One of India's most northern provinces is also the best for lovers of adventure. Himachal derives its name from the Sanskrit words hima (snow) and chal (land), which gives a hint into how the landscape looks, especially in the cooler months. However, it is certainly not just snow that makes the landscape so distinctive – there are many beautiful valleys, rugged mountains, and free-flowing lakes.
Given how beautiful Himachal is said to be, a few friends and I decided to visit together to experience the beautiful scenery for ourselves. In total, six of us set out from our home city of Mumbai – joining me were Neelam, Karina, Ishita, Swapnil and Suneha, as well as four-year-old Aarna, the daughter of Swapnil and Suneha.
For our trip, we wanted to keep our costs as low as possible and thought carefully about how to do so. This was not going to be a luxurious retreat, but instead a true adventure that left us with great memories and an in-tact bank balance!
To help keep our costs down, we set off with a backpack with a few essentials for the trip. My carefully selected items included a sleeping bag, an electric kettle, a power bank for charging electronics, a few warm clothes, some packets of Maggi noodles and, of course, coffee sachets (I can't go without my coffee!)
As you can see, we were trying to travel really light, so that we didn't have to carry too much while hiking and camping.
In order to get the best deals possible, we really didn't book anything except for our transport into Himachal. We planned to book other things, like accommodation and activities, once we were in Himachal, in order to give us more opportunity to bargain and save money. In the end this was a really good idea, as prices were significantly cheaper once we were on the ground than they had seemed on the internet.