The Land of Himachal
Popularly known as the Devbhumi – "Land of the Gods", Himachal Pradesh is a beautiful hill state in northern India nestled in western Himalayas. The state is landlocked with the Tibetan plateau to the east, Jammu and Kashmir to the north, and the Punjab to the west. However the state stands apart from its neighbours in terms of its sheer topographic diversity and breathtaking pristine natural beauty. From vast tracts of high-altitude Trans-Himalayan desert to dense green deodar forests, from apple orchards to cultivated terraces, from snow capped high Himalayan mountain ranges to snow fed lakes and gushing rivers.
Dharamshala is headquarter of the Kangra district. This is a hill station lying on the spur of the Dhauladhar range about 18 kms north - east of Kangra town. This hill station is wooded with oak and conifer trees and snow capped mountains enfold three sides of the town while the valley stretches in front. The snowline is perhaps more easily accessible at Dharamshala than at any other hill resort and it is possible to make a day's trek to a snow-point after an early morning's start.
In 1905, tragedy struck Dharamshala when an earthquake levelled it completely. After its reconstruction, Dharamshala flourished as a quiet health resort. It is divided into two distinct parts. Lower Dharamshala has civil offices and business establishments with courts. Kotwali Bazar and Upper Dharamshala comprise of places with names which bear witness to its history like McLeod Ganj and Forsythe Ganj. Since 1960, when it became a temporary headquarter of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Dharamshala has risen to international fame as "The Little Lhasa in India".
Blessed with some of the most spectacular and beautiful landscapes anywhere, it is a travellers paradise - lofty snow peaks, deep gorges, lush green valleys, fast flowing rivers, enchanting mountain lakes, flower bedecked meadows, beautiful temples and monasteries steeped in time. May it be for relaxing, sightseeing, trekking, mountaineering, fishing, para-gliding, skiing, ice skating and golf, Himachal has it all...Come Explore Himachal with himachaltourist...
A quaint little hill train chugs up into the Shivalik foothills, over dramatic loops and high arched bridges to the hill resort of Shimla (2130 m) - the capital of the mountain state of Himachal.
Shimla was one a string of hill stations that the British established to escape from the scorching heat of the plains. The 12 km, crescentshaped ridge on which it is located was first occupied by the British troops, in the early part of the 19th century, during the Anglo-Gurkha War.
The little village of Shymala, a retreat for British officers, soon grew to become the glamorous summer capital of the British, in India.
Shimla's salubrious climate, easy accessibility and numerous attractions have made it one of the most popular hill stations in northern India. The splendid views of the show-clad ranges of the Himalayas, fine walks through oak and flowering rhododendron, enchanting resorts within easy reach, golf Naldehra and skiing at Kufri and Narkanda make Shimala an attractive destination throughout the year.
Around Shimla Mashobra
Noted for its apple orchards and thick woods of oak and pine. Mashobra is a sylvan retreat with pretty walks and pIcnic spots. A little track leads down to Sipur a grassy glade with a stream wandering through it. Excursions are possible to Shali Peak - the highest point in the area or to Craignano (3 km) with its elegant guest house set in a delightful flower-filled garden.
Kufri is a noted summer and winter resort with its glorious views of forested slopes and tall ranges iced in a covering of perpetual snow. A fine ski resort, Kufri has a winter season that extends from January to March. A sparkling winter sports festival is held each year in February.
Just 6 km from Kufri, Fagu is a vantage point with panoramic views of the ranges and valleys. Picturesquely located amid forests and orchards, Fagu has a rest house and tourist bungalow overlooking the Giri Valley.
The scenic, nine hole golf course with its springly turf and crown of deodar was laid out at the instance of the Viceroy, Lord Curzon. So enamoured was he by the beauty of the spot, that he named his youngest daughter Alexandra Naldeh`ra.
Tattapani is just 28 km from Naldehra, along a road winding through the scenic country side. The hot sulphur springs here, are hoted for their invigorating and curative powers.
A hill road with superb views links Narkanda with Shimla Narkanda, located amidst fragrant pine forests is a ski resort in winter. It has a choice of slopes ranging from a beginners run and a slalom slope, to sharper descents for the experienced skier.
