Road trip in Himachal Pradesh in SIX days

Road trip in Himachal Pradesh in SIX days

Ever wondered witnessing the beautiful reflections of clear sky and the mountains in the blue water of the lake at about 14000 ft. Well, better things require efforts to be put in and so did we on our trip. The trip included some detours for the itinerary didn’t go as per plan but that only made our road trip in Himachal even more adventurous. Here is the itinerary one should refer to make the most of his road trip in Himachal Pradesh covering Manali, Chandratal, Mcleodganj, and Amritsar as a detour on the return journey.

Day 1 (Haldwani – Delhi- Manali) – 755kms

Today you begin your journey so-called a Road Trip in Himachal Pradesh. Leave Haldwani by the noon and reach Delhi by eve. You can take a halt if you want else to continue your trip on the Delhi – Manali Highway.

Route

The route is a complete highway and with the views getting more spectacular as one approaches Manali. A patch of about 30kms is a bit of trouble at between Bilaspur and Rampur as you leave from Haldwani. Beyond this, you are going to enjoy your drive. As you reach Kullu you will find beside the lovely blue water flowing and splashing as they strike the rocks.

Food 

There are plenty of options between Haldwani and Delhi but the most appropriate would be at Gajraula which is almost midway between the two. One can have all sorts of options from Dhabas to restaurants and even fast-food outlets like McDonald’s, KFC, and Dominos etc. For taste and hygiene, I will suggest Bikanerwala, Sagar Ratnam or Moga.

After crossing Delhi the best option available is Sukhdev Dhaba at Murthal or Jhil Mil Dhaba at Karnal. Have your tummies filled here as you won’t find much any further.

Early morning after covering almost 3/4th of your journey you can take a halt at any tea stall and refresh yourself while enjoying the beautiful views and cold breeze with a cup of tea/coffee.

In Manali you can head to the Jhonson Cafe or try as the locals for the famous Tibetan cafe in the market.

A refreshing tea with the rising sun
Morning Tea
Stay 

Manali has plenty of hotels & hostels from budget to luxury but if one wants to feel the beauty and peace I will suggest staying in the Log Hut Area as it is a bit away from the market hustle bustle and offers serene beauty. The one I found the best and stayed in was Snow Valley Resorts. The resort offers large cozy rooms with amazing views. Moreover, it has a terrace to enjoy your morning tea admiring the pine forest.

Also, don’t forget to take the complimentary meals with the stay as there are not many great options to eat and hotels serve a better and tasty food. If you are an explorer than go out exploring some cafes in the old Manali which is a backpackers paradise.

Places to visit –
  • Solang valley – The valley about 14 km from Manali offers a great place to beat your adrenaline rush with sports like paragliding, riding the ATV bikes and even more in the winters when the valley is snow covered and the pines capped with snow. The place is perfectly apt for the nature Must try the paragliding for it gives breathtaking views.
  • Hadimba Devi temple – Situated close to the Mall road the temple offers a calm and peaceful environment to the pilgrims. It is a cave temple situated in the foothills of the Himalayas being surrounded by the lush green pine forest.
  • Mall road – The main attraction of the tour after the dawn is the mall road. All the tourist head out to the street for a walk in the cool breeze and enjoy shopping, eating and just feeling relaxed.

Day 2 (Manali – Chandratal) – 128kms   

Route 

Today you cover a distance of merely 128km to reach the pristine glacial lake. The lake is surrounded by the dry barren mountains which stand as a connection b/w the lakes and the sky. It will take about 8 hrs. to reach this out of the world place. Be prepared as today will be a test of your driving skills coming up with a new challenge at every other turn. You must have an SUV for this with a good ground clearance and power to throttle on the slopes.

Food

Leave early in the morning to avoid the rush at Rohtang and reach Chandratal before sunset. Get your breakfast packed. Chatru will be the first spot to eat and after that Chacha Chachi ka Dhaba at Batal that is 14kms before Chandratal.

Stay 

You will find some camps 2kms before the lake costing Rs. 800 to 1000 per head per night. Book your stay and go towards the lake. Spend few hours there and return back to the camp. Have the complimentary dinner and enjoy the night in the freezing cold temperatures reaching up to minus 12 degrees Celsius.

