Vacation mode is on and many of us are still looking for some incredibly beautiful places to holiday with family and friends, that offer the serene landscape  and much needed respite form the sweltering heat of the plains. 

ChandigarhX has researched extensively on helping you out in making your holidays worth a name. Rather than being in the same over-crowded destination again and again, we want you to think and choose beyond Manali, Mcleodganj, Shimla… 

Here are the hidden gems in Himachal Pradesh that can make even the Alps in Europe envy of its ethereal beauty.

 1. Naldehra

Just 22 kms drive uphill from Shimla, Naldehra is one of the least explored destination. The blue skies, lush green forests and an occasional rainbow thrown in makes the place look like it has been painted on a canvas. Naldehra is a perfect holiday destination for the nature lovers.

MAJOR ATTRACTIONS:

18 – hole golf course: Considered one of the most challenging golf course in the world, Naldehra Golf Course is situated at an altitude of 2044 meters.

DID YOU KNOW: Interestingly, Lord Curzon was awe-struck by the beauty of the place and himself oversaw the construction of the golf course which has been named after his third daughter, Alexandra Naldehra.

You can try a hand by paying a nominal daily green fee that ranges between Rs 250 to Rs 500. You could either trek your way up the ridge, but since the climb is exceedingly steep it is advisable to hire a cab or pony. 

But it is only after you witness the breathtaking grandeur of the lush topographic glades that you realise why it is regarded at par with the reputable golf clubs of India.

Mashobra’s Regional Horticultural Research Station: 20-minutes drive to the apple orchards give you a splendid over 170 varieties of apple trees, both red and golden, on board.

Other Attractions:

  • Forest walks
  • Heritage walks in Simla
  • White water river rafting
  •  Horse-riding
  • Amazing sunrise and sunset views

How to reach The Chalets Naldehra:

By road:

From Chandigarh: 136 kms; About 4.5 hours drive
From Delhi: 392 kms; About 7 hours drive

Recommended Accommodation Options: 

Chalets Nalhedra

 

2. Narkanda

A township in the district of Shimla, Narkanda is nestled around 65 km away from Shimla. It is located on the Hindustan-Tibet Road at an altitude of 2708 meters in Himachal Pradesh. Narkanda has a picture postcard view surrounded by hills, valleys, alpine meadows, and woods. 

MAJOR ATTRACTIONS:

Hatu Peak:  It is the highest point in Narkanda (at the height of 3400m above the sea level) and gives a gorgeous scenic view of mountains covered in snow and its surroundings. The only way to reach the hill top is by trekking through it. This trek is not very rigorous and is a one-way hike of 7 km to the peak. The trek involves going through the mixed forests which comprise of a variety of trees varying from blue pine, deodar to fir and spruce. Almost halfway, you also come across Gujjar Kotha which is a temporary shelter for Gujjars who camp with their cows and buffaloes. You can also go camping in Hatu Peak and enjoy under the stars in the tent.

The peak is famous for the attractions namely Hat temple and a small pond located on the top. The travelers are provided with a guest house to relax. Some other attractions which one can witness on their way include the slopes of Dhumari and Jau Bagh.

Tannu Jabbar Lake: This lake encircled with trees all around is an ideal picnic spot and to spend some relaxed time with the mountain watching over.

Mahamaya Temple, Kacheri: Located at distance of 7km form Narkanda is the Mahamaya Temple, dedicated to Goddess Kali. Set amidst breathtakingly beautiful surroundings with a sense of calm and serenity, this temple provides the perfect ambience for meditation and introspection.

Kotgarh: The apple bowl of India, Kotgarh is a quaint scenic place. It offers marvellous walks through pine forests and Apple orchards. The picturesque terraced fields dotted with apple trees and bungalows is like an artist’s painted canvas. 

DID YOU KNOW: Kotgarh became a British territory in 1815 when they defeated the Gurkhas there. A missionary from Philadelphia, Samuel Stokes, who impressed with the beauty himself converted into Hinduism and settled here. He started cultivating delicious variety of apples in his farm. He encouraged the local farmers to plant apples in their fields and the region transformed from a poverty-stricken region to one of the most prosperous in Himachal. One can still see the ‘Starking Delicious’ apple orchard that he planted here.

Skiing & Snowboarding: Narkanda is globally acclaimed skiing and snowboarding destination. 

