Himachal - the abode of the Himalayas
Himachal is a place of tourist interest primarily because of its salubrious climate, the magnificent sights of snow-peaked mountains, and the refreshing and stimulating air devoid of any pollution. Apart from an exploration of the region for the best tourist places one can pursue some thrilling adventure sports like trekking, mountain climbing etc. Himachal is famous for its unmatched natural beauty, the lush green meandering hills, the trekking trails and a lot more. Thrillophilia has brought to you tailor-made tour packages to Himachal which will remain etched long in your memory. Whether you are an adventure freak or simply a nature lover we have various programs to suit your taste and choice.
This beautiful hill station had been established by the British in 1854 and was treated as a summer resort for the British officers and troops. It is situated at an altitude of 6000 to 9000 ft. Summer is obviously the best time to visit Dalhousie. This place is replete with traditional Hindu culture, temples, art and handicrafts. Chandrabhaga and Ravi rivers have originated from the glaciers near the place. One can visit some of the wildlife sanctuaries and the national forests around the region. For the expert trekkers Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar trekking trails present some serious challenges. In fact, pilgrimage to the Manimahesh Temple in itself is a trekking event.
Dharmashala, the headquarter of Kangra district of Himachal, is at an altitude of 1250 to 1550 metres, This is perhaps the only hill station in Himachal from where the snow-point is nearest. The beautiful town is enveloped by conifer trees and oak, the snow-clad mountains surround the place from three sides while the lush green valley stretches in front. Since 1960 Dharamshala has become the temporary abode of the Dalai Lama. In international circuit it is also known as "The Little Lhasa in India".
Kardang monastery is situated just above the village Kardang on the left side of the Bhaga river. The amazing background of the mountains of the Rangcha massif has enhanced the beauty of the monastery location. The monastery houses some excellent murals and colourful frescoes. The monastery belongs to the Red Hat sect. Both the nuns and the monks enjoy equal rights.
Keylong at 3340 metres lies over Rohtang on the main thoroughfare to Leh. The district headquarter of Lahaul Spiti Keylong boasts of deep green valleys with willow trees, mountain streams flowing between the brown mountains snow-capped peaks.
Kufri is a tiny hamlet in the district of Shimla and is about 13 Km away from Shimla. The place experiences a lot of snowfall during the winter months and hence during this time adventure sports like skiing and tobogganing are arranged. This place is also very famous for hiking and trekking trails. In summer the view of the sprawling green valleys and snow-capped mountains steals your heart. Earlier a place in the kingdom of Nepal Kufri has such a peaceful and tranquil environment that all your tensions and worries are driven away. There is also a picnic spot amid orchards and forests at Fagu which is only about 6 Km from Kufri. Regular ski courses, instructions and equipment’s are arranged by Himachal Tourism.
Mcleodganj is very close to Dharamshala and is famous for being the residence of the Dalai Lama. Being located at a height of 1800 metres it is endowed with excellent natural beauty. The cool, serene and peaceful atmosphere lends a divine presence over the place. Mcleodganj also offers great adventure activities like trekking and hiking. The upper part of Dharamshala is known as Mcleod Ganj. You can have a visit of the fourteenth Dalai Lama who lives only about five minutes’ walk away from the main town. This idyllic place is surrounded by the forests of Deodar, Rhododendron and Pine trees. The basic culture and practices of this place is Tibetan in nature.
Manali is another hill station which is located at an altitude of about 2050 metres and is about 40 Km from Kullu. The town is situated on the national highway to Leh. The landscape of the place with its snow-clad mountains, the meandering Beas river with its clear water, the lush green vegetation is breathtaking. There are also fruit orchards, forests of Pine and Deodar trees. It is also a favourite location for the trekkers who can trek to the Lahaul, Spiti, Zanskar and Bara Bhangal ranges. The places worth-seeing in and around Manali are Arjun Gufa, Hadimba temple, Rahala waterfalls, Rohtang pass, Tibetan monasteries and many more.
The beautiful town of Palampur at an altitude of 1220 meters boasts of tea gardens and the snow-peaked mountains covered with pine trees. The whole environment bears a stamp of sublime bliss and peaceful tranquillity. There is an Agricultural University as well as a Scientific Research Organisation here. There is a waterfall at Bundla Chasm which is sure to thrill you.
Shimla which is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh was announced the summer capital of India by the British in 1864. The colonial architecture of the buildings still bear testimony of the British era. This is a very popular destination. Being situated at a height of about 2397 metres Shimla has a subtropical highland climate. There is regular snowfall during the winter months in Shimla. A summer festival is organised during the peak tourist season. The Mall and the Ridge at the heart of the city are favourite tourist spots. Shimla presents such idyllic sights that you feel relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated.
