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Himachal COVID 19 Tourist Guide 

Tourists are required to adhere to social distancing protocols and wear masks at all times during their trip to Himachal. There are certain guidelines that need to be followed by the residents and tourists who plan on spending their holidays in Himachal. For more information please visit the COVID Travel Advisory for Himachal.

About Himachal Pradesh 

The land where the Earth meets the sky, Himachal Pradesh has always been a dream destination for every Indian traveller. It’s no surprise then that state is one of India’s most popular tourist destinations with solo trips to Himachal Pradesh being somewhat of a rite of passage for ardent travellers. Thomas Cook India encourages you to take a Himachal Pradesh tour and bask in the tranquillity of this mountain paradise. Here are top Himachal tour packages

Top Himachal Pradesh Tour Packages 

Himachal Holiday Packages No. of Days Price*
Heavenly Himachal - Fly Free 6 Nights / 7 Days Rs. 27 400.00
Himachal Paradise with Flexi Flights 5 Nights / 6 Days Rs. 31 064.00
Heavenly Manali 3 Nights / 4 days Rs. 6 499.00
Honeymoon Special - Explore Dharamshala 2 Nights / 3 days Rs. 7 499.00
Magical Manali with Flexi Flights 5 Nights / 6 days Rs. 26 950.00

Highlights of Himachal Pradesh Tours

In Himachal Pradesh, it’s not about going out and doing one of many things to do in Himachal Pradesh, its more about simply being, and enjoying the fine art of doing nothing. To partake of this laidback spirit of the mystic mountains, simply book one of Thomas Cook India’s Himachal Pradesh tour packages for an all-access pass to the wonders of what might be one of India’s last unspoilt frontiers. With Thomas Cook India’s Himachal Pradesh packages, you will receive a crash course in Himachali culture and with Himachal Pradesh tour packages spanning a range duration, you get to decide whether you want a short course, with Himachal Pradesh tour packages to delightful Dalhousie for 2 nights and 3 days, or earn a PhD. in all things Himachali with an expansive Himachal Pradesh tour over 12 nights and 13 days covering the best Himachal has to offer. Thomas Cook India, puts you in charge of your own Himachal Pradesh tour, giving you the freedom to explore it at your own pace.

The highlights of a Himachal tour packages are the simple pleasures such as a piping bowl of Maggi on steep slopes, a steaming cup of chai on a mountain pass and simply staring in absolute awe at Himachal’s many mountains as they reflect the colours of the rising and setting sun. Not to forget, breaking bread with total strangers from around the world who flock here to bathe in Himachal Pradesh's aura of peace. Navigate Himachal Pradesh 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 Thomas Cook India's Himachal Pradesh tour packages.

Location of Himachal Pradesh

A proud part of the Western Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh is 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. With an area of 55,673 sq.km Himachal Packages is chock full of adventures amidst its mountainous terrain that await your arrival. Reach out to Thomas Cook India and book your next trip to Himachal Pradesh and tour to this paradise up in the clouds.

Honeymoon in Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is a paradise for honeymooners and has been drawing couples who want to experience a great start to marital bliss for decades. It doesn’t get more romantic than rolling hills, rustling forests, rising peaks and roaring bonfires. Where to go on your Himachal honeymoon when you book a Himachal tour package is an easy question to answer. Go to the Queen of the Hill stations, Shimla. Or if a quieter location appeals to your hearts, visit Chail one of the most serene hill stations of the lot. Manali offers winding roads and stunning views that are perfect for romantic strolls.

Plunging pine valleys and rising mountains surround the charming hill station of Dalhousie, where you can visit the Rang Mahal or sit at the banks of Khajjiar lake besides a roaring fire as you cozy up with a blanket.

