Last winter, for the entire month of December, I and a few of my colleagues explored the entire Himachal Pradesh (well whatever was open during this cold winter season). So whatever experience I have gathered during this time, I will be using that to prepare this perfect himachal family tour guide.
Thought our trip was a workation and we were working for the entire week starting from Monday through Friday, and then hire a car for saturday and sunday to explore different regions of Himachal Pradesh. However here, I am going to prepare a short but worthy list of places you must vist in Himachal Pradesh.
We started our journey from the airport in Chandigarh. Booked an overnight cab to arrive in Manali early in the morning. Choosing Majhach village was really a good decission we made. This village which is located at the top of Old Manali. We spent the entire month of December there. If you are planning to visit manali, and looking for a budget stay in a homely environment with breath taking views and home made foods, then you can consider the homestay we were staying. Let me know ifthe comment section and watch my videos in youtube to learn more about the place.
Now let me jump into the tour plan that you might be waiting for. Himachal Pradesh has a lot to offer to the tourists irrespective of the season you are visiting.
Himachal Travel Guide
Try to hire a cab for a overnight journey from Chandigarh to Manali. We started arround 8 p.m and we reached manali on the next day early morning. Distance is about 8 hour (298.3 km) by road. You can go by your own car or hire a cab from any travel agent. Whenever we go to Himachal, we prefer our favourite travel agent Vinod. He gives us larger vehcile at lower price with whatever customization we need for our tour. To give you a fair idea about his service and rates, we booked a tempo traveller on a daily cost of 3000 to 3500 INR during the busiest tourist time in Himachal Pradesh.
Day 2 & 3
If you are tired by the overnigth road trip, then take a little rest and then start your day arround 11 a.m. You can enjoy Nature Walks on the Beautiful Terrains of Himachal. Esspecially if you are staying in the Majhach village where we were staying.
If you want to go for sight seeing, then you can consider below list during your stays in Manali.
- Hadimba Devi Temple
- Jogini Waterfall
- Manu Temple
- Solang Valley
- Beas river bed
- Hampta Valley
- Hot Springs & Geysers in Vashisht Baths
I am not talking about any lakes or other beautiful scenaries that can be experience on a 2 to 3 days of treks from manali. This entire tour guide will be based on a family tour where no trekking or hiking are included. However whereever I get a chance I will gete a chance, I will tell you about adenture activites available in the area. Taking part or not is completely your decission based on the health and fitness condition of you and your family members.
Please note that if you want to cover both Hampta valley and Solang valley then you have to plan them on separate days. You can Include Hadimba Devi Temple, Jogini waterfall, Manu Temple and Solang valley on first day and then on the second day plan for Hampta valley, Vashisht Baths and Beas river bed. On first day in the evening you can go for a city walk and roam arround the manali markets. Then on the second day you can spend your evening during the sunset in the beas river bed after coming back from Hampta valley.
Day 4, 5 and 6
You can start for Lahaul & Spiti. Passing through the Atal Tunnel is quite an amazing experience. Thanks to The Atal Tunnel, now drive to Lahaul Spiti from Manali in 10 minutes. The Lahaul and Spiti district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh consists of the two formerly separate districts of Lahaul and Spiti. Before atal tunnel, Lahaul was reachable via Rohtang pass.
Things to do in Lahaul Spiti :
Spiti is a heavenly gateway for those seeking solitude in the bliss of nature, tucked away in an inviting blanket of earthly glory. Lahaul Spiti tourism draws thousands of visitors each year due to its captivating beauty and pristine environment. Spiti is bounded on the north by Ladakh, on the east by Tibet, on the south by Kinnaur, and on the north by the Kullu valley. This majestic Himachal Pradesh cold desert valley is replete with pine forests, green meadows, beautiful monasteries, and inhabited villages that will leave you speechless. The barren mountains over here change colours every second at an altitude of around 12,500 feet above sea level, and it is a sight to behold.
Beautiful Buddhist monasteries, prayer flags fluttering in the air, and a large number of monks praying with their prayer wheels can be found wherever you go. You can also get a great view of Dhadkan and Chandratal Lakes from here. With their immense altitude, the awe-inspiring passes like Kunzum and Barchala Pass will take you even further to the top of the world. Visitors can go on a nature trail here to see rare avian species and the breathtaking beauty of nature. Hiking, rappelling, and camping are among the adventurous activities available here. Step away from your mundane life and hop on to enjoy some shutter shooting in the arms of nature at Spiti’s wonderland.
Climate to expect :
Spiti is a cold desert valley, so it experiences extreme cold temperatures throughout the year. Summer, on the other hand, is unquestionably more pleasant than the other seasons, with temperatures gradually rising to 0-15 degrees Celsius. Winters in Spiti are extremely chilling, and many people avoid visiting this winter wonderland during this time. Monsoon is also characterised by heavy rainfall and landslides, so people avoid visiting Spiti during this season.
