Himachal Pradesh - the bestowed bounty of nature flanked by snow white beauty and grandeur of Himalayas is one of the most vouched places in India for natural beauty, pristine views and warm people that are an epitome of Indian hospitality.
In the surreal valleys in Himachal Pradesh lies an unblemished prettiness that is hard to resist. One of the best spots for backpacking and trekking in India, these valleys offer an out-of-the-box travel experience which not only challenges your adrenaline but also unleashes the gorgeousness India has meticulously tucked in its mighty mountains!
If you want to explore the rustic and surreal valleys of Himachal and don't know where to begin, here's something that will guide you to plan your next vacation to Himachal Pradesh.
1. Kangra Valley
Image Source: Wikipedia.com
The first and the foremost striking aspect of Kangra Valley is surprisingly not its mountains; it’s the Masroor Rock Cut Temple. Dating back to the 6th century, this temple complex sits in the Dehra Gopipur tehsil of the Kangra valley and enjoys a stunning backdrop of Beas River.
The reflection of the temple in the Masroor Lake makes for a beautiful picture and once you get past the admiration of the temples, you will realise why they call it the Himlayan Pyramids.
The valley is swamped with multiple streams making it verdant and ideal for vegetation. The Dhauladhar range (White Mountain) is the tallest peak in the Kangra valley.The popular hill stations in India like Dharamshala and Mcleod Gunj lie in the Kangra valley.
Activities in Kangra Valley: Plan a trip to Dharamshala, learn yoga at Mcleod Gunj, Shop for art pieces, crafts and hand-woven shawls from the locals
2. Kinnaur Valley
Image Source: Wikipedia.com
An amalgamation of Tibetian serenity and Indian beauty is what Kinnaur Valley is all about! Known as the land of gods, the valley flaunts three mountain ranges namely Zanskar, Greater Himalayas and Dhauladhar. The valley is the entry point of Tibet and lies on the Hindustan-Tibet Road built during the British Raj.
The locals decked up in the traditional clothes welcome you with their charming smiles. The Kinnaur Kailash Mountain is home to natural Shivaling and is a point of sanity and faith for the locals. The monasteries dating back to 1000 years mark the significance of Buddhism in the valley.
Activities in Kinnaur Valley: Hiking, trekking, ‘Parikrama’ (trail) to Kinnaur Kailash, picnicking near Nano Lake and binging on the local dry fruits.
3. Parvati Valley
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Also known as Tosh Valley, Parvati Valley is the site of confluence of Parvati and Beas River. Flanked by glaciers on one side and pine forests on the other, the Parvati valley is always the mix-trix of extremes. The valley is frequented by foreign visitors making it a springing hippie destination (thanks to the illegally yet openly sold weed) and the Sikh pilgrims visiting the Manikaran Gurudwara.
Surrounded with towering mountains and ancient tales, this place looks ethereal and straight out of a fairy tale! The increase in number of foreign tourists has resulted into plenty of home-stays and eateries serving international food which makes a vacation here, tad-bit easier.
Activities in Parvati Valley: Hiking to the Malana village over the Chandrakhani Pass to Naggar, splashing in the healing waters of hot springs of Khir Ganga, trekking to the Pandu pul (bridges believed to be constructed by the Panadavas of Mahabharata) and visiting the Rudra-Mag waterfall.
4. Habban Valley
Image Source: Flickr/applesnpearsau
Dotted with Deodar forests, Habban Valley is set in a quaint village of the same name at a distance of 70 kilometres from Solan. The valley is excellent for bird watching and the dense fir and baan trees make a happy habitat for local as well as migrant birds. The valley is also home to fauna like peacocks, deer, tiger, kastura and ghol.
The apple and peach orchards of the valley add to the allure and you can literally pluck a fresh fruit and gallop it down as you walk through its forests. If you are looking for a night stay, few petite home stays are available that offer comfortable rooms and humble local food. There are also few eateries like More Please, Rain Shelter and Midway Fast food in the valley to satiate your hunger.
Undoubtedly, Habban Valley is one of the most unexplored places in Himachal Pradesh.
Activities in Habban Valley: Nature trails, hiking, bird and wildlife watching and trekking to Banalidhar and Churdar.
5. Solang Valley
Image Source: Flickr/Joginder Pathak
An ideal pit stop between Manali and Rohtang, Solang Valley is an adventure lover’s dream come true! Slopped lawns spread over acres, splendid Himalayas in the background and uncountable opportunities that will pump up your adrenaline make Solang Valley one of the most famous valleys in Himachal Pradesh.
Adventure enthusiasts camp in the valley and plenty of campsites are available in varying range.
