Himachal Pradesh trip, Bhuntar, Kasol, Tosh, Malana, Kheerganga, Manikaran Also Read - Cheap Indian Destinations Promising Quintessential Experience

Himachal Pradesh is arguably India’s best backpacking destination. Over the past decade, Himachal Pradesh has become a hub for tourists from all over the world, especially Israel who come here looking for a break after their mandatory military service. It is full of amazing places in the hills where you can get away from your daily routine and mundane problems. It is perhaps the best place to feel closer to nature and feel rejuvenated. If you are an Indian traveler looking for a backpacking or budget trip, there cannot be an option better than Himachal Pradesh for you. Also Read - Kheerganga: An Unmatched Himalayan Trekking Experience



Understand that the best way to enjoy Himachal Pradesh is to relax without trying to be on urban time. Take it slow and spend your days just relaxing and enjoying a place. There are different routes you can take and explore Himachal one route at a time. It is impossible to cover the whole state in one trip and also a very bad idea to try doing this. So, the best place to start is the Parvati Valley. With that in mind, here is a five-day itinerary for your first Himachal solo trip: Also Read - What to See And Do in The Mysterious Town of Malana

Day 1: Bhuntar – Malana

Photograph Courtesy: Fyodor/Creative Commons

Photograph Courtesy: Fyodor/Creative Commons



Bhuntar airport is the base to get to all the amazing places tucked away in the hills of Himachal. Malana is just a 1 hour 30-minute drive from Bhuntar airport. The sleepy, quaint village is known for its quiet ambiance and spectacular views of the Deo Tibba and Chandrakhani peaks. Remember that the locals don’t appreciate loud and touristy travelers so behave yourself and don’t act like you are in Goa. This village, like most parts of Himachal Pradesh, is meant for those looking for some peace, quiet and marijuana.

Where to stay:

There are a few modest guesthouses in Malana for tourists. You can take a walk and check out the ones available.

Where to eat:

There are very basic local restaurants/dhabas at Malana that serve simple food. Don’t expect anything too fancy here.

Day 2: Malana – Kasol

Kasol-Dilip-Merala

Photograph: Dilip Merala

After chilling out for an entire day and night at Malana, leave for Kasol the next morning. The scenic 50-minute drive takes you through the lovely winding hill roads of the region. Kasol, an extremely popular spot now thanks to the media coverage it has received, has become quite commercial. However, if you move away from the main square and head towards the river, you can find peaceful accommodation and enjoy the spectacular hillside views. Spend the day relaxing and enjoying the views getting high on life!

Where to stay:

There are a number of hotels, guesthouses and homestays in Kasol.

Where to eat:

The Evergreen, Jim Morrison cafe, and Little Italy are popular restaurants in Kasol.

Day 3: Kasol – Tosh

tosh

Photograph: Dilip Merala

After a relaxing night in Kasol, it is time to move on. Take a 60-minute drive to the beautiful village of Tosh and then take a walk inside this village to get a hang of local life in the valley. You will fall in love with the ambiance and the surrounding views in less than five minutes. Book your stay at a place where you can get a good balcony view. Spend the rest of the day just chilling out and enjoying local village food. The weather here will make you feel at ease and calm your nerves before you even know it. Sometimes, Tosh also hosts an amazing party with psychedelic music attended by several Israeli tourists as well as locals. If you are lucky enough to be at this party, it will be an experience of a lifetime.

Where to stay:

There are a few guesthouses all along the village of Tosh. You can check each one out as you walk and pick one of your choices.

Where to eat:

Your hotel (like The Mountain Goat Cafe) will have food arrangements. You can enjoy hot vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes as you gaze at the stunning snow-clad peaks and green valleys.

Day 4: Tosh – Kheerganga

Photograph Courtesy: sabamonin/Creative Commons

Photograph Courtesy: sabamonin/Creative Commons

After an entire day and night at Tosh, you have relaxed enough. You can now take off on an adventure. Go for the simple four-hour trek which begins at Barsheni (the base). Vehicles ply between Tosh and Barsheni throughout the day. You will trek right in the middle of the lush green Parvati valley and as you climb through the terrain, you will hear soothing bird sounds when you are not hearing peaceful pin-drop silence. You will feel on top of the world when you finally reach Kheerganga as you see breathtaking views of the surrounding snow-clad peaks. Here, you can also take a dip in the natural Jacuzzi formed by the hot water springs. Imagine the feeling as you sit in your hot water pool and gaze at the mesmerizing mountains around you!

Where to stay:

There is a Dharamshala Saray here and if it does not have any vacant rooms by the time you get there, you can try one of the other little guest houses. Accommodation is modest at Kheerganga but it is no problem as you do not need any luxury when you are in such a magical setting.

Where to eat:

There are a couple of local dhabas and restaurants which offer simple vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals.

Day 5: Kheerganga – Manikaran – Bhuntar

Parvati valley

When you wake up at Kheerganga on your final day of the trip, you will not want to leave. With a heavy heart, start trekking back to Barsheni. Spend some part of the day checking out the hot water springs at Manikaran if you like. Stop at Kasol on your way back to grab some delicious lunch. Leave from Kasol for Bhuntar by 4 pm so that you can make it for a late evening flight.