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Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar in winters- Road Trip to remember

“Mai ni meriye, Shimle Di Raahe, Chamba Kitni door”

“O Shimle ni vasna, Kasauli ni vasna, Chambe jaana zarur”

Oh Mother! How far is Chamba from Shimla Side,
I don’t want to settle in Shimla or Kasauli,
Have to go to Chamba only!

Have you heard this Himachali folk song? The first time, we heard it, we were absolutely in awe of it and since then; had made up our mind to visit Chamba. On little research, we further found that a trip to Chamba can be clubbed with Dalhousie and Khajjiar. So, on my birthday it was the perfect time to make a winter trip to Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar.

Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar in winters

Dalhousie, a colonial hill station in Northern Himachal Pradesh lies at an altitude 6500 feet above sea level and is a famous tourist spot whereas Chamba lies on the banks of River Ravi at 3300 feet and is an ignored tourist destination. With the similar notions in our head, even we left with a thought of first visiting Dalhousie, then Khajjiar and Chamba. But at times things don’t work according to your plans and you have to choose the paths directed by nature and that is what happened with us.

Winter Trip to Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar

How to Reach Dalhousie & Khajjiar?

Dalhousie lies 560 Kilometers from Delhi and 313 Kilometers from Chandigarh. Further, Khajjiar lies 22 km from Dalhousie via Dalhousie Chamba road and 23 km from Chamba. From Delhi we took a halt at Chandigarh and started the next day early at 9:00 am to reach Dalhousie on time.

Route from Delhi  Delhi – Panipat- Karnal – kurukshetra – Ambala – Rajpura- Sirhind- Ludhiana – Phagwara – Dasuya- Pathankot – Dalhuoise – Khajjiar

Route from Chandigarh – Chandigarh – Roopnagar – Garshankar – Dasuya –Pathankot – Dalhousie – Khajjiar

We reached Dalhousie around 4 pm. Roads were covered with slush and had walls of snow on sides whereas some trails were completely laid in white. Trees had specks of snow on them and few cars were covered by 2-3 feet of snow. It clearly seemed the area had received an adequate amount of snowfall this year. We went straight to our hotel JK Clarks Exotica, Dalhousie and after relaxing, left for a quick stroll. It was freaking cold, Sun was playing hide and seek behind the clouds. And as it started getting dark, the wind speed and chilliness increased. In minutes, the rain too joined the drama, and people started running to find the shelter wherever it was possible. We too joined the league and without much delay rushed back to our hotel. The whole night it continued raining and the temperature had fallen drastically (Probably -5 or even lesser than that).

Dalhousie in winters - Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar
Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar in winters

The next morning, the sky was clear but had some hovering clouds. And within an hour, the weather took a drastic turn from sunny to cloudy. It started raining and locals predicted snowing in Khajjiar. Hearing this, we immediately packed and left for Khajjiar, which lies 23 kilometers ahead. But as soon we reached near Gandhi Chownk Market in Dalhousie, there was a big Que of vehicles apart snow and slush. Traffic was halted and was not allowed ahead to Khajjiar because of the roadblock due to snow. On further inquiry, we learned that it will probably take months or more to open this route.

Jk Clarks Exotica - Dalhousie  Chamba Khajjiar

Also Read: Chanshal Pass- The road less traveled in Himachal Pradesh

We started looking for another route option in GPS and the only way was to go Khajjiar from Dalhousie was via Chamba. It too looked completely luck dependent, as the Chamba to Khajjiar road was also closed due to snow till yesterday.

Bit disappointed, we took a U-turn to Banikhet (6 Kilometers from Dalhousie) to refuel our car, and there we saw a diversion for Chamba, stating 44 kilometers ahead.

Note: There is no fuel station in Dalhousie. The last one is available only at Banikhet

Also Read: Walk to the Nako Village in Himachal Pradesh

Dalhuoise to Chamba

From Banikhet itself, we took the Dalhousie Chamba road. Landscapes changed immediately. Roads got wider as compared to the Dalhousie road, and we were driving at lesser altitude. There was greenery all around and the towns on the way looked thickly populated.

On the way to Chamba - Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar
On the way to Chamba – Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar

On the way, comes the turquoise green color Chamera Lake. It looks grand and was perfectly gelling with the surrounding. Indeed, with the backdrop of Himalayas, it made the perfect picture.

Chamera Lake - Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar winter road trip
Chamera Lake – Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar winter road trip

The weather was worsening, so we thought of booking the room at earliest before we don’t get a place to hide. The majority of the hotels were not operating. It looked people had gone to the hibernation zone and they will only come out once the sun warms up the place and summers come back.

Also Read: 5 Winter destinations to see snowfall in Himachal

First look of Chamba - Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar Roadtrip.
First look of Chamba – Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar Road trip

Somehow Goibibo came into help and we got a place to stay at Anantson resort in Chamba. Reaching the resort was another task, but once we reached and saw the views from the cottage, our whole day pain vanished away.

