Narkanda — Heaven’s Base camp

Writing about different experience is favorite of mine. I have shared experience like exploring Chail alone, driving from Delhi all alone and come back, I have shared the experience of travel Delhi-Shimla_delhi, just in 24hrs to experience snow also shared the experience of Kaza the tribal circuit. This time I thought what makes travel experience a different, driving alone, adventure, tough roads, long circuits, exploring no mans land, hectic schedule what else? May be the frequency. We all have time to explore new places, but does any site facinate us so much that it attracts our frequecy of visit? Such place should be calm quiet, scenic, cold, and near. And, I found my summer capital or a place where I dream to build my holiday resort, that is “Narkanda”. Then I thought I should post about Narkanda.

Winter at hatu

Winter at hatu



We know that Kashmir is known as heaven on earth, same is Laddakh or Kaza. No one has actually did visit to heaven and we have no definition of heaven, all is imaginary. However, human race define heaven as a place of peace. Adding to the peace is the scerinity, the altitude the mist the cold weather and calmness. If this is the definition of heaven then I would say Narkanda is Heaven’s Base camp. If you move 70 km from Shimla towards Kinnaur, you would reach this place. Scerene, calm and the nearest high altitude point. Narkanda is at the height of 2700m from sea level, 7km from Narkanda is another peak called Hatu peak at the height of 3400m. I have been to Narkanda at least 10times and now well versed with the city’s major and minor attraction and also people and care takers of my favourite hotel of Himachal tourism, Hotel Hatu.

From Hotel

From Hotel

First time when I went to Narkanda with two of my friend it was our discovery. We were trying to find on map a nearest highest desitination and thus Hatu seemed to be the approachable destination.

Apple from apple orchid

Apple from apple orchid

It takes 5hrs drive from chandigarh or 10hrs from Delhi to reach Narkanda. I have seen Narkanda in all seasons and also seen the making of road to Hatu. I still remember the first trip to hatu when the pitch road to Hatu was only for 3km and there after it was road on making. Now the complete 7km road to Hatu from Narkanda is pitched.

Satluj

Satluj, near sainjh

Narkanda has a record of 6Feet snow in winters, so when it snows it snows heavy there. So heavy that hatu peak has trace of snow till April mid (ofcourse only in the year when it had snow adequete).

Hatu in spring

Hatu in spring

If we talk about attraction there, do not expect mall road (yes liqour shop is there), there is no shop other than the daily need shops. But in attraction list it has, skieng slope (if you go in winter, you can enjoy skieng), 8-9km from narkanda towards hatu but do not climb on hatu peak road, if you move ahead, you will find apple orchid, rejoice fresh apple from apple trees. Hatu peak is itself famous for its mesmerizing view and height, nothing taller than Hatu peak is there on the hatu peak, so you would feel top of the world. Hatu peak has a Kali temple, locals say that this Kali temple is so powerful that once upon a time it dragged an Australian lady in her dreams to here at this place, the lady did visit during full snow. If you have a spare day and move 30 km from Narkands towards Kinnaur, you will drive along with the river satluj at Sainjh. Another wonderful place, the river here is in its full swing. At last, do not forget to spend some time out from the hotel when it is dark, watch the sky and you would realize the population of stars in the universe and you would also realize the pollution in the city life. Stars are so near and so dense there.

Skieng slope

Skieng slope

Narkanda snows from January till February, and is lush green and with folower in August-September, June-July is best time to see mist and rain there, again August is best time to rejoice fresh apple from apple orchids.

Aisi diwangi song shot here

Club house Narkanda

If you plan to go to Narkanda, just remember two things, in any of my 10 visits to narkanda, streached over various seasons of an year, I have never found a night comfirtable without quilt. So carry wollen even if it is 45 degree in delhi. Two, if you love city life, mall roads and mountain and screnity do not attract you much, if you do not thrive for peace but like to chill then probably Narkanda is not a desitnation for you, rather stop at shimla.

But, personaly I recomend everyone for a weekend to chill at Narkanda.

20 Comments

  • vibha says:

    Good account Pronil. The place must be really special to be able to make you visit it 10 times.

    I would love to go there. Would ask you for advice.

  • nandanjha says:

    10 times.

    When are you going next ? take me along. :-)

    • itsamitkban says:

      Sir ,
      I am planning a road trip in my ertiga with six members around 15th october for about 9-10 days.
      I have in my mind Shimla Manali Rohtang or Shimla Narkanda and may be upto Sangla if I can muster the courage. In your opinion which will be better. Will october a good time to visit these places or late may, early june be better.

      Thanks in advance

  • nayan says:

    some people have already written about it though in past…

  • sskagra says:

    good site i had seen there is very good plce
    Thanking you

  • aurojit says:

    Pronil,
    you must be a great aficionado of Narkanda.
    And rightly so – I stayed there for a night during the trip to Kinnaur – and we did not have enough of it.
    Will seek your advice on our next trip towards that part of Himalayas.
    Thanks.
    Auro.

