The picturesque land of Himachal Pradesh is famous for the snowy mountains, and housing famous hill stations in India due to the hilly region. But there is a lot about the culture and history too which not many people know. This is visible in the historical places in Himachal Pradesh that includes temples, gompas, palaces and forts. So, if you are a history buff and a nature lover then Himachal Pradesh is the best place for you. It is also a top pilgrimage site in India for many devotees as millions come here annually.
It is an ideal holiday location in India and has some great historic monuments to check out.
1. Viceregal Lodge
Also popular as the Rashtrapati Niwas in Himachal Pradesh it is situated over the Observatory Hills in the capital city of Himachal Pradesh – Shimla. This is not just significant historically to the state but also the whole country as it houses many manuscripts, artifacts, important documents, and even old photographs that belong to the British Raj. Moreover, this beautiful architectural and historic marvel was designed by Henry, Irwin, a British architect. During the colonial rule this place served as the residence of the Viceroy of India.
2. Naggar Castle
Situated on the Naggar Castle Road, this ancient castle was constructed around 1460 AD. It is one of the top historical monuments in Himachal Pradesh. This massive ancient mansion is made from unique materials such as stone and wood. It is situated at an elevation that gives a paradisaical view of the surroundings as it is situated in the beautiful Kullu Valley. It is also acting as a museum of historical artefacts as it houses a gallery with relics non display where visitors to this historic site can see and learn about the heritage and traditions of the region.
3. Baijnath Temple
This temple is situated in great surroundings offering panoramic views of the hills and mountains in Himachal Pradesh. This Shiv Ji Temple in Bir was founded in 1204 A.D. The first thing that will grab your attention when you arrive in this quaint town is the ancient Shiva temple called Baijnath temple. It is well known for the unique and attractive architecture in a picturesque backdrop of mountains. It gives a peaceful soul and mind. This is one of the famous temples in Himachal Pradesh.
4. Hadimba Devi Temple
This is one of the most famous temples of Himachal Pradesh that is popularly called Hidimba Temple. Sitting in the hills of Manali the cave temple is nestled in between great Cedar forests providing excellent views of the surrounding hilly regions. Also called Dhungari temple it is dedicated to Hadimba Devi.
The deity figure is made mention in ancient Indian epic Mahabharat and is in the form of a huge rock coming out from under the ground. There is a writing outside the temple for public view that explains the section of the Mahabharat epic about the Pandyas living in Himachal Pradesh while they were living in exile. The region is also known as Dhungiri Van Vihar.
5. Champavati Temple
It is situated in the pristine city of Chamba filled with mountains as well as historic places in Himachal Pradesh. One such a place is the Champavati Temple amidst hills with inscriptions and wall paintings. The city that is popular for hosting its textiles, art and craft also organizes two major festivals. The Suhi Mata Mela and the Minjar Melas are celebrated for many days by locals.
Dancers perform dance and musicians perform music. Constructed by the King of Chamba for his daughter the Champavati Temple architecture is astounding with great historical significance. Hence, the temple is now managed and is headed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
6. Rock Cut Temple
The Rock Cut Temple is another ancient temple that dates back to the 8th century dedicated to several deities like Devi and Saura, Shiva and Vishnu. It is also popular as Masrur Temple and remains although most of the historic structure was severely damaged due to many earthquakes in this region.
This temple remains unstudied and unknown to a certain extent as it is believed that the huge temple was built in advanced design and complex architecture. In spite of the extensive damage this popular temple in Himachal Pradesh attracts many devotees and tourists who are amazed by the temple interiors and architecture.
8. Prashar Rishi Temple
The Lake Prashar is one of the most scenic lakes in Himachal Pradesh. The Prashar Rishi temple is also built alongside this picturesque lake. In addition to the view and the region where the temple is situated there are also several legends associated on how this temple was founded.
