It is that time of the year when the pleasant February air BECKONS travellers who enjoy winter breaks much more than the summer ones. Usually, people run to warmer locales in winters (running away from the chills) but Himachal Pradesh is another story. It makes you fall in love with winters. If you are the romantic type of person who loves to stargaze and snatch some moments of peace and fresh air, then this is the place you must put on the top of your bucket list.
For those who like offbeat vacations, there is a small town of Naggar, situated in the Kullu district. It is a quaint little town on the left bank of river Beas. It is abundant in natural beauty, making it ideal for trekking and camping. It is also home to the famous Naggar Castle and the Nicholas Roerich Art Gallery. Among other places of interest for exploring around Naggar is the idyllic Prashar Lake.
Naggar is a small town set in the lap of nature, against the backdrop of the beautiful Himalayas. It is only 22 km from Manali and can be reached by taking a detour from Patlikhul on the Delhi-Manali highway. There is a beautiful property called Soham’s Chateau De Naggar, which you may want to check out for staying. It has wood interiors, which lends it a very Himachali vibe, and houses a view of the snow-capped mountains from its spacious rooftop.
A waterfall called Jana is a hike from this hotel. The waterfall, although situated right beside a busy road, does not see much tourists. Spend time at the waterfall, then go to the roadside dhaba located just near the fall.
You could rest for the day, which would be relaxed and laidback and, at night, setting up a bonfire on the rooftop, under a blanket of stars, could be the ideal thing to do. Whether you vacation at this spot with friends or your spouse, it promises to relax you while also set your pulse racing with excitement.
For the more spiritually inclined travellers, there is the traditional countryside Gauri Shankar temple as well in Naggar.
Prashar Lake is another story – situated at a height of 2,730 metres above sea level – gets its name from Prashar Rishi, was is believed to have meditated there. This oval-shaped lake has crystal clear water and offers a splendid view of the Dhualadhar and Pin Panjal ranges. It also has a three-storey temple, built in typical Himachali style, dedicated to the sage.
There are many mysteries surrounding the lake, the most famous being that the island in the lake keeps changing its position. Yes, that’s true. The small circular path of grassland floating on the lake changes its position throughout the year, though very slowly.
Another mystery of the lake is that no one has even been able to measure the actual depth of the lake. There have been attempts, but none has been successful.
You should visit this beautiful lake during the day time, have a packed lunch from the nearby dhaba, and climb the highest top near the lake to enjoy the view of the majestic Himalayas.
Next, you could head to Manali – north India’s most preferred holiday destination – which attracts crowds like bees to a honeypot. It is always swarmed with tourists. If you want to get away from the crowds, you could spend a few days at Old Manali; away from the always-busy mall road, this part of the hill town has a relaxed and rustic vibe to it. Cafes serving delicious food, hostels offering super-affordable accommodation, and shops selling authentic Himachali handicrafts, this side of Manali is only visited by people who want to take the offbeat path.
Manali has a lot of places of attraction, including Hadimba Temple, Manu Temple, and Vashisht, where you would find tourists flock in droves. Drive for a couple of hours and you reach places Solang Valley and Gulaba, where you can find snow during the winter season.
If you visit around Christmas night, you would even experience snowfall. And what a sight that would be! Sometimes, in the winters in Manali, it snows all night, covering the whole valley in a blanket of white. The town gets a new life after receiving fresh snowfall. The roads may get slippery, the hiking trails get riskier, and the temperatures reach freezing points, but that has not stopped tourists to enjoy the hill town in all its glory.
Himachal has so much to offer that with each return trip to the mountains, you could actually be exploring a new valley. The experiences of the state are unique and one-of-a-kind, buried in the newspaper and magazine folds and under the blanket of heavy snow that BECKONS travellers.