Ever feel like experiencing a holiday that counts as a real, memorable getaway? The Grand Himachal Tour is the way to go. Delightfully indulge your senses in the towering Himalayan terrains abundantly criss crossed with dense jungles, walking trails and a number of incredible sights and sounds. There’s something for everyone here – whether you are on your honeymoon, a hardened adventurer, a globetrotter driven by wanderlust, or just keen on a really good getaway with the gang.
Here’s why you need to make a pit stop at each of these places in your exploration of the breathtaking Himalayas:
With breathtaking views of the deep and wooded forests in all its natural beauty splendour, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh was once a favourite summer retreat for the British. Today, it is the most popular hill station in the north of India where vacationers from all around the world go to get away from the daily hustle of city life. Set in the beautiful hills in the south west range of the Himalayas, Shimla treats honeymooners and families to soul soothing strolls among plantations verdant with pine, rhododendron and deodar. And plenty of promise for adventure. Famous for its trekking and hiking trails, tiny hill town Kufri at the foothills of the Himalayas is a wonderful jaunt. Go on a shopping spree on Mall Road, pay a visit to Lord Hanuman’s Temple and hop on the darling Toy Train connecting Shimla to Kalka. Summer Hills and Chadwick Falls are excellent picnic spots as well. Great idea to set up camp here.
Disembark at Bhuntar and change your bus to Kasol – for a truly enchanting time. It has long been said that Parvati Valley has exactly the atmosphere to calm an agitated soul. This beautiful, enchanting valley stretches back up to the hot springs at Manikaran and envelops into the 5000 m heights of the ranges.
When you have transcended from the haze of Parvati Valley, make your way over to Manali for adrenaline pinching adventure sports and all the splendid sights here to see. The background is already in place – cascading waterfalls and snow-clad Himalayan peaks that are a favorite jaunt for trekkers. For some of the most exquisite sights of the Himalayas, take on the famous, ambitious trek to the enchanting Markha Valley. Popularly called the ‘tea house trek’, one can expect accommodation in parachute tents at most of the villages en route. The rapids of River Beas are ideal for the thrill of white water rafting. The absolutely magnificent Rohtang Pass greets you with gorgeous views as does Solang Valley with its giant slopes of lawn. It is recommended that you paraglide off the pasture of Gulaba, before gleefully soaring through the air and gracefully drifting down towards the base of Solang Valley.
The food scene in Manali is absolutely top notch, and it caters to several tastes. Honeymooners in India and international travellers are in for the biggest treat, with atmosphere to match the quality of food served – whether local pahadi (mountain-dwelling) favourites (like Tudkiya Bhaat, Siddu, Dham and Himalayan trout), world cuisine fine dining or yummy refreshments and street food at kiosks and hawker stalls.
Also read: Must Visit Restaurants for Great Food in Manali
Dalai Lama’s home and winter capital of Himachal Pradesh in the Kangra district, Dharamshala translates to ‘rest houses for pilgrims’. One of the main attractions of Dharamshala is Triund Hill. Set up camp at Triund and prepare for a one day trek in the upper reaches of McLeodGanj. Triund hill offers a stunning view of Dhauladhar on one side and Kangra Valley on the other. The valley rolls down the southern edge of the magnificent Dhauladhar mountain range in gentle slopes that are covered with lush green forests of pine, orchards, tea gardens and terraced fields. Both Kangra and Dharmasala are important tourist destinations known for their ancient temples and picturesque surroundings.
If you don’t terribly mind a detour and you know what you’re in the mood for: soaring high in the sky and enjoying splendid views of untouched scenic locations and verdant landscapes from above, there’s just the place in Himachal Pradesh. It turns out the village of Billing is where you should be taking your taxi to from Pathankot. And behold the paragliders dotting the sky on your winding drive to there. Paragliding at Billing is hailed an unforgettable experience. It may surprise you that a pre-World-cup paragliding event is organised at Billing every year. Paragliding in India has been getting never-seen-before exposure and Bir is the most famous location for all kind of aero sports, in India and worldwide. The villages of Bir and Billing (14 kms from Bir) are now the hub of aero sports in India. Your launching pad is a verdant little meadow at Billing (2600 m). The meadow is above the villages of Bir and Chaugan. Bir is the landing ground for the paragliders who take off from Billing. In October 2015, the Billing Paragliding Association (BPA) conducted the AAI Paragliding World Cup 2015 (PWC) in Bir-Billing. It was the first-ever event of the World Cup tour to be held in India. The area is easily accessible by road and train. Bir-Billing is an open valley and is naturally suited for the sport of paragliding. Once your tummy settles, sit back and savour the birds-eye view of Kangra valley and the Dhauladhar mountain range.
AKA India’s Switzerland. The saucer shaped plateau is an awe-inspiring sight – surrounded by dense pine and thick forests of deodar along the fringes of the exquisite glade of Khajjiar (1085 m). Horse riding and zorbing are two very fun things to do here. When you are out sightseeing, take the time to step in to a temple dedicated to Khajji Nag. Behold snake idols here, as it is a 12th century AD temple dedicated to Naga, the lord of serpents. Within the temple are life size wooden images of the five Pandav brothers.
Nestled among green pine and oak trees in Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh, Dalhousie is a pristine hill town described by lush green mountains, glistening rivers, a cool mountain breeze and striking colonial architecture. Dalhousie has preserved its natural beauty and is characterized by a comforting old world charm. What Dallhousie has to offer is its scenic beauty and gorgeous tourist attractions, the most famous of which are Panch Pulla, Satdhara Falls and the Dainkund Peak, where the 3 rivers of Chenab, Ravi and Beas visibly weave through diverse forest cover. Another popular spot is the area of Karelanu. It is famous for its precious water known for having healed freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose when he was suffering from tuberculosis.