Narkanda, surrounded by the Shivalik Ranges, is a town perfectly endowed with sheer natural beauty and is famous for its wide views, forests and as a destination for a quiet holiday. It is a skiing resort in winter offering an awe-inspiring view of the snow-clad Himalayan peaks.
The small town of Narkanda owed its initial importance to the construction of the Hindustan Tibet Road. Styled ‘The Great Hindostan Thibet Road’, this road connected the Gangetic plains from the town of Kalka to the Tibetan border. It was Governor-General of India, Lord Dalhousie (1848 - 1856) who ordered work to begin on this in June 1850. Various reasons are cited for the initiation of the road. The system of ‘begari’ prevalent in the hills, where unpaid labourers were pressed into service - including for the transport of timber and files to Shimla - is said to have upset the Governor-General so deeply that he wanted to improve the track these men trudged. It is also believed that Lord Dalhousie wanted to create trade ties with Tibet – and this is felt to be the real reason for building the road. Narkanda was an important staging post on this road and was the highest point between Shimla and the valley of the river Satluj. From this point on, till it began rising again, the road was largely downhill.
The second impetus of growth came in the first half of the twentieth century, when apple production began in Kotgarh-Thanedar belt a few kilometres from Narkanda.
By Air: The nearest airport from Narkanda is the Jubbarhatti Airport, which is located at a distance of 87 km. Jagsons Airlines provides the maximum flights between Shimla and the rest of India, including Chandigarh and Delhi. Indian Airlines, Jet Air and Kingfisher Airlines also provide services to the aiport.
By Rail: The nearest broad gauge railway station is Kalka, at a distance of 152 km from Narkanda. It is well connected with the key cities of India, like Chandigarh, Shimla and Delhi, by regular train services. From there, taxis are easily available for reaching Narkanda. Hiring a taxi will cost you somewhere around Rs 2,200-2,500.
By Road: Shimla forms the major road link near Narkanda. There is no shortage of state run buses from Shimla, to most of the key cities in and around Himachal Pradesh. From Shimla, it's just 2 hrs drive to Narkanda and private taxis can also be hired. A drive from New Delhi will take over 8 hours. You have to follow the NH1 route to Ambala and then NH 22 to Narkanda.
If you''d like to complete your holiday with some shopping The Mall Road in Shimla offers a variety of things you can take back home. From clothes to jewellery to woollens to great handicraft items can be found here.
This is limited to a couple of small shops that have a few handicrafts, shawls and other woolens.
Narkanda''s list of tourist accommodation facilities is rather modest. You can either stay at Hotel Hatu or at the hotel operated by Himachal State Tourism Development Corporation. The town has a pretty- but otherwise fairly unpretentious- rest-house, and a handful of other properties. Most are clean and comfortable but nowhere near luxurious.
Accommodation options in Narkanda are rather limited. The Himachal Tourism Corporation hotel, a bit away from the settlement, and the P.W.D.Rest House located just below a pine forest on a mountain slope, offer luxury and the warmth of Himachali hospitality.
Trekking: Trekking and hiking is an exciting activity to do in Narkanda as it is surrounded by hills. Trekking on the Hatu peak can be a good option for capturing a beautiful view of the Himalayas. There are many opportunities for long, short and rigorous trekking in Narkanda. The Jalori Pass trek begins from just beyond Narkanda and goes northwest over the Jalori pass in the Seraj region. One can begin from the Ani village where one can reach by bus or jeep from Luhri in the Sutlej valley below Narkanda. The road from Narknada follows down the Sutlej valley to enter Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur.
Skiing: Narkanda is famous all across India for skiing and winter sports. The mountain slopes come alive with skiers during the winter season in Narkanda skiing in Narkanda began in 1980 and ever since then HPDC is conducting skiing courses every year. It hires skiing equipments and provides everything from accommodation to transport to the tourists. The Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied sports also organize skiing courses from January. The choices of slopes vary from a beginners and salom slope. For the experienced skier, there are sharper descents.
Nature Walks: The scenic beauty of Narkanda is nothing less than incredible and awe-inspiring. Nature walks in this beautiful backdrop will be ideal for a spectacular view of the sturdy Himalayas. In fact, you will get to see some of the most beautiful sights through these walks, like the one to Hatu Peak. Explore the place in early morning walks and long strolls in the evening. Take care not to disturb nature and make minimum noise while on your walk, so as to absorb the soothing calmness of the natural environs.