A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh

Tripoto
3rd Feb 2012

#Yak #SolangValley

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#NewDelhi #RailwayStation

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#ChandniChowk #Parathewala

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#ChandniChowk,Sea of people v/s criss-cross w

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#golGappa #SeekhKabab #Paratha #lassi

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

Public transport in delhi

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#RedFort #Delhi

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#ChattaChowk #RedFort

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#DiwanIAam #RedFort

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#DiwanIKhas #RedFort

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#RedFort gardens

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#JamaMasjid #MeenaMarket

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#JantarMantar #Delhi

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#Pathankot to #Dalhousie

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

Outskirts of #Dalhousie

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

View from #ShangriLa hotel

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#UpperBakrota route #Dalhousie

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

Ice angels on a icy bed #Dalhousie #Snoy

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

The best sight for school kids

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#UpperBakrota route #Dalhousie

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#UpperBakrota route #Dalhousie

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#BahraPathat #Dalhousie

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#BahraPathat #Dalhousie

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#BahraPathat #Dalhousie

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#BahraPathat #MaggiAndEggs #Dalhousie

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

View from #DalaiLama #McleodGanj

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

one of the many #Monastery #McleodGanj

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#TsuglagkhangTemple #ManiPrayerWheel #McleodG

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#TsuglagkhangTemple #McleodGanj

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

View from #TsuglagkhangTemple #McleodGanj

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#Thukpa #Breakfast #Momos #Noodles #McleodGan

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#DalLake #McleodGanj

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#StJohnInTheWilderness #McleodGanj

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#McleodGanj by night

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#BhagsuNagFalls Stone route v/s marked pathwa

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#BhagsuNagFalls #SouliKhad

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#BhagsuNagFalls #SouliKhad

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#BhagsuNagFalls

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

More #momos #BhagsuNagFalls

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

View from our hotel #McleodGanj

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

View from hotel room in #Manali

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#BeasRiver

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#QuadBike #ATV #SolangValley

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#Paragliding in #SolangValley

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#Rabbit hugging in #SolangValley

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

Failed-amateur #Skiing in #SolangValley

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#RiverRafting #BeasRiver

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#Manikaran

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#HotSpring #Manikaran

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#NaturePark trek in #manali

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#NaturePark trek in #Manali

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

Fury trek companions

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#NaturePark trek in #Manali

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

#HimachaliDish #Sidu

Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas
Photo of A land for all seasons - Himachal Pradesh by Samantha Mascarenhas

The breathtaking Himachal Pradesh is welcoming in all seasons. From winter wonderland to summer paradise, the climate almost changes the appearance of this entire state. From black and white hues in the winter to a colorful palate in the summer, Himachal Pradesh is truly mesmerizing, almost as if the Gods use it as their color box.

This time my visit was during the winter and almost everything was buried in snow, I plan to repeat my route in the summer to experience the change in scenery. I highly doubt a single lifetime is enough to explore Himachal Pradesh in all the seasons but I am going to make the best with the time I have. Till we meet again beautiful Himachal Pradesh.

Getting there, it all depends on where you want to start your journey. Himachal Pradesh has 5 major "tourist" entry points (Dalhuosie & Chamba, Dharamshala & Palampur, Kullu & ManaliShimla and Paonta Sahib). From each of these locations one can travel deeper into the deodar region. These are connected by rail, road and air to major cities in other states.

My economical option is always TRAINS. My route was Delhi - Pathankot - Dalhousie - Dharamshala(McleodGanj) - Manali - Delhi. My favorite thumb rule while traveling...in order to avoid accommodation costs, travel between locations as much as possible during nights that way you have the entire day to browse the place and a place to rest at night. This time too we had pre-booked all our train journeys a month in advance.

Accommodation tips, tripadvisor! has varied options for hotels, be it luxury or budget. Find the one that suits you the best, the reviews on tripadvisor will help you decide based on hotel up keep and accessibility to the main city and attractions. 

For this trip we made no accommodation bookings. Being winter, finding a roof over our heads was not a difficult task, just ask around the bus stop or restaurants and someone would guide you to the nearest guesthouses. If you hire a private taxi, the drivers have many hotel contacts. However during peak summer season its best to book your accommodation in advance.

