It was the time of much needed break between two jobs and interestingly it happened in the middle of the Indian winters. A road trip of Himachal immediately crossed my mind but than since I had I was basically , I thought why not do it with public mode of transport. Getting my brother, Aakash on-board was a piece of cake 🙂
Good thing about traveling with public mode of transport is that, you don’t have to worry about making an itinerary, you can just go with the flow.
New Delhi to Tirthan Valley
My experience with HRTC started with our first bus from Delhi, ISBT Kashmiri Gate. We reached the bus stand around 6:30 and immediately got the tickets for 7 pm bus. We reached Aut, Himachal Pradesh the next morning, at 7:30 am. Again, from the bus stand, we got the immediate next bus to Banjar Bus Stand and left at 8 am. We reached Banjar Bus Stand around 9:15 am. We were heading to Raju’s cottage in Gushaini, Tirthan Valley, and we were lucky to get the bus immediately at 9:30 am. Our destination was about 9 kms away from Banjar Bus Stand. So we followed google maps and requested the bus conductor to drop us at the nearest possible location, which was right at the main road, and one has to to walk across the river to reach the cottage. Not that simple yet not difficult at all.
Tirthan Valley to Laida
Our lovely host, Varun Bharti dropped us to the Banjar Bus Stand. Since the Zostel property is a bit off route and we were not very sure of the way, so we made an exception and hired a cab from Banjar Bus Stand to reach Zostel X, Laida. We made our cabbie speak with the our host at Zostel X and he explained to him on exactly where we needed to be dropped. We took a drop few kms ahead of Chanaun village where the motorable road ended. We had to hike say about a kilometer and half to reach our stay.
When we reached the property, our host Joginder Thakur, advised us that if we are interested, then we can take the HRTC bus which goes right from Chanaun village on our way back and we took no moment to close on the idea. The next as we hiked down towards the bus stop, we realized that the bus stop was just 500 meters away from where got dropped by the cab and were amazed how HRTC have been servicing the locals and the mountains with such efficiency and effort
Laida to Kullu
We boarded the 10 am bus and reached Banjar around 11 am. We got on to another bus for Kullu around 11:30 am and reached Kullu Bus stand around 1 pm. Enrotue Kullu, we realized that women are entitled to get 25% discount on tickets on every HRTC buses. So that was a bonus
Kullu to Dalhousie
There was only one ordinary HRTC bus from Kullu for Chamba. While buying tickets, the guy told us to get down at Banikhet, and take a bus or cab from there for Dalhousie, as it will be easier for us to reach. We boarded around 8:30 pm and reached Banikhet the next morning around 9:45 am. As soon as we got the next bus for Dalhousie immediately, so without even wasting any minute, we headed towards our next destination.
Dalhousie to Delhi
Our two day trip to Dalhousie got trimmed down by a day due to snow fall. We thought it would be better to leave early as we were not sure how we were going to make it to Delhi. We had booked our bus tickets online the very day we reached Dalhousie, tAnd the same evening we experience snow fall. Although we were excited about it, but back in our head there was also a concern. After consulting the locals, we immediately cancelled our tickets as they mentioned that the buses that come from Chamba via Dalhousie and Banikhet to Delhi will not be coming to Dalhousie due to the snowfall.
The best option was to walk down to the bus stand and figure. We reached the bus stand and found no buses were parked there, only a few cabs were available. The walk down to Banikhet was about 8 kms, and we were not sure if it was a good option to walk that far as we were not sure about the way and the condition of the roads and traffic. Additionally, to catch the same bus, we would have to reach Banikhet by 2:30 pm. It was already 12 pm by the time we reached Dalhousie bus stand due to fog and snow.
We managed to get a cab from Dalhousie bus stand to Banikhet and reached around 12:45 pm. As soon as we reached, our cabbie suggested to take a bus to Pathankot, as we will get many options for Delhi from there. We immediately boarded the bus to Pathankot and left around 1 pm. It took us about 3 hours with few stops to reach Pathankot Bus Stand. The drive between Pathankot and Banikhet is beautiful.
We had our lunch at the Bus Stand (it was very average) and inquired about the buses for Delhi. Although there were buses available of other roadways like PRTC and private, but we chose to stuck with HRTC. They also runs two other versions of services Himsuta (Luxury) and Himgaurav (Semi-luxury) depending on your budget and comfort. The customer service of HRTC is prompt and helpful. They are literally at your service all the time and are always happy to guide and provide you with the best possible option for your travel.
We managed to get Himsuta as we were running short on time, but for me, I believe HRTC is the best mode of transport when you are in Himachal.
Go Local and experience the mountains with the locals as you will have ways many options for luxury when you will be in the city
We traveled about 1800 kms in 6 days
Some picture from the trip: