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Major Cities of Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is synonymous with scenic beauty, serene landscape and adventure sports. Literally Himachal means “the land of snow”. Situated in the western Himalaya, Himachal Pradesh has several hill stations which are the most appropriate destination to find respite from the scorching summer heat.

How to reach Manali

By Air

The nearest airport is at Bhuntar, located approximately 50 kilometres away from Manali. Domestic flights connect Bhuntar with Delhi and Chandigarh. Once at the airport, you can take a pre-paid taxi to Manali. However, owing to weather conditions, flights are not the most reliable option for getting to or out of Manali.

By Bus

Manali is very well-connected to important tourist destinations like Leh, Shimla, Kullu, Dharamshala and New Delhi by means of a network of state-run as well as private buses. The bus journey from Delhi to Manali is 550 kilometres, and it is advisable to book your tickets in the air-conditioned Volvo coaches, as the buses are more comfortable than ordinary ones, keeping in mind the long distance of the journey.

Road/Self Drive

The drive up to Manali is simply breathtaking! You can catch scenic glimpses of the adjoining mountains and valleys from almost every turn that the twisty uphill road throws you in. Though a lot of tourists prefer a self-drive up to Manali, it is advisable to hire a taxi in case you are not comfortable with driving in mountainous regions.

Best Time to Visit Manali

Manali is a beautiful destination that offers different charms in all seasons. Summers witness Manali turning into an escape from the blistering heat of the plains, while winters dress the town in a graceful garb of white snow. Here’s a monthly breakup of Manali’s climatic conditions so that you can plan accordingly:

September to February: The monsoons draw to an end in September and winter starts setting in from October. The temperature in winter months can go down to -1 °C, so make sure you carry enough woolens to keep yourself warm, especially for the chilly nights.
December end to January is the time when you can enjoy snowfall and the spectacular scenic white views of the surrounding mountains, making it a favourite with the honeymooners. This is the ideal time for adventure enthusiasts who want to go skiing.

March to June: Summer steps in from March but the weather is still pleasant. The temperatures during these summer months usually vary between 10°C to 25°C, so you might still need light woolens during the night. This is the perfect time to indulge in outdoor activities such as paragliding, rafting, trekking and mountain adventures in the Solang Valley. This is also the time when the region’s flora is in full bloom lending it the most pristine natural beauty.

July-August: Monsoons in Manali can be tricky as the region experiences heavy rainfall, which can also sometimes lead to landslides. But considering a lot of tourists don’t prefer to travel during this time, the prices of hotels tend to drop.

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 KULLU

How to reach Kullu

BY FLIGHT

There are regular flights from other major cities of the country to Kullu.

Airport(s): Bhuntar Airport (KUU)

BY TRAIN

Kullu does not have an train station. Nearest option is Summer Hill.

Kullu 94 km awaySummer hill (SHZ), shimla, himachal pradesh

kullu 94 km awayShimla (SML), shimla, himachal pradesh

BY BUS

You can easily get regular buses to Kullu from other major cities of the country.Bus Station(s): kullu

SHIMLA

How to reach Shimla

By Air

Jubarhati, which is about 23 kilometres from the town, is the nearest airport. There are regular flights going from Jubbarhatti to Chandigarh and Delhi. You can easily get a taxi from the airport to get to Shimla or you can ask your hotel to arrange for an airport transfer.

By Bus

There are several bus services including Himachal Road Transport Corporation buses as well as private operators connecting Shimla to the major cities in North India. Chandigarh is at a distance of 117 kilometres, Manali at 260 kilometres and Delhi at 343 kilometres. If you are going from Delhi, you can take an overnight air conditioned luxury bus from ISBT Kashmiri Gate. Buses go in the morning or later at night – timings can vary from season to season, you can check them online before making a reservation.

By Train

The small railway station in Shimla is just 1 kilometre away from the centre of the town and is connected to Kalka by a narrow gauge rail track. The famous toy train of Shimla goes between Kalka and Shimla, covering a distance of 96 kilometres in about 7 hours. Kalka in turn is the nearest rail head, which is connected to Chandigarh and Delhi by regular trains. You can take the Kalka Shatabdi, which goes from New Delhi Railway Station to Kalka Railway Station via Chandigarh.

Road/Self Drive

If you are driving from Delhi, you will have to take the outer Ring Road towards GT Karnal Road, then turn right on NH 1. After you reach Ambala, leave NH 1 and move on to NH 22 towards Kalka. Keep going on same highway towards Solan and then on to Shimla. The journey usually takes about 6-7 hours depending on traffic.

Best Time to Visit Shimla

Shimla is a year-round holiday destination popular with families and couples. Here’s a seasonal break up so you can plan your trip accordingly:

March to June: This is a popular tourist season in Shimla as the weather is quite pleasant and perfect for outdoor activities. The temperature is comfortable and usually varies between 15°C and 30°C. If you are into adventure sports then this is the ideal time to try paragliding, trekking, camping and rafting. Make sure you carry comfortable walking shoes for going around the Mall Road. Summers are mild and you might need light woolens, especially at night.

