Himachal Pradesh is a state that defines what nature’s beauty is all about. With tall deodar, oak and pine trees that border the beautiful meadows, clear streams and green valleys; Himachal Pradesh is indeed a dreamland! But a trip to this wonderland is not always about reaching those places to visit in Himachal Pradesh, it is partly about enjoying the beautiful journeys that are associated with it. If you want to look beyond the beaten Himachal Pradesh tourism trail, then you need to hit some of the beauty laden roads of the state. The hilly roads in Himachal are filled with sightseeing thrills and encompassed with beauty. To tickle the wanderer in you, let us present four beautiful road trips that would fulfill your Himachal Pradesh tour. Here it goes…
#1: Manali to Leh (via Leh-Manali Highway)
Treading along this route is a dream for any biker. But, guess what, this road appears more beautiful, offers a safer and comfortable journey experience if you happen to partake the journey in a SUV! Well, words certainly run out while describing the beauty of this road. The route starts from the crowded city center of Manali town. Once you have left Manali behind, you will first come across the ancient Manu Temple (dedicated to Sage Manu) and then the beautiful Jogini Falls. Just some kilometers more and you will cross the scenic town of Mandi and come across the picturesque Prashar Lake. Next stop along the road would be at the Kiratpur Sahib. While at the Guridwara do care to spend some time on the bridge, which offers scenic views of the close-by mountain ranges. As you move ahead you will come across the beautiful towns of Bhunter and Kullu. Both these towns offers great views of the Himalayas. In the next phase of your journey, the cab will pass by the scenic Rohtang Pass and Keylong. Soon after, you will find a drastic change in the landscape. The lush greenery, serving as your constant travel companion so long, would be transformed into brownish shades. And that is the cue for Leh!
- Approximate travel distance: 479 KM
- Approximate travel time: 13 hours 30 mins
- Trivia: The mean altitude of this road is 3 to 4 km above sea level.
- Tip: The road is filled with many serpentine bends, so driving on this road needs a lot of concentration.
#2: Shimla to Manali (via Mandi)
We know, Manali and Shimla have been explored so extensively that many tourists nowadays want to avoid these cities. But keeping in mind the saying “beauty lies in the journey” we have listed this in the second position. Again, the true beauty of this journey starts once you have left behind the city of Shimla. You would have the valleys and meadows on your right, while the mountains serve as your companions on the left. As you move ahead, River Beas trudges alongside your vehicle. It plays hide and seek in some parts. Some places along the banks of River Beas are so picturesque that you will definitely stop over and click some photographs. As you cross the Sri Hanogi Mata Temple, get ready for some jungle experiences. The thickly forested route lies ahead and you stand a chance to see a wide assortment of flowers, some seasonal birds and if you are really lucky you might catch a glimpse of some wild animals taking a walk along the road. In the next phase of your journey you will come across the towns of Mandi, Bhunter and Kullu.
- Approximate travel distance: 247 KM
- Approximate travel time: 7 hours 30 mins
- Must taste: Do taste some of the traditional Himachal Pradesh dishes at the restaurants along this route.
#3: Shimla to Spiti Valley (via Kinnaur)
Spiti Valley is winning the hearts of tourists worldwide with its beauty and village-like charm. And the best way to reach this valley starts from Shimla. Soon after you leave Shimla city, you will come across the beautiful town of Kufri. Take a pause and appreciate the beauty of Kufri. As you start again, your next stop would be at Kalpa, which is known for its rugged and brownish shades of beauty. Feast your eyes on the sceneries of Kalpa before moving ahead. You will soon come across rows of Junipers, Pines, Firs and Rhododendrons decorating your road. You are now entering Kinnaur. As you get into the town, you will come across many apple and apricot orchards. You might spend some time wandering through these orchards and collecting some fresh fruits. Or you can select a scenic vantage point to overlook the beauty of Kinnaur. Your journey ahead takes you through the remote hamlet of Pooh, Tabo and Nako. This scenic journey (which you would wish never ends!) culminates at Kaza.
- Approximate travel distance: 690 KM
- Approximate travel time: 18 hours 50 mins
- Tip: Start early, as there are many bumpy stretches along the route which might consume significant time. Also the mountain roads near Spiti Valley are not safe to drive through after dark hours.
- Must taste: Do care to energize yourself with sips of chai and some Maggi at the wayside food stalls.
#4: Shimla to Kangra Valley
Nestled at the foot of the Dhauladhar Range, lies the beautiful Kangra Valley. Kangra is also situated at a distance of about seven hours from Shimla and a road trip allows you to enjoy the true charms of Kangra. As you reach the outskirts of Shimla, the road is filled with numerous scenic vantage points. Your cab twists and turns through the hilly roads and often comes across small and colorful villages. As you near the unique village of Andretta, you will find many tea gardens making their appearance one after the other. Within a few minutes your cab trudges into the Artists Village of Andretta. Andretta is home to reputed theatre artists, painters and potters. While in this village also care to take a trip of Norah Richards’ house. Once you have toured Andretta, ride forward and you will find the scenic town of Palampur just round the corner. Known for its forests of Deodar and Pine trees and great mountain views, Palampur requires a lengthy stopover. Another hour and you will reach the town of Kangra and you can take rest or recall some of the scenic experiences you had along the route.
- Approximate travel distance: 234 KM
- Approximate travel time: 7 hours 30 mins
- Must taste: While passing through Palampur, make it a point to visit the main market and taste Kangri Dham from a traditional Himachali restaurant.
Driving through the beautiful roads of Himachal Pradesh is a once in a lifetime experience. And these roads are best explored on cabs! So, book your cab today and maximize your Himachal Pradesh trip’s potential!