The hill resort par excellence nestles amidst the oak and pine trees on the outer slopes of the Dhauladhar ranges. Lord Dalhousie, the founder of the resort conceived it as a sanatorium due to its bracing climate and scenic beauty. You can see a lot of Victorian and Scottish style of architecture in bungalows and churches in this town. Things to see : Panchpula, Kynance, Subhash Baoli, Lakshmi Narayan Temple, St. Andrew's Church, St. Patrick's Church, St. Francis Church and St. John's Church.
Getting There :
By Air : Nearest airport for Chamba is Jammu (245kms) & Amritsar
By Rail : Nearest rail head is Pathankot (120kms)
By Road : Well connected by road, with all parts of the country.
The lush meadow is endowed with exceptional scenic beauty and is often referred by names like, "Mini Switzerland" and "Gulmarg" of Himachal. It also has a small lake with an island in the centre. Near the lake is a beautifully carved temple of Khajjinag dating back to 12th century.
The charming hill resort also known as the "Scotland of India" is the district headquarters of Kangra. It is one of the 80 hill resorts established by the British. McLeod Ganj and Forsyth Ganj, the suburbs of upper Dharamshala still retain the British flavour, while the lower Dharamshala is a busy commercial centre. The resort lies on the spur of the Dhauladhar range and the snow line easily accessible as compared to the other hill resorts. Today, Dharamshala is popular world over for being the headquarters of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and is also referred as the "Little Lhasa" in India. Things to see : War Memorial, Kunal Pathri, Kangra Art Museum, St. John's Church, Bhagsunag, Dal Lake and Jwalamukhi Temple.
Getting There :
By Air : Nearest airport for Dharamshala is Gagal (13kms)
By Rail : Pathankot (85 kms) is the nearest broad-gauge railway station. Narrow guage station is at Kangra/
By Road : Well connected by good network of roads.
Brajeshwari Devi Temple
The shrine noted for its legendary wealth was invaded in 1009, by Mahmud of Ghazni. It is dedicated to goddess Vajreshwari who is known as the goddess of lightning. It is said that he looted the rich treasures of the temple. The earthquake of 1905, completely destroyed the shrine and was rebuilt in 1920.
Situated just about 9kms from Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj is the headquarters of His Highness the Dalai Lama. Places worth seeing are the monastery, Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts and Tibetan Handicraft Centre. There is a large presence of Tibetan community and McLeodganj teems with Tibetan restaurants, antique and curio shops.
Located at a distance of 40kms from Dharamshala, picturesque Palampur set amidst tea plantations and pine trees is endowed with exceptional scenic beauty and bracing climate. The Dhauladhar mountain ranges behind this tiny town are covered with snow throughout the year.
Lahaul and Spiti District is the remotest and largest district of Himachal Pradesh with its headquarters at Kyelang, which is an oasis amidst snow- clad mountains of this district. Lahaul is known for its peaceful tribal people, glaciers, lakes and wonderful monasteries. Mainly dominated by Drug – pa sect or also known as Red Hats of Buddhism, Lahaul is visited by many Buddhist followers. Lahaul is a traveler's paradise and trekkers destination.
The historical village on the right bank of Chandra River is famous for its unique eight storied castle of the Thakur of Gondla. The fair held in the month of July at the local monastery attracts a large number of visitors. The dance performances of Lamas during this time enthrall the audience.
This ancient village on the confluence of Chandra and Bhaga rivers is associated with several myths and legends. It is said that Chandra, the daughter of Moon and Bhaga, the son of Sun married here.
Guru Ghantal Monastery
Situated just 4 kms away from Tandi, it is said to be the oldest Gompa of Lahaul. The monastery with pyramidal roof and exquisite carvings has idols of Padmasambhava and Brajeshwari Devi. The Ghantal festival is celebrated here on the full moon night in mid – June.
This lush oasis amidst snow – clad mountains is the headquarters of Lahaul Spiti district. It lies on the main road of Leh over Rohtang Pass at an altitude of 3340 meters. Lt. Col. C. G. Bruce rightly said that Kyelang is like a "barbaric jewel, roughly cut emerald in a bronze and silver setting". Kyelang is known for its three gompas – Kardang Gompa (5 kms), Shashur Gompa (3 kms), and Tayul Gompa (3 kms).
This monastery belonging to 12th century is situated just 5 kms from Kyelang transversely Bhaga River in the Kardang village. This village has also served as the capital of Lahaul once. The library here has many volumes of Kangyur and Tangyur, the Buddhist scriptures in Bhoti.
Founded in 17th century AD, Shashur monastery belongs to the red hat sect. Located on a hill among the blue pines, this monastery can be reached from Kyelang which is about 3 kms away. Lot of tourists visits this place during the month of June – July to enjoy the famous devil dance performed by Lamas.
Tayul which means the "chosen place" in Tibetan language, it is located 6 kms from Kyelang. Tayul Gompa is the oldest monasteries of Kyelang Valley and is famous for its 5 meter high statue of Guru Padmasambhava. About 101 volumes of Kangyur scripts can be found in its library.
It lies on the Manali – Leh highway and is famous for the devil dance held at the monastery in July.
