Himachal Pradesh is a region of endless natural wonders. From the mighty Himalayan ranges and their valleys to the exquisite flora and fauna, the ‘Unforgettable Himachal’ offers experiences at every turn. Besides the popular touristy locales are less explored havens that are worth a visit. Once such place is Kotgarh. Known as the ‘Apple State’ of Himachal, Kotgarh is encircled by apple trees at every corner, picturesque villages, dense forest cover and an allure that will keep you coming back for more.
Kotgarh is perched at an altitude of 6500 Ft, about 16 KM from Narkanda. Kotgarh takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes from Shimla. You can rent a Shimla taxi to reach Narkanda or directly to Kotgarh. If two-wheeler is your weakness, then the Shimla-Narkanda bike trail is perfect to fulfill your need for speed.
The best time to visit this Himachal village is between the months of February to June. Because, in these spring-summer months, the flora is in full bloom and you wouldn’t be able to spot a tree without a blossom. For winter lovers, you can also visit in the holiday season of December and January, to experience the chills and the thrills of the cold season. And if you are lucky, you could also experience an enchanting flurry.
Things to do
Apple Orchards Tour
This quaint little hill town is home to the juiciest and most delicious apples that you would ever find. The vast spread of orchards adds to the inspiring element of this hamlet. The perfect time to explore the orchards is in the harvest season when the fruits are ripe and ready for savoring. Join a group tour of apple orchards and go around the original British farms and learn about the history of apple cultivation in this state. Don’t forget to sample a few of these luscious, red fruits while you are wandering.
What’s the fun of being in the Himalayas if you don’t experience the snow? To completely experience a winter wonderland, hit the mountains of Narkanda in the peak winter months and take up skiing.
Tani Jubbar Lake
Located at a mere distance of 5Km from Kotgarh, is the old Tani Jubbar Lake. A temple of a local deity sits on the banks of this lake, which prohibits tourists to enter. However, the lake area takes on a vibrant avatar every June, when a local annual fair is hosted, and artists and craftsmen from the neighboring villages throng to display their skills.
Hattu Peak & Hattu Temple
Need a feeling of being on top of the world? But Mount Everest is too far-fetched? Then a trek to the Hattu Peak could fulfill your desire. At a distance of 15 Km from Kotgarh, the Hattu Peak sits at an elevation of 11000 Ft. Join a guided trek group and hike for about two hours from Narkanda to reach this peak. This point on the mountain is also famous for the Hattu temple, which is believed to be an incarnation of goddess Kali.
St. Mary’s Church
If Goth architecture and stories of that time intrigue you, then pay a visit to the St. Mary’s Church near the Kotgarh village. Acclaimed as one of the oldest churches of India, and probably one of the rare ones of Himachal, this church, and its surrounding premises stand as a flag-bearer of its archaic attributes. The colonial structures are highlighted with stained glass windows and old cedar-wood pews and altar.
The old world charm, the sheer beauty and the crisp mountain air of Kotgarh is just the recipe one needs for a perfect holiday in the hills. You can also rent a car in Shimla and make your journey more comfortable. And every season the village assumes a new look and leaves you awestruck.