Cool breeze and something offbeat to do, these are the two things on every travellers’ wish list as they escape to the mountains. Here’s what you should not skip when you’re close to Himachal’s capital.
Visit Hatu Peak in Narkanda
Head to this small hill station about 65km away from Shimla to climb the tall Hatu Peak and glide down its skiing slopes in winter. The peak is a steep 8km uphill drive through thick pine forests so you will need a sturdy vehicle. The adventurous ones can attempt to even trek. Getting to the 11,152 feet high peak may not be easy, but the sweeping views of the majestic Himalayas spread out before you will make the trip worthwhile. Do take some time out to visit the lovely wooden temple close by. The best stay option in Narkanda is Aaramgah-The Alpine Farm Stay, located in an apple orchard with rooms that have wooden interiors.
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Try Himachali Dham in Kufri
There are very few places where you will get the authentic flavour of this local dish made on special occasions and festivals. It usually consists of five things – kadhi, madra (made of channa or rajma), dal, sweet and something khatta, but varies depending on what grows in the region. Head to Kufri where the Royal Tulip hotel serves the most authentic dham as you sit gazing at the breath-taking views of the Himalayas in its in-house restaurant, Promenade. The spectacular setting here gives the traditional dish a whole new flavour. Nobody here will rush you out, so after relishing every morsel, borrow a book from the library and read for hours.
Walk and stay amidst apple orchards in Fagu
Far away from the bustling Mall Road of Shimla are the quiet apple orchards of Fagu. This quaint hill town, located 1000 feet above Shimla, is an ideal stop to amble through fruit trees, drink in their incredible aroma and pluck some fresh off the tree. Enjoy the gorgeous views of lush green hills, terraced farms and low hanging clouds playing hide and seek amid the mountain slopes. You will enjoy Fagu most if you opt for a homestay that offers a guided tour to their orchard. In winter this place is also popular for skiing.
Explore Chail Wildlife Sanctuary
Apart from being home to the highest cricket ground in the country, Chail also has a wildlife sanctuary. Clothed with thick oak and deodar trees, you can spot many animals here so keep a look out for langurs, Himalayan black bears, wild boars, sambhars, and even leopards. It’s best to go there early in the morning to spot wildlife. Apart from the iconic Chail Palace, you can stay at Treehouse Chail Villas or Maple Resort.