

Dharamsala

Dharamsala is located on the high slopes of Kangra Valley. There are two towns – Dharmasala and MacLeod Ganj. The Dalai Lama lives in Dharamsala. The place shows a strong Tibetan influence. People from all over India and outside come here to take courses on Buddhist meditation and philosophy, Tibetan language, and Tibetan cooking. Visitors can also get alternative therapies here. The town is dotted with temples, monasteries, gompas, and museums. The official residence of the Dalai Lama, Tsuglagkhang Complex, is an attraction.

Spiti

This is a high altitude, remote area of Himachal Pradesh. It lies against the border of Tibet and Ladakh. This is a lesser explored place and has been open to tourists only since 1991. Part of this place, which is barren alpine desert, is covered in heavy snow for most of the months.

Although reaching Spiti requires a long drive from Manali, the journey is unforgettable. The destination, of course, is stunning. Do you know Rudyard Kipling denoted this place as “a world within a world”?

Dalhousie and Chamba Valley

Both are lesser explored places of Himachal Pradesh. They are famous for pristine beauty. Dalhousie is a serene town spread over five low-lying hills situated at the western edge of Dhauladhar Range, east of Ravi River. The town is marked with colonial era buildings, attractive architecture and low-roofed hotels that are reminiscent of the British Raj era.

Do you know this town was set up by the then British Governor-General Lord Dalhousie in 1854? The town is a gateway to Chamba Valley. It is surrounded by alpine vegetation. The Kalatope Wildlife Sanctuary situated a short drive away from this town is a popular attraction. The Chamba Valley is marked with ancient folklore, tribes and temples.

Palampur

The tea capital of northwest India, Palampur lies on the ascending slopes of Kangra Valley. The place derives its name from a local term “pulum”, which means lots of water. This town has a mild climate thanks to abundant water and nearness to mountains. It is believed that pine-scented air of this town harbors curative properties.

Behind the town are towering ranges of Dhauladhar Mountains. The town is famous for its magnificent tea gardens, paddy fields, temples and colonial architecture. Sports like trekking and hang-gliding are popular in and around Palampur.

These are only a few examples of the marvels of Himachal Pradesh. The entire state is covered with beautiful spots, towns, temples, forests, lakes, gardens, mountains, valleys and more. It is, indeed, an out-of-world experience to spend time here.

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