I am from Bangalore, but sometimes I feel like my soul craves the hills. I’ve always looked at pictures and movie scenes shot in Himachal Pradesh, and it’s been on my bucket list ever since I was little I watched Koi Mil Gaya and saw Jaadu dancing against the backdrop of the panoramic hills. Last summer was my chance to strike off the Himachal road trip from the list, and I took it.
I had just ten days to explore Himachal Pradesh, and I was so worried about travelling once I reached Chandigarh because I don’t know the language, and that’s when I stumbled on Savaari. With Savaari, I could plan my trip at my own pace, knowing that the car will be chauffeured by the most humble yet experienced drivers. With that in mind, I made my Himachal Pradesh itinerary for 10 days, it wasn’t what we followed because the driver knew so much about the place, and I could see so much more of Himachal Pradesh. Here is the final 10-day Himachal Pradesh itinerary that was made possible only because of my Savaari driver.
Table of Contents
- Day 1- Koi Mil Gaya in Kasauli
- Day 2- Dagshai, the land of goosebumps
- Day 3- The Temple of Stones in Chail
- Day 4- A meeting with spirituality in Kalpa
- Day 5- The little shepherd village of Nako
- Day 6- Meditate in the caves of Tabo
- Day 7- Sleep under the twinkling stars in Langza
- Day 8- The unusual village of Malana
- Day 9- Flying in the skies of Palampur
- Day 10- Experience the Tibetan culture in Dharamshala
1. Day 1- Koi Mil Gaya in Kasauli
My Himachal vacation started with an early flight from Bangalore to Chandigarh. My Savaari driver, Meer Negi, was already at the Bhagat Singh International Airport waiting for me upon arrival at 5:00 in the morning. I was so glad I chose a chauffeured car because I have never had a more seamless airport experience than with Savaari.
As we settled into the comfortable cab and drove towards Kasauli, my driver instantly told me that Kasauli is where Koi Mil Gaya was shot, and we connected immediately. The ride went by so quickly as we spoke about the hills and the beautiful skyline Himachal offers. I was able to catch a quick nap and rest up if I wanted to stick to my big Himachal Pradesh itinerary and woke up just in time to be able to enjoy the gorgeous drive through the hills, and the hairpin bends.
I walked around Mall Road shopping for pretty little trinkets and souvenirs and had breakfast at a quaint cafe with a view to behold. In the evening, I went to the Kausali Brewery, which was so interesting. I got to see how they make the whiskey that shook the markets years ago. It was fascinating to see that some of the equipment they use has been around since 1855.
Distance from Chandigarh to Kasauli: 69 KMS
Time taken from Chandigarh to Kasauli: 1 hr 30 mins
Thngs to do in Kausali:
- Visit one of the oldest churches in Himachal Pradesh, the Christ Church, which dates back to 1853. It is renowned for its stained glass windows and elegant architecture.
- Take a walk along the stunning Gilbert Trail.
- Visit The Kasauli Brewery, one of the oldest distilleries in Asia, and learn about the history of the distillery, as well as the process of making their signature brews.
- Explore the spectacular views from the Gurkha Fort, which was built by the Gurkha army in the early 19th century.
- Visit this link for more things to do in Kasauli.
2. Day 2- Dagshai, the land of goosebumps
My mother was a student in a boarding school for Army kids in Dagshai and she told me so many horror stories about the cemetery in Dagshai. She told me that the nuns in her school had told her and her friends not to eat anything in the cemetery because years ago, a student of the school was bullied and locked in a bathroom without food or water in an abandoned part of the hostel. By the time her body was found, she was already dead and eventually buried there.
I knew that there was no way I was leaving Dagshai out of my Himachal Pradesh itinerary. The jail museum gave me goosebumps. Right beside the cemetery, is the jail that was used during the British Raj. The tiny cells, the exercise ground and all things straight from hell have definitely made sure that I won’t be committing any crimes. And the cemetery right beside doesn’t help the case. I was so glad for Meer bhaiya to go back to the hotel because the isolated nighttime hills are no best friends, especially after a spooky experience.
