Welcome to Himachal Pradesh With Our Travel Guide
Himachal Pradesh- The Abode of Devas
Himachal Pradesh, a beautiful Indian state located in the foothills of the Himalayas is a paradise for the nature lovers. It is a pristine place that brings calm and solace to mind and soul with its spectacular and enchanting views. Landlocked amidst Tibetan Plateau, Jammu And Kashmir, and Punjab, the state is one of its kind with its diverse topography.
Himachal is an enigma for a few and a place to enjoy exciting and enthralling activities for others. Many come here to seek blessings from the mountain Gods’, and some enjoy the local flavor of the place. Describing Himachal in just a few words is hard. Its breathtaking and pristine natural beauty draws visitors in large numbers who are impressed with its unique charisma. Not only nature lovers but wanderers and voyagers from across the world to experience nature in its various forms.
Himachal Holiday Tours are planned in such a way that visitors get a glimpse into nature’s bounty as well as rich cultural, religious and spiritual fabric of the destination.
A Guide to Natural Vistas of Himachal Pradesh
If you are a die-hard nature fan, you will surely enjoy the scenic views of snow-clad mountains hovering over deep gorges, rippling streams, golden, lush green valleys, misty woods, fast flowing rapids, flower-filled meadows, gushing streams, glaciers, lakes and a lot more that will leave you thoroughly spellbound. The barren terrain of Lahaul & Spiti, the scenic cliff-hangings of Kinnaur, stunning valleys of Kullu and Manali, and a constant presence of the majestic Himalayan Range keeping an eye on you help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
Aura Voyages bring the best Himachal Tour Plan that makes it possible for you to discover multiple facets of this awe-inspiring destination.
A Guide to The Devbhoomi
The beautiful state of Himachal Pradesh is also referred to as the “Dev Bhoomi” or “the abode of Gods,” the place where Gods’ resides. The land holds a lot of religious and spiritual significance for people from different religions. The state respects every religion and is known to be the abode of many celestial beings.
Goddess Durga and her seven incarnations, Mata Jwala Ji, Mata Chamunda Devi Ji, Maa Chintapurni Devi, Maa Kangra Devi, Mata Mansa Devi, Mata Naina Devi, and Mata Kalika Devi, are known to reside. Some other temples one must visit are Tara Devi Temple, Sankat Mochan Temple, Jakhoo Temple, Hatkoti Temple and more. The people coming here on a pilgrimage tour have strong beliefs and faith.
People love taking a holy dip in the hot, Sulphur water of Manikaran Gurudwara which is known to have miracle powers and can treat people from a variety of skin diseases. This Gurudwara is also famous among believers because of the visit of Guru Nanak Dev Ji in 1574 with his disciples, Bhai Mardana & Bhai Bala.
When visiting Himachal, how can one forget to visit the famous churches of Shimla? Extravagant and elegant to the core, St John Church in Dalhousie, Christ Church in Shimla, and St John Church in Dharamshala are a few of the well-known churches in Himachal.
In 1959, The Indian Government allowed Tibetan Buddhist exiles to settle in the country, and this step paves the way for Buddhism religion flourishing in India. Dharamshala is home to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. When visiting Himachal, plan a trip to Dharamshala, Spiti, Lahaul, Kangra Valley, and Kaza and explore some of the most virtuous and serene monasteries known for its beautiful Thangkas and wall paintings and stunning statues of Lod Buddha.
Aura Voyages organize solo tours, family tours and group tours to this remarkable destination, introducing you to the hidden marvels of Himachal. Check our Himachal Pradesh tour guide to know more about the destination and what not to miss in your sojourn to this captivating place. It also gives you a brief glimpse into rich culture and traditions followed by people till date, keeping the age-old traditions alive. If you wish to visit Himachal for its tranquility, allow us to plan a Nature tour or Yoga tour which will help you experience complete relaxation and rejuvenation while enjoying nature’s vistas.
