With its breathtaking mountain vistas and vast verdant grasslands, Himachal Pradesh beckons visitors with its stunning natural beauty. The region's favorable climate attracted the British, who established their summer capital, now known as Shimla, in this picturesque state. To make the journey to Shimla more convenient, a narrow-gauge railway was introduced in 1903, providing a charming and scenic mode of transportation via the beloved Toy Trains. Today, Shimla stands as a vibrant hub for winter sports and trekking, drawing affluent families seeking respite from the sweltering summer heat in the plains.
One of the three National Highways leading into the region takes travelers through Mandi and the Rohtang Pass, offering access to the mesmerizing Ladakh. Alternatively, following NH 22 leads to Chandigarh and Shimla, and further eastward to the enchanting Kinnaur valley and the Sino-Tibetan border.
In the remote and captivating Lahaul-Spiti district, ancient Hindu temples await exploration, adorned with exquisite sculptures and intricately carved wooden bas-reliefs. These sacred sites serve as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the region.
At the edge of the town lies the renowned Scandal Point, where the paths of the church of Christ and the post office converge and extend a little farther.
As you journey towards the north, you will come across the enchanting Kullu valley, known for its legendary vegetation. However, the ambitious plans for tourism-driven construction projects pose a serious threat to its natural beauty. The town itself may not hold much appeal, except for the shopping opportunities it offers. But if you continue further up the valley, you will be greeted by awe-inspiring gorges that lead you to Manali, where majestic snow-capped mountains embrace a mild climate and breathtaking landscapes. In the older part of the town, you will find numerous buildings adorned with intricately carved wooden verandas and exquisite doors. Tailoring and shoemaking workshops are a common sight here, and the city is home to a thriving Tibetan community and a diverse international population. Along with the charming medieval village of Vashisht nearby, this place is often likened to the mountain version of Goa, with all the vibrant aspects it entails. A similar ambiance can be experienced in McLeodganj, which, though too small to be considered a city and too international to be called a village, owes a significant part of its population to Western volunteers working for various NGOs dedicated to supporting Tibet.