Top Offbeat & Stunning Hill Stations of Himalayan Mountain Ranges in North India

After successful blogpost about Top 10 Hill stations in North India, we received lot of queries to also share about comparatively lesser known hill stations. And this blogpost is about some of my favourites. While sharing the list I request to request that if you any of these places, be mindful that these are not as popular and hence less commercialised and less polluted. So please be sensible and ensure that your visit doesn't create any problems to the ecosystem  of the place.

After successful blogpost about Top 10 Hill stations in North India, we received lot of queries to also share about comparatively lesser known hill stations. And this blogpost is about some of my favourites. While sharing the list I request to request that if you any of these places, be mindful that these are not as popular and hence less commercialised and less polluted. So please be sensible and ensure that your visit doesn't create any problems to the ecosystem  of the place. 



Tucked away in the remote recesses of the Mandi District of Himachal Pradesh, lies the tiny town of Barot. To a large extent untouched by tourism, the town offers a peaceful getaway to travellers, away from the hustle-bustle of daily life. Surrounded by century-old, tall deodars, Barot is a time capsule and visiting Barot is like taking a peek into the bygone era when human beings still knew how to live in peace with their surroundings and with nature. The river Uhl runs through the town twisting its way amongst boulders and polishing pebbles till they glitter like silver and gold, and birds of all colours and sizes sing their various songs while flitting in and out of sight.

Tucked away in the remote recesses of the Mandi District of Himachal Pradesh, lies the tiny town of Barot. To a large extent untouched by tourism, the town offers a peaceful getaway to travellers, away from the hustle-bustle of daily life. Surrounded by century-old, tall deodars, Barot is a time capsule and visiting Barot is like taking a peek into the bygone era when human beings still knew how to live in peace with their surroundings and with nature. The river Uhl runs through the town twisting its way amongst boulders and polishing pebbles till they glitter like silver and gold, and birds of all colours and sizes sing their various songs while flitting in and out of sight.



Binsar is located around some of the most beautiful mountains of Kumaon which are usually covered with snow. This place is little far but worth going and spending good amount of time in peace. There are some amazing forests to walk around and embrace natural beauty. It's comparatively secluded and a magical place for bird lovers. There are lot of birds in this part of Uttrakhand.      While coming back from Binsar to Delhi, we took a break at Naukuchiatal and stayed at a wonderful place call Firdaus.

Binsar is located around some of the most beautiful mountains of Kumaon which are usually covered with snow. This place is little far but worth going and spending good amount of time in peace. There are some amazing forests to walk around and embrace natural beauty. It's comparatively secluded and a magical place for bird lovers. There are lot of birds in this part of Uttrakhand.  

While coming back from Binsar to Delhi, we took a break at Naukuchiatal and stayed at a wonderful place call Firdaus

Peer Ki Gali is an amazing place on old Mughal road in Jammu & Kashmir State of India. This place is the highest passes on Srinagar Rajouri historic Mughal Road at 11300 Feets. Various water streams can seen flowing through snow covered peaks of Peer-Ki-Gali hills. Cool freeze, freshening environment and roaming clouds all over makes this place wonderful. After talking to various folks at Peer ki Gali, we got to know that almost every day it rains on these hills. We spent two days around it and we also experienced rain showers both the days... In past this place have been of great interest for trekkers and now easily accessible for others as well. Tourism is picking up in this region of Jammu and Kashmir now. This will not only boost the economy of the state but also open new aspects to the residents.





Dhanachuli is a small village in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand state in North India. It's not as popular as Nainitaal, Bhimtal, Mukteshwar in Kumaon but offer very peaceful environment and offer great walk into the history with some of these abandoned houses. Not only that village is full of life with flowers, birds, butterflies and stars during night. There are few homestays in the village as well as a handful hotels including a boutique hotel called Te Aroha. During our visit to this part of the country, we also drove to another village called Sonapani

Masrur is approximately 30 kilometers from Kangra town of Himachal Pradesh, on Nagrota Surian link road and is famous for remarkable group of rock cut temples. It's a quiet place around hills with no hotel around this place. You can find some homestays or govt guest houses nearby. Apart from this beautiful temple, you can visit Pond dam and if you are there in winters, you can see millions of birds flying around with hundreds of species from different parts of the world.  

