A Guide to Khajjiar, India's Mini Switzerland

Khajjiar's reputation as the Mini Switzerland of India is deserved, as our guide will show
Khajjiar's reputation as the Mini Switzerland of India is deserved, as our guide will show | © Uniquely India / PhotosIndia.com LLC / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Poonam Binayak
India Writer31 December 2021
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Khajjiar, often dubbed the Mini Switzerland of India, is a small hill station in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh. With a small-town vibe, fresh mountain air and picturesque landscapes encompassing dense deodar forests, verdant meadows and snowy mountains, it’s a playground for adventurers. To make the most of your visit, read our helpful guide to Khajjiar.

What to see and do

While it is a tiny hill town, Khajjiar packs a punch in terms of adventure, nature and culture, making it worth a visit while vacationing in the Himalayas.

Khajjiar Lake

Natural Feature
Map View
A view of Khajjiar Lake in the Chamba district Of Himachal Pradesh, with rich forest behind
© EyeEm / Alamy Stock Photo

Amid saucer-shaped meadows and dense cedar forests, Khajjiar Lake is a picturesque spot. The highlight is the floating island, which is actually grass growing on the lake’s surface. Hordes of backpackers descend on the lake to get their adrenaline fix – from paragliding to horse riding and zorbing, there are plenty of activities on offer. Not keen on adventure? Fret not – you can simply relax and soak in spectacular views of Mount Kailash from the lake.

Khajji Nag Temple

Hindu Temple
Map View

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

Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary

Natural Feature, Zoo
Map View
Tall trees on grass in Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary
© sondipon / Alamy Stock Photo

To get your nature fix, head to Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary, home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Expect to encounter yellow-throated martens, jackals, leopards, gorals, deer, bears and langur monkeys. All are packed within a picturesque landscape dotted with dense deodar forests and small streams – a perfect place for trekking.

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  • Explore the Khajjiar villages

    Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
    Map View
    Aerial view of Kalpa village and the sacred Kinnaur Kailash peak at sunrise
    © Alexey Senin / Alamy Stock Photo

    Hidden in the forests and lush mountains are picturesque and unspoilt 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 cosy homestays, for an even fuller experience of peaceful mountain life.

    Where to stay and eat

    There are several hotels and resorts in Khajjiar, catering to all preferences. Here’s our pick of the best.

    All three hotels have all-day dining – a useful feature in such a remote region, where restaurants are scarce. However, you will find a cluster of casual eateries near Khajjiar Lake.

    How to get there

    Kangra Airport

    Architectural Landmark
    Map View

    The nearest airport is Kangra Airport, approximately 125km (78mi) from Khajjiar, and the nearest railway station is Pathankot, around 93km (58mi) away. A bus or taxi will cover either journey. Alternatively, you can reach Dalhousie or Chamba via private or state-owned bus and take a cab the rest of the way (it takes just over an hour to reach Khajjiar).

    These recommendations were updated on December 31, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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