Himachal Pradesh Itinerary Under INR 10K
- July 26, 2020
- Sanvi & Tanushekha
Were not the days of hassle-free travel seem to be golden now? In the last few months, the world has changed drastically. Just a week before the pandemic spread its wings in India, we finished a week-long vacation in the laps of Himalayas. We had been craving to visit Himachal Pradesh for so long and then finally decided to plan a trip in early 2020. In this blog, we are going to reveal the hacks to plan your Post-COVID vacations in staggering budget!
Being a travel junkie we prefer places that are quaint yet not on every tourist’s list. Because the whole idea of a vacation is to cut loose from the city life crowd & chaos. Himachal Pradesh is our favourite destination in India. And this time we went on to explore four towns of the state, each of them in 48 hours under the cheapest budget possible. We love to travel solo but cannot deny the fact that group travel saves a lot of money. The entire one week of roaming around the state cost us just 10K.
Despite the fear of COVID-19 we decided to go ahead to take the flight. We kept New Delhi as the starting point for our journey as the city has good road connectivity with Himachal Pradesh.
Day-wise Itinerary for Himachal Pradesh
- Bangalore/Lucknow to Delhi to Bir
- Arrival in Bir Billing, Local Monasteries
- Gunehar Trek & Paragliding at Billing
- Visiting Jhatingri on our way to Barot and Local Sightseeing at Barot
- Rajgundha Valley Trek
- Prashar Lake Trek & Camping
- Arrival at Mandi & Local Food Hunt
- Visit Rewalsar Lake and departure for Delhi
- Fly back to our respective places at the night
Bir Billing-Himachal Pradesh
Bir Billing has been on our bucket list for so long, we remember making random plans during our graduation days to Bir. The main attraction is Billing, the world’s one of the most popular paragliding sites. Though highly commercialized now, Bir is known for its rich culture, lip-smacking food, and monasteries.
We fell in love with this beautiful town in an instant. All those lovely pictures we used to see on Instagram were right in front of us.
How to Reach Bir Billing?
We always prefer roadways over any other transportation. Especially when we are heading to a hill station. We get to enjoy the gorgeous views of the valley. There are plenty of private and local buses from all the major cities. Delhi to Bir Billing is one of the popular routes for bus travel. Bir is approx. 520 km away from Delhi making it twelve hours drive. If you have experience driving in the hilly region, don’t hesitate to take your car.
The nearest railway station is Pathankot which is at a distance of 112 kilometres from Bir. Another railway station near Bir is Ajhu, only 3 KM away, but it is not well connected from the major cities of India.
The nearest airport is Kangra Airport which is around 68 km away from Bir. Other options are Chandigarh Airport(260 km) and Amritsar Airport(290 km). You can book private taxis to reach Bir.
Best Time to Visit Bir Billing
Most people visit Bir Billing with the idea of Paragliding. In respect to this, the ideal time to visit Bir is from October to June. During the monsoon season, Bir receives high rainfall. For the remaining months, you can enjoy the vivid summers as well as freezing winters.
Places to Stay in Bir Billing
There are plenty of budgets as well as luxury options available in Bir for accommodations. We chose Zostel Bir 2.0 where we stayed in a dorm at Rs 750 per night. Initially, we looked for the homestay but then the location of Zostel was exceptional. It has Dhaualdhar range in the backdrop and you can also spot colourful paragliders just above in the sky. It would instantly kick in excitement for paragliding.
Things to do in Bir Billing
The first thing that comes to our mind when we think of Bir is, of course, Paragliding and then food. Yes, you heard it right, Bir has cafes where you enjoy sumptuous meals along with breathtaking views of the mountains. You can roam around in the streets of the famous Bir Tibetan society to explore Monasteries, the landing site for paragliders, and the cultural influence of Tibet in the town.
Being budget backpackers, we smartly planned our 48 hours in the town. And we cannot stop to emphasize the importance of hiking in the mountains. It has mutual benefits for nature and you. You reduce the carbon footprint that in turn, saves a few extra bucks for you.
We recommend visiting the monasteries on day one. From Zostel, most of the monasteries are walking distance away. For Palpung Sherabling Monastery, you can hire a bicycle (150 INR per hour) or a taxi (charges 400 INR for the trip). The next day, leave early in the morning for Gunehar Valley trek, which would take you half to Billing take-off site for paragliders. Finish your trek, go for paragliding, and enjoy the sunset at the landing site. Read the detailed itinerary of Bir Billing.
Accommodation – 1500 INR for two days per person.
Food – 1100 INR per person.
Transportation – 500 INR per person (it includes taxi fare for sightseeing and our ride from Bir to Barot of 4 people). The taxi fare from Bir to Barot was 1350 INR, notably, we negotiated a lot with local taxi drivers.
Paragliding(optional) – 1700 INR per person(including the ride from Bir to Billing and the pictures taken by the photographers at landing site).
Travel Tip: If you are in a group, expenses can easily be sorted depending upon your choices. We wanted to explore the new Zostel 2.0 but there are many other cheaper accommodation options available. Paragliding varies season to season and can go up to 2500 INR during peak seasons.
Barot Valley-Himachal Pradesh
On day three, we left early morning for Barot Valley by cab. Passing through the mustard meadows amidst some snow-capped mountains we reached Barot in 2.5 hours. Also, the sunset point at Jhatingri was another gem we found on our way here. Barot is an offbeat place situated in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 6,000 feet above sea level. A valley so beautiful, clean, full of pure and good-hearted people, where you can find less trodden paths to travel, enjoy the sound of the gushing river, birds flying high and chirping loud, and whatnot.
Best Time to Visit Barot Valley
Usually, the peak time for tourists in Barot Valley is from April to June. These months mark the Summertime in the valley. We would suggest avoiding any visit during the Monsoon as it rains heavily throughout July till September end. Well if you want to witness the valley covered in heaps of snow then Winter, lasting till February, is the best time to be in Barot Valley.
Places to Stay in Barot Valley
When you watch Barot from any top corner of the valley, cute looking colour blocks appear to be a painting of Van Gogh with charcoal smoke coming out from the chimney. Most of them are the homestays around the valley which are super cosy and serves home-cooked delicious food.
We recommend staying at Surat Hotel in Barot valley. It is situated right beside the Uhl river. The rooms are spacious and have beautiful views from the balcony. The host is generous and helpful. The best part of this hotel is the location, everything is at walking distance from the hotel.
Things to do in Barot Valley
Cold Uhl river flowing through the valley makes it a hot spot for trout angling and is a great tourist attraction.
Barot is becoming a heart for the trekkers and excursionist. Many trails are passing through this valley which includes Bada Bhangal, Kullu, Manali, Billing, and Kothi.
Stargazing at the riverside, the tranquillity of water basin, that gushing melodious sound of the flowing river, everything glowing together at night makes you fall in love at this place.
There is so much explore and behold in Barot. To learn more, grasp more, see more, live more and feel more you have to just go out there, outside your window, let your mind see what the heart wants.
This small village is a perfect getaway if you are looking for a peaceful place with locals around. Here’s the detailed itinerary for Barot Valley
Accommodation: 700 INR per person for two days
Food: 900 INR per person
Transportation: 575 INR per person( including our bus ride from Barot to Rajgundha valley and from Barot to Mandi). The taxi fare from Barot to Mandi was 1700 INR. Try contacting local shopkeepers for taxi drivers, and speak to at least 2-3 of them to get the best price.
Travel Tip: Even if you are travelling solo, expenses can be easily maintained. Try to stay in a homestay, enjoy the local food, and hike to cover the beauty around.
Parashar Lake-Himachal Pradesh
We left Barot valley on day five to embark on another adventure. Next on the list was Prashar trek, which is a total of 18 KM trail to reach the famous Prashar Lake. Interestingly we covered one side of the trek in just three hours. Such a great accomplishment for us. This lake beholds the beauty and mystery of a long-gone era. The trek itself is challenging yet fulfils our adventurous souls. We started the trek from base camp at Bagi village which is around an hour’s drive from the main town of Mandi.
Throughout the trek, you would encounter the beauty of the Dhauladhar range, the mist in the environment, and the sound of the flowing water. We had spent 1 night in the campsite near Prashar lake and the next day started our descent to the base camp.
How to Reach Prashar Lake?
There are good numbers of Volvo buses running every day from Delhi to Mandi. You will reach Mandi in 9-10 hours. After that catch, a bus from Mandi Bus stand at 7 AM that goes till Prashar Lake every day and comes back at 2 PM. Please confirm the timings with local people as bus timings keep changing season to season.
Approx. Cost by Bus- 900-1200 INR
The closest airport to Mandi is the Bhuntar Airport in Kullu at around 59 km. From the Airport, you can hire a private cab to reach either Mandi or Prashar Lake.