Distance from Kasauli to Dagshai: 13 KMS
Time taken from Kasauli to Dagshai: 1 hrs
Things to do in Dagshai:
- Visit the Dagshai Jail Museum, which was built during the British Raj.
- Trekking to the Dagshai Peak is an excellent way to enjoy the beauty of nature.
- The Baptist Church in Dagshai is an iconic structure that was built in 1863.
- Listen to the horror stories surrounding the Dagshai cemetery.
3. Day 3- The Temple of Stones in Chail
The next morning Meer bhaiya suggested we stop by Chail on the way. I was so tired from the day before, which made me appreciate Savaari’s experienced drivers even more. I was able to catch a quick nap and rest up for the big Himachal Pradesh adventure and woke up just in time to be able to enjoy the gorgeous drive through the hills, and the hairpin bends. He told me we were going to Chail to see the Stoned Kumbh Shiv Temple, and I was surprised. I had heard about the wildlife sanctuary in Chail, but the fascinating story of hard work that went into building the temple was more than enough to sell me into it. Read more about the stone temple here. The calm and serenity is something you shouldn’t miss out on.
Distance from Dagshai to Chail: 59 KMS
Time taken from Dagshai to Chail: 2 hrs
Things to do in Chail:
- Visit the Chail Wildlife Sanctuary to spot diverse flora and fauna.
- Take a stroll around the Chail Palace to admire the stunning architecture and scenic views.
- Head to Kali Tibba Temple to experience the spiritual side of Chail.
- Enjoy a picnic at Sadhupul Lake, a serene spot surrounded by lush greenery.
- Go on a trek to the Chail Cricket Ground, the highest cricket ground in the world, and marvel at the panoramic views from the top.
4. Day 4- A meeting with spirituality in Kalpa
Next on my Himachal Pradesh itinerary was a beautiful journey from Chail to Kalpa. The main attraction for me to visit was the Shivling-shaped Kinnaur Kailash rock that changes colour during the day. The ride was scary initially, with the loopy narrow roads, but Meer bhaiya was a pro. If you think you can just drive around the Himachal roads on your own, you might need to think again. I would definitely suggest booking a chauffeured car around this area.
It was a slightly longer journey, and for the first time in forever, I wasn’t car sick and actually got to enjoy the ride. I spent the day enjoying taking beautiful pictures and relaxing. In the night, I could see the Kinnaur Kailash from the balcony of the room I was staying in. I was sitting on the balcony in the evening, and I witnessed the crescent moon rising up from behind the holy rock, a perfect meeting with the spiritual side of the world. Meer bhaiya told me the rock was the meeting place for Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati, and the rock was her creation.
Distance from Chail to Kalpa: 229 KMS
Time taken Chail to Kalpa: 7 hrs
Things to do in Kalpa:
- Visit the stunning Kinnaur Kailash, a sacred mountain peak considered to be the abode of Lord Shiva.
- Explore the Kalpa Village, with its traditional houses and ancient temples.
- Trek to the nearby Chakka Peak, offering magnificent views of the Himalayas.
- Experience the local culture by attending a Kinnauri dance performance or tasting the delicious local cuisine.
- Visit this page to learn more about Kinnaur.
5. Day 5- The little shepherd village of Nako
Next on the route was the gorgeous little shepherd village of Nako. After my encounter with the spiritual side of the universe, I wanted to stop for a little while, take a deep breath and get in touch with the living, breathing Spiti Valley. And Nako was the perfect stop for something like that. I spent the day walking around the village, talking to the locals, knowing them, their culture and their stories as they did mine. The Nako Lake is in the centre of the village and is the perfect spot to go to with a picnic blanket and lay down to soak in all the calming vibrations of the nature around you. I was able to enjoy the lake even at night, all thanks to Meer bhaiya and how safe I felt having a trustable local with me. I definitely recommend adding Nako to your Himachal Pradesh itinerary.
Distance from Kalpa to Nako: 99 KMS
Time taken from Kalpa to Nako: 2 hrs 20 mins
Things to do in Nako:
- Visit Nako Lake, a serene and picturesque lake surrounded by the snow-capped Himalayas.
- Explore the Nako Monastery, a beautiful and ancient Tibetan Buddhist monastery known for its stunning murals and sculptures.
