Narkanda the Off Beat Shimla- Hot Springs, Trekking and Skiing Destination! (2020)

Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh is a quaint hill station in Shimla district, about 65 km from Shimla. It is situated at a chilling altitude of 2708 meters which is higher than Shimla. The Narkanda temperature goes as low as -10 Degree Celsius in winters and thus it becomes a great spot for winter sports like Skiing and Snow Scooter.

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It is a paradise for winter lovers and the best destination if you want to escape the heat of summers as temperatures here are between 8 Degree to 20 Degree Celsius even in peak summers. Ski, gorge into juicy apples and trek to your heart`s content in Narkanda. Also, read our articles on Kasol and Manikaran– two towns famous for Hash, trekking, and Israeli food.

Best Time to Visit Narkanda:

The best time to visit Narkanda is in Summers and Winters (if you are a winters fan). As the summertime is more crowded, the hotels and other facilities are expensive as well. But, the months after monsoon that is after September have a lesser crowd and the services can be availed at heavy discounts. You can check the live weather forecast on this link.


This is the most crowded season here and summer months are from March to June. Local fruits delicacies like Apple and Peach are available from April to June.


Monsoon season months are from June to September. It is highly risky to visit the place in monsoons as there is always a risk of landslide in the area. It is better to avoid visiting the place in these months.


Winter months are from October to February and you can witness Narkanda snowfall between December to February. Snowtime is the best time for winter sports like skiing. The temperature goes well below 0 Degree, sometimes up to -10 Degree Celsius.

How to Reach Narkanda:

Narkanda is situated on NH 22 which is also the Hindustan-Tibet Road and is 65 km from Shimla. To reach here you first need to reach Shimla as there is no direct connectivity of flight, bus or railway from most cities of India. Shimla to Narkanda distance is about 65 km and can be reached through Volvo buses and taxis.

By Air:

The nearest airport is Jubbarhatti in Shimla, and this airport is 80km from Narkanda. While the frequency of flights to Jubbarhatti is less, you can find a suitable flight to Chandigarh or Delhi and then commute via Buses, Trains, and cabs according to your convenience to Shimla.

By Road:

There is one direct bus from Delhi to Narkanda and the cities are about 405 km apart. If you cannot find a direct bus you can always reroute via Shimla and Shimla to Delhi is 343 km. If you are going from Chandigarh, you can take a bus to Shimla and then change another bus to Narkanda. Chandigarh to Shimla is 114 km.

By Rail:

There is no railway station at Narkanda and the nearest railway station is Jutogh near Shimla. Though you have to change trains once, it is a fun ride promised. From Delhi or Chandigarh, you have to first reach Kalka and then take the small gauge train locally called the Toy Train and this is the most fun part of the journey as it goes through lush green mountains and forests. From Kalka, it is a straight journey to Jutogh and from there you can hire a taxi or take a bus.

Things to do in Narkanda:

1. Skiing 2. Paragliding
3. River Rafting 4. Trekking
5. Shopping in Narkanda Market    

Places to visit in Narkanda:

1. Narkanda Hatu Peak 2. Hatu Mata Temple
3. Stokes Farm 4. Tatapani Hot Water Springs
5. Jeori Hot Water Springs 6. Tannu Jubbar Lake
7. Mahamaya Temple 8. Kacheri
9. Jau-Baug    

Things to do in Narkanda:

  1. Skiing:

Skiing is the most exciting and adrenal pumping experience in the hill station. At a spine chilling height of 8,100 feet, it is a haven for skiers. It is lesser-known than others and thus is less crowded. The Hatu Peak at a height of 2000 feet is a thrilling experience and one of the best in India.

The best part about skiing here is that the town offers slopes both challenging ones for experts and easy ones for the beginners. The tourism department of Himachal Pradesh offers courses in skiing as well and they run from January to March. The best time to ski is from January as snow is quite thick by that time.

Narkanda the Off Beat Shimla- Hot Springs, Trekking and Skiing Destination! (2020)

2. Paragliding:

Paragliding is another exciting adventure sport that you can undertake here. Jumping from the chilly altitudes give an experience as no other hill station can.

The feeling of the chilly winds hitting your face and ruffling through your hair is just out of the world. Also, the sports activity is completely safe as this is tandem paragliding, which means there is an instructor seated with you who controls the altitude and direction of the glider.


3. Tattapani River Rafting:

River Rafting is done in Tatapani about 70 km from the town. Many adventure companies conduct river rafting in summers in the Sutlej basin. The Tattapani rafting route is very beautiful and passes through forests and villages.

There are two options for rafting routes here- The first one has Grade II rapids and is about one and half hour route and is a 14 km course. The second route has Grade IV rapids and is about three and half hour route and is a 36 km course. Tattapani weather is always pleasant except monsoons.


4. Trekking:

The town is full of exciting treks. Trekking in such high altitudes is something that will always bring feelings of pride and nostalgia. The Narkanda treks are very beautiful and serene. Find your way through the winding forest paths lined with Pine, Rhododendron, Oak, Deodar, Fir, Sil, Spruce and other trees.

The most famous and easy trek here is a trek to Hatu Peak. Situated on a height of 12000 feet, it is a must-visit place and trekking to this peak is worth every effort. It is a 7 km trek, one way. The peak is decorated with a temple of Queen Madodari.

What’s more, you can even camp in the nearby village of Joh Bagh. You can further extend the trek to Tani Jubbar Lake and other spots like  Karena Peak and Baghi Village.


