Located in north India, at the foothills of the Himalayas, known as the Abode of Snow, Himachal Pradesh is a picture-perfect state. With its lush valleys and snow-covered peaks, it impresses its visitors from the moment they step into its borders. In Himachal Pradesh, you get to explore scenic hill stations surrounded by mountains and forests, quaint villages, diverse flora and fauna, unblemished nature and numerous trekking trails. Thanks to its variety of topography,  Himachal Pradesh has become a veritable haven for nature lovers, adventurers and backpackers. It’s home to many famous hill stations, and here’s our pick of the best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh: 

Must-See Destinations In Himachal Pradesh

1. Devbhumi Or God’s Land: Kangra

Kangra is one of the places to visit in himachal pradesh

Kangra (formerly Nagarkot) is a small bustling district in Himachal Pradesh. It was once the  capital of its own princely state. Today it encompasses Dharamshala and McleodGanj within its boundaries. Located in the lower Himalayas, the district is known for the backdrop of the Dhauladhar mountain range, ancient temples and endless tea plantations. Visit Jwala Devi temple, beautiful tea plantations of Palampur, Masroor cut rock temple and Kangra Fort, an imposing ruined fortress.

2. Home To The Dalai Lama: Dharamshala

Dharamshala, places to visit in himachal pradesh
Kalaczakra temple in Dharamsala, McLeod Ganj.

The residence of the Dalai Lama is Dharamshala, nestled in the upper reaches of Kangra Valley. It is surrounded by snow-laden peaks of the Dhauladhar mountains and lush pine and deodar forests. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Himachal Pradesh and is always brimming with tourists. The city is divided into upper and lower divisions based on their altitudes. While the lower division is the Dharamsala town itself, the upper-division is located 3 kms away and is popularly known as Mcleodganj. On your trip to this beautiful Himachal town, you’ll find it filled with cultural and architectural attractions such as Namgyal Monastery and Sherabling Monastery. The city also offers a great number of restaurants, cafes and shops that cater to its extensive multicultural Indian and Tibetan communities. Visit the Dalai Lama Temple and Bhagsu Falls in Dharamshala to enjoy the serene nature of Himachal. You can also visit destinations in the suburbs such as Dharamkot, Sindhbari, Ramnagar and Naddi.

3. Jewel In The Crown: Kullu

View of the himalayan mountains

Situated at an altitude of 1,230 metres between Pir Pranjal, Lower Himalayan and Great Himalayan Ranges, Kullu is a nature lover’s paradise. One of the best places to see in Himachal Pradesh, Kullu is abundant with abundant greenery, pristine streams and a wonderful climate. As it is situated on the banks of the Beas river, it offers its visitors panoramic views of majestic hills covered with deodar and pine trees. A trip to Kullu is usually accompanied with a visit to its sister town Manali which is at a much higher altitude and provides even more scenic views. For adventure junkies, Kullu and Manali together offer a lot of adventure sports, like river rafting, trekking, mountaineering etc. Also, there are opportunities to visit a few important temples here in Kullu, for example, the Raghunath Temple and Jagannathi Devi Temple.

4. Queen Of The Hills: Shimla

Snow Mountain Houses in Shimla, India
Snow-covered Mountain Houses in Shimla India

Also called the Queen of the Hills, Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh. It is amongst the most well-known places to visit in Himachal Pradesh and a favourite destination for families as well as honeymooners. This gorgeous colonial hill station offers picturesque vistas of snow-capped mountain tops and generous stretches of green valleys. Since it was the summer capital of the British Raj, Shimla also showcases some of the best colonial-era architecture, including the Viceregal Lodge, the Town Hall, Gaiety Theatre and the Christ Church. The city is perched at an altitude of 2,159 metres above sea level, and even used to be the capital of Punjab after independence. Later in 1966, it was made the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Shimla’s beauty increases manifold in winter as the entire city gets enveloped in snow. What is  worrisome however is the ever growing influx of tourists to both Shimla and Manali that has led to overcrowding and water shortage. Last year, hotels in Shimla had notices posted outside that read ‘We are in a water crisis, don’t come to Shimla’. Residents have suffered because of this water scarcity. 

5. Home To Trekkers And Campers: Kasauli

Himalayan ranges with snow peaks at Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, India
Himalayan ranges with snow peaks at Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, India

Located at an elevation of 1,900 metres, Kasauli is a small town in Himachal Pradesh. Situated on the way from Chandigarh to Shimla, it also serves as an army cantonment area. Kasauli is known for its snow-clad mountains, dense forests and a pleasant climate that draws tourists from all over the country. This small town in the southwestern part of Himachal in the Solan district was established by the British as a cantonment town in 1842. Nestled amidst beautiful woody forests of pine and cedar trees, Kasauli still carries the remnants of its British legacy through the local architecture. Visit the Baptist Church, Christ Church, Kasauli Brewery, Monkey Point, Nahri temple and Kasauli Club. As it’s on the relatively lower edges of the Himalayas, it’s very accessible and its unadulterated air, serene and peaceful vibe, and an abundance of nature make it one of the best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh.