How to reach Narkanda:

By road:

From Chandigarh: 182 kms; About 5.5 hours drive
From Delhi: 403 kms; About 9 hours drive

Recommended Accommodation Options: 

Tethys Ski Resort

Agyaat Vaas

ALSO READ: 20 Incredible Places In Himachal For Camping, Trekking And Adventurous Holiday

3. Mandi

 

With over 81 temples and rippling Beas river flowing along, Mandi is known as the Varanasi of the east. Situated some 70 km from Kullu, Mandi was gets its name from Sage Mandav who meditated here. The comfortable weather, the scenic views of the snow clad mountains and architectural delights ranging from classic Indian to colonial style, Mandi boasts both and this has added to its attraction. 

DID YOU KNOW: Mandi was at the forefront of various revolutionary activities during the freedom struggle. The city of Mandi was founded in 1526 by Ajber Sen and Maharaja Ranjit Singh occupied it in 1839. However, soon after his death, Sikh power in Mandi disintegrated. Mandi became a part of India on April 15, 1948.

Some of the Major Attractions in Mandi:

Trekkers Heaven: The starting point for treks to Rewalsar, Shikari Devi, Barot, Jhatingri, Karsog and many more starts from Mandi. Bounded by mighty Dhauladhar ranges in Kullu Valley, the places around are full of mystic charm. The lush green valleys, interspersed with rivers and lakes offer one of the most picturesque and enjoyable trekking experiences.

Pangna-Karsog Valley: Simply picturesque valley with forested mountain sides sloping down from the ridgelines, Pangna-Karsog Valley offers an uninterrupted view of some of the snow capped mountains of the Pir Panjal range. The open valley is famous for its apple orchards as well as its expansive meadows.
Other than its terraced slopes, this valley is also home to the historical Pangana Fort. Famous for its unique architecture and wooden carvings, this seven storied fort is a tourist attraction and is mainly visited for the old world charm that it exudes. Also present inside this stone fort is an ancient Durga Temple known as the Mahmaya temple.

Rewalsar Lake: The lake is a spot of high spiritual importance and equally popular amongst trekkers.

Situated 25 km from Mandi, this place is well known for its seven floating islands. It is believed that an act of penance was held by Lomas Rishi here and Lord Shiva impressed by his devotion gave him seven floating islands as reward.

Bandy: Mandi is one of the few places where Bandy, a sport similar to ice hockey, is played

Tattapani: Literally meaning hot water is located on the banks of River Sutlej. Surrounded by panoramic view of hills, the place houses natural sulphur spring which is said to own curative properties to cure many ailments.

Temples: Shyamkali Temple, Bhootnath Temple, Shikari Devi, Triloknath Temple, Bhima Kali Temple, Mahung temple, Kamru Nag Temple

Sundernagar: Sunder Nagar is a blessed town when it comes to natural beauty. The waters of the Beas-Sutlej Project have given this place a beautiful man-made lake. The beautiful town of Sundernagar is also well-known for the shady walks amidst towering trees. The temples of Mahamaya and Sukhdev Vatika, located on the nearby hill are also the tourist attractions. 

Prashar LakeAt a distance of 40 km from Mandi, this lake is a perfect site for experiencing pure nature and spiritual bliss. Surrounded by lush green land, verdant hills and clear blue water of the lake, one can witness a pagoda style three tiered temple by the lake.

Janjheli: A treat for adventure buffs, Janjehli is an ideal place for activities like trekking. With a trail up to 3300m, this place is almost 67 km from Mandi.

How to reach Mandi:

By road:

From Chandigarh: 195 kms; About 5 hours drive
From Delhi: 416 kms; About 9 hours drive

Recommended Accommodation Options: 

Visco Resorts

The Regent Palms Hotel 

 

4. Dharamkot

Hidden from the prying eyes of tourists flocking to McLeodGanj, Dharamkot is a small village that is definitely the place to go for budget travellers and long stayers. This little Yoga village is ideal for a few days’ time off from the real world. Or even weeks. If you’re lucky enough to take time off work for that long. Mingle with the locals here, as you indulge in activities like lounging in the cafes and taking drumming lessons and yoga classes.

 Major Attractions in Dharamkot:

The best thing about Dharamkot is the vibe.  

The vibe is a mix of some of magic, pure spiritual energy of the Himalayas, happiness of the simple folks that live there, peace & serenity and a feeling on oneness with the nature. The sounds of mountain birds, the whistling of air through deodar tree leaves, the distant smells of farm animals mixed with herb-based cooking will awaken all your senses.  This is a good spot for early morning yoga and meditation – if you’re in that sort of stuff.

