Pradesh is a tiny hill state whose pleasant summers make it a popular holiday
resort. The Raj still lingers in Shimla, the state capital and former summer capital
during British rule.
Kullu-Manali are neighbouring resorts, surrounded
by pine covered hills and lush meadows. Himachal has, in addition to popular resort
towns, a series of secluded hill retreats ideal for interested anglers, trekkers
and those wanting a quiet getaway.
Many of these include: from Shimla
- Mashobra, Kufri, Naldehra; those around Kullu-Manali include Manikaran, Naggar
and Brighu Lake; the barely accessible valleys of Lahaul and Spiti are a trekkers
The state of Himachal Pradesh is made up of ten districts with
a total area of 56,019 sq km. The northern border of Himachal Pradesh is bounded
by Tibet, in the north-west it borders Kashmir, in the south lie the plains of
Punjab and the eastern border is common with the hills of Uttar Pradesh. The state
is rugged and mountainous, and the valleys of Lahaul and Spiti are the dream of
Lahaul and Spiti is a desolate region in comparison to
the lush Beas valley of Kullu, also a popular mountain area of the state. Spiti,
which overlooks Tibet across the Sutlej river, is Tibetan in landscape and in
the character of its few inhabitants. Kullu and Lahaul are good areas for mountaineers
style ascents and ski-mountaineering. The jagged ice peaks of Kullu offer good
routes for the 'tiger' as well as the less ambitious mountaineer. A popular peak
in this area is Deo Tibba (6,001 m) which is visible from Shimla, the capital
of Himachal Pradesh, and Indrasan (6,221 m), a challenging peak of steep red granite
which can be climbed from four different routes.
The Menthosa snowpeak
in Chamba at 6,445 m has never been totally conquered, nor has Dharmasura (6,446
m) in the Bara Shigri glacier region, though they provide opportunity for some
A close cluster of the M&KR series in
the Milang river basin has more than a dozen peaks over 6,000 m high worthy of
the hardiest ridge runners. Himachal may well hold the track record for peaks
that have defied a first time ascent. For example, the Chandra Bhaga watershed
and the Parvati valley have several over 6,000 m peaks, most still unclimbed.
Narkanda lies forty miles north of Shimla on Kipling's
famous Hindustan-Tibet road at a height of nearly 9000 ft. The nearby peak, Hathu,
dominates the great watershed of India, for from here you can see both the Sultej
and the Giri which flow into the Indus and Ganges systems respectively.
skiing season in Narkanda starts in January and lasts into the first week of April.
While you may have six to ten feet of snow, the motor road to Shimla usually remains
open and this makes Narkanda a very convenient destination from the cities of
The slopes will appeal to the cross country skier for Narkanda
is set amidst fine conifer forests. A short distance to the west of a PWD bungalow
are the beginners' slopes in a clearing and a tow bar (or T-bar) has also been
installed. The Hathu slopes on the east delight those who want to get away from
it all, and it is possible to ski down towards the famous Stokes (the apple kings
of India) country at Kotgarh. The government-run classes provide their own equipment.
The beauty of Narkanda is that being only an over-night's journey from Delhi one
can fit in a skiing weekend at rates easily the lowest in the world and against
a backdrop of the finest forest and mountain scenery. While Narkanda is quite
developed, skiing at Kufri is still taking off, and has the advantage of proximity
to the plains. The Manali region offers scope for both winter as well as summer
When the snows herald in winter, the area around Solang Nala
attracts skiers to its extensive natural slopes. In the summer months, there are
limited skiing possibilities on the slopes of the Rohtang Pass. The government-run
classes provide their own centre with a natural open-air ice-skating rink.
Under Scandal Point on the north side of the ridge facing the Dhauladhar are Blessington's
tennis courts which become, in the months of December and January, Shimla's Ice
Rink. The Shimla Club is privately run and has been instrumental in popularising
all three disciplines on ice for more than twenty years: figure skating, ice hockey
and speed skating. Boots are made to measure in Shimla itself. Seasonal membership
is inexpensive and national championships are held annually.
It is in
Garhwal Himalaya mountains that the infant holy Ganga finds its source. The Garhwal
Himalayas stretch just over 290 km and are separated from the Punjab Himalayas
by the river Sutlej. Garhwal was the first part of the Himalayas to be explored
and surveyed, and the highest peak in these mountains is less than 8,000 metres.
Garhwal is flanked by Tibet in the north, Kumaon in the east, Bijnor in the south
and Tehri and Dehra Dun in the west.
Nanda Devi, also called the 'pearl
of the Himalayas' is the highest peak in the Garhwal mountains. Nanda Devi has
twin peaks, the main peak and the east peak. The main peak was climbed in 1936
by H.W. Tilman andN.E. Odell while the east peak was scaled in 1939 by a Polish
team. Nanda Devi is revered since ancient times and worshipped as the Goddess
Nanda. T.G. Longstaff, one of the earliest explorers of the Garhwal region has
described the holy mountain as: "No mountain in the world is more beautiful
than Nanda Devi."
popular peak in the Garhwal region is Kamet. Ten expeditions attempted this peak
before it was finally scaled in 1931 by a team led by Frank. S. Smythe.
At the traditional source of the Ganges one can find the best mountaineering area
probably in the world. A few kilometres above the ice cave from which the river
takes birth are the meadows of Tapovan and Nandanvan, spread at the base of the
most magnificent panorama of peaks you will ever see. The peaks are mainly over
the 20,000 ft mark and still have unclimbed faces offering alpine style ascents.
Mount Shivling has often been compared to the Matterhorn. All along the 30 km
length of the Gangotri glacier are side glaciers, some not yet fully explored.
One can also traverse to the southern face of the crest which provides steeper