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Himachal Pradesh: Dharamsala, Manali and more


For many Himachal Pradesh is only worth for visiting Dharamsala, where the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama, lives, or to Manali, for other reasons. Himachal Pradesh has however a lot more to offer.

Let's explore the province which is bordered to the north with Jammu & Kashmir and in the south with Punjab and Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on south, Uttarakhand on south-east and by Tibet on the east. It is known as the land of the Gods. It is also a very mountainous province.

High above Shimla on the way north into Himachal Pradesh

High above Shimla on the way north into the mountains

There are several places worth a visit. Shimla was already in the British colonial days a hide away from the heat of Delhi. In Dharamsala (McCloud Ganj) the Dalai Lama found residence after fleeing from Tibet in 1959. This has obviously lead to a significant Tibetan population in this small town with several monasteries and foreigners seeing truth and wisdom.

Himachal Pradesh 
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Himachal Pradesh, north India Forest temple near Manali Himachal Pradesh, mountain people On the streets in Himachal Pradesh

Rishikesh became world famous when the Beatles in 1968 visited the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram. Few realized then that Rishikesh, together with Hardiwar was since long holy town and pilgrimage destination for Hindus.

And then there is Dalhousie, another, less known, founded by the British in 1854, at almost 2000 meters altitude where the British escaped from the heat of the Indian lowlands. It is arguably not the most exciting town to visit but nevertheless a welcome stopover and worth a few days walking and hiking in the hills.

Manali Himachal Pradesh
Temple outside Manali Himachal Pradesh

The state was also known as Deva Bhumi, the Land of the Gods). It is a part of India with a lot of history in the Hindu culture with many pilgrimage places. For that reason it is also a popular destination for travelers although traveling here can be a bit time consuming.

Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Shimla

Entrance to Himachal Pradesh is Chandigarh, capital of both Punjab and Haryana. Although many Indians are very proud of Chandigarh because it's a modern and very well planned city, there's little to keep you here longer then absolute necessary.

Lunch in the mountains near Manali

The bus station is well organized with connections all over the state (and Punjab and Haryana). But that all said, you can easily get a bus from Delhi to Shimla, Dharamsala or even Manali.

The roads in the state are (what I at least traveled) in good condition. However, as many destinations are on altitude, expect some serious climbing to for example Shimla, Rishikesh or Manali.

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Manali

Last stop before you reach Ladakh through the Rothang Pass. Manali is worth a stop of a few days. Scenery and town are full of typical Himachal Pradesh culture and spectacular sceneries. A must visit:

Manali


Shimla

Shimla is one of the most famous former British Hill Stations. It's a great place to visit with much to explore. This includes the former Vice Roys palace and the Mall amongst other.

Shimla


Dharamsala

Dharamsala is a small town in the Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh. It's these days mostly famous as residence of the Dalai Lama. Still, there's some beautiful hikes and trekkings to do in the area.

Dharamsala