Off late, have you been cancelling your holiday plans because everyone around you is too busy to accompany you on the trips? Then, it is high time that you stop postponing your plans and do what you have only imagined in your thoughts all these years – solo travelling. At first, the whole idea of travelling alone might give you a few jitters, but trust me, as you start thinking more about it, all the doubts and negative thoughts would simply fade away. And, once you clear that stage, you are ready for the adventure called Solo Travel. But before you embark on such a trip, first you need to decide on your destination. So, read on and know about some of the top destinations in India, where you can travel completely on your own.

The desert mountain valley of Spiti in Himachal Pradesh is as much an ideal destination for adventurers as it is for the solitude seekers. Nestled high up in the Himalayan Mountains, the scenic Spiti Valley presents wonderful opportunities for moderate to difficult trekking expeditions as well as Jeep safaris. However, those who wish to stay away from such adrenaline-pumping activities and spend their time peacefully exploring the region should opt for a homestay experience. This can be done at any of the six villages of Spiti, namely Demul, Langza, Dhankar, Kibber, Lhalung and Komik. On an average, each of this village has up to three homestays with each having one guest bedroom that can accommodate one or two people. These homestays are basically village homes, with one of their portions converted into comfortable guestrooms. These have been developed by the locals to generate an alternative and sustainable source of income for themselves.

In the words of the famous Greek storyteller, Aesop, “Adventure is worthwhile”.
When it comes to holidaying, I guess most of us become a little too mainstream. We go where everybody else is going and do what has already been done by many before. The true adventure is when you take the road not taken; step into the unknown, without having an idea about what might come next.In the book of India, Arunachal Pradesh is a chapter which is skipped by most readers. The north-easternmost state in the country is still a virgin territory, waiting to be discovered by adventurers, who dare to do something new, something different.

I associate May, especially the May of North India (non-Himalayan regions) with searing heat, dryness and perpetual sweating. But, as they say, “Every cloud has a silver lining”, May is also the time when most schools close for vacations and you finally have the time to go someplace. Most of us visit our grandparents and sit in their house, often doing nothing. I personally never liked going to Lucknow and staying there for 1-1.5 months. We hardly ever went out because it was hot; even after the sun set, there was little respite. The only silver lining there was that I had a cousin, with whom I would run around the house or play cricket in the backyard, but we grow up after a while and feel no excitement in such things.

Did you know tea drinking in India was prevalent since 750 BC? However, it was not tea per say, but more of a vegetable dish that consisted of tea leaves, oil and garlic. Technically, India was introduced to tea by some officers of the British army, who started tea cultivation here with seeds brought from China. This led to a revolution, and by the end of the 19th century, tea produced in Darjeeling and some parts of Assam were exported to different parts of the world, especially Britain. Slowly and steadily, this revolution spread across the entire Himalayan foothills and other parts of the country.

Don’t know about you, but 2016 was amazing for me. I started the year with a bang, and that’s how it ended. Doesn’t it feel great when everything falls into place and all your dreams are realised just as you wanted them?! I hope it does not sound like I am bragging, but I get excited just thinking about it. Some moments that I had been longing for ever since I can remember, happened in the past few months. Here is an account of things that I checked off my bucket list this year:

Freedom is a feeling, which cannot be expressed in words. I know we have left monarchy far behind, but sometimes I feel like we are still not liberated. The chains of responsibilities have kept us from doing what we love. When these bonds get too heavy, we need to break them off and escape. Live life like a nomad and see the treasures of the world; do something adventurous and feel what it really is to be free. I guess there is no better way to feel free than being on a motorbike trip. They say life is about the journey and not the end, and isn’t that exactly what a motorbike trip is? You pick up your bike, get the tank full, and then see where the path takes you; leaving behind the mundane.

Not only for the youth, but a motorbiking adventure is also for the ones who are young at heart; people who are passionate about riding endlessly. Freedom is what they seek and are ready to travel hundreds of kilometres just to get that feel. Na, I haven’t been on a bike trip yet, but I plan to and which place could be better for it than India – the land of different terrains. Here is a list of some of the best biking routes in the country that are just waiting for the daredevils.

Delhi to Rajasthan: A Ride through the Land of the Kings
Rajasthan is a place that everyone must visit at least once in their lifespan, be it to see the opulent palaces, or estimate the strength of the erstwhile rulers with the mighty forts they got constructed.

