Himachal Pradesh - The Lap of Himalayas!

To the North-West of India, this small friendly state is situated South of Kashmir and to the west of Tibet. A perfect heaven for travelers of all types. Himachal Pradesh is a land of gods and goddesses, fairs and festivals and isolated villages with Tribal populations, which add cultural variety.

It is a Paradise for trekking, high mountain ranges covered with snow much of the year, high passes approached through lush green forests and orchards.

Population: 7 million
Capital: Shimla.

Places of Interest:

Shimla:

British called Shimla the "Queen of Hill Stations." Situated in the north-West Himalayas, Shimla the summer capital of India before independence is now the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Shimla derives its name from "Shyamala";- the goddess Kali, whose temple existed in the dense forest that covered Jakhu Hill in the early 19th century. The English named it Simla. Shimla is well connected by air, road and rail with all parts of Himachal Pradesh, and the neighboring states of Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and the Union territory of Chandigarh. Covering the area of 18 sq. km. at a height of 7,238 ft. Shimla is surrounded by pine, deodar, oak and rhododendron forests. Its well developed facilities, easy accessibility and numerous attractions make it one of Indian's most popular and biggest hill-stations.

Kulu:

The valley of the God- Alpine valley 1219 mt., the Daula Dhar and Pir Panjal ranges running parallel to south of it, the Bara Bhangal to the west and the Parvati ranges to the East.

The region of Spiti was once part of the western Tibetan kingdom. A young Buddhist monk Rinchen Tsangpo traveled in the 10th century to India and returned with a score of holy scriptures. Once an important trans Himalayan trade caravans route between Tibet, Kashmir and Kulu. "SPITI" means middle country, as it lies between Kulu, Ladakh, Kinnaur, Lahoul and Tibet. There are many Gompas "Tibetan Monasteries" like Tabo, Ki, Kibber.

Dharamsala:

1230 mt. District headquarter of Kangra valley. Above Dharamshala the town of McLeod Gang, the headquarter of the Tibetan Government in Exile and residence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Set against the backdrop of the dramatic Dhauladhar mountains, Dharamsala is perched on the high slopes in the upper reaches of Kangra Valley. The town is divided into two distinct and widely separated sections, Upper and Lower Dharamsala, which differ almost a thousand metres in height.

Today, Dharamsala has become the synonymous to the Tibetan government in exile and the home of Tibetan leader Dalai Lama. Even if the Tibetan community dominates the town, still it has retained the colonial lifestyle and British fervour.

Dharamsala over looks the plains and is surrounded by dense pine trees and Deodar forests. A nearby snowline with numerous streams and cool healthy atmosphere makes the surroundings very attractive.

Dharamsala is a busy bazaar town and has established itself as the travelers base camp, who come to explore the nearby mountains. The Kotwali Bazaar provides the entire colour and characteristic of a small town, which is mixed with the simple life style.

The colourful temple and Gompas, which reflect the culture of Tibet, adds attraction for the visitor. The Kangra museum gives an overview of the rich past of the region and on the other hand there are institutes that have been established to preserve the Tibetan art, cultures and traditions.

Manali

Manali, at the northern end of the Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh, is a hill station situated at a height of 2050 m (6398 ft) in the Himalayas. Situated on the Beas river (Vyaas in Hindi) and near its source, it is a popular tourist spot for Indians in summer and a magical, snow-covered place in winter.

A staging point for a number of treks (Beas Kund, Chandrakhani Pass) and sports such as white-water rafting, Manali is also on the road to Ladakh via the valley of Lahaul and Spiti and rohtang pass which is main attraction near manali.