Situated 65Kms away from Shimla, on the Hindustan -Tibet road, in the state of Himachal Pradesh, is the town of Narkanda. It is famous for winter sports and skiing. One can get a splendid view of the snow covered peaks of the Shivalik Ranges from Narkanda. Many tourists visit this place every year. It is 16Kms from Kotgarh, which is famous for apples. The apple culture was brought to Kotgarh by Satyanand Stokes and thus helped to improve the economic situation of the area.
- By Air – The nearest airport is the Jubbarhatti Airport and it is 155 Kms away from Narkanda. Jubbarhatti Airport is connected to major cities in India. One can get a bus or a private taxi from here to Narkanda.
- By Rail – Kalka is the nearest railway station and it is 125 Kms away from Narkanda. One can take the toy train from Kalka to reach Narkanda.
- By Road – Narkanda is connected to major cities such as Shimla and New Delhi by bus. Buses to Narkanda are also available from Fagu, Kinnaur, Theog, Kufri, Rampur and Matiana.
Climate – There is temperate climate in Narkanda. Summers are pleasant while winters are extremely cold and it snows heavily. Narkanda gets moderate rainfall. The best time to visit Narkanda is from April – June.
Places to Visit
- Kacheri – Located 7 Kms away from Narkanda at a height of 1810 meters, Kacheri is famous for the ancient Mahamaya Temple.
- Hatu Peak – The Hatu Peak is 8 Kms away from Narkanda, at a height of 3300 meters. It offers a magnificent view of the Himalayan Ranges and snow covered mountains. The road to the Hatu Peak is surrounded by spruce and pine trees and one can hike to the top of the hill. The Hatu Mata temple is located on the top of the hill. One can see apple orchards, lush green fields and dense forests.
- Jallori Pass – Located 90 Kms from Narkanda, at a height of 3550 meters, going through the Sutlej Valley to Luhri, Khanag, Ani through one of the most magnificent sceneries in the Kullu Valley, is the Jallori Pass. The Sirolsar Lake is a 30 minute walk from Jallori Pass. It offers a lot of natural beauty.
- Kotgarh and Thanedhar – Kotgarh and Thanedhar are famous for apple orchards. They are located 17 Kms away on a link road diverting from Narkanda. The famous Stokes Apple Farm is located here and the best varieties are the Royal delicious, golden delicious and the red delicious apples.
Located in the Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh, about 24 Kms away from Dalhousie is a small hill station, Khajjiar, which is often referred to as the Switzerland of India. This is so because Khajjiar has similar topography as that found in Switzerland. It is 2000m above sea level. It is surrounded by thick deodar forests. Khajjiar derives its name from a 12th century temple which is devoted to Khajji Naag. One can find life size images of the Pandavas in this temple.
Summers are pleasant and one can do with some cottons and light woolens. Winters are very cold, since it often snows here. Heavy woolens must be worn during the winters. The best time to visit Khajjiar is from February – April.
How to Reach
- By Road – Khajjiar is connected to all major cities of Himachal Pradesh through the state transport corporation service. It is only 24 Kms from Dalhousie and 26Kms away from Chamba.
- By Train – Pathankot is the nearest railway station and one can hire a taxi or take a bus from there. Khajjiar is 120Kms away from Pathankot.
- By Air – The nearest airport is Gaggal Airport in Kangra and it is 180 Kms away. One can hire a taxi from here.
Places to Visit
- Golden Devi Temple – The Golden Devi Temple is located in the centre of the golf course and is adorned with a golden dome. It adds to the scenic beauty.
- Khajjiar Lake – The Khajjiar Lake is an ideal picnic spot, since it is only 20 kms away from Dalhousie and is surrounded by cedar forests. It is at a height of 1950 meters above sea level.
- Khajji Nag – This ancient temple is devoted to Khajji Nag and is considered very sacred by the local people. This temple was constructed in the 12th century and it has been decorated with wood carvings beautifully. The mandapa of the temple is something one just can’t miss. It displays the figures of the victorious Pandavas and the Kauravas who were defeated are seen hanging from the ceiling.
Things to Do
- Zorbing – This is a new sport which is gaining lot of popularity in India nowadays. The huge slopes of Khajjiar are best suited for Zorbing.
- Trekking – There are various valleys in Khajjiar that are suitable for trekking. There are many breath-taking views, which can be seen only through trekking trips.
Located at an average height of 2036 meters, in the western part of Himachal Pradesh, is the town of Dalhousie. Dalhousie is name after the British Governor General, Lord Dalhousie. It has been built on five hills – Patreyn, Kathlog, Balun, Tehra and Bakrota. This beautiful hill station has a lot of charm and is skirted by diverse flora, such as oaks, pines, deodars and rhodendron. There are some magnificent churches and exquisite colonial architecture. One can also view the picturesque snow covered peaks of the Dhauladhar range. It is an enchanting town and has lots of scenic beauty. The Ravi River moves below Dalhousie.
