Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more)

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Hot water springs in Vashist

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

Golden temple during the day

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

Golden temple by night

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

Waking up in Dharamkot

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

Breakafast in Dharamkot

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

Afternoons in Dharamkot

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

From the Dalai Lama monastery

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

Somewhere in McLeodGanj

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

Trekking to Triyund

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

Chilling with Baby monks in Bir

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

Waking up in Kasol

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

Walking to Manikaran

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

Sunsets in Tosh

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

Chai in Tosh

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

Sunrise in Tosh

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

Fresh white ice in Manali

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

Sleeping at Chandigarh airport

Photo of Travelling Solo in North India for 3 weeks: (Amritsar, Dharamshala, Parvati Valley & more) by Siddharth R. Sharma

"Travel: It leaves you speechless, and turns you into a story-teller"

I spent about 15 days in Himachal ( and another 2 in Delhi, 2 in Amritsar, 1 in transit) in September '15, traveling solo. I had a generic plan of the places I wanted to cover and I ended up changing my original intent multiple times, the eventual itinerary looking like this:

Mumbai - Delhi - Dharamshala (Dharamkot, McLeodganj) - Bir (Paragliding) - Parvati Valley (Kasol, Tosh, Manikaran, Chalal, Pulga) - Manali (Vashist) - Chandigarh - Mumbai

Its not difficult to travel cheap - I went to the most insane places and had the yummiest of things to eat.. and ended up spending INR 25,157/- to be precise! (This includes flights, food, stay, etc.)

Travelling:

The local buses are surprisingly good. They are very convenient and comfortable(cough) but the best part - super cheap. I don't remember buying any ticket for more than INR 200 except for overnight buses. (And you can talk to locals and know about the low-key places at the destination)

  • Delhi - Amritsar: 8-10 hours: Booked an AC overnight cab called "Ryde by Goibibo" INR 600/- (buses cost around INR 200/-)
  • Amritsar - Pathankot: 2-3 hours: Local Bus - INR 110/-
  • Pathankot - Dharamshala: 3-4 hours: Local Bus - INR 132/-
  • Dharamshala - McLeodGanj: 45 - 60 minutes: Local Bus - INR 14/-
  • McLeodGanj - Bir: 3-4 hours: Shared an Innova with few other people - INR 350/- (Buses cost around INR 150/-)
  • Bir - Kasol: 8 hours (Local Bus: Bir - Bhuntar : ~4 hours - INR 180/-, Bhuntar - Kasol : ~4 hours - INR 45/-)
  • Kasol/Tosh - Manali: 4-5 hours (Local Bus: Barshaini - Bhuntar : ~2 hours - INR 75/- , Bhuntar - Manali : ~2.5 hours - INR 75/-)
  • Manali - Chandigarh: 8-10 hours (Overnight AC Semi-sleeper - INR 595/-) (Local buses - INR 200/-)

Stay:

On an average, you can easily stay for INR 300/- a night. Try sharing rooms in guesthouses with other people. One can easily (Maybe after a bit of work actually) find a room between 150-400 bucks. I stayed for as low as 80 bucks a night (In a restaurant) and as high as 500 bucks a night. Suit yourself.

Few costs/areas that you can stay at in these places:

  • Amritsar: In the golden temple for free / Rooms around the Golden temple (Which are run by the Golden temple) for around INR 300/- a night
  • Dharamshala (McLeodganj, Dharamkot): You can stay in Dharamkot for about 200-400 bucks a night in guesthouses. Try staying in Dharamkot, its cheaper and the views are better.
  • Bir: Guesthouses here - anywhere between INR 500 and INR 1000 a night. 
  • Kasol: Both old Kasol and New Kasol have guesthouses ranging between INR 150 and 500. Bargain well.
  • Tosh: Priced as Kasol - try staying around Hill-top (Literally and there is a place called Hill-top)
  • Manali/Vashist: Vashist is a whole lot cheaper than Manali - guest houses averaging INR 250/- a night. Manali averages around INR 400/- a night.

Food:

On an average, one can spend about 150-200 bucks a meal. Personally, I preferred having heavy, good quality breakfasts, Whatever-I-Could-Get-A-Hold-Of Lunches and extremely light dinners. I ended up spending about 350-400 bucks on an average on food through the trip.

Things you get to experience when you travel alone: 

Travelling alone is one the most beautiful things you can do for yourself. I think its one of the greatest ways to help

  • Learn about yourself
  • Become more confident and
  • Meet a ton of people who come from different places with different experiences.


Talking to random people, questioning and understanding their way of thinking, gives you a lot of perspective about life and how others think - how there are people around you (and a part of the bigger world you live in) who have a completely different set of ideologies which you choose not to even consider - only because you are so caught up with your and your friends'/colleagues' way of thinking and life.

The biggest irony about travelling alone is that you are almost always with people, so you're never really alone! Apart from a couple of instances on the trip, I don't remember one moment when I wasn't with people (Unless I chose to, that's a different thing.)

