Welcome to Himachal Pradesh
Himachal is a known paradise for nature lovers.
Expedition India will take teams from Manali to Shimla via the Kullu Valley
More about this diverse destination:
With spectacular snowy peaks and plunging river valleys, beautiful Himachal is India’s outdoor adventure playground. From trekking and climbing to rafting, paragliding and skiing, if it can be done in the mountains, it can be done here. A convoluted topography of interlocking mountain chains also makes Himachal a spectacular place simply to explore, by bus, car, motorbike, jeep or foot. Every pass crossing into a new valley brings you into a different world, with its own culture, deities and even language. Villages perched on staggering slopes enchant with fairy-tale architecture and their people's easygoing warmth. Hill stations appeal with a holiday atmosphere and colonial echoes, while backpacker magnets lure with their blissed-out vibe and mountain beauty. Such is the richness of the Himachali jigsaw that in McLeod Ganj, the Dalai Lama's home-away-from-home, and in Lahaul and Spiti, with their centuries-old Buddhist cultures, you might even think you’ve stumbled into Tibet.
More on Himachal Pradesh: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/search?q=Himachal%20Pradesh
Manali: (2000 M)
In Hinduism, Manu was said to have survived a great flood that destroyed the rest of the world. He then recreated mankind in this Kullu Valley town. What a rush, huh? No wonder the towering peaks and verdant terrain of Manali attracts adventure travellers, with heli-skiing, hiking, mountaineering and river rafting the favored active pursuits. Come down from your endorphin high by breathing deeply at the four-story, wooden Hidimba Devi Temple, which sits in the middle of a nearby deciduous forest, or take a medicinal soak in the hot springs burbling from the ground a 30-minute walk from town.
As the monal pheasant chirps magically to the western tragopan that is the disdainful state bird and stands high on the same base the spruce trees remind you that you are in the snow capsule Manali. The loving cold and exciting weather surely would leave you speechless and baffled. Manali is a little heaven one should visit at least once in a lifetime.
This is one such destination that offers religious tourism, adventure tourism, wildlife tourism in just one trip and that is what makes it a clear paradise. Snow covered pines and fir trees are the show stoppers while you elevate upwards and drive in to the loveliness of the world. The gorgeous snow leopards and brown bears put up great shows together when you go searching for them.
Adventure Sports in Manali: Manali has a mountaineering institute that organizes basic and advance training courses in trekking, mountaineering, skiing and other water sports. It is located three kms from Manali town.Trout and Masheer are found in the Tirthan and Sainj rivers, angling tours are organized there.The Himachal Pradesh Fisheries Department organises an angling tournament in April and September-October.
Trekking in Manali: Most of the treks from Manali are one day journeys, the Lamadugh Meadows, Solang Valley and the Koshla-Tree line are the most popular of them all. The best time to trek in Manali is between April and November.
With some of the finest stretches of white water, high quality rafts and experienced crew, white water rafting in Manali is a safe sport.
The Rohtang Pass and Solang valley offer great opportunities for paragliding.
You can also practice rock climbing, rappelling, skiing, ice climbing, snowboarding and ski touring in Manali.
Places to see in Manali
SOLANG VALLEY: The solang nullah valley is an angelic spot which very much resembles a beautiful fairy in her dreamland feeling. The winters freeze the valley with children and adults of almost all ages are seen here enjoying the paragliding and skiing adventure sports available here. The kids and people slipping and sliding all over the frozen piece of land is another beauty to admire.
ROHTANG PAAS: This surely needs the least introduction as this paas is already a known one to many. The pass is in the pir panjal range at its eastern ends and the glacier piles are a major attraction here as they built up pretty surroundings with flashes of seasonal flowers.
GREAT HIMALAYAN NATIONAL PARK: The lovers of nature and ornithologists would surely lose their hearts to this place due to the vast varieties of birds found here and the loving ambience. The birds chirruping here would give you the best music of your life.
Food and Shopping in Manali
The mall area and Tibet market here at Manali is home to the beautifully crafted wooden handicrafts and embroidered clothes. The kashmiri shawls and paper silk printed sarees and dresses are the stealer. The artistic instincts and influence of Tibet culture is much evident from the souvenirs and handcrafts found here. The market has the local “malishwalas” who would give you wonderful massage experience that you’ve ever had in any of those posh and international spas and parlours. The markets will have some old antique looking people who sell the purest forms of keshar and shilajit.
When it comes to food the local cuisine is a must try. One must hunt for the fresh trout fish dishes available here. The food has good dashes of culture and tradition in them. The cuisine includes good Punjabi and tibetan influences which is tasted through the green apple pickles and lingad pickels (asparagus) as well as the kaadi chawala and masala omelettes available in the local restaurants.
