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.
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.
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.
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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Energetic travellers should definitely go trekking. Khajjiar offers numerous trails, passing through lush pine and deodar forests and scenic streams. Routes range from easy to moderate, treating you to incredible scenery along the way.
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.
Hotel Mini Swiss offers a selection of double rooms, along with family-oriented activities including nature walks and horse riding. Car hire is available for when you’re ready to explore farther afield.
The OYO Hotel Country Resort has simple lodgings decked out in the budget hotel chain’s signature red and white. You may also enjoy mountain views from your balcony, depending on the room – ask ahead when booking.
Shining Star Resort in the Chamba Valley has fully furnished double rooms and a rooftop restaurant with mountain views. The concierge will assist in booking adventures such as paragliding and rock climbing.
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.
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.