Incredible Himachal – Shimmering Shimla|Majestic Manali|Mesmerizing Kullu

14th Oct 2018
Photo of Incredible Himachal – Shimmering Shimla|Majestic Manali|Mesmerizing Kullu by Arghadipa Chakraborty

Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas,Himachal Pradesh is one of the most beautiful northern states of India that enthralls everyone with its spectacularly scenic landscapes.Situated in the Western Himalayas,it is bordered by union territory of Jammu & Kashmir on the north,Punjab on the west,Haryana on the south-west,Uttarakhand on the south-east, & Tibet on the east.Charming hill stations juxtaposed against snow-capped peaks,quaint villages along winding mountain roads,serpentine rivers carving their way through the hills & the state’s eco-friendly environment,picturesque natural scenery,colourful culture,adventure sports,massive production of apples invite an onslaught of tourists all around the year.

Himachal,along with the hills & valleys add peace to your holiday while the pilgrimages make the land divine.From Hinduism to Christianity & Sikhism,every religion is sure to find a home in the “Abode of God”.

We planned our Himachal tour during our Durga puja holidays & decided to cover up the Capital town Shimla along with some other mesmerizing places that are mentioned below:-

1. Shankatmochon Temple
2. Shimla Mall Road
3. The Ridge
4. Shimla Kalibari
5. Kufri
6. Sholang Valley,Manali
7. Hidimba Devi Temple
8. Vashishth Temple
9. Manali Mall Road
10. Rothang Pass
11. Gurudwara,Kulu.

Journey Begins: Howrah to Shimla-

We ascended to Howrah-Kalka Mail from Howrah station and after spending two monotonous nights inside the bogies of the train,we got down at Chandigarh Railway Junction at dawn & kept waiting up until all of our co-travellers gather in one place.Then we all came out of the station compound and ascended to a mini bus in order to journey from Chandigarh to Shimla.Shimla is easily accessible via road and Chandigarh-Shimla highway is in a good condition and it only takes around 4 and a half hours to reach Shimla from Chandigarh.


If one wish to enjoy the marvelous scenic beauty on the way to Shimla with a holiday mood,he/she is welcomed to take a ride on the toy train which starts from Kalka,96 kms away from Shimla & the journey ends in about 7 hours.It was really a big loss to us that we were parted with the enjoyable toy train journey because we were following our travel agency as they were instructing.

*** The nearest airport to reach Shimla is in Chandigarh and one can hire a taxi/cab to reach Shimla town from Chandigarh Airport.


Photo of Incredible Himachal – Shimmering Shimla|Majestic Manali|Mesmerizing Kullu by Arghadipa Chakraborty
Day 1

Chandigarh to Shimla:-

The bus amplified its speed gradually & as soon as the bus made a clean sweep of the veil of fog,it seemed that the queen of the mountain ranges gave us a warm welcome with her misty,soulful environment enwreathed in green,with enchanting rays of the rising sun from behind the mountains & was highlighting how mysterious the nature is.The cool breeze of surrounding was enough to remove the turmoil of city life from our mind.

We had to halt in the middle of the journey for a tea break and in the meantime,my mother was trying to befriend with the compeers according to her nature.My father was busy in clicking photos of the scenery & himself whereas I was simply enjoying the calm & pleasant atmosphere with my heart & soul.Almost after 20 minutes,we started our journey again & landed at our hotel compound at last.

Having a late-breakfast with bread-butter & dry sweet(sandesh),we started to get fresh one by one & were dressed properly for photoshoot keeping the mountain ranges in the background.In this moment,all the other compeers gathered at the hotel compound for the same reason like us hopefully.We were having fun with each other & were sharing our past travel experiences & were discussing about the upcoming itinerary.

After lunch,we were instructed to take rest for one hour & then we had to sally forth towards Shankot Mochon Temple & the famous Shimla Mall Road.

Shankat Mochan Temple:-

Approximately 5 kms. away from Shimla, Shankot mochan Temple is located amid the lush green and tranquil locals of Himachal Pradesh & is one of the best tourist attractions of Shimla.Tourists visit the temple to pay obeisance to the deities of Lord Rama & other notable Gods of the Hindu Phantheon.The noted religious figure-Baba Neeb Karori ji Maharaj established the temple in the year 1950 after staying in the deep dark woods for ten days.

