Hatu Peak is one of the most popular among adventure lovers especially trekkers and bikers. Folks from various parts of the world come to Shimla and plan overnight stay around Hatu Peak. I have been hearing a lot about this place for last three years and finally went in October'2011 and here is a quick Photo Journey from The Adventure Place around Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India...
The very first photograph shows a small lake which comes on the way when we go from Narkanda to Hatu Peak. There is a small road, which goes up from right side of the main highway, when we move from Narkanda. This road leads to Hatu Temple and end near the temple only. There is a small mud house near to this lake, which belongs to Gujjars from this region who move towards lower himachal in winters and come back in summers to enjoy the pleasant weather of this place.
Hatu Peak is located at 3400 meters height from sea level and one of the highest peaks in Shimla Region. Above Photograph shows Mr. Aneesh Awasthi, a passionate Bike Rider who has also climbed till the peak with bike when it was covered with 2-5 feet snow. If you have missed the most adventurous Photo Journey, then you need to check following - http://phototravelings.blogspot.com/2011/03/climbing-falling-stumbling-and-crawling.html
There is no private hotel or guest house at Hatu but lot many options are available in Narkanda which is main market around this place. At Hatu, there is a HPPWD Guest House, which can be booked, but many folks prefer to come with their own tents and there are some decent grounds around the Hatu Temple. I am not very sure about availability of water, but there should be some arrangement as Temple or guest house must be having some supply.
This small structure near guest house, which has some seating arrangements and very popular among bollywood folks. This is located on one of the edge of the hill. On the other side, there is only a deep valley with a marvelous view of dense forests.
As states earlier, Hatu is a in checklist of many adventure lovers and bikers. Many biking clubs organize road trips from Delhi or Chandigarh to Hatu Peak. In fact, many folks wait for winters to come and snowfall to start. Many of the groups match perfect timing to come on the top and reach back at base in Shimla, because this place gets heavy snowfall and very early as compared to main Shimla or even Kufri !!! In above photograph is Aneesh is ready to gear back towards Shimla now...
Hatu Peak is accessible year round and proper precautions (drinking water) should be taken at all times... In winter, this area is a modest ski area, so expect snow conditions. However, the trail is not sufficiently steep to require crampons at any point. Proper gear should be worn to deal with temperatures for the season, specifically winter ascents (in December/January) will be quite cold. During summer months, there is quite a bit of wind across the ridgeline and a light windbreaker may help to prevent chills if you get cold easily. (Quite useful details by http://www.summitpost.org/hatu-peak/154227)
A board at Hatu Peak top is showing exact distance from Hatu Temple to Shimla and Narkanda. Hatu to Shimla, total distance is 71 Kilometers and from Narkanda to Hatu, it's 7 kilometers. The temple is background of this board is new Hatu Temple.
When we visited Hatu Peak in October'2011, temple was under renovation. It was fascinated to see most of the work was done with wood and it was quite artistic. Somehow temples in extremely hilly regions of Himachal Pradesh are quite interesting and wonderful wooden arts are used to decorate it. Also it takes much more than the usual time to complete the renovation work for a temple. You can notice the raw material lying in front of Hatu temple which shows that there are some big plans to renovate it at large scale. Hope to visit this place again and bring back a Photo Journey with temple after completion of renovation work.
Here is a closer look at wood-art on pillars of Hatu Temple near Narkanda region of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
Priest at Hatu Temple looking at folks in group who have come to have darshan at old temple. He was quite busy with some of the vendors who had come delivering some stuff for renovation and came quickly to offer Prasaad to all of us.
From the top of the peak, the deep furrows of the valleys make for interesting views. To the north and to the east, the white capped mountains of the Himalaya are visible, even on an overcast day. The nearby highest peaks (both within Himachal Pradesh) are Deo Tibba (6001m -- approximately 120km north near Chatru) and Kinnaur Kailash (6050m -- approximately 100km east near Karcham). The Nandi Devi region is to the southeast, approximately 250km. (Courtsey - http://www.summitpost.org/hatu-peak/154227)
Numerous small hill stations clutter the sides of the mountain ridges in this region, with the largest being Shimla, 71km to the southwest. Apart from hatu, adventure lovers like places like Jalori Pass towards Kullu and many folks join these places through their bikes, if time allows. The ride can continue further till Banjar, which is one of the wonderful place and least explored probably. Since Banjar hills get snowfall most of the time during an year, connectivity is not that good during winters especially.
The Hatu peak offers spectacular view of the entire Himalayan ranges, snow clad mountains and in depths are the dense forests, green fields and apple orchards. Hiking is recommended to reach the peak and that is what most of the folks do if they are not bikers. Of course Bikers would always love to ride through crazy paths in this dense forest and they enjoy it a lot. Somehow bikers are most enthusiastic people I have seen on this route. Probably because I was also joining the bikers club from Shimla...
Here is another photograph of same lake. Soon I will be sharing a separate Photo Journey from Hatu Lake as well, which some of the unique photographs from this place. Vapors from top of this lake were looking awesome during early morning, when Sun was just about to reach the sky. Lighting was amazing and there was nothing like harsh shadows or low light.. Probably the perfect time to shoot at Hatu Lake.
Here is mud house of gujjars, I was talking about initially.
The Indian state of Himachal Pradesh rests on the border of Tibet and contains the hills that link the flat plains of Punjab with the true Himalayan giants.Crowning a ridge in the northeast Shimla Hills, Hatu Peak stands at a mere 3400m, and with a 7km road from Narkanda which is nearest town... Hatu is easily within the reach of any solo adventurer.
Here is the point near main highway, from where road for Hatu Peak starts... The board is also welcoming folks at Hatu Temple, which is approximately 5 kilometers form this point.
Although Hatu Peak is smaller in stature, but nearly 700m of elevation gives a sense of accomplishment and many other routes can make the life more joyous.
Many internet based resources report the spelling of this peak's name as 'Hattu Peak', and report elevations anywhere from 3300m to 3650m. We have used 'Hatu Peak' and 3400m as this is the information provided by the Himachal Pradesh Tourist bureau about the peak.