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The Horizons of Himachal - A sense of holiness, otherworldliness, saturates the air of Himachal Pradesh. It’s no surprise that that state is one of India’s most popular tourist destinations. Thomas Cook India encourages you to take a vacation to Himachal Pradesh and bask in the verdant serenity of this tranquil mountain paradise. In Himachal, you don’t have to be doing very much to rejoice in its offerings, simply book one of Thomas Cook India’s Himachal Pradesh holiday packages for an all access pass to the wonders of what might be one of India’s last un spoilt frontiers. With Thomas Cook India’s Himachal Pradesh tours, you will be treated to a front row performance of Himachali culture and with Himachal Pradesh tour packages spanning a range of budgets and durations, you get to decide whether you want to dip your toes, with a Himachal Pradesh tour package to delightful Dalhousie for 2 nights and 3 days, or dive in headfirst with an expansive Himachal Pradesh trip over 12 nights and 13 days covering the best Himachal has to offer. With Thomas Cook India, you are in the driver’s seat of your Himachal Pradesh holiday, and have the freedom to explore it at your own pace.
Travelers arrive from far and wide for the honest pleasures of a piping bowl of Maggi on steep slopes, a twinkle of the eyes, in absolute awe of Himachal’s cultural marvels, and to simply break bread, or in Himachal, the local Sidu, with fellow companions and strangers. Navigate Himachal on a crowded itinerary, absorbing all that Kullu, Manali, Shimla, Dalhousie, Kinnaur, Spiti and more have to offer, or choose to rejuvenate in a single destination, soaking in every aspect of its beauty with the assistance of Thomas Cook India.
Proudly part of the Western Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh covers an extensive area of 55,673 square kilometers in North India. The state is cozily nestled among Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh in the North; Punjab on the west; Haryana in the southwest; Uttarakhand on the south east; and Tibet on the east. In Himachal Pradesh, adventures and explorations amidst mountainous terrain await your arrival. Reach out to Thomas Cook India and book your next trip to the Abode of Snow.
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Best Time to Visit Himachal Pradesh
The Spring and Summer seasons coax the flowers to bloom, rivers to gush, forests to volumize and the snow to gradually melt away. Nestled among the Himalayas, the winter season can be extremely alluring to the eyes, but equally as frigid! The months of March through June provide some respite from the cold and attract swarms of tourists to Himachal’s several cities every year. During these months, Himachal maintains an idyllic balance between cooling breezes and warming sun rays. The amiable climate encourages tourists to engage in numerous adventure activities such as hiking, trekking, water sports, bungee jumping, and more. Sightseers can comfortably explore Himachal’s quaint villages, monasteries, and markets. While the nighttime temperatures often mimic the winter, the days have the perfect contrast between.
How to Reach Himachal Pradesh
An intricate, comprehensive highway network, multiple airports, and broad-gauge trains provide extensive accessibility to the state of Himachal Pradesh.
The Kangra Airport (or the Dharamshala Airport) in Gaggal, the Shimla Airport in Jubberhatti, and the Kullu-Manali Airport in Bhuntar are connected to all major cities in India including Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, and Bangalore. Many travelers fly into Chandigarh airport and choose ground transportation for the remnant journey.
The Kangra Valley Railway is the primary railway line connecting Jogindernagar in Himachal Pradesh to Panthankot in the neighbouring Punjab. Unfortunately, the Himachal’s mesmerizing yet unforgiving terrain prohibits the construction of new railway lines. Another is the very famous Toy Train connecting Kalka in Haryana and Shimla in Himachal. These 60 miles, 6-hour journey allows you to begin your vacation even en route the destination! Murmurs of its breathtaking views reach far and wide, drawing innumerous tourists to this UNESCO world heritage site annually. The Shivalik Deluxe Express, Rail Motor Car, Himalayan Queen, Shimla Express and Shimla Kalka Passenger operate on the Kalka-Shimla line.