The red fire ball was playing hide & seek behind the mountain hues in the sky of West because the time was dusk when the light of day bids farewell to everyone.We were admonished that the temperature would fall suddenly as soon as the surrounding got dark.Soon we reached at the Shimla Mall Road which is a great attraction for shopping lovers.

Shimla Mall Road:-

If you are the shopping feet, Shimla Mall Road is a must visit place for you in Shimla. Neither the honking of cars nor the black carbon monoxide from trucks can irritate you when you stroll around the road under the gaze of stars.We bought some woolen clothes such as windcheater,fancy pileups,sweater for us.

We so loved the positive vibes of the mall road that we wished to stroll through the road & alleys for some time more but our aching feet were not permitting us to sooth our wish.So,after completing our dinner with ruti(made of coarse flour) & meat, we crawled into our hotel room and dozed off in glory.

Photo of Incredible Himachal – Shimmering Shimla|Majestic Manali|Mesmerizing Kullu by Arghadipa Chakraborty
Photo of Incredible Himachal – Shimmering Shimla|Majestic Manali|Mesmerizing Kullu by Arghadipa Chakraborty
Photo of Incredible Himachal – Shimmering Shimla|Majestic Manali|Mesmerizing Kullu by Arghadipa Chakraborty
Day 2

Shimla to Kufri:-

In the next morning, after a breakfast of puri & curry, we started for Kufri which is 17.5 kms. away from Shimla.This tiny hill station is famous for its trekking & hiking trails.Besides this,the beautiful environment,that is,the panoramic view of the surrounding verdant valleys along with the cool refreshing atmosphere emerges a blissful vibe.

The locals said that the region around Shimla including Kufri was once a part of the kingdom of Nepal. Actually, this territory was remained isolated from the rest of the world until the British discovered it in 1819.

Best Time To Visit Kufri:-

The best time to visit Kufri is in summers,that is,between April & June as the place offers an enchanting view of the surrounding & the breeze will make your soul calm & quite but if you have adventure seeking heart,the winter season,that is,late-November to February will be appropriate for you because you can enjoy skiing & snowfall. The months from July to September brings heavy rain in this region & there is a risk of landslide naturally.So,it will be an intelligent work if you avoid the place during rainy season.

After a journey by bus for sometime, we had to take horse ride to reach Kufri. This journey through the steep & up and down alleys was troublesome and though there was a lot of trees, the surrounding seemed suffocating to me and we all were not comfortable with the journey.The horse-ride was fear-rousing too because the horses were proceeding beyond the edge of the mountain ranges and it was the first horse-ride experience for all of us.

Then we had to trek for a few minutes to go upward of the mountain ranges but the view from that altitude was not up to the mark & flattering enough after such a difficult journey. So, it was a big disappointment to us and seemed that the whole journey was just a waste of time.To add some charm to our tired hearts, we decided to take some photos wearing the special & unique Himalayan dress & ornaments as requested by the local vendors.

Before leaving the place forever, the all peers decided to take a group photo as a sweet memory.Surprisingly, we became friend in the meantime & it seemed that we were a family.Such relationships provide extra bliss & happiness to a beautiful journey.

When we came back to our hotel in Shimla, I was suffering from the tendency of vomiting as I failed to be acclimatized with the suffocating atmosphere of Kufri itinerary but managed somehow ultimately.

One can take a yak ride and related photos if wish in Kufri. Do pay the local vendors and enjoy the yak ride.


Try to avoid oily food before such a journey as it may harm your health. The serpentine mountain roads do not provide comfort to the travellers who have food for the taste of their tongue. Try to have as light food as possible to keep your itinerary safe & comfortable.

Shimla Kalibari & The Ridge:-

In the afternoon on that day, we all requested the manager of our travel agency to take us to Shimla Kalibari & The Ridge to avoid humdrum of the afternoon and to take just a look of the Durga icon at Shimla Kalibari as we all were missing the pomp of the Durga puja of Kolkata. The manager was trying to let us understand that the journey of the next day onwards,would be a long journey,that is, Shimla to Manali & we should take complete rest for the rest of the day but his all endeavors went in vain.

At last, we visited the Shimla Kalibari & the Ridge via Mall Road and the Durga icon was providing a blissful feeling to all of us and we received the vog prasad( the food that is served to Devi Durga herself ) too & then we visited The Ridge before going back to our hotel again.

