Where to travel
You can enjoy soft and hard adventure activities at and around Narkanda, in Shimla District, Himachal Pradesh (H.P.). Short treks from Narkanda to the Hatu Peak and Sarra Meadow, and Thanedar (Thahadhar) to the Tani Jubbar Lake are for amateurs. During winter, ski Dhumri slopes located within walking distance of Narkanda.
What to do & see: physical , cultural
Narkanda (2,700 meters), a picturesque hill station on the National Highway (NH) 22 (the old Hindustan-Tibet road) affords panoramic views of the snow covered Himalaya. Narkanda, an entry point to the H.P. apple country, is known for its ski slopes and charming treks meandering through luxuriant woods. There are numerous cherry and apple orchards around Narkanda.
Narkanda was originally called Nagkanda, which means “the head of a snake”, because the aborigines of the Himalaya worship serpents.
Ski at Narkanda
Narkanda has sharp descents for seasoned skiers, a slalom slope, an amateur’s run and cross-country runs to cater to all level of skiers. Dhumri ski slopes on the west of Narkanda are within easy walking distance of the town. Dhumri doubles as cricket ground in summer. From the summit of Dhumri (>2,800 meters), you can enjoy views of the Hatu Dhar.
Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (H.P.T.D.C.) offers short and long Narkanda skiing packages every year. You can contact to H.P.T.D.C. Shimla office at email@example.com in December to buy the packages.
Short treks from Narkanda
About eight (8) kilometers long trail, winding through the forest of spruce and pine, connects Narkanda to the HatuPeak(3,300 meters). The peak commands sweeping views of the Himalayan valleys, peaks, meadows, apple orchards and the Kinner Kaliash, Kullu and Srikhand ranges. There are ruins of the 19th century Gorkha Fort. A new richly carvedHatuTemple is being constructed at the top of the peak. During May -June, annual Narkanda Fair is organized at the peak.
About 6-kilometer-long trail running through the forest takes you from Narkanda to Sarra Meadow (about 3,000 meters). The meadow lends itself to views of the Great Himalayan range and rural Shimla.
Camp at the meadow and / or the peak on a full moon day. It will be a real treat.
Short Trek from Thanedhar
A 6-kilometer trail starting from Thanedhar ends at the Tani Jubber Lake. The small, shallow, oval lake is hemmed with paved pathway where green gentle slopes converge from all sides. The slopes are blanketed with spruce and blue pine trees. There is Nag Devata Templeon the bank of the lake. However, only local people can worship at the temple. Every year in June a fair is organized at the lake. Local artisans display their artwork and craft. Historic Thanedhar is the place where first apple saplings of the state were sown.
When to go
Skiing: End of December to mid April depending on snowfall
Trekking: April to November
(Note: You can also trek during winter, but trail may have snow. It will be extremely cold.)
How to reach
Shimla is about 350 kilometers from Delhi, the capital of India.
Narkanda is less than70 kilometers from the state capital Shimla.
You can stay at Narkanda or Thanedhar.
Budget savvy travelers can stay at The Hotel Hatu, HPTDC’s hotel at Narkanda. Tariff starts from INR 1,300.00 per night (US$ 26.49, € 19.18, £ 16.53). Book accommodation.
If you like camping, try HP Forest Department’s Nature Camp Narkanda. The camp features furnished eco-tents and eco-huts with attached toilets, and a restaurant. A stay at a log hut costs INR 1,650.00 per night (US$ 33.62, € 24.34, £ 20.98) and in a Swiss tent costs INR 1,050.00 per night (US$ 21.39, € 15.49, £ 13.35). Contact the camp.
Uber rich travelers can book Tethys Retreat Resort (Narkanda) and / or Banjara Orchard Retreat (Thanedhar).
Tethys, located in Nagrot (Nahgraut) Village, is about 3-km drive from Narkanda. The village offers views of Sihal Panchayat and the Hatu Peak. As of September 30, 2011, the price of a “2-night accommodation, breakfast and dinner” package by Tethys amounts to INR 7,555.00 (US$ 153.92, € 111.45, £ 96.06). Get more information about accommodation.
Banjara Orchard Retreat, amid apple orchards, welcomes guests throughout the year. You can choose from log cabins, standard and deluxe guestrooms, and suites. The tariff starts from INR 3,500.00 per night (US$ 71.31, € 51.63, £ 44.50) for a standard single room. The tariff includes taxes and all meals. Contact the hotel.