Solan being located at an average elevation of 1600 metres has a very agreeable climate throughout the year. One can visit the temple of Shoolini Devi and the Buddhist monastery on Rajgarh Road. It is also known as the 'Mushroom city' of India. Solan boasts of having a horticultural and Forestry University along with an old brewery.
Below is a small list of Trekking trails suggested by Thrillophilia with all the necessary data.
Beas Kund trek is a rather easy one but nonetheless it's a very beautiful trek through the meandering meadows, valleys. On the way you can see the famous mountain peaks - Hanuman Tibba peak and Friends peak in Dhauladhar range. The wonderful vista of the looming mountain ranges inspires awe in you. The trek terminates at Beas Kund which is basically a lake. Mythology has it that Saint Vyasa used to take daily baths in this lake. The river Beas has also originated from here.
Altitude: 4950 m
Duration: 4 days
More details: Beas Kund Trek
Friendship peak at an altitude of 5289 metres is located near Beas Kund in Manali region in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. This lone open peak and no formal training in mountaineering is necessary for climbing this peak. The three great ranges have met at one point - Dhauladhar ranges. The Great Himalayan ranges and Pir Panjal ranges giving the trekkers an unusual experience. The best route for accessing this peak is via Beas Kund and Dhundi.
Altitude: 5289 m
More details: Friendship peak expedition
This pass is in the Parvati valley of Kullu district. While traversing the trekking trail from Tila Lotni to Biskeri ridge a normally frozen lake is crossed. Thrillophilia organizes multiple treks to Sar pass every year.
Altitude: 4267 m
Difficulty level: Moderate
This is a trek which presents stark contrasts as you pass from Kullu's deep green Parvati valley to Spiti's barren valley in Pin. The Pin Parvati pass and the high-altitude Malta Lai Lake can be seen on the way. The trek involves quite strenuous journey.
Altitude: 5300 m
Difficulty level: Strenuous
More details: Pin Parvati Trek
Chandra Taal trek
This is a moderately difficult trek in the Lahaul-Spiti region and leads the trekkers to Chandra Taal which is actually a high-altitude lake and which means the 'Moon Lake'. The beauty of the lake at a height of about 4270 meters with turquoise blue crystal clear water and the towering Mukila and Chandrabhaga massifs is simply out of the earth and indescribable.
Altitude: 4300 m
Duration: 4 days
In the south-east of Manali the Hampta pass trek offers the trekkers wonderful natural sights like dense pine forests, sprawling meadows and the Hampta pass itself at a high altitude. The residents and shepherds of the Hampta village used this route to reach Lahaul Spiti valley. This trek connects two valleys of Himachal thus offering a very contrasting view of the nature. Kullu is replete with eye-soothing greenery and a lot of forestry while Lahaul is sandy and rocky with brown mountains.
Kinnaur Kailash trek
Mt. Kinnaur Kailash is located in the Kinnaur district of Himachal. At a height of 6500 metres the mountain is revered by Hindus and Buddhists alike. On the trekking trail there is Charang La pass at an altitude of 5300 metres. Till some years ago this trek was forbidden for the trekkers and consequently this trek is sparingly used. During trekking you can enjoy the unmatched beauty of the green valleys, vineyards, orchards and the snow-capped peaks.
Altitude: 6500 m
Duration: 12 to 16 days
Type: Moderate to Strenuous
Bhabha pass trek
This trek starts at Kafnoo in Kinnaur and crossing the Pin Bhabha pass at a height of 4865 meters ascends along the left side of the river Wangar. The path passes a combination of conifer forests and broad-leafed species. This wonderful trek passes through the remote Pin and Spiti valleys. On the way you can visit ancient gompas and little hamlets tucked up under the high mountain ranges.
Altitude: 4865 m
Himachal Trekking is the most opted ones by the clients of Thrillophilia and its increasing year on year in huge numbers.
Skiing in Rohtang pass
At 13,000 ft. Rohtang pass presents a beautiful landscape with abundant snow all over. This is approximately 51 Km from Kullu. It's the gateway to Lahaul Valley. The panoramic view of the high defiant mountains reaching far up above the clouds with lush green valleys below is truly remarkable. There are good skiing facilities available in Rohtang pass, but one must have a fair knowledge about it.
Season to Visit: Best time to visit Rohtang is during the months of June to October when the pass remains open.
Ki Gompa village visit
The tiny hamlet of Ki is located about 12 Km away from Kaza and is distinguished by the white buildings of Ki Gompa. Being situated at the top of a hillock at a height of 4116 metres this Gompa is the largest in Spiti. The picturesque beauty of the surroundings from the Gompa will enchant one and all. There are living quarters for 300 monks including students. One can see the medieval prayer rooms, old Buddhist texts which have been printed on cloth and the bed used by the Dalai Lama in 1960 and 2000. During the Ki Chaam festival dance masks are exhibited.
Season to Visit: The most exciting time to visit is late June or early July.
Kalka Shimla train ride
Kalka Shimla train journey is indeed a memorable one. UNESCO has granted it 'World Heritage' status. The whole journey takes five to six hours but it offers such a grand view of nature that you remain glued to the passing scenery. The landscape presents forests of oak trees, hills with green vegetation, wild pomegranates, Himalayan springs. A Rail bus is also operated along with this train ride.
Season to Visit: The best time to visit Shimla would be October to November and from March to May.
Chandra Taal Lake
Chandra Taal Lake is a lake situated at an altitude of 4300 meters and in the Lahaul and Spiti region of Himachal. It is also called the 'Moon Lake'. Glaciers from the surrounding mountain ranges are the main source of water inflow into the lake. This lake is also the origin of river Chandra. The sunrise and sunset scenes from this lake are simply divine. The crystal clear turquoise blue water of the lake against the backdrop of the snow-clad mountains create an unearthly sight which will mesmerise any visitor.
Chandra taal lake in Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh lies between a low ridge and the main Kunzum range. Mostly surrounded with snow, this deep blue-water lake has a circumference of 2.5 Kilometers. Some people also call it Moon Lake and is the source of the violent Chandra River.
Season to Visit June Last Week to September Second Week
As soon as the passes (Rohtang La and Kunzum La) close, Chandertal gets disconnected via road from Delhi-Manali or Delhi-Tabo/Kaza route.
Hang gliding at Billing Peak
Hang gliding is a comparatively new sport being undertaken at Billing of Himachal which is about 14 Km from Bir. As it is gaining popularity among the adventure sport lovers an annual hang gliding contest is held every year. Other popular sites for hang gliding in Himachal are Bir and Dharamshala.
Rock climbing at Beas Kund
Rock climbing calls for physical endurance and strength. This adventure sport is gradually being undertaken by sports lovers. Himachal Pradesh boasts of steep and gentle terrains so that the amateurs do not find difficulty. Apart from the Beas Kund region of Manali other sites of Himachal where this sport is seriously practised are Hanuman Tibba, Deo Tibba and Shitidhar peaks.
Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangwals and Lahaulis are the semi-nomadic tribal people who constitute the major portion of people of Himachal. Basically Himachalis are quite friendly people who exude warmth in their behaviour and dealings with outsiders. The distinction of caste and creed is less evident in the religion of the tribal people. Most of the people are engaged in cultivation in farmlands and also they tend cattle. They are quite simple, honest and law-abiding citizen. They are also famous for their distinct physical features and colourful dresses.
Arts & crafts
The Kangra and the Pahari miniature paintings are prime contributors to the arts and crafts of Himachal. Carpets with vibrant colours used in pictures of dragons with a 'garuda' bird sitting on a flowering tree and a 'Swastika' symbol used as a good omen are made here in traditional patterns. Himachal is also famous for its 'Shawls'. In fact, the Pashmina Shawls are made here from the hair of Pashmina goats. The popular styles are 'Pattu' and 'Dhoobro' shawls. A 'Chamba' rumal or handkerchief is also a prized possession; it is used normally as a door screen or a wall hanging.
Music & Dance
Music,dance and festivals are integral part of the lives of Himachal people. Their colourful and lively dances actually reflect the rich cultural heritage of the people. The dance styles and forms of Himachal are also varied. Chaam dance, a popular dance form, is mostly performed by the lamas and the monks. Colourful costumes along with dance masks are used in this dance. Kullu Nati is another dance which is performed in ethnic attires and in accompaniment of a number of musical instruments. Then there is the Thoda dance which includes some form of martial arts. The performers use bows and arrows during the dance. Music rejuvenates the Himachalis after a hard day's grind and refreshes their minds. The folk songs depicting love, urge, separation or joys of life are sung with little or no instruments.
Himachal boasts of dishing out some savoury and lip-smacking food items though the influence of Punjabi and Tibetan food on Himachal food is unmistakable they are very tasteful. The Himachal food is normally quite spicy. Rice and Dal are their staple diet for lunch. Roti sabzi is also very popular. Sidu is one of their indigenous cuisines which is normally prepared when guests are there in the family. Patande is another popular food which is non-vegetarian in nature.By Abhishek Daga Last updated Jun 02,2014