5. Shopping in Narkanda Market:

Himachal markets, be it any city, sell wonderful woolens and that too at a pocket-friendly price. The best things to bring back home from the Narkanda market are Himachali Shawls, Pattoo blankets, and Pullens which are actually woolen shoes- all handmade. The wool used here is of supreme quality and the woolens are really warm and soft.

There are various qualities available like Rabbit wool, Angora wool, and the premiere Pashmina wool. Himachal hats also count as a useful souvenir to take back home.

Places to visit in Narkanda:

  1. Narkanda Hatu Peak:

Distance: 7.3 km

Hatu Peak is the highest peak in the whole of Shimla perched at a dizzying height of 12000 feet, it is a must-visit for everybody. The ride to the peak is a steep climb and the road is bad and narrow, but the view is worth the effort.

Due to the bad road, and beautiful scenic view some people prefer to trek all the way up. The peak is at a small distance of 7.3 km from the town. Hatu Peak weather is always chilly due to its great height


2. Hatu Mata Temple:

Distance: 7.3 km

Hatu Mata Temple or Narkanda Temple is situated at the Hatu peak and is dedicated to Queen Mandodari, who is the wife of Raavan (the villain from the epic Ramayana). This temple has another mythological significance as well.

It is said that Pandavas (from the epic Mahabharata) spent many years here when they were in ‘Agyaat Waas’. You can also find a formation similar to a gas stove and it is believed that the Pandavas used to cook their food here!


3. Stokes Farm Narkanda:

Distance: 14 km

We are all fond of apples from Himachal Pradesh. But who brought apple farming to Himachal? Some generations back Satyanand Stokes brought Apple farming here in Thanedhar. Today this farm is huge and employs many locals in sowing, reaping and making by-products like Jam, etc.

Now other fruits like Plum and Cherries are also grown. It is a great experience walking among the Apple orchards and the view from here is breathtaking. The Kullu valley can be easily seen from here.


4. Tatapani Hot Water Springs:

Distance: 79 km

If you come towards Tatapani for river rafting, immersing yourself in the exotic experience of Tatapani Hot Water Spring is a must-do on the bucket list. A hot spring is one of the best relaxing activity you can ever take up and Tatapani hot spring is one of the best springs found in India.

Tattapani is a geothermal spring and mineral-rich hot water makes its way out of the pebbled river bed of the river Satluj. The water is rich in minerals and thus has healing properties. The tranquil experience of the Tattapani Hot Spring and adrenaline rushing experience of the river rafting is a die-hard package.

5. Jeori Hot Water Spring:

Distance: 89 km

Jeori Hot WaterSprings is also situated on the Hindustan-Tibet road (Narkanda is situated on the same road). If you are a fan of hot springs then this quaint destination is worth giving a visit. Like every special place of the locality, this place also has a religious significance associated with it.

The famous pilgrimage ‘Chhari Yatra’ which ends at  Manimahesh temple on Shrikhand Mahadev peak starts by taking a dip in the sacred waters of the Jeori Hot Spring.


6. Tani Jubbar Lake:

Distance: 10 km

Tannu Jubbar Lake is a quiet spot and is less frequented by tourists. It is situated near Thanedhar and can be reached by trekking via Hatu Peak. It is an artificial lake and is surrounded by dense pine, Fringed, Spruce, and Cedar trees.

This quaint spot looks like a setting out of a 60s classic. At the banks of the lake is a Nag Mandir. Also, refreshments are on! Some stalls sell hot Maggi and Tea. Hot refreshments in the chilly atmosphere and this quaint setting all combined are an unforgettable memory.

Mahamaya Temple is devoted to Goddess Kali and is situated in Kacheri Narkanda

7. Mahamaya Temple:

Distance: 11 km

Mahamaya Temple is devoted to Goddess Kali and is situated in Kacheri. The temple was built by the king of Sundarnagar inside his royal palace. The temple has an architecture similar to that of a fort.

The temple is surrounded by Apple orchards and snow-clad mountains all around. The serene and beautiful setting of the place is great for self-introspection and meditation.

8. Kacheri:

Distance: 7 km

Kacheri is a town famous for its age-old Mahamaya Temple and its sanctity. The meditative vibe here is perfect for some self-introspection and to immerse in the serenity of the surroundings. All around the temple you can find Apple Orchards and lush greenery.

This tranquil experience is one of a kind. The temple is devoted to Goddess Kali and devotees regard this temple with devotion. Goat sacrifice is practiced at the temple on special occasions.

9. Jau-Baug:

Distance: 8 km

Jau-Baug or Joh Bagh is a small village about 15 minutes walk from the Hatu peak. It is nestled between meadows and is a perfect place to camp after a tiring trek to Hatu peak. Stargazing is another cool activity that you must take up here.

The locals provide cheap accommodation and some delicious meals, so food and shelter will never be a problem. Its green vegetation and meadows are a perfect setting for long nature walks and nature photography. You can get some crazy shots up there. It is heaven for photographers and a quiet retreat to nature.

So, this was all about the beautiful town of Narkanda. More tourist places near Narkanda are Jalori Pass and Tirthan Valley. If you have time then, visiting these places is worth every effort. Quaint and beautiful these getaways are worth the effort.

Do visit this place if you want to try skiing as a novice or even as an expert. The town has skiing opportunities for all and scenic beauty cannot be appreciated enough. Also, read our articles on Kasol and Manikaran– two towns famous for Hash, trekking, and Israeli food.

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