Every offbeat travel blogger is always in some valley or the other. Whether they are off-roading in a big vehicle or trekking with a huge backpack, there is almost always a little ‘…valley’ in the geotag of the place. Lovely to see and lovely to make future plans for, but how many of us actually remember what a valley even is? Class 6 geography was a long time ago. Essentially, a valley is a depression formed between hills or mountains because of a river running through it. It may also be gravity or ice that led to depression. Valleys are longer than they are wider and almost always ‘U’ shaped or ‘V’ shaped in nature.

Valleys make for amazing diasporas of forest cover, landscape, biodiversity and terrain due to their unique geographical features and proximity to perennial rivers. This gives way for scenic trails, beautiful meadowlands, sprawling woods and exciting camping destinations. And like we all know, our very own Himachal Pradesh is home to more than 15 valleys each unique in their own way. If you are a traveller looking to conquer all of Himachal, then this blog is for you. Keep reading to find out the top 5 most astounding valleys in Himachal Pradesh that every traveller needs to explore.

JOGINDER NAGAR VALLEY

Falling in the Dhauladhar mountain range, the Joginder Nagar Valley is one of the smaller valleys in Himachal Pradesh. It is mostly a mid-range hill zone with heights ranging from 2624 feet to about 9500 feet. It contains the towns of Joginder Nagar, Chauntra, Bir, Billing as well as several smaller villages like Barot, Baragoan, Devidarh etc. The valley is considered to be quite rectangular in shape in comparison to its counterparts in Himachal. Originally known as ‘Sukrahatti’ – it was later renamed after the famous Mandi Raja Joginder Sen. He was the first person to introduce the planning of a hydroelectric power plant there in 1925. This is particularly interesting because now Joginder Nagar is known as the ‘City of Powerhouses’ and is the only city in Asia with three hydro-electric stations.

The valley is primarily famous for paragliding, trekking, mountain biking, camping as well as trout fishing. The town of Bir is a spiritual and ecotourism centre that has about half a dozen beautiful monasteries in and around it. Some 14 km from it is Billing, Asia’s highest paragliding site. Billing is also the sort of the start of the famous Rajgundha 360 trek as well as treks to Chaina Pass and Thamsar Pass. For someone looking to go somewhere a little undiscovered and new, Joginder Nagar offers many options in the forms of charming towns like Bir and beautiful art villages like Gunehar. And for the adventurous, there is always options of paragliding, cycling, fishing, angling and trekking.

THINGS TO TRY:

  • Riding the Joginder Nagar funicular trolley
  • Paragliding from Billing Top
  • Taking the Rajgundha 360 Trek

HIGHEST PEAKS:

  • Billing Top – 10,000 feet
  • Devidarh – 9422 feet
  • Winch Camp – 8858 feet

Did You Know? 

Joginder Nagar was declared Himachal Pradesh’s first free Wi-Fi city in 2015.

KANGRA VALLEY

Located in the Western Himalayas, Kangra Valley is the home to the Katoch dynasty – widely known as one of the oldest surviving royal dynasties. The recorded history of this district dates back at least 3500 years and is well known to have survived multiple attempts to conquer and seize. Kangra is also Himachal’s largest region and home to many important towns like Baijnath, Dharamshala, McleodGanj, Palampur, Mandi, Yoi etc. Kangra is a strike valley, which means that the formation of the valley follows the original strike lines of the underlying rock formations. It stretches from the foot of the Dhauladhars and extends up to the south of river Beas. It is also blessed to have a multitude of perennial streams which irrigate it throughout the year.

The Kangra Valley is lush, verdant and very famous for its rich Tibetan culture. The town of McleodGanj holds the official residence of His Holiness The Dalai Lama in the Tsuglagkhang Complex along with many other monasteries nearby. Towns of Baijnath and Mandi are famous for their religious travel, containing beautiful temples. And of course, how can one forget the famous Kangri tea. Known for its deep flavour and refreshing taste, Kangra tea produced here is imported all over the world. Some of the famous treks that Kangra holds are the Triund trek, Indrahar Pass, Minkiani Pass, Hanuman Tibba trek, Kareri Lake trek, Prashar Lake trek etc. There are really options galore.

THINGS TO TRY:

  • Take a tour of the Dharamsala tea gardens
  • Trek to see the sunset from Triund
  • Learn bracelet weaving in Bhagsu

HIGHEST PEAKS:

  • Hanuman Tibba – 19,625 feet
  • Indrahar (Pass) – 14,245 feet
  • Minkiani (Pass) – 14,107 feet

Did You Know? 

The Masroor Rock Cut Temples in Kangra (also called ‘Himalayan Pyramids’) are a possible contender to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site soon.

KULLU VALLEY

A broad open valley formed by the great river Beas, Kullu lies between the towns of Manali and Largi. It is approximately 75 kilometers in length and extends upto the snowy Rohtang Pass. Geographically, it is sandwiched between the Pir Panjal, Lower Himalayas and Great Himalayan Ranges. The valley is also very biodiverse and is home to some very uncommon species like the Himalayan tahr, western tragopan, monal, Himalayan brown bear etc. The valley has pine forests on its rocky lower edges which are then taken over by dense deodar forests as you climb higher into the valley. Kullu is also famous for its apple production, which is in full bloom during the first quarter of the year.