Kullu Valley: (1230 M)
Kullu Valley is a broad open valley in Himachal Pradesh, India, formed by the Beas River between Manali and Largi. This valley is famous for its temples, beauty and its majestic hills covered with pine and deodar forest and sprawling apple orchards. The course of the Beas river presents a succession of magnificent, clad with forests of deodar, towering above trees of pine on the lower rocky ridges. Kullu valley is sandwiched between the Pir Panjal, Lower Himalayan and Great Himalayan Ranges.
Kullu or Kulu, the capital town of the Kullu district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is located in this valley.
Known as the ‘Valley of Gods’, Kullu is a cluster of beautiful valleys in Himachal Pradesh. Located between the majestic Himalayas and river Beas, Kullu is situated at an altitude of 1230 m. Kullu, along with Manali, are favorite hill stations with tourists especially honeymooners. Scenic views and snow-clad mountains, towering Deodar jungles, rivers and apple orchards have attracted several feature filmmakers too.
Kullu is a hot-spot for adventure sports. Trekking, river rafting, mountaineering, paragliding and hiking over the Himalayan glaciers are some of the activities that Kullu offers. Angling is another activity enjoyed a lot by locals as well as tourists. Mountaineering beginners can trek around the Beas Kund region, Hanuman Tibba and Deo Tibba.
Shimla: (2276 M)
Once the summer capital of British India, it remains the terminus of the narrow-gauge Kalka-Shimla Railway, completed in 1903. It’s also known for the handicraft shops that line The Mall, a pedestrian avenue, as well as the Lakkar Bazaar, a market specializing in wooden toys and crafts.
Shimla derives its name from Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of the goddess Kali, whose temple existed in the dense forest covering the Jakhu Hill in the early 19th century. Covering an area of 25 sq km at a height of 7,238 ft, Shimla is surrounded by pine, deodar and oak forests. Its well developed amenities, easy reach and various tourist attractions make it one of India’s most popular hill stations.
Shimla is the beautiful capital of Himachal Pradesh, which offers wonderful holiday experience full of adventure, romance and complete spiritual as well as inner relaxation. Britishers were so incapacitated by its beauty that it remained their summer capital for over 75 years. It is situated at an altitude of 2205 m and has a population of over 171,817 people. Shimla is engulfed by snow-capped mountains, green pastures, dense forests and a round-the-year pleasant climate and these conditions attracts legions of tourist every year. Perfect time to visit Shimla starts from April till mid-July and mid-September till October end. But, for snow lovers, winter is the best time to visit.
One of the most appealing reason to visit Shimla is the warm and cordial nature of the locals. They receive you with such warmth that is unmatchable. In order to take breathe in Shimla in a few hours, you can take the toy train ride from Kalka station to Shimla, which takes you through a picturesque route, which is going to make you spellbound. Apart from the snow covered mountains , Shimla also has a dense forest cover that comprises of oak, deodar, pine and rhododendron forests. These forests are a treat for nature lovers. Shimla is also famous for its apple trees and are relished all over the country. Visiting the apple garden is a must, who knows, you might get the first hand taste of the fresh fallen apple!
In Shimla, you can go for a nature walk, go fishing, golfing, ice-skating, trekking, skiing, adventure sports and much more. The major places to visit for trekking and adventure are Fagu, Kufri and Naldhera. Kufri is a ski resort for winter's only. If you are in the mood to take on a game of golf, you can pay a visit to the Nalendra Golf Club which is 22km away from Shimla. One can enjoy the pleasures of roller skating at Lakkar Bazar and open air ice skating at Rivoli bus stand.
Unbelievable it might sound, but Shimla has Asia's only natural ice skating rinks. Those who are in love with the view of sunset, The Ridge is a popular place to visit which even provides a panoramic view of the seven hills of Shimla. In order to rekindle spirituality within ,you visit the second oldest Church in the northern India Christ Church and St Michael's Cathedral as well as Dorje Drag Monastery.
Shimla offers a host of temples such as the temple of Tara DeviGoddess of Stars, Jakhu Templebeautiful temple of Lord Hanuman , located at a height of 2455m, Sankat Mochan the temple of Lord Hanuman which is famous for the numerous monkeys that are always found in its vicinity, Kali Bari Templededicated to Goddess Shyamala, Anand Vilas or the temple of all faiths Sarva Dharma Mandir etc.
Tatta Pani, 55 kilometres from the main city, is the name of hot sulphur springs that are believed to have medicinal value is located on the banks of river Satluj. You can even shop till you drop at The Mall and buy jewelry, embroidered shawls and garments and take away souvenirs for your loved ones. The Mall is a reminiscent of the British who have actually designed it as a tranquil hideout so that some escape can be felt from the surrounded sultriness. Consequently,it is an inspiration for locals, foreigners, school children, adults, and especially for the honeymooners and you should definitely carry camera to capture the exclusive moments. Along with the shopping experience , you can even indulge in the eatery joints and the striking pieces of architecture found around the place. Lakkar Bazaar is famous for souvenirs and crafts made of wood. So pack up your bags as Shimla is the your ultimate destination that pampers you, enthralls you, excites you and might even help rejuvenate.