The Ridge is the most photographed part of the hill station covered with pine, firs, Himalayan Oak and Rhododendron trees. The Ridge is famous mainly for shopping but the surrounding is neat and clean and that is lovable. There is an old Christ church which has made the Ridge historically significant, was built in the 1850‘s. Besides this, there are three historical statues- Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, and Y.S.Paramar, the first chief minister of Himachal Pradesh.

Yak at Kufri

Photo of Incredible Himachal – Shimmering Shimla|Majestic Manali|Mesmerizing Kullu by Arghadipa Chakraborty
Day 3

Shimla to Manali ( Road Trip ):-

What if someone told fairytales are real and the place you dream of is here on earth? Shimla to Manali itinerary is one such fairytale and a lifetime experience for us. 250 kms. apart from Shimla, the British Summer Capital, there lies the surreal town of Manali– “Lover’s Paradise- India’s Honeymoon Capital” near the northern end of the Kullu Valley and serves as the gateway to Lahaul & Spiti district as well as Leh.

We checked out our Shimla hotel at 8 a.m. & set out for Manali after breakfast.Shimla to Manali itinerary through the Shimla Manali Highway is the most picturesque and unforeseen journey that I have taken in my life.The majestic mountains on the one hand and lush green forests, sprawling meadows carpeted with flowers, gushing blue streams on the other- Shimla Manali Highway has been blessed with extraordinary scenic beauty.

After travelling 33 kms from Shimla, we reached Shalaghat and then we crossed many small towns stretched along with the mountain ranges, providing jaw-dropping views and a persistent fragrance of Pines & freshness to enrich our journey and make us amazed. After a long time, we reached Mandi and came to know that the surrounding has been excelled from here. Further 24 kms. from Mandi, we decried the Hanogi Mata Temple and the river Beas was at our right.

We halted 4 times enroute the journey for lunch, tea-break & relaxation. When there was a blending of our thrust to keep ourselves in the vicinity of nature & monotony in the running bus, we called it the time for relaxation. The applause of others made me realize that I am not the only one who is fascinated with the charm of nature. The place, where we halted for our tea break, was maintaining a tranquil atmosphere & the river Beas was flowing in its own freak and the lingering silence of the surrounding was only hindered by the sudden arrival of the vehicles, twittering of the birds & the sound of the flowing river water.

After exceeding from Hanogi Mata Temple, we came across the Jalori Pass & Rampur of Shimla district & then we had to journey through a 2.8 kms long tunnel which was a thrilling experience to all of us. We surpassed Aut & Bunter Airport where Parvati river joins Beas river. Before Manali towards right will be small town Naggar, famous for Naggar castle. The relics of the hill houses were reminding us of the then recent damage of Manali due to the deadly landslides. The surrounding got dark slowly and neither the variety of songs nor any kind of gossip made
our tired hearts soothed again. Thanks to the ever jammed highway to the Lovers’ paradise, we reached Manali at 8:30 p.m. and the day ended with our dinner of rice, dal & egg fry.


1. Start as early from Shimla as possible so that you get a lead on the way and don’t get stuck on the mountain road post dark.
2. Pack right- carry adequate amount of woolens, Scarves, Hats, comfortable shoes or boots, jackets, sweaters & more.
3. Carry enough drinking water with you from the very beginning of the journey in case you need it all of a sudden.

Day 4

Manali Sightseeing:-

We were in comatose in our first morning at Manali due to the previous day’s long journey until the manager of our travel agency knocked on the door for bed tea & informed about the snow-capped mountain ranges & the sunrise which were visible outside the hotel rooms. The sun-bathed mountain ranges, that were extending away, were bringing the message of positivity, energy & some sort of spirituality. We don’t know that how much time we spent on the balcony enjoying the spell-bound scenery; the silence was broken by the manager who came to inform us to make ourselves ready as soon as possible because we had to set out for Sholang Valley & Hidimba Devi Temple after breakfast. We obeyed him & our journey got started at 9 a.m. through the picture-perfect landscapes & crisp air.

Sholang Valley:-

Only 11 kms. above Manali, Sholang Valley is one of the most visited places, with the drive up to Sholang being as picturesque as the valley itself. One can reach the valley by 45 minutes car journey through the chilling & alluring atmosphere.As much as we were going upward, the accumulated clouds were getting off to the mountain ranges & the glittering sun beam made the surrounding somewhat unearthly.

At last we reached the adventure lovers’ Paradise – Sholang Valley which welcomes a huge number of tourists throughout the year. Not only does Sholang Valley offer some breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, but its slopes are a very popular skiing destination, especially during the winters. In summers, the place turns into a paragliding heaven.If you are an adventure enthusiast, Sholang Valley has adrenaline-pumping activities such as zorbing & horse-riding available.

