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Hill stations in Himachal Pradesh

Discussion in 'Himachal Pradesh' started by Subashshri, Dec 6, 2016.

  1. Subashshri

    Subashshri New Member

    Our family would like to visit a hill station preferably in Himachal Pradesh. We only know about the main hill stations like Shimla, Kullu, and Manali but we know there are many more.

    It would be good to get some kind of list or information about the hill stations which are in Himachal Pradesh which we can visit as a family.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Subashshri, welcome to the forum!



    You might have already explored the old-world charm of Shimla. Or maybe you already had a blast of an adventure in Kullu and Manali. While these are the three most popular hill stations in Himachal Pradesh, the state is vast and there are plenty more that you can consider visiting. And nope, this list won't be about Dalhousie, nor Mcleodganj, not even Dharamshala. These hill stations do have their own lure and beauty but if you're tired of the usual hill station destinations, then you might find this guide helpful. Below, we would highlight the other lesser known hill stations in Himachal Pradesh. These are the hill stations that aren't under the limelight as much, yet can provide fun and adventure for the whole family.

    Other Hill Stations in Himachal Pradesh (Family Getaways)

    1. Barog - Barog is a small hill station under 60 kilometres away from Chandigarh. It is also just 54 kilometres away from Shimla and is accessible from the Kalka Shimla Railway, as the Barog Railway Station is a part of the rail line. In itself, Barog is just a quaint hill station, it is not yet so touristy or crowded, nor does it has any attractions per se. But if you want just an idyllic getaway, a place where you can relax and enjoy the natural scenery around you. The Barog Railway Station might just be the most charming railway station in the country. On one side, you would see the pine covered hills and on the other side, there are small white & blue cottages slash rooms lined with gorgeous flowers. The cottages and rooms can be rented out by tourists to enjoy a full view of the approaching train. Of course, if you arrive by train in Barog, you get to enjoy all these views right from your seat too. You can also reach the railway station by trekking a bit, from the main road where cars are allowed to park. The Old Tunnel 33 is also worth a visit here, about a kilometre away from the New Tunnel 33 itself. The old tunnel was commissioned to be built to be part of the Kalka Shimla Railway. It was Engineer Barog who was tasked with the building of the tunnel. During that time, there were no technologies yet to assist engineers in calculating the alignment of both sides of tunnels, they did everything manually. Unfortunately, Engineer Barog miscalculated both sides of the tunnels, in that they were digging two sides that didn't actually meet in the middle. The government was disappointed and fined the engineer, it also caused him to lose his job and it was given to Engineer Harrington instead. Because of the humiliation, Engineer Barog committed suicide right at the miscalculated tunnel. It is said that the grave of Barog was buried nearby the tunnel but nobody nowadays seems to know where exactly it is. Finally, you can also visit the Dolanji Bon Monastery, which is about 20 kilometres away from Barog. This monastery is of the Bon religion, which is distinct from the Tibetan Buddhism religion. The monastery features a bright red and yellow facade, while the murals in the interiors dominate the walls.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Barog Railway Station, Old Tunnel 33 and Dolanji Bon Monastery
    Barog Railway Station (Image from Tania Langitan)

