Offbeat Things to do in Himachal Pradesh
The northern state of Himachal Pradesh is located on the foothills of the famous Himalayan range. Himachal Pradesh is one of the most popular travel destinations for both domestic and international tourists. Every traveler has different tastes and traveling needs. People look for various kinds of experiences when they decide on a particular tourist destination. There are many things to do in Himachal Pradesh for all kinds of travelers.
The state of Himachal Pradesh got international attention due to many factors that contributed directly to attracting international tourists. For example, the world-famous town of Mcleodganj in the district of Dharamshala was popularized by His Holiness Dalai Lama. The refugee government and the Tibetan settlement has played a key role in bringing awareness to the cause of the displacement of Tibetan people. Also, the Tibetan people have brought in their culture and art and made this town very interesting for international tourists.
All in all the state of Himachal provides travel opportunities related to adventure tourism, health & wellness tourism, spiritual tourism, and cultural tourism. With that many opportunities to explore, the right choice of travel activities will make your trip unforgettable.
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Rafting in the River Beas, Himachal (image source: Wikimedia Commons)
Travel activities in Himachal Pradesh
With the background of breathtaking views of the majestic mountain ranges, sparkling rivers, and gorgeous landscapes, you can find some activities to engage in to make your trip more exciting. The following travel activities are the best things to do in Himachal Pradesh during your trip.
One of the coolest things to do in Himachal Pradesh is to paraglide over the majestic landscapes that this state is blessed with. The experience of flying is very thrilling for the people seeking their adrenaline rush. It is one of the most popular adventure tourism activities that travelers engage in.
In the past few years, paragliding has gained popularity because of social media. People have been constantly posting their experience of gliding above the mountains through videos on social media. This has resulted in the sudden increase in the number of people interested in trying out this sport.
The villages of Bir& Billing are world-famous sites for Paragliding. Many tour operators conduct their paragliding activities from this site. The takeoff site is in Bir and the landing site is in Billing village. Bir& Billing has gained significant popularity due to the fact that the World Paragliding Competition has been held here many times. Competitors from all over the world visit this site to compete for the Paragliding trophy.
There are many other places in Himachal where you can experience the excitement of Paragliding. These destinations are SolangNala and Rohtang Pass in Manali, Kothi near Rohtang Pass, and Bandla Ridge in Bilaspur district. Apart from these destinations, there are many other small sites that are spread out all over Himachal Pradesh.
The best time to avail the paragliding activities is from March to June and then from September till November. The Paragliding activity is for both beginners and experienced travelers.
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The rich land of Himachal is full of trekking trails where the beauty of the Himalayas can truly be experienced. Breathing through the air while trekking through the bio-diverse trails of the mountains, is one of the most popular adventure activity travelers enjoy.
Some of the most popular trekking trails for both experienced and inexperienced trekkers are Triund Trek, Kheerganga Trek, Beas Kund Trek, and Trek to Indrahar Pass. These are only the few trekking trails that are among the most popular treks. There are so many trails that are spread out all over the state of Himachal Pradesh.
Camping is an activity that almost all tourists love to experience. What makes camping so special in Himachal Pradesh is the fresh air and the scenic views as the background. Lying down with a clear view of the night sky and a bonfire to keep you warm can be a priceless experience for travelers seeking peace and calm from the city life.
Some of the most popular camping destinations in Himachal such as Triund, Chandratal Lake, and Hampta Pass provide the best camping experience. There are many camping sites available around the Himalayan range where you can set up your tent. However, there are some places that may require prior permission from the forest department. But most of the areas are available for camping and it is advised that you check the requirements before setting up camp.
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Skiing is another popular tourist activity that people engage in during the winter seasons. The state of Himachal Pradesh provides some of the best locations for Skiing enthusiasts. Both the beginner-level skiers as well as the professionals can find the ideal place to practice and participate in the Skiing events.
Manali is one popular destination where international skiing events have been held. The other popular destinations to participate in this adventure sport are Narkanda, Rohtang Valley, Kufri, and Solang Valley. There are various skiing courses that tourists can avail of to learn the intricacies of skiing.
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5. River Rafting
River Rafting is an exciting sport that tourists participate in when they visiting Himachal. The number of people participating in the sport of river rafting has been increasing every year. This has led to an increase in the number of tour operators offering river rafting packages. Among the young travelers, river rafting is still one of the coolest things to do in Himachal Pradesh.
Himachal Pradesh is full of water rapids where this adventure sport can be experienced. The thrilling experience of going through the wild flow of the rapids is something to remember. Some of the best places to offer river rafting facilities are in Manali, Kullu, Dalhousie, and Lahaul.
6. Yoga & Meditation Retreats
Breathing in the fresh air of the Himalayas and the beauty that brings a sense of calm and peace is one of the most satisfying experiences you can have. Himachal Pradesh is the best place to practice Yoga and Meditation because of its ideal environment.
