Narkanda was once a staging post along the Hindustan Tibet Road and today, this small town is famous for its wide views, forests and as a destinations for a quiet holiday in the heart of nature. The area has forests of fir and spruce, with a smattering of maple, aspen and cedar trees. Narkanda has skiing slopes that include basic downhill and slalom runs. The HPTDC conducts ski courses every winter. The peak of Hatu (3136 m), above Narkanda, is amongst the highest in the mid-Himalaya. Apart from providing an interesting hike trail, the peak is connected by a motorable road that climbs through woods of cedar and spruce and undulating meadows where sheep ad horses graze. Its heights unfold a magnificent vista of snow peaks and valleys. Ahead lie the Greater Himalaya and a host of ‘almost-legendary’ peaks – the Kinner Kailash, Shrikhand and the Kullu ranges. The valley of the river Satluj, embroidered by the highway, has a rich fabric of woods and villages. Hatu’s flanks hold stretches of apple orchards and acres of wild flowers. The top is crowned by a temple dedicated to the goddess Hateshwari.
Height: 2708 m
Climate: The summer is mild and cottons and light woollens are suggested. In winter, the sunny days are pleasant – though the nights are cold and fairly heavy clothes are required. Through the rest of the year, light woollens/cottons are suggested.
Getting There & Away: How to reach Narkanda
Road: Shimla is 64 kms away and Delhi is 440 kms away.
Rail: Chandigarh railway station is at a distance of 185 kms and Kalka is 155 kms away. On the narrow gauge Kalka-Shimla railway line, Shimla station is at a distance of 65 kms.
Air: Shimla airport is at a distance of 88 kms and Chandigarh airport is at a distance of 189 kms.
Tourist Attractions in Narkanda
In winter, skiing is one of the main attractions of Narkanda.
Hatu peak towers over Narkanda and offers a magnificent view from the top and you can see a wide spread of the Himalayan range, small hamlets, fields and orchards. You can drive or hike 6 kms to the top. The route is through forest of deodar and spruce trees.
Kacheri is 7 kms from Narkanda and has an old temple dedicated to goddess Mahamaya.
Kumarsain at 16 kms lies a little off NH-22. This has the two superbly crafted temples dedicated to Koteshwara Mahadev.
Kotgarh and Thanedar (1830 m) are connected by a link road that bifurcates just after Narkanda to Himachal’s apple growing heartland. This pocket of charming mountain countryside is also reputed to have amongst the highest per capita incomes in South-east Asia. All this prosperity is due to Samuel Evans Stokes, who introduced the American varieties of apple in the area and modern systems of marketing and packaging. In his later life, Stokes got converted to Hinduism and changed his name to Satyanand; he became an associate of Mahatma Gandhi in India’s freedom struggle. His house, Harmony Hall is a remarkable blend of indigenous and western architectural styles. The paramjyotir temple near the house has verses of the Gita inscribed along the walls. Nearby are the small lake of Tani Jubbar and the well known Nag Devta temple. St. Mary’s Church at Kotgarh is one of the oldest in the country.