Zipping through the Himalayas
Still, yet vibrant; mountains fascinate almost every one. My love affair with hill stations dates back to the time when I first saw beautiful landscapes captured in the movies. It mesmerizes me and thrills me. My perfect road trip was, where I drove through various towns and had a perfect weekend in Manali. My road trip was from Ambala, my hometown, to Manali - one of the most beautiful places in Himachal Pradesh.
The Perfect Trip Idea: Have a fun trip with family - Plan to cover important places and embrace the unexpected adventures, while spending enough time at each spot.
Route: Ambala - Kiratpur Sahib - Anandpur Sahib - Swarghat - Bilaspur - Sundernagar - Mandi - Bhuntar - Kullu - Naggar - Manali
Car: Tata Safari
Companions: My family
Time of the Year: August
Duration: 4 Days
Take a look at this video that I created to take you through the journey I planned...
- Pack the clothes, don't forget the woolens.
- Keep blanket, torch, emergency supplies and toiletries.
- Some packed snacks, paper plates and water.
- Ensure the car is washed and is fully ready for the trip (double check first-aid-kit).
- Prepare for a perfect environment in the car, with music and fragrance.
Day One - Ambala to Sundernagar (approx. 241 kms for my route)
Started the journey early morning and tried to reach Kiratpur Sahib around 9 AM. There were many famous Gurudwaras in this town and I wanted to visit Gurudwara Patalpuri, which is quite significant in Sikh religion. Most of us can recall it from the movie Veer-Zaara. After that, we headed towards Anandpur Sahib, the holy city of Sikhs for darshan at Gurudwara Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, seeked the blessings of Almighty, before scaling the mountains.
Things one should do on road trips
We started the ascent uphill and reached Swarghat, a small town just 22 kms from Anandpur Sahib around noon. We had lunch in this small town. After lunch, we continued to explore the small towns and places along the Highways, stopped at scenic places, creating memories and clicking pictures. I wanted to see Guru Gobind Sagar Lake in Bilaspur, which is around 45 kms from Swarghat. Because of ACC Cement factory in Barmana, we faced huge truck traffic in this belt, so by the end of day, we reached Sundernagar. We never wanted to search for accommodation, hence we booked rooms beforehand. We spent the night at Sundernagar soaked in the view of Shivalik Range and woke up to a great view of Sundernagar Lake.
Day Two - Sundernagar to Naggar (approx. 170 kms)
Began the day to head towards Lake Prashar, near Mandi, 86 kms from Sundernagar. Lake Prashar has both spiritual and scenic significance. There is a temple like structure, Pagoda, by the side of the lake and this place is of mythological importance too. The Pagoda was built in the 13th century and is named after Sage Prashar, who meditated here. It's a serene place surrounded by hills. We always wished to spend some time there, absorbing the beauty of this place.
Drive through the mystic, wish could do it once more
After Lake Prashar, we drove 50 kms and reached Bhuntar and since it was the apple season, we spoted fruit laden trees, clicked some pictures and savored some fresh fruits there. I love water bodies and we spent some time by the side of river Beas. Nothing beats zipping through the picturesque roads. Kullu is just 15 mins from Bhuntar and was our next stop. We passed by this town and did some woolen shopping...Kullu shawls made perfect souvenir to take back home.
We ended the day at Naggar, at just half an hour drive from Kullu. We spent the night at Hotel - The Castle, had dinner at the balcony of the hotel restaurant which has an amazing view of hills and river Beas. Since it is one of the most popular tourist stay in this region, we booked the hotel in advance.
Day Three - Naggar and Manali (approx. 55 kms)
Started with breakfast at the hotel, we visited the Nicolas Roerich Art Gallery, which is at a walking distance from the hotel. This gallery showcases the work of famous Russian Artist dating back to Independence era. We visited Jagatsukh temple, which is on route to Manali. We reached our final destination - Manali.
We covered these places while in Manali:
- Hadimba Temple: Temple dedicated to Hidimbi devi, a character from Mahabharata, this place was built in 1553 and is surrounded by Cedar forest adding beauty to the structure.
- Vashist Temple and Hot Springs: Dedicated to saint Vashista, this temple has natural sulphur springs. Many take bath in here to get medicinal benefits from this natural source.
- Jogini Falls: This is close to Vashist and exploring this natural cascade would be real fun.
- Monasteries: Inside the city, they provide a glimpse of Buddhist culture.
- Nehru Kund: Another natural water spring, it is named after Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru.
- Manali City, preferably on foot and enjoy the night view of the city before retiring to our hotel.
Day Four - Dashal and Back to Ambala (approx 345 kms)
Before heading back home, we planned to visit Gauri Shankar Temple at Dashal, which is on the main left bank of Kullu-Manali Highway. It is a 12th century protected monument and is surrounded by apple orchids and water stream running nearby. A stop at this temple was perfect to complete our road trip.
Things one should do on road trips
Spend some time at the riverside
So, this is how I spent four days in the beautiful part of the country, exploring some of the famous places I have heard of and visiting one of the most beautiful states of our country.
Video Image Source - Here