Best Time to Visit Himachal Pradesh 

Best Month of the Year 

The warmer months of March through June are when the spring thaw sets in and attracts swarms of tourists to Himachal Pradesh's tourist hotspots every year. March to June is the best time to visit Himachal Pradesh. During these months, Himachal Pradesh 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. Himachal Pradesh also undergoes a stunning metamorphosis during the winters between October and February when it snows. This is the best time for skiing and ice skating. Places like Rohtang Pass, Kufri and Shimla become places of prominence during the winters.

Best Seasons 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! Sightseers can comfortably explore Himachal’s quaint villages, monasteries, and markets. Even during summers, the night time temperatures often mimic the winter, while the days have the perfect contrast in between. During monsoons from July to September, it is best to avoid certain areas in on your Himachal Pradesh tour package as they are prone to landslides.

How to Reach Himachal Pradesh 

Reaching Himachal is not a daunting task as well maintained, prolific highway network, multiple airports, and broad-gauge railheads make Himachal Pradesh easily accessible.

Kangra 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 travellers fly into Chandigarh airport and choose ground transportation to begin their Himachal Pradesh tours.

The Kangra Valley Railway is the mainline connecting Jogindernagar in Himachal Pradesh to Pathankot in neighboring Punjab. Himachal Pradesh's stunning yet inhospitable terrain hampers the construction of new railway lines, but the existing ones are more than sufficient to cater to travellers without too many delays. There's also the famous Toy Train that connects Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. This idyllic 6-hour journey allows you to begin your Himachal tour as soon as you take your seat. 

A total of 8 national and 19 state highways offer various scenic routes for the slow, intentional traveller. Escape unreliable flights and travel by car from many states such as Haryana, Delhi, Kashmir, Chandigarh, and Punjab. The Delhi-Himachal route is the smoothest of the lot with the others getting a bit bumpy in stretches. Embark on this 7-hour journey by car or one of the many buses operated by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation between Delhi, Shimla, Manali, Kullu, and Khajjiar.

Local Transport Within Himachal Pradesh 

The cheapest way to travel within Himachal Pradesh is to take local public transport. Buses rickshaws, shared shuttles and taxis are readily available. Rickshaws, shuttles and taxis have specific areas of operation and do not go beyond their zones.

Though buses aren’t the first choice of many, they are an ideal and cost-effective travel option. The local buses are one of the best ways to see the small hamlets and towns along the way that you might have missed otherwise. You can even opt for a taxi if you’re travelling with a group, otherwise it may prove to be expensive.

Places to Visit in Himachal  

Kullu 

Known as ‘Valley of Gods’, the Kullu Valley, is home to a range of hipster resorts that are spread among the gushing rivers, steep terrain, and sights so serene; it seems as though every mountain peak was chiselled by the God's themselves. Kullu is also a mecca for adventure sports. Trekking, rafting, mountaineering and paragliding over the Himachal mountains are some of the few adventure tourism options that Kullu offers. Especially for trekking, Kullu offers a variety of options for seasoned trekkers and novices alike. Beginners can trek around the Beas Kund region, Hanuman Tibba and Deo Tibba.

Manali  

Nestled cosily between the Pir Panjal and the Dhauladhar ranges, with the perpetual perfume of pine and deodar, Manali is one of the most popular hill stations in Himachal Pradesh. With breath-taking vistas, verdant forests, flowery meadows, gurgling streams and a mythical mist constantly suspended in the air Manali has been blessed with mesmerizing, poetic beauty. From museums and temples to hippie villages and bustling commercial main streets, Manali is reason enough to take a Himachal Pradesh tour.

Shimla  

Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh is a popular hill-station that is preferred by families and honeymooners owing to its accessibility, amenities and its natural beauty. Situated at the height of 2200m, Shimla was the summer capital of British India. It still holds on to its old-world charm with beautiful colonial architecture, pedestrian-friendly Mall Road and the ridge lined up with multiple shops, cafes and restaurants that might as well be scenes straight out of a turn-of-the-century novel. For a storybook Himachal Pradesh tour, visit Shimla and prepare to have your mind blown.

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.

