What Makes Khajjiar The Mini Switzerland Of India?
Who doesn’t dream about going to Switzerland? Almost everybody has a fantasy regarding Switzerland. Be it treks through the misty mountains or just sitting around and having chocolate, be it a honeymoon or a school vacation, a trip to Switzerland is the stuff which dreams are made of. What if someone tells you that India has a mini Switzerland which would give you the exact feeling of being in Switzerland?
You would dismiss it thinking that the person must be going bonkers right? Well you would be pleasantly surprised upon learning the truth. In Himachal Pradesh, on the hilly slopes of the Himalayas, there exists a quaint little hamlet which can match Switzerland in almost every aspect. Situated in the Chambal district, the Khajjiar hill station of Himachal Pradesh is a part of the Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary. This hamlet is also one of the very few places on earth which can boast of a threefold eco system – lakes, forests and pastures. Mini Switzerland of India – Khajjiar Himachal Pradesh is truly a sight to behold.
When and how to go
This hill station is situated in the lap of the Himalayas, which means that the weather there is cool throughout the year. Winters are harsh because of its geographic location. And the monsoon season is not advisable because it is a hilly terrain. During monsoons, landslides are a common occurrence in hilly regions which leave tourists stranded without any means of communication or transportation at times. Hence the safest time to visit Khajjiar is the spring and summer seasons. The months from March to September, excepting July and August, present the perfect time to undertake a trip to the Switzerland of India.
Going to the Khajjiar hill station is relatively easy once you reach Dalhousie. There are cabs and share cabs available. You can also drive from Chamba which is at a distance of 26 km from Khajjiar.
Primary reason for Khajjiar being dubbed Mini Switzerland
It all started in the year 1992. On July 7, the then Vice Chancellor and Head of the Chancery of Switzerland in India, Willy Blazer, called Khajjiar the ‘mini-Switzerland’. The comparison came into his mind due to the striking topographical resemblance of the place with Switzerland. Upon his instructions, a sign board was installed at the place which showed the distance of Khajjiar from Bern, the capital of Switzerland.
He was so taken by the place that he even took a stone from Khajjiar and installed it amongst the stone collage in front of the Swiss Parliament to remind them of the ‘mini Switzerland’ thousands of miles away.
Things to do at Khajjiar
1. Khajjiar Lake
Perched at a massive height of 1920 m, this lake is easily one of the highest lakes in the country and all over the world. Surrounded by dense deodar trees and pine forests, the lake provides a bird’s eye view of the valley situated at a slightly lower slope. On clear sunny days, the majestic Mount Kailash is visible at a distance. The sparkling water of the lake has a refreshing effect on both the mind and the body. You can just plop down beside the calm waters of the lake and enjoy a nice picnic with your loved ones.
2. Golden Devi Temple
The Golden Devi temple is one of the most eminent tourist spots of the region. Situated near the Khajjiar Lake, this temple has turned into quite a popular tourist spot in recent years. The simplistic design of the temple captures the hearts of every religious soul. The calm and tranquil atmosphere surrounding the temple is a nice getaway from the din and bustle of the city. The soothing environment is surely going to put you into a jovial mood, driving away all the negative emotions from your mind. And to cap it all off, there is a golf course nearby which offers some spectacular view of the scenery all round.
3. Khajji Nag Temple
Built in the 12th century, this temple is considered to be the holiest shrine in the whole of Himachal Pradesh. Dedicated to the Khajji Nag (Lord of Serpents) this temple received pilgrims from all over the country. And by association with this temple, the Khajji Lake is also considered to be a holy site by the devotees. The simplistic architectural patterns of the temple hints at subtle influences of both Hindu and Muslim architecture. This temple is constructed entirely out of wood. The inner sanctum contains the idols of Lord Ganesha and Hadimba. The innermost chamber contains hanging photographs of the Pandavas’ victory over the Kauravas in the epic battle of the Mahabharata.
4. Lord Shiva Statue
This is a majestic statue of the Lord Shiva. Scaling a height of 85 feet, this statue is one of the tallest statues present in the entire state of Himachal Pradesh. The polished bronze statue glistens in the sun during daytime and presents a truly magnanimous sight. The statue looks magical during the winter with snow on it. This will remind passerbys of Lord Shiva meditating on the icy Kailash Mountain.
5. Adventure sports
The sloping valley presents ideal conditions to enjoy some of the most intense adventure sports. The primary adventure sports available here are para gliding, zorbing and horse riding. Para gliding is the primary sport while zorbing is a good option for the ones who aren’t too athletic or fit to endure para gliding. Horse riding is also a good option for anyone and everyone who wishes to explore the vicinity.
The wonderland of natural beauty
The state of Himachal Pradesh is known for its natural beauty. And imagine mixing that beauty with the ethereal charm of Switzerland. That’s exactly what awaits you on this trip. Give yourself a break, pack your stuff and take a hiatus from daily life; you will return a refreshed person. So what are you waiting for? Get going for the mini Switzerland of India – Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh.