Narkanda Himachal Pradesh

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.

Reaching Narkanda

  • 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.

kinnaur narkandaPlaces 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.

Paonta Sahib Sirmour, Himachal Pradesh

Located at a height of 389 meters in Himachal Pradesh, to the south of Sirmour district, is a small town called Paonta Sahib, named after the famous Gurudwara Paonta Sahib. It is an important industrial town and holds great religious significance for the Sikhs. Gurudwara Paonta Sahib is located on the banks of river Yamuna, which forms a boundary between Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

Climate

Paonta Sahib experiences a sub-tropical climate. The summers are hot and winters are slightly cold. It receives low to medium rainfall. One can visit Paonta Sahib throughout the year.

How to Reach

  • By Rail – Dehradun is the nearest railway station and it is 45 kms from Paonta Sahib. Yamunanagar is the other railway station which is 56 kms away from Paonta Sahib. Both railway stations are well-connected to all major cities of India.
  • By Air – Jolly Grant Airport and Jubbarhatti Airport are the nearby airports and they are 70 kms and 145 kms from Paonta Sahib and one can hire a cab from there. Both airports are well-connected to all major cities.
  • By Road – NH-72 passes through Paonta Sahib. One can get buses from Dehradun, Chandigarh and Rishikesh.

History

Paonta SahibGuru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru, came here on his horse. The horse is believed to have stopped here and Guru Gobind Singh stayed here for some time. During his stay, he wrote religious books for Sikhs. After this he went to establish the Khalsa Panth at Anandpur Sahib. The name Paonta Sahib has also been derived from here, since ‘Paon’ means feet. There is a museum in the Gurudwara and one can find Guru Gobind Singh’s weapons in this museum.

Places Near Paonta Sahib

Places that can be visited near Paonta Sahib include Mussourie, Dehradun. Haridwar, Rishikesh, Kasuali, Chandigarh, Kufri and Shimla.

Rajgarh Sirmaur Himachal Pradesh

Located in the Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh is a beautiful town, Rajgarh. It is an average height of 5102 feet. It is often referred to as the Peach Valley. This beautiful valley is 40 kms away from Solan. It is a great place for trekking and camping. Apart from guest houses and private hotels, one can also stay in the Forest Department and PWD rest house. The local people worship Goddess Durga and Lord Shiva. The local people religiously visit the Lord Shirgul Temple. Lord Shirgul had initially come to the Shaya Village but later he took his seat at the Churdhar Mountain

Climate

Summers are not very hot but in the winters, the temperature often drops down to the freezing point. It can be visited throughout the year

How to Reach

One can take a bus or taxi from Solan. The Jubbar Hatti airport is the nearest airport. The nearest railway station is Solan.

Places to Visit

  • Habban – Located 70 Kms away from Solan via Rajgarh, this is a picturesque spot with a very pleasant climate. It can be visited at any time of the year. It is really a sight to see the snow covered peaks of the kail, pine fir and baan trees and the deodar forests. One can also see orchards of peaches and apples.
  • Baru Sahib Gurudwara – The Baru Sahib Gurudwara is 29 Kms away from Rajgarh. The gurudwara on the banks of the Giri River is a splendid sight.
  • Nohradhar – Located 27 Kms from Rajgarh, Nohradhar is a trekking base. One can go to Churdhar while trekking – 14 Kms. There are many other trek routes also.
  • Haripurdhar – Haripurdhar is famous for the Maa Bhangayani Temple, which is 63 Kms away from Rajgarh. Maa Bhangayani is believed to be the sister of Lord Shirgul.

Manikaran – A Holy Spring

Situated at a height of 1737 meters, Manikaran is 85 Kms away from Manali and is a popular place of pilgrimage for Hindus and Sikhs. It is located on the bank of the Parvati River. Every year, thousands of pilgrims come to take a dip in the holy waters of Manikaran. There are some hot sulphur springs in Manikaran which are believed to cure all kinds of skin diseases. The food (langar) that is served here is cooked over the hot springs.