Our Cottage at Anantson Resort, Chamba - Dalhouise Chamba Khajjiar
Our Cottage at Anantson Resort, Chamba

Rains had washed away the dust, everything looked crystal clear and now we knew why the above Himachali Song quotes “Chamba Jana Zarur” (Must visit Chamba).

The town looked heavenly on the banks of River Ravi. There were shades of green everywhere, clouds were floating among the Himalayas and extreme winters looked like monsoons. The ancient town still looked unadulterated although modernity has begun to sneak into the lives of town people.

View of River Ravi and Chamba from our Balcony- Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar
View of River Ravi and Chamba from our Balcony

The beautiful Chambalis were happy to greet and meet us. We inquired about the Chamba – Khajjiar road from the manager and were happy to know that road had just been opened yesterday. For us the perfect day was still ahead; so, we spent rest day gazing and clicking the landscapes from various angles.

At Anantson Resort - Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar
At Anantson Resort

Chamba to Khajjiar

The next day, after a good scrumptious local Chamba breakfast (Aloo cooked in Dahi and Puri), we left for the trip to a winter wonderland – Khajjiar, also known as Switzerland of India. It lies only 22 kilometers form Chamba. But just a kilometer ahead from the resort, there was a big landslide. Disappointment started building up again in our mind, but our heart was fighting back with positive thoughts. After an hour the road got cleared and we took a turn to Khajjiar.

Route for Chamba to Khajjiar

The single-lane road looked narrow, steep. We had to climb another 3300 feet in 22 Kms. Landscapes looked breathtaking. The great Himalayas in between were decorated with patches of terrace gardens, colorful houses and had adorned a beautiful white crown. Clouds were floating along with the scalps and it looked like rain on the mountain tops. We inquired from another crossing car about the way and were super delighted to hear Yes!

On the way to Khajjiar - Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar
On the way to Khajjiar – Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar

Also Read: Hike to Kheerganga

From there we took a deep ascent and the specks of snow increased to mounds and trails. The Dauladhar range of Himalayas started resembling black forest cake and there came the board of view of ManiMahesh Kailash Peak, also known as Chamba Kailash (One of the five abodes of Lord Shiva according to Hindu mythology). It was engulfed by the clouds while going but we got a crystal view while returning back.

Manimahesh view point on the way to Khajjiar-  - Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar
Manimahesh view point on the way to Khajjiar

We reached the entrance of the Kalatop – Khajjiar reserve. It was snowing inside and was dark. Roads were completely covered in white except the tire marks. There were no vehicles and people. The whole scene looked scary for driving but Tashi wanted to drive. 5 Kilometers distance felt like 50 kilometers here, as we were driving at speed of 10. The car was slipping, and there was no parapet. Literally my heart was pounding and in the next few minutes’ taxi crossed us giving assurance to go ahead. We followed them, kept moving, and there we saw the first view of meadows.

Entrance to Kalatop Khajjiar Reserve - Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar
Entrance to Kalatop Khajjiar Reserve – Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar

Note: Khajjiar is a part of Kalatop – Khajjiar wildlife sanctuary

OMG! Is this for real? It was a dreamy winter wonderland, with Dhauladhars on one side and pine forests on other. The road was not visible except the Tyre marks. Clouds were floating in the snowy meadows. There was silence all around, and looked shops, restaurants all were closed due to bad weather.

Turning to Khajjiar meadows

Without stoppage, we directly moved to HPTDC (Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation) Hotel Devdar Khajjiar. What a perfect location they have? The resort directly opens to meadows and our balcony room had a Khajjiar Lake view. It was still snowing and raining, looked 2 feet snow will soon turn to 3 feet.

Outside Hotel Devdar, Khajjiar - Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar
Outside Hotel Devdar, Khajjiar – Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar

Hotel Devdar, Khajjiar

We left our vehicle in between the road and climbed the stairs to check whether the hotel is operational or not. The manager came out and our fear came true. There was No water, No electricity from the past 7 days and it was too cold. Met Department had forecasted overnight snow and the roads might get closed for several days. Hotel Manager narrated this and asked us to stroll and play in the snow for an hour and go back to their Chamba guest house in the evening.

View of Khajjiar Meadows form Hotel Devdar - Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar

But “we were we”. We reversed the talks by saying that, we don’t need electricity, we just need a bucket of hot water and give us the same food you will cook for yourself. We will be more than happy. He got convinced and allowed us to stay.

Also Read: Must know Challenges before taking a winter Spiti Trip

Honestly, it was one of the best decisions we took. If one moment the snow meadows were covered with moving clouds, another moment we could see the saucer-shaped Khajjair lake in between the Devdar forest with a backdrop of white Himalayas.