Kullu Valley is home to Banjar, Kullu, Tirthan, Jibhi, Manali, Shimla, Solan and many other prominent tourist attractions of the state. Temples are a very important aspect of this valley and make up for a lot of tourist footfall in the area. Famous ones are Raghunath, Bijli Mahadev, Shringi Rishi and the Hidimba Temple. The resort town of Manali is also very famous for its quaint cafe culture. But contrary to popular belief, Kullu has a very green side as well. The valley also nestles the Great Himalayan National Park which is home to several beautiful expeditions into the deep forests of Kullu. It is also the best place to spend some valuable time amongst nature, fresh air and vibrant flora and fauna.

THINGS TO TRY:

  • See the origin of the river on the Beas Kund trek
  • Hike from Jibhi to the entrance of the GHNP
  • Try trout fishing

HIGHEST PEAKS:

  • Indrasan – 20,406 feet
  • Deo Tibba – 19,688 feet
  • Maiwa Kandinu – 19,501 feet

Did You Know? 

Famous Russian painter and archaeologist Nicholas Roerich lived in the small town of Naggar until his death. His house is now a museum.

SPITI VALLEY

Tucked into the north-east part of Himachal Pradesh, Spiti is a cold, barren, desert mountain valley that is world renowned for its Buddhist monasteries. Technically speaking, Spiti means ‘the middle land’ referring to its strategic position between the countries of India and Tibet. It is one of the least populated areas of the country and is the gateway to some very northernmost reaches of the state. The crucial location of the valley makes it very susceptible to the harsh weather conditions of the high altitude regions and it stays cut off from the lower reaches for 4-6 months of the year. This is mainly because of the heavy snowfall that envelops everything and the thick ice conditions, making transport almost impossible.

Spiti really was away from the public eye till a decade or two ago. It has only recently become a famous travel destination. This is owing to it being featured in Bollywood movies like Paap and Highway and the growing offbeat travel movement which prefers influencers to travel to more and more remote areas. The Key Monastery and Tabo Monastery situated in Spiti are in reality, some of the oldest monasteries in the whole wide world. Thanks to the surreal landscapes, barrenstretches of the valley, glistening lakes, thousand year old monasteries and the local life and culture – Spiti is fast gaining attraction in the travel world.

Source: Top Five Buzz

THINGS TO TRY:

  • Off Roading in Kaza
  • Photography in Key Monastery
  • Explore Kibber Sanctuary

HIGHEST PEAKS:

  • Gye Phang – 20,997 feet
  • Chau Chau Kang Nilda – 20,679 feet
  • Shigrila – 20,439 feet

Did You Know? 

The Nyingma tradition is the oldest of the four major sects of Tibetan Buddhism. Pin Valley National Park in Spiti is home to the very few surviving Buchen Lamas of this sect.

PARVATI VALLEY

Starkly opposite to the landscapes of Spiti is the lush Parvati Valley. Running eastward in Himachal Pradesh, it is a superabundant viridescent valley formed by the confluence of rivers Parvati and Beas. It is a precipitous valley that is laden with innumerable scenic trekking trails into the higher Himalayas. In terms of tree cover, the Parvati valley has thick coniferous forests in it’s lower regions which gradually change into vast green meadowlands scattered with boulders as you progress higher up. There are also many areas that see a dominance of silver birch forests. Interestingly enough, some of Parvati’s most frequented spots are it’s offbeat, adorable, high-up little villages. These colourful villages are what make Himachali tourism so eclectic and lively.

This valley lodges Kasol and Manikaran, which are loved by foreign travellers, backpackers and hippies alike. Kasol is lovingly called the ‘mini Israel of India’ because of the high population of Israeli travellers and the prevalence of Israeli culture in that region. It also is the pitstop to discover many trekking destinations like Grahan, Tosh, Kheerganga, Rashol, Malana, Kalga, Tulga, Pulga, Buni Buni etc. All of these are lauded for having ethereal views of snow capped mountains in the distance, lush forest covers and the cutest trek companions – big, furry dogs who accompany you all the way up.

THINGS TO TRY:

  • River walk in Kasol
  • Kheer in Kheerganga
  • Stargazing in Grahan village

HIGHEST PEAKS:

  • Pin Parvati – 17,450 feet
  • Sar Pass – 13,845 feet
  • Buni Buni – 10,987 feet

Did You Know? 

The locals of Malana village consider themselves to be the direct descendants of Alexander The Great and hence do not allow for travellers to touch them, their temples or their belongings. That is why Malana is often called ‘The Untouchable Village’.

What Should I Do Now?
  1. To read more blogs, click here.
  2. To travel with The Hosteller, click here.
  3. To join our 100k fam, click here.

Leave a Reply