- Trek to the nearby villages and enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
- Visit the Nako Fort, an ancient fort built by the rulers of the Kinnaur region and learn about the history and culture of the area.
- Try the local food, especially the Himachali cuisine, which includes dishes like siddu, thukpa, and chha meat.
6. Day 6- Meditate in the caves of Tabo
The drive from Nako to Tabo was short and sweet. We stopped for momos on the way and made friends with a handsome dog. There is just something about road trips in Himachal Pradesh. The magical village is home to a 1000-year-old monastery, which was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The intricate artwork and vibrant colours of the murals and frescoes inside the monastery left me in awe. Wemspent hours exploring the intricate carvings and statues, soaking in the peaceful atmosphere. I found myself lost in the tranquillity of the place, taking in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the simple way of life of the locals. I also went to the Tabo meditation caves and almost felt all my chakras emitting energy. The day spent in Tabo was one of the most memorable and peaceful experiences of my Himachal Pradesh trip.
Distance from Nako to Tabo: 64 KMS
Time taken from Nako to Tabo: 1 hrs 45 mins
Things to do in Tabo:
- Visit Tabo Monastery – a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ancient murals and artefacts.
- Explore the Tabo Caves – ancient meditation sites used by monks for centuries.
- Visit the nearby villages of Hurling and Rangrik, known for their traditional architecture and scenic beauty.
- Take a day trip to Pin Valley National Park, home to rare wildlife like snow leopards and Himalayan ibex.
7. Day 7- Sleep under the twinkling stars in Langza
I had heard endless stories about sky gazing in Spiti Valley, and that is something I couldn’t stand to miss, so next on the Himachal Pradesh itinerary was Langza. The small village is nestled amidst the stunning Himalayas, and the views of the snow-capped mountains were simply wonderful. However, the highlight of my visit was the stargazing experience at night. Meer bhaiya knew a spot on a nearby hilltop, away from the village lights, to get the best view of the night sky.
The sky was a canvas of twinkling stars, and I was in awe of the beauty and vastness of the universe. I had the cab right there with me with all things I will need for the night, including the tent. Although, Himachal Pradesh is relatively safe, just having someone around while I am camping in the isolated wilderness made me feel safer. The experience of seeing the Milky Way was truly unforgettable, and I felt incredibly small in comparison to the majesty of the cosmos. You can read more about stargazing in India on this blog. It was a humbling and awe-inspiring experience and one that I highly recommend to anyone visiting Langza.
Distance from Tabo to Langza: 64 KMS
Time taken from Tabo to Langza: 1 hrs 45 mins
Things to do in Langza:
- Visit the Langza Buddha Statue, a towering white statue of Buddha that offers panoramic views of the surrounding valley.
- Explore the Fossil Park, which contains fossils of prehistoric marine animals that are millions of years old.
- Trek to the nearby Hikkim village, which boasts the world’s highest post office and a centuries-old monastery.
- Stargaze at one of the clearest skies of the country.
- Experience local culture by trying traditional Ladakhi food and interacting with the friendly and welcoming residents of Langza.
8. Day 8 – The unusual village of Malana
The road trip experience in Spiti Valley is exciting and scary at the same time. Someone who is not used to driving in the terrain should really consider taking a chauffeured car rental service like Savaari, which hires only experienced drivers who are well-versed in the locality. Malana village has a sense of mystery and culture surrounding it.
When Meer bhaiya told me a little about it, I knew I had to pay a visit. Although there are various theories about the origin of the village, it is less widely known that the villagers consider themselves to be the direct descendants of Alexander the Great. As a result, they believe that they have “Aryan blood” in their veins. Meer bhaiya told me that there are several rules that I would have to follow in Malana like I cannot touch anybody here. And the Malanese cuisine just adds to the drama and mystery of Malana. Do not forget to add the mysterious village of Malana to your Himachal Pradesh itinerary.
Distance Langza to Malana: 276 KMS
Time taken from Langza to Malana: 6 hrs 45 mins
Things to do in Malana:
- Trek to the Malana Village: Explore the unique culture and traditions of the isolated Malana village, known for its distinct customs and practices.
