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
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

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
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.

Go trekking

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
Aerial view of colourful village houses in winter on mountains by a Khajjiar trekking route
© Shekhar Pillay / Alamy Stock Photo

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.

Explore the Khajjiar villages

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
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.

Hotel Mini Swiss

Hotel

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.

OYO Hotel Country Resort

Hotel
Double bed in a room at OYO Hotel Country Resort
Courtesy of OYO Hotel Country Resort / Expedia

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

Resort, Hotel
Six dining tables set for four on a rooftop terrace at Shining Star Resort, with close views of mountains
Courtesy of Shining Star Resort / Expedia

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.

How to get there

Kangra Airport

Architectural Landmark

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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