Winters are really cold and it usually snows here. In the summers, it is pleasant and moderate rainfall is received during the monsoons. Dalhousie can be visited throughout the year.
- By Road – Dalhousie is connected to major cities via state transport system. Luxury buses are available from major cities and towns.
- By Air – There are two airports near Dalhousie – Pathankot (80 Kms) and Jammu (180 Kms). Both airports are connected to major cities in India. One can hire a private taxi or take a bus from here, to reach Dalhousie.
- By Rail – Pathankot is the nearest railway station, 71 Kms away from Dalhousie. It is connected all major cities in India via rail. One can get a taxi or a bus from Pathankot to Dalhousie.
Places to Visit
- Panchpula – Located 3 Kms from Dalhousie, It is a stunning sight to see a stream which feeds a series of pools. There is a monument which has been built in memory of Sardar Ajit Singh, who was a freedom fighter.
- Subhash Baoli – It is 1Km away and is named after Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose who spent some time at this spot in the year 1937. It is a majestic spot surrounded by beautiful tress.
- Kalatop – It is a wildlife sanctuary 10 Kms away from Dalhousie and is the home of the Himalayan Black Bear, also known as Ghoral.
- Churches – Dalhousie is famous for its churches. There are four magnificent churches here – St. Patrick’s at Balun, St. John’s at Gandhi Chowk, St. Francis at Subhash Chowk and St. Andrew’s Church.
- Shopping – One can get beautiful Tibetan Handicrafts and carpets at Dalhousie. The Chamba Town in Dalhousie is known for its shawls and rumals.
Situated at an average height of 1219 metres above sea level, Mount Abu is a famous hill station in the Aravalli Range in the Sirohi district of Rajasthan. Guru Shikhar is the highest peak on this mountain at a height of 1722 metres above the sea level. Since it has many rivers flowing through it and ample waterfalls, lakes and forests, it is often called the oasis in a desert. It is the only hill station in Rajasthan. It is also the summer capital of Rajasthan. More than three million tourists from the world over visit Mount Abu to enjoy its natural beauty and it makes a fabulous holiday destination for people of all ages.
How to Reach Mount Abu-:
- Road Travel – It is well connected all the major towns in northern and western India. It is 222 Kms from Ahmedabad, 235 Kms from Jodhpur and 156 Kms from Udaipur.
- Railways – Abu Road is the nearesy railway station, 29 Kms away and one can hire a taxi or jeep or board a bus from Abu Road to Mount Abu.
- Air Travel – Maharana Pratap Udaipur Airport, Dabok is the nearest airport and it is 207 Kms away. Taxi are available to reach Mount Abu.
There are many stories about Mount Abu. One popular storey says that the name Mount Abu has been derived from Mount Arbud, which is the youngest son of the Himalaya who is believed to have flooded a gorge in the area with water with the help of a snake to save the sacred bull of Lord Shiva, Nandi.
Another legend says that Mount Abu was earlier ruled by the Chauhans and it was considered as a summer home by this royal family. The Britishers also made Mount Abu their summer retreat to escape from the dust and heat of Rajasthan. Apart from this, Mount Abu has served as a home to many rishis and munis. Rishi Vashishtha was the most popular among them and it is believed that he performed a fire sacrifice (Yagna) in a fire-pit and created Agnikul Rajput clans to protect the earth from demons.
Mount Abu has a short summer season from April to mid-June with the maximun temperature dipping to 36 °C and one feels comfortable in cotton clothes. The geographical features facilitate a fair amount of rainfall during the monsoons. It gets pretty cold during the winters and heavy woollens are required. One can visit Mount Abu is from February – June and from October-December.
Places to Visit Mount Abu-:
- Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 290 square kilometres. It is located on the Aravalli Range which is one of the oldest mountain ranges of India. It was adjudged as a sanctuary in the year 1960.
- Adhar Devi Temple – Located three kilometres north of Mount Abu, This famous temple is situated in a cave. One needs to climb 365 stairs to reach to the top of the temple. It is also referred to as Arbuda Devi Temple. It is dedicated to Goddess Durga.
- Shri Raghunathji Temple – This famous Vaishnavaite temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu and is worth mentioning. It is located very near to lake Nakki. It is believed that a visit to this temple cures all pains of the devotee.
- • Dattatreya Temple – Situated 15 Kms away from Mount Abu. this temple is also devoted to Lord Vishnu. It is located on the Guru Shikhar peak. One can get a scintillating view of Mount Abu from here.
- Delwara Jain Temples – Situated 2½ Kms from Mount Abu, the Delwara temples are a complex of five temples. The Delwara Jain Temples are made of white marble. They were built between 11th – 13th century AD. The Vimal Vasahi Temple (Shri Adinathji Temple) is the oldest temple. It was built by Vimal Shah in 1021 AD. All the temples have intricate carvings and designs.
