Trip to Himalayan Foothills - Delhi,Manali,Kullu,Dharamshala,Dalhousie

29th Jan 2016
Photo of Trip to Himalayan Foothills - Delhi,Manali,Kullu,Dharamshala,Dalhousie by Vibha Singh

A trip to North India, there is a sudden rush of excitement as you imagine the fairy-tale like snow covered mountains, the freezing winters, the beautiful villages.This trip is about a visit to the now famous tourists destinations Manali, Dharamshala, Dalhousie at the foothills of the Himalayas, and also a short visit the capital city Delhi.

We planned to travel via road from Delhi to Manali, Dharamshala and finally to Dalhousie, so we decided to take a train journey from Mumbai to Delhi and a mini bus on wards.

Travelling options to Manali from Mumbai :

Mumbai to Manali via Delhi : Travel to Delhi via road/railway/flight, private vehicles are available from Delhi to Manali if you plan to travel by road,but make sure you book it in advance . The cheapest option would be to travel by HRTC( Himachal Roadways) ,these buses flea from Manali to Delhi on a regular basis but it would be good if you plan to book the tickets in advance as there are few luxury buses and rest are the regular ones. If you are planning to travel by flight, you can take a direct flight from Mumbai to Kullu (nearest airport to Manali) or a connecting flight from Mumbai to Delhi and going ahead from Delhi to Kullu.

Mumbai to Manali (via Chandigarh) : Travel to Chandigarh by train/flight, and if you are planning to take a road trip the best option would be to take a public transport bus directly to Manali. There are flight options also available from Chandigarh to Kullu.

Mumbai to Manali (via Ambala Cantt) :Ambala is the nearest railway station to Manali. The only option available from Ambala is to take road way , public transport facility is available (the cheapest). Private cabs also flea between Ambala and Manali,but they charge a huge amount, so the best option would be to opt for public transport.

We had planned a road trip from Delhi to Manali, so the first thing was to reach Delhi. We got our train tickets booked in advance and luckily the tickets were confirmed at the very end moment. We reached Delhi at 4.00 AM in the morning and we had no clue where to head, we hoped out of the railway station looking for a hotel to freshen up and pass time till evening. Very soon we found a hotel in the Jangpura locality near Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station. We checked in our luggage, had our breakfast and while discussing among ourselves we planned to visit the nearby places in Delhi till evening. The traveler which we booked for Manali was supposed to pick up us at 8.00 PM in the evening from our hotel.

We hired a cab for that day and visited few near by monuments in Delhi, Humayun's Tomb, India Gate ,The Red Fort,Raj Ghat. There was a Food Festival going on at Red Fort, serving delicacies from all over the country and also some handicrafts from different states where also at sale. The food festival did not just have the food, but also where presenting different cultures from the country, the tableaux(displayed on 26th January 2016 )of different states where also at display to have a close look.

Photo of Trip to Himalayan Foothills - Delhi,Manali,Kullu,Dharamshala,Dalhousie 1/2 by Vibha Singh
Photo of Trip to Himalayan Foothills - Delhi,Manali,Kullu,Dharamshala,Dalhousie 2/2 by Vibha Singh

Our traveler arrived on time outside the hotel and we started our journey towards Manali, we were stuck in huge traffic jam until we came out of the city ranges. It was close to midnight by the time we crossed the city, we decided to take a halt at the next dhaaba on the way to have our dinner. The night was getting colder and the visibility on the highway was close to zero, it was dangerous to drive in such conditions so, we decided to take a halt at the dhaaba for the night,resuming our journey early in the morning. We took another halt in morning around 9.oo AM to have our breakfast, by this time we had entered the state of Himachal Pradesh and were experiencing the hair pin bents and the amazing view of the hills and the valleys.There was snow evading at the banks of the river Beas, the houses still covered with snow, the apple orchards covered with snow,and the beautiful view of the fairy-tale like snow capped mountains leaving only the sky to be taller than those mountains.

We reached Manali around 12 in the noon, the temperature was still making our teeth clutter even in the afternoon. We had our hotels pre-booked so, we checked in our luggage as soon as we reached and made ourselves comfortable in the rooms.After having our lunch, we had sometime left with us till it went dark.

Note : All the sightseeing places in Manali close by 6.00 PM in the evening as it gets dark and its unsafe to drive.

Van Vihar : The place goes with the name van (forest), with tall trees located at the bank of a water stream flowing by. This place has a entry ticket of Rs 10 for Indian citizens. One can sit and enjoy the view and serenity of the place with the gushing sounds of the river flowing and the birds chirping. The place is open until 6.00 PM in the evening. Overall a good place for the DP's to be clicked. :P

Hadimba Devi Temple : This temple at almost 2.00 KM distance from the mall road, its a temple of goddess Hadimba situated in between of tall snow covered fern trees. The view is very picturesque, one can enjoy hot piping bowl of maggi noodles and sip on the tea with it. There are few street vendors selling handmade woolen caps,gloves etc.

Durga Temple : The temple is located exactly in the middle of mall road.