How to reach Dharamkot:

By road:

From Chandigarh: 250 kms; About 6 hours drive (walking distance of 2 kilometers from McLeodganj)
From Delhi: 479 kms; About 11.5 hours drive

Recommended Accommodation Options: 

Since tourism is still to pick up pace here (thank god for that), homestays are more popular option here.

 

5. Nahan

Nahan has its own way of alluring travellers; yes, it is a hill station with undeniably one of the most beautiful landscapes but along with it, Nahan also draws attention for its rich history and heritage as well. Nahan is at a short distance of about 90kms from Chandigarh and thus makes a perfect weekend destination for the city. The hill station is also reckoned to be a land of folklores and legends.

Major Attractions in Nahan:

Renuka Lake: Apart from being the largest natural lake in Himachal, this water body is shaped in form of a reclining woman, and hence is considered a personification of goddess Renuka. The lake houses many fishes and other aquatic beings. Boating facilities are also provided at the lake, making it an even better to experience its serene beauty. Also there is Renuka Wildlife Park around, inhabiting variety of animals and birds such as Asiatic lions, lion tailed macaques, Indian antelope, red-jungle fowl, chital, sambar, peacock and black-pheasant.

Another lake dedicated to the son of the goddess, Lord Parshuram, is present in the vicinity. One can also witness a number of temples, one of them even dedicated to the goddess, nearby.

Writer’s Hill: It is location is an hour’s drive from Nahan and 8 kms before Renuka Lake. The area offers auto touring, biking, cultural and historic sites, camping, hiking, and wildlife. You can also catch glimpses of village life where land, tradition and a slower pace are venerated even today.

Churdhar Peak: A treat for trekking and rock climbing buffs, Churdhar Peak at a height of 3650 m above sea level is a 50km trek. Covered with verdant forests and fields, this is one of the favourites amongst trekkers.

Suketi Fossil Park: Almost 21 km away from Nahan, Suketi Fossil Park is a first one of a kind park in Asia and is established on the actual site of fossil discovery.

Jaitak Fort: Built by Gurkha leader Ranjor Singh Thapa in 1810, this fort is situated on the top of Jaitak Hills. Constructed using the material recovered from the Nahan fort after it was ransacked and destroyed. It is situated at a distance of 25 km from Nahan.

Dhaula Kuan:  Dhaula Kuan is packed with numerous orchards housing plants of citrus fruits and mango trees.

Simbalwada Wildlife Sanctuary: Home to various migratory birds and wild animals is a hotspot of Nahan. It consists of sal forests and lush green grassland with meandering streams in this natural part of Shivaliks.

Rajbans/Simouri tal: Sirmouri Tal or Rajbans is an interesting place with enriched history. They are ruins of an old city which is said to be loaded with curses and intriguing tales of betrayal, craftiness, and treachery attached to it.

How to reach Nahan:

By road:

From Chandigarh: 80 kms; About 2 hours drive 
From Delhi: 310 kms; About 5.5 hours drive

Recommended Accommodation Options:

Grand View Resort

Hotel Grand Riviera

Golden Heights Resort

 

6. Gushaini

Gushaini is a very small but spectacular village in Banjar Tehsil which can leave you ogling. The beauty of crystal clear water with pebbles hindering their ways sounds like wind chaps to the ears. Nicknamed Trout Country because of the abundance of Trout fishes found in the Tirthan river, makes Gushaini a great place for fishing.

Besides, for those tourists whose idea of the perfect holiday is camping and spending time in the lap of mother nature, Gushaini offers the perfect escape. One can set up a portable tents on the banks of the river to enjoy a vacation of solitude and self searching with the melodious music of the flowing water in the background to rejuvenate them.

Major Attractions in Gushaini: CAMPING & TREKKING

Great Himalayan National Park (Near Kullu): About 20 km from here, is situated The Great Himalayan National Park, a known World Heritage Site, where one can find a huge variety of flora and fauna since the denizens of the park include a good 30 species of mammals and 300 species of birds. A walk into the park by the way of cedar woods is highly recommended and is sure to make one’s trip memorable.

Tirthan Valley: River crossing at Tirthan is an exclusive sport for adventure lovers and trout fishing is also another attraction here.

Jalori Pass: An amazingly exotic drive for nature lovers, the drive offers breathtaking views of flora and fauna. The route is definitely worth your time and effort.

Serloskar Lake: 5 kms from Jalori Pass, this crystal clear lake is a heavenly place to be.

