Himachal Pradesh is fondly called as ‘valley of the gods’ and is true to its name being a spiritual hub for travelers from all across the globe. It is an important center for both Hinduism and Buddhism. Whether you are a backpacker or you desire a luxurious travel, Himachal has much to offer. Here is my list of the top 10 places to visit in the state.
1. Manikaran Gurudwara, Manikaran.
Manikaran is gifted with a hot spring. The Gurudwara complex possesses a huge bathing compound with a reservoir to store the hot water from the spring. Pouring a few buckets of water over you would certainly rejuvenate you.
Kasol is considered to be ‘Mini Israel’ taking into account a number of Israeli inhabitants here. This place is a must visit to savor in the dishes of the Israeli cuisine. It offers a huge scenic beauty due to it falling in the close proximity to the rich flow of the Parvati River and a walk across its valley is an event to cherish.
Tosh is a small village located on top a hill and accessed by 30 minutes long trek from Bashraini. One can also reach here by car. But, once on the top, it is very spiritual to experience the ambiance of the rural life resonating a quiet existence as there are very few people staying here. the only drawback is that things are a bit expensive to buy here as they have to bring everything from the base of the hill.
4. Hadimba Temple, Manali.
This temple is devoted to Hadimba who in the epic ‘Mahabharata’ is considered to be the wife of Bhima. It is constructed in the style of a pagoda and located inside a lush pine forest which according to the legend was her home once upon a time and these factors amplify its beauty. There is another temple devoted to her son Gatotkach nearby.
5. Rohtang Pass.
Rohtang Pass is an alternative route from Manali to Leh and is at an altitude of 13,051. This is opened to the public from May to November. If you love snow and want to play with it then this is the best place to visit. It is always advised to wear a complete snowsuit which you can purchase on the way for a sum of Rs 250. Also, here the climate is very unpredictable so, it can be a bit dangerous without being accompanied by experienced drivers.
6. Norbulingka Institute, Sidhpur
Sidhpur is around 7kms downhill from Dharamshala. Norbulingka Institute was constructed as a museum for Tibetan culture and Heritage. The whole institute is made in the shape of ‘Avalokitesvara’ who is the Buddha of Compassion in Tibetan Buddhism. The doll museum and the temple are a must visit inside the complex.
7. Macleod Ganj
Macleod Ganj is known for being the center of the Tibetan government which is in exile since 1959 as it is the seat of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. One must definitely visit the Dalai Lama temple which also has an Institute of Buddhist Dialectics. Macleod also offers a wide variety of Tibetan Food, handicrafts and handmade jewelry.
Being a trekker I can say that mostly Triund is every trekker’s dream. It is a four-hour long trek from the base at Dharamkot which is a 15-20 minutes drive away from Macleod. The sight at the top of the peak is marvelous as we get beautiful sight of the majestic Himalayas. If one can then one should either carry tents or rent them at the top and spend the night under the starry skies.
9. Roerich Art Gallery.
A few kilometers away from the town of Manali, the house of the Nicholas Roerich, who was a famous painter from Russia and had settled in the Himachal being mesmerized by the Himalayas, has been converted into an art gallery. The house is restored and conserved to trace the legacy of the family and their philosophy.
10. Gaiety Theater, Shimla.
This was a famous theater during the British Raj in their summer capital. Its heritage structure has been restored recently and it currently houses an art gallery also there is a montage of the photos of the various plays that were performed from circa 1890 to circa 1915. Now the stage is also used by amateur theater performances.
In Conclusion, I feel that the best time to visit Himachal is during the winter as it would be studded with snow all across the region taking the sanctity of the place to a whole new level. However, it is a risky endeavor as one can get stuck in a place for some time since communications might be cut off.