Above photograph shows the temple in Masru, which is a 15 monolithic rock cut temples in the Indo-Aryan style and amazingly carved. These awesomely ornamented cave temples are the only rock shrines in the northern part of India. The main shrine contains three stone images of Ram laxman and Sita but the presence of the figure of Shiva in the center of the lintel affords a strong presumption that the temple was originally dedicated to Mahadeva.

Bathu Temples, Himachal Pradesh : 


It's a cluster of antique, unique, tall temples which remain dipped in water for most of the time in an year. Finally temples are exposed during months of March  to  June. Lot of pilgrims visit these temples during this time. Throughout the year, this place, commonly known as 'Bathu ki Larhi'  (a string of Bathu stone-structures) enjoys the unique distinction of being  a popular tourist spot. It's an awesome place for not so religious people as well. It's fun to take a boat to reach these temples in middle of huge reservoir. And this part of the region has plenty of birds all around.

It's a cluster of antique, unique, tall temples which remain dipped in water for most of the time in an year. Finally temples are exposed during months of March  to  June. Lot of pilgrims visit these temples during this time. Throughout the year, this place, commonly known as 'Bathu ki Larhi'  (a string of Bathu stone-structures) enjoys the unique distinction of being  a popular tourist spot. It's an awesome place for not so religious people as well. It's fun to take a boat to reach these temples in middle of huge reservoir. And this part of the region has plenty of birds all around.  

Sarahan in Shimla region of Himachal Pradesh is quite popular because of royal palace and famous Bhimakali temple there. While almost no one knows about Sarahan in Kullu, which is little away from main roads although connected through rough road. Sarahan in Kullu is awesome because it's located around some of the most beautiful natural beauties. Can you imagine a huge lush green ground for camping with water streams flowing through it and snow covered mountains all around. Walk for 20 mins and you hit a huge waterfall which was visible from this ground I mentioned above. There is a small village with unique styled houses and solar lights on pathways inside the village. 


During the night, you can see millions of stars in the sky. I can go there any number of times. There is also a HPPWD guest house in Kullu-Sarahan which you can book.

During the night, you can see millions of stars in the sky. I can go there any number of times. There is also a HPPWD guest house in Kullu-Sarahan which you can book. 

Sinthan Pass on Kshtwar-Srinagar Road :


Kashmir is very beautiful and there can be plenty of places to explore there. In fact, Kashmir has some of the best treks in India but explored by very few of the trekking enthusiasts. Security concerns keep lot of people away from Kashmir and a handful who go there, chose to visit Srinagar, Pehalgaon etc. Places like Sinthan Pass expose you to some of the beautiful terrains. And here I am not talking about the pass as such but also the road which takes you there from Srinagar. Whole stretch is beautiful and you say 'wow' countless number of times. If you like driving, these roads can also be pretty interesting to try.

Kashmir is very beautiful and there can be plenty of places to explore there. In fact, Kashmir has some of the best treks in India but explored by very few of the trekking enthusiasts. Security concerns keep lot of people away from Kashmir and a handful who go there, chose to visit Srinagar, Pehalgaon etc. Places like Sinthan Pass expose you to some of the beautiful terrains. And here I am not talking about the pass as such but also the road which takes you there from Srinagar. Whole stretch is beautiful and you say 'wow' countless number of times. If you like driving, these roads can also be pretty interesting to try. 

Camping around Dhomri /Narkanda :


Now that lot of travellers are moving away from typical tourist destinations, people are choosing places like Narkanda and the popularity of such places is increasing fast. Narkanda is located on NH-22 which connects Shimla with Kinnaur and surrounded by snow covered peaks. Beautiful landscapes with snow covered peaks, blue sky and high deodars make this place very special. Narkanda is not only a small town in Himachal, but it's a region which has lot to offer for explorers/travellers.

