Not exactly a happening tourist destination, a trip to Narkanda offers a spectacular view of the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, some “ME time” away from chaotic city life and the urbanisation. Come, be the explorer!
Places to visit in Narkanda
Narkanda is best known for Hatu Peak (10,827 ft). The good news — the trek to Hatu is for those who are uncomfortable with rigorous treks. It’s an easy hike of 7 km (one way) to the peak and you can be back at Narkanda easily on the same day.
To discover the Hatu ridge at night, take a tent along with you and camp out. The trek is through a mixed forest covering the whole range of high-altitude conifers: blue pine, deodar, fir and spruce interspersed with the broadleaved moru. Hatu Mata Temple is located at the top of a long ridge.
Camping at Hatu Mata Temple
Once you reach the Hatu Mata Temple, all you have to do is to just sit and relax! Enjoy the green clearing, the view that only a peak can give you amidst the mists. There are a camping ground and a tea stall that dishes out your favourite tea!
The snowy Himalayan peaks will welcome you in their full glory, stretching in all directions, giving you the gorgeous views of the hills and valleys of Theog, Rohru and Shimla, some of the beautiful hill stations in Himachal. The picturesque villages of Kumarsain, Nirmand and Kotgarh can be seen amidst dense forests, apple orchards and terraced fields. You can even spot the picturesque villages of Kotgarh, Nimand and Kumarsain from this point!
Jor Bagh Campsite
An hour’s walk south-east past the Hatu Mata Temple, and then through the forest dominated by oak trees takes you to the grassy patches of Jor Bagh. The place is perfect for camping. If going back, return early enough while the light lasts. The lovely sights are worth the walk.
Where to stay and eat
HPTDC’s Hotel Hatu is comfortable and organises skiing camps; Aamod Tethys Narkanda Resort has gorgeous views and lots of games and activities. Even though accommodation options are limited, there are some good hotels in Narkanda for a relaxed holiday experience!
You many not find many restaurants here as the hotels have their in-house restaurants where you can go for a delicious treat.
Best time to visit Narkanda
Even though it is an all year round destination, April to June months are said to be the best due to pleasant weather condition; Jan to early March are for skiing.
How to reach
The nearest airport is Shimla’s Jubbarhatti Airport (87 km/4 hrs) and you can easily book a cab from Shimla for Narkanda. Nearest railhead is Kalka (150 km/ 6 hours) and taxi from Kalka costs approx INR 3,500 to Narkanda.
A trip to Narkanda promises some quietude and solitude amidst dense forests, pristine lakes and serene temples. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and be the ardent explorer!
About the author:
Jigyasha loves to read and travel!
Photo credits by flickr users: parth joshi, skaul, The story of my Travel, Sivesh Kumar and official website of Hatu Hotel.