Narkanda: Your New Weekend Destination
A beautiful town in the lap of nature, Narkanda is a small village in Himachal Pradesh, located about 65 kms from Shimla. A place which is mostly skipped by a number of people, it offers a scenic view and a calming experience for anyone who chooses to visit.
In the past few years, towns like Shimla and Manali have been bombarded with tourists, even though we are happy for the people as the business is growing. But sometimes, we all just need some kind of peace and that is not possible when there’s a lot of people around. I mean, haven’t we all dreamt about living in a small, cozy cottage in the lap of nature away from all the hustle- bustle of the city, traffic and people, even if it's just for a weekend.
Narkanda is that cozy place for you. While being a small village, it doesn’t have a lot of tourist destinations but it definitely has some of the most beautiful picturesque views that you’ll fall in love with.
So, read on to find out what to see and what to eat in Narkanda and have a relaxed vacation.
Places to check out:
1. Hatu Peak
One of the biggest tourist attractions of Narkanda is Hatu Peak which is the highest point
not only in Narkanda but in the entire Shimla district. The Peak is situated at a height of
3400 meters and is surrounded by a dense forest of trees like conifers, oaks and maples.
Even though the forest has a variety of trees, it is mostly known for its apple orchards. The
trek to the top of the Peak stretches for 7km and has been a very popular trekking spot for
many. The trek trail is also a very beautiful trail as the stop overs offer you some
The Hatu Peak was of great strategic importance for the rulers of the erstwhile hill states
because of its commanding position and was accepted as a boundary between the states.
In the early 19th century, the Peak was captured by the Gorkhas and a fort was
established at the top of it. The Gorkhas were later dismissed from the Hatu heights.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to go to the top of Hatu Peak is from April to September,
but it is advised to skip the trek during the rainy season due to the slippery path.
2. Hatu Temple
When you reach the top of Hatu Peak, you see the Hatu Mata Temple. The Temple is
dedicated to Hatu Mata, the Goddess of the Narkanda region, as well as the Narkanda
According to a local belief, the temple is said to be that of Mandodari, wife of Ravna.
Mandodari, apart from being the wife of Ravna, was also one of the Panchakanya. It is
also believed that Draupadi breathed her last after she fell from the mountain while on her
way to heaven.
The picturesque temple is built in the Pagoda style of architecture, which is a very typical
Himachali style with bands of wood and stone. The temple has exquisite wooden carvings
depicting stories from the Hindu scriptures. One can also see the influence of Buddhism
from certain carvings of dragons and other auspicious symbols.
While the temple is open throughout the year, people visit the Haku Mata Temple in large
numbers on the first Sunday of the Jyeshta month, i.e., or during the Gemini period/ mid-
May to mid-June.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to go to the top of the Hatu Mata Temple is from April to
September, but it is advised to skip during the rainy season as the path leading to the
temple can be slippery and dangerous.
3. Bheem Chulha
Just near the Hatu Mata Temple is Bheem Chulha. It is believed that during the one-year
period of the Agyaat Vaas, the Pandavas arrived at the court of King Virata of Matsyadesh
and lived there in incognito mode, taking up various duties in the King’s court. Arjuna
became a eunuch and tutored dance and music to the King’s daughter, Dharmaraja
became the King’s administration counsellor, Nakul became the caretaker of the horses and
other animals of the King’s army, Sahdev took care of the cattle of the palace, Draupadi
became queen’s maid and Bheem took up the duty of the cook.
It was at this time that Bheem used the place as his chulha or a fireplace where he used to
cook food. Bheem Chulha is a pair of hearthstones that are still found near the Hatu Mata
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit the Bheem Chulha is from April to September, but it
is advised to skip during the rainy season as the path leading to the temple can be slippery
4. Jor Bagh
A picture-perfect place, which is also an ideal campsite, Jor Bagh is a beautiful meadow
which also offers a soothing view of the great Himalayas. The Bagh is about an hour’s trek
away from the Hatu Mata Temple and has views of the majestic mountains, trees like
deodar, blue pine, oak and spruce.
