Himachal Pradesh is an iconic Indian State that you’ll fall in love with more every time you visit. It offers something for everyone, whether you are looking for history and culture or you want to experience the exciting adventure, art, music, and nightlife. So, if you are planning a trip to Himachal Pradesh but not sure what to do or where to go, we’ve put together a list of the best things to do in Himachal Pradesh on your first visit so you can start creating a bucket list for your very own Himachal adventure.
Experience, try and enjoy the below 10 things you really shouldn’t miss out on doing when you visit Himachal Pradesh.
1. The Kalka – Shimla Toy Train Ride
This wonderful leisurely journey offers the best of both worlds.
The historic railway line running from Kalka in Haryana to Shimla in Himachal Pradesh is probably the best known scenic journey in the world. The six-hour, 60-mile journey through 103 tunnels, over 988 bridges, around 917 curves spanning across 20 stations traverses a sensational breathtaking landscape, past dramatic mountains, verdant valleys, lofty waterfalls, glaciers, carpets of green forests, rushing rivers and abundance of wildlife. The Toy Train’s 96-kilometre narrow gauge track through the Shivalik foothills of the Himalayas is ranked among the best heritage railways in the world and also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What makes this journey even more memorable are the panoramic views you get left, right and centre throughout the whole ride. And it offers about an estimated gazillion photo opportunities.
Truly a Himachal holiday to remember!
2. Heli-Skiing in Manali
What could be better than heli skiing in the Himalayas? Manali is the evergreen destination for ski enthusiasts who want to explore the challenging topography and stunning beauty of repeated helicopter rides. Manali and Heli skiing are synonymous the way Himachal Pradesh and skiing are. The Himalayan Mountains offer some of the best conditions for Heli skiing and has everything you wish for – best powdered snow, spectacular views, giant verticals, steep summits, and diverse terrain. Tourists feel the adrenaline rush when they fly to heights above 6000 m.
The passes of Hanuman Tibba, Deo Tibba, Chanderkhani Pass and Rohtang Pass in Manali offer some of the best natural Heli skiing conditions in the world. That makes Manali the best bang for your buck since you can stay at or near the resort and buy a one-day Heli skiing package. The best time to go Heli skiing in Manali is between December and February.
Book your adventure-packed Himachal tour package and try Heli skiing on India’s most beautiful mountain!
3. Visit to Asia’s Oldest Brewery in Kasauli
If you want to catch a glimpse of the efficient British engineering, a visit to this distillery is a must. The Kasauli Brewery is the oldest continuously operating brewery in the world.
The brewery’s origin story begin in 1820 when Sir Edward Abraham Dyer brought along with him the distilling and brewing equipment from Scotland and England and founded the Kasauli Brewery, also known as Mohan Meakin Limited. It is one of the oldest and largest distilleries for ‘scotch whisky’ in Asia. Sir Edward chose this location due the pleasant climate and availability of fine spring water similar to a Scottish ambiance, but with time as spring water became insufficiently available, the distillery shifted to Solan. After the establishment of the distillery, Sir Edward started distilling Malt Whisky and India Pale Ale which were as fine as Scotch Whisky. The major products produced at this brewery today are Colonel’s Special, Old Monk Rum, Black Knight, Summer Hall, Diplomat Deluxe and Solan No. 1. The company also produces London Dry and Big Ben gins, as well as, Kaplanski Vodka.
Just thinking about the fact that this brewery has been brewing alcohol for almost one thousand years is mind blowing.
A trip to Himachal is not complete without going to the oldest brewery in Asia. Visit it on your Himachal trip and take a look behind the scenes – from the creation of the finest Malt Whiskey to enjoying a freshly brewed drink.
4. Indulge in Trout Fishing (Angling Sport)
Many of us also have dreams of traveling the world and experiencing a range of different fishing adventures. Most folks tend to think of Himachal Pradesh as a State best known for its beautiful landscapes and awe-inspiring locales. Enter the waters and you’ll have some of the best opportunities for reeling in multiple breeds of fishes. The pride of Himachal Pradesh is the permanent rivers, streams and brooks. The rivers are crystal clear with a beautiful blue “glow”. On offer here are Trout and Mahseer fishes in abundance, just waiting to be reeled in. Shimla is popular for its Brown and Rainbow Trout, finest sport fishes in the world which can be only found in Himachal Pradesh.
Himachal is a great fishing destination to fulfill your fishing fantasies. Whether a beginner or a pro, trust us, its streams Beas, Sutlej, Tirthan, Sainj, Lambadug, Giri, Rana, Nugal Gai, Uhl, Baspa, Ravi, Pabar, Baner and Bata are among the best fishing spots we can recommend. It’s just so much fun that we don’t want you to miss! The area also has climbing, canyoning, and river rafting to fill the time when you’re not standing in the stream.
5. Take a Dip in Himachal’s Hot Springs
Hot springs are generally considered to be destinations of rest and relaxation. A hot spring is usually a spring of water naturally heated by geothermic activity happening below the surface.
This picturesque Himalayan Mountain State is home to several hot water springs, which have attracted tourists and pilgrims alike, due to its relaxing and rejuvenating properties. The Vashisht Baths is one of the most classic hot springs in India along with the Turkish style shower facility. Located inside the very famous Vashisht Temple nearly 3 km away from Manali, Vashisht Baths is believed to possess medicinal values and cure many epidermis illnesses. There are separate bathing water tanks for men and woman, as well as, Turkish style showers.
Other famous hot springs in Himachal are Hot Springs at Manikaran, Kasol Hot Water Springs, Khirganga in Kullu district and Tattapani in District Mandi.