Must Visit Attractions of Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh has no dearth of natural, scenic and religious attractions that draw a large number of visitors looking forward to vacationing in the lap of lofty mountains. Beyond verdant meadows, gushing rivers and streams and gigantic Himalayan Range overlooking this beautiful, divine destination, there is a lot more to behold and capture in memories forever. Here, we offer some of the best Himachal tour packages that entail the must-visit as well as off-beat attractions of this beautiful state.
Toy Train in Shimla and Kangra
If you are planning to visit Shimla and Kangra, plan your travel through the famous toy train connecting Pathankot and Joginder Nagar. The train gently meanders like a lazy river through beautiful hills and deep valleys giving a chance to enjoy some of the most enchanting and lovely views of Himachal. The journey gives you sweeping views of the Kangra Valley, Dhauladhar, ruins of ancient Kangra Fort, and more. While enjoying your peace-filled sojourn, your senses will be rewarded with amazing scents of forests and valleys. It is undoubtedly going to be the best family trip to Himachal Pradesh.
Another way to enjoy the picturesque locales of Himachal is by embarking on a lovely journey from Kalka to Shimla in a toy train. It is a 2 ft 6 inches narrow gauge railway track that takes you through the dramatic and awe-inspiring views of nature at its best and quaint, sleepy villages cradled cutely in the verdant valleys.
Kangra Valley is a true divine and spiritual abode. Often referred to as “Devbhoomi,” this place is a vast expanse of the verdant place of beauty. Besides its religious significance, Kangra Valley is also known for amazing attractions like Kangra Fort, a significant landmark in the history finding a place in the ancient Trigarta Kingdom. Another attraction that you shouldn’t miss visiting is the Kareri Lake nestled amidst the impressive Dhauladhar Ranges. It is also a trekkers’ delight who love a peaceful experience. Devotees seek blessings at the famous Chamunda Devi Temple. Check out our carefully curated Himachal Holiday Tours and plan to visit this stunningly beautiful destination that offers a perfect mix of natural vistas and spirituality.
Rock Cut Temple
Also famous as the Himalayan Pyramid, Masroor Rock Cut Temple of Himachal Pradesh is one of the finest examples of architectural marvels. It is situated at Nagrota-Surian Link Road, approximately 32 km away from Kangra. Exploring the ancient ruins of this temple is nothing short of an enthralling experience. It was believed to have been built between 8th-9th Century AD carving 15 temples out of a single rock. The temple has been built in the Indo-Aryan style and houses the idols of Lord Rama, Laxmana, and Sita.
Garli & Pragpur
If you wish to experience living in a small village, visit Garli and Pragpur, the first heritage village of Himachal Pradesh. Walking down the narrow lanes of the village is sure to make you revisit your childhood memories. Houses made of bricks and mud thatched roofs will help you experience rural Indian life. Most of the village houses depict the prominent Sood community built anglo Islamic architecture. This architectural style makes the village stand apart from others in the state helping it to win the coveted title of Heritage Village in the state.
Dharamshala and its Dalai Lama Connections
Dharamshala is famous for two reasons. One for its breathtaking beauty and second because it is the residence of the great Tibetan leader, Dalai Lama. This calm and serene place makes visitors feel the presence of great Buddhism culture. The place is also known as little Lhasa. Residents and visitors celebrate the Losar Festival, marking the beginning of the Tibetan New Year every year. Beautiful bungalows, scenic landscapes, artistic monasteries, churches, and cantonment are a few of the attractions in Dharamshala.
Palampur and Tea Gardens
Palampur is a beautiful place known for its sprawling, verdant tea gardens. Dr. Jameson introduced tea plantation and established Palampur. These plantations have helped Palampur get popularity as the Tea Capital of North India. The beauty to this place is further aided by the gorgeous backdrop of Dhauladhar Mountain Range. While exploring this place, do not forget to visit the popular Jakhni Mata Temple and Tashi Jong Buddhist Monastery.