Food. Food. Food. The food is very similar to that or north Indian food but it has a different taste to it mostly because of their ingredients. If you get a chance try some of the Himachali cuisine like Mandra, Maahni, Batt, Mitha Saloona, Bhujju, Saag, bhagjery, jhoul, sidu, khatti dal to name a few. When in the tibetan region try the tibetan cuisine like dumplings/momos(noodles, goat, yak, mutton), Tibetan cheeses/butter, Soups(Sepen), Sha Phaley, Balep, spicy stews, Thukpa(a broth meal).

Things to do. known for its mist covered landscapes and mountains; breathtaking scenic view; mountains peaking through with their snow caps; forests dense with ever so tall deodar treesfir trees,spruce tress and blue pine; apple orchids; lush green meadows; gushing rivers, need I describe more??  One can opt for the adventure like water rafting, paragliding, skiing, Mountaineering, Kayaking; nature lovers can trot through one of the many trekking options varying from easy to difficult terrains; explorers can venture out to discover one of the million hidden treasures this landscape has; OR simply be a child, slide down snowy slopes, try to make a snowman as your fingers get numb and have snowball fights; experience daunting silence at one of the many monasteries; stroll through the parks and feel as small as an ant among the tall deodar trees.

A few necessary and useful tips:

  1. If you travel in the winters, carry a lot of warm clothes and shoes suitable for walking on snow.
  2. Don't forget to try the local himachali dishes if possible
  3. Do not liter on the roads, forests, parks or the surrounding
Just outside the railway station you will have access to the New Delhi metro station. You can hop on the yellow line to reach Chandni Chowk.
Photo of New Delhi Railway Station, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
I love this place for the wholesale market but the crowd can be a bit too much. The lanes are small for people to walk on but every now and then a bike or tuk-tuk will venture in these lanes and then you will hear people vent their anger. The market area has a lot of shops in the lanes selling sareers, fabrics, stationery, decorations, appliances, hardware, jewelry and food!
Photo of Chandni Chowk, Indraprastha, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
Photo of Chandni Chowk, Indraprastha, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
Photo of Chandni Chowk, Indraprastha, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
Also known as Lal Quila was home to the Mughal emperors, it is enclosed by massive red sandstone walls. The red fort is within walking distance from chandni chowk and is worth a visit.
Photo of Red Fort, Netaji Subhash Marg, Lal Qila, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
A little further down and opposite Red fort is Meena Bazaar and Jama Masjid. Meena Bazaar in the Mughal era was a market set up by the women of noblemen to sell items to raise money for charity, it was closed to public. Now on the contrary, the market is open to public and you will find rows of small stalls selling leather items, winter jackets, scarfs, fabrics, etc. Jama Masjid is a large mosque built with red sandstone and white marble.
Photo of Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
We had an overnight journey by Jammu Mail taking us from Old Delhi railway station to Pathankot. As you step outside Pathankot railway station, you can hire a cab(depending on your group size and budget) taking you to Dalhousie or Chamba. As we reached Pathokot early in the morning, our road journey to Dalhousie was through infinite mist cloud and hilly terrain with a view of the deep valleys.
Photo of Pathankot Railway Station, Pathankot, Punjab, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
This is a beautiful hill station surrounded by snow capped peaks. My trip was in winter so pretty much everything was covered in snow, rooftops, school buses, schools, you name it. If you visit during the summer or rains there are quiets a few places to visit from 4 major churches to apple orchids to cultivated terraces.
Photo of Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
We decided to walk about this small town. We began at Gandi chowk and taking the upper bakrota round we reached Bahra Pathat forest. It was a long walk through snow path & forest so tourists usually hire a taxi to take them there but what is the fun in that. The feeling of being lost is common to explorers but we reached out destination exhausted only to be re-energized by the view. We planned to walk back the same route to return to our hotel, but the darkness of the night and the inception of the dhaba guy about wild animals lurking in the forest convinced us otherwise.
Photo of Bahra Pathat Forest, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
Photo of Bahra Pathat Forest, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
Photo of Bahra Pathat Forest, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