Activities in Solang Valley: Parachuting, paragliding, skating, zorbing, skiing, horse riding and ATV rides. Ropeway rides are also available.
6. Spiti Valley
Image Source: Flickr/Quinn Comendant
One of the best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh, Spiti Valley is a desert valley of Himachal Pradesh which is an epitome of minimalistic beauty. The vast void of the desert that stands between Tibet and India is magnetic and never fails to lure anyone who visits it. The repercussions of Holy Buddhism in the emptiness of the cold desert make it unique. The simple locals, the flattering ancient monasteries, the humble houses painted in white against the backdrop of turquoise sky define the ineffable beauty of Spiti Valley.
The valley is also great for wildlife spotting since it is home to Pin Valley National Park and Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary.
Activities in Spiti Valley: Visiting the monasteries, mountain-biking and road-trips are some top favourites. Plan an adventure tour to Pin Valley National Park or the Kibber wildlife Sanctuary; if you are lucky, you’ll be able to spot the Snow Leopard!
7. Chamba Valley
Image Source: Flickr/balu
The snowy Dauladhar on one side and the might Ravi River on the other, Chamba Valley is exquisiteness tiptoeing delightfully in the Himalayas with a history that dates back to 920 AD. A symbol of art, antiquity and pristine beauty; Chamba Valley is home to plentiful of temples, museums and lakes that pack for an eventful itinerary. Chamba Valley is also one of the best spots for trekking in India.
The towns dotted in the valley exhibit the combination of Rajput, Himalayan, and British cultures resulting into a very native lifestyle of the locals.
Activities in Chamba Valley: Nature walking, visiting the ancient temples like the Laxmi Narayan temple and the Brajeshwari temple, hiking to the Pangi Valley and shopping for embroidered Chamba Rumal.
8. Sangla Valley
Image Source: Wikipedia.com
Also known as Baspa Valley, this Himalayan beauty is popular among campers and hikers. Home to the tribal community of Kinnaur, the valley features ancient monasteries and temples and is one of the most under-rated valleys in Himachal Pradesh.
The Baspa River which is a major tributary of Sutlej River gives the valley its name. Towns like Chitkul, Karchham, Batseri and Kamru, old capital of Rampur Bashahr are dotted in the valley. Bed and Breakfasts serving warm Himalayan food, set in verdant Pastures, meadows and fields offer a memorable stay in the Valley.
Activities in Sangla Valley: Trekking, hiking, camping and river crossing.
9. Sutlej Valley
Image Source: Flickr/njyo
Home to the Sutlej River, this valley is bestowed with ample of water from the river as well as the melting snow of the Himalayas making it a super fertile. The rocky hills, splashing icy-cold waters, snowy peaks, emerald green grasslands and mesmerising views; Sutlej Valley is a mind-blowing valley of Himachal Pradesh that you should certainly plan a trip to.
The Sutlej Valley houses the Harike Bird Sanctuary and the Rupi-Bhabha Wildlife Sanctuary making it a perfect place for wildlife lovers. You can spot animals and birds like Smooth Indian Otter, Jungle Cat, Jackal, Indian Wild Boar, Yellow Eyed Pigeon, Tufted Duck, Yellow clowned Woodpecker, Mongoose, Watercock and White rumped vulture in this bounty of nature.
Modest home-stays and private farm houses offering a stay in the lap of nature are available.
Activities in Sutlej valley: Bird watching, wildlife excursions, visiting the apple orchards and vast acres of mustard fields, hiking to the Thanedar hill and admiring the panoramic view of Srikhand Mahadev range. Rafting and kayaking is also popular.
Also Read: Bird Sanctuaries in India
10. Kullu Valley
Image Source: Flickr/tataimitra
The dreamy Beas River, the mightiness of Himalayas and hills enclosed with thick deodar and pine forests; Kullu Valley is one of the prettiest valleys and is home to stunning honeymoon places in India like Manali and Kullu. The Pir Punjab Range, the Great Himalayan Range and the Lower Himalayan Range border the Kullu Valley adding to its stunning landscape.
The valley retains its traditional charm and serves as an entry point between northern Indian plains and Leh, Ladakh. The temples, the forests and the apple orchards make Kullu a beautiful place to plan a summer vacation to. A pilgrimage site for Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs; Kullu Valley is rightly termed as the ‘Valley of Gods’.
Activities in Kullu Valley: Visit the beautiful temples, shop for pashmina, relish fresh apples, plums, pears, and almonds, plan a trip to joint hill stations of Kullu- Manali and enjoy the stay in cosy mountain resorts!
Plan a visit to these mesmerising valleys of Himachal Pradesh and rejuvenate you mind, body and souls with an unparalleled happiness!
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