Place to visit 
  • Chandratal – Also called the Moon Lake is a true heaven for nature lovers. One can spend the whole day just admiring the beauty of the lake. If lucky enough on a no windy day you can even get to see the clear reflection of the blue sky and the surrounding mountains. It’s totally a picturesque moment for the photographers. Also one can shot the galaxy in the sky with a professional camera.

Tips – Don’t forget to take warm clothes and some medicines as there is a lack of oxygen and one can suffer from breathing problems.

 

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Day 3 (Chandratal – Manali – Mandi) – 236kms

Route 

Today covers back on the same route to reach Manali and continue the drive ahead to Mandi which is 3 hrs. ahead of Manali.

Food

Leave empty stomachs from the camp around 8 to 9 am and take a halt for breakfast at Batal. Drive straight ahead to Manali and you may stop over for some snacks else drive to Mandi. Dinner in the hotel you stay at or can have at the food joint of Dominos.

Stay

There are a lot of options to stay you can find on Google. If you love beauty and having breakfast riverside with birds chirping music I would suggest Visco resort which is 2kms ahead of Mandi. The morning at the resort is perfect to sit beside the river sipping a cup of coffee and witnessing the mist in the environment with the birds chirping in the background. There is nothing better than this moment.

 Place to visit 
  • Prashar Lake – If time permits the lake situated at 49 km north of Mandi with an altitude of about 8000 ft is a must visit. The small island in the lake that keeps changing its position and moreover the undetermined depth of the lake are few facts known. 



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Day 4 (Mandi – Dharamshala – Mcleodganj) – 131kms

Route

The route is awesome with a small patch of about 3 – 4kms of disturbance ahead of Mandi. Covering the Baijnath temple near Dharamshala continue the drive to reach Mcleodganj.

Food 

After breakfast in the hotel leave and for lunch you may halt on the way, though there are not many options you have. Reach Mcleodganj by the eve. Check in to the hotel and fill up your tummies at any of the cafés. The best ones are Tibetan Kitchen, Mc ‘LLO, and for sweets Woeser bakery if you are looking for Tibetan, north Indian, and some sweets respectively. Must try the Walnut Tart at the Woeser bakery.

Stay 

There are plenty of options available from Rs. 1500. I suggest taking one close to the Mcleodganj square. Hotel Sapphire offers a great balcony view and is nearby the square. Don’t take the meals in the hotels and leave it to try in the numerous cafes.

Place to visit 
  • Baijnath Temple – Being situated on the way to Dharamshala which is about 40 km from here, the temple of Lord Shiva is built of beautifully carved out of stonework and is from the old age. There is a lush green carpet grass to spend some time and on the backdrop of the temple is a panoramic view of the mountains and rivers.

I am sure as the road trip approaches its end you must be carving for more. So to cater this today you will take a small detour on the way back to Delhi. Adding to the trip will be the magnificent gold structure The Golden Temple.

Day 5 (Mcleodganj – Amritsar – Delhi) – 680kms

Route 

The route is a highway and one can achieve a good average speed to reach Delhi. Today you will go for local sightseeing and then drive to Delhi via Amritsar to cover Golden temple.

Food 

Enjoy the early morning tea at the roadside stall on the square. Breakfast at any of the café and leave by 9: 00 am as a lot to cover today. I suggest the Carpe Diem on the temple road for the breakfast. Also, must give your taste buds the taste of another great dish from the Tibetan cuisine called Lapping Noodles which are served either dry or soupy and are available close to the Monastery on a small stall roadside.

Places to visit 
  • Bhagsu temple – Situated 2 km from Mcleodganj the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It comprises a freshwater spring for the devotees to take a dip. You can park your car and walk through the street as you shop some stuff for yourself. After the worship, move further towards the waterfall.
  • Bhagsu waterfall – At about 1.5 from the Bhagsu temple leads a path to the 20 feet high waterfall. Due to the slope to reach the zenith of the waterfall, a good amount of strength will be required. The fall is at its peak beauty during monsoon with mist rising from the water and the tiny droplets in the air present a soothing effect on the soul and body.
  • Dal Lake – Not to be confused with the one in Jammu & Kashmir, this is totally different from the one there. The lake beside a tourist spot holds religious importance. Every year, on the occasion of Radha Ashtami a fair is being organized here which is a plethora of colors.
  • Jhon Church – This beautiful stone church dates back from 1852 and is one of the buildings preserved since the British Era. Located at 20 mins walk from the Mcleodganj Square makes it easily accessible. The Belgium stained glass in the window marks memories as a gift from Lady Elgin. The church though itself beautiful gets added beauty from the thick pine forest that surrounds the church.
  • Tsuglad Khang Complex – Located down the street on temple road the entry from the large Iron Gate involves security screening. The place is home to 14th Dalai Lama and allows photography within the campus except inside the main temple.
  • Golden temple or Sri Harminder Sahib – Located in Amritsar in the states of Punjab this is one of the holiest places of Sikhs. Made of pure gold, the Gurudwara surrounded by a beautiful lake. Also, it holds its name for having the world’s largest kitchen serving free food for 100000 – 300000 people a day.
Stay 