Stairs leading to Khajjiar Meadows

Note: Other good locations to stay are Forest and PWD Guest House, but you need to have a prior booking with them.

Khajjiar Meadows

After having tea at hotel, we left for a quick walk. It was serene and magical beyond words. White powder was all we could see around. There we saw leading stairs to reach the Khajjiar meadows and we took them at once.

Our feet were sinking in the snow and looked only a few tourists had set their foot on it. Lake was completely frozen from one end and the other side looked semi-frozen. We wanted to walk along the circular meadow and visit the Khajjinag temple but it didn’t look like a perfect time. So, we retired back to our hotel early.

At Khajjiar Meadows - Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar Roadtrip
At Khajjiar Meadows – Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar Road Trip

At night, the moon was playing hide and seek with clouds and the snow in the meadows was glowing like a silver sheath. We wanted to take some good night shots but gave up in the freaking cold and started waiting for the next morning.

Also Read: Our love for Old Manali over New Manali

The next morning was a promising sunny morning. We got ready as active birds to roam in the circular meadows. The entire Dhauladhar range was clearly visible and it was painted in the shades of white and green.

Khajjiar Meadows in winter- Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar.

The Khajjiar meadows which looked all-white yesterday, now looked entirely different, colors were jutting out from white. Locals were out in the sun to bask their bodies whereas adventure organizers were hunting tourists for paragliding, tube Skiing, river crossing, snow skating, etc but all we wanted to do was see, feel, and click every inch of the circular meadows.

Khajjiar Meadows - Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar

Khajjinag Temple, Khajjiar

In between the Khajjiar meadows stood an ancient, golden dome Khajjinag Temple, dedicated to Naga- the lord of serpents. The temple is also known as Golden Devi Temple. It was built by King of Chamba in 12th century and was renovated in 16th century. The temple has a lot of wooden work, which looks a perfect blend of Mughal and Indian architecture. The Temple is believed to have a mythological significance too. The circumambulatory path of the temple has the images of Pandavas defeating the Kauravas in the epic battle of Mahabharata.

Also Read: Tabo – National Historic Treasure of India

From the temple keep moving toward the Khajjair lake. There were water streams in between and spongy earth around the banks of the lake, due to the dense growth of weed called vacha.

Boat in the frozen Khajjiar Lake- Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar
Boat in the frozen Khajjiar Lake

From there walk towards the fairytale HPTDC cottage, smushed between green and white. We couldn’t stay here this time, but for sure during the next visit.

HPTDC cottage in Khajjiar Meadows- Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar Road Trip
HPTDC cottage in Khajjiar Meadows

After the complete round, it was time to head back to the civilization but our heart and mind were not ready to leave. We were still looking back at the mesmerizing scenery at each step. Khajjiar is a perfect combination of lakes, meadows, and mountains which resembles a fairyland of the stories.

Also Read: Padam Palace – The royal Palace in Rampur Bushahr

Why Khajjiar is known as Mini Switzerland?

Khajjiar is among the 160 locations in the world that bear topographical resemblance to Switzerland. On 7 July 1992, Mr. Willy T. Blazer, the Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India brought it on the world tourism map by calling it “Mini Switzerland”. He also installed a signboard showing Khajjiar’s distance from the Swiss capital Berne -6194 km.

Khajjiar Meadows - Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar Road Trip
Khajjiar Meadows – Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar Road Trip

The counselor also took a stone from Khajjiar, which will form part of a stone collage around the Swiss Parliament to remind the visitors of Khajjiar as a Mini Switzerland of India.

Also Read: View of Chau Chau Kang Nilda from Langza

Points to Remember for Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar winter trip

  • Snow looks very fascinating but driving on it is really tough and risky. Don’t try to be a stunt man and drive as slow and cautiously as possible
  • There are high chances of vehicle slipping on applying brakes, so be really careful
  • Try driving 4* 4 and if you don’t have one, use snow chains to increase the traction
  • Do cover your bonnet at night to avoid freezing of fuel
  • Don’t drive in extreme snowfall as you can get struck too. Listen to the local’s instructions
  • Walk very carefully in the snow; as a severe fall can lead to fractures too
  • Fuel station is available at Chamba and Banikhet
  • Be prepared for NO electricity and No water at Kahjjiar in winters
  • There are plenty of ATM in Dalhousie as well Chamba

Also Read: Shimla After Snowfall

Must carry

  • Do carry multiple layers of clothes from warmers to fleece to feather jackets, wind cheaters, cap and gloves
  • Also keep rain coat, umbrella, sun glasses
  • Snow and water proof boots are must. If you don’t have one, you can get them on rent at Khajjiar meadows

Also Read: Spiti Valley in winters

Other Nearby Attractions

  • Kalatop Sanctuary
  • Chamera Dam
  • Dainkund Trek

Best Season to visit Dalhousie Khajjiar & Temperature

Dalhousie Khajjiar can be visited throughout the year. Summers lasts from March – July (temperature lies between 32 – 44 degrees Celsius), Monsoon is in July – August (Temperature 22 – 35 degrees Celsius) and winters step from November till February (Temperature 7 to -4 degree Celsius).