A total of 8 national and 19 state highways offer various scenic routes for the slow, intentional traveler. Escaping unreliable flights has never been more rewarding! One can travel by car from many states such as Haryana, Delhi, Kashmir, Chandigarh, and Punjab. However, the Delhi-Himachal route is certainly the smoothest of the lot. Embark on this 7-hour journey by car or the plethora of government buses operated by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation. The Corporation provides regular transportation between Delhi, Shimla, Manali, Kullu, and Khajjiar.
Places to visit
Kullu – It’s main valley, the Kullu Valley, is colloquially known as ‘Valley of Gods’ for a reason. A range of hipster resorts are dispersed among a gushing rivers, steep terrain, and sights so serene; it seems as though the Gods themselves crafted every mountain peak and vert canopy.
Manali – The aroma of pine and deodar trees engulf this rich town situated in the River Beas Valley. As one of Himachal’s most prized destinations, Manali lives up to its reputation. The natural landscape of India’s adventure playground beckons tourists to strap on their athletic gear and trek mountainous terrain, trod nature trails, raft through rapid waters, and ski down snowy slopes. And through its delectable North Indian cuisine, luxury resorts, spas, and warm guesthouses offers premium quality rejuvenation.
Shimla – India’s famed colonial hill station is practically an architectural gallery girdled within the blissful Himalayan ranges. During the months of April through June, the “summer capital” truly comes alive. While snow still blankets Himalayan peaks, the populated centers are flourishing in a spectrum of greens. Perfect for a honeymoon, a family vacation, an artistic voyage, or a historical odyssey. A journey to the Queen of Hills imbues awe via an expedition through the pages of history.
Dharamshala and Mcleod Ganj – Dharamshala, the holy abode of the Dalai Lama is immersed in Tibetan culture and spirituality. Although adorned with majestic mountains and local market, Dharamshala, for most visitors is a pit stop to its suburb, the renowned Mcleod Ganj. The Dalai Lama’s home is nestled in the vibrancy of Mcleod but is just one of many reasons why visitors endure such tribulations to seek this place. Also known as India’s mini Tibet, Mcleod Ganj will cater to all that you fancy – a traditional experience of a Tibetan monastery, and an insight into its daily customs, values and lifestyle; a peruse through local markets and a trek in the mountains and forests; a taste of the hill station’s multicuisine offerings and peaceful sun salutation flows at dawn.
Dalhousie – Named after the British governor, Lord Dalhousie, the town is another colonial hub in Himachal Pradesh. Valleys, for kilometers, sprout in pine trees and quiet resorts provide views of the majestic backdrop. About 10km from main Dalhousie lies Khanjar, its most prominent attraction. Khanjar’s glistening lakes, vast pastures, and dense forests deem it the title of a “mini Switzerland”. Its elevation at 6,500ft permit some of the best views in Himachal.
Kasauli – Yet another colonial epicenter, Kasauli is a miniscule town in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh. Market areas exhibit the local artists’ handicrafts and woolens, famous viewpoints such as Sunset point and Monkey point unveil warm hues permeating the sky at dusk, and exalted churches serve as a charming, historical landmark of the town.
Kufri – A small hill station a short drive away from Shimla, Kufri’s pride resides in its diverse wildlife, flora and fauna. The Himalayan Nature Park or the Kufri National Park and the Indira Tourist Park encompass a secured ecosystem of native animals like leopards, barking deer, brown bears, and thousands of unadulterated flora and fauna species. Walking through the Kufri Valley is akin entering the gates of heaven. Also titled the Green Valley, it is thriving in mammoth deodar and pine trees, jubilant rivers, and mountainous animals.
Spiti Valley – Sequestered from the consumerist streets of Manali and Dharamshala is the sacred Spiti Valley. To truly feel one, feel connected with Mother Nature, trek, raft, climb, walk, bike, or just breathe amidst the nooks and crannies of Spiti Valley. In the far North of Himachal Pradesh, travelers make their way up here to seek solace and adventure.
Solan – The ‘Mushroom city of India’ is a hotspot for more than just delicious fungi! Elude from the bustle of Manali and Shimla for a placid, more authentic interaction with Himachal’s natural beauty. A trekker’s utopia, Solan’s landscape will far from disappoint!
