What do you plan when you have a long weekend coming up? I think the question is a little abstract. Lets try again. What do you do on a long weekend if you live in Chandigarh?
A TRIP TO A HILL STATION.
If you are from Chandigarh, you’ll totally relate to this. And I bet, at the end of this article, this place would be on your bucket list.
So I had a long weekend coming up as 2nd of October was falling on a Monday. So, I had 3 days of leisure but with nothing to do until my entire family of uncles and aunts came to visit us just before the weekend. I was incharge of picking out the place for the weekend. And like you, I went through Google trying to find that one hill station that I haven’t been to before or is not that far away for a 2-day trip.
After rejecting suggestions for Shimla 3 times, Chail 2 times and Kasauli billions of time, I convinced my family for a trip to NARKANDA. If you haven’t yet heard about this place, you are in for a treat because now I’ll make you want to go there. Sit tight!
Narkanda is this beautiful small town in Himachal Pradesh surrounded with serene beauty of apple orchards everywhere. The reason for it being so astoundingly beautiful is that it is still one of the less explored hill station in Himachal. The beauty is untouched and the air is oh! So clean. The distance we had to cover from Chandigarh to Narkanda was approx. 173 kms that would easily take 6 hours or more. But the view along the trip is so serene that you would stop every once in a while to admire it.
As we got closer to Narkanda, numerous vendors started showing up on roadside selling fresh-off-the-tree apples. Narkanda is known for its Apple orchards everywhere but we reached at night so I didn’t get to see any.
One mistake we made before leaving for Narkanda was that we didn’t book any hotel for us. We easily assumed that we would get couple of rooms. But boy oh boy! We were wrong. Narkanda being so small, had limited hotels and because of the long weekend, they were already booked by other travellers. So after dialing to multiple hotels and resorts, we finally found that one resort that had one cottage and a room left to be filled. But to reach that hotel, we had to go back 10 kms. At night. On the hilly road. When the temperature dropped to 12 degrees. It was that cold on 30th of September.
Guys, book your hotel before leaving. You never know if the city is over booked or under booked.
Before I move on to gush about Narkanda, a little brief about the resort we checked in to. The name of the hotel was HILLTOP RESORTS. Its exactly what its name says. It was on a hill and had a view of the entire valley in front of it. The small city gleamed at night under the light of the moon. The cottage that we were given had its own front yard for bonfire, fireplace in the drawing hall and a complete unhindered view of the entire Narkanda Valley from the bedroom. I slept with the view in my mind and woke up to it as well. We had breakfast in the balcony facing the amazing view and had such an incredible sunny day to accompany us with the hot coffee.
The resort had its own apple orchards and the apple picking session was so amazing. The hotel staff was so nice. They let us pick the apples from trees. I mean how amazing is this. You are picking an apple right from the tree. You don’t get to do that anywhere.
We were told to visit the two most important places in Narkanda – Hatu Peak and Apple Orchards(actual ones, on top of the hills).
So, we left for Hatu Peak the next day and the road to reach there is just a one way path. It is located at 3400 meters above sea level. In winter when it snows, Hatu Peak converts into a grand skiing valley. In fact, it’s one of the oldest destination for skiing in India. So, I just couldn’t wait to see it.
The narrow road leading up to Hatu Peak is surrounded by dense forest so, there is no danger of your vehicle losing grip or something fatal to happen. Although, the steep slopes might send a crazy adrenaline rush through your veins. Luckily, we had a very experienced driver with us who was a local from Narkanda and knew the roads. So, he made sure we were not anxious about the safety.
The moment we reached Hatu Peak, it was as if that was the first time I had breathed in fresh air.
The location was incredible. It was exactly like standing on a peak and looking down at the world which only looked like tiny version of itself. It was windy. It was chilly. The sun shone so bright yet it was 13-degrees Celsius at 12 in the noon. The location around the Hatu Peak had luscious greenery and plethora of flowers. There was also a small wooden temple called Hatu Temple which is said to be the temple of “Mandodari” wife of Ravana.
There was already a group of travelers who had set up tents for a day of camping. It was so cool to pick such a place for camping.
After clicking millions of pictures, documenting the beauty of this location and resisting myself from spending more time in the camp, we left for Apple orchards.
You really can visit any Apple orchard to take a tour. There are numerous factories that have their own orchards. And how can I forget to mention that while you are in Narkanda, get used to seeing apple laden trees everywhere. You’ll be amazed at how easily you get surprised by something that is so natural yet so new for us people living in the cities. The trees look red from afar and as you go closer, you realize that all this time you were looking at hundreds of red apples and if the owner lets you pick them, I’d say you are one lucky person. I jumped with joy like a kid who just got her wish granted.
At the end of the day, I would say if you are one those who loves winters, loves nature, loves skiing and loves being cozy at all time throughout the year and get excited by the thought of picking apples from trees, Narkanda should be on your travel list.
Facts I learned about Narkanda in a 2 day trip:
– This small town doesn’t serve PaniPuri anywhere.
– Apple orchards are an everyday thing here
-Pick a hotel that is on a hilltop to get the best view of Narkanda
-Always pack a sweater with you(temperature is quite unpredictable but mostly cold)
-Markets are very simple I.e. for household items and food
-Always confirm hotel booking in advance
Best time to visit:
Throughout the year.
But if you want to witness snow, plan your trip in the late November to February.
So, this was my narration of my trip to Narkanda. This is Shivangi Kumar, Fashion and Lifetsyle Blogger from Chandigarh who mostly writes about fashion but is also an avid lover of travelling. Waiting for more travelling to happen for me. You can checkout my blog at Spoiled By Style or write me up at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow me on Instagram for daily updates.