If you love the sight of soaring high, snow-laden mountains, visit Kullu Valley that is nestled amidst the Parvati Range, Pir Panjal and Barabhangal Range. Quaint villages, thick pine forests, gushing sound of roaring rivers, terraced fields and fruit-laden orchards are just a few of the attractions of this idyllic valley. The valley starts at narrow and steep Largi Gorge and continues till the Rohtang Pass. Kullu is famous for its Dussehra Festival which witnesses a lot of local participation. Explore the ancient temples and Naggar’s Castle when planning to visit Kullu. This place is also a trekkers’ delight with a lot of treks in the thick forests giving glimpses of nature’s beauty spread all around.
Manali is an idyllic hill station in North India. The place has a lot to offer to people with a religious bent of mind, adventure seekers, wildlife lovers, and ardent nature fans. The unmistakable fragrance of spruce trees welcomes the visitors leaving them speechless and baffled. Snow covered fir and pine trees add a surreal touch to the place. Visit the famous Solang Valley, Rohtang Pass, and the Great Himalayan National Park when visiting Manali. Adding this destination to your package can help you enjoy one of the most memorable and best family trip to Himachal Pradesh.
Mandi is also referred to as Choti Kashi, Varanasi of Hills and Kashi of Himachal as its landscape is dotted with 81 temples. It is an extremely beautiful and photogenic place that rewards visitors with breathtaking landscapes, divine temples, and shimmering lakes. People find a lot of solace in peace and quiet rendered by this destination. Mandi comes alive when the annual Shivratri Festival is celebrated with a lot of reverence and devotion. It is also known for the longest road tunnel road in India that spans 3 km on National Highway 21.
After exploring Mandi, visitors move on to a lovely, blue-water lake, Parashar Lake. If you love trekking, the Prashar Lake Trek is perfect for you. It takes you through the lovely and charming forest trails interspersed with rivulets. The trek passes through lovely villages giving you a glimpse into rural life. You can also enjoy the magnificent views of mighty Pir Panjal, Kinnaur and Dhauladhar mountain ranges. While enjoying trekking, you can also explore the ancient temple located at the banks of the lake.
Located approximately 22 km from Mandi, another Lake that is known for its rare beauty, Riwalsar Lake is considered as one of the most sacred lakes in Himachal. The main attraction of the place is the 12 m-high statue of Lord Padmasambhava that overlooks the lake. The azure blue color of Lake mesmerizes visitors with its sheer beauty. Other sites close to the lake that are worth exploring are Naina Devi Temple, Padmasambhava Cave, Drikung Kagyud Gompa, Kunt Bhyog, Jigar Monastery and more.
Shimla and It’s British Connection
The capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is a lovely destination that offers an eclectic blend of romance, adventure, thrill, and divinity perfect for inner relaxation. It was Britisher’s summer capital for 75 long years, and its evidence can be seen in the architecture of public buildings and bungalows in Shimla. Dense forests, snow-capped mountains, verdant pastures, and a pleasant climate makes Shimla as a must-visit destination for tourists irrespective of their interest and inclination. If you wish to explore the city leisurely, go for the heritage walk in Shimla that takes you to some of the notable attractions of the city. The walk is aimed at making visitors aware of the rich culture and story behind the popularity of the place. Reach out to us and ask us to add Shimla to your itinerary making it the best Himachal Tour Plan.
Whether you are an experienced or an amateur trekker, you will love scaling the mighty height of Janjheli, which is almost 86 km away from Mandi. The views from the high altitude are nothing short of spectacular. Tall Deodar trees, lush green forests, fruit orchards, natural springs, and historical temples are just a few of the attractions offered by this place. The trekking zone in Janjheli goes up to 3300 m and commands majestic views of the site.
