The monsoon brings a spectacle of lush greenery and cascading waterfalls. Autumn is marked by pleasant sunny days ending in gorgeous sunsets. Winter brings snow. The official language of this state is Hindi. Although the travelers will have no problems in communicating as both Hindi and English are widely understood and spoken. The history of Himachal Pradesh is like a fairy tale and each of the places of interest stand as the logo of the legendary past of Himachal Pradesh.
Pilgrimage Tourism in Himachal Pradesh
Around 6,000 temples are spread all over in this comparatively small state. A large majority of the people here are Hindus. Buddhism also has a lot of influence in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Amongst the various pilgrimage centres the most remarkable temple around Kullu valley is Bijli Mahadeva. The temple is built of large blocks of stone without the use of cement and its stupendous 65-ft (20-metre) flagstaff is reputed to attract lightning, which, according to the local legend, is an expression of divine blessing. Every time the flagstaff is struck by lightning, the Shiva linga (phallic symbol) inside the temple is shattered. It is put back together each time by the priest and covered with sattoo (a paste of roasted gram and wheat powder) and butter. The image is thus restored and stands intact till the next lightning strucks the flagstaff again.
Dhoongri Temple, Manali, dedicated to the goddess Hidimba, is believed to be over a thousand years old. The sacred Parshuram Tal (tank) is located near Renuka Lake which is shaped in the profile of a goddess. This place is famous for the legend associated with it. Dharamsala in the Kangra District is also a popular pilgrimage center. This is the place where Dalai Lama resides. In addition to this, the Vyas Gufa, Lakshmi Narayan, Radheshyam Temples and Shri Naina Devi Temple in the town of Bilaspur are well known pilgrimage centers. This sacred place provides an unparalleled view of the holy Anandpur Sahib, the birthplace of a Sikh guru, on one side and Gobind Sagar on the other. Besides, Poanta Sahib is located on the Nahan-Dehradun Road. It is an important pilgrimage centre for the Sikhs. Its impressive gurudwara on the bank of the Yamuna River is thronged by thousands of pilgrims during Holi in March.
Nature Tourism in Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is famed for its nature tourism. Surrounded by pretty hills it is perfect as a place where one can appreciate the different aspects of nature. From hot springs, apple orchards to snow capped peaks-the scenic beauty of this state is unprecedented. Narkanda, at a height of about 8,850 ft and 64 km from Shimla on the Hindustan-Tibet road, is famous for its apple orchards and its beautiful scenery, especially during summer. It is a convenient starting point for visits to many places in the heart of Himachal Pradesh: Bagi, Khandrala, Rampur and Kalpa on the Hindustan-Tibet Road.
Tourists can also drop in at the hot springs of Manikaran. This place is just 45 kilometres away from Kullu town. The road from Kulu to Manali is flanked by lofty mountains and spreading forests. On this road lies Katrain which is famous for its fruit orchards and trout hatchery. There is also the diminutive town of Naggar where the medieval world still survives, untouched by time. Near Dharamsala, too, there are a number of picturesque picnic spots. The waterfalls of Bhagsunath, whose tank and spring are considered sacred; the beautiful Dal Lake; Dharamkat; Triund and the Kareri Lakes which is nearly 3,000m above sea level. Located at a distance of 3 kilometres from Manali is the sulphur springs of Bashishta and a little higher up is the small Bhrigu Lake. the enchanting Lahaul and Spiti valleys are also perfect places to enjoy nature's bliss.
The romantic valley of Chamba, a former princely state, has few rivals as far as scenic beauty is concerned. Its valleys, meadows, rivers, lakes, springs and streams are worth checking out. For checking out wildlife there is Chail. Bird-watchers and wildlife enthusiasts will find the forests around Chail alive with hundreds of species.