For snow lovers, the best time is January- February, and remember it is an off-season too.

Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar in winters

You can find more pictures of Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar winter trip on our Facebook and Instagram accounts or find us by using #allgudthings.

Our Love for Old Manali over Main Manali

Nestled among Deodar and pine trees, with the gushing River Beas flowing alongside, view of snow-capped peaks in front, the colorful shops along the winding lanes, the whipping coffee and baking smell from the cafes is what defines a quaint little town – Old Manali of Himachal Pradesh, India.

Our Love for Old Manali over new Manali

Old Manali – Don’t go by the world OLD, here. The place is not at all an old town. Indeed, we feel it is full of life and much more happening than the main Manali. It is not a honeymoon destination but a Hippie Land and the abode of Backpackers. The place has a traditional Himachali fell and interestingly, this trail is also listed under the Banana Pancake Trail along with Kasol, Jaipur, Goa, Bangkok, Phuket, etc.

You might be thinking we are biased towards old Manali and actually, we are. The place is famous among weed and other notorious drug lovers but we have our own reasons to love it.  But before reading further, we suggest you find a hotel in Manali, as the place is always loaded with tourists/ travelers and backpackers.

Reasons why we love Old Manali

1. Feel of fresh air, water, and Spirituality

Cross the bridge over River Beas, separating Old and Main Manali, the cool breeze and spirituality of Old Manali will engulf you. The fresh air will open up your senses and the flowing River will act as music to mind and soul. The water here is utterly pure because it’s coming directly from the glaciers.

Bridge connecting old manali to new manali

We feel, the place is beautiful in all seasons but its heaven in Monsoon. During Monsoons, clouds engulf you from all sides, mist settles down on your clothes and hair. Rain starts pouring in no time, leaving you completely drenched, and everything gets super clean and fresh.

2. Nature Walk

There are plenty of nature trails in Old Manali and each one is unique. Start walking on any, and you will be amazed by the beauty of nature here. The place makes you feel completely in the lap of nature and sometimes accidentally you hover to discover the hidden or secret trails.

Nature trails in old manali

This small town also serves as a base for the adventure freaks and trekkers. Multiple treks start from here ranging from easy to intermediate to long. To name, few of them are – Trek to Lahaul Spiti Valley, Pin Valley, Chandratal, Kheerganga, Kasol, etc.

3. Good Food and Cafes

Old Manali is also a hub for cafes and delicious food. They serve cuisines from Himachali to Italian to Chinese and Israeli. The cooks of each of these cafes have honed their skills and become masters by learning from the backpackers and visitors.

Chilling at Old Manali Cafe

Till day, we have tried a variety of food from different cafes and Bakers and honestly, none has disappointed us. But still, the favorite from our list is German Bakers for fresh cakes, pastries, pies and coffee and Café 1947, Lazy Dog for food. And yes! the fresh Trout fish is a must-try. Eat and you will be in heaven. Okay Jokes apart, after eating Trout here, we have stopped liking it anywhere else.

Some of the cafes in the town too, have books and games sections to make up your day.

4. Music and Parties

If you are one like us, who loves sipping drinks with beautiful views and music, then Old Manali is a place for you. The cafes play trance, Reggae, romantic songs, and some have Live Bands too. One can spend their entire day here. During our last visit, we found a cafe playing Punjabi numbers and people dancing on it. So, feel the scene is really changing here too.

music festival in old manali

Apart from the regular Music and parties, the Shiva Squad festival is held here for psychedelic music and natural scenic beauty lovers. The festival is spread over for two days and the dates for this year i.e 2018 are from 25 to 27th September. 

5. Love for colorful Handicrafts and quirky stuff

Just as you enter the town, the Boho vibes start surrounding you. The colorful lined shops and the smiling owners on the winding roads welcome you. They sell local handicrafts, woolen stuff, funky jewelry, sling bags, dream catchers, Tibetan Prayer Flags, all types of Chillums, Punk T-shirts and other quirky stuff at quite a reasonable price, which perfectly fits the needs of Backpackers.

colorful handicraft shops in old manali

There are also some dreadlock (Jata) and tattoo makers sitting outside the shops. So, get yourself done one, for some cool Hippie look.

These are a few of the reasons for our bias attitude towards this old Quaint town. Truly, we can never get bored of it. What do you feel now?

How to Reach Old Manali

Manali lies 537 kilometers from Delhi and can be reached by direct Volvo Bus (Redbus), Cab or by air.  The nearest airport is at Bhuntar, i.e. 50 Kilometers from Manali. From there, one can hire a cab or bus to Manali. Further to Old Manali, one can hire a Tuk Tuk (Auto-rickshaw) or walk for about 20 minutes and cross the bridge.