A bike ride through the different cities of Rajasthan is a brilliant way to explore the landscape of the state and see its hidden gems. Just make sure you have ample time to enjoy the Rajasthani hospitality to the fullest. After beginning from Delhi halt at the small town of Mandawa, your first step into the Rajasthani heritage. It is a 250 km journey. What follows is a trip through Bikaner, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Pushkar, and finally, Jaipur. The journey will let you explore Junagarh Fort, Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Bhawan Palace, the City Palace of Udaipur, Monsoon Palace, Saheliyon Ki Bari, Brahma Temple, the City Palace of Jaipur, Hawa Mahal and Amer Fort. The complete venture, ending back in New Delhi, is around 1800-km long.

jodhpur

Guwahati – Tawang – Zemithang – Nameri: A Scenic Trip through Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh was hidden from the eyes of the globetrotting crowd for a long, long time. Since its awe-inspiring natural splendour and cultural heritage has been unveiled to the world, it has become a major tourist destination. A bike trip in the state will give you a glimpse of the quintessential Himalayan landscape. Riding on its winding roads, along the gushing rivers and through dense national parks, you will forget about the stress of the city life.  

The 10-day long, 1200-km journey begins from Guwahati and brings you to Tezpur. After which, you can drive for about 325 km over the course of two days to reach the Tawang town, crossing Sela Pass en route. Needless to say, if you are in Tawang, you must visit the namesake monastery and admire its murals. The sojourn also introduces you to the beauty of Zemithang, and Dirang – better known for its hot springs.

arunachal-motorbike-ride

Delhi – Manali – Leh – Kargil – Srinagar – Delhi
I believe it is a sin to not mention a DelhiLadakh trip when talking about the best motorbiking routes in India. A favourite of many is the Leh via Manali segment and then return via Srinagar; hence, completing a full circle. The journey is about 2250 km, but if you add trips to Pangong Tso and Nubra Valley, it rounds at about 2800 km. Now, this is some way to spend two weeks.

Begin the trip with a thrilling 250-km journey from Delhi to Chandigarh, followed by a 310-km road adventure to the hill town of Manali. Between Manali and Leh, there are two pit stops, namely Jispa and Sarchu, where riders can relax after a long day of conquering winding roads. On your way, you will pass numerous passes like Khardung La, Nakee La, Tanglang La, Lachung La and Rohtang La. One of the most thrilling sections of this trip is the Gata Loops – a series of 21 hairpin bends. You will never know what will come your way till you reach the turn.

The majestic Pangong Tso and the ever-beautiful Nubra Valley are only a day’s drive from Leh. Many people choose to return via the same route that they took to get to Leh, but I do not see much fun in that. If you head to Kargil, you can return via Srinagar, and get to drive on a few other high passes like Zoji La and Fotu La.

Ladakh

Kanyakumari – Alleppey – Munnar – Ooty – Gokarna – Goa: Beaches, Backwaters, Hills and More
While thinking of a bike trip in India, only the above-mentioned places come to mind. But why? The southern coast of India is undoubtedly beautiful and who says exploring it on a bike is a bad idea. The journey can be started from the southernmost town of Kanyakumari and you can travel towards Goa from there. There’s a lot to see, do and admire between the two destinations. If you choose to travel with an operator, you get to start your adventure from Bangalore, and reach Madurai before Kanyakumari. The backwaters of Alleppey will win your heart just as much as the sight of snow-capped Himalayas does. A visit to Alleppey will be complete only with a night stay on a houseboat.

Like Alleppey is the realm of scenic backwaters, Munnar is synonymous with misty hills and sprawling tea and spice plantations. One breath in its salubrious environment and you will forget every hardship you might have faced during the excursion. In two days, you can reach Goa, the ultimate party destination in the country.

munnar

Bangalore to Coorg
It is a short scenic drive to unveil the beauty of the Western Ghats. Being dominated by misty, rolling hills, Coorg or Kodagu makes for one of the best weekend getaways from the bustling city of Bangalore. A perfect escape, the 270-km ride takes you through lush forests of teaks and coffee plantations. The district in itself is quite large, precisely 4102 sq km; therefore, there are aplenty points of interest to explore here. Riders can take the adventure a notch higher by visiting the famous Nagarhole National Park. The 643-sq km wildlife park is home to animals like the Bengal tiger, deer, Indian leopard, Indian elephant, gaurs and wild boars.

coorg

Kolkata – Gangtok – Ravangla – Yuksom – Darjeeling – Bagdogra: A Ride in the Eastern Himalayas
You have to come to Sikkim at least once to see the generosity that nature has bestowed upon it. Its mountain peaks inspire you to aim high, and its welcoming people never let you feel uninvited. The route takes you from aromatic tea gardens and peaceful monasteries to quaint hamlets. On this route, you will pass numerous settlements of the Sikkim’s tribal population, like the town of Yuksom. The historical place also holds immense religious significance among locals. The bike excursion should ideally take around 9 to 10 days to complete. Since it takes place in the Himalayas, riders here obviously have brilliant photo opp.

