A Guide to Khajjiar, India's Mini Switzerland

Khajjiar | © SriniG / WikiCommons
Khajjiar | © SriniG / WikiCommons
Photo of Poonam Binayak
India Writer17 February 2018

Khajjiar, the ‘Mini Switzerland of India,’ as it is often dubbed, is a small hill station in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. With a small town vibe, fresh mountain air and picturesque landscapes encompassing dense deodar forests, verdant meadows and snow-laden mountains, it is an adventurer and nature lover’s playground. To make the most of your visit, read our useful guide to Khajjiar.

What to see and do

Though it is a tiny hill town, Khajjiar packs quite a punch in terms of adventure, nature, wildlife and culture, therefore making it worth a visit while you’re vacationing in the Abode of Snow.

Khajjiar Lake

Located amid the saucer-shaped verdant meadows and dense cedar forests, Khajjiar Lake is a picturesque spot that is popular with both locals and tourists alike. The highlight of this spot is the floating island, which is actually a bunch of grass growing on the lake’s surface – a beautiful sight to behold! In addition to that, hordes of backpackers descend to the lake to get their adrenaline fix. From paragliding to horseback riding and zorbing, there are plenty of recreational activities in this scenic hill town. Not that keen on adventure? Fret not, you can simply relax amid nature and soak in the spectacular vistas of Mount Kailash from the lake.

Khajjiar Lake | © Wittystef / WikiCommons

Khajji Nag Temple

On the bank of Khajjiar Lake lies the Khajji Nag Temple that dates back to the 12th century. Dedicated to the Lord of Serpents, Khaji Nag, the temple stands out with its Hindu-Mughal architecture, complete with a gilded dome and intricate wood carvings. The temple has idols of snakes, Lord Shiva, Goddess Hadimba, as well as images of Pandavas and Kauravas.

Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary

To get your wildlife fix, head to the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Expect to come across Himalayan black marten, jackal, leopard, barking goral, deer, bear and langur. All of this wildlife is packed within the picturesque landscape dotted with dense deodar forests and little streams, which also make it a perfect location for trekking and nature walks.

View of Khajjiar | © Amit.pratap1988 / WikiCommons

Go trekking

Energetic travellers should definitely go trekking. Khajjiar offers numerous trekking routes passing through lush pine and deodar forests and scenic streams. The routes range from easy to moderate, treating trekkers to incredible sceneries along the way.

Explore the Khajjiar villages

Hidden in the forests and lush mountains are picturesque and unspoiled villages. Some of the villages worth discovering include Ladi and Rota, which are famed for their apple orchards and unbeatable views of snow-laden hills and Mount Kailash. Stroll along their streets and soak in the tranquil vibes and pristine nature. There are also cozy homestays here if you’re looking to experience the peaceful life of the mountains. Be sure to sample authentic Himachal fare!

Khajjiar | © Sandeep Brar Jat / WikiCommons

Where to stay and eat

There are several hotels and resorts in Khajjiar for all pocket sizes. For budget travellers, some of the best options include Hotel Mini Swiss and Hotel Country Resort. If you’re looking for a lavish stay, consider Deodar Manor and Hotel Royal Residency. For those looking to experience true Himachali hospitality, opt for homestays or guesthouses, such as Gautam Guest House, Puri Guest House and Anjali Homestay. Plus, there are also hotels and cottages run by Himachal Pradesh Tourism. All of the lodgings are kitted out with the best amenities and services. They also offer delicious food, including local delicacies and other cuisines.

Cottage in Khajjiar | © Ashish Sharma / WikiCommons

How to get there

The nearest airport is Kangra Airport, approximately 78 miles away, and the nearest railway station is Pathankot, approximately 58 miles away from Khajjiar. You can take a bus or taxi the rest of the way. Alternatively, you can reach Dalhousie or Chamba via private or state-owned bus and take a cab the rest of the way (it takes an hour or so to reach Khajjiar).

Khajjiar, the ‘Mini Switzerland of India’ | © Gomusam / WikiCommons

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