Kufri

Located deep in the heart of the Himalayas, Kufri is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Himachal Pradesh during a tour. The valleys of this small town which are emerald green during the summer turn stunningly white during winters, offering tourists a mesmerising sight. The valley also boasts a variety of local flora and fauna, such as of pines and deodars.

Unlike most towns higher up in the mountains, Kufri is fairly developed, and offers a number of sports and adventure activities. Boasting of a considerable variety of endemic wildlife, the Himalayan National Park in Kufri is a delight to naturalists and trekkers alike.

Kasauli

The little cantonment of Kasauli is a perfect place for nature lovers. If you want to take a Himachal tour that is focused on nature and natural beauty then you should definitely plan a visit to Kasauli. Kasauli is a small town in the south-west part of Himachal Pradesh and is at a relatively lower altitude. Nestled amidst forests of pine and cedar trees, Kasauli owes its ambience to the opulent Victorian-era buildings built during the Raj. The best time to visit Kasauli is during the summer when days are pleasant and the skies, clear. But if you really love nature, then the monsoon is a great season to visit this quaint hill-station. The rainfall here is scanty and intermittent, and the terrain is transformed under the cloudy skies.

Spiti Valley  

Spiti Valley is a cold desert in Himachal Pradesh. ‘Spiti’ roughly translates into 'the middle land' as it lies between India and Tibet. This region offers heavenly glimpses of the snow capped Himalayas. Lying at an altitude of 12500 feet and surrounded by the Himalayas on all sides, it is one of the coldest places in the country getting only 250 days of sunshine every year. The valley is stunning as the mighty Himalayas are everywhere you look and pristine lakes reflect the clear blue skies above them. This beautiful valley is also home to many Buddhist monasteries and tiny hamlets where simple, hospitable people welcome tourists with open arms.

Solan  

Situated at approximately 1467 m above sea level, Solan is surrounded by lofty peak such as the Matiul Peak and Karol Peak which is the highest peak in the region at a height of 2,000 m. Lovers of Old Monk will know Solan very well, it is where the distillery that produces the beloved tipple is located and should feature on your Himachal Pradesh tour itinerary if you're an aficionado. Besides this, Solan is also known as the ‘Mushroom capital of India’. Solan also has dense a forests surrounded by hills and serves as a gateway to other popular hill stations like Kasauli, Kalka and Chail. Solan is also called the ‘city of red gold’, because of the bulk production of tomatoes in the area. 

Dalhousie 

Named after the British governor, Lord Dalhousie, the town is another colonial hub in Himachal Pradesh. Valleys, for kilometres, sprout in pine trees and quiet resorts provide views of the majestic backdrop. About 10km from Dalhousie lies Khajjiar, its most prominent attraction. Khanjar’s glistening lakes, vast pastures, and dense forests have earned it the title of “Little Switzerland”. Its elevation at 6,500ft permit some of the best views in Himachal Pradesh. Dalhousie is all about old-world charm, mesmerising natural landscapes, pine-clad valleys, flower-cloaked meadows, and misty mountains. The Scottish and Victorian architecture reminds you of its colonial heritage while the aroma of freshly baked biscuits and breads wafts in the wispy air around its Tibetan market.

Bir-Billing  

Bir is a village in Himachal Pradesh that is called the 'Paragliding Capital of India', it is also a noted centre for ecotourism, spiritual studies and meditation. Home to a Tibetan refugee settlement, several Buddhist monasteries and a large stupa, an atmosphere of calm and serenity pervades Bir. Billing is the take off site for paragliders and Bir village is where they land, hence the collective moniker of 'Bir Billing'. 

Flora and Fauna in Himachal 

Because of the vast forest cover in Himachal Pradesh and there is a great variety of flora and fauna. Himachal's tropical forests have trees such as the cedar, pine, oak, fir, birch, alder and more. Beautiful Rhododendrons make the forests seem like a picture post-card and the fresh green grass will make you want to lie back and simply stare at the sky. The dense forests are home to pheasants, partridges, patient kites, snow leopard, bharal, thar, deer and Himalayan bears which you might be lucky enough to spot during your Himachal packages. Thanks to its natural beauty, the state government has successfully constructed 32 wildlife sanctuaries, 2 national parks and 3 game reserves, all of which you can visit as part of your Himachal Pradesh tour package.