Located at a distance of 116 kms from Kyelang, Sarchu is the last border point between the two states – Himachal and Ladakh.
It lies on the road to Leh and the trekking routes from Darcha to Padem via Shingo La Pass as well as Baralacha/ Phirtsela are popular. The scenic beauty is further enhanced by the confluence of Yotche and Zanskar Nallahs with Bhaga River here.
This is the originating point of Chandra, Bhaga and Yunam Rivers which flows in three different directions from here. Lying on the Manali – Leh highway this place is about 73 kms away from Kyelang.
Located at the confluence of Chenab and Mayar Nallah, Udaipur is known for its intricately carved shrine of a local goddess Markula Devi which dates back to 10th – 11th century. The remarkable interiors of the shrine are worth seeing.
This famous shrine of Shiva as Triloknath, the Lord of the three worlds lies in a village on the banks of River Chenab. This unique shrine also has a six armed image of Avalokiteshvara – a bodhisattava, installed by Guru Padmasambhava and is sacred to Hindus as well as Buddhists. A large number of devotees visit the shrine during the three day celebrations of Pauri festival in August.
The word Spiti which means "Middle Country" is aptly named as this place lies between Tibet, Ladakh, Kinnaur, and Kulu valley. Shaped by Spiti River and its tributaries, it is situated between the main Himalayas and Zanskar mountain range. Due to its similarity in its terrain, vegetation and climate with the Tibet it is often referred as "Little Tibet". It is an ideal destination for mountaineers and trekkers who visit here mainly in the months of July – September and explore this wild and unique land with beautiful nature around.
Kye (Ki) Monastery
Kye is the oldest and biggest monastery of the Spiti Valley. The ancient monastery set in picture postcard setting houses rare "thangka" paintings, ancient musical instruments, manuscripts of the sacred Tangyur texts and other scriptures of high aesthetic value. It is located 12kms from Kaza.
Thang Yug Gompa
Another important monastery around Kaza located 13 kms from it.
This Gompa serves the population of Pin Valley, which is situated 10kms from Attargo. It is the point from where Spiti River needs to be crossed to enter Pin Valley.
25kms from Kaza, Dhankar Monastery was the capital of Spiti Kingdom. The fortified monastery overlooking the valley is a fine example of Spiti's traditional architecture. It enshrines a statue of "Vairochana" (Dhayan Buddha) and has Buddhist scriptures in Bhoti language.
This famous gompa about 50 kms from Kaza was founded in 966 A. D. and is regarded as the "Ajanta of Himalayas", due to its exquisite wall paintings and stucco statues. It is the second most important gompa after the Tholing Gompa in Tibet and is a national historic treasure of India, protected as such by the Archaeological Survey of India. This large monastic complex has nine temples, 23 "chorten", a monks' chamber and a nun's chamber besides several caves and contemporary structures. It houses a large collection of scriptures, wall paintings and murals.
Kunzum Pass referred as the gateway to Spiti from Kullu and Lahaul valley. There is a temple atop the pass which is dedicated to goddess Durga. View from the temple is mesmerizing as one can see Spiti valley on one side and the peaks of Chandra – Bhaga on the other.
8kms from Kye village is perched at a height of 4205 meters and is perhaps the highest settlement in the world with a motorable road and electricity.
Kullu town is set on the banks of river Beas in the strikingly beautiful Kullu valley also known as the "Valley of Gods". It was earlier known as Kulanthpitha or the "end of the habitable world" and has still retained the old worldly charm.
It is 45 kms from Kullu and is the famous pilgrim centre of Hindus and Sikhs. Known for its hot sulphur springs where visitors even cook rice and vegetable in its hot water. Manikaran has a Gurudwara and temple of Lord Ramchandra and Shiva.
Majestic Manali, one of the most popular hill resorts of the country is set picturesquely on the confluence of Manalsu and Beas rivers about 40 kms north of Kullu. It is surrounded by snow clad peaks and thick forest and fruit laden orchards. Mythological legends indicate that the name Manali derived from "Manu – alaya", the home of Manu, the great Hindu law giver and it was from here that the human race came into being after the great deluge. There are many places of tourist's interest in Manali such as Hadimba Devi Temple, Manu Temple, Club House, Tibetan Monasteries and Vashista Hot Springs & Temple.
The gorgeous gateway to Lahaul Spiti, Pangi and Leh valley is set at an altitude of 3979 meters and is 51 kms from Manali. The highway to Kyelang/ Leh passes over this pass of about 1km. It opens for vehicular traffic from June to October. The breathtaking beauty of the mountains flanking the pass, the glaciers and Chandra River flowing down the Lahaul valley leaves a lasting impression on the visitors.
The historic town of Hamirpur is the headquarters of the district and lies on Shimla – Dharamshala road. Hamirpur was the part of medieval Jallandhar- Trigarta empire and was associated with the rulers of Katoch dynasty, who became very powerful under the rule of Raja Hamir Chand (1700 – 1740). Raja Hamir Chand also built a fort here and the town came to be known as Hamirpur after him.