As per the ancient Indian epic called Mahabharat in which the Rish Prashar meditated on the banks of this river, it is said to have been built. Moreover, there is also an island located in the middle of this river. The floating island lies on this river that nobody has recorded its depth. It is not only a popular tourist attraction in Himachal Pradesh but also a major historical attraction in India. Now this famous temple in Himachal Pradesh is also gaining international popularity.
8. Key Monastery
There are many tourists from around the country and international tourists that visit this beautiful Key Monastery situated in Spiti Valley. Without a doubt, it is one of the top historical monuments in Himachal Pradesh that attracts visitors every year. It is believed to be more than one thousand years old and is also the biggest Buddhist monastery in Spiti valley.
There is a statue of Buddha inside along with other ancient scriptures. Unfortunately, there have been several attacks on this Key monastery where hundreds of Buddhist monks get training.
9. Tabo Monastery
Situated in the scenic village of Tabo within the picturesque Spiti valley the Buddhist Monastery was founded by Ringchen Zangpo. The monastery is home to many Buddhist teachings on the walls of the monastery that also has several scrolls, statues, and ancient manuscripts that showcase the religion of Buddhism.
It is not just the oldest monastery in the state of Himachal Pradesh but also the whole of India. The active monastery is situated below the valley that makes it unique from other monasteries and special. However, there are also various caves situated above the monastery where monks meditate if they have to. Even the walls within these caves have depictions and inscription of Buddhist teachings.
10. Chokling Monastery
This is another great monastery situated in Bir which is one of the most popular monasteries in Himachal Pradesh. With an amazing grand stupa in place as well as an astounding statue of Padmasambhava the monastery never fails to brighten you up. It is a must-visit if you are going to Bir and you can definitely see that you feel peaceful here. There is a specific colony established in the year 1960 after the exile of Tibetans called Bir Tibetan Colony. This is where the Chokling Monastery is situated on the Bir Billing Road.
11. Jaitak Fort
Sitting on the top of the famous Jaitak Hills in Himachal Pradesh, this place is of great historical importance. It is one of the most ancient historical monuments in the state and country and was constructed in the early eighteenth century by Ranjor Singh Thapa, the Gurkha leader. Moreover, it was built with materials brought from the Nahan fort.
This fort that was later brought down as much possible when it was attacked and destroyed gives splendid views from the top of the hills where it is situated. It is located 25 kilometers from the Nahan mountain ranges and you can clearly see the amazing ranges on a clear day.
12. Kangra Fort
This is one of the most ancient places in the country as it dates back to ancient times. The Trigarta Kingdom even has mention in the Mahabharata. So, the Kangra Fort in Himachal Pradesh can go back as old as this kingdom and has a very interesting history. One specialty of the ancient fort is that several rulers of various dynasties were not able to conquer this historic fort.
There are two ancient temples inside the fort namely Laxmi Narayan temple and the Ambika Mata Temple that is famous for housing the Rishabhanatha statue. Hence, this is another interesting spot for history buffs in Himachal Pradesh.
13. Palace Hotel
This luxurious beautiful Palace hotel in the town of Chail is open for visitors and tourists who would like to have a regal stay. With everything from interiors to the surroundings it is regal – the furniture and furnishings, fascinating wooden log huts, lush manicured gardens and also a private orchard. There are thick forests in the surrounding area that makes it like a rest house in a jungle.
This was built as a summer capital by Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, the King of Patiala. It is said that he constructed this Palace after he was expelled from Shimla by the British Commander-in-chief after an affair with his daughter came out.
Himachal Pradesh is known for the beautiful hill stations, snow slopes where skiing and adventure sports takes place, verdure forests, hilly terrains, and rivers. However, this is also one of the top destinations in India with great historical significance.
There are so many of such buildings in Himachal Pradesh. So, it is also a very interesting place in India for the history buffs. Do not forget to visit this top historic sites in India when you plan a vacation to the picturesque Himachal Pradesh.