- The Achalgarh Fort – The Achalgarh Fort, which was built by Rana Kumba in the 15th century encloses the splendid Jain temples. The Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple is 2500 years old. This is the only temple in the world where the great toe of Lord Shiva is idolized.
Mount Abu has state-of-the-art tourist facilities. It is one of the top ten recommended places to visit in India.
Chail – A Hiker’s Paradise
Located at an average height of 2250m, Chail is a hill station in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Beautiful forests with gigantic deodar trees and chir pine trees surround Chail. It is a calm and serene place, 49 kms away from the hustle-bustle of Shimla. The world’s highest cricket ground is in Chail. A polo ground and the cricket ground are at an altitude of 2444m. The royal family of Patiala owned them. It is a hiker’s paradise. In the year 1891, when Lord Kitchener restricted Maharaja Bhupinder Singh’s entry into Shimla, he decided to make Chail his summer capital. Chail is famous for the Chail Palace.
Climate of Chail
Chail has a pleasant climate in the summers, while it gets pretty cold in the winters. It receives an average rainfall of 150mm. The best time to visit Chail is from April to September.
- Chail Cricket Ground – Built in the year 1893, this is the highest cricket ground in the world. It is very well maintained and is used by the Chail Military School. It has a basket ball court too. It is used as a polo ground during school vacations. The ground is also used as a football ground, since it has goal posts. There is an ancient tree in this ground, which has been converted into a beautiful tree house by the Military School.
- Chail Sanctuary – Sadhupal – Many distinct species of animals are found in the Chail sanctuary.
- Chail Gurudwara – Built in the year 1907 by the Maharaja of Patiala, the Chail Gurudwara is an attractive building with a wooden roof.
- Chail Military School – Built by the Maharaja of Patiala, this ancient building stands tall.
As stated earlier, Chail is a hiker’s paradise and much-liked by those who daring and like to take risks. There are a host of adventurous activities for tourists, which makes their visit worthwhile.
- Flying Fox – A very dangerous activity, the flying fox can only be performed after being trained by professionals under expert supervision. It feels as if one is flying in the forests.
- Bamboo Bridge Adventure Activities – This activity involves crossing a river over a bamboo bridge.
- Rope Walk – As the name suggests, one needs to walk over a rope at a high altitude and maintain their balance. It is a very exciting yet risky task.
- Tyre Bridge – This bridge is made up of tyres in the form of a chain and there are hand rails on both sides but the balance needs to be maintained.
- Burma Bridge – This bridge is made up of cables and is very dangerous. Protection is provided to the tourists for performing this task.
- Rock Rappelling – This is another risky task and should be performed under the guidance of experienced instructors only.
- Commando – This task required walking over a network of ropes as in a spider web.
How to Reach Chail
- By Air – The nearest airport is Jubbar Hati Airport and it is 63 kms from Chail. One can hire a taxi from there. Flights to Delhi and Chandigarh are available from here. Delhi is connected to all major cities of India and the World.
- By Rail – Located 86 Kms away, Kalka is the nearest railhead. One can hire a taxi or board a bus to reach Chail. One can hire a taxi from Chandigarh also, which is 95 kms from Chail.
- By Road – One can board a deluxe or regular bus from Shimla. Buses to nearby cities are available from Chail.
Chail is worth a visit if one wants to take a nice adventurous vacation and escape the heat of the summer months!
Parwanoo Timber Trail – An enthralling experience
Parwanoo is a small industrial town in the Solan District of Himachal Pradesh. Located 35 Kms away from Chandigarh and 20 Kms from Panchkula, it is one of the most sought-after places to visit on the Chandigarh-Simla highway. It is spread over a radius of 4 Kms across the Shivalik Range. The historic Kalka – Simla railway line also passes through this town and the station is called Taksal. Just a few miles to the north of the town on the Simla highway is the famous resort with a cable car – The Timber Trail. The summers are pleasant while it gets very cold in the winters, although it does not experience any snow fall. It is an ideal place for nature walks and for trekking. Nature lovers find it apt for a pleasant and relaxed walk around the pine and fir trees. This picturesque landscape offers many trekking trails around beautiful hills and forests.
Earlier it was just a small village, which was transformed into a busy industrial town over the years. Many factories operate from here, manufacturing plastics to fruit based products, watch parts and motor parts also. HPMC, home to the largest fruit processing unit is located here. The fruit orchards add more charm to the place. Fruit products like jams, jellies, juices and preserves are produced from these fruits and the contribution they make to the economy is substantial.
One can reach Parwanoo from Chandigarh as well as Kalka through buses and cabs. The nearest airport is Chandigarh. The best time to visit is from July to September.