Manikaran Holy SpringThe legend of Manikaran states that while roaming around, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, once chanced upon a place that was surrounded by mountains and was lush green. Enamoured by the beauty of the place, they decided to spend some time there. It is believed that they actually spent eleven hundred years here.

According to the Sikhs, during third Udasi, his founder Guru Nanak came to this place in 15 Asu 1574 Bikrami with his disciple Bhai Mardana. Mardana felt hungry and they had no food. Nanak sent Mardana to collect food for the langar (the Community Kitchen). Many people donated atta (flour) to make Roti(bread). The one problem was that there was no fire to cook the food. Nanak asked Mardana to lift a stone and he complied and a hot spring appeared. As directed by Nanak, Mardana put the rolled chappatis in the spring to his despair the chappatis sank. Nanak then told him to pray to God saying that if his chappatis float back then he would donate one chappati in His name. When he prayed all the chappatis started floating duly baked. Nanak said that anyone who donates in the name of God, his drowned items float back.

Reaching Manikaran

  • By Air – Bhuntar is the nearest airport, at a distance of 44 Kms and has regular flights to and from Pathankot, Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla and Dharamshala. One can take a taxi from Bhuntar to Manikaran.
  • By Train – Pathankot and Chandigarh are the nearest rail heads, located at a distance of 150 Kms and 268 Kms respectively. Both stations are well-connected to major cities. One can get a taxi or bus from both the stations.
  • By Road – Taxis are available from major cities like Kullu, Chandigarh, Pathankot and Manali.

Climate

Winters are very cold and the minimum temperature is as low as -8°C. Summers are pleasant and the temperature is not very high. The ideal time to visit Manikaran is from April – October.

Places to Visit

  • Chandrakhani Pass – A great to see natural beauty with colorful flowers blossoming, this beautiful pass is located on the Eastern side of Katrain.
  • Khirganga – Khirganaga is also famous for hot springs which is believed to possess lot of medicinal value.
  • Malana Village – Located slightly beyond the Chdrakhani Pass is the unique Malan Village, which is famous for the Jamlu Devta Temple and its distinct culture.
  • Pulga – This place is ideal for those who like adventure. One needs to trek from Kasol to Pulga (16 Kms) and it is a pretty difficult stretch.
  • Shoja – Shoja is located 69 Kms from Manikaran. One can get some panoramic views of the beautiful Kullu valley from here.

Kiarighat Himachal Pradesh

Kiarighat is a tiny hill station, located 27 kms before Shimla on the Kalka – Shimla highway, in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is 19 Kms away from Solan. Tourists usually stop over at this site for one night. It has a guest house, which was earlier a Dak Bungalow.

Climate

Summers are not very hot and only light cotton clothes are required, while it can get freezing cold in the winters. One needs to pack heavy woolens for winters. It can be visited throughout the year.

How to Reach

Since it falls on the route to Shimla, all buses to Shimla can drop you there. Jubbal Hatti airport is the nearest airport and nearest railway station is Kandaghat, which also falls on the Kalka-Shimla railway line.

Places to Visit

  • The Glen – The Glen is a famous picnic spot, just 4 Kms from Kiarighat. There is a deep narrow gorge, through which a small stream flows.
  • Maharaja’s Palace – The Maharaja’s Palace is located on top of the Rajgarh Hill. One can get a magnificent view of the surroundings from here.
  • Sadhupal – Located between Chail and Solan, around a small bridge over the Ashwini River, is a small village, called Sadhupal.

Khajjiar – The Switzerland of India

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.

 

Climate

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.

Dalhousie – A place of Scenic Beauty

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.

Climate

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.

 

Reaching Dalhousie

  • 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.

Mount Abu

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.

 

History

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.

Climate

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-:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. • 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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

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.

Tourist Attractions

  1. 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.
  2. Chail Sanctuary – Sadhupal – Many distinct species of animals are found in the Chail sanctuary.
  3. Chail Gurudwara – Built in the year 1907 by the Maharaja of Patiala, the Chail Gurudwara is an attractive building with a wooden roof.
  4. Chail Military School – Built by the Maharaja of Patiala, this ancient building stands tall.

Audacious Activities

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Bamboo Bridge Adventure Activities – This activity involves crossing a river over a bamboo bridge.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Burma Bridge – This bridge is made up of cables and is very dangerous. Protection is provided to the tourists for performing this task.
  6. Rock Rappelling – This is another risky task and should be performed under the guidance of experienced instructors only.
  7. 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!

Khajuraho Group of Monuments

Khajuraho Temples

Located 385 miles to the southeast of New Delhi in the Chhatarpur District of Madhya Pradesh, is the Khajuraho Group of Monuments. It is a very popular tourist destination. UNESCO has declared it a world heritage site and it is also included in the seven wonders of India. It is believed that the largest group of Hindu and Jain Temples built during the medieval period and one can find many sculptures which are erotic. The Khajuraho temples were very well maintained by the local villagers and it was noticed by the British Engineer T.S.Burt in the 19th century.

History of Khajuraho

The Northeastern region of Rajasthan, called Dhundhar was ruled by Bargujar Rajputs and they were called Dhundhel. After some time they started calling themselves Chandelas. The ruling classes of the Kashyap Gotra were the vassals of Gurjara – Pratihara Empire of North India and they built major monuments during the period 500 – 1300CE. They built the famous Neelkanth Mahadev Temple and Kalinjar Fort. The temples at Khajuraho were built during a period of 200 years. Though Khaujraho was the cultural capital of the Chandel Kings, Khajuraho has no forts, since they never lived here. One can see very fine architectural styles in the Khajuraho temples and they are very popular due to the representation of erotic scenes depicted in the sculptures.

Architectural Styles

The Khajuraho temples have been geographically divided into three groups: eastern, western and southern. Sandstone has been used to build these temples. A unique feature about these temples is that mortar was not used to keep the stones together. Tenon joints and mortise was used to put them together and gravity was used to hold them in place. Very precise joints are required in this type of construction. The architraves and columns built with megaliths weighed approximately 20 tons. Another temple that has been built just like the Khajuraho temples is the Saraswati Temple, which is in Pilani on the campus of the famous Birla Institute of Technology and Science.

Carvings and Statues

A lot of erotic or sexual art can be seen outside the walls of the Khajuraho Temples and at some places near the deities. Some walls have two layers and the outside layer of the inner wall has small erotic carvings. These erotic carvings are interpreted in many ways. Some people believe that the tantric sexual practices are depicted here. Some carvings depict sexual activities between humans and sexual themes and the changes that take place in the human body. Other carvings show the everyday life of a woman, potters, musicians, farmers etc. Some people refer to this temple as the Kama sutra temple.

Events in Khajuraho

  1. Sound and Light Show – A professional sound and light show is held every evening in the open lawns of the Khajuraho Temples in both English and Hindi. In this one hour show, the philosophy, history and the architecture is explained.
  2. Khajuraho Dance Festival – Another attraction is the Khajuraho Dance Festival, which is held in February every year. One can see various Indian classical dance forms here.

Climate

The summers are hot with the maximum temperature touching 47°C. In winters it gets very cold and sometimes the temperature dips to as low as 4°C. Khajuraho experiences heavy rainfall during the monsoons. The best time to visit Khajuraho is from October-March.

Reaching Khajuraho

  • By Air – Khajuraho has its own airport and there are regular flights to and from Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal, Varanasi, Allahabad and Indore. Foreign travelers can take connecting flights from Delhi and Mumbai
  • By Rail – Mahoba is the nearest railway station, which is 77 kms away. Another railway station near Khajuraho is Harpalpur, which is 90 kms from Khajuraho. Harpalpur is well connected to all major cities of India.
  • By Road – Khajuraho is well connected to major cities of India.