Now that lot of travellers are moving away from typical tourist destinations, people are choosing places like Narkanda and the popularity of such places is increasing fast. Narkanda is located on NH-22 which connects Shimla with Kinnaur and surrounded by snow covered peaks. Beautiful landscapes with snow covered peaks, blue sky and high deodars make this place very special. Narkanda is not only a small town in Himachal, but it's a region which has lot to offer for explorers/travellers. 

Sarolsar Lake & Jalori Pass for some awesome Hiking -


Jalori pass is popular amongst bikers as one of the special stops. There are 2-3 tea, snacks shops and you can also get basic lunch. It's a beautiful place and there are quite a few hikes around it. The popular one being the hike to Sarolsar Lake. There are few camps around the forest in Jalori Pass and other surrounding areas. Folks carry their own tents and stuff. There are no organised spots for campers but you can certainly find appropriate spots where you can get water, well placed in terms of safety and star gazing etc.

Jalori pass is popular amongst bikers as one of the special stops. There are 2-3 tea, snacks shops and you can also get basic lunch. It's a beautiful place and there are quite a few hikes around it. The popular one being the hike to Sarolsar Lake. There are few camps around the forest in Jalori Pass and other surrounding areas. Folks carry their own tents and stuff. There are no organised spots for campers but you can certainly find appropriate spots where you can get water, well placed in terms of safety and star gazing etc. 

Rewalsar Lake to see thousands of fish & Experience Peace:


I thought a lot if I should include Rewalsar in this list or not because I had mixed experiences of this place. When I thought more, I felt it can be a good place given diverse experiences it offers and yet not touristy. The lake has thousands of fish in it and clearly visible at some specific spots. One can also spot turtles. The lake is surrounded by few Hindu & Buddhist temples. There is a also a sikh temple - Gurudwara to experience peace. There is an interesting hike/drive which takes to Naina devi temple and on the way you see sever water reservoir which look beautiful. There are plenty of places to plan picnic and places to walk around.

I thought a lot if I should include Rewalsar in this list or not because I had mixed experiences of this place. When I thought more, I felt it can be a good place given diverse experiences it offers and yet not touristy. The lake has thousands of fish in it and clearly visible at some specific spots. One can also spot turtles. The lake is surrounded by few Hindu & Buddhist temples. There is a also a sikh temple - Gurudwara to experience peace. There is an interesting hike/drive which takes to Naina devi temple and on the way you see sever water reservoir which look beautiful. There are plenty of places to plan picnic and places to walk around.  

Cherry Plucking Experience in Kotgarh region of Himachal Pradesh


It was time when I was in Kotgarh region of Himachal Pradesh during my 5 year Sabbatical. Kotgarh hills are popular for it's high quality fruits. Around Kotgarh hills, there are various orchards of Apples, Pears, Cherries, Kiwi, Almonds, Apricot etc. During the month of May, cherries were shining all over the hill.  We were coming back towards Shimla from Kinnaur, when we thought of taking this detour through Kotgarh & Karkanda. And Kotgarh region welcomes us with hills full of bight-red colored cherries of big size. I had hardly seen such big sized cherries in markets around me. I am sure that these are available in some of the speciality stores, but most of these are exported outside the country.     Although we wanted to buy few boxes, but we also wanted to experience the way folks pluck these cherries and enjoy this juicy fruit. We couldn't see anyone around but encountered few dog having huge size and relatively calm. Those were really scary. Somehow, this increased our curiosity to figure out ways to climb us the hill and pluck few cherries. Anyways, you don't need to that and rather chose a nice homestay to spend your vacation along with enjoying fruits. Just time it well. Even in other months, this place looks awesome.

It was time when I was in Kotgarh region of Himachal Pradesh during my 5 year Sabbatical. Kotgarh hills are popular for it's high quality fruits. Around Kotgarh hills, there are various orchards of Apples, Pears, Cherries, Kiwi, Almonds, Apricot etc. During the month of May, cherries were shining all over the hill.  We were coming back towards Shimla from Kinnaur, when we thought of taking this detour through Kotgarh & Karkanda. And Kotgarh region welcomes us with hills full of bight-red colored cherries of big size. I had hardly seen such big sized cherries in markets around me. I am sure that these are available in some of the speciality stores, but most of these are exported outside the country. 