The Mall Road : The shopping destination in Manali, the place gets crowded as the evening gets darker. The halogen bulbs, and the enthusiasm of the tourists light up the place bright.All the stores in the lane are packed with people shopping and trying local street food.One can find leather jackets at cheap rates ,get your name painted on key chains & wall hanging's.

On our second day in Manali, we had planned adventure activities to be covered so, we had our breakfast and started our journey for Solang Valley. Solang Valley is one of the main tourists attraction of Manali and is located almost 25-30 Km's from the city center, the temperature that day was a freezing -14 deg Celsius in Solang. There are various snow sports options available in Solang like snow boarding, snow scooter, snow skiing ,paragliding, horse riding and also you can enjoy a small ride in cable cart. Get you pictures clicked wearing the traditional dress of Manali and obviously do not miss the delicious momo's and maggi.

After spending the entire afternoon in Solang Valley, we headed for White Water Rafting which as to be done in Kullu at a distance of 4 km from Manali. The river did not have much flow as it was winter and it was damn cold, but still rafting was fun in a chilling water, each splash of water froze us along with the cold breeze. Shivering we changed back to our warm clothes had some hot tea.

The next thing on our itinerary was Dharamshala, we had our dinner in Kullu,did some street shopping and started for Dharamshala. It was a 10 hours journey again from Manali to Dharamshala,but it took us almost 12 hours to reach due poor condition of roads and also very narrow roads.

We reached Dharamshala at 10 AM , the temperature here was much warm then the freezing Manali. The sunshine made us feel little better and so we decided to relax till afternoon at the hotel and then start for sightseeing. After a stomach full of yummy food, we headed to city for sightseeing. There are cabs available for city tour, they charge you pretty decent to take you at all the tourists place, make sure you complete your sightseeing before it gets dark or 6.00 PM in the evening as it's unsafe to drive through.

Bhagsunath Temple: This temple is located at distance of 3 Km from the city center. The temple has a background from the Hindu mythology and people come here to worship the Lord Shiva, there is a stream of water flowing inside the temple,it is a believe that no one knows where the water in the stream comes from. There also a very popular Bhagsunath Waterfall behind the temple, one can visit if they wish too. We were short of time so we skipped the place.

Naddi View Point : As the name suggests it is a view point located at a cliff of McLeodGanj, the view from the top is scenic. Get as many pictures clicked as many you can.

Dal Lake : No! this is not the Dal lake of Kashmir :P . It is a small lake managed by the local government.The entire area is under CCTV coverage so keep the place clean,or you will be fined a huge amount.

Dalai Lama Temple :This temple is located at a distance of 15 mins walk from the city center. On the way to the temple, is the market of Dharmshala, you will find brands like Puma,Nike,etc at a reasonable price.

St. John Church : It is located in the wilderness of forests in McLeod Ganj just 5 mins distance from the entrance of the main city. The church was build Britishers almost 250 years back,it has a huge bell outside the church which is non-functional now. It is believed that the bell was used as an indication for gathering's and in case of emergency.

Kalachakara Temple : This is another Tibetan temple located on the busy streets of city market.

Tibetan Museum : This is must visit place while you are in McLeod Ganj ,the museum tells the stories about the situations in Tibet leaving you teary-eyed.

Dharamshala Cricket Stadium : Even if you are not a cricket fan, you have to visit this picturesque stadium. The stadium is surrounded by the Himalayas, and you can have the full view of the stadium from the Triund trekking point.

There are few other attractions in the city to be visited, we had just one day to cover the places so we decided to go with the main attractions and covered the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium on the second day and started for Dalhousie in the evening. Dalhousie is a 4 hour journey from from Dharamshala,but due to bad road conditions and rainy weather it took us 6-7 hours to reach Dalhousie. It is a small town in the district of Chamba,Himachal Pradesh.

By the time we reached it was dark and all the tourists spot and eateries where already shut for the day and we had no other option but to stay at the hotel. We already had our day wasted by reaching dalhousie late so,we decided to start early the next morning.The plan was to head to Khajjiar called Mini Switzerland,located at a really high altitude. There was snow fall in the night so the roads where covered with snow creating a beautiful scene and the winds more freezing. After a careful drive and small pauses on the way clicking pictures we reached Khajjiar around 10 am, there are few adventure activity options available in Khajjiar depending on the time of visit and the weather conditions. You can enjoy Paragliding,horse riding, land zorbing and few other activities.

We had our lunch and started our journey back to Delhi via Pathankot, I would suggest to include one more day of stay at Dalhousie and cover other spots as well.On our return journey to Delhi, we halted at Ambala for dinner. There are some really amazing dhaaba's serving delicious non-veg as well as veg food, make a note of halting at these dhaaba's on your journey on this route.

We arrived Delhi around 10 am in the morning, and our train was in the evening so we had another day to spend in Delhi. We booked the same hotel and checked in our luggage and decided to visit Connaught Place for some shopping and experience the Delhi Metro service.At last the journey came to an end, we boarded our train to Mumbai.

Leave me a message for the hotel details and the transport queries. Happy travelling :)

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