Being born and brought up in a place with chilly winters, high mountains, beautiful sunsets, and forest roads, Shimla will always be a place where I can seek memories of traveling around with a bunch of friends in my school days. When I came to Chandigarh, all I heard from my college friends about their visit to Shimla, was human traffic on mall road and some boring place around Kufri and Naldera. Well, Shimla is not ironically called The Queen of Hills and if you really want to experience the beauty of all the things you expect to see, you have to explore a little and you will find some breathtaking places not far away from the main city. Back in the school days, I was always the one dragging around my friends to almost every other place I’ve heard of and with all the random traveling I came across two places which always seem like haven every single time I visit there. The Hatu Peak and the Choordhar trek were the most exciting experiences that I’ve ever had in a short span of my traveling adventures. If you wish to experience the flowery mountains and the thick forests in the cool breeze with a clear sky, you’ll find yourself loving these places.
Visiting Hatu peak for the very first time was absolutely dreamy, never before I’ve experienced the view of far-stretched mountains covered in flower beds with so many colors all around. This peak lies on the Shimla-Rampur Highway nearly 71 km from Shimla. The roads are in good condition until Narkanda which is nearly 8 km from the peak. From here you can either trek for 8 km or go by bike or a car. It is nearly 1200 ft. above the sea level surrounded by dense forests. The trek is not rigorous and the ones who are really into taking good candid shots for the vacations, you’ll surely end up loving the place. There’s a temple situated at the top of the peak which has a beautiful architecture with roofs and walls covered with wooden carvings. Around the temple are mountains covered with beautiful flowers and you can see the clouds floating amidst the mountains, which will surely give you the DDLJ feels! It’s a great picnic spot for families as well as a great place to visit with friends. Not far away from the place, if you wander around the area, you’ll find an open field hidden in between the forest. It is quietly known to the local people as ‘Jau Baag’ but not much people are aware of the place because of the location. The lush green alpine, oak trees, and maples spread across the fields will make you fall in love with the natural beauty of the area and you can always enjoy an orange-pink sky during the sunset. The spectacular view of nature’s wondrous creations and housing points of religious and historical importance, the Hatu Peak is an all-in-one destination for people looking for an adventure packed excursion and some peaceful quality time to spend with friends and family.
Soaring at the height of 3600 meters above the sea level, the Churdhar peak is not something which I could ever get over from. Also known as Mountain dressed in Moonlight, it is the only place which gives you the view of the lowland tracts on the south and snow clad ranges, including the peaks of Badrinath and Kedarnath along with the Sutlej River and hills of Shimla. Below the summit is a deodar-roofed temple of Srigul housing a lingam dedicated to Lord Shiva which has great spiritual value for the local people and if you have a thing for listening to stories you’ll definitely enjoy listening to what people have to say. The place can be approached by two main routes, from Nohradhar, Sirmour of 14 km and Sarahan, Chaupal of 8 km. You can follow NH 22 that goes to Kinnaur from Shimla through Sanjauli and Dhali up to Theog. Reaching Theog, hit the state road that leads you to Chopal via Sainj, Deha, and Khirki. And, from Chopal, you need to follow the way that is going to Nerwa, and then follow the link road to Sarain after nearly 7 km. It’s a one day trek so you can spend the night in the rest house which will surely provide you with the best possible services. It’s a great place for people who love to lie down beneath the open sky with twinkling stars all around. It’s a great place for camping. The most suitable time for visiting Churdhar is from the month of March till the month of September. Heavy snowfall starts in the mid of November which makes it difficult for trekking purposes.
Lofty mountains and clear blue skies can always be an escape from the ongoing hectic schedules of our lives and there are no better places than these lush green mountains where you can find your sense of peace. The wilderness of the mountains will always provide you with the warmth of nature. They can surely make the poet within come to life and you’ll always find yourself falling for the beauty of spring and the changing colors of autumn. Moreover, the people around will have tons of folk tales and different experiences to share which is a completely different experience. Visiting here once will always make you crave for more and you can never get enough of what these places can offer. It feels like living in a utopia for a while and you will know what the soul of Shimla has to offer as it surely is the Queen of Hills.