There is a Shiva Linga, Which is bathed by the natural waterfall falling down from the top of the mountain, creates a divine vibe & places a startling feeling in the minds of the visitors in the adventure-enthusiasts’ valley. You can have Charanamrita when you visit the Shiva Linga to express your obeisance & you have to put off your shoes near the staircases which are stretched upto the Shiva Linga. It is heard that the Linga gets covered completely due to the massive snowfall during the winter season & the visitors are not allowed on that time.

One has to take horse ride or to hire a motor car from the place where the vehicles have to stop to go upward the valley. I decided to hire the motor car instead of the horse-riding due to the horrible experience of previous one that we had to take in Kufri. I shared my car with a brother of our group as he was tensed too.

The crystal clear gushing river with shore lined by round pebbles is a beautiful sight all along. We didn’t miss the opportunity to soak into the pristine vibe of the river.


1. Carry a good camera with extra batteries so that you could capture every bit of the beauty that this place flaunts.
2. Carry all your essential medicines & light cotton clothes or warm woolens along with a windcheater depending on the season in which you are planning to visit here.

Hidimba Devi Temple:-

Hidimba Devi Temple is an ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, the wife of Bheema, one of the Pancha Pandavas & a figure in the Indian epic Mahabharata. The temple is surrounded by a cedar forest called Dhungiri Van Vihar at the foot of the Himalayas. The temple is made of mainly wood & stones & was built in Pagoda style by Maharaja Bahadur Singh in 1553.

The interior of the four-storyed temple with flat roofs is kept as simple as possible & there is no icon of Devi Hidimba inside the temple; rather the temple contains the rock on which she sat for meditation as she wished to devote her life in penance in order to become Devi from the status of a giantess.

It is said that the Pancha Pandavas & their mother Kunti entered into the mysterious cave of Hidimb to save the villagers from the torture of demons during their exile & Bheema succeeded to kill the demon-king Hidimb & thus acquired the hand of Hidimba for marriage. They had a son named Ghatatkacha, who died in the war of Kurukhetrya, became the king of the territory after the death of Hidimb. There is a souvenir of Ghatatkacha in the distance of a few metre from Hidimba Devi Temple.

Here you can take photos with rabbits hiring them from the vendors & can buy woolen dresses from them.

At last, the itinerary for that day had been completed.

Inside of Hidimba Temple

Photo of Manali by Arghadipa Chakraborty

Hidimba Temple

Photo of Manali by Arghadipa Chakraborty
Photo of Manali by Arghadipa Chakraborty

Ghatatkacha Temple

Photo of Manali by Arghadipa Chakraborty

Sholang Valley

Photo of Manali by Arghadipa Chakraborty
Day 5
Photo of Incredible Himachal – Shimmering Shimla|Majestic Manali|Mesmerizing Kullu by Arghadipa Chakraborty
Photo of Incredible Himachal – Shimmering Shimla|Majestic Manali|Mesmerizing Kullu by Arghadipa Chakraborty
Photo of Incredible Himachal – Shimmering Shimla|Majestic Manali|Mesmerizing Kullu by Arghadipa Chakraborty

Peregrinate to Vashishth Temple:-

The next day we started for Vashishth Temple situated in Vashishth which is 6 km. from Manali at the bank of the Beas river opposite Old Manali.The village is a green patch of steep hill hanging at the base on a cliff & has a calm soothing effect. Rich
traditions & nice cafes are integral for backpackers. The village still retains the traditional house making style & like Old Manali, it is crowded with tourists during peak seasons.

The Vashishth Temple which exists even today is believed to be more than 4000 years.After son’s death due to Vishwamitra, Rishi Vashishth
meditating & vowed to start his life anew here. So, the temple is often associated with pilgrims & there is another ancient Rama Temple adjacent to the Vashishth Temple as Lord Rama left his footprint here. Hot spring is another attraction in the temple & it is said that Lakhsman, Lord Rama’s brother, created the hot spring by shooting an arrow into the ground as the sages had to go for long walks to take bath. The hot spring is believed to have medical value & there are separate bathing arrangements for men & women.