Apple Orchard Region
When exploring Himachal Pradesh at a leisurely pace, how can you skip the Apple Orchard Region of the state? Shimla and Kotagarh are well known for their blooming apple and apricot orchards. Samuel Evans Stokes is responsible for bringing apples to Himachal Pradesh, and today the state exports several lac tones of apples every year. Some apple production is also seen in Kullu and Mandi. A visit to an apple orchard will bring a lot of joy and delight with the filing aroma of fruits. Himachal Pradesh is also known for its plum, pear, peach, litchi, guava, mango and strawberry plantations.
A quaint hamlet located in the beautiful Sutluj Valley, Sarahan has a lot to offer the nature lovers coming to Himachal Pradesh. The place is well-known for its lovely pine forests, apple orchards, rustic settings, small streams, and slate roofed houses. Another major attraction that draws a large number of tourists to this village is the famous Bhimakali Temple. It is an 800 years old temple constructed in typical Buddhist and Indian architectural styles. It is one of the prominent “Shaktipeeths” in India.
Spiti Valley is another breathtakingly beautiful place to explore in Himachal Pradesh. The location is known for its scenic locales, mystical topography, semi-frozen rivers, trekking routes, serene lakes and most important of all, awe-inspiring monasteries. Kungri Monastery built in the 14th Century is one of the oldest monasteries in Spiti Valley. It is renowned for its lovely artwork, figurine books, silk paintings, wall paintings, and archives. Another monastery worth checking out is Key Monastery that is almost 1,000 years old and is considered to be the biggest center of Buddhist Learning. Dhankar Monastery, Tabo Monastery, and Lhalung Monastery are also worth exploring and known for its lovely architectural styles and artwork.
Chamba is a lovely town cradled in a picturesque valley. The mighty Shivalik Ranges overlooks the place. The town is also famous for its magnificent ancient temples from the medieval age. The temples have a magnificent architectural style that speak volumes about the glory of their past rulers.
Dalhousie is another beautiful hill station in Himachal Pradesh. Some of the major attractions that are worth exploring are Khajjiar, Satdhara Falls, Panchpula and Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary.
Great Himalayan Park
When visiting Kullu District, do not forget to visit the famous Great Himalayan Park that was constituted in 1984 and later notified as a National Park in 1999. The lush green hills and thick forest cover of the place house 3,295 species, out of which 95 percent are endemic to Himachal Pradesh. The park had also been awarded the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014.
Bir Billing is a lovely place with beautiful landscapes and is also referred to as the “paragliding capital of India.” Paragliding begins from Billing and the gliders land at Bir. People looking for thrill and adventure love to indulge in this activity and enjoy the mesmerizing views of this lovely place. Some other places worth exploring are Deer Park Institute and Chokling Monastery.
Aura Voyages bring the best of the state’s hidden gems in the carefully curated Himachal Pradesh Tours and Travels packages.
Important Festivals Of Himachal Pradesh
The land of cultural diaspora, Himachal Pradesh is also known for its festivals that clearly depict the mix of cultures and how beautifully it comes together to create a perfect harmony. The festivals are just a way to carry forward the rich culture, traditions, and legacy of the ancestors. Some of the well-known festivals that showcase the rich culture of Himachal Pradesh are-
Celebrated with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm, Maha Shivratri is celebrated in March. In other worlds, Shivratri means “The Night of Lord Shiva.” It is on this day Shiva married Parvati, and as such, there is a lot of fun and excitement at the festival. A three-day fair is organized in Mandi which is replete with folk dances, music, and general commodities trading.
Kullu celebrates the festival of Dussehra in a very traditional way. There is no Ravana effigy burning unlike Dussehra festivals in other parts of the country. The Kullu festival begins in October with the grand procession of Lord Raghunathji. The Rath Yatra is also called running of the Gods as village deities and Kullu Raja pull it. On the day of ‘Vijaya Dashmi,’ the festival comes to an end with a large number of people gathering here to pay obeisance to the deity.
