If you love the mountains as I do, I’m sure you spend your summer in constant anticipation. You wait ardently to stand in front of a hill, for cold winds to envelope you into their arms and welcome you home. So for your homecoming this year, do something special. Ditch the mainstream crowd and head to a secluded Himalayan town instead. Here are a few places that you must visit:
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Visiting Shimla but want a quiet alternative? Mashobra is the way to go. Situated 13km away from Shimla, Mashobra is a quaint town that you will definitely love. The hills of Mashobra are covered in mighty oak, rhododendrons and deodar trees. You can spend your day hiking, trekking, biking and camping. You can always head to Shimla if you want to be in the middle of some action. Mashobra is known for being home to beautiful Airbnbs and luxury properties. If you’re looking for a staycation, this is the place to be!
Highlights: Reserve Forest Sanctuary, the Presidential Retreat, river-rafting at Tattapani.
Where to stay: The Nilaya
2. Sainj Valley
Nestled amid the mountains of Himachal is a hidden treasure called Sainj Valley. Sainj is an unexplored area and thus, offers complete peace and tranquillity. Its twin valley, Tirthan is also a pristine one that you can easily access via Sainj. Opt for a stay in a village homestay or head to a cozy Airbnb for a getaway. Apart from Sainj’s boundless beauty, you can visit the Great Himalayan National Park that is situated only an hour’s drive away. The park is on UNESCO list of World Heritage, and a must visit for a glimpse into the wild.
Highlights: Himalayan National Park, hike to Sarikanda.
Where to stay: Aastha Homestay.
Situated on the banks of river Sutlej, Moorang is one of the lesser known towns of Himachal Pradesh, therefore, it hasn’t been tainted by commercialisation, and is the perfect safe haven that you need to be with yourself. Just soak in the crispy sun, catch up on your reading list, explore your own trek trails and discover the mountains of Kinnaur. Explore Moorang Temple at Chilling and the Monastery of Moorang. You can even head to Reckong Peo, located 33km away.
Highlights: Moorang Temple and Monastery, Lipa Asrang Sanctuary
Where to stay: Tendel Homestay
Image credit: Walkingthehimalayas
Home to the famous Jalori Pass, Jibhi is a hamlet tucked within the mesmerising Banjar Valley. This unassuming village is the ideal hideaway for summer. In Jibhi, you can choose from numerous forest hikes, try fishing in freshwater lakes or picnic in a meadow! Sit back, relax and unwind to the sounds of nature in Jibhi. This secluded town is also famous for its dark night-skies that allow stargazing. So don’t forget your camera and binoculars!
Highlights: Jalori Pass, Sirlosar Lake, Chehni
Where to stay: Gone Fishing Cottages, E-Living Project
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
110km away from Shimla lies Rohru, a majestic town located in Pabbar Valley. Situated by the banks of Pabbar River, Rohru enjoys green and fertile lands. The town is famous for its fresh, juicy apples that paint the fields of Rohru red. If you’re visiting right before apple season in September, you will be greeted with a town that is blanketed in powder-pink flowers. Spend your day sauntering along the valley, interacting with locals and enjoying pure beauty. The town is ideal for adventure seekers as locations near Rohru are ideal for hiking and biking.
Highlights: Chanshal Pass, Saru Lake.
Where to stay: Tethys by the River
Image: Saumia Bhatnagar
Located in the Kinnaur region of Himachal Pradesh, Chitkul is a lesser known town that the average tourists does not visit. You won’t find even a touch of commercialisation here — there are no supermarkets, no malls, and no fancy restaurants. Nature blooms in full splendour in Chitkul — uninterrupted and heavenly. The only sounds that you will hear are the gushing of a river and birds happily chirping away their days. Take a walk through the town and explore its ancient culture and heritage.
Highlights: Kamru Fort, Beringnag Temple, Mathi Temple.
Where to stay: Zostel Chitkul
Image: Saumia Bhatnagar
Located in the famed Spiti Valley, Kaza is a fairly tedious trip to make. Naturally, it is not widely visited by tourists. If you’re up for a little bit of a road trip and staying without internet connectivity, you are sure to love Kaza. Dotted with quintessential mud-brick Spitian houses, Kaza is an effervescent town. You’d be surprised with its wide range of cafes, its international crowd and numerous volunteering opportunities.
Highlights: Kibber, Hikkim, Komik and Langza
Where to stay: Wanderer’s Nest
Know before you go:
Himachal is well-connected to other parts of the country, be it by road, rail or air. Here’s how you can reach:
Himachal has three airports, Jubbarhatti Airport near Shimla, Bhutan Airport in Kullu and Gaggal Airport in Dharamshala. Regular flights from Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai and other cities ply to these airports. You can easily get two-way tickets starting from Rs 10,000.
The only railway station in Himachal is in Pathankot from where you can hail cabs and buses to reach your destination.
The roads of Himachal are a delight to drive on, so don’t think twice before getting your car! In case you don’t want to drive, you can rely on the brilliant HRTC bus services. The buses are convenient, reliable and will take you even to the most secluded of villages. Alternatively, you can even hire cabs and travellers for your trip.
These off-beat destinations in Himachal will make for the perfect summer break. So don’t sway with the mainstream, have unique travel experiences instead!