The best way to explore India is by Roads

Tourism, or as I like to put it – To ur ism : to your belief/ principle, is what you want to define it for yourself – For me it’s ‘Roadtrip’.
I can actually write umpteen pages on what roadtrip means to me and still won’t be able to do justice to it so I tend to keep it simple. For me Roadtrip is like my life. With its twists and turns, highs and lows, blind curves to a smooth highway, a mountain like challenge or a beach like idle, with a lot of speed bumps to a mirage, with the element of unknown to the trust of known, from the chimes of faith to the battle grounds, from the ever changing landscape to the stillness of a destination… Ah, roadtrip is like my life and how much ever you plan it you can never plan for it. That’s the beauty of life. You have to live it as it comes and experience it as it goes. Make moments that will stay for a lifetime and make experiences that will become stories.

India is a story told umpteen times but very different from the other. Millions of travelers try reading this story every year and yet it enchants you every single time. It is a story meant to read or should I say experienced. And the best way to experience it is via its roads. So travel… see the cultures, the colours, the festivals, the traditions, the people, the food, the hospitality and the Natural beauty.

There is one such sub chapter that I had read couple of years back. Let me give a synopsis and maybe I will explain it later in detail. To avoid the risk of a burnout, I had applied for three day leave and combining it with weekend had five full days for myself. I hadn’t thought about where I would be going, just packed my backpack, took the early morning Himalayan Queen express and reached Chandigarh by 11am. Called up Justdial, took few numbers of companies dealing in taxi rentals. Called them up, fixed up a deal and Off I was to Himachal for five full days with just me and of-course the driver (Luckily I got an amazing guy who understood the kind of mindset I was in and the kind of trip I was looking at)
It was my first trip to the Himalaya and need I say I fell in love with it. So much so, that it will always remain as one of the best trips.. DAMN!! Now I just wanna go for another trip.

Mentioned below is a snapshot of the trip:

Days – 5 Days and 4 Nights

Time of the year – Mid-July

Weather – Hot when starting from Delhi and continues this way till Mandi and then it gets Pleasant on the hills.

River Beas, Mandi in Himachal Pradesh
River Beas, Mandi in Himachal Pradesh

Where to Stay – Totally depends on you (With whom are you travelling/ What kind of a trip you are on, etc.). For me the trip was all about the Journey and not the destination, so as soon as it got dark we would stop at the nearest village/ location and stay put for the night there.

River Parvati, Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh
River Parvati, Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh

Food – Plenty of choices in the known destinations. For the local experience try the pahari (local hilly) food. And yes in some of the most cutoff places you may not find much but you will always find Maggi 🙂 (And trust me, if you will, these guys cook some of the finest maggi you would have ever had).

scenic beauty in himachal pradesh
Prashar Lake in Himachal Pradesh

 

Cab Fare – It depends on what kind of deal you are able to strike with the cab company. Usually what I came across was they charge Rs. 8.5/Km and a minimum charge of 250km per day. In Addition to that Rs. 200/- for the driver every night, plus wherever you are leaving the cab you have to pay him for the distance back to Chandigarh. I was able to strike a deal of Rs. 7.50/Km for Tata Indigo including A/C and no minimum charge on per day basis. the rest of the conditions remained the same. It’s upto you how good you are in negotiating and based on that you can strike a much better deal than what I got.

Shimla-Kalka Toy train
Shimla-Kalka Toy train

What to Pack: Clothes were last of my worries while packing. The essentials for me were first aid, a bedsheet, camera, phone charger, plastic money, toiletries, power bank, a bit of cash and of course my Playlist. The rest I just dumped. My choice of clothes vary on two aspects where am I heading to and the month in which I am travelling.

MY DAY-WISE ROUTE:
Day 1 – Delhi to Chandigarh (Via train), Chandigarh (took the cab) – Mandi – Aut (Night Halt)
Day 2 – Aut – River Beas – Katrain – Manali – Solang Valley – Kasol (Night Halt)
Day 3 – Kasol – Manikaran – River Parvati Valley – Prashar Lake – Mandi (Night Halt)
Day 4 – Mandi – Kufri – Fagu – Theog – Shimla (Night Halt, Left the cab)
Day 5 – Shimla – Kalka (Via Toy Train) – Delhi (Via Shatabdi Express) – Gurgaon (Via Metro)

My Trip Expense (All inclusive) – INR 15,000/-

This world tourism day,

don’t be a tourist… Be a Traveller.. Be a Roadtripper.

Aditya Jain is a Travel Enthusiast and a Communication & Marketing consultant by profession. He has over 6 years of experience. A Mass Communication graduate from Loyola and a Brand Management post graduate from MICA, Ahmedabad, He spends his free time in exploring India and ensures that he has one pic with the road. He likes swimming and playing Badminton.
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