Rising above forests of spruce, the Hattu Peak is a vantage point with spectacular views. The pretty orchard country of Thanedar and Kotgarh - beautiful in spring - are not far away. Khadrala and Beghi with their dense forests and Kumarsain with an interesting wooden palace are also within easy reach of Narkanda.
In the picturesque valley of the River Pabbar, about 104 km from Shimla, is noted for its historic temple dedicated to Durga. Enroute to Hatkoti is the village of Kotkhai, splendidly located among apple orchards - a village with fine traditional architecture. Jabbal, once the capital of a princely state with its impressive palace is also on the way.
Beyond Hatkoti, 11 km away, is Rohru (1,149 m) on the River Pabbar - an excellent spot for angling, with fishing pools teeming with trout. The trout hatchery at Chirgaon, (15 km) upstream, ensures a well stocked river.
Rampur was once the capital of the princely state of Bushair and a major centre on the old trade route into Tibet. The annual Lavi Fair, held in the second week of November, is still an important event for the inhabitants of the region. They gather to buy, sell and barter their produce - homespun blankets, shawls, wool and dry fruits - and to celebrate the event with music and dance.
Rampur, on the banks of the Sutlej is on the N.H. 22 - the old Hindustan-Tibet Road that goes from Shimla into Kinnaur. The scenic village of Sarahan with its fascinating Bhimkali Temple is on this road beyound Rampur.
Places to see
The Mall : All visitors to Shimla inevitably walk down the Mall, the main promenade that runs along the top of the ridge-a busy shopping area with old colonial buildings, souvenir shops and restaurants. At the top end of the Mall is Scandal Point, a large open square with a view of the town-a favourite rendezvous for visitors and the local people. Overlooking it is the elegant Christ Church with its fine stained glass windows. The labyrinth of Shimla's bazaars spill over the edge of the Mall.
Viceregal lodge : Housed in the Gothic splendour of the Viceregal Lodge is the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, India's premier academy for higher research.
Himachal State Museum : Very close to the Institute, in a colonial building set in spacious lawns, is the museum. It has collections of Pahariminiatures, stone sculpture, local handicrafts, textiles and embroidery.
Jakhoo Hill : Hill, Shiml's highest point, is rewarding for there are superb views of the town and its surroundings. At the top is an old Hanuman temple.(2Km).
Annandale : Hill, Shiml's highest point, is rewarding for there are superb views of the town and its surroundings. At the top is an old Hanuman temple.(2Km).
Glen : A pretty picnic spot beyond Annandale is located in the thickly Wooded Glen , beside a sparkling stream.(4 Km).
Summer Hill : The quite and lovely suburb of summer Hill has shady walks and charming views. It was here that Gandhiji stayed on his visits to Shimla, in the elegant Georgian mansion that belonged to Rajkumari Amrit Kaur. Summer Hill is located on the Shimla - Kalka railway line.(5 Km).
Chadwick Falls : Just beyond Summer Hill is the 67 m waterfall, cascading into a deep gorge. The Falls are best seen after the monsoon.(7 Km).
Prospect Hill : A 15 minute climb from Boileauganj, Prospect Hill is another favourite walk and vantage point with breath taking views. There is a little temple to Kamna Devi on the top of the hill.(5 Km ).
Sanjauli : A serene location with delightful walks, Sanjauli is ideal for a tranquil weekend. There are fine vistas and the lights of Shimla and Chail can be seen twinkling at night. On the other side, Mashobra and Naldehra are visible.
Temples : Among the little temples dotted around Shimla is the ancient temple of Bihargaon - a splendid example of traditional Himachal architecture. Just short of Shimla are the temples of Tara Devi and Sankat Mochanb.
Daranghati Sanctuary : This sanctuary located in the upper area of the Shimla district has an undisturbed forest area with plenty of wildlife-monal, tragopan, koklas and khalij pheaseants and musk deer, ghoral and thar. There is a network of bridle paths in the sanctuary. Visitors are advised to seek assistance from the forest staff posted at Dofda and Sarahan. The area is ideal for those who love to trek.