ROMANTIC

Winter Calling: The Best Hill Stations in Himachal Pradesh

Smita Jha

Last updated: Sep 24, 2018

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Do

Trekking, River Rafting, Zorbing, paragliding and Skiing in Manali

See

Himalayan Nature Park in Kufri chail cricket ground

Click

Capture the stunning views of Chandigarh on a clear night from Kasauli's Monkey Point Get an amazing panaroma click of the rohtang pass Get a beautiful and flawless selfie in the parvati valley

Shop

Shop for clothes in Lower Bazaar in Shimla or buy wooden carvings at Lakkar Bazaar shop for kullu shawls and other wooden artefacts in manali

Eat

Shimla: Try Momos and Kurkez at Krishna Bakery at Mall Road Manali: Visit Casa Bella Vista for lip-smacking Spanish and Italian dishes Kasol : try the amazing israeli cuisine

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Winter is almost here and the hill stations in Himachal Pradesh are soon going to transform into winter wonderland! The thrill of visiting the mountains in winters remains unmatched. As soon as you take the turn towards the Himalayan Highway, the cold breeze from the hills and their faint blue outline silhouetted against the sky uplifts your spirits. Driving in the hills, I turn off the music and roll down the windows to take in the breeze, the sights and the smell of mountain life. A vagrant tune of Himachali music keeps playing in my head to which I hum unrecognizable words. As a friend of mine often says “There is love in the hills of Himachal”.

Manali

himachal hill station manali
 Drive along the snow white beauty of Rohtang Pass

 

When it comes to Manali I don't know where to begin! There is much to do and see here that I never quite tire of this beautiful valley. The beautiful views of snow, the plethora of adventure activities, Rohtang Pass and the splendid beauty of Manali keep taking me back year after year. Adventure activities in Manali include ice skating, paragliding on the Solang valley, and trekking to Malana. Rohtang Pass is a bit daunting but takes you to an unbelievable field of snow. Apart from these, the Hidimba Devi Temple and Sulphur Springs in Vashisht are a must-visit. Manali also has a number of small and big destinations around, especially Old Manali. Tourists from Israel and other parts of the world sure do add colour to life here. And while you are at it, do not miss the German Bakery on Mall Road, right opposite the SBI ATM. I love the music and ambiance there as much as I like the food.

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Read more: Manali Hotels on Mall Road: Because that’s where the Action is!

Shimla

himalaya hill station
 The toy train ride in Shimla is one of the most charming experiences ever!

 

The drive to Shimla is a visual treat! Lush wooded hills and a broad highway that is a pleasure to drive on. The town is usually crowded so it makes sense to book your hotel in advance. The Mall Road is alive with colonial style buildings, restaurants and colourful tourists. I hang out there for hours eating, shopping and just generally taking in the lovely landscape. One of my absolute favourite things to do here remains the charming toy train ride. The Christ Church, government buildings from the British era and the surrounding hilly terrain present an exotic image that makes the ridge a great site for a leisurely stroll. The State Museum and Summer Hill are Shimla's other attractions. Visit the Tara Devi temple and the Sankat Mochan to seek the blessing of the Lord and to spend some time gazing at the mighty hills that have stood the test of time and witnessed history.

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Kufri & Chail

himachal hill station chail
 The snow-capped mountains make for a breathtaking view!

 

If you are travelling with kids, you must stop at Kufri Fun World. The amusement park set on a hillside has a lot to offer kids and adults alike. When you get to Chail, you should definitely pay a visit to the highest cricketing ground in the world. Apart from that, this tiny place is one of astounding beauty. On a clear day you can see the river Sutlej winding its way between rocky hills. The valley is beautiful and offers a view of both Shimla and Kasauli. The sight becomes mystical in the evening when the lights from these towns light up the horizon like a million stars twinkling in the distance. Chail is great for small treks and jungle camping.

Kasauli

kasauli hill station himachal
 The snow-capped mountains make for a breathtaking view!

 

Kasauli has an old world charm about it. It is a great place to chill over the weekend. The old Church has a quaint beauty. Take a hike into the forests or stroll around the marketplace; Kasauli is a laid back place with some great hotels. It is an army base so a number of areas have restricted entry. The most popular attraction of Kasauli is the "Manki Point". It is a hillock in the shape of a foot with a Hanuman Mandir. Legend has it that Lord Hanuman stepped on this hill on his way to the Himalayas for the 'Sanjivini Booti', thereby flattening it with his immense weight. The place is full of monkeys who believe everything edible is theirs by right. Spend your evenings visiting the local market and the small monastery or going for long walks in the hills.

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Kasol

kasol himachal hill station
 The snow-capped mountains make for a breathtaking view!

 

Kasol is about an eleven-hour drive from Delhi, best covered in Volvo and deluxe buses. The peaceful hamlet is an open space on the bank of delightful Parvati River, surrounded by hills and snow capped peaks visible on the horizon. Surrounded by the quieter villages of Malana and Tosh, Kasol is a popular destination with foreigners. The true culture of the city is laid back, happy and tranquil. Having said that, the pilgrimage town of Manikaran is very close to Kasol. It is famous for its hot spring right beside the chilly Beas river. Kasol is more of a hiking and trekking base for points like Sar Pass, Yanker Pass, Pin Parbati Pass and Khirganga. The Youth Hostel of India organises most of these treks. To embark on any of these treks is no easy feat, not for the old or the frail, as I found out.

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Read more: Top 5 Things to Do in Kasol

You can't miss these 5 hills stations in Himachal. If you are of a more adventurous spirit, visit the Lahaul and Spiti Valley. You can opt for quieter villages and hamlets if the hustle bustle of popular destinations does not appeal to you. Himachal has something for everyone.

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