Route: Delhi – Panipat – Karnal – Chandigarh – Rupnagar- Bilaspur- Mandi- Bhuntar – Manali

Best Time to Visit Old Manali

Manali is beautiful in all seasons but we suggest exploring it during offseason. Monsoon is one such off-season when hotels are quite cheap, and you have the whole place to yourself. Although be careful with the landslides.

Summers: March – June; Monsoons: July – September; Winters: November – February

In September the weather is quite pleasant with bit chilliness, especially during the morning and evenings.

old Manali over main manali

Important Tip

Old Manali has a hippie culture but we request you to be a responsible traveler and citizen. Don’t create nonsense and respect the locals and their culture. Don’t litter and use the installed bins.

Padam Palace: The Royal Palace in Rampur Bushahr

Usually, while traveling to Spiti Valley from Delhi, everyone makes their first stop at Shimla, and then head forward to Kalpa or Sangla Valley skipping Rampur Bushahr. But somehow the things were planned differently for us during our Spiti Valley winter trip. We got late while finishing our work assignment with Aamod Resort Shoghi, so planned a halt midway at Rampur Bushahr, Himachal Pradesh. The unknown destinations and unplanned halts always take you to explore the hidden gems i.e. what proved true for us and we found the hidden architectural marvel Padam Palace, also known as Rampur Palace at Rampur Bushahr.

Padam Palace- Royal Palace at Rampur Bushahr

About Rampur Bushahr

The town Rampur Bushahr lies 128 Kilometres from Shimla and is the last capital of Bushahr dynasty. The Bashahr dynasty originally used to rule from Kamru Fort near Sangla in Kinnaur and Shimla region. Later they moved their base to Sarahan and some 100 years back to Rampur Bushahr, along the beautiful River Sutlej. Interestingly, if you go by mythology and legends, the dynasty trace their roots back to Lord Krishna’s family. And this belief comes true when you can see lots of temples in the region.

Entrance to Rampur Bushahr town: Padam Palace

Rampur Bushahr spreads longitudinally covering the mountain slopes. It is guarded by Lord Hanuman’s Idol at the entrance, from Shimla side and below flows the gushing River Sutlej. The town seems to be blessed and quite prosperous.

Lord Hanuman statue at Rampur Bushahr: Padam Palace

History of Padam Palace

In the middle of the city, near bus stand, just adjacent to the Nau Nabh heritage hotel stands the walled, exalted Padam Palace. The Palace and town once served as the winter capital of Princely state Bushair but today it is just a private residence of the royal family and Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.

Panoramic view of Padam Palace

The foundation stone of Padam Palace was laid down in 1919 by Raja Padam Singh, who was 122nd King in the league of Bushahr dynasty and the father of Virbhadra Singh. The construction spanned over 6 years and got completed in 1925.

Padam Palace Complex

Just as we stepped inside the huge Iron Gate from Hotel Nau Nabh, there was a huge sprawling complex with a lot of green lawns. At one end of the lawn, there is a colorful glass and wood building known as Sheesh Mahal, in the center stood octagonal dome-shaped structure in a turquoise blue color known as Machhkandi. Whereas on the other end, stretched a building in ash grey color with huge vertical pillars, known as Padam Palace. The dark shades against the green background and blue sky truly represented that the building has grown more elegant with time.


The eight-sided dome-shaped wooden structure in the lawn, Machhkandi was the place from where King interacted with his public. The structure is painted in blue, has a lot of carvings and figurines and four entrances. We totally fell in love with its architecture and couldn’t resist climbing it. From all the eight angles, the views were different but equally enchanting.

Machhkandi at Padam Palace

Machhkandi from different angle at Padam Palace, Rampur

After entering I looked up at the dome and was astonished to see the colors, symbols, and figurines on it. The engraved symbols and figures were Om, Ram, Name of the king, state, fish, flowers etc.

The dome of Machhkandi at Padam Palace, Rampur Bushahr

Exact logic of having them in the dome is still not clear to us but what we could relate is that Machhkandi was treated like a temple and the King or decision maker sitting there was like a God. So these positive symbols might be imparting him the wisdom to make the fair decision.

Dome decorated with symbols and figurines - Padam Palace

The Palace

As we stepped down the stairs of Machkkandi, there started the horizon of horizontally spread elegant Palace. The Palace has a huge facade with symmetric arches and geometrically designed ceiling with green and red glass patches in between. The chocolate brown colored wooden carvings on the first floor, crowned by reddish brown gables and multi-gabled bandstands clearly depicted the architecture skills of craftsmen. The tapered wooden screen on the first floor has floral designs and figures to partially admit light without exposing inside.

