If we talk about travel, first picture that comes in our mind is a naturally beautiful place. Although, this beauty can be of different types. There are several such places in India. Mountains in North and East, beaches in South and West, forests in Middle and desert in Rajasthan have many getaway places. There are wildlife sanctuaries across India, where different types of animals and birds can be seen. And there is tourism run at religious and heritage places. Tajmahal, Qutub minar, Jama Masjid, Konark Temple, Jaisalmer Palace, Khajuraho etc are the symbols of diverse cultural heritage of India. Mathura, Vrindavan, Golden temple Amritsar, Vaishno Devi, Amarnath Yatra, Sidhivinayak, Tirupati, Shirdi, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti Dargah etc are the pilgrimages visited by hundreds of people.
Another kind of tourism emerging is the adventure tourism. Mountaineering, Trekking, River Rafting, Surfing, Paragliding activities are attracting adventure lovers. These all things summarize the Indian tourism.
But what if you can find all these things at one place? Yes, you read it right. Abundance of natural beauty to wildlife, heritage to religious places, a diverse culture and places full of adventure. Himachal Pradesh has everything a traveller would want to experience. Moreover, Himachal also comes in a budget package. Here is why you should visit Himachal.
Himachal, a state in the north of India is located in the Himalayan ranges. Himachal is a nature’s paradise. Snow covered mountains, thick forests, beautiful lakes, rivers cutting through the valleys and greenery everywhere, all attribute to the beauty of it. There are a number of amazingly beautiful places in the state. Some are well known hill stations while other are unexplored and offbeat places. Lahaul Spiti and Kinnaur districts in trans Himalayan regions are breathtakingly beautiful. One can sit and stare the gorgeous mountains, sit aside a river and listen to the music it produces, just keep walking through a Jungle trail inhaling the fresh air or gaze the stars and milky way on a clear night sky . All these things makes it a perfect tourist destination.
You can feel a fresh atmosphere and soothing climate here. Though Himachal has a moderate temperature, but the upper regions experience cold wave in winters. Himachal is the best option for a relief from heat in the summer. The upper regions of Kangra, Mandi, Chamba, Kullu, Shimla and Sirmaur while whole Lahaul Spiti and Kinnaur get heavy snowfall, which makes it a must visit place for snow lovers.
As the many cities in are getting polluted. Air and water pollution has worsen drastically, Himachal still is a place where you can breathe fresh air, drink water directly from tap and can see clear blue sky.
Culture and Heritage
Himachalis inherits the Pahari Culture. Although Himachal Pradesh has a unique cultural heritage, but it also holds the great diversity in itself. Different places have different traditions, lifestyle, dialects and rituals. This diversity makes it’s culture very rich. Himachal is called the Devbhoomi, which means the Abode of Gods. The parts of Kullu, Mandi, Upper Shimla and Kinnaur are the home of hundreds of deities. There are many festivals and fairs in the state which showcase the culture of respective regions. Anyone interested in these cultural things should visit Himachal for the insight of a different type of culture.
Kalka- Shimla is a world heritage site and one of the most beautiful railway track in India. Indian Institute of Advanced studies and shimla church in Shimla, Roerich Art Gallery Naggar, Jubbal Palace, Nalagarh Fort, Kangra Fort are some other heritage sites. Himachal also produces variety of hand crafted products like shawls, Himachali caps, Jackets, Sandals and wood craft etc.
Devbhoomi Himachal has many sacred places along with the temples of Deities. Thousands of pilgrims these places every year. Sri Naina Devi, Jwala Ji, Chamunda Devi, Chintpurni, Hadimba Devi Maa Bhimakali are some famous Hindu temples while Manikaran Sahib, Paonta Sahib are the Sikh pilgrimages. There are temples built by engraved stones in Mandi, Chamba and Bathu. Some of them are the National Heritage. Mcleodganj and Rewalsar are the religious centres of Buddhists. Mcleodganj is the place where Dalai Lama lives. There are also many Buddhist Monasteries in Lahaul and Spiti.
Having around 65% of forest area, Himachal is the home of several wildlife species. There are 28 wildlife sanctuaries all over the state. Great Himalayan National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site. Each of them have different types of wildlife. There are some species which can be found only in Himalayas.
Himalayan Monal. Jajurana, Western Tragopan, Siberian Musk Deer, Snow leopard, Blue Sheeps, Himalayan Tahr are some endangered species found in Himalayas.
In recent years, Himachal has became the hub of adventure sports. Bir Billing is the second best paragliding site in the world, while there are many other places where paragliding can be done. There are a number of amazing treks, ranging from day hikes to weeks long treks. Some of these treks go through Himalayan passes. Snow covered slopes of Solang and Hamta in Manali and Kufri and Naldehra in Shimla are perfect for Skiing. There are many Himalayan peaks for mountaineering and rock climbing. River rafting can be enjoyed in the rapids of Beas, Ravi and Sutlej rivers. There are options for pros and beginners according to difficulty level.
Mountain biking and car racing are the other adventure sports getting popularity in the state. MTB Himalaya and Raid de Himalayas are the famous races in the state. The cold desert in trans-himalayan area is must go destination for jeep safaris and off road motorbiking. And spending a night under the sky is every traveler’s wish-list. You can find camps at almost every place you visit. Otherwise you can pitch your tent anywhere you want. Hence, Himachal is a complete package for any kind of adventure lovers.
The cold deserts
However, there are several amazing places in Himachal, but valleys in the trans Himalayan region has their own USP. Lahaul Valley, Spiti valley and Sangla valley are mesmerizing places. Snow-capped peaks, barren land and rivers cutting through these valleys makes great picturesque landscapes. These places are the heaven for landscape photographers. In addition, Lahaul Valley also connects Leh-Ladakh to rest of India, which is the part of a dream road trip from Manali to Leh, especially for the bikers.
The snow-capped mountains peaks of Himalayas, vast lush green valleys, the landscapes of trans Himalayan regions, the rivers and the forests, all makes it a perfect destination for landscape and nature photographers. The amazing backdrops of Himalayas are also suitable for video shoots.
Peace and Solitude
Above all, the best thing Himachal has to offer you is the peace and solitude. Although, with the incursion of thousands of tourists every year, many of the places are getting crowded. But, still you can find a place in the solitude. Also, there are many off-beat places, which you should consider to visit if you are looking for peace.
Those who are living in cities, following those daily boring routines, it’s the time. Pack your bags and come to Himachal. Have your mind, body and soul rejuvenated and then go back to your usual life.