Himachal can be broadly divided by its main valley. The main ones are the Kangra valley, the Chamba valley, the Pangi valley, the Lahaul valley, the Spiti valley, the Kinnaur valley, the Parbati valley, The Giri valley and the Kullu valley. Shimla and the tract around it, dose not fall strictly in these valley divisions and lies off the waters of the river Sutlej.

There are four well developed core focus zones that draw the maximum visitor or act as base camps for most of Himachal – Shimla, Kullu and Manali, Dalhousie and Chamba, and Dharamshala and Palampur. In their own right they hold several draws and encompass a variety of sightseeing and adventure. They also act as pivots for a spectrum of off-beat excursions. A range of accommodation is a available in these areas – modern hotels close to city centres, resorts neatly meshed with nature and heritage properties that include colonial mansions and age old forts. The budgets they accommodate are also wide – shoestring, or velvet gloves.


By Air: The airport is at Jubbarhatti, 23 km from Shimla town and is connected to Delhi and Kullu. Taxi cabs are available.

By Rail: Shimla is connected by a broadgauge line up to Kalka. Then a narrow gauge line takes over for Shimla and covers 96 km of track. The journey between Kalka and Shimla takes about six hours and is one of the finest ways of enjoying the landscape. The quaint rail car, which runs on this stretch, takes about five hours. A luxury coach that accommodates six persons has recentely been introduced and can be attached to any train of your choice. The Shivalik Express is a deluxe train on this route. Alternative combinations – By train up to Delhi (375 km), Chandigarh (120 km), or Kalka (90 km) and then by road.

By Road: Shimla is connected by road to all major cities in north India. Taxi cabs for Shimla are available at Delhi, Chandigarh, Ambala and Kalka. Several state-run transport corporations including the Himachal Tourism Development Corporations ply regular and non air-conditioned buses from Delhi and Chandigarh. The Himachal Tourism Development Corporation also services the route. Private coaches (air-conditioned and non air-conditioned deluxe) are available at Delhi. Buses can also be chartered.

For the resorts located away from town the connections are by road and taxis are available

Dharamshala and Palampur 

By Air: The airport at Gaggal is 14 km from Dharamshala and 23 km from its twin town Mcleodganj. Palampur is 40 km away. Taxis are available.

By Rail: Pathankot is the closest broadgauge railhead and is 85 km from Dharamshala and 124 km from Palampur. Taxis are available. You can opt for the narrow gauge railway for a taste of the area. Called the Kangra Valley Railway it connects Pathankot to Jogindernagar. The station feeding Dharamshala is Kangra Mandir and the one for Palampur is Maranda.

By Road: Dharamshala is just off National Highway No. 20 and well linked to the region. Palampur is 38 km from Dharamshala and even independently is well linked.

An interesting variation of the standard can be made by taking the train from Delhi up to Jalandhar or Una and then traveling by road. En route you can visit the shrines of Chintpurni, Jawalamukhi and Kangra. The shrine of Naina Devi is also easily accessible if you opt for the Nangal railway station. The road distance from Jalandhar to Dharamshala is 165 km along this route, and to Palampur is 198 km.

Kullu and Manali 

By Air: The airport at Bhuntar is the common base that feeds these towns. This is 10 km from Kullu and 50 km from Manali. Public transport buses and taxis are available for transfer.

By Road: Kullu and Manali are connected by an extensive network of road with the northen region. Air-conditioned and non air-conditioned deluxe coaches are run by the HRTC the HPTDC and by private sector operators. National Highway No. 21 runs through the valley and connects Chandigarh and Delhi

Dalhousie and Chamba

By Air: The closest airport is at Gaggal near Dharamshala which is 103 km from Dalhousie and approximately the same distance from Chamba via the demanding Jot route; for the Banikhet route which has a milder ascent add another 60 km. Taxis are available.

By Rail: The nearest railhead is at Pathankot 85 km from Dalhousie and 120 km from Chamba . Taxis are available.

By Road: Both Dalhousie and Chamba are well connrcted by road. Taxis and regular coaches connect the towns.

Nahan, Paonta and Renuka (Sirmaur)

By Air: The closest airport is at Chandigarh.

By Rail: The nearest railhead is at Ambala and Kalka . Taxi's are available.

By Road: From Ambala, Chandigarh & Kalka and Dehradoon. Regular bus service connect the towns.