July to September: This is not peak season in Shimla because of heavy rainfall and occasional landslides. But monsoon brings out the lush character of the hill station. Also, since few people like to travel to the hill station at this time, hotel prices drop down considerably and you can find great deals on really good properties.

October to February: This is again a popular season for Shimla for people who are looking for snow, which typically falls between December and February. This is the time skiing and ice skating take off. The average temperature during this season is around 8°C and goes down to -2°C. This is a popular time for honeymooners. Don’t forget to carry warm clothes if you don’t want to get tuck in your hotel room.

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DALHOUSIE

How To Reach Dalhousie

By Air

While Dalhousie does not have its own airport, cities close to this hill-station do have one. The closest domestic airport is in Pathankot which is just 75 kilometres away from Dalhousie but is connected to New Delhi only. The second nearest airport is Gaggal airport which is in the Kangra district and is approximately 140 kilometres away from the town. The airport is well-connected to both domestic and international cities. You can hire a bus from Kangra to Dalhousie, which will charge a nominal fee of INR 150 only or take a private cab/taxi transfer.

By Bus

Though the drive might be a long one but the roads leading to Dalhousie or in and around nearby towns like Pathankot and Chamba are in good condition. Many deluxe, semi-sleeper, luxury and Volvo buses run from ISBT New Delhi covering a distance of approximately 590 kilometres. Most of the buses stop by the roadside dhabas and eateries. A lot of private companies, Himachal Road Transport Corporation and Haryana Road Transport Corporation run buses to Dalhousie.

By Train

The most cost-effective and convenient way to reach Dalhousie is by train. Pathankot’s Chakki Bank railhead is the nearest railway station from Dalhousie (approximately71 kilometres). Many superfast, deluxe and express trains are well linked with most of the Indian cities including Jammu, Delhi, Jaipur, Bhatinda, Ahmedabad and Jodhpur. You also have the option to take an overnight train and reach Dalhousie in the morning. You can hire a private or a shared cab from the railway station which will take 2 to 3 hours to reach Dalhousie. The second nearest railway station from Dalhousie is Delhi which is well-connected to most of the Indian cities but from where you have to take a train again.

Road/Self Drive

Since the road and the highway leading to Dalhousie is well-built, you can also choose to drive your own vehicle and reach here. Generally, the preferred route from New Delhi is Karnal, Ambala, Ludhiana, Jalander and Pathankot. From Pathankot, the hilly terrain starts and the distance is approximately 72 kilometres from Dalhousie. It is advisable to make frequent stops during this drive in case you are not comfortable with an uphill drive. However, the drive offers scenic views making it a pleasant experience.

Best Time to Visit Dalhousie

A year-round destination, Dalhousie has something to offer you in every season. You should plan to visit Dalhousie depending on what you want to do in this pretty hill-station. Here’s a monthly breakup of Dalhousie’s climatic conditions so you can plan when to go:

March to May: The summer season in Dalhousie starts from the month of March till May and it is generally the most-preferred time when tourists from different parts of India visit this hill-station as the weather is pleasant and the temperature is less than 30 degree Celsius. This season is perfect for sightseeing, nature walks and relaxing amidst the scenic environment of Dalhousie.

June to September: The monsoon season in Dalhousie starts from the month of June and lasts till mid-September. While it does not rain that much in Dalhousie, you can expect some mild showers. During this time period, the town appears quite beautiful and romantic with lush-green forests gleaming with rainwater. This can also be a good time for honeymooners to visit Dalhousie as it is less crowded with just the right amount of rainfall.

October to February: While October and November might not be that chilly, the time period between December and February which constitute the winter season of Dalhousie is quite cold. Since the place is at a high altitude, the temperature is low. It ranges from 10 degree Celsius and can sometimes go down below zero degree as well. However, if you love to play in the snow, then winters is the ideal time to visit Dalhousie. Also, some hoteliers offer attractive discounts on accommodation during this lean season.

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DHARAMSHALA

How To Reach Dharamshala

By Air

The nearest airport is at Gaggal, about 13 kilometres away from Dharamshala. Gaggal airport connects Dharamshala to Delhi via Air India and Spice Jet flights. Tourists from other parts of India would find it easier to take a flight till Chandigarh and book a taxi for their onward journey to Dharamshala, which is about 275 kilometres away.

By Bus

Dharamshala is well-connected to Delhi and other parts of North India via a network of state operated buses as well as private tour operators. The journey is almost 520 kilometres from Delhi.

Most buses stop at the main bus terminal in Lower Dharamshala, but there are also some public Haryana Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) buses that go all the way to the main square of McLeod Ganj. An overnight journey from Delhi takes about 13 hours. You can book HRTC tickets online.

