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Overview

North of Delhi, the landscape climbs sharply to the mountains, providing a natural playground for thrill-seekers and nature-lovers. Once the summer capital of British India, Shimla is the gateway to this mountain wonderland, but you’ll find similar views, and similar faded Raj-era charm, at a string of hill stations across Himachal Pradesh. In the far north, Manali was one of the original hippy hangouts - today it attracts a mixture of Indian honeymooners, Western stoners and adventure sports enthusiasts, drawn here by the climbing, trekking and skiing. Nearby Kullu is a rafting mecca, while Mandi, Bharmour and Chamba are awash with ...

North of Delhi, the landscape climbs sharply to the mountains, providing a natural playground for thrill-seekers and nature-lovers. Once the summer capital of British India, Shimla is the gateway to this mountain wonderland, but you’ll find similar views, and similar faded Raj-era charm, at a string of hill stations across Himachal Pradesh. In the far north, Manali was one of the original hippy hangouts - today it attracts a mixture of Indian honeymooners, Western stoners and adventure sports enthusiasts, drawn here by the climbing, trekking and skiing. Nearby Kullu is a rafting mecca, while Mandi, Bharmour and Chamba are awash with stone-carved temples. Farther north, the high altitude deserts of Spiti and Lahaul are the gateway to rugged Ladakh, accessible by road from Manali only from July to October. In the west of the state, Dharamasala is a major center for the study of Tibetan Buddhism and the home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    October to November and March to May - temperatures plummet from December to February. Roads to Spiti and Lahaul are open July to October.