Places to visit in Lahaul and Spiti Valley
- Tandi Sangam (the confluence of the Chandra and Bhaga rivers at Tandi, which give birth to the Chenab river)
- Sissu Nursery, Sissu Lake and Sissu waterfall
- Rohtang pass (from Koksar (Lahaul) side)
- Miyar Valley
- Raja Ghepan Temple, Sissu
- Kardang Gompa (monastery)
- Shashur Gompa (near Keylong)
- Tayul Gompa (near Stingri)
- Gemur Gompa
10 Things to do in Lahaul Valley
- Camping at Jispa or Sarchu
- Bike Riding on windy roads
- Wildlife watching
- River Rafting in Chandra Bhaga river
- Experience lifestyle and unique culture of local tribes
- Experience the winter season of Lahaul (if you are going in winter)
- Skiing (in winter)
- Buy local handicraft
If you are planning a trip from Manali, you can devote an entire day to exploring the major attractions of Lahaul Valley. On the same day, you can return to Manali via the Atal tunnel. However, if you want to take in the beauty of Lahaul without rushing, you should spend two or three nights in the valley. After spending the first day of your trip in Manali, you can travel to Lahaul via Solang Valley and the Atal Tunnel.
Move towards Kinnaur. Kaja to Kinnaur is 5 hours journey via car when you have to cover arround 171 k.m distance. You should stop at the Nako village and experience the beauty of the Nako lake and surrounding village. If you are travelling in the winter, then I suggest you must stop here to admire the beauty of the frozen lake at Nako village. For now you can watch this video for a virtual experience of a frozen nako lake.
Places to visit in Kinnaur :
There are places to visit in Kinnaur district. I am mentioning few of them here. If you want to visit all of them then you should spend atleast 2 more days here.
Sarahan – Sarahan is a lovely hamlet in the Himachal Pradesh state of Himachal Pradesh, near Kinnaur. At an elevation of 2165 metres below sea level, it is known as the “Gateway to Kinnaur.” It is located near the Sutlej River Valley and the Indo Tibetan road. The village is a sight to behold, with its never-ending apple orchards, dense emerald pine and deodar forests, gushing streams, wildflower fields, rustic settings, terraced farms, and slate-roofed houses.
Sarahan is a memorable place because of its unparalleled beauty, with mountains flanked by cliffs on one side and lush ravines on the other, not to mention the Srikhand Mahadev Peak. The Bhimakali temple, a magnificent two-towered temple dedicated to the local version of Devi Kali, is located in the heart of the area. It is constructed in the traditional Kinnauri style with a touch of Tibetan architecture. It is also known as the Kinnaur Gateway because it serves as a base for many trekking expeditions in the surrounding areas.
Kalpa – Sutlej River Valley is a place to be remembered and treasured. This town is well-known for its many beautiful temples and monasteries, as well as its apple orchards. The majestic Kinnaur-Kailash range, visible across the Sutlej River, provides a welcome respite. An early morning walk through this paradise will allow you to witness the sunrise’s magic and mystery. The pinkish hue on the peaks that gradually becomes tinted with the golden glow is breathtaking. This small hamlet, rich in flora and fauna, is a must-see destination.
Chitkul – The best way to explore Chitkul Valley is on foot, using paths that wind through the village and up the hillside. Not only is this more convenient than the rough motor routes, but it also allowsyou to take in the heavenly environment and aura of the valley.
Moorang – The spectacular apricot orchard and a million other spectacular things define the beauty of Moorang. Relax on the old fort built by the Pandavas on the banks of the Satluj river as the cool breeze caresses the soul, or head to the Lipa- Asrang sanctuary, which spans 40 kilometres and is home to Brown bear, Musk deer, Himalayan black beer, and many other species.
Nako – Nako is the largest village in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district, and it is surrounded by beautiful scenery. This village is primarily a destination for nature lovers and trekkers. Nako village is located on the way to Malling Nullah. It is about 3600m high and is located at the eastern end of the Kinnaur district.
Reaching Shimla from Kinnaur will take arround 7 hours hours of time via road. You have to cover 257 k.m to reach shimla. Shimla is a prety popular tourist destination. If you still have not explored it, then read on. Else you can have a night stopover in Shimla and go for Chandigarh the next day.
Shimla, the state capital of Himachal Pradesh, is a small city at the foot of the Himalayas. This charming town is located on a narrow border that encompasses a variety of cultures from various eras and is distinct from the rest of the country. We selected our top things to do and see.
Places to Visit in Shimla
These are the few Top Attractions in Shimla.
- Shimla city tour – Get out from your hotel and walk through the city roads. Get closer to the local cuisine and culture.
- Shopping in the Shimla Mall road market – Scarves, gloves, caps, footwear, jewellery, and paintings are all available. These goods, made from natural materials and of the highest quality, are ideal for the weather in the region or as gifts for friends and family back home.
- Jakhu Temple – Jakhu, the city’s most famous temple, is located on the east side of town, up a steep hike. The temple houses a shrine to the Hindu god Hanuman, one of many. Devotees can be found all over the temple, waiting for daily sermons and food distribution.
- Rothney Castle should be visited – Rothney Castle was the former home of naturalist Allan Octavian Hume, who founded the Indian National Congress in 1885, on Jakhoo Hill. He is regarded as the “Father of Ornithology,” or the study of birds. The castle once housed the world’s largest collection of stuffed Asiatic birds, which were eventually donated to the British Museum.
Learn about culture and history at the Himachal State Museum – The Himachal State Museum was a private residence that became home to artistic and archaeological artefacts. It was located within an old Victorian mansion. It is located on the crest of Inveram Hill and has been open since 1974, preserving and collecting numerous important items along the way.
If you have limited time, you can skip Shimla for the day and instead spend the night here before continuing on to Chandigarh. If you have more time, I would recommend spending an extra day or two exploring various places in the Kinnaur district. We stayed in Himachal for more than a month and it was still insufficient. As a result, you must return to this place time and again. Choose a different route for your next trip and visit areas that you did not get to on your previous visit. If given the chance, I would stay here indefinitely.