By Train

An overnight train journey is a good option to reach Dharamshala. The nearest major railway station is at Pathankot, 85 kilometres away. There are numerous trains that go to Jammu and Kashmir that stop by in Pathankot. You can take a taxi or bus from Pathankot to reach Dharamshala. There is also a smaller railway station, Kangra Mandir, just 22 kilometres from Dharamshala but none of the important trains halt here.

Road/Self Drive

There are taxis available at the Gaggal airport as well as the Pathankot railway station for Dharamshala. From Pathankot, it takes around 3 hours to reach Dharamshala. The drive from Delhi via Chandigarh, Kiratpur and Bilaspur should take around 12-13 hours. From Delhi and Shimla, luxury buses ply to Dharamshala.

Best Time to Visit Dharamshala

A hill station in Himachal, Dharamshala has pleasant weather conditions through the summer months, sees heavy rains during monsoon and snowfall in winters. Here’s a monthly break up of Dharamshala’s climatic conditions so you can plan when to go:

March to mid-July: If you are looking to beat the scorching summer heat, then March to about mid-July is just the time to go. Summer months are perfect for a trip to the hills when the temperatures range somewhere between 22°C and 35°C. It’s also the ideal time for trekking tours on scenic trails dotted with flowers in full bloom. Most tourists prefer going to Dharamshala at this time so it’s also the most crowded. It’s a good idea to plan your trip around the Buddhist Losar Festival that takes place in February or March.

Mid-July to mid-September: If you are keen to enjoy the romantic rainfall in the hills, then mid-July to September is the time for you when the mountains are at their greenest. But do remember that the terrain can get pretty tricky in the monsoon so you have to be prepared for road blocks due to continuous rainfall.

Mid-September to November: Rains stop around mid-September and the weather is pleasant for sightseeing as well as other adventure activities such as trekking. But keep in mind that the nights start getting chilly at this time so you must carry adequate layers to keep yourself warm.

December to February: Winters in Dharamshala are freezing, but if you enjoy the cold and snow-white mountains, then this is a beautiful time to visit. It snows here during this time and the temperature tends to dip below -1 °C. Remember to carry lots of woolens and protection against chilly winds.

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CHAMBA

How to reach Chamba

By Air

The airport at Gaggal in Kangra is at a distance of 185 km, this is the nearest airport. It takers around six hours to reach Chamba from this place. As the flights are limited, and location is far off travelers generally avoid air journey.

By Bus/ Taxi: Distance from Chamba

Delhi 600 Kms Approximate travel time

from Delhi to Chamba is 15 hours

from Chandigarh to Chamba is 9 hours

from Shimla to Chamba is 13 hours

from Pathankot to Chamba is 4 hours

from Dalhousie to Chamba 2 Hours

from Khajjiar to Chamba 1 hours

Khajjiar is in between Chamba and Dalhousie

Taxis and buses are easily available from these places.

Chandigarh 375 Kms
Pathankot 120 Kms
Shimla 470 Kms
Dalhousie 56 Kms
Khajjiar 24 Kms

 By Rail

The nearest railhead is Pathankot, 120 km away. Pathankot is on Delhi Jammu Railway line and there are plenty of trains to choose from at different timings.

Best Time To Visit Chamba

Oct-Jun is the best time to visit Chamba

Best months to visit Chamba is between the months of March to June for moderate weather and December to February if you like snow and don’t mind cold weather. Summer in the valleys of Chamba is warm, but not uncomfortably so. The Northern Plains are boiling in summers, but Chamba has very tolerable days and cool romantic nights. Don’t think twice if you are planning an offbeat vacation or honeymoon. July is the beginning of monsoons, and while it’s advisable not to visit the district in heavy rainfalls, the misty and cool monsoons are complementary to the greenery of the valley. December is the time for you if you like snow but not with not too much fuss. Carry heavy woollens as the temperature tends to drop to sub-zero ranges.

Chamba in Summers (April-June)

The Summer season in Chamba begins with the month of April and continues until June. The days are pleasant during Summers and the night become considerably cold. The temperature in summers does not rise above 38 degrees. It is considered as the best time to visit Chamba to beat the scorching heat of Indian Summers.

Chamba in Monsoon (July- October)

The temperature in Monsoon season in Chamba district ranges between 15 and 35 degrees celsius. While it’s advisable not to visit the district in heavy rainfalls, the misty and cool monsoons are complementary to the greenery of the valley.

Chamba in Winters (October- March)

The winters see Chamba transforming into a winter wonderland. The temperature can drop as low as 0 and at times can even drop to sub-zero ranges. The months of December and January witness heavy snowfall in Chamba leaving the whole district covered in the white sheet of snow. Chamba remains snow covered in the months of February and March as well.

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