Bachelo Pass: 15 KM en-rotue Bathaad, you can also visit this lonely pass that remains well covered with snow from December to February. 

How to reach Gushaini:

By road:

From Chandigarh: 270 kms; About 7 hours drive 
From Delhi: 500 kms; About 11 hours drive

Recommended Accommodation Options:

Raju Guest House

 

8. Bir Billing

Bir is a village located in the west of Joginder Nagar Valley in the state of Himachal Pradesh.

Mostly referred as “Paragliding Capital of India”, Bir is also a noted centre for ecotourism, spiritual studies and meditation. Bir is also home to a Tibetan refugee settlement with several Buddhist monasteries and a large stupa. While Billing is the takeoff site for paragliding and Bir for landing; collectively it is known “Bir Billing”.

Major Attractions in Bir Billing: PARAGLIDING

Paragliding & Handgliding: Bir Billing has fast become the prime attraction for adventure – seekers from all throughout the world for the same. The months from March – May and October – November are perfect for paragliding as the climate is favorable during this time. There are a number of training programs that you can get in touch with for the said purpose.

Bir Toy Train: You can travel by a toy train from Bir to someplace closer such as Pathankot or Ahju and back. The ride is filled with stunning views and is worth a ride.

Monasteries: The beautiful buddhist monasteries like Drupka Kagyu, Sherab Ling  are a must visit there and no to miss the restaurants in them.

Himalayan Film School: Unique film festivals and movie making workshops are conducted by the Himalayan Film School and qualifies as one of the must have experiences in Bir Billing.

AryaMarga: For body and soul rejuvenating experience, AryaMarga is must visit. Not just yoga, the spa services are not to be missed.

Hills of Dhanaari

Forest Trails By Dharamalaya

Trekking to Ghornala and Manali

Shopping at Chauntra

How to reach Bir Billing:
By road:

From Chandigarh: 290 kms; About 7 hours drive 
From Delhi: 517 kms; About 10 hours drive

Recommended Accommodation Options:

Camp Oak View

 

9. Shogi

About 100kms from Chandigarh is a gorgeous little hill station called Shoghi in Himachal Pradesh. It is a lesser explored destination and that is why it is ideal for a quiet weekend away from Chandigarh. The lush forests, lofty mountains and salubrious climates makes falling in love with Shoghi quite easy. It is a perfect destination for couples, who want to spend quality time in an unperturbed ambiance.

Major Attractions in Shogi

Camping and Trekking

Temples: Tara Devi Temple, Kali Temple, Hanuman Temple are beautiful and to add to their beauty is the gorgeous views they offer.

How to reach Shogi:
By road:

From Chandigarh: 100 kms; About 3 hours drive 
From Delhi: 332 kms; About 7 hours drive

Recommended Accommodation Options:

Aamod 

Shoghi Eco Valley Resort & Spa

10. Kheerganga

 

Tucked away in the quaint Parvati Valley in Kullu district, Kheerganga is in true sense every trekkers haven. The natural hot-water-spring experience and the exclusive trekking trail are some things that every traveller remembers about Kheerganga for a lifetime.

Major Attraction:

Camping and Trekking in ethereal Parvati Valley.

How to reach Kheerganga:

By Road:

From Chandigarh to Barsaini: About 290 km; close to 8 hours drive.

From Delhi to Barsaini: About 570 kms; close to 13 hours drive.

To reach here, one needs to go up to Barsaini from where they have to take a four hours long trek to Kheerganga. 

Recommended Accommodation Options:

There are a dozen, amazingly hospitable, home stays available at throw-away cost.

 

Make your holidays memorable!

Image Credits: Google Images

ALSO READ: 20 Incredible Places In Himachal For Camping, Trekking And Adventurous Holiday

 

A woman with varied interests, from geeky technology to serene poetry, but with a solitary passion to play with words. Ratisha is educated in sociology, psychology and human rights, that has sensitized her well to talk about all topics of human concern. She has been writing for many nationally and internationally acclaimed e-magazines and news portals including The Huffington Post, (United States) among others. When not writing, she is either found brushing strokes on a canvas or peering through her glasses into a novel.

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4 thoughts on “Forget Manali! Here’s 10 Offbeat Places Within 300 kms Of Chandigarh For A Perfect Holiday

  1. Himachal Pradesh has many beautiful places for travelling, camping, trekking and other do adventure activities. Thanks for share information about Himachal Pradesh.

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