Rows and rows of green deodar trees, a whiff of chill in the air, resplendent rivulets and snow-covered slopes that never end. Khajjiar in Himachal Pradesh is one of those surreal places that will steal your breath and also rejuvenate your senses all at once.
The moment you step foot into this little hamlet you will be swayed away by the crisp freshness in the air, and the beautiful sights of the snowy peaks of the Himalayas. Khajjiar is also gorgeous that many have dubbed it as the Switzerland of India. The title of Mini Switzerland was first coined by Willy Blazer, Vice-Chancellor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland back in 1992.
Even though Khajjiar is quite an iconic town in India, many people are still unaware of it. Khajjiar is located in Himachal Pradesh, near the Dhauladhar circuit. It is nestled in the realms of nature and is far far away from blaring horns and chimneys of smoke. It is just pure, unadulterated nature.
Khajjiar is one of those places that have managed to stay under the tourist radar, as most of them head over to the overly crowded Shimla, Kullu, and Manali.
Khajjiar has located about 100 km from Pathankot, which is also the nearest commercial city. There is absolutely nothing else between Khajjiar and Pathankot, except sprawling meadows and trees that dance with the wind. This makes Khajjiar the perfect place for a romantic and peaceful getaway.
One of the most enchanting things in Khajjiar is the rolling meadows that stretch up till the horizon. These meadows are part of the Khajjiar valley, and they look quite sensational. The meadows are so beautiful that you can throw your arms, and sing and dance around like Julie Andrews in Sound of Music.
The soft dewy grass is the perfect shade of green, and the small lakes make the meadows look even more dreamlike. The meadow is dotted by a few roadside stalls that sell some of the most delicious snacks you will ever have. You can get a mat, buy some snacks and have a great picnic in the meadow. You can also stroll around to get the entire essence, or sit on a pony and enjoy a pony ride around the meadow!
If you come here during the winters, then, the entire place gets covered in a white blanket of snow. The green meadow turns white, and you can just sip your hot chocolate and stare at the pristine white beauty from your hotel balcony.
The iconic temple of Khajjinag was built in the 12th Century and has some of the most detailed and intricate wood cravings. This temple was constructed on the orders of the King Of Chamba, who worshipped snakes. The temple is devoted to the Nag Devta.
The Khajjinag Temple is located near the surreal Khajjiar Lake. The temple itself is quite humble and serene, and you can spend a few spiritual minutes here. The highlights of the temple are the wondrous sculptures of the Pandavas and other intricate wood carvings. The architecture also reeks off a historic significance and legends that are long forgotten. However, there are still some quite popular legends. One of the legends says that there are four Nag Dev Temples which were formed by snakes. All of these temples are located on top of the mountains. Out of these four, the Khajjinag Temple is the most powerful one. The adjoining lake also never dries up and is quite deep.
If you want to explore and indulge in the culture of Khajjiar, then you must visit the few quaint villages that are located near Khajjiar. These lovely hamlets are not only picturesque but also present a wonderful view into the culture of this region.
Explore as many villages as you can, and pick up as many stories, cultural practices and insights as you can. This will not only make your trip more memorable, but you will also learn something along the way. Some of the villages like Rota, Ladi offer the best sights of Mt Kailash and some other such imposing Himalayan peaks.
Other villages have sprawling apple orchards and peach orchards.
If you want to get into the lifestyle and culture of Khajjiar then you must avail of the homestay option. You can stay with the locals, hear all the folklores, and even sample the authentic and delicious Himachal cuisine. Homestays are quite a brilliant way to experience Khajjiar and its laid back lifestyle.
Past the ethereal Khajjiar Lake, and over the thick forests, the Panch Pandav Tree stands upright and proudly. One of the most quirky and fascinating places in Khajjiar, the Panch Pandav Tree is essentially a tree that has six shots. The locals say these shoots symbolize the five Pandavas and their wife- Draupadi.
There is another such tree located about one km away from Khajjiar. This tree has 15 shoots, all of which have the same height. This tree is rightfully called the Mother Tree.
Khajjiar is quite a popular place among trekkers and backpackers. You will usually find quite a good number of tourists lining up go on a surreal hike in Khajjiar.
The trek is about 4 km and is uphill which can make it quite tiring for some. However, you will be passing through some wondrous places. The trek will take you right through the realm of nature and you will be rewarded by some exceptional views when you reach the top. The view from the top is quite something and you might just find yourself staring at the lovely hills and forests veiled by clouds.
The Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the hidden wonders of Khajjiar, that is waiting to be explored. This gorgeous reserve is filled with a brimming flora and fauna. Just walk through the forest and try and find animals like- the jackal, bears, leopards, and langur.
The tall trees and the chilly wind makes it all the more enchanting, and you might feel like running through the woods and staying here forever. There are small rivulets throughout the forests, making it look even more alluring and dreamlike. These rivulets are the tributaries of the Ravi River. Just jump through the rocks, or sing with the birds- the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary is something you just cannot miss.
The little city of Dalhousie is quite a beautiful town to relax. This historical town is marked by al the old world charms, like red post offices, gothic churches, old fashioned school, and gorgeous weather. The food here is also magical, and your taste buds will be overjoyed by the juicy momos. Dalhousie is quite a popular tourist place, and you should spend a night here when you visit Khajjiar.
Located about 26 km from Khajjiar, the Chamba Valley is known for its magnificent scenic beauty, and its famous trekking trails. Just walk through the town, or be a little more adventurous and surrender yourself to the magic of nature through a rejuvenating trek. You will find few tourists here. You can come to the Chamba Valley for a day trip from Khajjiar.
Nestled in the laps of nature, Panchpula is perhaps the best place you visit near Khajjiar. This picturesque place is brimming with life and scenic beauty that will make you gape. Adorned with ethereal lakes, serene waterfalls, and dense pine forests, Panchpula is one for the ages. It is located only about 3 km from Dalhousie, and you must visit this place on your way to Khajjiar.
Khajjiar is dotted with not just an awe-inspiring amount of natural beauty, but also with a sense of calm and tranquillity. This is the kind of place you come to for giving your mind a break and recharging your batteries. Khajjiar will not only offer you the best of nature’s bounty but will also heal you from within.