Trails of India
Where Should I Visit, Manali vs Shimla vs Dalhousie?

India is a country full of wonders and sights unseen. Every nook, every corner has something or the other to offer to the senses. From the shield of mountains to the tranquillity of waves crashing against a shingled shore, India can easily take your breath away with its wide variety of destinations. Speaking about variety, even the mountainous landscapes formed by the Himalayas and its outer ranges have its own forms of variety that can blow your mind away. And in a place like Himanchal Pradesh, a distance of just a few kilometres can completely change what you are able to witness.

Himanchal Pradesh is renowned for a lot of things, but its many hill stations tends to take the prize in making it a place to visit. Three of the most frequently visited hill stations in India are located in the state of Himachal Pardesh- Shimla, Manali and Dalhousie. Given three options at your disposal, it might be pretty difficult to ascertain where you would want to go. Preferences might differ and that would be a major factor in dedicating resources – fiscal or otherwise – in visiting the place you want to visit. So here is a very brief run-down of these locations.

Shimla is the capital of the entire state and as such holds regional significance. It has a rich colonial history and many of its legacies still dot the cityscape, owing to the fact that it used to be the summer capital of the British Indian government because of its distinct climate that uncannily mirrors the weather conditions in Britain. As such, Shimla is that little Europe that you can be found in the mountains. If you desire to immerse yourself in colonial nostalgia and learning history, Shimla is indeed the place to go.

Like Shimla, Dalhousie is also a colonial-era town. Established in 1854 and named after the Earl of Dalhousie, the entire town is located in a picturesque setting. Given its relatively recent existence it has not grown that much and has remained a quiet retreat for many people. Given that it was a garrison town where British troops stayed during the summer, many bungalows and houses provide a testament to its colonial past. If you want to learn something new about the colonial-era but in a more quiet and subdued setting or if you just want to soak in the beauty of the Himalayas in absolute tranquillity, Dalhousie is your ideal destination.

Manali started out as a small trading outpost since ancient times, its significance lay in the fact that it was the gateway to trading routes that led to Leh, Yarkand, Khotan and other trading centres located in Central Asia. However, it also emerged as a viable alternative to Kashmir when the latter was wrecked by insurgencies in the 1980s and 1990s. Due to the economy booming because of this growth in tourism, the once-old trading outpost has now become a small but a very renowned resort town. Today Manali is famous for the beauty of its terrain, for hiking, for trekking, for mountaineering, for skiing and an assortment of activities and winter sports. If thrill and excitement is what you seek, then Manali is the place you should really, really visit.