Lofty hills, verdant slopes, gushing rivers, inviting orchards and the crisp and cool settings, Himachal Pradesh is an evergreen holiday destination with so many popular tourist locations –Shimla, Kullu-Manali, Dharamshala, Kasauli, Kangra and several others that see a steady stream of visitors.
This lush and beautifuldestination has a host of other off-beat places that are equally picturesque and enjoyable to explore. You could opt for one the Shimla Tour Packages that cover remote locations for a totally different holiday experience.
Here are few places in Himachal Pradesh that have managed to remain well hidden from the holiday crowds.
Tirthan valley is indeed a pristine off-beat location in the Himachal that is replete with scenic terrain, lakes, cloud covered mountains, quaint villages and waterfalls just to name few of nature’s wonders that you get to experience when visiting this part of the country. Idea
l for ardent trekkers and wildlife enthusiasts, the valley and several villages along the course of the Tirthan River prove a pleasant retreat waiting to be explored. The valley is best for adventure enthusiasts interesting in rock-climbing, trekking, rappelling and crossing the river on wooden bridges or precarious and primitive pulley-operated cable cars!
After acquiring a special license, it is possible for tourists to indulge in trout fishing along a demarcated stretch of the Tirthan River as well. The Chehni Kothi, a stone/wooden structure built about a century and a half ago is a notable landmark in this region.
This remote village, Shoja at about 2700 meters altitude is a quiet yet scenic location where you can revel in the beauty of nature – clear streams, rivers running through woods and meadows. Shoja is located close to Kullu and is an ideal base to visit the nearby Jalori Pass and Raghupur Fort. The village has a limited number of inhabitants and only few homestays with basic facilities are available here.
Space is scarce, and you will have book a homestay well in advance if you plan to unwind in this tranquil haven. Vehicles are available at the homestay for you to explore the neighbourhood.
While there are not many places of tourist interest in Malana located in Parvati Valley, you can experience a slice of local life in this most ancient of democracies in the world. The locals are believed to be the descendants of Alexander the Great and consider themselves superior to other people. Tourists are not allowed into local homes and they are not to touch the walls of temples, homes or belongings of the Malanese.
Non-conformers are fined! The main attractions at Malana arethe uniquely structured local homes, beautifully designed temple of Jamdagni and another of Renuka Devi and the Hashish extracted from Cannabis. Basic accommodation and foodare available at Malana if you wish to stop over. The spectacular high-altitude panoramic views that unfold as you set on a 4-km up-hill climb along a paved path towards the village are bound to be memorable.
The tranquil and immensely picturesque settings of the Parashar Lake bound the Dhauladhar Ranges is one of best kept secrets of this region. The oval-shaped lake with dark blue waters reflecting the mountains ranges and skies set right in the midst of lush vegetation is a respite to the hassled soul seeking quiet and calm.
The lake is fenced and houses a small floating island. If lucky you can see it moving. A traditionally designed multi-storied wooden temple dedicated to the Sage Parashara is an impressive structure that showcases local architecture.Parashar Lake is an ideal destination for treks and outdoor camping, with the higher grounds around it offering impeccable views of sunrise and sunset across the Dhauladhar. You can also spot several mountain peaks from here.
Kheerganga is definitely off-limits if you are looking for a luxury getaway, but is the most exciting and stunning locale for avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts who can thrive on bare essential facilities. The hot Sulphur springs are the main attraction that draws tourists from different parts of the world.
The only way to reach these springs is by foot, and a dip in the hot waters proves quite rewarding after a long hike. The pit-stop at Natkan village allows you to rest and stock up before heading further.
The walk through pine forests with tall trees and mountain streams for company is bound to be both challenging and refreshing as well. You’ll most likely be accompanied by mountain dogs on this trail! The sunset and sunrise are indeed stunning and definitely worth capturing for posterity. Camping under the stars in Kheerganga is a unique experience as well.
Yet another laid-back spot tucked away in Karsog Valley, Chindi is ideal for just about any tourists looking to spend quality time with nature. If you are travelling with your loved one, Chindi is a good choice as it offers ample opportunities for long strolls and heart-to-heart conversations in a dream-like setting.
Wind rustling through Pine forests, chirping of birds, sprawling apple orchards are but a few delightful experiences that await you, just about 100 Km from Shimla. Chindi is also the starting point for a few treks that explore this scenic neighbourhood, such as the one to Shikari Devi Temple.
These are but a handful of secret places that have managed to retain their natural appeal as they are off the regular tourist maps. Most of these places are reachable by treks or walks from the nearest motorable roads with some having just basic accommodation and food options. If you are an adventure seeker / nature lover willing to brave the challenges often typical of remote locations, opt for a custom tour package instead of the popular Shimla tour packages to explore such extremely scenic spots, some of them just outside Shimla!