In the last few years, I have been constantly attracted to offbeat places in Himachal. However with the kind of information I found on these places on the internet, I ended up wondering – “Are offbeat places in Himachal a myth?”
After all, a truly offbeat place wouldn’t have random people writing so much about them on the net. I agree that these places are less crowded. But are they offbeat is something I have pondered upon.
Therefore, in my current blog, I will dwell on the issue of – “Are offbeat places in Himachal a myth” and try to come up with the most objective solution. Feel free to share your stance with me as well in the comments section.
Are Offbeat Places in Himachal a Myth – Well, Maybe!
Over the past years, it has increasingly become obvious to me that Himachal is becoming more accessible with time. And so, the number of offbeat places are decreasing.
Having said that, if you can connect with the right native folks, they can genuinely help you find offbeat places.
10 Extremely Sad Reasons Why Offbeat Places in Himachal Are Becoming a Rarity with Time
Slowly but steadily offbeat places in Himachal are decreasing. Hence, I am listing 11 reason to prove my point.
|1. People Promoting Offbeat Places in Himachal Way too Much|
|2. Road connectivity to even the Most remotest Villages in Himachal Now|
|3. Construction of Guesthouses and Hotels in Remote Places of Himachal|
|4. Tourism potential of Unexplored Places Realized by Locals in Himachal|
|5. All of a sudden the Hidden Gems of Himachal Are Coming to Limelight|
|6. All weather connectivity to the remote places in Himachal|
|7. Not so popular places getting the weekend getaway tag in Himachal|
|8. Mass trekking by Companies Destroying the Not So Popular Places in Himachal|
|9. Good Road conditions Have made Even the Most Dangerous Terrain in Himachal Accessible|
|10. Hostels in Not so Popular places in Himachal|
1. People Promoting Offbeat Places in Himachal on the Internet Way too Much
Thanks to people excessively promoting hidden gems on social media and Internet, the place starts to become popular and no more remains offbeat.
This is not wrong, but revealing everything at once can become very problematic. Therefore, lesser the people talk to about an offbeat place on the internet, more are the chances they will remain hidden.
Eventually though somebody will promote it. But the point is NOT to reveal everything at once but rather promote it in a responsible manner.
2. Road Connectivity Exists to Even the Most Remotes Villages in Himachal Now
Road connectivity in Himachal is being prioritized. This means that Road is now reaching to even the remotest of villages
Of course, being connected to a road is the right of Himachali people. But it does have an effect on the offbeat nature of a place.
|For instance, back in the day, Tosh in Parvati valley had no roads. One had to trek for 3-4 hours to reach there as told by locals. But once the road was constructed , the offbeat nature of Tosh CHANGED forever.|
3. Construction of Guesthouses and Hotels in Remote Places of Himachal
Staying with locals is not easy task if all you want is materialistic comfort. Once guest houses and hotels start popping up so does the casual crowd.
So once such crowd starts coming in with no regards to responsible travel, it is a big indicator that a place is no more offbeat.
And that will only be possible when they get all the luxury they want like proper hotels, cafes, etc. A real traveler will not crib about such things, but will actually appreciate and respect the local culture.
4. Tourism Potential of Unexplored Places Realized by Locals in Himachal
We can all agree that in rural Himachali villages, agriculture is still the main source of income. Therefore the rustic folks find an additional income from tourism quite luring.
|The lure of easy money sometimes leads to unchecked hotels, guesthouses, cafes in popping up in such pretty hamlets. This in turn makes the place popular.|
Again I’ll consider Tosh as an example. It was a typical Himachali village. But thanks to the lure of easy money and exponential increase in tourist footfalls, all you can see now is a cluster of huge hotels amidst such pretty vistas.
5. All Of a Sudden the Hidden Gems of Himachal are Coming to Limelight
Once a place becomes easily accessible it falls easy prey to the perils of tourism. Chances are such a place will no longer remain offbeat. I have a very recent example to make my point –
Lahaul was one of the open secrets of Himachal until a while ago. It made me really sad when there was not a single soul exploring it’s beauty when I was there. However, now with the tunnel opening, when crowds of people are flooding that same Lahaul, I feel sad.
