Himachal Pradesh is a small, beautiful state in Northern India which literally means “abode of snow”. It offers a lot to those who are looking for fun experiences in the Indian Himalayas.

While it does not claim the highest peaks in the range, there is plenty to do aside from mountaineering and trekking.

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Photo: Wild horses in Spiti / The Art of Travel Partners

Top Cities

Here are ten of the most notable cities.

  • Shimla — the state capital and once the summer capital of the British Raj
  • Kullu — a few km south of Manali and a popular hill station
  • Manali — a buzzing and popular hill station, and a hub for travel around this part of the Himalayas
  • Dharamsala — the winter capital of Himachal Pradesh and home of the Dalai Lama and India’s largest Tibetan community, and a major Buddhist center
  • Dalhousie — a sleepy little town which retains its Victorian charm
  • Bir — a small town with a large Tibetan community and several Buddhist monasteries

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Photo: Himachal Pradesh / The Art of Travel Partners

Things To Do In Himachal Pradesh

There are so many beautiful places and so many things to do in Himachal Pradesh that you can easily spend a month here exploring various hill stations and quaint villages.

Shimla

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Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

Your trip will likely begin in Shimla which is well connected to other major cities such as Delhi, Chandigarh, and Noida. It’s popular for skiing, ice skating, and golf in the summer months.

Shimla is also well known for its Victorian architecture.

Read: Shimla Travel Guide

Dalhousie

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Photo: Zorbing in Dalhousie / The Art of Travel Partners

Dalhousie is a world-famous hill station, located in the western part of Himachal Pradesh. It has many beautiful churches, charming colonial architectures, and beautiful scenery.

Read: Dalhousie Travel Guide

Kullu

Kullu Valley, situated on the Beas river bank in the lower reaches of Himalayas, is known as Valley of Gods. It is also well known for its ancient temples, festivals, and apple orchards.

Read: Kullu Travel Guide

Kullu is also famous for its handicraft work and woolen work of puhla, shawls, patoos, caps, and namdas. The best time to visit Kullu is during Dusshera in the month of October.

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Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

Manali

A buzzing and popular hill station, and a hub for travel around this part of the Himalayas. Manali is located at the northern end of the Kullu Valley on the Vyaas River.

It is a popular tourist spot for Indians in summer and a magical, snow-covered place in winter.

Read: Manali Travel Guide

Keep in mind that Manali is on the road to Ladakh via the valley of Lahaul and Spiti and Rohtang Pass, which is the main attraction near Manali.

Dharamsala

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Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

The winter capital of Himachal Pradesh, it is also the home of the Dalai Lama and India’s largest Tibetan community, and a major Buddhist center.

Read: Dharamsala Travel Guide

Spiti

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Photo: Spiti, little Tibet / The Art of Travel Partners

Spiti Valley is also known as the Little Tibet due to its vegetation, terrain, and climate which are similar to Tibet. Spiti also means “Middle Country”.

Lahaul Valley

Lahaul Valley is green compared to Spiti Valley. It is covered with snow for most of the year. Roads are closed from late October to early May.

Its main attractions are Patten Valley and Sri Trilokinath Temple, as well as lots of monasteries.

Top 10 Attractions

  • Great Himalayan National Park — a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Kullu region is home to many species of wildlife

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Photo: Tirthan Valley, Great Himalayan National Park / The Art of Travel Partners

  • Parvati Valley — a lush green valley in Kullu offering numerous treks of different grades
  • Chandrataal Lake  — A beautiful high altitude lake in Spiti, 7 km away from Kunzum Pass and ideal for camping in summer

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Photo: Chandratal Lake / The Art of Travel Partners

  • Kunjum Pass (Rohtang Pass) — on the way from Keylong to Kaza, it remains closed for nine months due to heavy snowfall
  • Pin Valley National Park — located in the Spiti Valley, several endangered animals including the Siberian Ibex and Snow Leopard can be found in this snow-covered area
  • Masroor Rock Cut Temples  — built in the 8th or 9th century; one of the characteristic sandstone ridges in Kangri valley was reshaped in a miraculous way
  • Bharmour — formally known as Brahmpura, was the ancient capital of Chamba district and is known for its scenic beauty and ancient temples
  • Narkanda — known for Hatu Peak on the famous Hindustan Tibet Road
  • Rewalsar — a lake sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus

Trekking

There are plentiful of trekking opportunities. Here are a few of the notable ones:

  • Baralacha-Chandratal Trek — starts from Manali, ends at Chandratal Lake (“Moon Lake”)
  • Darcha Lamayuru Trek — this is one of the most popular treks in Himachal Pradesh, and one of the most traversing treks, passing through the Zanskar
  • Hampta Pass — one of the most famous trekking trails from the Manali region in the Kullu Valley ending in Lahaul and the Chandra Valley
  • Bhabha Pass Trek — known for lush green flower-strewn meadows, picturesque and dense forests. The path for Bhaba Pass trek passes through a mixed forest of conifers as well as crop fields of Mastrang
  • Darcha Padum Trek — From Darcha village located in Lahaul and Spiti district on the Bhaga River to Padum in Zanskar Region, Ladakh via Shingo La Pass
  • Deo Tibba Expedition — Trek to beautiful Mt. Deo Tibba peak in the Manali valley
  • Friendship Peak Expedition — Trek to one of the majestic mountains; Friendship Peak, in the beautiful valley of Kullu
  • Indrahar Pass — a mountain pass in the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas that forms the border between Kangra and Chamba districts
  • Bir Bhangal Trek — for the experienced trekkers who have the experience of solid hiking and camping. This is one of the challenging trekking trails which starts from the Kullu valley

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Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

Trekking Routes in Himachal

  • Bharmaur Kugti Udaipur Manali trek
  • Chander Trail in Kullu Valley
  • Dharamsala Chhota Bhangal over sari Pass Kullu
  • Hamirpur Deotsidh Sri Naina Devi Trek
  • Hamta Trek
  • Kinner Kailash Parikrama
  • Maidi to Nadaun
  • Malana History Trek
  • Manali Hamya Herbal Trek
  • Morchella trek
  • Wild Trek in Kullu Valley

Learn Meditation

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Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

  • Buddhism  — classes for the study of Buddhism are taught in Dharamsala and Bir
  • Yoga  —  there are several places to study yoga in Dharamsala

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Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

Local Cuisine

Himachal food is often simple including daal, rice, roti, vegetables, paneer, curds, and pickles in the Punjabi influenced Pahari regions.

Further North, Tibetan influence is stronger and barley is the main staple grain. Some of the specialties of Himachal include:

  • Manee
  • Madira
  • Pateer
  • Chouck
  • Bhagjery
  • Til chutney

Drink

In the Tibetan-influenced regions, Chhang (fermented rice wine) is quite popular.

Language

Hindi, Pahari, Punjabi, and English are the main languages found in the state.

Pahari is a dialect more closely related to the Dogri language in lower Himachal. In upper Himachal languages of Tibetan origin are used in daily conversation. Also not surprisingly, every district has its own dialect.

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December 6, 2018 7:26 pm Published by

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