Many tourists are flocking to The Parwanoo timber trail now days. The valley lies between two adjoining hills of the Shivalik Range are connected by a Cable Car. It is a very popular tourist spot. The main attraction is a ride in the cable car. It has a capacity of 10-12 people and it ferries tourists from the Timber Trail Resort to the Timber Trail Heights. A spellbinding of view of the Kaushalya River can be seen below the cable car. In just a few minutes, one is able to cover a distance of 1.8 Kms. It is an enchanting view 5000 ft above the sea level. It is a ride you will never forget.
Places around Parwanoo-:
- Renuka – Renuka Lake is situated 132 Kms from Parwanoo. This dazzling lake with underground springs is believed to be the largest in Himachal Pradesh.
- Subathu – The Gorkha fort, which was built in the 19th century is the main highlight of Subathu. It is 16 Kms away from Parwanoo.
- Dagshai – Located 28 Kms from Parwanoo, It is not very popular, but Dagshai has a fresh beauty of its own. It is a favourite spot for nature-lovers. There are beautiful pine and deodar trees leading to an ancient church.
- Pinjore – Just 10 Kms from Parwanoo, it is also known as Yadavindra Gardens portrays a magnificent garden which reminds us of the Mughal Gardens.
- Kasauli – Located at a height of 5900 Ft, it is a calm and serene hill station developed by the Britishers. Manki Point in Kasauli is a must-visit.
Kasauli – A Paradise on Earth!
Located at a height of 5900 ft, Kasauli is 77km away from Shimla, in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh. This small town was developed by the British in the year 1842. It is a beautiful and quiet colonial hill station. Its charming beauty keeps one captivated. It is a beauteous place to visit, especially when one wants some peace. It enjoys a moderate climate. Hikers can experience the scenic beauty on the outdoor trails of Kasauli. The best time to visit Kasauli is from April to September.
How to reach Kasauli:
- Air Travel – Shimla Airport is only 35 kms from Kasauli and if you are coming from Chandigarh airport, it is 65 kms away.
- Rail Transport – One can catch a train from Kalka, which is 40 kms from Kasauli.
- Road Transport – There are frequent buses from Chandigarh to Kasauli and vice versa and from Kasauli to Delhi. One may also hire a private taxi. Many people like to enjoy the drive in their private vehicles. While coming from Delhi, one can take NH1 to Ambala via Karnal and then divert to NH 22 to reach Kasauli.
Important Tourist Attractions:
- Manki Point – This is the highest point in Kasauli and it is 4kms away from the Kasauli Bus Stand. One can get a splendid view of Chandigarh from this point. There is a small temple, dedicated to Lord Hanumanji, which is situated on the top of this hill. It is believed that Lord Hanuman’s foot touched this hill upon his return from the Himalayas after he had obtained the Sanjeevani Booti and therefore the top of this hill is foot-shaped. There is a steep flight of stairs that leads to the temple and it can be very tiring but it is worth going because the view from the top is mesmerizing. The enticing snow-covered peaks of Dhauladhar Range and the dazzling waters of the Sutlej river add more glamour to the hill.
- Dharampur – On NH 22, it is loacted 15 kms away from Kasauli. Dharampur is famous for the best hospitals to cure tuberculosis in the country. One can also reach Dharampur through the Kalka-Shimla rail.
- Gurudwara Shri Guru Nanak Ji – This historic gurudwara is situated in the famous Gharkhal Bazaar on the main road leading to Kasauli.
- Christ Church – The British Family which is believed to develop Kasauli, also constructed this enthralling church. This spectacular building has been built in the shape of the holy cross. More than 30 families in Kasauli, many tourists also visit this church.
- Sunset Point & Gilbert Trail – Located 1 km away from Kasauli bus stand, the sunset point is famous for its magnificent view. A trail going up the hill from sunset point leads you to the Gilbert Hill and offers a charming view.
- Kasauli Brewery – Founded in the 1820s, the Kasauli brewery, also called Mohan Meakins, is the oldest distillery of ‘scotch whisky’ in the Asian subcontinent.
- Places around Kasauli-:
- Jagjit Nagar – It is a calm and serene place, 8 kms away from Kasauli. It is easily accessible from Chandigarh. Many politicians, beaurocrats and boolywood stars own private bungalows here. One can get gaping views of river Sutlej and Nalagarh Baddi on the south, while the Subathu, Dhauladhar range, Shimla and The Great Himalayan Range on the northern side.
- Dagshai – Not very popular, located 19 Kms from Kasauli, but Dagshai has a fresh beauty of its own. It is a favourite spot for nature-lovers.
- Subathu – The Gorkha fort, which was built in the 19th century is the main highlight of Subathu.
- Sanawar –Located at an altitude of 1750m, it is just 6 Kms from Kasauli, Sanawar is famous for the Lawrence School, which was founded by Sir Henry M. Lawrence.