    2. Kangra - Just 22 kilometres away from Dharamshala is the hill station of Kangra. This hill station has a long history behind it, having been linked to the Katoch dynasty which was founded by Rajanaka Bhumi Chanda. According to Hindu mythology, the land of Kangra, then known as Trigarta, was gifted to Rajanaka Bhumi Chanda after they defeated a demon named Raktabija. The Katoch dynasty made their permanent mark in history by the establishment of the Kangra Fort, also known as Nagarkot or Kangra Kot. It is believed to be the oldest fort in the country, having been built over 3,500 years ago by Raja Susarma Chandra, a member of the Katoch dynasty. The fort has interesting battles over the years, being constantly captured by enemies and recaptured by the original Katoch rulers. All sieges to the fort are short, as the Katoch rulers always find ways to reconquer their fort. But the fort, because of its wealth, is always on the eyes and ears of other invaders. In the 17th century, Akbar's son, Jahangir, successfully captured the fort which lead to the jauhar of the women of the region. Now though, the fort has been returned to its rightful owners, the descendants of the Katoch dynasty. Entry to the fort is through a narrow and steep gateway, as the other three sides are surrounded by very steep slopes. Many of the inner structures were destroyed by invaders but you would still be able to see the grandeur of the fort despite this. Just outside the fort, you can visit the Bajreshwari Devi Temple, which is a temple dedicated to Goddess Durga. The temple is almost as old as the fort and was looted many times in history because of its vast treasury. Along with the nearby Jawali Ji Temple, these temples are considered as two of the Shakti Peethas in India. Next is the Masroor Rock Cut Temple, located on the outskirts of Kangra. This is the only rock cut temple in the northern part of India, thus it certainly warrants a visit especially for those who love history. The rock cut temple has been compared to various South Indian counterparts like the Ellora Caves and even the Mahabalipuram Cave Temples. The original builders of the temples are not known until now, though historians believed that the rock cut structures were built around the 8th century. Though the temple was ruined by an earthquake, the structures remain quite visible and you'd find carvings of Vishnu, Shiva, Rama and Sita easily. The Masroor Lake stands adjacent to the temple, reflecting its picturesque beauty during day time.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Kangra Fort, Bajreshwari Devi Temple, Jawali Ji Temple, Masroor Rock Cut Temple and Masroor Lake
    3. Nahan - Nahan is so close to Delhi yet not that known by many tourists yet. It remains partly rural and partly developed, which means you can have the best of both worlds here. The climate is very pleasant but usually not as cold, since Nahan is closer to the plains rather than the mountains. It is a suitable family getaway because the attractions here would be enjoyed even by the little ones. At the heart of the town is the Rani Tal, a small lake surrounded by lush greenery all around. It has a designated walking path where tourists can enjoy a leisurely stroll in. Birds can be found in abundance flocking to the lake area. You can also enjoy boating within the lake itself or visit the nearby temple within the premises. About 30 kilometres away from Nahan is the Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can enjoy spotting wild animals like barasinghas, sambars, leopards and lots of bird species in. The central attraction is the Renuka Lake, where there are boating facilities that one can also avail of. The Suketi Fossil Park is also just 18 kilometres away from Nahan. This is the first of its kind in Asia, where a fossil park was installed in the exact place where millions of years old fossils of animals were excavated. In the museum, there are also real-life displays of extinct animals like the saber-toothed cat, the mammoth elephant and the giant turtle. If you still have time, trek to reach the Jaitak Fort, located about two kilometres away from the city centre. Though the fort isn't that huge or remarkable, the views of the mountains from the peak are outstanding.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Rani Tal, Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary, Renuka Lake, Suketi Fossil Park and Jaitak Fort
    4. Palampur - Palampur has often been dubbed as the Tea Capital of Himachal Pradesh, owing to the number of tea estates in the hill station. It combines a rare mixture of tea estates, snow-capped mountain views, lush forests and streams, which you won't find elsewhere in the state. However, Palampur isn't frequented as much unlike Dharamshala, which is just 35 kilometres away from it. In a way, the hill station is underrated but that only means that you get to enjoy the serene vibe of it even more. There are various religious attractions in the hill station, starting with the Tashi Jong Monastery. This very colourful monastery with its mixture of yellow, orange and other hues is sure to stun you. The entire monastery is located within a working community, hence it makes the premises even more fascinating and alive. Next, there's the Jakhani Mata Temple, located about seven kilometres away from the town centre. It is a very simple temple, with just bright red tapered roof and a white facade. Approachable by a three-hour trek from the previous temple is the Birni Devi Temple. It is located at the highest point of Palampur and experiences heavy snowfall during winter. The trek is fairly easy during the other seasons but can be long. From the peak, you can clearly view the Dhauladhar mountains, especially on a clear day. For leisure, you can also visit the Saurabh Van Vihar, which is mainly a park with some boating facilities. There's a small cafe in the premises too for tourists to have some meals in. Other attractions located close to Palampur that you can visit are the Sobha Singh Art Gallery, where art works of Shri Shoba Singh can be found, and the Andretta Artists' Village, which is an entire community dedicated to the art of pottery.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Tashi Jong Monastery, Jakhani Mata Temple, Birni Devi Temple, Saurabh Van Vihar, Sobha Singh Art Gallery and Andretta Artists' Village
    Palampur (Image from Abhinaw Chauhan)