With the advent of tunnel Lahaul has become easily accessible. And within a few days of the tunnel’s launch, there have been news report about thefts, littering, eve-teasing. This has shocked the locals to the core and me as well.
6. All Weather Connectivity to Remote Places in Himachal
There are several remote places in Himachal which get completely cutoff by road for almost 6 months due to snow. This means that tourism related activities can only last 3-4 months.
|But a place which has all weather connectivity conspicuously will entice a lot more people. This makes the chances of places becoming popular very in Himachal.|
Earlier, before Atal tunnel, Tourism in Lahaul just lasted from June to October. But now with the all weather road connectivity it will start receiving tourists all throughout the year.
7. Not So Popular Places Getting the Weekend Getaway Tag in Himachal
The concept of weekend getaway is good. But when people start to throng unchecked it usually kills the offbeatness (if that’s a word) of a place.
Once a not so popular place gets the tag of weekend getaway, it’s gone forever. What better example can we have than a loacle like Kasol!
|Since the time Kasol has been synonymous with HASH, people have been flocking Kasol as if it were a Weekend Gateway of sorts.
And this has made Kasol overcrowded. By the way, my personal stance on Kasol is that it is extremely overrated and I have 11 reasons to support my stance.
8. Mass Trekking by Companies in Himachal Destroying Not So Popular Trails
Hiking trails are very poorly developed in Himachal unlike western countries. Thus such beautiful trails are quite under explored. But once a trekking company see’s the business potential, it no more remains offbeat.
|Once the trail becomes very popular, the same problem of trash, ignorant travelers arises. Such are the perils of the mass trekking. And the offbeat nature of the place is ruined.|
Hampta pass, Bhrigu lake, Beas Kund were not always popular. But thanks to the excessive promotion by trekking companies, they are now flocked with trekkers during the season.
9. Good Roads Conditions Have Made Even the Most Dangerous Terrains in Himachal Accessible
Good roads encourages more people to visit a particular place. But if the road conditions are not that great not many people try to visit the place. Thus it remains still kind of offbeat
In Inner Seraj roads are narrow but in good condition. Hence people are now visiting Jibhi, Jalori. In Mandi Seraj, especially towards Gadagushaini and beyond it still a dirt track.
|This results in only serious travelers wanting to explore the region. Therefore, good roads always equals more people visiting making the place popular.|
10. Famous Hostel Chains in NOT So Popular Places in Himachal
Earlier popular hostel chains were boon to backpackers in India. But now it’s ruining everything, especially in Himachal. Its fine to have a hostel at a tourist hotspot.
|But a hostel in rural Himachali setting does not make sense. For instance, a popular hostel chain of India has set up operations in now somewhat famous Shangarh in Sainj valley.|
Its just matter of time before it’s competitors also set up operations. I fear that if things are not kept in check it might end up being another Khajjiar.
So, Are There Still Places in Himachal that Can Be Called Offbeat in their True Sense?
To be honest lots of such places still exist in Himachal.
There are still places in Himachal where roads get cut off for most parts of the year. Weather conditions are extreme and the terrain not so friendly.
Hence, only those individuals who are genuine travelers can reach these places. And that is why such places are largely offbeat.
How to actually find the lesser explored places in Himachal
Well this is not as hard as it seems. It only takes a little bit of effort. Yes you might need to know a few places in Himachal as a reference point. but thats it and you are good to go.
|Use internet the right to find lesser explored places in Himachal
Yes you heard right, Internet can help you find offbeat places if you use it in the right way. You can find offbeat places by reading genuine blogs, connecting with local folks of remote valleys through social media.
For instance, I discovered Yuthok homestay from Instagram. The host Rajeshwar Thakur has Lahauli roots, but knows Kullu, Lahaul, Kinnaur, Spiti in and out.
|Read Awesome Books About Himachal to Find Offbeat Places in Himachal
This is one the best ways to discover newer places in Himachal. Reading good books on Himachal will surely point you in the right direction.
Recently I had read Sabse Uncha Pahad by Tarun Goel and Into the Untravelled Himalayas by Harish Kapadia and many more. These books surely made me acquainted with a lot of newer places that I did not know about.
|Talk to the Locals to Discover Hidden Gems of Himachal
This is one of the best ways to find offbeat places in Himachal. Most of the locals know their backyard in and out.
Therefore they will definitely point you in right direction as far as offbeat places are concerned. Locals in Himachal are quite amiable so you should have no problems in striking a conversation with them.
|Use Maps To Find the Unexplored Places in Himachal
Maps online or offline are a very good tool to find offbeat places in Himachal. You just have to know a popular place and then search for some hidden areas or villages.
Once you have an idea about that particular village or place, you can research more about it or ask the local.
Places in Himachal that are Still ‘Kind of Untouched’
Yes there places which still are quite offbeat and under explored. And no I am not talking about likes of Kalpa, Sangla, Chitkul, Barot, Bir, Tirthan, Shangarh etc.
These were offbeat few years back, but now they are certainly not.
Secret Magical Valleys of Kullu that Have Some Of the Best Untouched Places in Himachal
Even though you might think Kullu is just a over crowded town, but in reality Kullu district as whole houses a lot of hidden gems and ancient villages. Only a little bit of information is available even on the internet.
Lesser explored valleys like Lug, Fozal, etc still attract very less visitors. The upper villages near Raison are also quite untouched and extremely picturesque.
This is the Kinnaur I Bet you Have Never Heard About
Yes you might find it very surprising but no Kalpa, Sangla, Chitkul are not offbeat anymore. Apart from these places and Nako in Upper Kinnaur, most of the valley has not been explored at all.
Villages of Nichar block like Bara Khamba, Tranda etc are relatively unexplored. Upper Kinnaur certainly gets neglected as well.
Places like Nesang, Ropa valley, Labrang, Asrang, Lippa, Hango, Leo are rarely mentioned in those offbeat listicles curated by the famous travel agencies.
The Rustic Charm of Chamba Everyone Needs To Witness
If you leave aside Dalhousie and Khajjiar almost whole of Chamba is full of lesser known places. There are places Saloni valley, Churah valley, Kugti etc which attracts very less tourists.
Even the more popular Pangi valley receives very less crowd due it being only open for 3-4 months. Much of the Chamba remains to be explored in that sense.
This Magical Region of Shimla Surely Deserves A Proper Visit
Upper Shimla relatively has remained quite untouched. Areas like Narkanda, Kotagarh, Theog etc have become somewhat popular over the years.
But again, remote villages in Pabbar valley are unheard off. Dodra-Kwar region which is beyond Chanshal pass even though a bit popular receives hardly any visitors due to bad roads and it being cutoff during winter months.
Pristine Beauty of Lahaul That You Should Experience As A Traveler
Even though Atal tunnel has brought Lahaul into limelight, there are many areas which not a lot of people, Most of the Tourism remains restricted to Sissu, Kyelang, Udaipur, Trilokinath.
Upper villages of Ranglo valley, Bhaga valley remains relatively offbeat. Pattan valley also needs to be explored apart from Trilokinath and Udaipur. Miyar valley is the remotest in Lahaul, with only a handful homestays now coming up.
Mandi Seraj – One of the Best Untouched Places in Himachal That will Blow Your Mind
Mandi Seraj is one most beautiful and untouched locations in Himachal. The road is still a dirt track which is why attracts a lot less travelers.
The is route is alternative route to Janjheli from Banjar, and is home to several remote villages of Seraj region. It is one of the 16 most beautiful alternatives to crowded places like Kasol Manali, Mcleodganj.
I had great plans to explore a bit of this beautiful valley, before the pandemic ruined my plans. Hopefully in the future I will get a chance to explore this pristine region.
Responsible Travel A Must to Save the Offbeat Places in Himachal.
Eventually none of the places in Himachal will remain offbeat. They’ll become popular by one way or another. This is why we need to travel responsibly now more than ever
If you are visiting any offbeat place or lesser explored hamlets, make sure you keep the place clean and do not trash there. Avoid using plastic items and stick to using environment friendly things
To conclude, I hope I was able answer the question “Do Offbeat Places in Himachal exist anymore” and Justify my objective stance on this topic. As far as offbeat places are concerned, there are still plenty but only if you know how to look for them.
Please feel to reach out in case you have any questions about this topic. I’ll be happy to help.