Standing pretty on a ridge, which is actually a water shed between River Sutlej and River Geri, Narkanda is the orchard valley of Himachal Pradesh. During season, the valley is ripe with cherries and apples - be it on the trees or on small carts along the road.
With its strategic location (about 65 km away from Shimla), amidst dense pine and deodar forests, Narknada also serves as an ideal getaway for travelers to Himachal Pradesh. A holiday in Narkanda, provides you a wonderful opportunity to connect yourself with the nature. The splendid views of the snow-clad mountains, lush green valleys and unspoiled natural surroundings altogether make Narkanda a must visit place for all types of travellers. Besides these, the tranquil town offers much more to see and do for all age groups from children to seniors.
Narkanda is a must visit for adventure lovers. With the onset of winter, Narkanda becomes a hot spot for skiing. Hiking in the green turf is also a favourite with trekkers. For the less adventurous, a forest path from the temple to a mountain top meadow called the Joh Bagh is quite pleasurable. The cultural side of Narkanda comes to the fore with the onset of summer, when in May, an annual Summer Fair is organised as a tribute to the mountain and its goddess.
Places to see
Set at a high altitude, Narkanda is a tourist attraction in itself and thrill visitors with its unparalleled beauty. Usually travelers to Narkanda spend relaxing moments in the lap of nature and indulge in adventure activities. Narkanda is flanked by a number of peaks that offer a breathtaking view of the picturesque valleys, snow-covered mountains, thick forests, lush green fields, apple orchards, and nearby surroundings.
Hatu Peak (3,330 meters) is one of the major attractions of Narkanda that deserve a visit. One can take the 7 km simple trek uphill to the popular Hatu Peak that also houses Hatu Mata Temple. The trek from Narkanda to Hatu Peak is not tiring, but it takes a bit more time due to hilly terrain. Quite surprisingly and shockingly, the locals of the town drive to the top of Hatu Peak in a Maruti 800 car through winding narrow lanes.
About 7 km from Narkanda, Kacheri (1,810 metre) is home to ancient Mahamaya Temple that you should visit. Renowned for apple orchards, Kotgarh and Thanedhar is horticultural heartland of Himachal Pradesh, and approximately 17 km away from Narkanda.
From Narkanda go downhill and visit other popular places in the valley. Kumarsain - an army settlement about 16 km away from Narkanda is quite famous among tourists. Known for its beautiful apple orchards, Kumarsain offers wonderful view of Sutlej River.
Things to do
The slopes in and around Narkanda offer thrilling leisure options. Adventure enthusiasts will be surely amazed seeing the slopes ranging from gentle to tough. Winter is the time for adrenaline rushing winter sports like skiing. Skiers visit the town during winters to enjoy skiing on snow-covered slopes.
HPTDC offers skiing courses to visitors every year to beginners. After taking basic lessons at the government institute one can scale the slopes. If you are not interested in challenging adventure activities, then enjoy leisurely walks amidst beautiful natural surroundings. Picnic with friends or family members is another good option to pass leisure time in Narkanda.
Places to eat
Himachali cuisine is the highlight of eating in Narkanda, which is highly influenced from the typical North Indian cuisine. The eateries including roadside vendors serve a variety of scrumptious cuisines. Most of the hotel’s restaurants offer a wide selection of mouth-watering dishes. Don’t expect for memorable dining experience at Narkanda, but the local food will surely delight you.
There is hardly anything to shop for in Narkanda; Shimla, the state capital is a good place for shopping.
Sangla Valley is situated at an altitude of 8,900 ft and constitutes the part of district of Kinnaur. Sangla lies on the right bank of Baspa River, which is 17 km from Karcham. The valley is named after a picturesque village, Sangla. Enjoy a pleasant and adventurous trek in the Sangla valley with captivating scenic beauty. Also known as Baspa Valley, visit the Naga Temple, Sapni, Rackchham, Kilba and Kamru Fort. You may also visit Basteri village, a typical Kinnauri village, which has retained much of its tradition and customs and is famous for its local hand woven shawls and typical Kinnauri caps.
Shoja is a picture postcard village with apple groves, long wooded walks, and amazingly simple and nice people, who are completely unaware of all the regular tourist-conning techniques. The village is on a mountain ledge, overlooking the valley. Taking a few of the magnificent walks around Shoja is an absolute must. A short trip to Jalori Pass, barely 5 km away and a tour of a lake and a fort from there is a nice way to discover the rustic beauty of the area.