The small and beautiful town of Narkanda is located about 65 kilometers from Shimla that can easily be covered in 2 hours on a super smooth road. The number of people who visit here, however, is amazingly less as compared to that of Shimla and nearby areas like Kufri. Due to this very fact, Narkanda makes up for a perfect setting to spend some time in peace and tranquility. But that is not all that it has to offer. There are several other tourist places in Narkanda and its nearby areas due to which it gets counted among the top offbeat destinations of our country. What these places are and how you can visit here is what I will be discussing in this article.
Narkanda is really a very charming place that changes colors every season. It is white in winter, green by monsoon and Orange during autumn. But one thing that remains common is that it is beautiful for all 12 months. When to visit will really depend on your reason to visit. If you want to enjoy the snow, then plan in January or February. If you want to see Golden valleys then plan in October; or early November. If you just want to spend some time in peace and away from the crowd then you can visit any time of the year and you will definitely not be disappointed.
Tourist Attractions in and around Narkanda
Below is a list of places that are located either in Narkanda itself or within a short distance; and are worth visiting.
- Hatu Peak
- Hatu Temple
- Ski Slopes
- Sutlej View Point
- Tani Jubbar Lake
- Jor Bagh
- Mahamaya Temple at Kacheri
- Arya Samaj Mandir
- Stokes Farm, Thanedar
- St. Mary’s Church
I will further provide a little more information on these places like where the are located, how can you visit and some history of the place.
Hatu Peak is Narkanda’s first and by far, the biggest, tourist attraction. This mountain is the highest point not only in Narkanda but in the entire Shimla district. It is located at a height of 3,400 meters (11,152 ft) and is surrounded by dense forest of conifers, oaks, and maples. At the top of the peak is a small wooden temple called Hatu temple; which as per the local belief is the temple of Goddess Kaali herself.
From the top of the peak, you get a stunning view of the valley around and snow-capped mountains. It is also a great spot for catching some amazing sunset and sunrise views.
It is a beautiful temple at the top of Hatu Peak. According to the local belief, the famous Hatu Mata temple is the temple of Goddess Kaali. Another belief, however, claims it to be of Mandodari’ wife of ‘Ravan’. Goat sacrifice is still practiced at the temple on first Sunday of “Jeth” month. There is an ancient stove like formation of rocks nearby the temple, see the picture below. This formation is known as “Bheem Chulha” and is believed to be used by the Pandavas brothers to cook their food during their Agyaat Vaas.
The Ski Slopes at Narkanda is one of its foremost prime attractions. During winters, these slops get covered under a thick cover of snow and make up for a perfect setting for Skiing. For rest of the year, barren of any snow and covered in grass, it turns into a beautiful meadow. You will find horses grazing there often and together with the background, it is a great spot to click some stunning pictures if photography interests you.
Sutlej View Point
Drive a few kilometers downhill from Narkanda towards Rampur and you will be treated with a stunning view of Sutlej River flowing in the valley below. You can actually continue driving down till you reach the banks of the river; but the point from where you get the first view of the river is about half an hour drive from Narkanda.
Tani Jubbar Lake
It is a small man-made oval-shaped lake located about 15 minutes of drive away from Narkanda. There is also a temple dedicated to ‘Nag Devta’ near the lake. The whole setting of this water body amidst apple orchards and snow-clad mountains pleases the eye. Even the drive from Narkanda to the lake is quite scenic. Said to be home to several exotic birds, this lake makes for a great camping spot if you have your own gear. There is a small clearing near the lake where you can pitch your tent for the night.
If you are into trekking then about an hour from Hatu Peak are the beautiful meadows of Jor Bagh. The trail will take you through the dense forest and finally ending at a mist covered green clearing; which actually will look like a shot straight out of a movie or wallpaper. A word of caution though. The forest around the trail is quite dense and easy to get lost in. It would be better to hire a local from Narkanda to guide your way to Jor Bagh.
Mahamaya Temple at Kacheri
It is a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali and is located at Kacheri, about 10 kilometers away from Narkanda towards Rampur.
Arya Samaj Mandir
Also known as the Paramjyoti Stone temple, this temple was actually built by an Englishman called Samuel Stokes in Pahari architectural style. He later covered to a Hindu and lived all his life in India; and is also credited for introducing Apple farming in the country. The temple is located in Thanedar, a small village at a distance of 15 kilometers from Narkanda; and is one of the prime tourist attractions there.
Stokes Farm, Thanedar
It is an apple orchard in Thander named after Samuel Stokes to recognize and celebrate his efforts for introducing apple cultivation in this region.
St. Mary’s Church
Located near the small village of Thanedar, this wooden church was built in 1843. The popular Gorton Mission School too is situated close to the church in Kotgarh.
Tourist Attractions in Narkanda
Of all the places mentioned above, only the Ski slopes are the ones that are located within Narkanda town itself. Rest all the other places are at some distance and will need you to spend at least a day or two. During my first trip, I stayed there for 2 days and was able to cover almost all of the tourist places in Narkanda.
What to do in Narkanda
Apart from visiting all of the above-mentioned places and spending some time in peace, there isn’t much to do here. If you arrived in winter and there was enough snow, you must try your hand at Skiing. Proper equipment for the purpose and a trainer will be available in Narkanda itself and very easy to find. For a summer trip, trekking is the most popular activity and the trek to Hatu Peak is the most common one that tourists venture upon. It is an easy trek that even an absolute beginner can venture upon.
Photography, of course, would be one of the major activity that you will love to do in Narkanda. No matter where you go, you will be presented with alluring vistas all around and will find it hard to keep your hands off your camera. Stargazing and Night sky photography is another activity you can enjoy if photography is your thing.
Sightseeing in Narkanda – Conclusion
And that is probably all that you need to know about tourist attractions in Narkanda town and its vicinity. Depending upon the time of your trip and total days in hand, you can plan to cover places of your interest and enjoy either some Skiing or trekking. I hope the information above was of help. If you have any questions; or need any other details; please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer.