These undiscovered, untouched spots in Himachal Pradesh retain their maiden glory to a great extent. Mystical views of silvery peaks and sparkling streams that is sure to leave you in awe. We all want to visit places still spared by the hordes of tourists, so here take a look at our 12 offbeat places in Himachal Pradesh.
1) Tirthan Valley
If you want to experience nature’s surrealistic supplements with the sound of bone chilling water cascading down rocky brooks, Tirthan Valley is the the place to be. This uncharted heaven lies 1600 metres from the Tirthan River, from which it derives its name. Ideal for travellers who prefer treading the path less taken, this secluded valley is known for trout fishing, camping and adventurous activities. If lucky, one may find rainbow or brown trout in the glacial waters.
Trekking and overnight camping is also ideal in the dense surrounding forests. Apart from this, the multiplicity of adventurous activities available should ensure that one’s time here is not wasted. To name a few, rappelling, rock climbing, jumaring, river crossing, night treks, mountain biking, archery and kayaking form part of the adventure sports in the area. As one of the most important eco-tourism valleys in the country, a visit to the Tirthan Valley promises to be a rewarding experience, bridging the gap between man and nature in today’s fast-moving world.
In the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh lies Chitkul, a small village. At a height of 3450 metres, it is the last inhabited village near the Indo-Tibet border, and also the last location in India one can travel to without a permit. Tourists usually stay at Sangla and plan a return trip to Chitkul the same day. The river Baspa is a constant companion on this journey from Sangla. The surroundings, like the rest of Himachal, are comprised of snow clad mountains and varying hues of apple orchards, mustard fields and vegetation. The valley is known for its fine quality potatoes and peas.
The weather, cold and unpredictable, can be harsh. The Goddess of Chitkul resides in a temple here believed to be 500 years old. Reverence to the goddess is a must by the Parikrama pilgrims.
3) Pabbar Valley
Pabbar valley is a dynamic blend of ethereality and nature, and offers something to everyone who walks its way. It’s picturesque hamlets and swift brooks along with fruit orchards were enough to lure British Viceroys who camped and recuperated here.
A trek through Pabbar Valley is comprehensive, taking one through tiny villages untouched by tourism, to cedar, oak and birch forests and finally to snow-covered valleys.
An enchanted treat for nature lovers, Thanedar is most well known for its apple and cherry orchards, which dispatch several lakh cases of apples every year to various parts of the country and abroad. Slices of apples are even dried on rooftops and chewed on as sweet treats during winters, apart from being eaten freshly off trees.
The Banjara Orchard Retreat is a popular sojourn with tourists, thanks to its fully furnished suites with 24 hours water supply and well-equipped kitchens that provide for a hassle-free stay overlooking the orchards. The famous “Nag Devta” temple built along the Tani-Jubbar Lake is a must-visit. Hattu Peak, which provides a breath-taking view of snow-capped ranges, and St. Mary’s Church, one of the oldest in India, are also worth a visit.
Not just a beautiful place, Barot packs a wide range of outdoor activities. The Uhl river located here not only sustains inhabitants and wildlife, but is also a trout breeding centre and has a few fish farms, making it popular for angling. Across the river Uhl is the Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary, home to Himalayan goral (of the goat family) a variety of pheasants and Himalayan black bears. A trek route cuts across the Sanctuary to Kullu. The surrounding evergreen forests are home to deodar trees. A variety of trekking trails exist here, making it a popular trekking and day tourist destination. A temple, of Dev Pashakot, the rain deity sits across the Uhl and can be visited.
Kalpa lies in Kinnaur district of Himachal, and is among the biggest villages of the district. It has a history of ancient temples, mostly Buddhist monasteries in what was once ancient Tibet. Perhaps best known for its pine-nut forests, Kalpa provides spectacular sights of snow-clad Kinnaur Kailash being bathed in sunlight during sunrise. Apples are grown as a major cash-crop in the region.
