Jogindernagar is a hill town in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh state in India's Himalayan North nestled in Dhauladhar range at 1220 metres. It is a pleasant destination to hang out for with a number of hill stations around and other places of interest to visit. The city is popularly known as Electric City and The City of Powerhouses and is the only town in Asia to have three powerhouses which run on the same stream water. The town packs good options for sightseeing, picnicking, angling and adventure sports like paragliding and trekking. The town is known for three T's namely Trolley, Trout and Train.
The major languages spoken in the area are Hindi and dialects of Pahari. The dialect of western Pahari used in the region varies from Mandyali to Kangri because of closeness to Kangra district. The other languages spoken and understood by majority of population are Punjabi and English. A majority of the people understand English well.
The town is known for its pleasant climate. The climate remains mild and light in summers when light woolens or cottons are recommended and during winters, heavy woolens are required.
The temperature may dip down as low as -6 degree Celsius in nearby mountains in peak winters.
City is well connected with road from all the major junctions. National highway 20 passes through the city. Buses, taxis and other vehicles are frequently passing by.
Joginder Nagar is terminal point of 163 km long Kangra Valley Narrow gauge railhead. One can start from Pathankot, Kangra, Palampur to reach here as these towns are connected to the same rail line. But the journey takes as much as double time on train since the train runs slow on hilly terrains and slopes. For sight-seeing the Dhauladhar mountain ranges and local stations, it is the better option undoubtedly.
An exotic hill station at a 1.5 hour drive from the town. The main reservoirs on Uhl river for Shanan and Bassi hydel projects are located here. It is worth angling, fishing, trekking, camping and other activities. It is situated at 1820 metres above sea level and offers cool and pleasant weather whole the year. It is situated 25 km off National Highway 20. The diversion to Barot is at a village, Ghatasani, 14 km from Jogindernagar and 35 km from Mandi. This bye road passes through Jhatingri and Tikkan. From Tikkan, the road runs along the Uhl river till Barot. A major portion of this road is single lane, though not one way.
Barot is a frequent backpacker and day tourist destination. Many trekking trails pass through Barot, including trails to Bada Bhangal, Manali and Kullu. Most of the day tourists as attracted by the serene surroundings and cheap availability of accommodation.
Of late, Barot is also developing into an angling destination. The Uhl river supports Trout breeding and Barot has a few fish farms. Across the river Uhl is the Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary, home to Ghoral, Himalayan Black Bear and a variety of pheasants.
Barot is connected by public buses to Mandi, Jogindernagar and Palampur.
Known to be the one of the best paragliding spots, it offers the seekers with everything adventurous you may seek. There are lots of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in Bir, a nearby town mostly inhibited by tibetan people in exile. While Billing is the hang-gliding take-off spot for Paragliding Pre-World Cup and other international level tournaments like Himalyan Cup.
6 km from the Hotel Uhl is this small lake held sacred to Machendru Devta means the God of Fish. It is a famous and sacred as well swimming spot. Fish are fed and worshipped here especially on Saturday and Tuesday. Fishing is strictly prohibited here. A fair in the month of April is held here every year. Out flowing water of Uhl river from Bassi Power house meets into Gugli Khadd. Some beautiful temples of Machendru Devta are lying beside the lake with very old idols of God of Fish. A comparatively large lake is 1.5 km away from sacred lake which is 200 m lengthy and 20–50 m broad. There are thousands of Mahashir fishes here.
20 km from Joginder Nagar is this exquisite temple where Lord Shiva is worshipped as Vaidyanath - ‘The Lord of Physicians’. The original temple was built in 804 AD. Here King Ravana is said to have supplicated Lord Shiva for this boon of immortality.
Situated at a distance of 25 km at an altitude of 2100 meters lies this beautiful hill resort. it is surrounded by thick pine forests all round and offers spectacular scenery. It used to be the summer capital of the kings of Mandi. It offers paragliding for the seekers amongst thick pine forests. One can easily takeoff for a long ride towards the town of Jogindernagar, Mandi, Bir-Billing but you may need to arrange a professional paraglider for yourself as they are not available most of the times in Jhatingri.
