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Himachal Pardesh Travel Guide - Himachal Pardesh Tourist Attractions
Himachal Pardesh, India
A mountainous state in the western Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh stands elevated from 350-7,000 metres above the sea, blessed with abundant natural beauty. Sharing borders with J&K, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Tibet, it is connected by air to Delhi and Chandigarh. Its majestic mountains, icy fast-flowing rivers, lush valleys, pristine streams, gurgling waterfalls, scenic hill resorts, terraced orchards, and pretty meadows of colourful flowers, all ensure that everyone falls in love with Himachal.
Our Himachal Holiday Package can lead you to many splendidly beautiful hill stations in the state: Shimla, Chail, Kasauli, Kufri, Kullu, Manali, Lahaul-Spiti, Dharamshala, Dalhousie, and Chamba. If you wish to venture further from the picture-postcard beauty of Manali, you can go up to Rohtang Pass, visit Lahaul-Spiti and Leh, and see the wondrous snow-laden landscape at Rohtang, where you can ski amidst the world’s deepest snow packs at an altitude ranging from 8,000-13,000 ft, through stunningly forested terrain. There’s ice-skating and snow-scooter rides at any time of the year. Besides, you can go tobogganing, rowing, angling, water-skiing, surfing, kayaking, rock-climbing, mountaineering, mountain cycling, or even take a vehicle safari in Himachal.
Shimla, once the summer capital of the British, is now the state capital and has the only natural ice skating rink in Asia. A ride on the slow Kalka-Shimla train through 102 tunnels as it passes by cheerful meadows and pretty hills is an invigorating and delightful experience. Chail, Kufri, Kasauli, Chamba, Dharamshala, Dalhousie, Kullu, Manali, and Lahaul-Spiti, each have plenty to commend themselves in terms of scenic splendour, richly forested hills, peace and quiet, and are beset by tourists most of the year.
The adventure tourist will love our Himachal Tour Package, as they find space to indulge their yearning for adventure in water rafting, para-gliding and hang-gliding. The many rivers flowing through the upper Himalayas afford ample opportunities for white water rafting. Sutlej near Shimla, Ravi near Chamba, Chandrabhaga in Lahaul, and Beas near Kullu give all the thrills an experienced rafter looks for in innumerable staircase rapids with the waters swirling and falling around, time after time. Beginners, too, can feel the thrill in the gentler rapids. Billing is the best place to visit for sport activities like para-gliding and hang-gliding, amidst blue skies and green hills. A combination of hang-gliding and sky-diving, para-gliding has caught the attention of sports enthusiasts.
Known as the ‘Land of the Gods’, Himachal is also said to be the abode of goddess Parvati’s father. The Himachal Holiday Package can take you to several temples dedicated to the Mother Goddess – Chintpurni, Chamunda, Jwalamukhi, Tara Devi, Shyamala Devi, and Kalibari. The state has the single temple dedicated to Manu, founder of the human race, but there are many temples dedicated to Shiva, and Shimla’s famed Jakhoo temple dedicated to Hanuman, which is besieged by monkeys and langurs all the time. Several quaint Tibetan monasteries have come up in many places, particularly in Dharamshala, the present abode of the Dalai Lama; while Paonta Sahib and Manikaran gurdwaras are famous, the latter especially for its hot sulphur waters; and, there are magnificent churches, with Christ Church in Shimla and Kasauli being very popular with the locals.
You can avail of our Himachal Tour Package at any time of the year: spring, summer, and winter being the best seasons. If you wish to visit any hill resort in the monsoons, you have to keep in mind that you may not be able to go for any outdoor activities, except play billiards or card games in your hotel room. During other times, there’s plenty to do. With such pretty hill stations, tourists love to go trekking to visit the known and off-the-beaten track places, breathing in pure oxygen. An occasional rain during summer means you may well be walking through the clouds – an exhilarating experience!
Himachal Pradesh has a variety of flora and fauna, many national parks and wildlife habitats with rare and endangered animals and birds. The shy snow leopard, the state’s pride, abides in the Himalayan National Park in Kullu. Chail and Manali have wildlife sanctuaries, while Simbalwara in the Paonta valley has a large variety of deer besides other animals, and the Pong Lake Sanctuary near Dharamshala has birds, deer, and leopards. In the higher reaches in the north-western and north-eastern parts, alpine shrubs and meadows abound. Trees of birch, oak, deodar, and pine, maize and paddy fields, and beautiful blossoming flowers make for picturesque locales.
This fairy-like state celebrates many festivals, amongst which the more popular ones are the Winter Carnival in Manali, Shivratri, Ladarcha fair, Minjar fair, Tribal festival, Phulech or the Festival of Flowers, Kullu Dussehra, Renuka fair, and the Ice Skating Carnival in December. Traditional dance and music play a key part in most of their celebrations.
You will discover there’s plenty for shoppers when you take our Himachal Holiday Package. There’s profusion all over the state of colourful woollen caps, stoles, and shawls, besides a diverse range of beautiful handicrafts and curios that make a good souvenir buy. Carpets, leather goods, metal-ware products, and artistic paintings attract tourists. There’s plenty of woodcraft, especially walking sticks – ornate and plain, and furniture. Kullu’s elaborately-patterned, vibrant shawls and the Kangra miniature paintings, from Kangra and Dharamshala, are hot favourites. Shimla, which remains a top tourist destination, has shawls, tweeds, rugs, carpets, handicrafts, silver jewellery, miniature paintings, hand-made footwear, besides excellent honey, jams, and fruit juice. Tourists going to the Mall in Shimla for a leisurely walk or a tete-a-tete to pick up the latest gossip, often end up going to the nearby Lakkar Bazaar that is full of curios made from wood and Himachal’s famous walking sticks.
With tourists coming from all over, the state is geared to meet the culinary demands of most. The Himachal Tour Package will lead you to any number of hotels and restaurants, moderately-priced and the upscale ones, serving non-vegetarian and vegetarian fare. Cuisine meets most international demands. There are many restaurants serving Tibetan and Chinese food and fast food restaurants as well. The daily fare of the Himachali populace is like that of the rest of the North Indians, comprising of lentils, rice, vegetables, and rotis or bread, though the South Indian idli-sambar, vadas, and dosas are also served in some restaurants. Specialities of the state include their own variety of paneer, jhoul, patrode, chouck, beduan, sidku, khatti dal, madra, ambua, pahari aloo, and pahari murgh, besides their traditional chutneys.
The extreme variation in elevation brings about a variation in the climatic conditions in Himachal. In the southern regions the climate can be hot and sub-humid, while it is cold and glacial in the northern as well as the eastern regions. Most of Himachal receives heavy showers during the monsoons, except places such as Lahaul and Spiti where there’s hardly any rain though they are very cold. Due to the mountain ranges, the climate never gets very hot, the maximum averaging from 28oC-32oC, while in winter the temperature often drops to below freezing point, bringing snowfall.