The hidden gems of Mandi


Red carpet of Buransh (Rhododendron) laid on a pristine water stream en-route trek from Thatta village to Parashar  Lake, HP

Photo of The hidden gems of Mandi by Tanya Issar
Photo of The hidden gems of Mandi 1/6 by Tanya Issar
Exploring untravelled paths from village Thatta, Lagshal, Bhanuthi and Kalang (Mandi, HP)

During my childhood days we used to go for vacations in the hill stations, like any other middle-class family. We always used to follow the designated paths and routine visits to mall roads and tourist spots. While holding the hands of my father, we used to come across many times paths leading to some interior villages and forest. But never ventured on it. I used to wonder what is at the end of these paths and I can say that, most of us still do.

Parashar Ecotourism Initiative caters to that curiosity in you. Come let us discover these paths, which as I child you must have wondered about in the past!

Photo of The hidden gems of Mandi 2/6 by Tanya Issar
There is more to Mandi town that must be seen and witnessed

Mandi, in true sense is a hidden gem having abundant range of natural, heritage and cultural facets. The Mandi town is dotted with 81 Shiva temples and has millions of stories to be told to visitors. There are umpteen hidden paths to be discovered by trekkers and best of Mandyali culture to be experienced.

Parashar Lake, one of the major highlights of Mandi has seen maximum number of tourists in the district. However, villages surrounding Parashar Lake have never been visited by travellers which has plenty to offer. In terms of trekking too Baggi route for reaching Parashar is only major route followed by all the travelers.

In our endeavor to identify new destinations, we came across Thatta, Lagshal, Bhanuthi and Kalang- beautiful picturesque villages with loads of stories to be told; be it on architecture, agriculture, cuisine, music and dance, native species, medicinal plant etc. The community in these villages are always eager to showcase its best assets to underground travellers looking for a deep and slow travel experiences.

Photo of The hidden gems of Mandi 3/6 by Tanya Issar
In conversation with the family managing the Homestay- Home away from Home

Our villages are simple yet warm offering the best of Himachali culture at our homestays run by pahadi women. Thatta about an hour’s drive from Mandi is the biggest of all the villages. Lagshal, Bhanuthi and Kalang are small closed hamlets, about 2-3 hours’ drive from Mandi. If you're looking for a holiday in the hills without all the hustle and bustle, these villages are the perfect choice. I spent my holiday reading, interacting with the community, volunteering at the farms, discovering the untravelled paths, indulging in local cuisine. If you are looking for experiential learning experiences to understand more of a rural lifestyle, our community will help you discover various interesting facets by making your travel a unique one.

Working with enthusiastic pahadi people has been a lesson for the team as well. The community has shown acceptance to the idea of Responsible Travel. Thatta, one of our village has been felicitated with the Cleanliness awards for putting forward their best efforts to conserve and protect the nature. While communicating the need of Responsible travel, the community was assertive to understand the need of ecotourism in the time when Tourism has seen a major boom in the last decade.

Photo of The hidden gems of Mandi 4/6 by Tanya Issar
Sheeps an integral part of Gaddis- A nomadic tribe of Himachal

Trekking is a major driving factor for travelling to Himalayas in search of adventure. Our villages offer interesting, scenic, moderate treks around the surrounding areas. These treks or nature walks are not strenuous and will leave you with positive and mindful energy. Our community helped in identifying these treks, that are otherwise undiscovered with abundant range of nature to offer- waterfalls, small streams, insightful stories of our trek leaders. Nature lovers will be blown away with forest wisdom of the elders.

Photo of The hidden gems of Mandi 5/6 by Tanya Issar
Our trek leader Ishwar sharing his heritage and cultural knowledge with the travellers

Our treks curated with our trained trek guides aims to make you connect with nature in a mindful way. The principle followed by us is to go slow and silent, absorb nature and rediscover peace and inner happiness. Our trek leaders and community are very much conscious about Leave No Trace principle. They briefed us about the key instructions while on a trek, essentials that must be carried along the way. A steel water bottle and food supply. They got alu parantha with pickle everything home-made for the group of trekkers and few patal plates and made sure no plastic is used en-route trek and to carry back whatever was used on trek.

Come unravel the secrets of hidden Himalayan paths!


Photo of The hidden gems of Mandi 6/6 by Tanya Issar
Basking in the sunlight and absorbing the magical moment of nature