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Himachal Pradesh

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Himachal Pradesh

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Eagles soaring near the Dhauladhar Mountains, Dharamsala

Himachal Pradesh [3] is a state in north-western India, and offers much for those looking to experience the Himalayas. While it does not claim the highest peaks in the range, there is plenty to do aside from mountaineering.

Map of Himachal Pradesh


There are twelve districts in Himachel Pradesh State:

Tibetan temple and monks, Dharamsala


  • Shimla — the state capital and once the summer capital of the British Raj, it is a cool and charming Himalaya outpost
  • Bir — a small town with a large Tibetan community and several Buddhist monasteries
  • Dalhousie — a sleepy little town which retains its Victorian charm
  • Dharamsala — the home of the Dalai Lama and India's largest Tibetan community, and a major Buddhist center
  • Kullu — a few km south of Manali
  • Manali — a buzzing and popular hill station, it's one of the hubs for travel around this part of the Himalaya
  • Mandi

Other destinations

  • Rewalsar (Tibetan: Tsopema) - a lake sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus



Hindi, Pahari, Punjabi and English are the main languages found in the state.

Get in

By plane

Shimla, Kullu (for Manali) and Kangra or Pathankot (for Dharamsala) have small airports, with services largely limited to Delhi. Flights are frequently cancelled or delayed by adverse weather. In addition the airport in Pathankot (Punjab) can be a convenient connection for Dharamsala and Dalhousie.

By train

Few points in Himachal are easily accessible by train, but there are narrow-gauge railways from Pathankot (Punjab) to Kangra and Kalka (Haryana) to Shimla. This will take you through beautiful rural Himalayan regions. The ride beyond Kangra is amazing. You ride along the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas via Palampur and Baijnath to Joginder Nagar. The region is criss crossed by rivers and streams.

By bus

Bus is the only practical means of getting to many points in Himachal. All cities of interest have direct services to Delhi, and the Dharamsala-Manali-Delhi triangle is fairly well served. Note that travel times are long and the roads often hair-raisingly hilly.

Get around

By bus

A typical HP bus

Travel by bus can be done throughout for very little (15 hour bus rides are rarely more than a few hundred rupees) on the public buses, and though uncomfortable, are a great way to meet people. Though be careful, as riding an Indian bus is already a hair-raising experience, and riding an Indian bus on steep mountain roads is even more intimidating!

By motorcycle

Enfield motorcycles can be rented here for less than 5 dollars a day, with no verification of a motorcycle license. Note that the area may not be the best place to learn how to ride.


Dalhousie is a world famous hill station, located in the western part of Himachal Pradesh. Dalhousie is basically built on five different hills called Balun, Tehra, Kathlog, Patreyn and Bakrota, it covers teh area of 14 sq. Km. Dalhousie is named after one of the British Governor General names Lord Dalhousie. Dalhousie has many beautiful churches and charming colonial architecture.

Kullu Valley is very well known as Valley of Gods, is situated on the Beas river bank, lower reaches of Himalayas. Rudyard Kipling has written, "Surely the Gods live here; this is no place for men". Kully if a world famous tourist place and it is very well known for its ancient temples, festivals and apples orchards. This place is also famous for its handicraft work and woollen work of puhla, shawl, patoos, caps and namdas. The best time to visit Kullu is during Dusshera in the month of October.

Spiti Valley is also known as the Little Tibet due to its vegetation, terrain and climate which is almost similar to Tibet. Spiti also means Middle Country.


Trekking opportunities are plenty in the state, here are a few:

  • Baralacha-Chandratal Trek — starts from Manali, ends at Chandratal Lake ("Moon" Lake)
  • Bhabha Pass Trek — known for lush green flower strewn meadows, picturesque and dense forests. he path for bhaba pass trek passes through a mixed forest of conifers as well as crop fields of Mastrang.
  • Bir Bhangal Trek — Bir Bhangal Trek is only for the experienced trekkers who have the experience of solid hiking and camping. This is one of the challenging trekking trails which starts from the kully valley. [4]
  • Darcha Lamayuru Trek — this is one of the most popular trekking treks in the Himachal Pradesh, and one of the most traversing trek, passing through the Zanskar
  • Darcha Padum Trek
  • Deo Tibba Expedition
  • Friendship Peak Expedition
  • Hampta Pass
  • Indrahar Pass


  • Buddhism. Classes for study of Buddhism are taught in Dharamsala and Bir.
  • Yoga. There are several places to study yoga in Dharamsala.




Sunrise Tourist Home - Home away from home!!! Nice, quiet and homely atmosphere with full view of the Dhauladhar range on one side and the mystique Kangra valley on the other. Call owner Atul Verma at 09816335360. (He's a Royal Enfield biker, trekker and a tourist guide as well.) My all time favourite place in Kangra district.

Himachal Cottage Villa, [5] Village Bashkola, Katrain, Distt. Kullu (H.P.), +91-9417150502, [6]. A lovely modern cottage-villa. Reasonable. Beautiful surroundings.

Indian Himalaya Homestay [7] - Try a homestay experience where you are cared for by a local family - simple accommodation set high on the mountainside overlooking the beautiful Kullu Valley.

  • Hotel Valley View Crest, +91 1892 - 220091, [1]. Hotel Valley View Crest is located just below the hills of Dhauladhar ranges, few kilometers from the major tourist town of Dharamshala. The hotel is 5 kms from Dharamshala and 3 kms from Mcleodganj which is famous tourist destination for westerners and Indians and is also known for the settlement of exiled Tibetan community and official residence of noble laureate His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Valley View Crest has 25 rooms. Satobari Hills, Near Dal Lake, Naddi, Upper Dharamsala, Distt. Kangra - Himachal Pradesh) INR 1200.
  • sunrise villa homestay in himachal (homestay himachal), shoghi near shimla (0.5 Kms from shoghi bus stand and railway station, 13 kms before shimla), 91 177 2860075, [2]. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 12:00. Sunrise Villa homestay hotel (Department of Tourism, HP Government approved home stay unit) is located at a very picturesque location at Shoghi ], a suburb of Shimla , in a peaceful, calm and serene environment, with breathtaking views of the distant Chail and snow clad Himalayan ranges. 900.

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