This two-day festival is dedicated to Shashikar Apa, the goddess of wealth. The Lamas decide the actual day of the festival which is organized to celebrate the New Year. The special attraction of this festival is the performance of local dance arts and music. A bonfire is lit as part of an old ritual which signifies the unity of the community.
Monastery Festivals in Spiti Valley
The local festivals celebrated in Spiti Valley is the best way to observe and experience the culture of this place. Chakhar Mela celebrated in September is one of the famous festivals celebrated here. Lamas worship God Chikchait for six days, and the chakhar is thrown away in the fire on the seventh day. They also perform the famous Chham dance. Other popular monastery festivals organized in Spiti Valley are Gataur Mela, Kungri Festival, Tsheshu Festival, Lossar and more. The main highlight of these festivals is lamas performing elaborate and stylized chham dance wearing vibrantly colored costumes and masks. It is a spectacular sight worth watching.
Enquire about the famous Himachal Pradesh festivals at Aura Voyages to enjoy the fun and excitement, color and vibrancy, joy and happiness that runs high during this time.
Food/Cuisine of Himachal Pradesh
When visiting Himachal, do not forget to savour the divine taste of authentic Himachali cuisine which is an exciting mix of pulses, rice, lentils, red meat, and wheat bread. Some of the most popular and worth enjoying Himachali cuisines that you should never miss out on-
Originated from Tibet, it is a noodle soup that is savored during winters as it brings a lot of comfort and warmth to the body. This dish can be prepared for vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians. A lot of vegetables/meat or chicken is added to the noodle soup and cooked with chili, ginger garlic paste, and sauces.
It is another very popular Himachali dish which is made using handmade noodles. The soft elastic dough is beaten, flattened, and tosses in a broth of meat or vegetables as per preference.
This Himachali dish is usually prepared to mark an occasion or as a mark of celebrations. Dairy products and lentils are predominantly used in this dish and are served with ghee, green chutney or lentils (daal) as accompaniments.
It is quite an elaborate dish that takes almost two hours to prepare. As part of this cuisine, wheat made from kneaded dough livened up with yeast is stuffed with roasted peanuts, mashed and boiled green peas, cottage cheese, walnuts, and served ghee, daal and green chutney.
The other famous cuisines that you must try when holidaying in Himachal are Kullu Trout, Madra, Chicken Anardana and many more lip-smacking delicacies.
When to Travel
Visitors can travel to Himachal Pradesh at any time of the year and enjoy diverse natural and scenic attractions depending on the time of their visit. Summer season undoubtedly witnesses the major influx of tourists as at this time; Northern Plains is in the grip of scorching heat waves. But, if you wish to enjoy the peace, quiet and serenity of this majestic destination, plan a trip to Himachal at any other time. If you want to bask in the beauty of snow-laden Himalayan Range, plan your vacation in winters and enjoy the mesmerizing views that are sure to keep you captivated.
Although the destination is open for all, foreigners need to seek Inner Line Permits when traveling between Spiti, specifically Sumdo to the east of Kinnaur, to Spillo. It is because this is a border district and the road passes too close to the Indo-Tibetan border. Officials recommend traveling in a group of four when passing through this area. The permit is valid for two weeks and is available from Manali, Shimla, Kullu, Kaza, Rampur, and Rekong Peo. If traveling solo, you can apply for the permit at Kaza and complete the formalities yourself which hardly takes a couple of hours. If seeking this permit from any other location, the officials may insist on applying as a group.
Where to Stay
Himachal Pradesh offers an extensive range of accommodation facilities, right from luxury hotels to cozy homestays and boutique properties that give you the real feel of rich Himachali culture and warm hospitality. Many travelers love staying with local families in a rustic farm or an apple orchard and enjoy the simple living just like Himachali people do. When booking a room, make a careful choice so that you can enjoy commanding views of the mighty Himalayas and other scenic marvels at its best.