    5. Kasauli - A short distance from the popular hill station of Shimla, just under 65 kilometres away, is Kasauli. Far from the maddening crowds of Shimla, Kasauli maintains its immaculate serenity as a hill station. This is the place to be if you want to see the clouds kissing the tips of the mountains. This is the place to be if you want a safe haven, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. And for the families, Kasauli offers a relaxing getaway, a place where you can just bond with your loved ones. There are two main view points in the city, the first is the Monkey Point, which is a restricted area maintained by the Indian Air Force. You can still visit it but photography won't be allowed here. It is approachable by a 200-step climb from the entrance and at the peak, there's a small Hanuman temple that you can also visit. From this point, you can clearly view the surrounding areas of Chandigarh, Kalka and Himachal hills. The other view point is the Sunset Point, which is approachable by walking from the Mall Road area in Kasauli. From this point, you can enjoy the setting of the sun, just behind the great Himalayan peaks. The smell of fresh pine trees can soothe you as well. For those who love trekking, do try out the Gilbert Trail. The trail takes you through lush jungles on one side and a steep valley on the other. At the end of the trail, there's a cliffside point where you can enjoy some serenity and solitude. In the town itself, you can visit the Christ Church Kasauli. With its greyish facade and bright green roof, flanked by massive chestnut and pine trees all around, the church exudes spirituality. The church was established in the early 19th century and features a classical Gothic style of architecture. The interiors are very beautiful but simple, the altar features a stained glass artwork of Jesus and Mother Mary as well.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Monkey Point, Sunset Point and Christ Church Kasauli
    6. Naggar - Just 21 kilometres away from Manali is the hill station of Naggar. Naggar was once the capital of the Kullu dynasty, ruling over the region for over 1,000 years. Now though, the hill station is hidden under the shadow of the nearby popular hill stations. There's this regal charm to it that remains and despite having a few attractions only, it makes for an appropriate getaway for families who want to stay away from the usual crowds in Manali. There are two main attractions in the hill station. First of which is the Naggar Castle, which was the official residence of the Kullu royals during their reign in the region. It has been converted into a heritage property now, but you can still enjoy touring the grounds freely. The castle has a combination of wooden and rock facade, which gives it a medieval vibe. There's a small museum too, which has on display ancient artefacts owned by the royals. The other main attraction is the Nicholas Roerich Art Gallery, where artworks of the famed Russian painter, writer and archaeologist Nicholas Roerich can be found. The ground floor features the stunning paintings of the artist, mostly of the Himalayan ranges around Ladakh, Lahaul and Tibet. Outside, there's a garage showcasing the personal car of the artist, which is a 1930 Dodge. Other areas of the property are restricted for visitors since this is still owned by the descendants of Roerich. Further from the town centre, you can also visit some religious sites like the Tripura Sundari Temple. This temple bears some resemblance to Manali's Hadimba Devi Temple. It has the same three-tiered pagoda roof and wooden interiors with intricate carvings. This temple is dedicated to the main deity of Naggar, Tripura Sundari. You can also trek to reach the Krishna Temple, which requires about 30 minutes of climbing to reach. It has a stone facade and wooden roof, but the real reward is the view from the top of the clearer mountains and valleys below. And finally, if you want to experience snow even in summer, you won't need to reach Rohtang Pass or Gulaba in Manali. There's the Chanderkhani Pass in Naggar, which requires about six hours of trekking to reach its peak. Most trekkers halt halfway in a camping ground and continue for the trek the next day and go home to Naggar the same day.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Naggar Castle, Nicholas Roerich Art Gallery, Tripura Sundari Temple, Krishna Temple and Chanderkhani Pass
    7. Khajjiar - This fairly small hill station has often been compared to the beauty of Switzerland. The similarities are uncanny, from the distant snow-capped peaks, the presence of a central lake, the meadows and the surrounding deodar trees, you're bound to feel like you're in a different place right in India. Khajjiar is just 21 kilometres away from the popular hill station, Dalhousie. In winters, the hill station is completely covered in snow, giving it a different but still unique appearance. The main attraction here is the Khajjiar Lake, located right at the centre of the hill station. It is also the venue, at least the surrounding areas to it, for most adventure activities held here during summer like zorbing, paragliding and horse riding. During winters, it is a hotspot for snow activities like skiing and tube skiing. Nearby the lake is the Golden Devi Temple, so-named because of its golden dome. The temple mostly has a wooden facade, the interiors have murals depicting scenes from the epic, Mahabharata as well, specifically of the Pandavas. You can also enjoy playing golf in the vast meadows of the Golf Course of Khajjiar. As you can see, Khajjiar can be visited within a day or two, perfect for those who don't have much time to allot for sightseeing.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Khajjiar Lake, Golden Devi Temple and Golf Course
    Khajjiar (Image from Prashant Ram)