Approx. Cost by Air- 2500 INR (Including airfare from Delhi & Cab fare from Bhuntar Airport)
The nearest Railway station is Joginder Nagar which is 71 KM away from Mandi & 87 KM from Prashar Lake.
Approx. Cost by Train- 800 INR
The most convenient & cheapest commuting option is Bus as there are plenty of them running from New Delhi & Chandigarh every day.
Places to Stay Near Prashar Lake
Camping is the best option if you’re trekking to Prashar Lake. However, if you do not want to stay outdoors freezing you can book the PWD & Forest Department Guesthouses. Please make the booking in advance as there is high demand throughout the year. Find more Details for booking PWD & FRH Guest House near Prashar Lake.
Best Time to Visit Prashar Lake
Prashar lake trek is slightly challenging. If you are up for trekking in snow, then Winter is the best time. Winter season lasts from October to March. During the summer season, the beauty of the lake is no lesser and difficulty level comes down to easy. It is advisable to avoid the months between June and September as the area receives heavy rainfall.
Read more about our Prashar lake trek adventure with all the information.
We had pre-booked our camping package for Prashar Lake at 2500 INR per person. Price would vary season to season and depends on many other factors. It includes pick up from Mandi and drop off from Bagi (the base camp of the trek) to Mandi. Fooding also comes under the package which was basic yet very tasty. You can contact Prashar Lake Kishna Camps to book your next adventure.
On day 6, we left for Mandi in the afternoon. We spent the evening roaming around the lanes of the town and trying out all the local delicacies. For the accommodation, there are many hotels in the Chowk area of the town. Don’t expect hotels with serene views unless you decide to stay in the outskirts of Mandi.
Next day in the morning, we went to explore a small town of Himachal, away from the hustle-bustle of the town. Rewalsar is a gem is located around 24 km southwest of the Mandi district at an altitude of 4,460 feet above sea level and is known for its peaceful environment. Rewalsar Lake also called Tso Pema set in the heart of the town is amazingly beautiful.
Best time to Visit Rewalsar
This place can be visited throughout the year. However, March to May and September to December are considered as the best timing to enjoy nature and everything around.
How to Reach Rewalsar?
The best and most convenient way to reach Rewalsar is via Mandi which is at a distance of 22km. You can simply take a local bus from Mandi which costs you around INR 20.
The closest airport is situated in Bhuntar, Kullu which is around 57 km from Mandi. Bhuntar airport is well connected with Delhi and Chandigarh airports. After reaching Bhuntar, you can easily book taxis or take local buses as well to reach Mandi which takes around 2.5 hours.
The nearest railway station is situated in Joginder Nagar which is 55 km away from Mandi. Further taxis and buses could be taken to reach a particular destination.
Being one of the crowdest cities of Himachal, roads of Mandi are well connected with the neighbouring cities like Delhi, Haryana, and Punjab. Regular HRTC bus services are available easily and cheapest options available providing enchanting scenes in the journey.
Places to Stay in Rewalsar
You can either find your stay in Mandi or Rewalsar, both of them have multiple choices with some limitations.
Try the authentic stay in the hostels of Nyingmapa Gompa, Drikung monastery which starts from INR 100-500 per night. They cater to many pilgrims and make you learn the basic lifestyle of people over there.
Rewalsar is home to Hindu Temples, Sikh Gurudwara, Buddhist Monasteries, a perfect amalgamation of harmony and traditions. You can hitchhike around the town of Rewalsar to explore the hidden gems.
Accommodation – 450 INR per person for one night stay.
Food – 700 INR per person.
Transportation – 80 INR per person ( Mandi – Rewalsar – Mandi by bus).
Travel Tip: You can find cheaper accommodation in Rewalsar and enjoy the local cuisine as well. We booked our stay instantly in Mandi the same day we reached and it wasn’t that easy! Take bus rides, it will save your pocket.
On day 7, at night we travelled back to New Delhi with a bag full of memories. And this memorable trip was just a week before the nationwide lockdown. We never knew that the world would change within the next few days. Now, the pictures are the only way to fulfil our wanderlust. They bring back our fond memories of travelling. The time when we roamed around Himachal Pradesh, randomly passed smiles at the strangers, ate the local delicacies while sitting beside the bonfire, and laughed out loud. We are eagerly waiting to travel again and praying for the speedy recovery of the world.
Drop the comments and let us know where you are planning to go post this pandemic.