    • Pronil says:

      Yah that is true, Narkanda is my favourite destination…. sure, do let me know if you need any help whenever you plan a trip to Narkanda….

  • nb says:

    hi pronil,

    we are going to narkanda fr a weekend getaway … is this the right sesaon to visit? please advice !

    • Pronil says:

      Any season is good to go to Narkanda…. It depends what you want to experience, snow in this season is probably not, but yes you would experience lush green enviroment covered in white mist…. Temperature enroute would be good…. you can also relish fresh apple from orchids… pluck some…

      Do share you experience….

    • Pronil says:

      Hey Nidhi, were you able to make it for Narkanda? How was your trip? Did any of my advice helped?

  • Komal says:

    Is mid february a good time to visit? I am interested in snow but would we be able to reach Narkanda/Hatu temple in Feb et all? I was looking forward to have a week long trip covering Shimla, Kufri, Chail and Narkanda. Please suggest if mid feb would suit.

    • Pronil says:

      As I always say any time is good time for Narkanda. I have been there in Narkanda last February (2009), and it was snowing… Hatu is 7Km from Narkanda, out of which 3 to 5km is motorable any time (except if it has snowed a day before). Well even if the last 6km of Hatu does not look like motorable, you should be able to trek up to Hatu. But please note, it is not very easy to walk 6km on Snow. At the same time it is achievable.

      I recommend you should not miss this opportunity to visit Narkanda in snow season. You can visit skiing point and ski too. But, be careful if you need to drive on snow, sincerely obey the local people recommendations, road signs etc. Carry heavy woolen. Check your shoes, avoid leather shoes or flat soles which can skid on snow. If you trek to Hatu (in normal days it takes 2 – 3hrs one way to trek) carry a stick. And definitely try to drive down to Sainjh (30km) from Narkanda to enjoy satluj. Also, try to visit local village (towards thanedhar, kothgarh — 9-10km from Narkanda).

      Drive safe and have a very happy journey.

  • Achil says:

    Hi Pronil,

    Lovely pics….and seeing the pics my heart is pumping to visit the place…..hope to visit sometym soon….but thanks for sharing your experience and life @ Narkanda….The place really luks amazing :-)…..

  • Mr Khatri says:

    Hii,
    Looks u r an avid follower of Narkhanda.
    I” ve been to shimla a couple of times , but haven`t yet seen Narkhanda.

    I wanted to know whether Narkhanda is good place to visit in 3rd week of December.
    We would likely be traveling with my 4yr old son.
    Will there be snow in this period?
    How ‘s the accommodation there, i.e, are there some good cottages/ hotels which can be relied upon.

    Or My second option will be visiting manali.

    Our idea is to see snow and have a comfortable stay.

    Your valuable views will be appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Khatri

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Dear Mr. Khatri , I am not sure about the Narkanda town but there should be snow at Hatu Peak. It is at about 11000 feet.

    For accommodation etc, you might want to read other logs on Narkanda. There are many stories at Ghumakkar and you can find them at this link – http://www.ghumakkar.com/category/statesofindia/himachal-pradesh/narkanda-himachal-pradesh-statesofindia/

    Manali is definitely much more popular and has excellent facilities. As for snow, you can go to Rohtang (it would take one complete day for the round trip, though it is only 50 odd KM away). If you are looking for a quieter option then I would suggest Narkanda.

    Also try leaving comment on other stories to get more input. Wishes.

  • Pronil says:

    Dear Khatri,

    I agree to what Nandan mentioned. However to answer your query about Narkanda. There is a very nice hotel of HTDC, Hotel Hatu. You can google their number and call to book a room. Other than that there are couple of hotles but those are ok type. I would recomend, if you do not get availability at Hatu Hotel, postpone…. About snow, Hatu peak is at 3400m and when it snows it stays there till mid apr. but december it would snow or not depends on season to season. Narkanda is very small town, not much to explore, no mall road etc. Its serene, calm and peaceful. Whereas Manali is rich colorful tourist place. Both has different flavor. Distance matters…

    Narkanda is for one night stay, however, Manali is least two – three night stay place.

    Regards,
    Pronil

  • Dr.Rakesh Gandhi,Advocate says:

    Beautiful n well defined description…….!!!

  • Anshu Mishra says:

    Hi Pronil,

    First of thanks for so much info about NArkanda.

    We a group of 10 adults are planning a trip to Narkanda this New Year eve. I have a couple of queries for the same and it will be great if you can help me with them.

    1. We are planning camping there. Will it be comfortable to camp with sleeping bags in such cold weather.
    2. If not camping can you suggest some good hotel where we can stay as we are travelling with some girls.
    3. Is it safe enough to do camping in Hatu peak.

    I will really appreciate any help.

    Warm regards,
    Anshu Mishra

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