Deot Sidh Temple
The sacred "Sidh Peeth" is one of the most important pilgrim centers of the state and is the abode of Sidh Baba Balak Nath. The cave temple is located on the borders of Bilaspur (70 kms) and Hamirpur (44 kms). It is well connected by road and is visited by millions of devotees around the year. Devotees flock in large numbers, especially on "Sankrantis", Sundays and the sacred Navratras. From mid March to mid July, the pilgrim centre is at its best as local deities from nearby villages are brought to the "Sidhpeeth" in a palanquin in a colourful procession.
Solan, the "Mushroom Town" of India lies on the NH 22, midway between Kalka and Shimla. It is named after Goddess Sholini Devi, whose shrine is located in the southern part of the town. A large fair is held every year in June at the shrine.
Captivating Kasauli, nestled at a height of 1927 meters is noted for its colonial charm, lush tranquil surroundings full of deodar and pine trees, scenic views and cleanliness. Kasauli was founded by the British forces in 1841, it developed as a cantonment sanatorium.
The tiny hill resort amidst virgin forests is 43kms. From Shimla via Kufri and 45kms. From Solan via Kandaghat. in 1891, Lord Kitchner banned the entry of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala to Shimla. Thus, the Maharaja decided to built a new resort, which would be better than Shimla. Chail sprawls over three hills – atop the Rajgarh Hill is the Palace; Old Residency "Snow View" on the Pandava Hill and Siddh Tibba is known for the temple of Baba Sidhnath.
The secluded district of Kinnaur is studded with towering peaks, high altitude valleys, glaciers and flowing rivers. The breathtakingly beautiful district is sparsely populated with about 77 villages and no major urban centre. Kinnaur has two of the world's great mountain ranges – the Zanskar and the Greater Himalaya. Kinnaur is said to be named after Kannauras, the main community inhabiting the region, who are believed to be the descendants of the Kinnars of Mahabharata.
This main town of the district is set at a height of 2759 meter, about 12kms from Recong Peo amidst vineyards, apple orchards, cedar and deodar forests. Kalpa earlier known as Chini affords a panoramic view of ther majestic Kinner Kailash. It came into prominence when Lord Dalhousie proposed the constitution of Hindustan – Tibet Road in the 19th century. Places worth seeing are the Narayan – Nagini temple and Buddhist monasteries.
The enchanting town of Sangla lies on the right bank of Baspa River about 38kms from Recong Peo. The 95kms long Sangla or Baspa valley is indeed the most charming valley of Kinnaur. Other important villages of the valley are Raksham, Chitkul and Kamru.
Scenic Shimla, the biggest hill station of the world is perched at a height of 2,100 meters. The stunning beauty and charm of Shimla was discovered by a British officer, Lt. Rose, during the Gorkha war and was named after the temple of Goddess Shamla, which was situated here amidst thickly wooded forest. Shimla became the favorite hill resort of the British and also the summer capital of India during the British Raj.
The Lord Hanuman shrine is set atop the Jakhoo Hill (2455 meters) the highest peak of Shimla. It affords breath taking views of Shimla and its surroundings.
The scenic site lies on the Hindustan – Tibet Road and is 22 kms from Shimla.
From Shimla it is 64 kms, the charming skiing resort affords breathtaking views. The Hatu Peak (8kms) and ancient shrine of Hatu Mata are worth visiting for spectacular views.
It lies on Shimla – Naldehra road amidst thick forest. The Godess Durga temple is worth seeing here.
The scenic site is famous for its golf course. Located 22 kms from Shimla it lies on the Shimla – Tattapani road. An ancient Nag temple is located here.
This tiny picturesque hamlet located 16 kms from Shimla is very popular among tourists. It is also a popular skiing resort.
Nahan, the headquarters of Sirmaur district nestles on an isolated ridge of the Shivalik hills. In 1621, the town was established as the capital of Raja Karan Prakash and the name is said to be derived from two words "na" and "han", meaning invincible. The peaceful town is dotted with temples, gardens and an artificial lake. Nahan comes to life during the celebrations of Bawan Dwadshi held towards the end of rainy season. During this time fifty two idols of local gods are carried in a colourful procession to Jagannath Temple, where they are floated ceremoniously in a pool and are resorted at midnight to their niches.
Suketi Fossil Park
The Shivalik hills have one of the richest treasures of mammalian fossils dating back to Jurassic time (about 8.5 million years ago). The unique park is only one of its kinds in Asia, as it has been developed at the actual site where fossils were discovered. There are life size fibre glass models of pre – historic animals whose fossils were found here.
The scared Sikh pilgrim centre 45kms from Nahan is set on the banks of river Yamuna. It is associated with Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru and the name "Paonta" is derived from "paon" or "foot", as Guru Gobind Singh set his foot over here. The other legend suggests that Guru Gobind Singh lost his ornament – "paonta", which he wore on his foot while bathing in Yamuna River over here.
The sacred lake shaped like a sleeping women is one of the most beautiful and the largest lakes of the state. The placid lake with a circumference of 2.5 kms is set amidst thickly wooded hills. A road is built around the lake and a number of shrines dot its embankments. Boating facilities are available but fishing is prohibited.
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