Situated on the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, the Rohtang Pass acts as the gateway to the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys. It also connects them to the Kullu Valley thus making the access of the districts easier with Leh. The meaning of 'Rohtang' is the 'Land of Corpses'. This is because, in this place died a number of people who has tried to cross this place and move ahead towards more difficult places like Zanskar. The Rohtang Pass also serves as the gateway to Zojila and Leh on other sides of it. The natural beauty and serenity of this place makes it a favourite of photographers and nature lovers. The sight of lovely glaciers, twin peaks of Geypan, the Lahaul Valley and the Chandra River make this place even more beautiful. The Rohtang Pass is also situated on the watershed basin of the Chenab and the Beas Rivers and the main activities to be enjoyed here are skiing and sledge rides.
Known as the Moon Lake too, this is one which is at a height of 4300 metres and is also the origin of the Chandra River. The lake is about kilometres from Kunzum Pass and a popular place among devotees. This is because this is said to be the same place from where Lord Indra had picked up Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandavas to take him on a journey to heaven. The picturesque sceneries and beauty of this place is mind blowing. The waters of this lake are deep blue and is surrounded by lush green grass. What is even better is that the waters are extremely clean unlike other general lakes that we see. The peaks surrounding this lake are even of around 3000 metres to 6300 metres and are namely the Moulkila and Chandrabhaga. You can come here from most other places of Himachal Pradesh even for some adventure camping. This was also known to be the halting area of traders once upon a time when they stopped here before moving ahead to Kunzum and Sarchu.
Solang should always make it to the top of your places to visit when in Manali list. The valley presents one with some stunning views of snow covered mountains, glaciers and dense forests. If you are game for some adventure sports then please try paragliding or skiing when you are here. If you decide to bring along the kids, they can indulge in horse riding or zorbing to keep themselves busy here. The place is filled with spots that are ideal for picnics, so one should pack a basket and go on one. Solang is dotted with shops that sell delicious local food to satiate the hunger pangs.
This Ladakh-like terrain, nestled in high Himalayan mountains is another Tibetan Buddhist-culture influenced land. Often referred to as the 'Middle Land', the valley is home – and proudly so – to some of the oldest monasteries in the world. With very few tourists having the courage to tread to this remote valley and even fewer villages scattered in this jagged terrain, Spiti retains its picturesque landscape. Prospering in absolute silence, the valley can be approached from Manali via Kunzum Pass from mid-June to mid-October, or by road through Shimla-Kinnaur Valley a.k.a. Hindustan–Tibet Highway, which stays open all round the year – except when it is temporarily closed down during snowfall in winters or landslides during monsoons.
Once known as Shyamala, synonymous with Goddess Kali, Shimla has been a summer retreat long before India even gained independence. This famous hill station similarly has a lot of places and things to see untouched by time. For instance, take a vintage joy ride from Kalka station to Shimla in a charming toy train that will take you through towering Deodars, hills and villages. Shimla truly comes alive during winters when a blanket of snow covers it all over making every nook and corner gleam and glisten. One such place is the ice skating rink (natural ice) near Lakkar Bazaar that opens from November to December. More winter sports include skiing, which can be enjoyed 21 km from Shimla in Kufri. Adventure activities such as rafting at Tattapani or a trek to Shali Tibba and Pabbar Valley are also worthwhile experiences. If you are fond of haunted stories and interested in having your own spooky adventure, you'll love Shimla. A lot of people including the renowned Rudyard Kippling (in 'My Own True Ghost Story) have written various eerie stories set around Shimla. A place known most for giving many people the jeepers-creepers is the Charleville Mansion. Another time travelling portal is the antique bookstore, Marina Brothers, located on Mall Road, which is truly a reader and collector's paradise. There are many luxury and budget hotels here, meaning you'll never fall short of options. Popular places to eat include Wake & Bake, Ashiana, Cecil and Minchy's that serve commendable Indian and multi-cuisine dishes and delicious gourmet food.
