Location: Bilaspur District of Himachal Pradesh
Climate: Warm summers and cool winters
Places to See: Gobind Sagar Lake, Bhakra Dam, Naina Devi Temple, etc.
Best Time to Visit: October to March
Bilaspur is a picturesque town, located at the foot of the Bandla Hills, in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh, India. With an average elevation of 673 meters, it is positioned on the banks of the Sutlej River. Bilaspur, earlier known as Kahlur, once had been the capital of a princely state of Chandel dynasty. Established in 1663, Bilaspur is claimed to be the first planned hill station of India. It is particularly famous for the man-made reservoir – Gobind Sagar Lake – which is a striking landmark to the region and the prime source of water for the renowned Bhakra Dam.
Climate in Bilaspur
Bilaspur essentially observes warm summers and cool winters. However, its location amidst mountains keep it protected from the temperature extremes. Summers, here, extends from the months of April till June, with temperature hovering between 22°C and 38°C. Monsoon embarks in July and lasts till September. And high rainfall is often experienced in the region. While winters approach in November and remain till February, with temperatures ranging from 19°C to 32°C. The best time to visit Bilaspur is during October to March, when the climatic conditions remain favorable for sightseeing.
Tourist Attractions in Bilaspur
Bilaspur is renowned for its beautiful setting, with the mighty Himalayas in the backdrop. The foremost attraction is Naina Devi Temple, which is a religious shrine dedicated to Goddess Durga. It is considered as one of the 52 shaktipeeths of Sati. It was built by Raja Bir Chand in the 8th century. In the low lying area below the peak housing Naina Devi Temple, there is Kot-Kahloor Fort which was built by Raja Bir Chand. This two-storey fort is constructed from stones. Though in ruins, it is a place worth exploring.
Apart from the tourist places, Bilaspur also offers adventurous activities like, fishing, paragliding, trekking and many others. For people who love paragliding, this amazing adventurous activity is accessible at Bandla hills. Vyas Cave is another attraction located on the banks of River Sutlej; the cave is regarded as the penance place of Sage Vyas, who wrote the great epic of Mahabharata. Markanday Temple is a religious place located on Ghagus-Brahmpukhar road, about 20 kms from Bilaspur. It is named after the famous sage Markandey, who is believed to have worshipped Lord Shiva at this place, with the intention to get blessed with children.
Excursions from Bilaspur
Gobind Sagar Lake is a beautiful man-made reservoir that serves water to the mighty Bhakra Dam. This 56-kms long lake is famous for fishing, boating, and water sports like, swimming, surfing, water-skiing, kayaking, and white water river rafting. It comprises almost 51 varieties of fish, making it an ideal destination for fishing. Due to change in water-levels, water sports availability is confined to the months of August till January. Gobind Sagar also holds the title of being the third largest reservoir (9.34 billion cubic metres) in India.
Located about 91 kms from Bilaspur town, Bhakra Dam is a concrete dam across the Sutlej River in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh. It is the second-highest dam (226 meters) in India, and one of the highest gravity dams in the world. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the dam offers stunning views of the Gobind Sagar Lake. Kandraur Bridge, surrounded by limestone rocks and constructed over the River Sutlej, is one of the highest bridges (80 meters) in Asia, and is a place worth visiting while you are visiting Bilaspur.
Sariun Fort is another stone-made fort at an altitude of 1500 meters, located about 58 kms from Bilaspur. Constructed by Raja Ratan Chand, Bachhretu Fort is a tranquil place situated on the western slopes of Kotdhar. It is situated at an elevation of 3000ft above sea level. However the fort is in ruins at present, it is still worth a visit for travelers who love exploring monuments.
Accommodation – Hotels/Resorts in Bilaspur
Bilaspur is a well developed town and has no dearth of options to stay. Here you can find all sorts of hotels and resorts, from the budget to the luxurious ones. Some of the famous hotels are Hotel Lake View, Hotel Panchwati, Hotel Sagar View, Hotel Akash Ganga, Hotel HimShikhar, etc. You can find a number of restaurants serving quality food with amicable service.
How to Reach Bilaspur
Chandigarh International Airport is the nearest airport at 65 kms from Bilaspur. It is connected to all the major Indian cities through flights. The second nearest airport is Shimla Airport (124 kms) which is connected to New Delhi. From both the airports, you can hire taxis to reach Bilaspur. Or else, regular bus services are also available.
Kiratpur Sahib in Punjab is the nearest railway station, located about 95 kms from Bilaspur. It is well-connected to nearby cities and towns via regular trains. From here, you can either board buses or hire taxis to arrive at Bilaspur.
Bilaspur is accessible by road through a wide range of road network. Regular bus services are available from New Delhi, Chandigarh, Kullu Manali, Shimla and other major towns of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. Besides buses, you can also hire taxis to reach Bilaspur at your own convenience.