When we think Himachal – we usually tend to think of the most famous places like Shimla, Manali and Dharamshala. These places to visit in Himachal Pradesh have a strategic closeness to city areas while offering a perfect blend of nature and life in the hills. The negative effect that the tourism has on these places, of massive crowds, the commotion can all lead to them becoming the kind of places you had come to escape from in the first place. If you come here to look for isolation, we suggest going for some unexplored offbeat places in Himachal Pradesh, nearby to these places. While you can find places to visit in Shimla, Manali or Dharamshala in countless articles, we will talk about offbeat spots nearby these places.
Shimla is India’s “Summer Capital”. It everyone’s favourite colonial town, which takes travellers back to colonial times of the British Raj. This time you visit Shimla, do it a little different.
Visited about 60 kms, Narkanda is like an offbeat cousin of Shimla. Complete with apple orchards, supreme scenic beauty and minus the tourists. The slopes here make it a great place for skiing during the winters. The prominent attraction in Narkanda is the Tannu Jabar lake. While here, don’t miss out on the apple orchards, which are some of Himachal’s best. It is also a base for some fantastic trekking opportunities in the vicinity, the most prominent one being Hatu Peak.
Kufri is another isolated place near Shimla that can be visited for when you’re looking to something different. Close by to Shimla (only 10 kms), it is mainly a must visit for the panoramic views it offers. The untouched nature and isolation makes in a must do on our list.
If you’re looking to go further away, Kiarighat is a gem located on the Shimla Kalka highway. Located about 27 kms from Shimla. Surrounded by fantastic Oak and Deodar forests, it is tucked away in a hidden corner of the highway. The Apple Cart Inn is a renowned hotel in the place which makes for a perfect family spot.
Another daytrip nearby Shimla can be Naldehra and Tattapani. Located at 22 kms from Shimla, Naldehra might be one of the most unique gold courses in India. Perched at about 2200 mts height, it has the Nag Temple in the middle of the course. Even if you don’t play golf, this place is a great visit for lovers of nature. Tattapani, situated close by, is a place with natural hot water sulphur springs. They are believed to cure many ailments.
Manali is also known as honeymooners’ paradise. Every year, hordes of tourists flock to this valley town in Himachal to experience the surreal beauty and the variety of adventure activities it offers. This however, sometimes leads to the very chaos that city dwellers come to escape.
This time you visit, take the bridge over the river to the other side of the valley, and visit Old Manali. The ‘real’ Manali, as some people like to call it, you will find the traces of the raw village life here, as you leisurely stroll the the dirt roads here. There are a plethora of small cafes and restaurants which offer cuisines from around the world.
While here, take a short hike to Jogni village, which is situated nearby to get more closer to the natural way of life. Perched at the top of this area are the Jogini Falls, where you can get a real sense of peace and isolation. An offbeat favourite, these massive falls offer many pristine spots to be explored.
Talking of waterfalls, another spot close to nature is the Jana Waterfall, located in Jana Village, which is about 32 kms from Manali. The village is a authentic look into what life was like a few decades ago, and how urbanization has changed so many aspects of our life. While on this feeling, you can visit the falls, which are surrounded by dense forests and offer a peaceful atmosphere.
Another rather unexplored place near Manali is the village of Jagatsukh. At about 6 kms, is it famous for its Shiva temple and as a base campy for various hiking trails that lead from here. But the place in itself is one of natural splendour and beauty. Spend some time here, sitting by the river, enjoying the beautiful valley.
One of the major towns of Himachal Pradesh, Dharamshala was usually a stop for the travellers hiking to the higher parts of the mountains in the region. Over time, it has grown in popularity for the pleasant views all around town, and the peaceful, serene culture that prevails here owing to the Tibetian migrants who have been living here for decades.
Ofcourse, when you are visiting Dharamshala, you can visit the neighboring Mcleodganj, famous for its cafe culture and Buddhist Culture.
Instead of stopping at Mcleodganj, go on a little further this time till Dharamkot. This quaint little village is also a base for trekkers mostly. You’ll get a raw vibe from the simplicity of the people here and a oneness with nature. Being away from the crowds, the accommodation are cheap, the silence, plenty. The cafes also serve good food, be sure to try out their speciality “Bhagsu Cake”. This village is famous for many meditation and yoga retreats.
Another such village in the Dharamshala region is Rakh Village. Further away from the commercial side, it lies about 25 kms from Dharamshala. It offers majestic views of the Dhauladhars, and small hikes in and around the village which make it all the worthwhile.
From Rakh, you can visit another village, Andretta – which holds a reputation for being an artists village. Andretta is famous for its pottery, and is a treat for culture enthusiasts.
So the next time to visit Himachal Pradesh, look for some offbeat things to do in Shimla and Dharamshala instead of just the text book affairs. Where all can will you go?