Himachal Pradesh has been blessed abundantly by nature. Its topography is an intricate network of mountain chains which makes exploring it all the more attractive. Overlooked by the colossal Himalayan Ranges, it’s a kaleidoscope of arts, language and culture. Beautiful villages built in the traditional style of architecture give a sense of timelessness, even as life moves at its leisurely pace. The various backpacking destinations in Himachal Pradesh allow you to explore the magnificence beauty of this place while being close to nature at all times.
For the backpacker therefore, there is no better destination. Walking across mountain paths and following the mountain trails while enjoying a stopover at a village whose warmhearted people humble you with their humility, a backpacking trip gifts you with precious memories. Has the thought of embarking on a backpacking trip crossed your mind lately? This blog brings you the best destinations in Himachal Pradesh for backpackers.
Backpacking Destination In Himachal Pradesh
Kasol has emerged as India prime “do-nothing” destination. Most people visit Kasol to just relax and smoke up while others choose it for its spectacular mountain views and trekking opportunities. Whether you visit Kasol just to check out what all the hype is all about, or because you are really interested in the things it has to offer, you will not return disappointed!
Tip: Don’t mess with the Israelis, let them have their fun while you have yours. Mingle but trying to be over-friendly would be stupid.
Triund is the crown jewel of Dharamshala, situated in the laps of dhauladhar mountains, it has the perfect view of the dhauladhar mountains on one side and Kangra valley on the other. Triund is a very popular trekking spot. Triund attracts a lot of tourists every year from India and all over the world.
The trend trek can be described as a tranquil trek which can be easily accomplished by almost all age groups. Triund has an unambiguous byway which goes through a beautiful mixed forest of oak, deodar, and rhododendron. Trek is fairly easy for the first five kilometers but the last one kilometer may require a bit of toil, the last one kilometer is popularly known as the “22 curves” as it has 22 tiring curves before you finally reach Triund. Along the way, there are many small chai shops where one can refresh during the hike. The traipse is worth it as the panorama when you reach triund is awe-inspiring and exhilarating.Triund is come-at-able for the most part of the year except for when the byway to triund is cut off by heavy snowfall in the months of January and February. The trip to triund can be planed diversely.
Dharamsala – McLeod Ganj
Home to the Dalai Lama and Tibetan government in exile, and starting point for some exhilarating treks into the high Himalayas, Dharamsala, or more correctly, its upper town McLeod Ganj, is one of Himachal’s most irresistible destinations. Spread across wooded ridges beneath the stark rock faces of the Dhauladhar Range, the town is divided into two distinct and separate sections, separated by 10km of perilously twisting road and almost 1000m in altitude.
Originally a British hill station, McLeod Ganj has been transformed by the influx of Tibetan refugees fleeing Chinese oppression in their homeland. Tibetan influence here is subsequently very strong, with temples, schools, monasteries, nunneries, meditation centres and the most extensive library of Tibetan history and religion. As well as playing host to hordes of foreign and domestic tourists, McLeod Ganj is a place of pilgrimage that attracts Buddhists and interested parties from all over the world, including Hollywood celebrities such as Richard Gere and Uma Thurman. Many people visit India specifically to come here, and its relaxed and friendly atmosphere can make it difficult to leave.
Despite heavy snows and low temperatures between December and March, McLeod Ganj receives visitors throughout the year. Summer brings torrential rains – this being the second wettest place in India – that return in bursts for much of the year. Daytime temperatures can be high, but you’ll need warm clothes for the chilly nights.
Spiti is the subdivision of Lahaul & Spiti district with its headquarters at Kaza. Spiti also means “Middle Country”. It is called “Little Tibet” because it has almost the same terrain, vegetation, and climate. Some inhabitants have adopted Buddhism as their faith and Bhoti is the spoken language. The people are simple and honest. It lies between Tibet, Ladakh, Kinnaur, Lahaul, and Kullu. From Shimla, via Kinnaur, there is a motorable road which remains open up to Kaza for 8 to 9 months. About 10 Km. ahead of Pooh, Satluj enters India near Shipki la & Spiti River joins it at Khab. The road then goes to Sumdo via Hangrang valley. From Sumdo Spiti valley starts. The Spiti River flows fast through deep gorges at some places. It has an area of 4,800 sq. Km. The main Spiti valley is split into eastern and western valleys. They are connected with Ladakh and Tibet on eastern side & Kinnaur and Kullu on the western side through high passes.
The valley lies at a height of 2745 meters above sea level. Summer in this valley is cool and pleasant with green grass and alpine flowers. There is little monsoon in both these valleys and this enables climbers & trekkers to enjoy a long and unbroken season in the perpetual sunshine to explore the wilderness and grandeur of the inner Himalaya. This unique feature makes Lahaul-Spiti as an ideal destination for tourists and trekkers in the month of July, August, and September.
A quaint village nested in the Parvati valley, Tosh is actually a hippie hub disguised as a rural hamlet. With inexpensive rooms overlooking priceless views, Tosh is all that a backpacker can ask for. It is the ideal place to just stay put for months together.
Tip: Remember that the nearest ATM is in Kasol which is about an hour’s drive away so you would need to carry enough cash! Find out when the famous Tosh party happens, you will not regret being part of it!
