The gateway to the Apple Land and Tribal circuit
When the hills of Shimla bustles with the fervour of the crowd, both of locals and tourists, for a nature lover like you, who seeks for peace and tranquility, it is best to travel a little further away from this capital city on the Hindustan -Tibet road (NH-22). As you move ahead the serene nature allures you. After travelling 65 kms away from Shimla, on the highway at an altitude of 2708 mts above the sea level, this small haven, Narkanda will greet you with spectacular views of the snow-capped Himalayan ranges, apple orchards and dense coniferous forests. An ideal recluse for the travelers, Narkanda is a small hamlet with a few slate roofed local cottages perched on the slopes of the mountains, a few shops selling grocery and daily need items, a couple of local eateries and sweet shops, a cyber cafe and a bus stand. Your tired soul will be relieved by the rustic charm of this place.
Where to stay
The Hptdc hotel “Hatu” located on a higher slope of the mountain amidst dense forests and peaceful serene environment is the ideal option to stay at Narkanda. Named after the highest peak of that area Hatu, this hotel provides modern and comfortable accommodation with a cosy restaurant in a quiet surrounding. From the sprawling lawn of the hotel you can enjoy the serene views of the majestic Himalayas, apple orchards and forested valleys.
Besides there is a PWD Circuit rest house, a little ahead of the Hptdc hotel, a few comfortable hotels and resorts in and around Narkanda in beautiful scenic locations.
What to do
Skiing: During winter Narkanda receives heavy snowfall and the snow covered dazzling white slopes offer an ideal ground for skiing and other winter sports activities. Commencing in 1980,skiing at Narkanda is a must do activity if you are travelling in the winter season. Hptdc conducts a skiing course every year and all the necessary arrangements are made by the staffs of hotel “Hatu”.
Where to go
Though many of the tourists consider this place as a stopover destination for travelling to the Kinnaur valley, but this place has a charm of its own.
You can drive or hike 8 kms from Narkanda through a narrow steep winding road surrounded by forests of pine and spruce trees to reach at an imposing height of 3300m to Hatu peak, the highest peak of this region. Reaching on top, you will be amazed by the panoramic view of the Himalayan range with the valleys laden with apple orchards, green field and dense forests. If you are fortunate enough then the mesmerising sunset on the Hatu peak will remain in your memory for years to come. There is an ancient Hatu Mata temple on top of the hill. The whispering of the pines, ringing of the temple bells, singing of the solitary bird in the distant conifer amidst the eerie silence will surely uplift your soul to an ethereal bliss.
Kotgarh and Thanedar
17 kms link road bifurcating from Narkanda will take you at a height of 1830 mts to the Apple Land of Himachal, Kotgarh and Thanedhar.The famous Stokes Farm is located at Thanedhar where you can have the delicious Red, Golden and Royal Apples. Samuel Stokes, an American came to India in 1904 and settled at Kotgarh after falling in love with this place and the village folk and started the first apple farm there. Thus Stokes Farm became famous.
You can also drive 90 kms from Narkanda passing through the Sutlej Valley and crossing Luhri, Ani and Khanag to one of the most picturesque place in the entire Kullu Valley – the Jalori Pass. Gaining a height of 3550 mts above the sea level you can view the snow-capped Himalayan ranges from here. A 30 minutes walk from the Pass will take you to Serolsar Lake amidst dense forests where you can reconnect yourself with the nature.
Tani Jubbar Lake
Just 12kms from Narkanda towards Kotgarh and Thanedhar is located a small, artificial but beautiful lake surrounded with thick forests of cedar trees all around, known as Tani Jubbar Lake. There is a Nag Devta Temple beside the lake where the locals offer prayer. On a clear sky the distant snow-capped Himalayan peaks are visible from the green glen of the lake.
Best time to visit
Narkanda can be visited throughout the year. The summers are pleasant with cool climate. During Autumn you will be greeted with apples everywhere and winter is the ideal time for skiing when Narkanda receives heavy snowfall and the slopes get covered with white shimmering snow. If you are travelling in winter do carry heavy woolens as the temperature hovers around freezing point.
Narkanda simply can be a solo Soul Safar destination from Delhi for your long weekends where the magnificent Himalayan vista will take your soul to a new dimension.
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