My love affair with Himachal Pradesh started in May 2013. Very impulsively I packed my bags and headed for the mountains without knowing what lies ahead. I landed in Manali, and then went on to explore nearby places like Hamta, Shoja, Kothi etc. And since then I couldn’t stop myself from running away to the hills whenever I get weekends off i.e. twice a month for the past four months.
The alluring panorama of Himachal Pradesh, at the foothills of Himalayas, has an array of mountain ranges and snow-covered apexes. Once you visit Himachal Pradesh, you will not go back without a feeling of coming back again and again. It is an abode for adventure junkies and people looking for some adrenaline rush. But don’t get fooled by the high and mighty valleys that gives you a sense of bold endanger, one can also have a rejuvenating time here away from the city lights. Breath in the fresh morning air, wake up to the lush green landscape and explore the virginal surroundings.
Check out the top four offbeat places to visit in Himachal Pradesh:
1. Malana Tucked away safely from the rest of the civilization, Malana is a small village in the district of Kullu. This place has a rich historical background as it is believed that the people of Malana are the descendants of Alexander the Great. They have their own administrative system very similar to the Greek system of law and administration, concept of purity, language and social structure. The lofty peaks of Chandrakhani and Deotibba shelters the village. The origin of Malana can be traced back to Jamlu rishi who is a local deity credited with establishing the social laws and rules in this society. How to get there One can reach Malana via Kasol. Hire a cab from Kasol which will cost around 1450 Rs.and it will drop you at the steps leading to the village, from where the trek starts. It will take around two hours to reach the village, remember you should carry your own food as there are no cafes or eating joints in that area.
Kheerganga is in the district of Kullu in the lap of the Parvati Valley. One can go till Barsaini by bus from where the four hour trek starts till Kheerganga. It is believed that Lord Shiva had his abode here and meditated for thousands of years. The best thing about the place is the hot water spring which is said to have healing properties. After the trek one can rejuvenate himself/herself in the much needed hot water spring here. Totally worth a visit.
3. Jalori Jot
This one is the best hiking trail according to me. I stayed at a nearby village called Shoja, and drove down till Jalori Jot in a car. From there one can go to Sirolsar Lake next to the Temple at Jalori Jot or take a right from the main street towards an ancient fort. Both the locations are splendid. I went to Sirolsar Lake on a a rainy day, gosh it was too slippery due to the rain water and I almost felt thrice. I would have gone down the valley had I take a wrong step forward. A word of caution: wear good trekking shoes. I wore my tennis court shoes which created quite a lot of problem. Just before you reach the lake, you can take a break at a nearby dhaba run by a lovely lady and her son, Santosh. The hiking trail is of 4 Kms after which you reach the lake. Adjoining to the lake is a temple dedicated to the Old Serpent Queen of that area and the locals believe in her power so much that alcohol is not allowed in the area. Go a few steps further and you will find a small makeshift cafe, the guy there makes yummy Mutton and Rice.
This is the fringe of heaven. If you are looking for a vacation spot where you can sit back and soak yourself in the surroundings, then you are at the right place. Hamta is a small village about 2 km away from Manali in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. One can reach Hamta via Pirni Aleo Hydro Power Plant and start the curvy clamber towards the lush green mountain top that overlooks the Manali City. Tired of the Delhi heat, I decided to go on a solo trip to Himachal Pradesh. It was then that I stumbled upon a lesser known village called Hamta. It was the deep valley with lush green trees, candy flossed clouds, tranquil Beas River and the silence of the mountain that I instantly fell in love with Hamta. I stayed at Backwoods Mountain Camp and Café, a humble abode surrounded by apple trees and the gleaming sight of nature`s beauty at its full bloom. Vikas, the owner of Backwoods Mountain Camp and Café is a gentleman; he is friendly, knowledgeable and always willing to do anything to make your stay comfortable and memorable. One can also take up activities like trekking, photography or mountain biking. You can start with a light hike to a nearby waterfall, take a dip in the freezing water and enjoy your picnic basket. If you are a serious trekker then walk all the way over to the base of the Himalayas, the Pir Panjal Range. You can you have enough days on hand you can complete the whole Hamta Pass Trek. Make sure to take breaks in between and recharge yourself with some soupy maggi or a hot glass of tea.
This article was originally published for The Indian Express. See article here: