Wonder and bewilderment are quite natural when you chance upon the lovely hamlet of Andretta in Himachal Pradesh. This area is literally artistic as you will soon discover on your trip and there are plenty of fun things to do here on your next vacation!
Andretta is an artist’s colony in and was established in 1920s by Irish theatre artist and environmentalist Norah Richards. Andretta is an artist’s hub and has attracted several famous theatre practitioners, potters, painters since the time its foundation was laid. It is located near Palampur in the Kangra district and the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas covers this place as a blanket, making it a place straight out of a postcard stamp.
How to reach
By road: Andretta is just a 20-30 minutes drives from Palampur which is located only 13 km away. By road is the quickest way to reach Andretta.
By rail: The nearest major railway station from Andretta is Pathankot which is almost 90 km away. There is another tiny station called Panchkruchi located 2 km away, though it is better to opt for Pathankot.
By flight: The nearest airport is Dharamsala’s Gaggal airport, 40 km away from Andretta.
The Essence of Andretta
Andretta, a quaint village which occupies a large place in the artists’ heart is filled with fun activities you can indulge in to take in the essence of the place. Here is a list of some of the
Things to do in Andretta
- Get in touch with your artsy side in Sobha Singh Art Gallery
- Find your inner peace at Bundlamata Temple
- Plan a picnic to the Neugal Khad
- Visit Norah Richard’s house in Andretta village
- Why Andretta is called Himachal’s hidden pot? Find out!
- Have an excursion to the Panchrukhi village market
- Go trekking through the Thampsar trek
1. Get in touch with your artsy side in Sobha Singh Art Gallery
This art gallery in Andretta is a museum which displays the original creations of the famous artist Sobha Singh. Other than this, sculptures, posters and canvas prints are also showcased here. The main studio is also opened to the visitors. Various photographs related to the life of the legend are present here, which are sure to stir the artsy side of yours. There is also a very engaging souvenir shop here known as Parampara in the gallery premises, where mugs, books and local handicrafts are available for sale.
2. Find your inner peace at Bundlamata Temple
The Bundlamata temple is one of the ancient places to visit in Palampur dating back to the 14th or 15th century. The Bundla stream which flows by the temple, is where it gets its name from. It is the shrine of Goddess Bundlamata who is worshipped sincerely by the locals. The cascading stream and the surrounding tea gardens enveloping the temple is a sight to behold. There is no better place to do some self reflection than the Bundlamata Temple of Palampur!
3. Plan a picnic to the Neugal Khad
Neugal Khad, popularly known as the Bundla Chasm, is a broad water stream which flows close to Palampur. It is a very popular picnic spot and is situated about 4 km from Palampur. Sip into some tea and bite into your picnic sandwiches with your close ones for company as you soak in the breathtaking panoramic view of the Himalayan Dhauladhar Range from here. And do not forget to carry your camera along, as this is a scene you will want to capture and carry with you for the rest of your life.
4. Visit Norah Richard’s house in Andretta village
What better way to understand what Andretta village is, than visiting its founder’s house? Norah Richards, an exceptional Irishwoman and theatre artist established this village. Her house is still located here, which is built in the old English style. There is a small outdoor theatre located outside the house where she used to teach students how to perform plays. The Punjabi University of Patiala has recently renovated her abode and now every October 29th, which is Norah’s birthday, is celebrated by theatrical performances here, which you cannot afford to miss.
5. Why Andretta is called Himachal’s hidden pot? Find out!
One of the main attractions of the Andretta village, for tourists and artists alike is the Andretta Pottery and Craft Society. It is a lively potters’ community with pottery workshops and galleries scattered all around. This colorful small spot is enhanced by the attractive earthenware with rangoli art and the sparkly eyed talented potters who breathe life into this place. This is also a very interactive space where you can try your hand at pottery and learn from the artists while you are there.
6. Have an excursion to the Panchrukhi village market
This village market is closest to Andretta and is famous for the Jogindernagar narrow Gauge train line. This gorgeous market place has everything which you will need during your village stay starting from fruits, vegetables and provisions to even beverages. It is also a food hub with plenty of amazing eateries. So if you are in Andretta, shopping in Panchrukhi market is a must!
7. Go trekking through the Thampsar trek
A breathtaking hill station like this calls for some trekking. The Thampsar pass, an alluring pass of the Dhauladhar range, provides you with this opportunity. This trail is a road less travelled and deserves to be explored more. It is not that far away from Andretta so there is absolutely no reason for you to miss this opportunity. The mystic forest of Chhota Bangal is a perfect place to wander around here, if you are an explorer at heart. You will pass through different beautiful villages during this trail like Barot Badagram, Rajjgundha and Kukkargandha. The lush meadows of Plachak and Panhartu that you will tread on in your way are bound to stay with you throughout the trek, through their enticing fragrance. You will also get a sneak peak of the local Gaddi tribe’s lifestyle which is fascinating to say the least. To find out the rest you have to participate in this mesmerizing trek while in Andretta.
Andretta: A journey to remember
Andretta is one of the few places where the journey is as beautiful as the destination. The exhaustive list given above showcases just that. Andretta is not only an amazing place in itself , but has other amazing places surrounding it which will make you long for the cool Himachal weather, even when you are in hustling in your own city.