Delhi is full of hotels from cheap to luxury which suits all sorts of travelers. Book online for great deals. Prefer taking it after crossing Delhi to prevent morning traffic jam.

Day 6 – (Delhi – Haldwani) – 278kms

Route 

Route is same as was on the first day of our road trip with the same food options. Leave at your own comfort either with the sunrise or after a nice and light breakfast.

Places to visit 
  • Lotus Temple – The Baha’i House of Worship located in Delhi, known for its architectural magnificence. Its Lotus shaped structure rising above the lush green garden makes it insta worthy for photography lovers. In a group of three free-standing marble petals make the nine entry and exit gates of the temple.  Inside of the temple is a vast room where people sit in silent devotion to god. The moment you step in a very calming and pleasing atmosphere is felt. 
  • Red Fort – The fort served as a residence of Mughal Emperor for about 200 years. Also, its great significance in Indian political history makes it a paradise for history lovers. Built from the beautifully carved red stones the fort houses a number of museums. Its location in the Central Delhi makes it within easy reach.
  • Humayun’s Tomb – Situated in East of Delhi,  it is the first structure to use red stone at such a large scale.The tomb houses the graves of Bega Begum, Hamida Begum and more from the family and was crowned with the UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993.

The road trip ended after covering the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal, and Punjab.

*This is how we had our road trip. Adjust the above itinerary in lieu with your driving caliber and no. of days in hand. Feel free to reach me for any and all help.



62 thoughts on “Road trip in Himachal Pradesh in SIX days”

  • Exhaustive and in-depth! I need to learn a thing or two about traveling and planning from you. You are totally brilliant. By the way, have you heard of ROSE Kanda near Haldwani? It is a nice place for volunteering where one can learn organic farming, teach school children etc at very affordable one time cost.

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    • Thanks..I am always up for help so feel free to reach me…As far as Rose Kanda is considered being a resident of Haldwani for over a decade i wonder why I haven’t heard about it..Probably its time for me to explore that side

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  • I have done the Chandratal – Manali – Mandi circuit and visiting Dharamshala separately. But I must say, doing it all in a single road trip sounds more fun. Some of the circuits are still unexplored for me. Will try next.

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    • Ya doing it all at once is fun and a test of our endurance…which we failed…we left from manali in order to complete the circuit Manali-chandratal- kaza- shimla…but had to return from Chandratal itself as we were not prepared for it…but there’s always a next chance

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  • I am tempted to blindly follow this itinerary. It seems complete in every respect.
    The Hidimba temple caught my attention, I have heard so much about it and always wondered how to prepare an itinerary around it.

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    • Well now you have an itinerary and all you have to do is pack ur bags and leave…i hope this itinerary helps you in the best possible way..

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  • Are you saying that one can cover the Haldwani -Delhi trip in 6 hours? I doubt it, because the last trip that we did in that stretch was a few years before. Is it a National Highway?

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    • Yes..its a national highway.. being a frequent traveler on this route I know that it can be covered..I have even covered it in 4.5 hrs early morning…Though there are few days in the year when you find beyond usual traffic jams and end up taking upto 10hrs but that’s a rare scenario

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  • It;s only now that I’ve heard of Himachal Pradesh, and reading your detailed post made me want to check it out for myself. India really doesn’t stop on surprising me with its wonders.

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    • Glad to see your deep sighted interest in India..I am sure it will be prove to be better than your thoughts once you step in the country…

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  • Finding myself in Haldwani never go for fast foods I’m already use to, rather check out the Bikanerwala, Sagar Ratnam or Moga which I know I’d love. Heard about the Mall road, sounds interesting. A complete info to use anytime in the area.