- Visit the Jamlu Devta Temple: Pay your respects to the local deity of Malana, Jamlu Devta, at this ancient temple believed to be over 500 years old.
- Trek to the Chanderkhani Pass: Take on the challenging trek to Chanderkhani Pass and be rewarded with stunning views of the Himalayas and the Parvati Valley..
- Relax by the Malana River: Unwind by the Malana River, which runs through the valley and offers a serene and tranquil atmosphere perfect for relaxing and soaking in the natural beauty of the region.
- Visit this link to read more about the unusualities of the Malana village.
9. Day 9- Flying in the skies of Palampur
Next in the itinerary was the thrill of paragliding in Himachal Pradesh. Driving from Malana to Palampur for paragliding was a beautiful road trip experience I will always cherish. The winding roads of the Himalayas were a treat for the eyes, with breathtaking views of lush green valleys, snow-capped peaks, and cascading waterfalls. Meer bhaiya was extremely worried about me and kept asking if I was sure. I was.
My only worry was was that I would have had to leave all my belonging at the takeoff spot and then go back there to collect them, But with Savaari, and all thanks to Meer bhaiya, I could relax and take in the stunning views on the way without a worry in the world. The paragliding experience itself was exhilarating as I soared over the lush tea gardens and misty mountains. It was a truly unforgettable experience that left me feeling alive and invigorated.
Distance Malana to Palampur: 168 KMS
Time taken from Malana to Palampur: 5 hrs 30 mins
Things to do in Palampur:
- Visit the Tea Gardens and learn about the region’s tea industry.
- Explore the Neugal Khad, a picturesque stream that runs through the heart of the town.
- Visit the Tashi Jong Monastery, a beautiful Tibetan Buddhist monastery that exudes an air of serenity and calm.
- Take a trek to the Birni Mata Temple for stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
- Go paragliding for a thrilling adventure.
10. Day -10 Experience the Tibetan culture in Dharamshala
I have always been fascinated by Tibetan culture, and Dharamshala was the obvious choice to end my road trip in Himachal Pradesh because of the exile of the Tibetan government and Dalai Lama himself. The drive from Palampur to Dharamshala was an unforgettable road trip experience. The swinging roads that cut through the lush green hillsides offered astounding views of the Himalayan range. As we drove further, the air grew cooler and crisp, signalling my arrival in Dharamshala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile. The town’s colourful streets, lined with prayer flags and Tibetan shops, gave me a glimpse into the unique cultural heritage of the Tibetans. The highlight of my trip was visiting the Tsuglagkhang Complex, the spiritual centre of the Tibetan community, and getting a chance to witness the Dalai Lama’s teachings. It was the perfect way to end my Himachali adventure.
Distance Palampur to Dharamshala: 34 KMS
Time taken from Palampur to Dharamshala: 1 hrs 10 mins
Things to do in Dharamshala:
- Visit the Dalai Lama Temple Complex – a peaceful and spiritual place to learn about Tibetan culture and Buddhism.
- Explore McLeod Ganj – a vibrant town with colorful markets, cafes, and restaurants.
- Hike to Triund – a popular trekking spot with stunning views of the Himalayan mountains.
- Visit the Kangra Fort – an ancient fort with a rich history and stunning architecture.
Why Himachal Pradesh?
If you’re planning a trip this summer, Himachal Pradesh could be the destination for you. With Savaari chauffeured cabs, you can make your own customised itinerary for a road trip through Himachal Pradesh. I had the most incredible experience driving through the spiralling roads and towering mountains of this breathtakingly beautiful state.
Not only this, but with Savaari, I could simply sit back and relax while my experienced driver expertly navigated the dangerously bendy roads. Himachal Pradesh has so much to offer, from the bustling city of Shimla to the serene hills of Nako. I was able to explore all of it with ease, thanks to Savaari’s well-maintained cabs and knowledgeable drivers. I felt safe and comfortable throughout the entire trip. If you’re looking for an adventure like no other, don’t hesitate to download the Savaari App and book your road trip to Himachal Pradesh with Savaari chauffeured cabs. It’s an experience you’ll never forget!
Last Updated on May 1, 2023 by Aarushi Arora