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HIMACHAL PRADESH

Himachal Pradesh is the land of hill stations, lush green valleys and cascading streams. Himachal Pradesh is essentially a mountain state - it takes in the transition zone from the plains to the high Himalaya and in the trans Himalayan region of Lahul and Spiti actually crosses that mighty barrier to the Tibetan Plateau. It is a delightful state for visitors, particularly during the hot season when people flock to its hill stations to escape the searing heat of the plains.

Himachal Pradesh stores numerous wonderful hill stations, which are particularly cool in summers. Shimla, Dalhousie, Kullu, Kasauli, Manali, Chail and Kufri are a few of the hill stations, which offer breathtaking scenery. Dharmasala, where the Dalai Lama lives, is another important centre for tourists. The foremost shrine in Kangra town is the Brajeshwari Devi temple. 30 km from Kangra is Jwalamukhi, one of the most revered temples in northern India. The Kangra Museum has an impressive art collection.


SHIMLA

Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh and is a very charming hill resort. It was a favourite summer resort of the British when their troops set up camp here in 1819. At an altitude of 2,130 m, the town is a beautiful place. With the Mall and Ridge being main attractions, there are also good walking options and the popular one is from Scandal point and Ridge to the Jakhoo hill, which offers an excellent panoramic view of Shimla and the Hanuman Temple. Shimla offers many other attractions such as the Rashtrapati Niwas, formerly the residence of the British Viceroy, the State Museum, which houses a modest collection of stone statues from different parts of Himachal Pradesh, Jakhu Temple, dedicated to Lord Hanuman, the attendant of Lord Rama, Chadwick Fall, Prospects Hill, Sankat Mochan, Tara Devi and Windflower Hall. Kufri at a height of 2,510, a well-known ski resort in Himachal Pradesh, is 16 kilometres from Shimla which also offer some famous hikes and wonderful snow for skiing. An enjoyable walk leads up to the Mahasu Peak. At a distance of 5 km from Shimla is Summer Hill, a quiet suburb with peaceful environs ideal for secluded walks.

KULLU & MANALI

KulluThe Kullu-Manali tourist complex is spread in the entire Kullu valley, which is lavishly gifted with superb scenic wealth. Kullu also known as 'Valley of Gods' has numerous temples. Kullu valley offers a scenic charm of peaceful wooded glades and rivers through the rocks. The ancient Hindus regarded Kullu as the farthest limit of human habitation 'Kulantapitha' and its original name finds mention in the epics, The Ramayana and Mahabharta as well as the Vishnu Purana. Kullu, which is located on the bank of river Beas is the Central point of this tourist complex. Its secluded hill retreats offer ideal spots for anglers, trekkers and those wanting a quiet getaway. Kullu Valley, situated on the banks of Beas river is situated at an altitude of 1,200 m. It is also famous for its apple orchards, its old wooden temples and its folk music and dances. The temples around Kullu include Vaishno Devi where the Goddess is enshrined in a cave. Jagannathi Devi is in Bhekhi village, which affords a good view of Kullu. Bijli Mahadev Temple, situated at the height of 2,460 is one of the most striking temples in Kullu, where 20 m tall image is supposed to attract special blessings from the skies in the shape of lightning. From the temple a panoramic view of Kullu & Paravati valleys can be seen. Among other temples is the Basheshwar Mahadev Temple, famous for it's stone carvings and Srikhand Mahadev, which is famous for it's pilgrimage centre and trekking. Lord Parshuram Temple and Ambika Temple at Nirmand are famous for it's architecture. Lord Raghunath Temple also attracts tourists as a famous pilgrimage centre.

Manali, situated at an altitude of 1,926 m, is considered to be the queen of hill resorts as it holds the prospects of a peaceful stay amidst lush green meadows and forests, brooks and waterfalls as well as the joys of hiking, climbing, sunbathing and fishing for the youthful spirits. Manali with its unspoilt scenic grandeur is extremely popular with the tourists, for a lavish display of natural scenery. It is one of the principal show places of the Kullu region. To its North, South and West are ostentation of pinnacles and ridges, which, in fine weather, stand out in bold relief against skyline. At the lower elevation and in every direction there are vivid green patches of grassland and evergreen valleys ascending in irregular formation present probably the best view in the country. Manali provides a cool retreat for anyone who exults in just being amidst unspoilt nature. There are thick forests, filled with cool breezes and bird songs.

DHARAMSALA

HH-Dalai LamaDharamsala is better known as Noble Laureate the 'Dalai Lama’s abode and Tibet's Government-in-exile after the Chinese invasion of Lhasa in October 1959. Dharamsala, the picturesque Hill Queen of the Kangra Valley in the State of Himachal Pradesh, North India, is set in beautiful deodar forests in the Western Himalayas. The Dhauladhar mountain range, also known as the 'White Range', provides a spectacular backdrop to this beautiful hill resort – ideal as a launching pad for trekking holidays.

A visit to Dharamsala would be considered irreverent without a peek into the various monasteries dotting the hillsides. A visit to the Namgyal Monastery, ensconcing the Center of Tibetan Studies is nothing short of mandatory. 'Tsuk-La-Khang', opposite the Dalai Lama's residence reminds one of Lhasa - it contains large gilded bronzes of the Buddha, Avalokiteshwara, and Padmasambhava. Dharamsala is also the centre for Tibetan culture, with the Mentse-khang, the Tibetan Institute of performing arts, the Institute of Tibetology and a well stocked Tibetan library at Khangchen Kyishong. A War Memorial is situated near the entry point to Dharamshala commemorating those who fought valiantly for the honour and defense of the mother land.

Originally a little hill resort built by the British, Dharamasala rambles up in levels to very near the snow line. While lower Dharamsala (1,250m) is the busy commercial area with government buildings, the bazaar etc;, Upper Dharamsala (1,982m) has suburbs with evocative names like Forsyth Ganj and Macleod Ganj that are quite fascinating.
                                                                  

 
 
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