Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh on map of India

Himachal Pradesh (Punjabi: ਹਿਮਾਚਲ ਪ੍ਰਦੇਸ਼) is a state in north-western India, and offers much for those looking to experience the Himalayas. While it does not claim the highest peaks in the range, there is plenty to do aside from mountaineering. Its name literally means "Abode of Snow".

Map of Himachal Pradesh

Districts

There are twelve districts in Himachal Pradesh state:

Tibetan temple and monks, Dharamsala

Cities

Here are ten of the most notable cities.

Other destinations

Talk

Hindi, Pahari, Punjabi and English are the main languages found in the state. Pahari is a dialect more closely related to the Dogri language in lower Himachal. In upper Himachal languages of Tibetan origin are used in daily conversation. Every district has its own dialect e.g. bilaspuri mandyali.

Get in

By plane

Shimla, Kullu (for Manali) and Kangra or Pathankot (for Dharamsala) have small airports, with services largely limited to Delhi. Flights are frequently cancelled or delayed by adverse weather. In addition the airport in Pathankot (Punjab) can be a convenient connection for Dharamsala and Dalhousie. If you are on a tight budget you might want to skip this option as it is way more costly than other mode of transportation. Airfare on this route is one of the highest in the world for a given unit distance. Airport in Shimla is at Jubbal Hatti which is around 40 km away from main Shimla City.

By train

While there is very little rail network within Himachal Pradesh, it is an effective way to get to within a short distance of the state. Chandigarh is well serviced and has bus connections to Manali and Shimla, Pathankot is a good choice if heading to Dharamsala. Due to transfer time, it would likely be slower to reach these destinations by a combination of train and bus, but it would be more comfortable.

By bus

Bus is the only practical means of getting to many points in Himachal. All cities of interest have direct services to Delhi. There are three different entry routes to Himachal if you are coming from Delhi.

all three routes are interconnected within Himachal. It is cheapest means to travel in and around Himachal. There are Volvo buses operated by Himachal State Transport Corporation on these routes.

Get around

You need an inner line permit to visit some parts of Kkinnaur and Spiti districts.

By bus

A typical HP bus

Travel by bus can be done throughout for very little (15 hour bus rides are rarely more than a few hundred rupees) on the public buses, and though uncomfortable, are a great way to meet people. Though be careful, as riding an Indian bus is already a hair-raising experience, and riding an Indian bus on steep mountain roads is even more intimidating!

By train

Given the difficult geographical position of State there is very little penetration of railway network. Little rail network available give access to peripheral districts and capital Shimla. Nevertheless it is an amazing experience going from Kalka to Shimla. Kalka-Shimla railway track is also UNESCO world heritage site. Few points in Himachal are easily accessible by train, but there are narrow-gauge railways from Pathankot (Punjab) to Kangra and Kalka (Haryana) to Shimla. This will take you through beautiful rural Himalayan regions. The ride beyond Kangra is amazing. You ride along the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas via Palampur and Baijnath to Joginder Nagar. The region is criss crossed by rivers and streams.

By motorcycle

Enfield motorcycles can be rented here for less than 5 dollars a day, with no verification of a motorcycle license. Note that the area may not be the best place to learn how to ride.

See

Do

Eagles soaring near the Dhauladhar Mountains, Dharamsala

Trekking opportunities are plentiful, here are a few:

Trekking routes in Himachal

Learn

Eat

HP food is often very simple but nutritious, including daal, rice, roti, vegetables, paneer, curds and pickles in the Punjabi influenced Pahari regions. Further North, Tibetan influence is stronger and barley is the main staple grain. Some of the specialities of Himachal include Manee',Madira,Pateer, Chouck, Bhagjery and chutney of Til.

Drink

In the Tibetan-influenced regions, chhang (fermented rice wine) is common.

Sleep

There are plenty of hotels and restaurants in and around District HQ as well as main tourist places. There are rest houses of HP PWD at places where it is hard to find hotels.

Go next


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, October 18, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.