snowedout_route

Salem – Rasipuram – Kolli Hills: A Tryst with 70 Hairpins Bends
If you live in or around Tamil Nadu, you have got to visit the Kolli Hills. The small mountain range, which reaches about 4663 feet at its highest point, is the realm of scenic views. However, if you are a rider, its geographical features and the 12th-century Shiva temple may not lure you as much as the 70 hairpin bends. While here, you can click pictures with Akasa Gangai falls. A sight of this 300-feet landform will definitely leave you speechless. The round trip between Salem and Kolli Hills sums up at around 120 km; a perfect weekend escape with the lads.

Kolli hills

Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Chidambaram -Rameshwaram – Tuticorin
East Coast Road or State Highway 49 is undoubtedly among the best places in India to go for a long ride. Stretching along the Bay of Bengal, it connects Chennai with Cuddalore, but has extended up to Kanyakumari, making it a riders’ paradise. You can begin your trip from Chennai and travel to Pondicherry via Mahabalipuram. While in the Union Territory, use your time exploring the world-famous Auroville. The quaint town of Rameshwaram will take your breath away with its beauty. It would be a mistake to not to visit the revered Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram. Some sculptures here date back to the 2nd century; how many times do you get to see something that old.  

pondicherry

Thus said, above are the best options to go for an exciting bike trip. Just get your Bullet serviced and embark on the journey.  

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” – Lord Buddha

We would probably have to read Buddhist scriptures to know exactly what the deity meant with the quote, but one thing is for sure, the sight of flowers has the power to bring an instant smile to our face. You gift somebody even a single flower, and their mood changes at once. Imagine what seeing millions of flowers would do to you. It would not only lift your spirit, but also fill you with love and respect for nature. Flowers make even the bleakest of places colourful, vibrant and great to look at. And, the scent they radiate stimulates our senses like nothing else. Imagining standing in a vast field of flowers has made me want to go to such a place; hence, I have come up with a bucket list of such destinations around the world.

Southeast Asia is one of the most toured destinations in the world owing to its gorgeous beaches, tropical climate, historical buildings, sacred temples and delicious street food. Another reason for its popularity is its budget friendliness as well as tourist safety. Each of the countries in Southeast Asia has its own charm, which is worth exploring and admiring.

A few days ago, one of my friends returned from a tour of the United Arab Emirates and shared his experience with us. Dubai, the ultimate holiday destination in the Middle East, is where he spent most of his time. I asked him his reaction on seeing Al Quoz, the centre of Dubai’s art; and to my surprise, he hadn’t visited it. I was left astound! I know, Al Quoz is not that popular, but I consider it a must-visit attraction for anyone spending more than a week in the emirate.

India is an incredible land in more ways than one and this can be experienced by travelling throughout the country. Right from the Himalayas in the north to the Indian Ocean in the south, it is a kaleidoscope of beauty that encompasses several different worlds within itself. Everyone born on the face of this earth should visit this magnificent land once in their lifetimes, just to see the sheer diversity that exists. India sees a huge influx of tourists throughout the year and a large number of them come from all around the world. Though the modern-day transportation network in the country is highly advanced and most places can be reached by air,taking a train journey is a must for any tourist. Connecting all parts of the country, Indian Railways is the heartbeat of India’s transportation system. While the railway journey can be hard sometimes, due to the crowd or high temperatures, if things are arranged properly, and at an appropriate time, it gives unprecedented joy to a traveller. There are plenty of specific train journeys in India that are breathtakingly beautiful, stunning and picturesque. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones that everyone must undertake.

If we consider travelling as life, then probably backpacking is the best way to live it!

Backpacking may not interest all, but those who go on such trips will tell you how much fun and adventure they have. A planned tour is always better, but then at times, you should let your heart lead you. I always wanted to go on a backpacking trip, but was too apprehensive to do so. But that apprehension went away when my friend told me about his plans of backpacking to Goa. I too joined his gang of backpackers, and before I could know, we were on the road, hitch-hiking! Since then, I have been on various backpacking trips and really glad about it. If you too have apprehensions about it, then take my word; let it go because there is nothing wonderful than this. Read on to know about some of the best backpacking destinations in India, where you can plan your first such trip!