Vast, apparently unending and sparking blue, the Rewalsar lake on a sunny day is a rare beauty. The lake remains calm all year round and truly comes to life when the mercury rises during the stifling summer. Surrounded by rugged mountains on all sides, this scenic lake is located at an altitude of 1,360 m above sea level and around 22.5 kilometres away from Mandi. The lake is square in shape and is sprawls over an area of 735 m.
Considered as one of the most sacred lakes of Himachal Pradesh, Rewalsar Lake is revered by the people of different religions- Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist. Tibetan Buddhist calls it by the name of Tso-Pema, the lotus lake. Legend has it that the king of Mandi tried to kill Guru Padmasambhava when he got to know that his daughter Mandarava is running off with him. The king tried to ruin their love by cursing them to die in a fire. By using his supernatural powers, Padmasambhava transformed the funeral pyre into a lake of sesame oil, surrounded by a ring of fire. In the middle of the fire bloomed a huge lotus flower on which Guru Padmasambhava was seated surrounded by rainbows and clouds. People even say that the Guru Padmasambhava’s (Guru Rinpoche) spirit resides in this lake in the form of a tiny reed flowing in the river.
Overlooking the lake, there is a 12 m-high statue of Padmasambhava, which is the main attraction of the place. Next to the lake there are three temples which are dedicated to Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva and the sage Lomas. The lake is also home to the Drikung Kagyu Gompa which is an academy for Buddhist studies and houses a Sakyamuni statue. Beyond that there is a Gurudwara dedicated to Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of Sikhism. The Guru Gobind Singh Gurudwara was built in 1930 to honor Guru Gobind Singh ji’s visit in 1738 to Rewalsar.
Other important pilgrimage sites nearby the lake are Padmasambhava Cave, Naina Devi Temple, Zigar Drukpa Kagyud Institute, Drikung Kagyud Gompa, Jigar Monastery, Kunt Bhyog and six other lakes which are associated with an epic episode of Mahabharata where an attempt was made to kill ‘Pandavas’ in the palace of wax. Every year, the place shrugs off its calm during the months of the Sisu and Baisakhi festival. If a tourist wants to step away from the city for a quiet getaway, then they must include Rewalsar Lake in their Himachal tour guide.
Billing Valley is a venture of Billing Adventures of Himachal, a team of well experienced and established young travel professionals, offering their Paragliding ,Trekking,Adventures activities expeditions, travel arrangements and tour services to the famous destination of Himachal. Billing Valley is based in Mcleodganj, Dharamsala, Himachal, and Bir – Billing at Palampur, Himachal Pradesh.
Billing is renowned the world over for having the distinction for the first Paragliding competition and every year, The Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Government of Himachal Pradesh organizes the ‘Para Gliding Pre world Cup’ at Billing- Bir in the month of October. It is also ‘the place’ for Hang gliding and Para Sailing.
Known for its pleasant climate and natural beauty, Dalhousie is one of the most famous hill stations in Himachal Pradesh. Dalhousie is located in the district of Chamba at an elevation of around 2,000 meters. The hill station is situated at the Western end of the Dhauladhar range of mountains. Surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains, Dalhousie is named after its founder Lord Dalhousie, the British Governor-General in India. With several Victorian-style mansions, Scottish architecture and other charming colonial buildings, this hill station will take you back in time. The place also has few quaint churches. Dalhousie is spread over an area of 14 sq km of area and it includes five hills, namely Balun, Bakrota, Tehra, Patreyn and Kathlog. The fragrant pines, oaks, rhododendron and oaks along with several other types of tress cover the slops of the mountains. This scenic hill station if framed by the river Ravi flowing at the base of the town. Dalhousie is a popular destination for honeymooners. Dalhousie also offers you the spectacular view of the majestic snow-capped Pir Panjal mountain range located in Jammu and Kashmir, Sach Pass and Chamba’s Pangi Valley. This enchanting hill station has several tourist spots like Lohali village, Kalatop, Dainkund peak, Bakrota hills and Tibetan market. The beautiful valley of Khajiar is also quite popular among the visitors. Tourists also like visiting the region near Alla. The region offers a spectacular view of the beautiful landscape.
Sangla Valley is located in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. It is supposed to be one of the most beautiful valleys in the country. In Tibetan, the term Sangala means “pass of light” which refers to the valley receiving sunlight during the day. To get here, tourists must make their way to either Delhi or Chandigarh. From Delhi, Sangla Valley is more than 500kms away. From Chandigarh, it is around 350kms. Whichever city you choose to make your way to Sangla, you will have to pass through Shimla. From Shimla, it is another 6-8 hours away. Visitors were prohibited to enter this region before because it was situated close to the Tibetan border; 25 years on and this valley has been explored by many enthusiasts. Spread over an area of over 40kms, it’s a magnificent sight to behold. Snow clad mountains surround you and you get to see the Kinner Kailash peak. The Baspa River flows through the valley and that is why it is also known as the Baspa Valley.
Sarahan is associated with several myths and legends. Located at an altitude of 2,165m, it serves as the base for numerous treks, besides being the gateway to Kinnaur. As a backpacker, you should visit this place to view its small fields and orchards, streams and quite villages. Once here, you should visit the famous Bhimakali Temple, one of the 51 sacred shaktipeeths (important pilgrimage destinations). Bird Park, which lies in close proximity to the temple, is also worth visiting.