Last Updated: September 6, 2019 Swairik Das
When you are accompanied by the diversified nature, vibrant culture and rich heritage you don’t always need to have someone else with you. The bracing mountain air and undulating landscape, dunes of the desert, serene seashore, exuberant culture, fusion of dance and music, mouthful cuisine, myths behind temples and life behind ancient forts and palaces… everything has got something to tell you. Chances are high to miss the best of travelling when you are in a group. Often you are in a gossip mood when you are travelling with your friends or family and there something goes out of your sight… that may be the glimpse of a snow clad peak at dawn OR the mast of a ship at the horizon from the shore. But when you travel solo you get a better opportunity to focus and capture the unusual to the finest sights and bring home a rare collection of scenes. Travelling solo exempts you from various obstacles… usually those that arise when you are travelling with your family and friends. You see taste matters. You actually want to go for the Bhrigu Lake trek (take for example) on your four days trip to Manali but your LAZY FRIEND tells you, “Boss… I came here to relax. We can go for shopping today, local sightseeing tomorrow and may be Solang Valley day after tomorrow.” So, travelling solo is a much better option than travelling in a group. In addition, when we are travelling alone we also get the opportunity to discover ourselves… know what we actually are.
How much popular is solo travelling in India?
Well… I can’t give you an accurate figure on solo travellers exploring India from the Himalayan region to seashore but this much I’m sure that you will come across 10 solo travellers out of 100. International travellers are much more stirred towards it… although nowadays domestic (Indian) travellers are also being impatient. On the other hand, travelling solo in India is tough and it’s challenging. Sometimes it can wash you up if you are not aware about people, travel and culture of India. But if you are smart enough to adjust to the diversified culture – religion, people, languages and food – you are surely going accompany the traveller in you. From my own experience, travelling in India alone is stunning, magical, awesomely confusing, and jaw dropping. The popularity of solo travelling in India has led to the growth of several backpacking tours in India; these backpacking tours include trekking in the Indian Himalayan region, Ayurvedic Spa massage and yoga and meditation retreat, cultural tours and adventure tours. International travellers, who are visiting India for the first time and travelling alone, are recommended to stay sane and sharp while on the road and look for an authorized and experienced tourist guide.
Top 20 destinations in India where you can travel solo
Wrapped in nature… towering peaks peeking behind lush green mountains, Manali at an altitude of 2,050 meters has always been regarded as one of the popular hill stations in India for backpackers. The mighty hill station tucked in the Himachal Himalayan region is an ideal retreat for solo travellers looking for a getaway to revive their spirits after a heartrending life OR an easy and rejuvenating escape from the clamour of a city. The hill station offers spectacular views of the Kullu Valley and the farfetched Pir Panjal Range. Further, travellers seeking for some adventure sports have options like River Rafting in Beas River, paragliding in Solang Valley and skiing during the winter at the slopes of Rohtang Pass and Solang Valley. Moreover, the Beas Kund Trek and Bhrigu Lake Trek are two short and easy treks that commence from Manali AND Malana Valley Trek, which is one of the alpine treks in Himachal Pradesh… are some good picks for solo travellers heading for a trekking holiday in the Indian Himalayan region.
At an altitude ranging from 2,500 meters to 3,000 meters in the Baspa Valley of Kinnaur District of Himachal Pradesh, Sangla is one of the off the beaten track villages where tranquility is preserved within forested slopes and high mountains. A solo traveller if seeking for a peaceful break far away from the madding tourist rush… Sangla is a promising getaway. Nonetheless, your days in the midst of apple orchards, apricot, Wall-nut, Cedar trees, and glacial streams AND distinct culture of the Kinnauri people will simply take you through a nostalgic journey and acquaint you with your concealed nature. Some other remote villages encircling Sangla are Chitkul, Rakcham, Batseri, Themgarang, Kamru, and Sapni, which are easily accessible by road OR one can even go for a trek.
Rated as one of the best Ski destination in the world, Gulmarg in Kashmir region at an elevation of 2,690 meters is a heartland for several backpackers from all over the world. During the peak adventure season (winter) even a traveller travelling alone will be accompanied by several like-minded people. Further, activities like camping, hiking and golfing on a leisure trip offers solo travellers immense pleasure during the summer season.