Bir Billing – Known as India’s Paragliding Capital, Bir Biling enables a unique bird’s eye view of Himachal’s phenomenal views, as continually stated. To experience Himachal from every angle, literally, make your way to the gorgeous Bir Billing for once in a lifetime experience!
Things to do in Himachal Pradesh
Ride the Toy Train to Shimla
Ride the Kalka-Shimla toy train for a truly distinct commute. Sit back, relax, and take in the staggering scenery and panoramic views as this narrow gauge train slowly chugs up mountains and through valleys and begin acquainting yourself with all that’s in store for you on your Himachali Holiday.
Take the Ride of a lifetime
The Kinnaur-Spiti loop is one of the most thrilling road trips you will ever take. This route takes you up sheer slopes, past thundering gorges and spine-chilling cliffs. Feel like you’re driving on top of the road as you look down on the valley below and fell an adrenaline rush that’ll make you despise traffic jams after you’ve driven down this road.
Trek to Naggar
Trek to Naggar, a secluded town on the outskirts of Manali. Trek up hills and through pristine forests with snowcapped peaks in the background. Pick your way through apple orchards all the way to Jana Falls, where you can picnic in the presence of the emerald green waters. Visitors in the summer can also dive in if the waters aren’t too cold.
Sip chai at Chandratal Lake
If you’re visiting Himachal Pradesh, don’t miss out on a glimpse of the Chandratal lake in Kaza. A glacial lake, whose turquoise water glisten beneath the beaming sun, immaculately reflects its surrounding peaks. A cup of tea in hand, seat yourself by the lake and simply inhale the purity that is Himachal Pradesh.
Trek to Parvati Valley
Parvati Valley is a utopia for backpackers and those wanting to explore Himachal off the beaten path. With hipster cafes serving tasty food, hostels that are imbued with the youthful energy of travellers from all around the world and vistas of the valley that you cannot view from anywhere else, Parvati valley is a hidden paradise that is well worth the trek to get there.
Soar above the Kangra Valley at Bir Billing
Bir Billing in the Kangra Valley is home to the world’s second highest take-off point for paragliding. This world famous paragliding mecca draws adventure junkies from the world overlooking for the rush of flying down the valley. Experienced hands can soar through the valley themselves while first timers can opt for a tandem flight with experienced instructors.
Hit the rapids in Kullu
White water rafting remains one of the most popular things to do in Himachal Pradesh. The best place to raft down roaring rapids is Kullu. Here you can put on a waterproof wetsuit and strap on a life jacket and helmet and fly down the river Beas in an inflatable raft. With options available for beginners and experienced rafters alike. White water rafting in Kullu will pump you up for the rest of your Himachal holiday
Ride through Rohtang Pass
Ride through the Rohtang Pass which connects Kullu valley to the valleys of Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. The pass is open from June to October with July and August being the best times to visit as the temperature is milder and there is no snowfall blocking the road. Bikers especially will enjoy the thrill of this high altitude motorable road. However, you need a pass to travel down this road so be sure to plan your trip accordingly.
Bask in blessings at McLeodganj
McLeodganj in Dharamshala is a cultural hotspot you cannot miss. It is rich in the culture and traditions of neighbouring Tibet, thanks to Tibetan expats seeking refuge there. You will find all things Tibet here such as galleries, handicrafts, cafes and bakeries. Don’t forget to pay your respects at the renowned Tsuglagkhang Complex – a village in Mcleod Ganj; His Holiness, the Dalai Lama’s humble abode.
Take a walk on the wild side at Mashobra
For a rather off the beaten track experience, deviate 12km away from Shimla to picturesque Mashobra where the courageous can camp in the wilderness, and the less inclined can simply gawk at its brilliance! There are forests, snowcapped peaks and enough natural beauty for fill a thousand photographs.
Trek to Triund
If you’re looking for trails to trek, Himachal has plenty of them and more. The easiest one however is the trek to Triund. This 9 km trek beginning in Dharamkot can be completed in 4-5 hours. While you trek through lush forests, past gurgling mountain streams you are sandwiched between the majestic snow-capped Dhauladhar mountain range on one side and sweeping vistas of Kangra valley on the other.
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