Named after an incarnation of the Goddess Kali, Shimla is the only land in all of North India where colonial-era neogothic architecture coexists with estates named after ancient Hindu Goddesses, a centuries’ old church lies a stone’s throw away from a hill dedicated to the Monkey God Hanuman, and a location solely named after the event of a deviant Patiala king eloping with the Viceroy’s daughter (Scandal Point) continues to flourish as a tourist destination. As a result, Shimla is a melting pot of diverse cultures and legacies by its very history, but the capital of the princely Himachal Pradesh is the capital, in fact, to much more. In Shimla, picturesque winters world renown drape beautiful landscapes and their old-world charm, but modern architecture still speaks commensurately to the souls of its equally contemporary population. The result is 13 square miles of an atmosphere with so surreal and dreamlike a quality that it may as well be straight out of a Bhansali film. While run-of-the-mill tours of the summer capital of the British Raj include the 2-foot wide marvel of the Kalka-Shimla railway or the Jakhoo temple’s 108-foot tall Hanuman statue (taller, indeed, than Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer), NotOnMap puts a number of underrated locales on its tourists’ maps, and its Apple Farm Stay is bound to etch in wanderlust-fueled minds memories of Shimla far beyond those of common landmarks. By involving the local community intimately in providing a wholesome holiday experience, NotOnMap creates a flourishing and communal environment for its visitors. The unexplored nooks and crannies surrounding Shimla are so sinfully aplenty that we rightfully place them high up in our elaborate list of places worthy of a visit.
A mere 47 kilometers from the center of Shimla, Matiana is a deeply religious village, its hundreds of shacks shrouded under the cooling shadows of thick foliage, its area circumscribed by the towering peaks of the Himalayas themselves. En route to Narkanda from Shimla, the edges of the village taper where the famous NH-22 passes and myriad apple orchards flourish.
A wintry haven for the novelty-seeking tourist, Fagu is enveloped in a beautiful cover of snow mirrored by the towering Western Himalayas that too find the peaks of their summits in Fagu’s clear blue skies. Its seemingly unending ridged fields are home to a number of apple orchards and flowers capable of befriending its harsh cold, but it is most fertile a land for trekkers, botanists, and naturists seeking to explore the countryside of Shimla. Only 21 kilometers away from the city, Fagu is ideal for all purposes snow, forest, and relaxed sightseeing-related.
Like all of Shimla’s neighboring hamlets, Narkanda is perennially dressed in variegated apple. Its snow-covered mountains are home to a number of adventurous skiers, many of which are well above 10,000 feet above sea level. The most noteworthy peak in its vicinity is Hatu peak and is surrounded by a dense cover of conifers, oaks, and maples. As the center of a 3,000-crore apple production business, Narkanda is critical to the tourism and fruit-bearing capacity of Himachal Pradesh.
Kufri: Located 20 kilometers from Shimla, Kufri is the most significant feather in Shimla’s cap of neighboring hill stations. Meaning lake in the local language, Kufri’s snow-encased mountains and sprawling plateaus of fields make it ideal for the adventurous skier and horse-rider alike. But the greater tourist attraction would have to be the Himalayan Natural Park, a forest where endangered species of animals such as the Snow Leopard and Brown Bear find their safe abode, thus drawing in scores of curious animal lovers from around the world. Kufri fun campus, an amusement park in the heart of the hill station, retains thrilled visitors and adrenaline junkies for an entire day because of its go-kart track (the highest in the world), rides, and pools. While the view of the Himalayas from Kufri’s national parks is unbeatable, it is, in fact, the hill station’s small-town charm and smiling faces that draw hundreds of thousands of yearly visitors.
Kotkhai- Apple Farm Stay
Kotkhai is located at about 60 kms from Shimla. It is a small town in the vicinity of Shimla which is quite popular for its vast apple orchards. With 23000 hectares of apple orchards, Kotkhai is a perfect place for you to unwind at. Also, being an off beat place, Kotkhai has a very few number of options for stay. The best one that you can go for to experience the local culture of the region along with the natural beauty around is the Apple Farm Stay by Not On Map.
Nestled within the bosom of Shimla’s snowy expanse and bright green forestry, NotOnMap’s Apple Farm Stay is the perfect pathway to living like a local in North India’s Queen of Hills. Our core mission thrives here, where we provide visitors a novel vacation experience that is both relaxing yet very much like the day-to-day of a local, and the 100-year old restored heritage bungalow is entwined with the promise of adventure, relaxation, and genuine connection like nowhere else.
Here, old-world Himachali architecture thrives with as much resplendence as the vivacious apple orchards that surround the residence, the summits of tremendous mountains hiding behind clouds, and freshwater streams that gulp down ravines between verdant gorges in its vicinity. Visitors have the chance to witness and slip into the very lifestyle of pahaadis, where you can feed and milk the farm animals, join the local farmers in planting and nurturing crops, or simply sit back and relax. The food served here is authentic Himachali, and the abundance of options to delve deeply into the culture of the place is rivaled only by the number of tourist destinations in the vicinity of the homestay.
With its 100-year old heritage and myriad visitors, the owner of the homestay, Digvijay Jhina, has a myriad tales to tell. As an experience that promises to entrench all your senses, our Apple Farm Stay is bound to enthrall its visitors with relishable memories for years to come.