Vashishth Temple is built in a traditional style with lots of intricate wood carvings & perhaps the village is protected by its difficult landscapes. It is reachable from Manali by half an hour walk or a short drive up a slanting road by car. I walked up from the main road near the Beas river through a small steep footpath which was idyllic. Most of the shops sell woolen clothes on the way of the temple. There are beautiful cafes & dining places all along the main Street & one can have coffee & soak into the happy vibes in such places.

Manali Mall Road:-

In the afternoon on that day we went to Manali Mall Road, which is often referred to as the heart of the town, is the focal point of Manali and perfect for street shopping. From Kullu and Kashmiri shwals and woolen caps to Tibetan & Himalayan handicrafts, prayer wheels & jewellery, the Manali Mall Road is buzzing with activity throughout the day. We bought some sweets from one of the food shops that were lined along one side of the Mall Road with the restaurants and hotels.


If one has the plan to visit the Manali Mall Road after the one that lies in Shimla, it should be pat to shop anything from the former as it is more convenient & pocket-friendly than the later.

Day 6

Rohtang Pass:-

Next day we moved forward Rohtang Pass at 5:30 a.m. amidst the dark & chilling surrounding. Located at a massive height of 3798 meters & 50 km to the north of Manali into the Eastern Pir Panjal, Rohtang Pass offers an incredible confluence of the blue sky & snow- clad mountain ranges which is a treat to tourists’ eyes & also to their camera. We had to hire heavy jackets, a pair of hand gloves & socks from a local vendor as our own belongings were not enough to deal with the cold to freeze bones in “ The Iceland of Himachal Pradesh”.

Enroute we had to stop at Gulava Check post which is admired for its abundant natural beauty & majical aura. In winter, Rohtang Pass is not accessible for tourists & at that time, they can journey upto Gulava Check Post to savor the extreme thrill & adventure the village has to offer.

‘Ground of Corpses’, as the name translates to, Rohtang devoured the lives of the number of people who were trying to pass it in the past. Soon enough we came across the roads which are literally carved hollow into the mountains & may not even be tarred at stretches. The ride through the narrow hairpin curves to the pass is sufficiently challenging. The entire road is laced with splendid vistas that can surely satisfy your greed for scenic beauty.


1. The air at such altitudes is very thin that makes breathing problem for infants, senior citizens & people with any heart or breathing problems.
2. The roads get slippery due to the melting of the snow. There is a risk of wearing a wig if one is in hurry. So take your steps carefully.
3. Be aware of the skin rashes due to cold allergy, if needed.

Spending & enjoying the vibes in Rohtang Pass for 15 minutes is efficient if one wants to avoid the problem of suffocation. On the very day, we set out for Kullu after lunch to reach our Kullu hotel before the evening.

Photo of Incredible Himachal – Shimmering Shimla|Majestic Manali|Mesmerizing Kullu by Arghadipa Chakraborty
Photo of Incredible Himachal – Shimmering Shimla|Majestic Manali|Mesmerizing Kullu by Arghadipa Chakraborty
Photo of Incredible Himachal – Shimmering Shimla|Majestic Manali|Mesmerizing Kullu by Arghadipa Chakraborty
Day 7


Situated on the bank of the river Beas, Sri Gurunanak Devji Gurudwara is a must visit place in Kullu. The beautiful temple along with the hot spring attract all the pilgrims belong to Hinduism & Sikhism. In the 16th century, when Guru Nanak visited Manikaran with his disciples, created the hot spring in order to cook with the ingredients provided by the villagers. From that time, the place was gaining popularity among the pilgrims & like all the other Gurudwaras, the place is very clean and maintained by the internal staffs.

We explored inside the temple & witnessed the impressive decoration and the prayer articulated by the devotees which was delivering a positive vibe to the visitors. Then we had our lunch at the Gurudwara and hovered around there for sometime and at last our travel was ended.

The Return Journey:-

We started our return journey towards Chandigarh and our plan was to halt for one night in Chandigarh hotel and then to go to Delhi in order to catch the train to Howrah in the next morning. In the meantime of our journey, we received the news of three accidents in Rohtang Pass. We were glad that we had overcome all the hardest of routes. However, we were experiencing occasional body aches as we are city dwellers after all. An adventure packed 7 days tour had come to an end.
At last I must quote Ruskin Bond–
“ It is always the same with mountains.
Once you have lived with them for any length of time,
You belong to them.
There is no escape.”

Photo of Incredible Himachal – Shimmering Shimla|Majestic Manali|Mesmerizing Kullu by Arghadipa Chakraborty