When you hear the word Ladakh, what comes to your mind? The mountains? The monasteries? The lakes? If you are an enthusiastic driver, then definitely its winding roads and mountain passes will flash before your eyes. Your bikes must call to you to take them on a long drive, and no other place will satisfy them and you other than Ladakh. You are in extreme luck as you can now plan and go on a Leh Ladakh bike tour easily. You know how and why? Because a lot of adventure clubs and tour agencies have started organising such incredible trips.

Over the last few years, the popularity of bike trips to Ladakh has literally skyrocketed. And seeing the trend, more and more clubs and travel agencies are coming up with self-drive or group drive itineraries to the one and only “Land of High Passes”. There have been many reasons for the rise in the popularity of such bike excursions, and while reading about them below, you may get an even stronger inspiration to do them at least once.

Have you been spending loads in the gym to get your body in shape, but feel bored by the stereotypical routine and exercises? There is another way you can do it, and it would be a lot better than the gym – Trekking! Yeah, that’s right! Hiking/Trekking is an excellent way to keep yourself up and running. It gives you the chance to exercise in natural conditions, unlike those simulated ones in the gym like on a boring treadmill. Ascending cliffs with the oxygen level decreasing as you go higher will tone up your body like nothing else.

Be glad you are in India as the hilly terrain in the northern part gives you endless opportunities for hiking. There are trails aplenty that you could take through the mountains. Consider the blast of cultures that will take you over as you journey past scenic hamlets, and you have got yourselves a fiesta. The famous children’s author, JRR Tolkien said in the Lord of the Rings, “All those who wander are not lost”, and he was right. Wandering endlessly does not always take you far from everything, but closer to yourself.

There are treks that vary in difficulty and altitude, and you can go in an increasing order to get your body used to it and prepared for the next challenge. In order to prepare for these treks, all you got to do is to start with brisk walks, jogging, climbing stairs and some breathing exercises. This should get you ready for the easy treks, and a few easy treks would set you in motion for the tougher ones. A couple of these every year would guarantee overall fitness. Bunk gym and go trekking for a healthy life. Here is a description of some treks and the sort of workout they will give you, arranged in the increasing order of difficulty.

Explore the vibrant festivals and fairs of India along with different cultures. Each corner has a different story! Find out the story and fall in love with India. Grab the chance to explore the true flavours of every region. Let the travel bug bite you and take you to these fascinating places with interesting fairs and festivals in India.

Hemis Festival, Ladakh
The colourful Hemis Festival is one of the biggest and the most famous religious festivals in Ladakh. The enchanting festival in the land of dreams is celebrated on the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava or commonly known as Guru Rimpoche. The Hemis Monastery is where the festival is celebrated. The monastery is itself a blissful place, surrounded by brown austere hills and bright yellow mustard fields. Its execution through the splendid masked dances by the Lamas is what takes your breath away. To see the celebration of good over evil in a different way, plan your next trip to Ladakh and witness this festival.
When – June or July
Where – Hemis Monastery, Ladakh

Hemis Festival in Ladakh
Hemis Festival in Ladakh

Winter is usually the time to snuggle up with a good book in front of a fireplace, enjoying a hot cup of tea in bed every morning, or spending lazy afternoons. But winters are also the time to explore the new side of India’s popular destinations. Truly, India is an incredible country, geographically, historically and architecturally. It offers amazing geographical diversity with varied climates and seasons.  Winter season is no doubt the most loved by people of India. If you don’t feel like spending your winter snuggling in a blanket, then trust me you don’t have to!

So if you are planning your next vacation during winters, here is a list of some of the best Winter Destinations in India to choose from.

  1. MADHYA PRADESH- KHAJURAHO AND ORCHHA
Orccha Cenotaphs
Orchha Cenotaphs

Khajuraho temples are among the finest temple arts in the world. The erotic sculptures, the minute carvings on the temple walls are worth exploring in winters when the weather is at its best.

Lost in the hustle bustle and crowd of the city? Or working like a zombie to fulfil the necessities of life? Well, then you deserve a break. De-stress, forget the troubles, let it all go and make some fresh and beautiful memories. Get lost on the magical roads of India and find yourself. Travel is the best way to rediscover yourself. It is said that “Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures”. So take an adventurous road trip and meet yourself somewhere on the journey!

  • Bangalore to Munnar– Let the wheel roll on the smooth roads! Get ready for an adventure trip through Ghat road, forests, hairpin bends, steep climbs and wildlife and misty routes. From the city of filter coffee travel to the city of Tea plantation. The breathtaking views of lush green plantations, the refreshing water of unexpected waterfalls and the amazing views of endless windmills running together will make you stop your car and capture the memories for lifetime. Don’t forget to pamper your taste buds by the local cuisine on the way!

        Distance: 477 KM
        Travel time: 10 hours

Picturesque roads from Bangalore to Munnar
  • Guwahati to Tawang- A paradise for bikers! Explore the picturesque beauty of North-East through this road trip which will take you to some of the most marvelous monasteries of India. You might find it a bit challenging but it’s a beautiful terrain which will make you forget the rough paths. Tawang has the largest monastery in India and the second largest in the world. Situated at a height of 10,000 feet, it is a beautiful offbeat hill town to explore.
    Distance: 521 KM
    Travel time: 10 hours

Wander through the Royal Ruins! Rajasthan is the life of India, essence of our country. The colorful, lively and traditional state of India has rich culture and history. Rajasthan has more history than the rest of India put together. There is a reason it’s called the “Land of Kings”, it is indeed a fabulous realm of maharajas and their majestic forts and lavish palaces. It has a romantic past which reminds us of heroism, honor and chivalry. Legend says that Rajasthan is home to Rajputs who have ruled Rajasthan for 1000 years and the fascinating part is that they claim to have originated from the sun, moon and fire. The Mughal Empire faced a lot of difficulty in controlling this part of India. Hence, they gave up and Rajasthan was ruled by its kings until the British Raj.

Amber Fort in Jaipur
Amber Fort in Jaipur

The mighty Thar Desert, the adventurous wild forests, camel safari and glimpse of tigers, shimmering jewels, traditional delicious cuisines, flamboyant art and vibrant culture, famous colourful fairs and festivals

North-East is one of the most unexplored regions in India. When you visit the place you’ll be proud to say that it’s in India. It’s a small world full of surprises if you are ready to explore.The breathtaking views of mountains, the endless verdant, the magical waterfalls, the wild caves and the distinct culture of North-East India will leave you with an amazing travel experience.You will drool over the North-eastern cuisines as these  have a lot of  variety and are different from the rest of  India.

North-East India has everything for you. You name it and you get to explore your kind of place. I wanted to experience the wilderness of the Natural caves. The caves are the home to many bats and different species of insects. Despite being scared of insects I dared to explore the dark caves and it was one of the wildest experiences of my life. Tiny waterfalls flowing through the lime-stones and the never ending darkness with bats all around made for  one of the most memorable days of my trip!

The beautiful villages of North-East will take your breath away. Some of them have interesting facts about them with the beauty. Let’s explore the Scenic Villages of North-East India.

Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh
The least known place in North-East India, Ziro Valley has pleasant climate throughout the year, so you backpack to this place any day you want. It is just 115 kms from the state capital Itanagar and will take you around 4 hours to reach. Ziro Valley, also known as Apatani Plateau is home to the Apatani Tribes. The green rice field patches make the place look stunning! The Taley wildlife sanctuary, Kile Pakho ridge and the Bamboo groves are worth a visit. If you are planning an offbeat and peaceful trip then this is the destination for you!

The Scenic Ziro Valley Image Credit- thehindu.com
The Scenic Ziro Valley Image Credits – thehindu.com

Travelling is a pleasure, when you want to spend some time with yourself away from the city life inhaling the fresh mountain air while hiking in the woods, walking through fragrant orchards, lazing around and feeling the warmth of the sun.

But if your idea of travel involves some adventure and taking the off-beat track, then a trek is all you need.

If you want to explore Himachal beyond Shimla and Manali and move beyond Dehradun and Mussoorie, see Ladakh beyond Leh and Sikkim beyond Gangtok, then stretch your leg muscles and get ready to venture into these 10 beautiful picturesque Himalayan treks across India. What could be more stress- busting and soothing than experiencing these breathtaking views?

As Ruskin Bond has said, “The adventure is not in arriving, it is in the “On the way” experience. You are not choosing what you shall see in the world but giving the world an even chance to see you.”  So pack your bags and embark on these 10 most picturesque Himalayan treks across India.

Chadar Trek: Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir

One of the most challenging treks as it involves walking on the ice-sheet of Zanskar River.  Chadar trek is not only a miscellany of adventure, but also melody of emotions. You will be awestruck when you see the frozen river, icy caves, unusual campsites, frozen waterfall and changing of the colour of the ice bed of Chadar. The trek became famous when pictures of Buddhist monks walking barefoot on the frozen river in -30 degree temperature went viral.

Chadar Frozen River Trek
Chadar Frozen River Trek

Parang La Trek: Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir