Khajjiar- Mini Switzerland of Himachal

Khajjiar is popularly called Mini Switzerland of Himachal Pradesh and with good reason. It is at a height of 6500 feet above sea level and surrounded by dense forests and green meadows. Khajjiar is in fact one of the few places in the world to have 3 eco systems - lake, pasture and forest, all in one place. Khajjiar is also famous for the 12th-century Khajinag temple which has a golden dome and spire. The best way to enjoy Khajjiar is by doing nothing and just gazing at the idyllic pastoral scenery featuring a lake, grazing sheep & horses, pine and cedar forests and snowcapped mountains. There is Para Gliding and Horse Riding for the rest less!

Reaching Khajjiar

Khajjiar is just 22 KMs from Dalhousie, the nearest major town. The nearest airport is at Gaggal, in Kangra 180 km away, while the nearest railhead is at Pathankot, 120 km away.

When to visit Khajjiar

Khajjiar enjoys an Alpine Summer from April till June and that’s the best period to plan a visit here. Monsoons follow from Jul-Sep. Khajjiar witnesses a bitter winter from November to February.

Where to Stay in Khajjiar 

Khajjiar is best enjoyed by staying at the Khajji Cottage run by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Corporation Ltd. Have a look at the accompanying photograph.

 

The setting is idyllic and perfect for a relaxing holiday far from the crowds. Online bookings are possible at http://hptdc.gov.in/custsw/viewuser8.asp

What to do in Khajjiar

Khajjiar is a sylvan glade with a serene lake in its center and surrounded by dense Pine forests. It is a beautiful sight to watch the numerous sheep, goats and cattle graze in the meadows. A long sequence of the Bollywood blockbuster “Kuch kuch hota hai” was filmed besides the Lake! The lake side is spongy due to the dense growth of weed called 'vacha', so one needs to be careful while walking.

Horse Rides are a great way to explore the jungle surrounding the beautiful meadow. You have a choice of ponies as well as handsome horses to choose from.

A good idea would be to put on a traditional outfit of Himachal Pradesh and take a photograph besides the lake or with the Pine trees making the back drop. Professional Photographers are available along with the traditional outfits. You can also hold rabbits and take a snap!  Some photographers carry rabbits in baskets decorated with flowers and offer you a photograph holding the cute animals.

Khajjair is an ideal place for Paragliding. After hitting the skies, the view below is simply beautiful and memories will last a lifetime.

Zorbing is another exhilarating sport you can attempt. The natural slope of the meadow makes it lots of fun as you roll down.

Khajji Nag temple is one of the most revered temples of Chamba district. It is dedicated to the lord of serpents. Dating back to the 10th century, the architecture is influenced by both Hindu and Mughal styles. The shrines inside the temple belong to Lord Shiva and Goddess Hadimba.

Wildlife enthusiasts can make a trip to the nearby Kalatop Sanctuary. The sanctuary lies in the path of the Ravi River, and is surrounded by coniferous and oak forests. Kalatop is home to Leopards, Deer, Bears, Wild Cats, Langurs, Porcupines and many species of Birds. The vegetation comprises Blue Pine and Deodar forest, Green Oak and Rhododendron trees. You can visit the Kali temple perched right on top of the hill. The sanctuary also offers panoramic views of the Pir Panjal range of mountains.

The Bhuri Sing museum is a great place to get a feel for the cultural heritage of Himachal Pradesh. Named after Raja Bhuri Singh who ruled Chamba from 1904-1919, the museum is a repository of paintings, coins, photographs, arms and scriptures. It is located near Chaugan.

A Discovery at Khajiar

Khajjiar was officially baptized as Mini Switzerland of Himachal Pradesh by Willy Blazer, Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India on July 7, 1992! Blazer also took from Khajjiar a stone which today forms part of a stone collage around the Swiss Parliament.

Brief History of Khajjiar

Khajjiar was ruled by the Chamba Kings since 6th century AD. The famous Khajjinag temple was built in the 10th century AD and features images from the Mahabharata. The power shifted to the Mughals during 16th and 17th centuries. The mantle of Khajjiar passed on to Sikh rulers after the decline of the Mughal Empire before landing up with the British till the Indian Independence in 1947.

For a travelogue on Dharamshala, the abode of Dalai Lama and Tea estates, visit Dharamshala.

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