More about that, here: http://qr.ae/RbY59K

Few tips:

  • Try talking to as many people as possible: People have amazing stories and you could learn a thing or two from their experience if you listen carefully.
  • Don't be scared to be yourself: Experiment by talking about different things to different people for you will only meet them for a few hours/days and you can care less about them judging you.
  • Take decisions differently from how you take them back home: Here is your chance to do whatever you want, wherever you want - without being answerable to anyone. Feel like leaving a place at 5 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon? Leave. Want to get off the bus in the middle of nowhere? Go ahead! (I am saying because I did it)
  • Take less pictures, live more: If I could, I would take less pictures. That wouldn't work too well for the blog, but you don't want to travel for your blog - well unless it pays you a lot of money. Then you probably don't need this tip! :P

This article is an overview of my trip. To know more - Check out my Blog where I have dedicated a few hundred words on every place I've visited and how I felt about being there: https://sidrsharma.wordpress.com

Follow me on instagram to check out pictures from this trip and my forthcoming trips here: https://www.instagram.com/sharma.ji/

Places to see: Harminder Sahib (Golden Temple), Akal Takht, Wagah Border, Jallianwala Bagh. Things to eat: Amritsari Kulchas, Gurudwara Langar More details: https://sidrsharma.wordpress.com/2015/10/14/adventures-of-sharmaji-part-i-3-days-in-amritsar-delhi/ (Copy-paste the link in your browser)

The Golden Temple during the day

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Siddharth R. Sharma

4 AM in the morning

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Siddharth R. Sharma
Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Siddharth R. Sharma
Who doesn't love the hills? Places to see: McLeodganj, Dharamkot, Bhagsunag, Triyund Hill Things to eat: Street side momos and Thupka, first 4 cafes in Dharamkot More details: https://sidrsharma.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/places-to-see-things-to-do-in-dharamkotmcleodganj/(Copy-paste the link in your browser) https://sidrsharma.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/adventures-of-sharmajipart-ii-a-week-in-dharamkot-bir-2/(Copy-paste the link in your browser)
Photo of Dharamkot, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Siddharth R. Sharma
Photo of Dharamkot, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Siddharth R. Sharma
Photo of Dharamkot, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Siddharth R. Sharma
Photo of Dharamkot, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Siddharth R. Sharma
Photo of Dharamkot, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Siddharth R. Sharma
Photo of Dharamkot, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Siddharth R. Sharma
Things to do: 1) Paragliding 2) Visit the amazing monasteries in and around Bir More details: https://sidrsharma.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/adventures-of-sharmaji-part-iii-bir-billing-paragliding-and-monasteries/
Photo of Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India by Siddharth R. Sharma
Photo of Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India by Siddharth R. Sharma
Beautiful snow-capped mountains with the river flowing by the side. Things to do: 1) Kheerganga trek - upto Mantalai lake 2) Eat at the famous cafes 3) Visit other great places around Kasol such as Chalal, Manikaran, Malana, Rashol More details: https://sidrsharma.wordpress.com/2015/11/14/part-iv-parvati-valley-kasol-malana-manikaran-chalal/
Photo of Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Siddharth R. Sharma
Beautiful snow-peaked mountains and mad sunrises and sunsets - with amazing food ofcourse. Things to do: 1) Trek to Kheerganga 2) Chill with Israelis in the many cafes 3) Find yourself and your purpose More here: https://sidrsharma.wordpress.com/2015/12/03/a-day-night-in-tosh/ (Copy-paste the link in your browser)
The many cafes and good vibes - with amazing weather Things to do: 1) Rohtang Pass 2) Solang Valley 3) Bhrigu Lake trek More details here: https://sidrsharma.wordpress.com/2015/12/16/manali-vashist-things-to-do/ (Copy-paste the link in your browser)
Photo of Old Manali, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Siddharth R. Sharma
Photo of Old Manali, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Siddharth R. Sharma
9 Comment(s)
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Great write up! Hey people..if you are you thinking of a weekend trip to Dharamshala, here's a cost-effective Dharamshala budget trip itinerary which will not only help you save extra bucks but also allow you more time to explore the place.http://ow.ly/xX2d30jph54 You can also Download a FREE 3 Day Itinerary
Mon 04 09 18, 23:26 · Reply · Report
loved the pics and the write up
Tue 03 28 17, 21:40 · Reply (1) · Report
Thanks Amrita!
Tue 05 30 17, 04:14 · Report
Superbly written as if I was experiencing in real..
Mon 11 28 16, 05:49 · Reply (1) · Report
Thanks Amit!
Tue 05 30 17, 04:14 · Report
Greatly inspired.... I am going to copy your itinerary....;)
Fri 09 02 16, 02:02 · Reply (1) · Report
Haha sure Victor! Tell me how your trip goes!
Tue 05 30 17, 04:15 · Report
very Inspiring and beautiful pics
Sun 06 26 16, 10:08 · Reply (1) · Report
Thanks Kranti!
Fri 08 19 16, 15:50 · Report
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