Everyone loves Shimla, and what’s not to like? However, maybe it’s time you took a step away from the madding crowd? Somewhere close but not too far? A mere 60-km drive from Shimla takes you to the town of Narkanda. Higher reaches, plentiful summer sunshine or vibrant white winters in abundant apple orchards – all contribute to make Narkanda ‘the’ place to be. Stunningly beautiful, Narkanda offers superb angling and winter sports as well. ‘The’ skiing destination of the district in winter, Narkanda attracts a considerable number of tourists around that time of the year. A short drive from Narkanda lies Thanedar- the birthplace of Himachali apples. Satyananda Stokes, a Catholic-American who later converted to Hinduism, started apple farming at Thanedar and his success was replicated throughout Himachal. The absence of Shimla’s tourist crowds and unhindered vistas of the Himalayas gives you some much-needed solitude. un[travel] your way through stunningly beautiful landscapes for scenic views that last a lifetime here in Narkanda.
Hike to Hatu Temple with a Picnic at Joaba Meadow
A hike through the varied colours and serenity of fascinating deodar jungle takes you to the famous and revered Hatu Temple atop Hatu Peak. This small wooden temple is dedicated to ‘Mandodari’ wife of ‘Ravana’. Spend some time at the Hatu peak as you enjoy the splendid panoramic views of Narkanda on one side and Rohru on the other side. Just a little further down the path is the lush green meadow of Joaba. Stop for a short picnic and laze around the nature-trimmed Joaba Meadow at the end of this beautiful walk.
Apples of Thanedar
Apples of Thanedhar
un[travel] your way through ‘apple country’ here in Himachal as you get more gyaan on the lifecycle of an apple tree. A local apple farmer will give you history on commercially cultivated apples in India and how they make life here a viable option. Get insight on the best practices right from tilling the land, mixing manure, planting seeds and ultimately picking those luscious apples. Learn about how the livelihood here is directly proportional to good produce. Besides, if you’re lucky enough to be here at the right season, you might get to pick some apples from these famed orchards yourself.
Cultural evening at Himachal
Cultural Himachali Evening
In area extremely fond of music and dance, it’s not unusual to find yourself up and dancing with a group of ‘Himachalis’ here in the mountains. Expect your feet to start tapping to the beats of the local drums as you dance your worries away in this no-holds- barred cultural evening. Spend your evening around a bonfire as you listen to tales of local folklore with people whose dance and vocal music reflect their unique cultural identity. Dinner is made all the more memorable with local artists as you learn more about their culture.
Best time to visit Narkanda
The summers present the best time to visit from April to June when it is really pleasant and the temperatures range from 10-30 degrees. The monsoon brings about moderate rainfall along the months of July, August and September. Winter, more between November and February does get extremely cold with the temperature dropping as low as -10. Even so, avid skiers find it perfect for a visit.
Things to carry
Pack as light as possible given the amount of road travel involved here. • Cotton clothing for summer and a light jacket would work for when evenings get cooler. If you’re un[travel]ling in winter, warmer clothes complete with thick socks and warmer jackets. Carry your windcheater and umbrella if you’re here in the monsoons as well. • Sturdy walking shoes, mandatory if you’re hiking, make sense given the amount of walking involved here. • Sunscreen, especially if you’re going up to the higher reaches. Usual prescription medications. • Mobile and tablet electronic chargers.