6. Year-Round Holiday Destination: Dalhousie

The clouds sliding down Himalaya mountains Dalhousie

Dalhousie, near the Dhauladhar mountain range, is a tiny tinsel town. Tucked away in the lap of Himachal Pradesh, this quaint and rustic hill station is spread over five hills at the foot of the Dhauladhar mountain range. It is known as one of the best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh because of its spectacular view brimming with mountains, cascading waterfalls, lakes and pine and oak trees. This little paradise also offers many outdoor activities, like kayaking at Chamera Lake, trekking in the many trails surrounding it, camping, river rafting, and canoeing. The town gets its name from its founder Lord Dalhousie, and bears the distinct stamp of the British Raj. You can see the remnants of that era in the hotels and old houses of Dalhousie.

Also Read: The Top 6 Things To Do In Dalhousie

7. Backpacking Centre And Honeymoon Destination: Manali

best places for skiing, solang valley
solang valley

Manali is another popular tourist place in Himachal Pradesh for family vacations and honeymooners. Nestled in between the snow-capped slopes of the Pir Panjal and the Dhauladhar mountain ranges, Manali is a charming hill station located at the reservoir of the river Beas. Manali has all the characteristics of a classic Himachali town—green forests, gushing streams and sprawling meadows carpeted with flowers. It also has a number of museums and temples to visit such as Ghatotkatch Temple, Hadimba Temple, Himalaya Nyingmapa Buddhist and Museum of Himachal Culture & Folk Art. Situated at an altitude of 2,050 metres on the Beas valley, Manali also offers great opportunities to spot a little wildlife at the Manali Wildlife Sanctuary. If you’re lucky you can catch a glimpse of the Himalayan black bear, musk deer, flying fox and endangered animals like leopards and brown bears. Along with its picturesque landscape, Manali also offers adventure sports like paragliding, skiing, biking, etc.

Also Read: Exciting Things I Did In Manali That You Must Try Too

8. The Paragliding Paradise: Bir Billing

landscape of a himachali town, North India

The twin towns of Bir and Billing are located in the mountains. This Himachal destination is famous for adventure, picnic and relaxation. Known as the Paragliding Capital of India, Bir Billing is among some of the must-see destinations in Himachal Pradesh. It’s situated in the heart of Himalaya’s famous tourist destination Dharamshala. The town boasts salubrious weather year-round and panoramic vistas of the undulating beauty of the Himalayan mountain ranges, and attracts thrillseekers and backpackers from across the world. Despite its tiny size, Bir Billing provides many fun activities such as paragliding, trekking to Himachali tribal villages, mountain biking, angling and camping. The twin towns also allow visitors to explore tea gardens and monasteries.

Also Read: Bir Billing: Things to do and Why I Recommend Going There

9. Psychedelic Village: Kasol

Beautiful view of Himalayan mountains, Kasol, Parvati valley, Himachal Pradesh, northern India, places to visit in north india

This small village in Himachal Pradesh is situated in Parvati Valley along the banks of the river Parvati. A photogenic hamlet of Kasol, also referred to as the Little Israel of India, it is considered one of the best places to see in Himachal Pradesh. It offers breathtakingly beautiful scenery around every bend, as well as a plethora of treks, rafting and water sports activities. The village’s laidback and serene nature makes it popular among backpackers and hippies—it’s also known for its psychedelic trance parties such as Indrasan Festival (usually around the last week of May), Full Moon Party Kasol (December 31-Jan 1) and Kasol Music Festival (Dec 30-Jan 1). A paradise for adventurers and nature lovers in Himachal, Kasol offers stunning views of snow-capped mountains, valleys, scenic waterfalls and undisturbed trekking routes. Visit its charming cafes, budget-friendly stay options, along with visits to nearby tiny hamlets, such as Chalal, Malana, Rasol and Tosh, replete with abundant greenery and filled with a sense of tranquillity.

Also Read: 10 Best Destinations For A Solo Trip In India

10. The Middle Land: Spiti Valley

Spiti valley is one of the places to visit in himachal pradesh
Dhankar gompa, Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India

This picturesque valley is located at an altitude of 3,810 metres, in the cold desert mountains. One of the best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh, this remote town is filled with greenery and perfect villages. It has only been open to foreign tourists since 1991, and still remains relatively unexplored. As it is tucked away against the border of Ladakh and Tibet, the valley remains a barren alpine desert that’s covered in heavy snow for most of the year and is therefore fairly isolated. It attracts plenty of spiritual and adventure travellers that make their way to Spiti’s many Buddhist monasteries scattered throughout the area. They also indulge in many fun outdoor activities such as trekking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting and wildlife spotting. You can also explore several high altitude villages around the valley such as Tabo, Kaza, Dhankar, Kibber, Komic and Langza. The valley’s remote location requires travellers to be conscious of their carbon footprint and waste. Therefore, if you are planning a trip to Spiti, be cautious of the kind of waste you generate. Opt for homestays to help local communities. Spiti also has a few eco-friendly and sustainable initiatives such as Ecosphere through which travellers can contribute towards helping locals and conserving the environment.

Also Read: A Detailed Itinerary on How to Explore Spiti

Fall In Love With These Places To Visit In Himachal Pradesh

Explore the mountainous landscape of Himachal Pradesh with these top places to see in the state. All of them offer spectacular landscapes with snowy peaks and plunging river valleys that can be explored by bus, car, motorbike, jeep or foot. The state is India’s outdoor adventure playground as it offers everything from trekking and climbing to rafting, paragliding and skiing. So, pick the tourist place of Himachal Pradesh that best suits your taste and let us know all about your experiences below!

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