Leisure Tourism in Himachal Pradesh
This state is one of the premier hill stations of Himachal Pradesh. Kullu, Manali, Dalhousie, Dharamsala and Palampur are some of the renowned hill stations. Among the valleys, mountains, glaciers, rivers and pastures of Lahaul and Spiti are forts, gompas or monasteries and ancient buildings with frescos on the walls and ceilings. The people of these two valleys have a distinct culture of their own. Their songs and dances are as pure as the snow that glitters around them. Their gompas are repositories of Buddhist art treasures. Other tourist resorts here include Naldera. This place is located 23 kilometres away from Shimla. It has one of the oldest golf courses in the country. The nine-hole course is very popular with enthusiasts since it is perhaps the most reliable one east of Suez. Chail is also a popular tourist resort in Himachal Pradesh.
Adventure Tourism in Himachal Pradesh
Adventure tourism in Himachal Pradesh is indeed a new experience. Leading from one Mountain to another, passing through the pine covered slopes to cold deserts is certainly a treat to the pulses. Situated on the bank of the Sutlej River, Rampur Bushahr is one such spot of adventure tourism. It is located at a distance of 140 km from Shimla. It is a perfect spot for trekking. The valley of Kullu also offers ample scope for trekking, climbing and angling in its forests. Apart from these tourists can also drop in at Manali if they are interested in trekking. Winter sports are very popular in Himachal Pradesh. There are several places in this state where one can indulge in ice skating or skiing. Narkanda is another place that is perfect for skiing. The little hamlet of Kufri, 16 km from Shimla, is the centre for winter sports. The ice skating rink is one of its kinds in this part of the world. The skiing season starts in the last week of December and lasts till the end of February. Skiing opportunities are also available at Narkanda (64 km from Shimla) and Solang (10 km from Manali). Manali-Chandratal, Manali-Chandratal, Manali-Deo-Tibba, Manali-Solang Valley, Dharamsala-Chamba via Lakagot and Bharmaur, Shimla to Kulu via Jalori Pass; Shimla to Mussoorie via Tuini and Shimla to Churdhar via Fagu are some of the popular trekking trails in Himachal Pradesh.
Visiting Information on Himachal Pradesh
How to Reach: Himachal Pradesh is accessible by road, rail and air. Local transportations are easily available for touring the city. If the tourists want to travel to some other place from the city then there are several state and private buses that offer these services. Since the roads are well connected the tourists will have a comfortable journey.
Road: From Pathankot, Punjab, in the West, Chandigarh (South) and Dehradun in the East.
Rail: There is also a rail link between Kalka and Shimla and another one between Pathankot and Jogindernagar.
Air: The nearest international airport is located at Delhi, Indira Gandhi International airport. From Delhi and Chandigarh (a domestic airport) air services to Kullu is also available. Besides these, small airports are situated at Kullu, Kangra, Shimla and Pathankot.
This state also is world famous for its handicrafts. Most of the villages have proficient artisans who create useful yet amazing pieces of art. As a tourist one can shop for rugs and carpets, paintings, wood carvings, embroidered items, apparels and accessories. There are numerous other items like woolen garments and shawls that are available from the Government Emporia, Himachal Pradesh. Located mainly in Manali, Shimla and Dalhousie these shopping arcades offer the visitor an opportunity of a fabulous shopping experience. The shopping arcades of the streets are opened during the evening allowing the tourist to complete his or her shopping list with perhaps a few metal ware, jewel and leatherwork items.
Himachal Pradesh is indeed the place where beauty drops her image on almost everything and everywhere. Apart from the tourists people also visit Himachal Pradesh on business purpose. Hence for all kinds of travellers it is necessary to collect some basic information about the place before setting out for the journey. The travel information on Himachal Pradesh will thus be quite useful for the interested travellers. The best season to drop in at Himachal Pradesh is summer - April to June. The weather is mild and the days are long then. This is also the ideal time for mountaineering or camping. Himachal has an enormous range of weather conditions and a traveler therefore needs to check the type of clothing and equipments in accord to the regions they would be visiting. There are also adequate accommodation units in Himachal Pradesh for the travellers.