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. Don’t miss out on this adventure on your trip to Himachal.

Trek to Naggar 

Trek to Naggar, a secluded town on the outskirts of Manali. On your Himachal package, make sure to trek up hills and through pristine forests with snow-capped 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 glistens 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. This is a highly recommended experience on your Himachal tour packages.

Hit the rapids in Kullu 

White water rafting remains one of the most popular things to do on your trip to 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 McLeod Ganj 

McLeod Ganj in Dharamshala is a cultural hotspot you cannot miss. It is rich in the culture and traditions of neighboring 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 12 km 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, snow capped peaks and enough natural beauty for fill a thousand photographs. This will make your memories to your Himachal holidays even more lively!

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.

Fairs and Festivals in Himachal 

A land of multiple cultures, languages and religions, Himachal Pradesh celebrates many religious and cultural occasions with gusto. Check out these celebrations if your Himachal tour coincides with them.

Doongri Festival 

Kullu celebrates the Doongri Festival in May. The highlight of this festival is a colorful fair held near the famous Hadimba Temple called the Hadimba Devi Fair.

This festival marks the coming of spring when the entire valley will soon be in bloom. To add to the colour and fun of this festival, small kites are flown and competitions take place. This welcoming of the Spring is also called 'Basant Panchami' in other parts of India.

Chrewal 

Also called 'Prithvi Pooja', Chrewal is celebrated in the second week of August. It is celebrated to thank the land for all its gifts and ensure continued blessings. This is a month long festival during which farmers do not yoke oxen. The festival is called Badranjo in Kullu and Pathroru in Chamba and is also celebrated as the festival of flowers. This festival also features dance performances by young girls in colourful pahadi attire. Try to plan your Himachal tour around this festive season to cherish the event!

Minjar Fair  

This week-long fair in Chogwan, begins on the second Sunday of August.  Minjar is second name for maize or corn flowers. People offer these flowers, a fruit, a coconut, a few paddy tentacles and a rupee to the God of Rain, Varuna hoping for ample rainfall to grow their crops.

Enjoying Himachali Cuisine on your Holidays in Himachal 

Given the hardships required to farm the rocky land and the abundance of ingredients that grow wild in its forests, the cuisine of Himachal Pradesh is sparse, yet tasty, nutritious and calorifically dense to enable people to live healthy lives at high altitudes and amidst low temperatures. Here are some regional dishes you must try during your Himachal Pradesh tour.

Madra  – Authentic Taste of Himachal

Madra is originally a stew/curry that belongs to the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. The dish mainly consists of the soaked chickpeas and vegetables cooked with various spices such as cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms, cumin, coriander and turmeric. Madra is one of the dishes that represents the food culture of Himachal Pradesh. Every restaurant and every occasion will have Madra on the menu.

Dhaam  – Must try Thali on your Himachal Trip

Dhaam is a kind of Himachali thali that includes dal, rajma, rice, curd, boor ki Kadi and a lump of jaggery. Dhaam is a plate full of deliciousness that is a must-have on every occasion and festival. The distinctive feature of this dish is that it is prepared by special chefs known as ‘botis’. Be sure to try a Himachali Dham during your Himachal Pradesh tour

Chha Gosht  – A Mutton Delicacy

Grass-fed mountain lamb is a culinary gem of Himachali cuisine. Well marbelled with fat owing to the climate, the meat to is tender and exquisite. Chha gosht is the best way to highlight this ingredient. This typical Himachali delicacy is prepared with marinated mountain lamb cooked in a gravy of gram flour and yogurt. The taste of this dish is enhanced by spices such as cardamom, red chili powder and bay leaves. 

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