When the thought of heading to the Himalayas for a winter escapade, comes in mind, the first destination that comes in mind is Himachal Pradesh. Not only is Himachal Pradesh, easily accessible from nearby metros like Delhi and Chandigarh, there is a variety of unique experiences on offer as well, and its a haven for budget travellers and backpackers.
Be it paragliding in Bir – Billing, seeing the scenery change during a road trip through Atal Tunnel in Manali, getting mesmerised by the views of the majestic Dhauladhars in Kangra Valley or going the off beaten path in Tirthan Valley. There are tons of unique experiences you can have, when you visit these 5 Winter Getaways in Himachal Pradesh.
- Banjar, Tirthan Valley
- Spiti Valley
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Nestled between the vast Kangra valley and the Dhauladhar ranges, Dharamshala has one of the most dramatic views in the entire country. From forests, to waterfalls, to treks- you name it and Dharamshala has it. The climate of this city is also a bonus point! It has the most suitable and pleasant weather during spring, autumn and winters. A cup of chai on a sunny day is all you need to enjoy its beauty. A few kms ahead is Mcleodganj, India’s little Tibet- which has way more to offer than you know!
Things to do in Dharamshala
- Visit His Holiness Dalai Lama’s Temple in Mcleodganj
- Hike till the Bhagsu Waterfall
- Spend a Weekend in Dharamkot – The Hippie Village
- Enjoy spectacular views of the Dhauladhars from the highest Cricket Stadium in the World
- Visit the Norbulinka Institute to know more about Tibetan Art and Culture
- Enjoy the mountain life in the hamlet of Stobari
- Trek to the Triund Top and Kareri Lake
- Take a Day Trip to Palampur
- Do paragliding and Go Cafe Hopping in Bir-Billing – the paragliding capital of India !
How to reach Dharamshala
- You can take an overnight bus from Delhi which takes 10 hours to reach.
- You can also take a flight from IGI airport in Delhi till Gaggal Airport which is 15 km from Dharamshala city.
Where to Stay in Dharamshala
Recommended duration of stay : We recommend a minimum stay of 1 week to fully explore Dharamshala and Kangra Valley.
Situated along the banks of River Beas, Manali is a top destination among families, backpackers and travellers. Its lush green mountains, the tranquil atmosphere, the cafes and everything else – provides one the most relaxing experience in the Himalayas. To top it off, Manali is a major gateway to Ladakh and now with the new Atal Tunnel, you can bypass the Rohtang Pass altogether!
Things to do in Manali
- Hike to the Jogni Waterfall
- Trek to Brighu Lake and Hampta Pass
- Road trip to Lahul Valley via Atal Tunnel
- Relax in the cafes of Old Manali
- Visit the Hidimba Devi Temple
- Stroll on the Mall Road
How to reach Manali
- It is best to take an overnight bus from Delhi, which takes 11-12 hours to reach Manali.
Where to Stay in Manali
Recommended duration of stay : We recommend a stay of 4-5 days in Manali and Old Manali + 1-2 days in some quaint towns like Naggar, Hallan, Sethan in the vicinity of Manali, as recommended in this 7 Day Manali Travel Itinerary.
Shimla is one of the top Himalayan destination for many tourists! As a colonial hill station, Shimla offers an insight into the colonial life and is still infused with colonial architecture. Known as the ‘Queen of Hills’, Shimla offers wide range of sporting adventure- from paragliding to Skiing! It is also the best destination for those who are travelling in the Himalayas for the first time.
Things to do in Shimla
- Start your adventure by riding on the toy train.
- Go skiing in Kufri
- Hike till Chadwick Waterfall
- Visit the Lakkar Bazaar for wooden souvenirs
- Visit the lushious Apple Orchards
How to reach Shimla
- You can take a bus directly from Delhi.
- The nearest airport to Shimla is Chandigarh, from where you can easily find cabs and buses till Shimla.
Where to Stay in Shimla
Recommended duration of stay : We recommend staying in Shimla for at-least 3-4 days
Banjar, Tirthan Valley
A lesser known destination in Himachal Pradesh, Banjar is a quaint village in Tirthan valley. What makes it unique is the fact that it is Himachal’s best kept secret! Yet, it has so much to offer- it is ideal for trekking, fishing, wildlife watching, and discovering under-explored hill villages like Jibhi.
Things to do in Tirthan Valley
- Visit the Serloskar Lake
- Reach the top of Jalori Pass to enjoy the magnificent views of Himalayan peaks
- Visit the Great Himalayan National Park ( One of the Best National Parks in India )
- Hike to the Chehni Kothi
- Hike to Chhoie Waterfall
- Visit the apple, pomegranate, pear and apricot orchards in village of Gushaini
How to reach Banjar, Tirthan Valley
- Take a bus from Delhi till Aut and hop onto another bus from there till Banjar.
Where to Stay in Tirthan Valley
Recommended duration of stay : We recommend staying for at least a week to enjoy the mountain life in Tirthan Valley
Also known as the ‘Little Israel of India’, Kasol is a top backpacker destination among many Indians and foreigners. Kasol lies on the banks of river Parvati and offers a gateway into lush green valleys and trekking routes. To top it off, it is highly budget friendly!
Things to do in Kasol
- Relax by the Parvati river
- Embark on the adventurous Kheerganga trek, which is one of the Best Treks in the Himalayas.
- Visit the famous Manikaran Gurudwara
- Visit the villages of Chalal and Tosh to experience the psychedelic parties
How to reach Kasol
- The nearest airport to Kasol is in Bhuntar.
- You can also take an overnight bus from Delhi.
Where to Stay in Kasol
Recommended duration of stay : We recommend staying for at least a week to explore the Parvati Valley properly.
What describes Spiti Valley the best? Its cold mountains desert, beautiful ancient monasteries, spirituality, remoteness and the raw adventure one gets to experience everyday. Spiti Valley is a world in itself, no wonder visiting Spiti is indeed a Bucket List Experience in the Himalayas. It has so much to offer – you can road trip across the land, you can go trekking, you can spot wild animals everyday and enjoy the local life in your homestay. Its vastness, harsh winters and remoteness is what makes travelling there challenging!
Things to do in Spiti Valley
- Sit by the Nako Lake
- Enjoy the sunset in a cafe in Kaza
- Visit Dhankar – The Old Capital of Spiti Valley
- Head to Demul, the least visited village of Spiti
- Enjoy star gazing in Komic
- Visit Kee Monastery
- Send a postcard to your loved ones from Hikkim, the highest post office in the World !
- Visit Gue Village and Learn about 500 year old Mummy of Sangha Tenzin
- Camp at Chandrataal lake aka The Moon Lake
- Challenge yourself with the 21 days long Pin Parvati trek
How to reach Spiti Valley
- You can reach Kaza via Shimla or Manali, depending on the road conditions.
Where to Stay in Spiti Valley
We recommend staying in homesteads with the locals to fully garner the experience of living in this winter wonderland.
Recommended duration of stay : We recommend spending at least two weeks in the valley to experience its raw beauty at its best.
PS – Most of these places are also excellent places to consider if you are looking for a place to Stay and Work from in the Himalayas ! And heres is a list of some Quaint Home – Stays in the Himalayas from where you can Work from Mountains that you can check out !
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Ambika is an avid traveller and trekker who loves to hop from one mountain to another. She is extremely passionate about backpacking, mountaineering and adventure sports including skiing and surfing. Currently studying in Delhi University as a political science student, she jumps on a bus whenever possible and tries to find a story in every corner while travelling, penning down her thoughts.