The sacred Shivling rock on Kailash mountain, which changes colour at different times during the day, can be viewed from here. About 11 km from Kalpa lies Kothi, where a Hindu temple is situated, whose central deity is Goddess Chandika Devi. The temple’s unusual architecture is unlike that seen in any other city. A sculpture of the goddess in gold is installed in the central shrine.
Located in Kullu district, near the Tirthan River, Gushaini is nicknamed Trout Country for its abundance of trout makes it perfect for trout fishing. The place is ideal for tourists whose perfect trip involves camping in portable dome tents hitched on the banks of the Tirthan River. Just 20 km from Gushaini lays The Great Himalayan National Park, whose denizens include around 30 species of mammals and 300 species of birds. It is advisable to explore the Park by walks through the natural cedar groves.
Narkanda is located 65 km from Shimla, and connects Shimla to Rampur, while a slight detour leads to Thanedar. The place is ideal for those wanting to spend time in solitude among the Shivalik ranges. During winters the natural slopes, covered in snow, are popular for skiing. Since 1980, the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation has been conducting ski courses in the town. Just 8 km from Narkanda, the Hatu Peak is a good place to visit. Many prefer hiking to the top, as it provides captivating views of snow clad ranges and apple orchards. Atop the peak, in the midst of pine and spruce trees, the Hatu Mata temple is situated.
Shoja lies in Seraj valley and is well known for the Serolsar Lake, which is particularly invigorating at sunset. One can walk around at leisure, or wander into meadows located here. A short walk leads to a waterfall, where some prefer to bathe in the ice cold water while others prefer chilling their drinks while soaking in the sun.
Unspoiled by tourism, Shoja is a tidy place, relaxing for those who like to take a break from city life and slow down their pace.
The mesmerizing valley of Rakcham, surrounded by silvery, snowy mountains and lush green carpets of vegetation is like a gateway to heaven. Flanked by the river Baspa on one side, Rakcham is midway between Sangla and Chitkul. It lies not far from the Indo-Tibet border, and is at an altitude of 2900 metres.
There is an amalgamation of Hindu and Buddhist ideologies among the inhabitants, evident from the fact that 2 Hindu temples and a Buddhist shrine coexist in the town.
Rakcham is relatively less developed than other Himachali towns, with just a few stores providing basic necessities, but the abundance of favourable soil and climate required to grow a variety of cash crops makes up for the loss. Himalayan Black Bear, Musk deer, Goral, Leopard, brown trout and blue Sheep are among the fauna found.
A spectrum of green hues on hill slopes guided by occasional brooks and rows of pine trees are a welcoming sight in this suburb called Shoghi, just 13 km off the Shimla-Ambala National Highway. A placid yet active place, Shoghi offers adventures like rappelling, rock climbing and valley crossing. Besides these, guided forest hikes and night treks are also arranged.
The more daring can engage in Commando Rope Walks. Nights can be busily spent around bonfires, whose heat and comfort cannot be overstated.
The unblemished picture and comfortable weather is perfect for adventure activities, trekking and hiking, and bonfires.
On a small crest above McLeodGanj lies this inconspicuous hill station called Dharamkot, which is known to provide relief from the bustling crowds of McLeodGanj and Dharamshala. The place provides panoramic views of the Kangra valley and is a considerably good picnic spot. A number of mustard fields surround the area, making one feel like a part of a quintessential Bollywood movie. A good beginning base for trekking enthusiasts, the village has known to attract people from all walks of life to settle here. The comfortable weather and a few interesting dhabas and eateries make this a viable, desirable tourist destination.
Also Read: 30 Offbeat Places to Visit in India
–Meghana Meghana is an avid reader, metalhead and foodie who spends her time following politics, working at animal shelters, advocating feminism and atheism and watching Anime, among other things. She has too many aspirations to list in one go.
This post was originally published on Trodly travel blog.
Featured image by Meghdut Gorai