Narkanda – A Blissful Affair with Pine Trees, Sunset and Serenity
As the scorching heat of Delhi summers unfolds it reign yet again, the only thing that keeps most of us from making that sulky face is taking off to a nearby hill station. Far from the maddening, Shimla or Mussoorie, has played front man since ages but is it really far from the crowd we want to get away from. Undoubtedly, no matter what, Shimla is an iconic city still amassing adulation from seekers of serenity but the hustle of the city does not excite me anymore.
As a part of my road trip to the forbidden Spiti Valley, our first pit stop was supposed to be Shimla but it was a decision on a whim to move to Narkanda – It was a delightful decision, I second that when they say random decisions while travelling often lead to far from conventional.
Narkanda is a quaint town nestled in the lap of mighty Himalayas and peppered with soul stealing panoramas. Located at an altitude of 8,890 ft in Shimla District of Himachal Pradesh, it is famous for skiing during winters and Apple Orchards. It is approximately 60kms from Shimla and can be reached in around 2hours depending on the time you plan to start your journey. Narkanda is slowly gaining flashes of tourism with Shimla having the earned the fame of being too commercial.
What makes Narkanda ideal are the gorgeous pine trees that elevate your sensory experience, routes that are phenomenal per se, mesmerising sunrise as the first rays peep through the mountains, sunset that is a steal for senses and enjoying the very local experience exploring Apple Orchards. 🙂 🙂 Enough heard, Spiti Valley road trip for 10-days gave the much-awaited vacation to Narkanda – Delightful as expected, I could not stop gazing at the pine trees that sprinkled sweetness in the platter.
Forever love for the roads!!
How to Reach Narkanda?
Delhi as the starting point, as part of my 10-days road trip to Spiti Valley, Narkanda made our first pit stop. The distance between New Delhi & Narkanda is approximately 400 to 405kms and we covered it in around 11 hours including stops taken for lunch, tea, snacks and washroom. It depends on how much can you drive at a go. We reached Narkanda en route Chandigarh and Shimla.
Public Transportation – There is direct bus connectivity available from New Delhi to Narkanda with the fares mostly starting from Rs 500/- depending on the kind of bus you choose. The buses are mostly run by Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) with ISBT Kashmiri Gate mostly as the boarding point. You can book the tickets online by logging into www.redbus.in or other bus booking sites.
Accommodation in Narkanda
Accommodation in Narkanda is something you shouldn’t bang your head upon, for plenty of stay options are available depending on budget you choose. There are a number of budget hotels in the heart of the town that you do not require prior booking unless it is the season for skiing. The hotel’s rate differs and can be negotiated.
I stayed in Hatu Valley Homestay which is slightly offbeat and mesmerises your eye with sheer spectacle of snow clad mountains. If you love offbeat and something that tickles your senses, I recommend Hatu Valley Homestay for the gorgeous view of towering mountains and pine trees to soak your soul in. It is budget Homestay with intricate wooden work in rooms and all for Rs 1100 – 1500/-. Let’s say, 2kms away from hustle bustle of town. The road leading to the homestay lies right next to the route that takes you to Hatu Temple and Peak, look closely and there is a signboard as well. Make sure you call prior for bookings because the place is mostly occupied. Call for Booking – 09817196808
If luxury resorts are your call, Tethys Ski Resort is what you must eye on with the range starting from Rs 7000/-.
There is camping option also available if you want to give your adventure lion a little pat. Right close to the bifurcation of route – one leading to Hatu Peak and other to Hatu Valley Homestay, there are few guys who make the tenting facility available.
A Day in Narkanda During Summers
Spending a day in Narkanda was a rejuvenating experience to start the road trip to Spiti Valley with. Right from clumsily moving around the town hunting for rubber boots to eating fresh farm apples to drooling into the Serenity of Hatu Peak, it was all peaceful and good. If you have a day or two in Narkanda, here are the places you can go on exploration spree.
Hatu Temple & Hatu Valley Peak
It is located approximately 10kms from the main town of Narkanda and is connected with the beautiful motorable road. The route is extremely serene with pine trees on either side or mountains peeping through the mist and cloud stretched along the vibrant blue sky. It is around 5kms uphill drive to Hatu Temple. The Hatu Peak is a marvellous creation of nature with two peaks adjacent to each other. The verdant landscape evokes the much-needed peace amidst the solitude of the place. Oh! The rolling meadows on the way to Hatu Valley are worth the mention as it provokes instant cultivation of an essence, one that lasts decade long.
Tannu Jubar Lake
Tannu Jubar Lake is a sensual assault as you witness a natural lake surrounded by lustrous green pine trees. The reflection of the pine trees and the beautiful cottage across the lake is pure wanderlust. However, make sure you make it there before dark to get beautiful views of pine trees, reflection and lake. It is located close to The Wilderness Resort and is the perfect answer to anyone seeking exceptionally beautiful and luxury stay.
Narkanda is famous for Apple cultivation and throughout the route, you will find apple trees covered with white mesh. The Apple Orchards of Thanedaar is known for the mass cultivation of Apple. Stoke’s Farm is what you can visit if you want to explore and know tits-bits about Apple Farming. Oh! The delight of tasting freshly plucked Apple is comparable to none. As we moved out of Narkanda via Thanedaar to our next destination, it was all Apple trees on both sides of the road for a while.
Shimla has become exceptionally touristy and is hounded by millions of tourist every year making it very commercial. If you swear by offbeat, go beyond Shimla to explore this quaint gem of nature which is no less than paradise during winters. 🙂 🙂 If you are an adventurous cutlet, the best time to come out of your cocoon for visiting Narkanda is in the months of November to March. It is the time to experience fresh snow, take part in activities like skiing and enjoy the mystical air of winter. I say, drive a little more and stay at Narkanda, you would not regret.