Although we wanted to buy few boxes, but we also wanted to experience the way folks pluck these cherries and enjoy this juicy fruit. We couldn't see anyone around but encountered few dog having huge size and relatively calm. Those were really scary. Somehow, this increased our curiosity to figure out ways to climb us the hill and pluck few cherries. Anyways, you don't need to that and rather chose a nice homestay to spend your vacation along with enjoying fruits. Just time it well. Even in other months, this place looks awesome.

Bharmour

Lahaul Valley - Sister of Spiti Valley :


Most of the travel enthusiasts know about Spiti Valley and that's one of my favourites too. But many don't know about Lahual valley which is adjacent to the Spiti Valley. In fact, the name of the district if 'Lahaul & Spiti'. When you go to Leh from Manali, you cross through Lahaul valley and if you go deep towards left, you explore some of the wonderful places of Lahaul valley. Trilokinath temple is one of the amazing places in this valley and there are many more like that.     GovindSag

Most of the travel enthusiasts know about Spiti Valley and that's one of my favourites too. But many don't know about Lahual valley which is adjacent to the Spiti Valley. In fact, the name of the district if 'Lahaul & Spiti'. When you go to Leh from Manali, you cross through Lahaul valley and if you go deep towards left, you explore some of the wonderful places of Lahaul valley. Trilokinath temple is one of the amazing places in this valley and there are many more like that. 

There are plenty of touristy place in Himachal and hence there are lot of awesome places which are not developed as tourist places thankfully. The whole region around Bhakhra Dam and Govind Sagar lake is like that. This whole stretch is awesome. Driving around Bhakhra Dam and then Govind Sagar lake is amazing experience. One can find a handful hotels, home-stays in this area to stay and experience the place better. 

There is so much to experience in this part of North India. And probably one of the best places to try fresh fish. Not only that food in this region is different and that is special when we think of exploring anything new. 

Bada Bhangal - A remote area to reach & experience rich mountain culture 


It's hard for me to describe Bada Bhangal well and why it's very special amongst all options you see in this post. So instead I would recommend checking link above and read more about this place.

It's hard for me to describe Bada Bhangal well and why it's very special amongst all options you see in this post. So instead I would recommend checking link above and read more about this place. 

Kamrunag hike is popular because of faith and I love such places where tourists don't go but only locals for religious regions. Why? Usually locals don't make the place dirty and respect local vegetation and culture. And what can be better than that to explore. But at the same time, we need to follow same principles when we visit these places. Kamrunag is a day hike which exposes you to varied vegetation, culture, food and lot more. It's located in Mandi region of Himachal Pradesh. Do check out the title link.

Bijli Mahadev - A wonderful hike around Kullu-Manali : 


I was debating in my head if Bijli Mahadev deserves to be in this list and then I thought that you may go to Kullu-Manali but still interested in doing which other tourists/travelers don't do. Take a day hike to Bijli Mahadev and enjoy spectacular views from the top. It's a fantastic and if interested you check this link to know about lot of other such places in Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh.     I sat on this blogpost for more than a month as i was not confident if I am really sharing the desired options and then I realised that it can be endless, so do check out the blog to find more such gems.     If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling -  - Manage your waste well and don’t litter - Use dustbins. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin. - Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem. - Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits. - Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite

I was debating in my head if Bijli Mahadev deserves to be in this list and then I thought that you may go to Kullu-Manali but still interested in doing which other tourists/travelers don't do. Take a day hike to Bijli Mahadev and enjoy spectacular views from the top. It's a fantastic and if interested you check this link to know about lot of other such places in Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh. 

I sat on this blogpost for more than a month as i was not confident if I am really sharing the desired options and then I realised that it can be endless, so do check out the blog to find more such gems. 


If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling -

- Manage your waste well and don’t litter
- Use dustbins. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin.
- Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem.
- Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits.
- Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite 

Comments

Lovely places. Some of the pics are mesmerising.

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