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    • Good to see that you found it helpful….let me know your experience if you ever get to use this itinerary…

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  • I haven’t actually heard of this place, just now. Though, I like road trips! Plus the morning tea, it’s perfect with milk! Hot milk tea to start up a long day ahead or road trip!

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  • That’s a useful plan. Only that the first day seemed ambitious. 755 kilometres in a day is a lot of distance to drive through. I have been to Himachal in visiting Mandi, Shimla, Kullu, Manali and Rohtang. I never knew Chandratal was close to Manali. I think a 2 week vacation for someone from the south would suffice to go through Himachal.

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    • I know 775km seems a lot but on a highway a passionate driver won’t feel it..2 weeks are perfect to cover one side of Himachal but completely it would take more than that if you give time to each place

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  • Wow.. very detailed post. I will bookmark this. I travelled in US on a road at 14000 ft elevation but haven’t done in India. Will try this itinerary some day.

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    • Thanks and yes do try this one..surely will be a breathtaking adventure for you to cherish forever..

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    • The real challenge is not the altitude but the road conditions…but all troubles are overshadowed by the picturesque surroundings

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  • Road trip to Himachal Pradesh, great. The way have elaborated your interesting itinerary it shows you had all the fun, not only at the destinations but while being on road as well. I enjoyed equally reading your post.

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    • thanks..good to know that my post could make you virtually feel the same way I actually felt…

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  • It looks like a fantastic place to hike! So majestic and challenging! I bet you need to have a good hiking training to really succeed!

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  • I am curious about the Lotus and Hidimba Temples. Would love to see those temples in the near future. A friend is inviting me to explore India this November but I don’t know the itinerary yet.

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    • You must definitely make a visit..and don’t worry much about the itinerary ..just travel with a free soul because at the end what matters is the pleasure you gain and not how many spots you covered…Welcome to India soon and Happy Travels

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  • Beautiful post Mohit 🙂 superb, writeup … I am planning to visit Chandrataal, your post will help me a lot for that :)..

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  • I believe Himachal is the only state in India where you can take your car for a continuos ride for 1 or 2 weeks in the mountains to feel the fresh air and the breeze and the wonderful view of the Greater Himalayas

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  • I’ve never been in this area before! I’d love to visit someday. I would love to see the waterfall.

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  • Pictures look amazing! Himachal is definitely on our list next, and your post made me just want to land there right now

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  • Seems like an awesome trip you made! Unfortunally I couldnt see the pictures as they werent loading?!? Its a pity but your journey sounded very fun!

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  • Sounds like a wonderful trip. If this place is anything like the photos, it would be fantastic.

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  • I’ve never seen this side of India, thanks for showing it to me. Another place added to my bucket list! Would love to explore the rest of North India. 🙂

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  • I adore road tripping to places I’ve never been! What a gorgeous view you had throughout the entire journey.

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  • You are an inspiration! I love the idea of traveling and adventure. Well done on the photography too – you have a passion, and it shows!! The consistent narrative of ‘route- food – places to stay’ over your travel days are awesome – I have a visual of what you went through and what I might be interested in if I were traveling your path. Look forward to seeing more of your adventures. If I don’t end up going on them myself, I can live vicariously through you!! 😀 .

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    • That’s so overwhelming to hear that….feels my efforts yielded what I aimed for…You can always follow me here and yes not to miss my Instagram where I post a feeds depicting my journey

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  • Wow, this is a full packed itinerary. Such a very detailed one. I will bookmark this or pin to my places to visit. I need to have an energetic and reliable driver for this long road trip.

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  • The itenary is very much compact. I’m definitely going to follow this when I visit Himachal Pradesh.

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  • This looks like a wonderful experience. Thanks for giving a breakdown of your trip. Your itinerary looks pretty amazing.

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  • Thank you for all amazing information here. I am sure I would love to visit all of these places and know what they have there is always helpful. Himachal I will be adding to my list of places to go to.

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  • This is absolutely incredible. Sounds like you had an amazing time. I am going to add this to my bucket list as your blog has convinced me I’m missing out.

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    • Glad to intrigue that feeling in you..please to let me know how help was this itinerary to you or connect on FB for any little queries you have…happy to help..have a wonderful trip anytime soon

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  • great pictures! I’d see myself visiting Himachal I think… The Golden Temple is beautiful and very intriguing 🙂

    Reply

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