Wooden Carving on first floor of Padam Palace, Rampur

In the whole structure, the major attraction was the alluring blue front door with a lot of glass work on it. Few glasses in center of the door were colored and tinted. We couldn’t enter inside as it was closed but still it left us completely stunned from outside. I peeped inside through the glass and could see a huge hall with minimum furniture and colored windows/ doors on all sides. The sun rays through these tinted glasses were making wonderful geometrical impressions. On each side of the door, was placed a statue of Hindu idols -Lord Ganesha and Lord Balaji.

Blue Door at Padam Palace. Rampur Bushahr


Another, striking feature of the palace is completely No use of cement anywhere. Instead, the black gram paste was used for cementing the stone blocks together.

Padam Palace Facade

Just in front of the Palace main door is a huge octagonal shaped fountain, which was empty and filled with dirt. But we are sure when in the run; the fountain might be adding the charm to the whole complex.

How to reach Padam Palace

Padam Palace lies 128 Kilometres from Shimla and can be reached by bus, cab or private car in 3 hours. If commuting by bus, get down at bus stand and walk meters0 meters right and you will be at Padam Palace.

Entry FeesThere is no entry fee to see the Palace. You need prior permissions to visit inside.

Total Time to see PalaceHalf -hour to 2 hrs

 Where to stay in Rampur Bushahr

There are several accommodation options in the town from budget, luxury to heritage hotels. But, if you want to live like Royals, then stay at Nau Nabh Heritage Hotel for a day. We will be writing a complete post on it, soon.

Best time to Visit Rampur Bushahr

Rampur Bushahr can be visited throughout the year. Summers are pleasant and they last from March to June. Monsoon starts from June and continues till September.  September to November too is a good time to explore the place but is cold. Expect cold and snowy winters from December to March in Rampur. Sometimes even roads get closed, so check the status before planning your trip.

However, the best time to visit town is during Lavi festival; which is held every year between 11th to 14th November. Lavi Fair is one of the biggest fairs in North India. It adds life to the town and is a major talk of the area.

Other Attractions in Rampur Bushahr

Apart Padam Palace, one can visit Raghunath Temple, Ayodhya Temple, Narsingh temple, Dumgir Budh Temple, Dutt Nagar, Nirath, Nirmand and Asia’s largest Hydro project Nathpa Jhakri power plant.

Padam Palace, Rampur Bushahr

For us, the visit to the Padam Palace was like a time warp to the era of the Kings and Queens, where they lived the royal lives and were the decision makers. Imagine, still, the people of Rampur Bushahr, greet Cheif minister, Virbhadra Singh as Rajaji (King).



Spiti Valley in winters: Self Drive Road Trip guide

Do you want to come along for the winter Spiti Valley expedition? We asked our friends before planning the trip. With the popped eyes and open mouth, they replied – Are you guys crazy? Spiti valley in winters– the roads will be snow-covered, temperatures fall down to -40 degrees Celsius, pipes and water get frozen, people come down to the lower hills for survival and you want to do a road trip there. It is India’s remotest & inaccessible area. Crazy people, go in summers! All this surely led to the second thought but who could stop the adventurous wanderlust of ALLGUDTHINGS, after seeing the beautiful cold desert, Spiti valley in summers.

Spiti Valley In Winters: Self Drive Road Trip Guide

So, in January, we took a planned self-drive road trip from Delhi to Spiti Valley. We took the first halt at Shoghi and spent 2 good memorable days at Aamod Resort Shoghi. Further, from there, we continued our trip to reach and explore the snow sheeted middle land i.e. winter Spiti .

Tip: Never do an unplanned trip to Spiti Valley in winters i.e. offseason, as it can land you in serious trouble.

Spiti Valley in winters

Just like our friends, the majority of people think the Spiti valley is inaccessible in winters. But it is not so. Some parts of Spiti valley are open especially the Shimla – Kaza road. Also, it is a perfect time to see winter Spiti life.

Spiti valley in winter is entirely the transformed version of Spiti we had seen earlier in summers. The semi-arid mountains, deep terrains, a stretch of barren landform and green oasis, all were supposed to be completely shrouded by a blanket of snow in the month of January. But nature had some other plans for us.

The Kaza in winter was snow sheeted whereas the rest Spiti Valley looked just replenished by wind and nature. Spiti River looked like a sea of snow or white cotton candies floating in the turquoise blue water. The mesmerizing spectacle of the whole valley left us just go on clicking and clicking.

Spiti Valley in Winters: Self Drive road trip travel guide

The winter Spiti Valley is really different and unique as there are only a few visitors and you feel the whole valley belongs to you. You get ample time to talk, stay, and interact with the Spitian’s. They make you taste the most wonderful delectable local cuisines.

Kaza Village in a blanket of snow: Spiti Valley in Winters

So, a winter Spiti trip, to this picture postcard land is a must for adventure enthusiasts and road trip lovers. And here is a self-drive road trip guide for Spiti Valley in winters.

