There is no dearth of pleasant surprises that welcome you when you step into Himachal. Himachal which translates to “Home of snow”, is one of the most beautiful and enchanting places on this planet.
The state have something for everyone, be it the adventure seeker, the laid back tourist, honeymooners looking for a bit of romance, a family out for a vacation or the spiritual traveller.
Here’s a bucket list of must-visit places in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
Trek along River Parvati from Manikaran up the Pin Parbati pass and then onto Spiti valley. The trek allows us to enjoy the glaciers along the Pin Parbati Pass as well as the wonderful landscapes of the Spiti valley. Having Parvati River for company all along the trek is a soothing experience as well.
Other popular treks include Kinnaur to Kailash, Bara to Bhangal, Bharmour to Padum and Spiti to Garhwal, which is considered one of the more adventurous treks of the state.
The Sutlej in Shimla, Chenab in Lahaul valley, Beas in Kullu valley and Ravi near Chamba, offer excellent rapids for river rafting and other water sports.
Mountain biking is another sport that is gaining in popularity in Himachal. Leh-Manali highway, Manali-Dumphug, Tabo-Kaza, Kaza-Losar, Shimla-Rampur and Rampur-Sangla are some of the best terrain for mountain biking this state has to offer.
Motor bike rides along Manali-Leh route and the Lahaul Spiti route.
Jeep safaris starting from Shimla, pass through Kinnaur, Spiti and go all the way to Lahaul through the Kunzum pass.
Skiing, para gliding, hang gliding, mountaineering, rappelling, zorbing and rock climbing are also popular in the state.
Catch a glimpse of blue sheep and musk deer as well as a panoramic view of the valleys and brooks as you trek in the mountains around the Churdhar Peak in Great Himalayan National Park.
Watch out for the red fox in the Pin Valley National Park.
Kalatop Sanctuary located in Khajjar is an ideal retreat for the avid bird watcher. The sanctuary is a rare blend of lake, forest and pasture eco systems, thus playing home to a wide range of local and migratory birds.
Maharana Pratap wildlife sanctuary is another spot famous among bird watchers.
Shimla is home to the oldest golf courses in the state. Around 23 km from Shimla city, there is the nine-hole 68-par golf course in Naldehra.
Visit the apple orchards of Khajjar.
Savour the Tibetan culture in Dharamshala.
Enjoy the beautiful meadows of Khajjar.
Hitch a ride on the Kalka-Shimla express.
Sidu - local bread made from wheat flour enjoyed with ghee or butter, can also be had with dhal or mutton gravy.
Babru - Himachal variation of the popular kachoris.
Chha Gosht - marinated lamb meat cooked in a gravy of gram flour, yoghurt and spices such as cardamom, red chilli powder, coriander powder, bay leaf, asafoetida and ginger-garlic paste.
Kullu Trout - marinated trout shallow fried in mustard oil with spices is a much loved dish of the Kullu region.
Anardana Chicken – chicken marinated in ground pomegranate seeds and chillies.
Bhey – lotus stems are thinly sliced, washed and boiled then stir fried with onion, ginger-garlic paste, gram flour, cayenne pepper and other spices.
Mitha - as the name suggests is a local dessert of Himachal Pradesh. It is prepared with sweetened rice mixed with a generous helping of raisins and other dry fruits.
Bijli Mahadev temple – The temple is occasionally hot by lightening which breaks the Siva Lingam into pieces. The temple priest collects the pieces and joins them back using butter.
Tabo Monastery - One of the most pious and oldest surviving Buddhist establishments dating back 1000 years in the Trans-Himalayas in Lahoul and Spiti Valley.
Khajji Nag Temple - An ancient temple that dates back to 12th century
Manu Temple - Believed to be the only Manu temple dedicated to the creator of human race on the earth
Shri Mani Karan Sahib - Guru Nanak came to this place with his disciple Bhai Mardana.
Christ Church, Shimla – built in the neo-gothic style of architecture, the pipe-organ of this church is the biggest in the Indian subcontinent.
St. John’s Church, Dalhousie - Built in 1863, this Church was the first to be built after the town of Dalhousie was founded.
Sangla - pickup famous Kinnauri shawls, woollen socks, tweeds and silver jewellery studded with Tibetan pearls.
Manali – famous for its woollen shawls, which will not just keep you warm, but also carry signature motifs of the state.
Thangkas are paintings on cloth usually represent Buddha in his traditional pose as well as other Buddhist festivals.