The beauty of Switzerland and the Alps captivates all of us. But we Indians are at luck, as we have the opportunity to explore the same splendour back in our own country. India is home to the world’s highest mountain range, the Himalayas with passes through states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and West Bengal. While visiting Swiss lands isn’t an easy affair, exploring these 5 places in Himachal Pradesh will definitely fulfil your dreams of being in Switzerland:
The remote hilly town in Himachal’s magical Spiti Valley is perched at a height of 11,980 feet, along the Spiti river. Thanks to its high altitude, Kaza remains snow-capped almost all around the year. Noteworthy attractions here are the Sakya Tangyud Monastry and Langza Buddha Statue. “I Heart Spiti” is an eye-catching installation near Kaza’s entry gate, urging travellers to avoid using single-use plastics.
Forget about the pastures of Switzerland, have you visited Himachal’s Khajjiar yet that turns lush green in the summer months? The mesmerizing cedar forest surrounds the high-altitude Khajjiar lake. Other must-visit places here include the Dainkund Peak, Khajji Nag Temple and Satdhara waterfalls. In fact, Khajjiar is one of the 160 locations in the world that have ‘topographical resemblance’ with Switzerland. The counsellor has even taken a stone from Khajjiar to put it as a part of the stone collage around the Swiss Parliament as a reminder of Khajjiar as a “Mini Switzerland of India”.
Nestled close to the Tibetian border, this town is in the Baspa Valley of Himachal’s Kinnaur district. The marvellous views of the Kinner Kailash peak, the Baspa River and the Kamru Fort will steal your heart for sure. The hilly destination is also famous for treks and other adventure activities like rock climbing, river crossing and rappelling. Some camps at Sangla organise yoga sessions too amid the mountains. One must not miss out the nearby glacier trek, the Rakcham trek.
Kibber is one of the highest villages in the Spiti Valley, located at an altitude of nearly 14,200 feet. It is just 20 kilometres from Kaza. A bus service connects the two destinations in the summer months. Chicham Bridge and Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary are the best places to visit here.
This is yet another breathtaking beautiful destination on the lap of the Himalayas, in the Shimla district of Himachal. There’s a lot to explore at Kufri, like the Kufri Fun World, Mahashu Peak, Kufri Zoo and Himalayan Nature Park. The word Kufri is has been derived from the word kufr which means ‘lake’ in the native language. Kufri Zoo is home to some rare antelopes and birds.
Himachal Pradesh has opened its borders fully for tourism and the best news is that no e-pass, COVID test or registration would be required from now on to enter the state. Earlier, the cabinet had made registration on the COVID portal mandatory for all those keen to enter the state. E-passes and COVID negative certificates were also compulsory. However, in view of the rising COVID-19 cases, the government has decided not to resume interstate public transport. The state is also all set to reopen guest lodges and resorts from October 1. And while restaurants were already working with restrictions, there was no clarity regarding opening up of liquor places. But reportedly, bars in Himachal Pradesh too will open up soon. For now, enjoy this virtual tour of Manali from the comfort of your couch: