Whenever we talk about things to do in Himachal Pradesh – we talk hiking, skiing, paragliding and so on, it usually comes down to some form of the adventure other. While on a family tour to Himachal, it is to be expected that extreme sports might not be a priority.
But those visiting Himachal with their family, fret not, as the state is much more than its adventure forefront. You have a state packed with amazing scenic beauty – in nature as well as its natives, lost villages, and a rich thriving culture which is all just waiting to be explored. Here are a few things you can do with your family in Himachal Pradesh when you’re not looking for adventure:
Find Lost, Offbeat Villages
Barot, Himachal Pradesh
For those of you who are simply looking to find their own corner of peace and isolation, Himachal has plenty such opportunities for you. It may seem hard to believe with the recent increase of tourism, but the only thing you have to do is look, and there are still plenty of undiscovered places.
Barot is one of our favoured hamlets to look out for. Being located in the Mandi district, while its famous for the trekking and camping opportunities it offers, Barot is an excellent place for enjoying the beauty of nature, as is. Other than this, it offers fishing opportunities and an exciting open trolley ride to Joginder nagar.
Chail is an ‘offbeat’ version of Shimla that you can explore simply for the scenic vistas that surround this village and the feeling of an olden time that prevails here.
For those who wish to go one step further – the Sangla Valley region of Himachal beckons. A region consisting of colourful fields, apple orchards, and winding streams, it has some of the most scenic villages. Our favourite villages in this area are Sangla, Rackham and Chitkul.
Relaxing and Fishing in Tirthan Valley
Angling in Tirthan
A textbook definition of ‘offbeat’ away would perfectly fit for Tirthan valley. Lush green forests, scenic waterfalls and quaint little villages – all this makes the place a perfect one for people looking to just relax with their family.
Tirthan Valley is known for its angling opportunities – which make for a perfect family activity. There’s nothing like a day out with your loved ones which will keep the people of all age groups entertained while learning something new.
Other than this, there are a few hidden, magical waterfalls in Tirthan which can be reached via very short walks. Serene and beautiful, they make for perfect spots to forget all about your city life.
This valley also has a few villages which add to its beauty and culture.
Jibhi is a lost little village where you can rent a hut by the a little river which flows through the village and enjoy your days with the locals. You can also visit the Chaini fort here, which is a 1500 year old watch tower.
Gushaini is another such village which is situated amidst the villages in Tirthan valley. There’s a famous guest house here (Raju’s guest house) which can only be reached by crossing a river on an open trolley!
Exploring the Tibetan Culture in Dharamshala area
Since many years, the Dharamshala district has been home to Tibetan refugees from their home countries, who have settled here. They have also brought their culture along with them, which can be felt and experienced to its roots in the villages around dharamsala too.
Mcleodganj is the centre of the refugee community and home to the Dalai Lama when he visits India. You will find the essence of Tibetan culture everywhere in this small village, from the small, hip cafes serving Tibetan cuisines to the Buddhist monks. Much can be learnt about the rich culture of Buddhism by visiting Mcleodganj.
You can also visit Bir, which is a stone’s throw away from Mcleodganj. While know prominently for being the best Paragliding site in the world, it is home to culturally important monasteries and monuments.
Another such village which showcases this culture is Dharamkot. It is home to many people of foreign descent who have settled here. There are many meditation and spiritual healing centres which offer all kinds of courses for inner peace, which one may try.
Shimla: Of Colonial Architecture and Family Fun
Colonial Architecture in Shimla
Shimla was the ‘summer capital’ of the British Raj in India. And the British chose it for a reason – while being connected to mainland cities, Shimla has beautiful weather all around the year. The retreats that the British built for themselves, along with other architecture such as churches (the most famous being the Christ Church) give this town a feeling of being back in time.
Shimla is perfect place to visit in Himachal Pradesh with your family, offering fun activities for the adults and children alike. The most famous of these is the toy train ride. This colourful ordeal runs from between Kalka and Shimla and offers Switzerland type views of vistas in its route.
Another fun activity for the entire family can be ice skating, which is a major draw for tourists here. Children especially enjoy this experience.
For the religious ones, Shimla has a few famous revered spots of religious importance, such as the Jakhoo Temple and Sankat Mochan Temple. These are coincindentally the highest spots in Shimla.
Take a visit to Shimla for all this and more, or simply hang around the Mall road, quenching your shopping thirst here. You can also visit the famous Shimla State Museum or enjoy picturesque views at The Ridge – the most famous point in Shimla.
If you’re looking for a ‘colonial’ time feel but not a very big fan of the crowds – you can visit Chail (45 kms from Shimla) or Dalhousie, which are both equally beautiful places, minus the crowd.
Experience the Apple Orchards
Himachal is the major apple producer of the country, and so famous are these Apples that they are in demand all around the world. A trip to Himachal would be incomplete without seeing these Apple orchards.
While visiting these orchards, you can learn a lot about how apple farming is done, and the challenges faced by these farmers. Alongside this, the feeling of eating apples fresh-plucked from trees is priceless and invigorating.
The best places for visiting the apple orchards are Fagu (which is nearby Shimla), Sangla Valley (which is famous for its apples) and the Kinnaur region.
So if you’re thinking that Himachal is only about adventures – think again. All these places make a Himachal Pradesh family tour a possibility to consider, and an amazing time to look forward to!
Which ones will you visit on your next holiday to Himachal?