Route/ How to Reach Spiti Valley in Winter?

Ideally, there are two routes to enter Spiti Valley from Delhi. One from Shimla and other from Manali. But in winters, Rohtang La and Kunzum La both get covered with heavy snow, so you can’t travel from Manali to Kaza in winters. The only viable option is to enter and exit Spiti Valley in winters is through Shimla.

Delhi – Shimla – Rampur – Rekong Peo – Tabo – Kaza

And remember the routes beyond Kaza are closed too. So, the farthest one can reach is Kaza and the villages around it i.e Kibber, Komic, Langza, Hikkim, Tashigong, Chicham Khas.

Also read: 10 days itinerary for Lahaul Spiti Road Trip

Condition of Roads to Spiti in winters

During winter Spiti trip, expect to find snow patches on roads beyond Shimla. So, be really slow and cautious while driving on snow. And strictly avoid driving on black ice, as it is too slippery and can be dangerous. To avoid skidding, keep some luggage or stones in the boot space of the vehicle. Also, one can deflate the tires for better grip on snow.

Tip: If your car loses control, don’t push the brakes. Just, leave the accelerator and let it go in the intended direction.

  • Delhi to Chandigarh: Multi-lane highway
  • Chandigarh to Shimla: Few bad patches because of the road widening process.
  • Shimla to Rampur: Highway. Expect snow at Kufri, Narkanda
  • Rampur to Kalpa: A good road with few bad patches because of road widening and expect to face roadblocks due to some landslides.
  • Kalpa to Tabo : Narrow road with continuous incline and decline. Expect few bad patches because of landslides and shooting stone sights. And on this day, One also has to cross frozen Malling Nala, beyond Nako village.
  • Tabo to Kaza: A good scenic narrow road with continuous incline and decline. Expect few bad patches because of landslides.
Narrow Steep Roads around Kaza: Spiti Valley in Winters

Expected Spiti Valley Temperatures

As you move ahead from Shimla, with every increasing altitude, the temperature in Spiti Valley decreases and the air gets thinner. So, expect to feel breathlessness while walking and climbing stairs. The expected temperatures in winters in Spiti valley are subzero:

  • Shimla: Sunny chilly days and cold nights. Temperature ranging from 15 degree Celsius to -3 degree in night
  • Rampur: Is warmer than Shimla. Day temperature goes till 14 degree Celsius and night temperature dips till 1  to 2 degree Celsius
  • Kalpa: Sunny cold days and extremely cold chilly nights. Day temperature range from -2 to -3 degree Celsius and night temperatures goes to -13 degree Celsius.
  • Tabo: Expect sunny chilly days and very cold nights. Day temperature ranges from – 2 to – 3 degree Celsius and it goes to – 19 degree in night
  • Kaza temperature in winters: Days are sunny with extreme chill and nights are extremely cold and chilly too. The day temperature ranges from -6 to -9 degree Celsius and night temperatures go to -25 degree Celsius

Also Check: Bridges of Kinnaur and Spiti

Halts & Accommodation in Spiti in Winters

The total distance from Delhi to Spiti Valley i.e. Kaza is just 765 kilometers. Google maps show the journey of 19 hours. That means one stop and you will reach Kaza. But in actuality, it is really impossible. We covered the first 300 kilometers in 6-7 hrs but the rest 465 kilometers in the mountains were equivalent to 800 kilometers. So, one needs to take proper halts at proper locations, to get acclimatized before hitting Kaza.

Landscapes of Spiti Valley in winters: Self Drive road trip guide

The life of winters in Spiti Valley is completely different & is almost standstill due to the extremely low temperatures in December, January, and February. So, don’t have high expectations for stay and food. Most of the hotels, homestays are closed during winters in spiti. Only 2 -3 homestays are operational everywhere and locals can guide you best on the same.

After Shimla, we took halts at Rampur, Kalpa, and Tabo, before hitting Kaza.

Rampur: There are multiple hotels in and around Rampur bus station. We stayed at Nau Nabh heritage hotel, one of the luxurious heritage properties. 

Kalpa: One can choose to stay at homestays or at HPTDC (Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Cooperation), Kalpa. We opted for HTPDC to be on the safer side. Apart from Kalpa, you can also opt to stay at Sangla valley in Kinnaur, where few homestays are operational

Nako: Forget about homestays or hotel accommodation in Nako. The whole village was under hibernation except a Maggi shack opened near bus stan. Even the Nako monastery rooms are closed in winters.

Tabo: At Tabo, 2-3 homestays were operational. We stayed at Baba’s / Phunstok’s Homestay, one of the generous family who was already waiting for us. You can contact them at 94185-76181; 01906-223452 and they charge Rs 1000 per person/night including meals.

