away from Kulu to the north, Manali is situated near the end
of the valley on the National Highway leading to Leh. The landscape
here is breath taking. One sees well-defined snow capped peaks, the
Beas river with its clear water meanders through the town. On the
other side are deodar and pine trees, tiny fields and fruit
orchards. It is an excellent place for a holiday, a favorite resort
for trekkers to Lahaul, Spiti, Kinnaur, Leh and Zanskar regions in
Kashmir valley. It is known as the SWITZERLAND OF INDIA.
The Manali market is crowded with myriads of sinteresting
shops selling Tibetan carpets and crafts and the appetizing aroma of
steaming noodles hangs about the little restaurants. Manali, with
its Mountaineering Institute, is a popular base for trekking and
mountaineering in summer and skiing in winter. Interesting routes
into the surrounding valleys, over the high passes, are provided
with tourist huts and rest houses for trekking enthusiasts.
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
neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashimir 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.
Shimla is the best market for the handicrafts of Himachal Pradesh.
Woollen and pashmina shawls, decorative items, handmade shoes,
dolls, woollen caps, carved wooden sticks, toys and other items made
form wood are made in Shimla itself and are on sale in the Lakkar
Bazar. Tibetan jewellery and trinkets are found in the small Tibetan
shops near the Ridge.
- About 6 km from Manali is the famous Shiva Temple in "shikara"
style and nearby is the old and interesting Devi Sharvali Temple.
Van Vihar: This is just off the Mall with pathways between
towering deodhars and also leads to a boating pond.
Tibetan Market and Mall: The Tibetan Market is an interesting
cluster of shops. Nice to browse around for knick knacks,
handicrafts and imported goods. Located on the Mall. The Mall also
has other shops selling local handicrafts and clothes. It also has
some good restaurants. Buses, taxis and autos are easily available
from the Mall for local sightseeing or excursions.
Manikaran: 85 km from Manali and 45 km from Kullu, lies in
the Parvati Valley, the holy pilgrimage place of Manikaran. Here icy
cold waters of the Parvati river co-exists with boiling water
side-by-side. The hot water springs are reputed for their healing
The Mall: The Mall is the main shopping centre of Shimla. It
also has many restaurants, clubs, banks, bars, Post Offices and
tourist offices. The Gaiety Theatre is also situated there. People
walk up and down the Mall slowly, stopping to gossip, as it is the
main meeting place for everyone. The Ridge and Scandal point are the
two main meeting points at the Mall.
Jakhu Hill: 2 kms. from Shimla, at a height of 8000 ft, Jakhu
Hill is the highest peak and offers a beautiful view of the town and
of the snow-covered Himalayas. At the top of
the Hill, is an old
temple of Hanuman, which is also the home of countless playful
monkeys waiting to be fed by all visitors.
Tara Devi: 11kms. from the Shimla bus-stand. Tara Devi has a
temple dedicated to the goddess of stars on top of the hill. There
is a military Dairy Town here as well as the headquarters of Bharat
Scouts and Guides. At a height of 6,070 ft. Tara Devi is an ideal
place for a person wanting peace and some rest.
Chail: Chail is a little mountainous heaven 45 kms. from
Shimla. It was the summer capital of the Maharaja of Patiala before
Independence. The forests near Chail have many species of birds and
deer. Chail is known for its cricket pitch, which is the highest
cricket ground in the world.