We took an early morning bus from Dalhousie to reach McleodGanj. This is a suburb of Dharamshala and home to large population of Tibetans and Buddhist Monasteries. One can walk about and visit the many Buddhist and Tibetan sites for some peace and tranquility. If time is not a constraint take a hike to Triund for an upclose view of the Himalayas.
Photo of McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
Photo of McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
This premier attraction and pilgrim site in McleodGanj is the official home of the 14th Dalai Lama. It is called Tsuglag Khang(does not roll of the tongue easily, does it?)
Photo of Dalai Lama temple, Temple Road, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
Photo of Dalai Lama temple, Temple Road, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
A bus ride from McleodGanj bus stand, Dal Lake is surrounded by deodar trees, this greenish water lake is not very well kept. Considered to be sacred as it houses a Shiva shrine, the upkeep just depicts how much people(sadly most of them Indian tourists) value their motherland. A sad state.
Photo of Dal Lake, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
Instead of taking a bus back from Dal Lake to McleodGanj, we decided to walk the route. That is when we stumbled upon this eerie site - tall trees, shrubs, cobbled stone pathway and in the middle of it all a Church of Gothic architecture (the evening sky made for a perfect scene for a horror movie). Church of St.John in the Wilderness is rightly named as it is surrounded by dense deodar forests. Looking at the structure it is hard to say that this Church survived a major earthquake in 1905.
Photo of St. John in the Wilderness, Forsyth Ganj-Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
Again on foot, we began our journey from McleoGanj main street to Bhagsu Naag waterfall. Along the way we came upon Bhagsunag Shiv Mandir, Radha Krishnan Hanuman & devi Mandir and Bhagsunag swimming pool. To reach the falls you can climb half a mountain with clearly marked pathway or the beautiful valley which outlines a river(souli Khad) that is now dried(being winter the stream was small). We decided to ditch the pathway and headed upstream on the stony riverbed to the fall. I advise to use your judgement based on weather conditions and stick to the clearly marked pathway if necessary. The clear cool waterfall was refreshing.
Photo of Bhagsunag Waterfall, Bhagsu Naag Waterfall Pathway, Bhagsu Naag Village, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
February is one of the coldest months in Manali and I can vouch for that. It has small nature parks and beautiful view of snow capped mountain ranges. Manali itself was covered in snow so the activities were the using childish snow fights, long walks through nature parks with some friendly dogs along the way and the occasional snowfall.
Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
Known as snow point, for its surrounding view of snow capped mountains and glaciers. The destination in Himachal Pradesh for paragliding, zorbing, skiing or taking a ride on the 300m ski lift. If your hungry do not expect anything other than maggi and eggs/tea or coffee, with the other option of buying the retail chips and aerated drink bottles.
Photo of Solang Valley, Burwa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
Manikaran is a place of natures marvel of co-existence, the chilled water of the Beas river and the hot water from the sulphur springs. The water from these spring is said to have medicinal value and is a cure for an number of chronic ailments. There are many temples in Manikaran and the hot spring water flows underneath them.
Photo of Manikaran, Himachal Pradesh, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
Our journey to Kullu was mainly for the water sports it hosts on the Beas river. The rapids on the stretches of the Beas river provide an exhilarating experience for rafters, kayakers and water lovers. We did an approx.13 km stretch of white water rafting.
Photo of Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
In the evening we headed to the Bus depot for our overnight bus journey to Delhi. Here do not forget to pick up the local himachali dish Sidu from the tea shop in the Municipal market, it is just behind the bus stand.
Photo of Manali Bus Depot, Siyal, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
Photo of Jantar Mantar, Sansad Marg, Janpath, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Samantha Mascarenhas
3 Comment(s)
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One can opt for the adventure like water rafting, paragliding, skiing, Mountaineering, Kayaking; nature lovers can trot through one of the many trekking
Sun 01 10 16, 03:38 · Reply · Report
Photo of Kevin Vira
Kevin Vira
hahahahahahahahaha
Wed 04 15 15, 16:22 · Reply · Edit · Delete ·
Photo of Manoj Joshi
Manoj Joshi
Very nice write-up, Samantha. I liked the elaborated description on places. Himanchal indeed appears to be an interesting place to visit. I haven't been there ever, but after reading your blog I think I must pay a visit.
Wed 01 07 15, 11:27 · Reply · Edit · Delete ·