Himachal is full of places where you can book drop-in yoga classes or even do an internationally certified teacher training course. The medication and yoga centers can be found all over the state of Himachal Pradesh. The most popular among are the following.
- Tushita Meditation Centre
- ManaliIyengar Yoga Retreat
- Kayakalp Yoga Retreat
- OshoNisarga Centre for Mediation
- Vipassana Mediation
Apart from the above, there are many retreats that are available all over the districts of Himachal Pradesh.
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7. Rock Climbing
Another exciting adventure activity that you can avail while you are traveling in Himachal is that of Rock Climbing. This activity is not for everyone because of the reason that it requires a good physical condition in order to climb.
The state of Himachal Pradesh is full of many hills and cliffs which provide an ideal place to do climbing for professionals. Specialized equipment and trained personnel are needed to assist novice climbing enthusiasts. That’s where the institutes and mountaineering schools provide their services.
The most popular rock climbing destination in Manali. It is home to one of the best rock climbing institutes called Atal Bihar Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering. This institute provides training in the climbing and use of climbing equipment.
This adventure activity basically involves putting a person inside a transparent ball and then rolling the ball across the ground. This ball is called a ‘Zorb’. Among the tourists, this is a very popular activity young kids, as well as some adults, engage in.
The two places where the sport is most popular are Manali and Shimla. Usually, this activity is available during the summer season because the weather conditions are ideal for safety.
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9. Mountain Biking
Mountain Biking is quite a new activity for the tourists visiting Himachal Pradesh. But in the last few years, this activity has gained more and more popularity among young travelers. Many tour operators have added this activity to their list of best Himachal adventure tour package.
Riding a bike on uneven trails through the forests and hills is a very exciting activity. Himachal has an ample amount of sites where this sport is practiced. Some of the most popular destinations to avail the opportunity to ride the bikes are Kaza, Manali, Bir, Shimla, and Tabo. There are many other places that have sprung up due to the popularity of the activity.
It goes without saying that people love to buy something unique when they travel to a new place. The culture of Himachal is very unique due to many factors. For example, different districts of Himachal have different dances representing their own flavor to the pre-existing culture.
Similarly, the rituals practiced by different village communities vary according to the deities they worship.This affects their art, language, food, and rituals. Hence, you can find many unique souvenirs, handicrafts, and art in different districts of Himachal each with its own flavor.
Also, the presence of other communities such as the Nepali community and the Tibetan refugee community, add their own contributions to the locally made goods that are popular among the tourists.So, you can find a lot of local shops selling items that you can put in your home or find an item that can be useful as well. One of the most popular shopping destinations in Himachal is in Chamba, Mcleodganj, and Kullu.
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11. Ice Skating
It is hard to imagine Ice Skating can be available in Himachal Pradesh. It is one of the best offbeat things to do in Himachal Pradesh. This adventure activity is relatively safer compared to river rafting and rock climbing. Figure skating and Ice hockey are also popular activities for tourists.
Shimla is home to the oldest natural skating rink in Asia which is the best destination to enjoy skating. Another popular Ice Skating destination is Kalpa. Winters are the best time to visit these destinations where you can practice and learn the fine art of Ice Skating.
12. Temple Visits
Himachal Pradesh is a state which is full of temples with religious and spiritual significance for the people of India. Most of these temples are dedicated to the various forms of Shiva and Shakti which are masculine and feminine aspects of divinity.
There are also temples belonging to other important deities as well which are visited by devotees from all over India.You can find these temples rich in culture, folklore, and history that brings a unique perspective towards spirituality.
During certain times of the year, these temples are visited by devotees from all over India. For example, during the time of ‘Navratri’ season, the goddess temples in Himachal are some of the most visited temples in India. Recently, the tour operators have been creating packages for the pilgrims and the religious tourists who visit a certain number of temples every year. With the transportation infrastructure getting better, it is easier to visit these distant temples than ever.
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13. Nature Treks
With many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Himachal, you can take a walk through these rich biologically diverse areas which offer the best trekking experience for nature lovers. These national parks and sanctuaries are home to thousands of species of birds, animals, and plants.
Walking through the natural beauty of the waterfalls, trees, and rich landscapes is a healing experience for many. You can also get a chance to see wildlife and photograph some of the best scenes nature has to offer.The above-mentioned tourist activities are only some of the most popular among the tourist community.
You can find ample opportunities to experience many activities during your vacation. Activities such as photography, partying and other adventure sports can be found all over the state of Himachal Pradesh.Every district of Himachal has a unique history and landscape.
The native communities have their own culture around which they have developed their identity. These native communities celebrate certain days in the Hindu calendar in their own unique way. During these times, the visiting tourists can have a unique experience engaging themselves in the local traditions of the community.
Community based sustainable travel opportunities are also being promoted on many travel websites. There are many tourist activities you may find while living in the community.
This article is originally published in Indian Travel Store