Apple and Plum Orchards of Rukhala serve as major tourist attractions. The apple orchards are famous for the production and export of Royal, Golden and Granny Smith varieties of apples. These apples are known worldwide, for their aroma, colour and delicious taste.
The months of December and January are the best time to visit this place as the orchards are ready for harvesting. Apart from strolling around the orchards and picnicking among the blooms and fruit laden trees, visitors should try a local dish described as wheat cakes stuffed with a mixture of lentils and a paste of opium seeds and spices, called ‘sidcoo’.
Assan Lake, located at a distance of 4 km from Paonta Sahib, is a beautiful lake developed by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Department as a tourist hotspot. A popular destination among tourists, it offers recreational facilities for watersports like speed boating, rowing, paddling and sail boating. Visitors can also take up adventure sports like water skiing and hovercraft rides here.
Annandale is a beautiful picnic spot adorned with lush green deodar forests. This open space was used as a playground for racing, polo and cricket to entertain the British people. The picnickers paradise is perched at an altitude of 6227 ft above sea level and offers mesmerising landscapes to visitors.
Akhand Chandi Palace, constructed by King Umed Singh around 1747-1765 AD, was once the residence of the royal Chamba family. In the later years, the temple was refurbished by King Sham Singh with the support of British engineers. The descendants of the family later handed over their mansion to the state government.
The glass work and painted walls of the building were once famed for their beauty. Today, due to lack of maintenance, these artefacts are in a ruined condition. The beauty of the palace can be judged from magnificent ceilings, which represent the artistic excellence of that era. Other attractions of the place include temples and mansions located in the vicinity.
Amb is a noted tourist destination located at a distance of 32 km from Una, in Himachal Pradesh. In earlier times, this place was renowned for gardens of the kings of Jaswal. Situated on the Dharamshala-Una-Chandigarh Road, this place is well connected via buses from Hoshiarpur, Hamirpur, Chandigarh, Una, Nadaun and Jwalamukhi.
In 1972, after the reorganisation of the districts was done, Amb was elevated to the status of sub-divisional headquarters.
Constructed by Raja Prithvi Singh in the 18th century, Arki Palace is quite popular for its frescos, which have been done in the Arki Kalam style. Though the palace is decaying now, the mural paintings that display different subjects from Puranas, folklores, Kalidasa, and Kumarasambhava are worth visiting even today. Converted into a heritage hotel, this palace offers alluring views of the snowy mountains of the mighty Himalayan ranges. Moreover, it has numerous sculptures and artefacts, which represent the progressive kingdom of the Baghal period.
Arki Fort is a renowned tourist destination located in the town of Arki in Himachal Pradesh. This fort was built by Rana Prithvi Singh during the period from 1695 to 1700. Gurkhas, who used it as a stronghold to launch many attacks on the British, held it till 1815. The fort exhibits the fusion of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles. There is a collection of Pahari style wall paintings that show the lifestyle of people residing in the hilly areas. A part of the fort has been converted into a heritage hotel.
Amtar-Nadaun Fort is a famous tourist destination nestled on top of a hill in Nadaun. This fort still has some ancient paintings, which represent the royal heritage of Maharaja Sansar Chand of Katoch Dynasty. Though the fort is decaying, it still attracts tourists from all over the country.
Baba Balak Nath Temple is a cave temple located 3 km away from Kasauli on the top of the Graner Hill. It is one of the most popular religious centres situated in the town of Kasauli. This temple is devoted to Baba Balak Nath, who was a great devotee of the Hindu deity Shiva.
It is believed that childless couples who offer their prayers in this temple have their wishes of bearing children granted. The temple consists of several statues of Shiva along with a picture of a blessed child, which is the highlight of the temple.
Women are, however, not allowed to enter the cave. The Hindu festival of Navratri is celebrated in this temple with gaiety and enthusiasm. Travellers visiting here can also see the Shah Talai, which is located nearby and is accessible via the ropeway.
Ardhanarisvara Temple is a noted religious site. The idol enshrined in this temple is a representation of the ideology of Ardhanarisvara, which refers to a god who is half man and half woman. The Hindu Lord Shiva and his consort, Goddess Parvati, are depicted here in a composite form of half man on the right and half woman on the left. This temple was constructed based on the principle that women are an integral part of men’s life. The Archaeological Survey of India recognises this temple as a protected site for its unique architecture and elaborates carvings.
Al-Hilal, situated at a distance of 12 km from the city of Palampur, is a popular tourist destination. The literal meaning of Al-Hilal is ‘land of the crescent moon’. From Al-Hilal, travellers are provided with a panoramic view of the Dhauladhar ranges. This site acted as the military stronghold of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Visitors can avail accommodation at a guest house named Taragarh Fort, which spreads across an area of 15 acre in proximity to Al-Hilal.
Baba Baroh Temple is a popular tourist destination located approximately 52 km away from Dharamshala. Devoted to the Hindu God Krishna and his spouse Radha, this shrine is visited by many pilgrims everyday. Built by a local follower named B. R. Sharma, this temple is made of white marble and is famous for having the largest amount of white marble used in any of the temples in Himachal Pradesh. The idol of Goddess Durga placed inside the temple is made of metal. An ancient shrine devoted to Kali Nath Bhole Shankar is situated in proximity to Baba Baroh Temple.
Andretta, also known as artist’s village, is a prominent tourist spot in the city of Palampur, located at a distance of 14 km from the town. This village represents a unique blend of cultures. One can find several craft shops in the region selling miniature paintings from Kangra, Shobha Art Singh Gallery, Norah Center for the Arts and Norah Richard’s house.
Andretta Pottery and Crafts society is another prominent spot, where students can learn the art of making pottery.
Adi Brahma Temple is one of those few temples in India which is devoted to the Hindu god of creation, Brahma. This temple is situated in the village of Khokhan, situated at a distance of around 4 km from Bhuntar. The temple is made of fine wood and enshrines an idol of Brahma, which is placed in the middle of the temple along with a chariot with mohras or monumental masks.
These mohras are made of brass, silver and ashtadhatu, an amalgamation of eight metals. An idol of the Hindu Lord Vishnu is also enshrined in the temple. Featuring four roofs, the temple displays the Pagoda style of architecture. The entrance gate of the temple has carvings that narrate stories related to mythology.
The site also has temples of Garh Jogni and Manikaran Jogni standing on either sides of the temple. Earlier, a natural spring flowed in the vicinity of the temple, which has now run dry. Some of the festivals celebrated here include the Naagni Birshu, Khokhan Festival, Mohal Festival and Bhulang Birshu.