A road trip through Himachal Pradesh should be on the bucket list of every traveler. The entire state is full of places that will take your breath away. Today, we will tell about few of our personal favourites.
Forget Red Bull, Bir is the place that will give you wings. This small village in Himachal has been crowned as the “Paragliding capital of India”!
The paragliding site in Bir Billing is considered the second best in the entire world. Through the year it is visited by adventure seekers from around the world, some professional pilots looking to take it up a notch and many beginners. So, if paragliding has been on your bucket list, its time to get your pen out and strike it off!
While Bir Billing has become a paragliding hub, the small village is also known for its monasteries. With a small Tibetan settlement in Bir, the village has many monasteries.
After the Chinese invasion Chokling Rinpoche sought respite and made his way to Bir. Chokling monastery was constructed and today stands as one of the tallest in the village. In its quaint space you can hear the winds ruffling its vibrant colourful prayer flags all around the monastery temple.
Then there is Sherabling Monastery. It is one of the biggest monasteries in all of Himachal Pradesh. With its large daunting structure, you will find the monastery space have an immensely calming effect on you.
Adjacent to a teaching institute where monks are imparted learning, you will find monks of all age groups here. Often presumed to be quiet, you will see monks laughing with each other, playing football and going about their day. You can talk to them and get to know about their life here.
The best way to go around Bir is on a bicycle. You can rent one and start exploring. Or you can take a walk and admire the beautiful villages around. You will also find a few cute cafes here. Grab a cosy spot, a hot cuppa and enjoy your vacation.
Jibhi is a little scenic hamlet in the Tirthan Valley. Not a lot of people knew about it few years back, but every year you can see an increase in the number of travelers visiting this place. There is a stream flowing nearby and few pretty waterfalls which paint a perfect picture.
Jalori Pass and Serolsar Lake are the major attractions of the area. In winters, the path to Jalori Pass gets snowed and you have to walk for around 5 km to reach there. It feels like you have entered Narnia. There is a white snowy blanket on everything; from the tall mountains to the green pine trees.
During summers, you can drive till Jalori Pass and trek to Serolsar Lake. This lake is circular in shape and most of the time shining with clear reflection of sky. Locals claim that one would never notice any leaf floating on the lake. They believe that birds around the lake ensure that lake looks beautiful without any floating distractions.
There is a short hike to Chaini Kothi or the Great Tower of Chaini. It is the tallest free-standing structure built in traditional local architecture in the entire Western Himalayan region. It is believed that this temple was built as a defensive castle around the 17th Century by a local King. The tower temple stands on a plinth, which is almost 15 meters deep, and is made of locally available stone and deodar wood.
The awe inspiring view from the village is worth much more than the efforts to reach the place. The panoramic view of Tirthan Valley down in the depth surrounded by maze of mountains is beyond any description.
Click here to check out a cozy homestay in Tirthan Valley!
At an altitude of 14,100 ft lies a magnificient lake. Chandratal Lake is to Spiti, what Pangong Lake is to Ladakh. The lake is a photographer’s delight. It is deliciously blue and the crystal clear waters of the lake shine in many shades of blue depending upon its depth and with the sunlight.
The lake lies in the Lahaul and Spiti district and can be reached from Manali or Kaza. The lake got its name due to its crescent shape. The name Chandratal translates to ‘The Moon Lake’ in Hindi. This freshwater lake is also the source of the Chandra river.
To reach the lake, you’ll have to trek for 2 km. Most people are speechless after seeing the emerald coloured water of Chandratal Lake. Surrounded by snowcapped peaks on three sides, the lake encircles a vast meadow that is covered with different kind of flowers. The entire setting feels unreal as if you have entered a painting.
Camping is allowed at 3-4 km from the lake. The sky is so clear that you can see milky way and many shooting stars. Locals believe that fairies visit the lake at night. Keep looking in the sky and you might spot a fairy as well.
The beautiful town of Kalpa in Kinnaur Valley is a picturesque little sleepy village with views that can’t be compared. Kalpa is known as a gateway town for those heading to Spiti and many people pass through it without giving the attention it deserves.
Kalpa is also the base of Kinner Kailash. According to mythological beliefs, the that Kinner Kailash range of Himalayas is the winter home of Lord Shiva and therefore these mountains are considered sacred. The snow covered peaks are visible from all over Kalpa and tends to change colors based on the reflections throughout the day.
Due to its height, it feels as if the town is floating in clouds and mist. The sunrises are gorgeous with the mountains playing peek-a-boo behind the clouds and the colours of sky changing every few minutes. The panoramic and ever-evolving views of Kinner Kailash are simply breathtaking.
The best thing to do here is walk around the town. You might catch a sweet whiff from the apple orchards nearby. With the majestic Deodars surrounding the town, Kalpa is a lush green delight.
The famous suicide point near the town must have reached your Instagram feed. It is a steep rock with a massive drop-off to the valley below. The place has been gaining popularity and is a favourite among the photographers.
Another gem from the Kinnaur region, Chitkul is the last village of India on the Indo-Tibet Border. The picturesque location and the scenic beauty of the place are what draw travelers towards it. The Kinner Kailash range gives the perfect backdrop and the blue Baspa river adds to the charm.
The summer here is so colourful and lively with the blooming orchards and trees. Strolling down the village and soaking in the sun is an experience in itself during this time. On one side of the river, you can witness the beauty of the snow-clad mountains while the other side has a terrain full of wooden houses and apple orchards.
During winters, the entire valley is decorated in white snow. It is so cold that even the Baspa River gets frozen.
Did you know few scenes of Love Aajkal 2 were filmed in Chitkul. And even though the movie was a dud, this place is definitely a blockbuster.
Click here to read about last villages in India!
The main town in the Spiti Valley needs no introduction. Adorned with small cute cafes and a beautiful river flowing by, Kaza is popularly used as a base by travelers. You can visit Key Monastery perching on the cliff or the beautiful village of Langza, known or its fossils and colorful statue of Lord Buddha presiding over it.
You can make a day trip to Hikkim which is home to the world’s highest post office and play volleyball with the monks at Komik, the highest motorable village in the world. There are so many things to see and do.
The mountains are huge and barren with vegetation patches scattered in few places. The sky is so clear that you could spot Milky Way with naked eyes. And the people are so warm that you cannot help but fall in love with them.
Barot valley is located in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh which is also considered to be one of the best places to visit experience outdoor activities. The village is also considered to be a prime location where the breeding of trout fishes takes place along with many fishing farms.
The Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary is situated across the river Uhl, home to the Himalayan goral (of the goat family), a number of pheasants and also black bears from the Himalayas. A road continues through the Shelter to Kullu. The evergreen forests that cover them are home to deodar trees. Here there are a number of trekking trails, making it a popular hiking destination as well as a tourist destination.
Read about Sethan Valley here, an offbeat place in Himachal!
Click here to know about Himachali Food in detail!