Cozy Kitchen in Baba's Homestay at Tabo: Spiti Valley in winters

Kaza: Similar is the case with Kaza. Most of the hotels and homestays are closed. Only 4 -5 home stay’s run during offseason. We stayed with Mr & Mrs. Tandup at Pema Homestay, another super helpful family who can go beyond limits to give comforts to the guests. You can connect with them at 9459252699, 8988231033 and they charge Rs 1500 per night. People say that if Mr. Chering  (relative of Mr. Tandup) knows about your existence or arrival in Spiti, you are completely safe. He will go extra miles to search you out if you missing or have not turned back by the expected timings.

Fresh Thupka in Kaza - Spiti Valley in Winters
Fresh Thupka in Kaza

Apart from this, we met a girl Tanya Roy from Delhi, who runs a Wanderer’s Nest Homestay and amazing cafe in Kaza. You can connect with her at 9459357754. Rest, you can enquire about the open homestays at Kaza Bus stand.

Food Joints on the way to Spiti Valley in Winter

There are multiple eating options till Shimla. The real fight starts after Rampur.

Pappu Ka Dhabha at Tapri - Spiti Valley in Winters
Pappu Ka Dhabha at Tapri

Between Rampur to Kalpa: Have Thali (food) at Pappu ka dhabha, Tapri – The food quality is surely more than value for money.

Kalpa to Tabo: You will find tea and food stalls only in Spillow and a single shack open at Nako.

Tabo to Kaza: No food joints

Tip: Carry a lot of eatables, nuts, and water with you on the way.

Must carry accessories for Winter Spiti Valley Road Trip

  • Do carry snow chains if your vehicle is not 4*4.
  • Carry shovel along, in case you need to clear snow on the way
  • Add Antifreeze to avoid freezing of diesel
  • Keep some camphor and cotton handy to lit fire, if required
  • Always keep a towing cable in your carSelf Drive Road trip to Spiti Valley in Winters

Problems you can face during Winter Spiti Valley Trip

Spiti Valley in winters tests all your survival instincts and body endurance. You go as prepared as you can, but still, this land will make you realize that you are unprepared i.e. the nature and topography of this valley.

But Open your mind to the following before going:

  1. Bathing is not possible because of frozen water tanks. So, be prepared for the wet towel scrub only.
  2. Be prepared to use dry toilets, as the water pipes will be frozen and there is no water in the taps. Dry toilets are traditional toilets with a hole in the ground and avoid taking your phones in the toilet.
  3. A year back I say in 2017, electricity used to be there for fixed hours, but now there is full-time electricity. The voltage is less, so your batteries, cameras, phone will take much longer to get charged
  4. There are chances of AMS (Altitude motion sickness) hitting you at that high altitude. So, be prepared. If you see any of such symptoms i.e. a headache, nausea, breathlessness, take help. Otherwise, give yourself some time to get acclimatized and keep sipping a lot of hot water. The alternative is you can start a DIAMOX course prior to the trip after the doctor’s consultation.
  5. Only BSNL network works here
  6. Temperatures are subzero and it is bone-biting cold. So, be in proper winter clothing. Wear layers, cover your head, and do include warm shoes. Also, do carry your sunglasses. Suruchi Tashi; AllGudThings -Spiti Valley in winters
  7. Expect road closure for several days, if snowfall occurs in between. BRO works here throughout the year to keep road operational till Kaza
  8. Be prepared, that despite adding antifreeze your car fuel will freeze. In such a case wait for the sun rays to melt it down or use a cylinder with the local’s help. For this, we have expert advice from Mr. Shibhu Varghese of 4*4 India adventure which we will be sharing soon with you.Scorpio sun bathing in Kaza to melt down the frozen Diesel - Spiti Valley in winters
  9. Expect bare minimum medical help. Carry first aid kit and some basic medicines with you.
  10. Carry enough cash with you. ATMs are available at Kalpa, Tabo as well as Kaza but don’t expect them to have enough cash as well as in working conditions.
  11. Fuel station at Kaza, opens between 10 am to 5 pm. So, get your tank fuelled timely.World's Highest Petrol pump at Kaza - Spiti Valley in Winters

The kitchen is the warmest place in Spiti houses, as there is a burning Angithi throughout the day.  So, if you feel excess of cold, rush there to normalize your body temperature. Don’t touch any metal with bare hands, as there are chances of your skin sticking to the metal. If in any case, that happens, don’t pull your hand away. Pour hot water to detach your hand.

Spiti Valley in winters checks your endurance and patience but you surely are bound to leave your soul in God’s own land. It looks completely magnanimous in winters and engulfs you in its beauty.

If you have any more question or need any more information, feel free to type in the comments. We will be happy to answer all about Spiti Valley in winter. Till then, please share it with your friends and family.

Spiti Valley In Winters: Self Drive Road Trip Guide