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Which is the safest and the most affordable mode of transportation in Himachal?

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Are you thinking of visiting Himachal Pradesh, a sought-after tourist destination in India? This enchanting place, known as the Abode of Snow, offers snow-covered mountains, picturesque villages, lush valleys, a relaxed atmosphere and abundant natural beauty that adds to its allure. Moreover, the state has a connected network of roads and various transportation options, ensuring travel for visitors. Let us guide you through the methods of reaching and exploring Himachal Pradesh.

By Plane: Crossing distances in a matter of hours 

If you plan to explore the beautiful state of Himachal Pradesh, you’ll be happy to know that there are three domestic airports to choose from. The Kullu-Manali Airport in Bhuntar, Dharamsala Airport (also known as Kangra Airport) in Gaggal near Kangra, and Shimla Airport in Jubberhatti (which is approximately 13.6 miles from Shimla) are all well-connected with major cities in India through regular flights by Air India. Once you land, getting to your final destination will be fine as plenty of private cabs and taxis are available at these airports. So, relax and enjoy your trip to Himachal Pradesh hassle-free! You can easily download the Cheq UPI app to pay for your flight tickets. 

By Train: Enjoy the captivating sights and sounds

Did you know that building railway lines in the mountainous Himachal terrain can be challenging and demanding? That’s why only certain areas have rail connectivity. But don’t worry, the Kangra Valley Railway is here to save the day! This railway line is the major one that serves Himachal and runs from Pathankot in Punjab to Jogindernagar in Himachal Pradesh. You can enjoy the symphony of mountains, rivers, and forests.  The pristine land is famous for its enchanting beauty and mystical charm. So, if you’re planning a trip to Himachal, you can take a flight or drive up to Punjab and then hop onto a train from Pathankot. The journey takes around eight to ten hours, but it’s worth it for the breathtaking views you’ll enjoy along the way! For booking and paying for your train tickets, you can download the Cheq UPI app, where you can add money through your International debit or credit card or via bank transfer, and you are all set to get the ball rolling.

If you wish to visit Shimla, the best way to get there is by taking the Kalka-Shimla Toy Train! Shimla is like a portal to a different world which rejuvenates the mind, body, and soul. The journey spans nearly 60 miles and passes through 18 railway stations, 864 bridges, 102 tunnels, and 900 curves. It’s a scenic route that takes you through changing landscapes, including mountains, picturesque valleys, lush forests of pine and oak, and misty meadows. So, get ready to explore the snow-capped peaks and green valleys.

It takes approximately six hours to reach Shimla, and you’ll pass through some stunning destinations. In that order, some major passenger points are Dharampur, Solan, Kandaghat, Tara Devi, Barog, Salogra, Totu, and Summerhill.

If you’re wondering about the types of trains available on this route, there are quite a few. The Shivalik Deluxe Express can accommodate 120 passengers, while the Rail Motor Car has a capacity of 14 passengers. The standard train services are Himalayan Queen, Shimla Express, and Shimla Kalka Passenger. But wait, there’s more! Two special heritage carriages also operate on the Kalka-Shimla route: Shivalik Queen and Shivalik Palace. These special carriages operate on selected dates only from March until September. In the high season, particularly the summer months (April-June), two special holiday trains run on this route due to the heavy tourist influx.

So, there you have it! The Kalka-Shimla Toy Train is a must-try for a trip to Shimla. It’s an experience you won’t forget!

By Road: Discover new horizons and hidden treasures

Taking a road is highly recommended if you plan a trip to Himachal Pradesh. It’s not efficient and cost-effective but also offers a fantastic opportunity to soak in the breathtaking scenery along the journey. Himachal Pradesh, nestled in the Himalayan foothills, is like a gem. When it comes to reaching Himachal, flights can be unpredictable and unconventional. That’s why many travellers opt for cabs or buses instead of flying, especially if they’re coming from Delhi. You can catch a bus, or hire a cab for your journey but it’s advisable to travel during daylight hours.

Road Transport by Bus: meeting new fellow passengers 

If you’re looking for a wallet-friendly way to get around while travelling, Buses are the primary mode of public transportation in the state, and a vast network of them operates throughout the region. Himachal Tourism and Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) manage a fleet of government buses that commute from Delhi and nearby cities to Himachal. You’ll find a range of buses, including AC Sleeper, Volvo AC, Volvo AC Sleeper, AC Seater, Non AC Seater and Non AC Sleeper. Most buses run regularly between Delhi and popular destinations such as Shimla, Manali, Kullu and Khajjiar. One thing to keep in mind is that Himachal’s terrain is quite mountainous, so be prepared for a bit of a bumpy ride!

Road transport by car: More ease and reliability

If you plan a trip to Himachal Pradesh and prefer to drive yourself, you’re in luck! There are a total of eight national highways and 19 state highways that make travelling by road a breeze. The place is a sanctuary of culture where nature never ceases to amaze. You’ll be able to get to your destination speedily and fleetly without any hassle. So, get ready to hit the road and enjoy the beautiful land of enchantment.

Getting around Himachal: Explore the picture-perfect views 

Getting around Himachal Pradesh is convenient and comfortable because of the connected road network across the state. If you’re looking for affordable travel options, there are choices such as local buses, auto rickshaws, shared shuttles and taxis. Depending on your needs, budget and personal comfort preferences, you can easily choose the mode of transportation that suits you best.

Auto rickshaws are readily available over the state; however, they mainly operate within areas or zones. While buses might not be everyone’s choice, they provide a cost means of travelling from one place to another within Himachal Pradesh. Local buses also offer an opportunity to explore hamlets and towns you might have missed out on.

The Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) operates a state-run bus service that provides city and inter-city connectivity within the state, even in remote areas. These buses serve Shimla, Kangra, Dharamshala, Mandi, Manali, Kullu, Palampur and Chamba. They run at intervals. Are affordable in terms of fares. HRTC bus tickets can be booked at counters or online up to 30 days before. Additionally, HPTDC offers sightseeing tour buses for attractions.

If you’re planning a trip to Himachal Pradesh and want to explore the landscapes of Lahaul and Spiti, there are options for transportation. Shared jeeps are available for travel from Manali to Lahaul and Spiti, providing a cost choice for travellers. Alternatively, if you’re travelling with a group, you can consider hiring a taxi though it might be more expensive. 

For those who prefer the freedom of driving themselves, Himachal Pradesh offers a network of roads. With eight and 19 state highways, getting around by road is easy and enjoyable. The region is not rich in beauty but also steeped in culture. So prepare yourself for a journey as you hit the road and immerse yourself in the wonders of this captivating land.