Covering a total area of 278 sq. km the sanctuary is stretched throughout Barot Valley starting from the Tikkan village towards Barot and Chota Bhangal area. It forms most of the part of Chauhar Valley (Barot Valley).The sanctuary is home to the western tragopan(monal), black bear, snow leopard and ghoral. It can be reached by the same road to Barot.
Here is a haulage way system in Jogindernagar which is perhaps its only kind of track in the world. There are different haulage way stations in this particular transportation system starting from Buffer stop (4,150 feet). Next is Adit Junction set at an altitude of 6,000 feet (1,800 m) is locally called as 18 number as it is imprinted over there. The trolley leaves at 8.30 in the morning but you may require special permissions from the authority of Shanan Power House to ride it since outsiders are not allowed. The water rushes down from the reservoir at Barot in the Uhl river through penstock pipes going down nearly a thousand meters (3,280 feet). Haulage Way System or Trolley at Jogindernagar is one of its own kind in the world.
Winch Camp is situated at an altitude of 8,000 feet (2,400 m). The height of the peak is near about 8,800 feet (2,700 m). It can be reached on riding through Haulage way car or by treking which may take 4 hours and is a bit tiring. The haulage way car reaches here nearby 10 am after leaving off at 8.30 am at the base station at Buffer stop in Shanan Power house. On the way to Winch camp there are thick forests of Rhododendron (Burans or locally known as Brah ka fool) from which people prepare delicious sauce having a great medicinal use. One needs to pack himself sufficiently with food as it is not available since no restaurent or shops are near around. One rest-house is also available for higher officials visiting Winch Camp free of cost. A govt. owned rest-house is under construction near the village of Fooladhar which is half kilometre from this site. From this place one is able to see kilometres of distance including Beas River, Mandi Hills, Kangra district and Hamirpur boundaries etc. In winter season there is heavy snowfall over these mountains which sometimes even scales up to 2 feet (0.61 m) or above. At this time local people, tourists, students from schools and colleges step onto these marvelous mountains for having the gorgeous pleasure of snowfall on their feet. On the other side of the mountain is Headgear, the next haulage way station at an altitude of 8,300 feet (2,500 m). This spot packs outstanding scenery of Himalayan ranges, including Dhauladhar, which are about 16,000 feet (4,900 m) or above from the sea level. From Headgear haulage way car descends the steep hill having a large gradient. This steep hill is known as ‘Khooni Ghati’ literally meaning to ‘Valley of death’ as it is locally said that there had been any accident over here. Further coming station is Katheru set up at an altitude of 7,000 feet (2,100 m) above sea level. The next short journey track is called as Zero Point at 6,050 feet (1,840 m).
The railway platform lies in the midst of the town. The train leaves twice at early in the morning at 7 am and in 12 noon towards Pathankot. It goes through other beautiful hill resorts namely Baijnath, Palampur and Kangra. On the way, it offers spectacular views of mighty Dhauladhar ranges which remain snow clad almost whole of the year. The ticket fare is very low as not expected. You can ride through it spending 60 bucks only and reach 163 km distant station at Pathankot.
In a nearby village known as Ner (6 km from Jogindernagar) is a hundreds of year old temple of Lord Lakshminarayana. Lord Vishnu is said to have meditated here for 500 years and is built by Pandavas. It is worth seeing in its old architectural style and idols carved out on the outer walls of the temple. It takes 15 minutes to reach it from the bus-stand in your own vehicle. This temple came into the minds of people when an industrialist from other state dreamt of meeting God and God said him to take care of the temple. Industrialist donated thousand of rupees for the repair of this temple. It is said that the idol of God on that night moved inches from its original place and bells started ringing automatically. It can be reached through state highway 19 towards Sarkaghat. The road branches off towards the temple near the village of Jhalwan 3 km from the bus-stand.
It is a popular picnic spot and a hangout destination situated on Siyuri Dhar mountain range and is 10 km from the town. It can be reached through single lane road which branches off towards it from the National Highway 20 at Shanan. A small reservoir for Bassi Power house is located here. One can see the whole Joginder Nagar valley from here. One govt. rest house is also available but restricted for officials only. But one can leave off in the evening after hanging out around.
This is the largest herbal garden in North India situated at a distance of 0.5 km from the bus stand. A single lane road called Cinema Road connects it with the town. You can gather a lot of information about herbal plants, rare herbs and others plants of medicinal use. One must visit the Herbal Museum dedicated to all rare herbs.