The trek to Jor Bagh is through a dense forest, which is a beauty on its own, but one needs
to be very cautious as the trail is quite dense, making it very easy to lose your way. You
can just sit back and relax while watching the beautiful scenery that Jor Bagh offers.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit the Jor Bagh is from April to September, but it is
advised to skip during the rainy season as the path leading to the Bagh can be slippery
5. Sutlej View Point
Driving a few kilometres downhill from Narkanda towards Rampur, you will find a stunning
view of the Sutlej River flowing through the valley. This is the Sutlej View Point. While one
can easily drive the river up until it reaches the banks of the river, Sutlej View Point is the
first point from where you can get a nice view of the beautiful river.
About half an hour's drive from Narkanda, View Point is located right in front of a Seema
Suraksha Bal base. Soak into the beauty of the Point and click some pictures before going further.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Sutlej View Point is from April to September.
6. Tani Jubbar Lake
Tani Jubbar Lake is an oval-shaped shallow artificial lake. It is a fresh water lake and is situated in the midst of a deodar forest. It lies between lush green slopes on one side and
apple orchards on the other. The Lake has a backdrop of snow- covered mountains and is
mainly surrounded by high cedars.
The lake and its surroundings offer a very beautiful view, thus becoming a good place for
having a picnic with friends and family. One can just sit around the lake and see the
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Tani Jubbar Lake is from April to September.
7. Mahamaya Temple at Kacheri
Mahamaya Temple is a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali and is tucked away in the ethnic
hamlet of Kacheri. The Temple becomes an idyllic environment for meditation and soul
Located a height of 1677 meters, the Temple is situated amidst the gigantic Himalayas with
a beautiful view of the apple orchards. The green coniferous forests, the red apple orchards
and the pleasant weather make the Temple area a very peaceful and austere environment
to attain peace.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit the Mahamaya Temple is from April to September.
The Apple bowl of India, Kotgarh, is located on the old Hindustan-Tibet Road at an altitude
of about 2000 meters. The place is famous for its apples and acres of apple orchards.
The village offers a beautiful view of the Sutlej River and the Himalayas. The village is mostly visited for the Stokes Farm, which is situated in Kotgarh and has a large number of
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit the Kotgarh is from April to September.
9. Stokes Farm
Stokes Farm is a widespread apple orchard. It was started by Samuel Satyanand Stokes in
1916. The Farm also manufactures apple wine, sirka, and jam, which are usually supplied
The Farms are named after the original owner of the place, i.e., Samuel Satyanand Stokes.
The farm was started in order to provide more employment for various locals, especially
Best Time to Visit: Visit in April to see the apple trees blossom or July to September to
experience the harvesting season.
10. St. Mary’s Church
Located in the middle of the Kotagarh Village, St. Mary’s Church was built in 1872 and is a perfect example of Gothic architecture. The Church offers a magnificent view of the
surroundings and enhances the setting of one of the beautiful historical buildings of early
Alongside the Church is a school called Gorten Mission. The school is named after
Gorten, a distinguished civil servant in Shimla during the British Raj.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit St. Mary’s Church is from April to September.
Cafés to eat at:
1. The New Himalaya Negi Dhaba
A café with a beautiful view of the valley, it offers some of the best tasting Indian cuisines
along with some Chinese cuisines. One can have a good portion of breakfast, lunch and
Timing: 7am- 8:45pm
Address: 7F45+FP4, NH 5, Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh 171213
2. “Shyamjees” Shyam Bhojnalaya
A decently priced restaurant with good quality food. One can order from the variety of
vegetarian and non- vegetarian dishes on the menu.
Address: Narkanda (Old Hindustan-Tibet national highway) NH-05, Kumarsain, SHIMLA
HILLS, Himachal Pradesh 171213
3. Romeo Dhaba
A pocket-friendly place to have a good tasting meal is something that we all want. Head to
Romeo Dhaba and get a yummy soup for as low as ₹10.
Timing: 7am- 10pm
Address: 7F46+835, Narkanda Bus Stop, National Highway 22, Narkanda, Himachal
4. Ensemble Bar and Restaurant
A good place to grab a few drinks and good food with friends at a pretty affordable price.
Timing: 6am- 10pm
Address: Narkanda, Shimla, NH-22, Rampur Road, Kumarsain, Kumarsain, Himachal Pradesh 171203
5. Hotel Mahamaya Palace
Hotel Mahamaya Palace is a great place to have good quality main course Indian food. One can have a filling meal in less than ₹500/-.
Address: 7F45+9M Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh
So, the next time when you are bored of going to your usual holiday destination, choose Narkanda and you know that you’ll not get disappointed.