Last summer I drove to a place called Tattapani in Himachal Pradesh. Tattapani is located on the banks of the river Sutlej in the Indian Himalayas. It is a comfortable day trip from Shimla if you are driving with your family and want to come back to your hotel by sunset.
Tattapani is famous for river rafting and hot sulphur springs but there is a lot more to this place if you are not into that kind of sport. What I liked most about this trip was the beautiful landscape as I drove along MDR 13 that connects this place to Shimla. MDR stands for Major District Road and these roads are typically narrower than state and national highways. If you like driving in the hills and own a four wheel drive vehicle, you will find MDRs more exciting than their bigger cousins. Not only is there a heightened sense of adventure, you will also feel closer to nature. In fact I specifically look for MDRs on Google Maps whenever I plan a trip in the mountains. Finding your way to Tattapani and back is very easy if your car has a satellite navigation system. I did not have to ask for directions even once.
This section of the Himalayas is very beautiful during the monsoons because of the fresh greenery covering the gentle rolling hills. The clean mountain air allows you to see clearly far off into the distance. Make sure you carry a wide angle lens with your DSLR if you own one and its a good idea to fix a CPL filter if you want to catch the details of the clouds against the blue background of the sky. Roll down the windows and switch off the AC as you drive along the winding roads. You can smell the fresh mountain air and listen to the many sounds of the forest. Make sure you are not in a hurry and take as many breaks as you want on the way.
I like photography, 4x4 driving and hiking and am usually looking for destinations where I can pursue these interests. I would recommend this trip to anyone who shares the same passions and is also looking for a little adventure.