8 km from the town is this small lake held sacred to Machendru Devta means the God of Fish. It is not a big lake geographically but is formed by the stream-water of Gugli Khad, a small river. Fish are fed and worshipped here especially on Saturdays and Tuesdays. Fishing is strictly prohibited here. A fair in the month of April is held here every year. A bridge over Gugli Khadd, a small river, is situated here. Out flowing water of Uhl river from Bassi Power house meets into Gugli Khadd at Machyal. Some beautiful temples of Machendru Devta are lying beside the lake with very old idols of God of Fish. A comparatively larger lake is 1.5 km away from sacred lake which is 200 m lengthy and 20–50 m broad.
With special permissions from the authority of Shanan Power House, one can ride through this one of its own kind vehicle which runs on a railway track and is bound using a metal cable wire. It rides up slowly towards the altitude at a high gradient and provides a lot of thrill and enjoyment for the riders. It takes its riders to Winch Camp at 8000 feet. Undoubtedly the journey seems to be quite thrilling and amazing.
One can trek towards Winch Camp and Barot. Starting from the Zimzima or at Buffer Stop in Shanan Power House, you can trek directly towards winch camp through local routes or along Haulage Car track. One is able to see kilometers of distance as one approaches high up in the mountains. After reaching Winch Camp one may trek further towards Barot along a railway track from Winch Camp which is now not in use.
For adventure seekers, this option should not be missed. One can fly in the air with the local paragliders who often take flights from Dhelu, situated 2 km from the town towards Pathankot and Dharmsala highway spending a few bucks. Dhelu is a hotspot for picnickers and those who like sightseeing near around. While the other take-off site is Jhatingri at 2100 meters(6700 feet) and packs wider ranges for paragliding but you may need to manage a paraglider yourself.
Barot is a famous hotspot for fishing and is known for two most recognized breeds of fish: the trout and the rainbow which are exported to major hotels in the country. One needs to register oneself at Fishery Farm Office at Barot and apply for a valid license which is necessary otherwise angling is treated as illegal.
Situated 8 km from the town is this small but sacred lake which remains groomed with visitors throughout the year. One can enjoy swimming in the streams but remember fishing is strictly prohibited here rather they are worshiped and fed offerings. For a better swimming experience one may head towards a larger lake situated at a distance of 1.5 km towards Uhl Project III site.
The town has a number of restaurants in and all around which provide good food options at cheap rates.
Famous beverages including all type of cold drinks, juices etc. are available in the leading restaurants mentioned above but drinking alcohol is prohibited here and in other public places.
The town has a lot of cheap and semi-luxury hotels in budget ranging from 200 to 1500 rupees per room per day. Most of the hotels are equipped with restaurents so you may not need to get outside for food. Some of the best hotels has been listed down:
Govt. Tourism Dept. owned deluxe hotel nearby Civil Hospital beside highway towards Mandi lies Hotel Uhl which provide cheap accommodation options along with good food and a variety. It has a self owned park and good parking facilities as well. One may opt for luxury, semi luxury and economy suites fro ease. Tel. No. 01908-222002 ; email: [email protected] Tariff per day: Rs.600-1200
Situated at Dhelu, 2km from the town away from the crowdy and noisy environment, it has good facilities viz. restaurent, parking etc. along with beautiful surroundings. Paragliding site is situated nearby at roadside.
Contact No: 01908-222761 Tariff per day: Rs.700-1500
Phone: 01908-222119,94180-32356 Tariff per day: Rs.600-800
It is in the main town beside highway and Gugli Khad, a small river. Contact No: 01908-222372 Tariff per day: Rs.400-500
The area dialing for the town is 01908 and in international format it follows : +91 1908 XXXXXX . One can find a lot of telephone booths near around.
Town has almost all the leading mobile operators which include Airtel, Tata Docomo, Tata Indicom, Reliance, RIM, Idea, Vodafone, Aircel. The town has next generation 3G facilities(serviced by Idea Telecom) from March, 2012.
The town has a number of internet cafes with charges per hour or half hour. Mostly they charge 20-40 rupees for surf of one hour. The cafes have high speed connectivity available as equipped with broadband access.