Now if the solo traveller is looking for an escapade and wants to indulge in some strenuous activities like mountain biking and high altitude treks, Leh in Ladakh region at an altitude of 3,500 meters is a smart pick. With the indigenous Indo-Tibetan culture and host of ancient monasteries… Leh springs up as a prominent tourist destination that attracts both the leisurescapes and adventurers. The Pangong Lake- which is an ideal destination for camping, is approximately a 6 hours drive from Leh and attracts lots of backpackers who are touring the ladakh region. Motor biking in Leh-Ladakh region that passes over the Khardung La at 5,360 meters is one of the most striking activities undertaken by solo travellers. Further, Leh being the base of several treks in Ladakh region– namely Markha valley trek, Tsomoriri Lake Trek and Lamayuru to Darcha Trek – is packed with several trekking tours for solo travellers.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in India- Rishikesh is located on the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayan region. Best known for white water river rafting in Ganges, Rishikesh is an ideal hub for backpackers that also gives an opportunity for a yoga and meditation holiday as well as Spa & Ayurvedic. Some other notable adventure activities for solo travellers are cliff diving, bungee jumping, kayaking, rappelling and rock climbing.
Another popular skiing destination in India- Auli that is set at an altitude of 3,049 meters in the Garhwal Himalayan region is also a perfect getaway for solo travellers. Providing a pleasing environment during the summer for camping and hiking and tricky snowy slopes during the winter for skiing, Auli remains a good pick for both leisure and adventure seeking solo travellers.
Located in the midst of a vast ecosphere in the Sikkim Himalayan region, Gangtok at a height of 1,600 meters is another popular hill station in India that attracts large number of solo travellers from all over the world. The mighty town is notable for hosting several Buddhist monasteries and the distinct culture of the Nepali, Lepchas and Bhutia. With the development of Sikkim tourism, Gangtok has emerged as a hill town that attracts hippies. The meandering streets arrays a lot of multi cuisine restaurants, bars and lounges and thus the hill station may not be boring for travellers travelling alone. Also attractions like Changu Lake at an altitude of 3,780 meters and Nathu La at 4,310 meters… trekking opportunities like the Green Lake trek and Goecha La Trek simply excite the solo travellers to participate in a group.
Tucked at an elevation of 3,048 meters in the North-Eastern Himalayan region in Arunachal Pradesh- Tawang is yet another least explored place in the Indian Himalayan region. Today the lofty hill town is a heartland for several back packers and solo travellers as it offers an untouched nature with snowcapped mountains, streams and lakes and allows several trekking and camping opportunities. The Tawang Monastery– which is the largest monastery in India, is another major attraction. Further, the Sela Pass, Sela Lake and the distinct culture of the Monpa people are the prominent attractions that bumps the mind of backpackers.
Although Majuli in Assam is the largest river island in the world, but I wonder how many of you have thought about exploring it. Located in the Brahmaputra River, Majuli offers an extensive wetland that houses rare and endangered avifauna species including migratory birds that arrive in the winter season. A solo traveller who wants to break through a distinct rural ambiance and biodiversity… Majuli will be one of the best recommendations then. The island is inhabited by the Mising, Deori and Sonowal Kacharis tribes and thus the indigenous culture of the tribal folk is yet another attraction.
It’s all about to seek the tribal folklore. Yup!!! A solo traveller who is travelling to Shillong will truly admire the indigenous culture of the tribes dwelling in the midst of vast natural diversity. Shillong, which is perched at a height of 1,525 meters on the East Khasi Hills in the North Eastern Indian state of Meghalaya, is a popular hill station in India that showcases several tourist attractions including mountains, waterfalls, natural caves, lakes and museums. For a solo traveller who is having a freaking adventurous nature… have the option to go for spelunking as Shillong has several explored and unexplored caves.