    8. Shoja - Shoja is about 108 kilometres away from Manali and is usually approached by taking the route through Aut. It is this hidden hamlet of Himachal Pradesh that remains out of the radar of the usual tourists. Shoja experiences rough winters, where snowfall occurs quite often. Summer would be the best time to explore the region as it has numerous trekking trails that one can enjoy. As a destination, Shoja won't compare with the tourist infrastructures of Manali or Shimla. But in contrast, it is the place to be to experience the rural lifestyle of the locals. It's a great way to showcase to the little ones how life in these areas differ from the city life, the simplicity of the lifestyle can be a great eye opener for them. Located at an altitude of 3,100 metres above sea level, the Jalori Pass is the prime attraction of this little town. It is approachable by vehicle, but only by high clearance ones. It also remains closed during winter season, as the snow here can be as thick as seven feet during that time. From the pass, you can have a great view of the Dhauladhar mountains. From the pass, you have two options, you can reach two destinations from it by trekking. The first path leads to the Raghupur Fort, which is about four kilometres of trekking away from the pass. The fort is mostly in ruins but gives a great view of the mountains as well. During summer, the entire area is covered by lush greenery and blooming flowers as well. The other path leads to the Buddhi Naagin Temple, which is about six kilometres away from the pass. Further from the temple, you can trek downhill to reach the Serolsar Lake, a small but crystal clear lake held sacred by the locals.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Jalori Pass, Raghupur Fort, Buddhi Naagin Temple and Serolsar Lake
    9. Chindi - Chindi is located 94 kilometres away from Shimla but offers quite a refreshing change of scenery. As you approach the hill station, the landscapes would change slowly, the forests would be denser, orchards would be fewer and residential areas would be sparse. Chindi lies on one side of the Satluj River, which you would also encounter en route the hill station. In itself, Chindi doesn't have much attractions, you would need to hire a car or bring your own to visit the nearby temples to the hill station. But if you want to truly get closer to nature, maybe breathe some authentically fresh air, then Chindi is the best place for that. You can opt to stay in a local guest house or in the Himachal Tourism run hotel, the Mamleshwar Hotel. You can take day trips to nearby religious sites like the Kamaksha Temple, about 20 kilometres away from Chindi. The temple has a wooden facade and pagoda-style roof common in most ancient Himachal temples. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga but you would also find carvings of other Hindu deities like Ganesh and Vishnu in the interiors. The temple also holds a grain of wheat which is believed to originate from the days of the Pandavas. Another temple worth visiting is the Mahunag Temple, also 20 kilometres away from the hill station. The temple is dedicated to Karan from the epic, Mahabharata. The Chandika Temple is easily accessible by walking from Chindi. It features the same wooden facade and interiors but the pond just outside of it gives a more natural vibe to the place. If you still have time, you can also reach the Shikari Devi Temple, but it requires a bit of trekking for its last five kilometres. Around Chindi, enjoy nature trailing, visiting the various corn and apple orchards of the hill station.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Kamaksha Temple, Mahunag Temple, Chandika Temple and Shikari Devi Temple
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    Chindi (Image from Get Busy Travelling)

    10. Kaza - We have come to the end of our list and what better way to end it but by a truly offbeat Himachal destination? Kaza is the headquarters of the Spiti Valley and because of its isolation, it is less frequented by tourists. Here, the dominant view is that of the barren lands and mountains. While civilisation exists here, their way of living is truly simpler and more basic, as compared to the other commercial hill stations of Himachal Pradesh. The nearest attraction of Kaza is the Sakya Tangyud Monastery, which is a newer religious site just inaugurated in 2009. The architecture of the monastery is Tibetan still, but there are some elements of modernity. The bright and colourful facade contrasts with the serene atmosphere of the monastery. Statues and stupas adorn the exteriors as well. From behind the monastery, the views of the barren hills are sure to mesmerise you. You can also take excursions into the nearby villages of Komic, Kibber and Hikkim. These are some of the highest villages in Asia and also in the world. Make sure you only make day trips to them and return to Kaza during night time. The Spiti River also flows close to the hill station, which is a sight to behold during monsoon season. The crystal clear water along with the backdrop of the mountains can relax the weary traveller.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Sakya Tangyud Monastery, Komic, Kibber, Hikkim and Spiti River

    There are many hill stations in the Land of the Gods, Himachal Pradesh. Take your time in planning your trip to the state, researching well about which hill stations would best fit your family. The usual tourist destinations have their own charm, hence they are flocked to by many visitors. But in a way, these other hill stations have remained more pristine, less commercial and overall, suitable for a more relaxing and soothing getaway. Once you have done the usual tourist circuits, why not explore a new destination instead? You would be mesmerised and captivated by the hidden getaways that the state has to offer. Enjoy!