A three-hour bus ride northeast of Shimla, the scruffy hill town of Narkanda makes a reasonable resting point on the bumpy, six-hour journey to Sarahan, and has a number of dhabas around the bazaar where you can grab a snack. This former staging post on the Hindustan–Tibet caravan route acts as the roadhead and main market town for the area’s widely dispersed apple-and potato-growers. There are some good rambles through the cedar forests that surround the town, and great views of the Himalayas. Hatu Peak (3143m), crowned by a lonely hilltop Durga temple, looks out over the River Sutlej winding far below, and a string of white-tipped mountains to the north and east.

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