We have stunning, massive mountains then we have the Himalayas. It’s a mountain range so stunning that it is often labelled as Gods’ favourite abode. If we want to spend the summer in the mountains, a good dose of Himalayas is just perfect. Miles away from the scorching, almost baked cities and unexplored mountain ranges are the places to run off to. If we can’t think of places beyond Shimla, Manali or the good, old Nainital, this list of mountain escapes in India is all that we need.
Naggar is just 22 km from Manali. It has never grabbed the spotlight. The place is largely known for housing the heritage castle of Naggar and most of the tourists visit it for not more than an hour or two. The cosy gateway, away from the crowd. It has a cafe right outside the gates of the castle which serves special desserts which is worth digging in. It also has some interesting forest trails around, great for hours of easy hiking and a must if we are into picnics.
No words can describe the charm of this place. It is a perfect destination for people who are on road trips. It lies about 225 km from Shimla. A scenic and thrilling ride around 10 hours down the Hindustan-Tibet road from Shimla will land us to Kalpa. Kalpa is tucked deep into the high Himalayas; it will woo us with its apple orchards, meadows, tiny cafes, a famed Buddhist monastery and stunning views of the Kinner-Kailash ranges. Like Naggar, it sees a little crowd, for it stays cut off from the regular touristy glare and we can explore it at ease.
Shangarh in Sainj Valley is another delight for anyone seeking an offbeat Himalayan escape. We can hop abroad a Himachal tourism bus or drive towards Neuli from Aut tunnel to reach Shangarh. On the way, we can stop by the Manu Rishi Temple, a five-tiered structure that stands as a testimony of the brilliant architectural expertise of the region. A non-existent road from the temple will take us to Shangarh. The huge meadow in the middle of this village can easily beat its more famous competitor that is Khajjiar. The Shangarh Mahadev Temple across the meadows stands quite tall and proud. This village is perhaps the best hideaway for anyone into nature and a slower pace of life.
Nako is more than just a weekend gateway for mountain lovers. It is the last village in Kinnaur before Spiti Valley. This place has a shocking green lake that lies in the middle of this high altitude village. And is surrounded by houses built in patterns typical to this region. A Buddhist monastery and numerous treks around the village are from the must-visit list of Nako. It has several hotels with in-house restaurants which will keep us well fed. The locals have started bicycle and motorbike rental points here. So we can take them and enjoy the roads and streets of the place. Kinnaur even has other places which are worth visiting. It is a small package of beauty, adventures and road trips.
These offbeat Himalayan escapes make a perfect vacation recipe. There are even more places which we can add to this list. If we are planning for months then we can travel to 6-7 places but if we are going for a shorter period then 4-5 places are enough. It won’t get hectic and we will be able to enjoy and live each of the destinations nicely.