Offbeat destinations in Himachal pradesh -
Offbeat destinations in Himachal pradesh
Posted 10 Jan 2017 05:15 PM

1) Tirthan Valley: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, jomaring, 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.

2) Chitkul: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.

4) Thanedar: 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.

5) Barot : 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.

6) Kalpa: 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 kms 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.

7) Gushaini :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 kms from Gushaini lies 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.

8) Narkanda: Narkanda is located 65 kms 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 kms 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.

9) Shoja: 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.

10) Rakcham: 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.

11) Shoghi: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 kms 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.

12) Dharamkot: 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.

13) Malana: Hidden from the overbearing crowd of the rest of the world, Malana is a small village asleep peacefully in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. The most intriguing fact about this offbeat destination is that its people are believed to be the direct descendants of Alexander the Great. In fact, this place has its own set administrative laws and practices that closely resemble that of the Greek administrative system, language, social framework and their notion of purity.The local deity, Jamlu rishi is can be thought of as the one responsible for the origination of this village as well as formation of its society, its laws and ways. The Chandrakhani and Deotibba peaks lumber over the village as if to protect it from the outside world.

14) Jalori Jot : Undoubtedly one of the best trekking trails, Jalori Jot is a bestowed with nature’s best. One can stay up at Shoja and drive down to Jalori Jot to continue on hike to the popular Sareyol Lake adjacent to the Jalori Jot temple on the left from the main street or can take the right towards an ancient fort; both spots being equally ecstatic. A word of caution though; one must wear good pair of trekking shoes for this trail to ensure better gripping and higher safety since the trail often tends to get slippery especially in the monsoons. The hiking trail is good 4 km long before one reaches the lake. Thankfully, there is a good dhaba that one come across just before they reach the lake that’s good to get one’s batteries recharged for continuing further.

15) Kheerganga : Tucked away in the quaint Parvati Valley in Kullu district, Kheerganga is one of the most beautiful offbeat places of Himachal Pradesh. To reach here, one needs to go up to Barsaini from where they have to take a four hours long trek to Kheerganga.It is said that Lord Shiva meditated in this region for thousands of years. However, the most spectacular feature of this place is it’s hot spring, where one can truly unwind and get rejuvenated after the long journey; since this spring is also believed to contain healing properties.

16) Rakcham : The Rakcham valley is yet another unspoiled and unexplored terrain of Himachal Pradesh which is surrounded by silvery mountains and mesmerizing verdure of vegetation. With the river Baspa meandering by its side, Rakcham is like the path to heaven lain halfway between Sangla and Chitkul.Since, the Indo-Tibetan border lies not far off, Rakcham as one would expect is a blend of Hindu and Buddhist ideologies with two Hindu temples and a Buddhist temple concurring in the same town. Although the soil here is quite fertile making for the growth of a huge variety of cash crops, still the town is less flourished than the other Himachali towns, with only a handful of stores to provide for the basic necessities of its inhabitants.The region around is alive with a number of mountain animals, including Musk Deer, Goral, Brown Trout, Blue Sheep, Himalayan Black Bear, and Leopard.

17) Chindi, Karsog Valley : Chindi is yet another off–beat place in Himachal Pradesh that offers an inspiring set of beauty, peace and calmness. Once, you reach Chindi you have all the time in the world to rejuvenate, relax and spend some quality quite moments with your loved ones. You have ample of hikes around in the dense orchards and there are several temples than can be explored around Chindi. You can also visit Karsog Valley situated just below Chindi which also offers some really lush green wide views of the mountainscapes. If lately, you had some “not so good” time with your better half or you had great time with him/her but still want to make it better by listening to each other or you yourself want to introspect few things about yourself then Chindi is an ideal place for you. For more details on an itinerary, you can check Itinerary for Shimla, Chindi, Karsog and Kullu Valley.

18) Daranghati : Daranghati near to Sarahan, is one of the remotest and unexplored passes in Himachal Pradesh situated just above Daran Village. It is famous for Daranghati Wildlife Sanctuary but nothing can be taken from the jaw-dropping beauty it offers you. Since, Daranghati is near to Sarahan (which itself offers nice beauty and peace) and lacks too many accommodation options (just two as of now), it can always be covered as a day trip from Sarahan. However, one day camping at Daranghati is highly recommended to feel the nature in its best form. The general route to Daranghati goes through Mashnoo (alternate routes are also there) and for cars it is almost an off-road type of experience. If you plan to visit in hatchback or sedan then I guess you need to have some really good driving skills, caution and very careful driving to run on this adventurous plus narrow road. If you are especially a rider or driver who loves to enjoy some adventurous roads to reach a secluded place for ultimate relaxation then you should definitely plan a trip to Daranghati very soon. You will not be disappointed at all. Even, if you drop Daranghati then Sarahan (entrance to Kinnaur Valley) itself offering some picturesque beauty and peace, is worth a place to visit.But, going to Sarahan will just give you peace nothing much exotic.

19) Hamta
This is the fringe of heaven. If you are looking for a vacation spot where you can sit back and soak yourself in the surroundings, then you are at the right place. Hamta is a small village about 2 km away from Manali in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. One can reach Hamta via Pirni Aleo Hydro Power Plant and start the curvy clamber towards the lush green mountain top that overlooks the Manali City. Tired of the Delhi heat, I decided to go on a solo trip to Himachal Pradesh. It was then that I stumbled upon a lesser known village called Hamta. It was the deep valley with lush green trees, candy flossed clouds, tranquil Beas River and the silence of the mountain that I instantly fell in love with Hamta. I stayed at Backwoods Mountain Camp and Café, a humble abode surrounded by apple trees and the gleaming sight of nature`s beauty at its full bloom. Vikas, the owner of Backwoods Mountain Camp and Café is a gentleman; he is friendly, knowledgeable and always willing to do anything to make your stay comfortable and memorable. One can also take up activities like trekking, photography or mountain biking. You can start with a light hike to a nearby waterfall, take a dip in the freezing water and enjoy your picnic basket. If you are a serious trekker then walk all the way over to the base of the Himalayas, the Pir Panjal Range. You can you have enough days on hand you can complete the whole Hamta Pass Trek. Make sure to take breaks in between and recharge yourself with some soupy maggi or a hot glass of tea.

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