Chehni Kothi

Top choice in Himachal Pradesh

Unspoilt Chehni village is one of the most magical villages imaginable. Surveying a wide sweep of valley and ridgetops from 2110m, its antique core features the astounding 350-year-old Chehni Kothi fort-towers, between six and 11 storeys high, depending how you count them, and with a distinct Pisa-like lean. There's a shorter tower across the yard and a third, medieval tower-house in front. A tiny cafe serves Maggi and tea when the owner isn't driving the ox-plough in his nearby field.

There's a temple inside the main tower and foreigners are not permitted to enter, even if they dare to climb the dizzying tree-trunk plank-steps that are the tower's only access. Although there's a mud road of sorts, reaching Chehni is usually by foot, using about 1km of forest footpaths, starting 100m from Shringa Rishi Temple. That's 3km off the Banjar–Jibhi road.

There are much longer alternative paths from Jibhi, or up through the forests from Sai Ropa in the Tirthan Valley (about four hours).

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