It’s a great way to let your muscles rest after a long day of exploring Himachal’s finest cities or hiking the iconic Himalayan Mountains.
Soak yourself in Vashist Hot Springs and feel the magic.
6. Paraglding in Bir Billing
The adventure sport of Paragliding is something that gives you the wings to fly.
Nestled in the picturesque Dhaulandar ranges of the Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh, Bir Billing is one of the top Paragliding spots in the world. Nature beckons adventure enthusiasts to this land, even on the sunniest summer days. To be precise, Billing is where paragliders take off, and Bir is a village where landing takes place. The excellent weather conditions along with the views of the snow-capped mountain peaks, mighty glaciers, endless forests and narrow valleys make Bir Billing the perfect place for a Paragliding vacation.
All you require is a carefree attitude and passion to discover the beautiful places from the sky, no prior experience required.
Soar through the air, glide through the skies at dizzying heights on a thrilling tandem ride and immerse into the beauty of Himachal’s natural landscape, amid the snowy mountain peaks of Himalayan Mountains. Make your dream of flying come true and see Himachal like you’ve never seen it before.
April to June (summer season) and October to November is the best time of the year to paraglide in Bir Billing.
7. Mountain Biking in Spiti Valley
Cycling in the shadows of the surrounding snow-clad mountains and the dreamy meadows, the Spiti Valley is a must do adventure for every cyclist at some point in their life.
There’s a good reason why Spiti Valley is a favorite for Mountain cyclists. Located very high in the Himalayas in the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh, Spiti is a beautiful cold desert mountain region similar to the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. It boasts a wonderful climate, good roads and country lanes, technical climbs and mountain scenery. Carefully designed exclusive countryside riding trails keep your adrenaline rush high during the journey. The rugged scenery offers a striking backdrop that will accompany along your trip.
From high desert vistas to exotic mountainsides, Spiti Valley offers some of the best views and most fun you can have on two wheels. Whether you’re a seasoned expert or just starting out, there’s a trail for you.
Spiti, really is cycling heaven.
8. Ice Skating in Asia’s Largest Rink
One of Shimla’s most popular holiday traditions is Ice Skating at the only natural outdoor rink in India. Brilliant for tourists, skating in the Shimla Ice rink allows you to combine visiting one of Himachal Pradesh’s most famous and picturesque cities with acting like a complete child, gaily slipping and sliding all over Asia’s biggest skate rink.
Founded in 1920, the Shimla Ice Skating Club is the oldest open air and natural Ice skating rink in India, as well as, South East Asia, where you can skate, slip, fall, get up and skate off again in the chilled environment of this place. Best enjoyed with the family, Ice skating in Shimla is an amazing day out with the kids. The city also hosts many carnivals, events, and competitions every year. When planning a Himachal holiday, the Ice skating rink of Shimla is one of the top places to visit in Himachal Pradesh.
Grab your earmuffs, pull on your big clumsy gloves and go Ice skating for a truly magical winter experience.
9. Trekking through the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP)
The Great Himalayan National Park fuels the wanderlust of many backpackers. Millions of travelers seek out adventures among the peaks of the Himalayas every year.
Located in Kullu region in the State of Himachal Pradesh, the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) is one of the most popular National Parks of India. Established in the year 1984, the National Park is spread over an area of 1,171 km2 at an elevation of 1500 to 6000 m. It was declared a UNESCO Heritage site in 2014 for its outstanding significance in Biodiversity Conservation. The Park encompasses of the upper catchments areas of the Tirthan, Sainj, Parvati and the Jiwa Rivers – all are tributaries of the Beas River.
Both short to moderate and high altitudinal trekking options are available inside the Park. The trek trails lead through distinctive mountain passes, wildlife-filled forests, idyllic meadows and glacial valleys. Interestingly, the GHNP is home to over 1,000 plant species, many medicinal herbs, 31 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, amphibians, reptiles, and insects. Expect wildlife encounters in the backcountry. Black bears, Blue Sheep, Himalayan Brown Bear, Musk Deer and Snow Leopard are abundant in the area.
Hiking the Great Himalayan National Park Trail is a fabulous journey through the Himalayan Mountains that is perfect for real wilderness adventurers!
10. Deep Dive into the Local Himachal Culture
It really is all about the local culture in Himachal Pradesh!
Himachal Pradesh is a rich treasure trove of local heritage, as displayed in its art, culture and traditions. Its regions are home to such an extensive range of traditions and festivals that you’ll often feel like you’ve ventured into another country altogether. Many old traditions can be found here which seem lost in time. An essential facet of this heritage is the focus on native gods (devtas and devis), which was an essential part of the belief systems of the earliest tribal groups, namely the Koles, Kiratas, Kinnaras, Yakshas, and Nagas, who lived in this region. Both Vedic and Puranic gods are still worshipped here in accordance to ancient rituals and rites. Folk dances are a spontaneous expression of the joy of life. Moreover, the people of Himachal love festivals and participate enthusiastically in local festivals and fairs. No matter what time of the year you visit the Himachal State, there will be lots of opportunities to participate in their festivals and celebrations.
There’s plenty on throughout the year to give you a glimpse into the oddities and eccentricities that Himachal culture has on offer and you’ll probably leave scratching your head in bewilderment.
What’s on your list of best things to do in Himachal Pradesh?
So, when it gets to a Himachal vacation, you know what to do now. We assume you’ll be traveling to the Indian State soon. We carefully curated these 10 things for you to do in Himachal Pradesh so that you don’t have to go bonkers for your next travel planning. And booking our Himachal tour packages will ensure you live out your postcard-perfect wintertime dream-come-true.
Let us know your thoughts and don’t forget to share with us your amazing adventures in the Himachal cities.