Gar firdaus ruhe zamin ast, Hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast. “If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here.” This is how the Sufi mystic Amir Khusrow has described the Kashmir Valley, and Srinagar is at the heart of the valley. Smack in the middle of the city is the mighty Dal Lake, its placid water reflecting the vivid kaleidoscope of innumerous houseboats, shikaras (taxi-boats), and the snow-capped Pir Panjal range: a sight that will make your heart skip a beat. The city is home to the state-of-the-art Mughal Gardens, Shalimar Bagh and Nishant Bagh being the most famous of them. The gardens exhibit the Mughal taste of nature and the philosophy of disciplining nature rather than imitating it: fountain pools and canals, meticulously manicured hedges, and motley flowerbeds. Also known as the Kashmiri Venice, Srinagar is a place not to be missed by those seeking a tranquil refuge in the lap of the Himalayas.
Chandigarh is India's first planned city, quite distinct from the rest of the country and considerably better organized. It is the capital of both Haryana and Punjab, but the city itself is not part of either state, being a union territory, i.e. administered directly by the central government. It was one of the early planned cities in post-independence India and is internationally known for its architecture and urban design. Chandigarh has various visitor attractions including theme gardens within the city. Some notable sites are Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden, Rose Garden, Parrot Bird Sanctuary Chandigarh, and Leisure Valley. Chandigarh as a perfect city with regards to its cultural growth, modernisation and architecture. Rose Garden is home to over 1,500 varieties of rose and the Garden of Fragrance is perfect for those mind-refreshing walks. Chandigarh has a bustling food scene, home to every cuisine you can think of right from Mediterranean (Kelong, Virgin Courtyard) to Thai (Tao- Bar & Lounge). Some popular places for Punjabi dishes are Punjab Grill and Sher-e-Punjab. Chandigarh is also close to many hill stations such as Solan, Kasauli, Shoghi and Naldehra.
This beautiful town happens to be located in Jammu & Kashmir and is an abode for those who wish to pursue Buddhism. The place is surrounded by tall mountains, clear blue water, a white surrounding and many monasteries. The people here are warm and welcome tourists. Found midway between the Karakoram and Himalayan mountains, the beauty of Leh is beyond words, making it a hotspot with the tourists. Visiting the local markets here is a treat as one will get to browse through Tibetan jewelry, carpets, woolens and much more. Be sure to carry an extra bag to fit in all your purchases.
Dehradun is easily one of the most popular hill stations in India. Though easily accessible by all modes of transportation, taking the road would be the best way to experience this heaven. The drive will take you through dense forests on the hilly road and if you're lucky, you might even see a wild elephant or leopard pass you by. The fresh and dewy hill air will infiltrate your lungs and put you in a great mood right away. In terms of things to see, there is Robber's Cave, a river cave formation and Sahashtradhara, which is also a stunning sight of nature consisting of sulphur springs. But more than its sights, Dehradun is the perfect place for a family getaway. After all it has everything that you could need for a relaxing holiday. The town has many vintage bookshops (Natraj Publishers, The English Book Depot), college campuses with hilly backdrops, architectural marvels (such as the Forest Research Institute), alleys filled with quaint restaurants, adventure sports gear shops and forest resorts and hotels to fit every budget. Vishranti, a resort tucked away discreetly in the Sal forests of the Doon valley, deserves a special mention for its beauty and luxury. The city is a haven for foodies as Dehradun offers a lot of variety and affordability in its cuisine. Restaurants and cafes such as Doon Darbar, renowned for devour-worthy Mughlai dishes and The Buffet for its mouthwatering burgers, cutlets and coffee, are popular options.
Scenic and serene, Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh is perhaps one of the most unexplored places in Himachal. Passing through serpentine roads, refreshing, lush greenery, the district is a delight to explore. Though travellers looking to enjoy a luxurious holiday may not have a great time here. Kalpa is the first village that greets you when you enter Kinnaur. Reckong Peo, Nako and Sangla Valley are some of the villages and valleys that make up Kinnaur district. A journey to Kinnaur is marked with adventure and also an unpredictability that comes from travelling so high up in the mountains. The people in all the villages are very warm and welcoming and are open to sharing their way of life with travellers. Do plan a long trip here, since Kinnaur district can easily take up to 2 weeks and it's best not to hurry your way through this spellbinding valley.
Lahaul And Spiti