Far-famed as one of the ideal honeymoon destinations in India for the tranquility preserved amid the shifting sand dunes of the Thar Desert… Jaisalmer can also be an exotic location for a solo traveller. Other than exploring the fort city and ruins of Kuldhara village… camping and camel safari in the SAM Dunes are the major activities. Further, travelling to Jaisalmer during the Jaisalmer Desert Festival, which is usually held in February, allows you to seize the cultural aspects of the folk.
Babes in Bikinis, herd of hippies, boogieing sea shore, trance dance and music, rave parties, shower of exotic liquors, Casinos and mouthful cuisine… just tell me, how can be Goa a boredom even for a traveller travelling alone? In addition, a host of beach activities such as surfing, snorkeling, jet-skiing, boogie boarding, scuba diving, water-skiing, parasailing, windsurfing and deep sea fishing keeps a solo traveller busy. Nonetheless, one who is seeking for a peaceful holiday in Goa… the destination is filled with numerous unexplored and private beaches and Spa & Ayurvedic resorts where one can spend ideal refreshing hours.
Camping in the middle of the vast shallow wetland of Kutch in Gujarat, which is home to several endangered animal species, has become one of the favorite activities for backpackers. Further, if you are travelling during the Rann Utsav… you have an opportunity to seek the local culture of the people of Kutch. Kutch also houses several wildlife reserves, historical and Jain pilgrimage sites.
Displaying the quaint flavour of French colony, Pondicherry is one of the best leisure holiday retreats in India for solo travellers. With a host of tranquil beaches and ancient churches and temples, Pondicherry is far famed as a Yoga and Meditation holiday destination in India.
Conserving the golden era of the Mughal Empire and rich traditions over the centuries, today Agra is one of the popular international tourist destination in India. It is home to one of the wonders of the world and UNESCO World Heritage Sites- the Taj Mahal, and also houses several other historical sites like the Agra Fort, Itmad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb, Fatehpur Sikri, Akbar’s Tomb, Jama Masjid, Moti Masjid, Sikandra Fort and many more. For a solo traveller… holidaying in Agra is hence like revisiting and capturing the medieval era profoundly.
Yet another honeymoon destination in India that is located in Kerala, Alleppey whizzes the mind of backpackers seeking a calm and pleasant holiday in India. The picturesque canals, backwaters, beaches, and lagoons… backwater cruise in the Kettuvallam, rich culture of the folk that includes dance, music, festivals and food, pilgrimage and numerous resorts that offers varieties of Spa and Ayurvedic treatments make Alleppey one of the exotic holiday destinations in India for solo travellers.
Evolved as one of the eco-tourist destinations in India- Coorg is well known for its coffee plantations and Kodagu culture. For a solo traveller, a holiday in Coorg is as refreshing and charming as it is for a honeymoon couple. Perched in the Western Ghats… some of the notable tourist attractions in Coorg are Talakaveri, Bhagamandala, Nisargadhama, Abbey Falls, Dubare, Nagarahole National Park, Iruppu Falls, and the Tibetan Buddhist Golden Temple.
For a solo traveller looking for a hike in the Western Ghats in the middle of a rich bed of flora and fauna, Munnar in Kerala at an altitude of 1,700 meters is the perfect getaway. Munnar is noted for housing several threatened and endemic species and thus the destination pulls in several wildlife enthusiast and nature lovers.
Now that’s something different you are going to indulge in when you are travelling alone in India… and that is Skydiving, which is one of the adventure sports in India. Aamby Valley in Maharashtra is one of the destinations where you can go for Skydiving in India.
Guys… How can I skip Mumbai? The liveliest, craziest and busiest city in India that is also dubbed as “the city that never sleeps”… Mumbai represents the whole of India. Along with the glamour of Bollywood chics to the clamour of the Stock Exchange, the city also houses several heritage sites, pilgrimage, beaches and night clubs. The bottom-line is that you will never feel lonely or bored in this city!
Published: 21 Aug, 2014
Brought up from the cultural capital of India, Kolkata, Swairik Das is a passionate traveller who seeks to travel and explore the length and breadth of the country. He is also a dedicated travel writer, blogger and photographer who by heart is also an adventure freak. His focus is mostly into exploring and writing on trekking, jungle safaris and several adventure activities; religion, festival, heritage, people and cuisine.