Is Dev Bhumi Uttrakhand
safe for solo trip?
First solo trip or one of many, Uttrakhand is the best place for solo travelers. The people are very friendly, weather is good. Keep reading if you are intrested for a solo trip to Uttrakhand dev bhumi. It was my first solo trip and I have shared my experience in this post that will be helpful to other solo travelers...
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I have been toying with the idea of solo trip for some time and one day I decided to make the move.
Which place is safe for first solo trip?
The question of safety was on top of my mind, so I asked one of my cousines who have been traveling a lot.
Without hesitation, he recommended Uttrakhand. So Off i went or should I say “Jhola Utha K Chale” 🙂
I tried to get train reservation from Mumbai, but it was difficult so I decided to start my trip from Delhi.
Dev Bhumi Uttrakhand
Uttrakhand is a mountain state with its history going in BCE. The capital of Uttrakhand is Dehradun that is well connected by road, train and flights.
To mover around Uttrakhand, you will have to be dependent on road. The roadways services in mountain regions usually stops at 4pm as the terrain is difficult.
Dev bhumi Uttrakhand is one of the best places for trekking, the people are polite (Ofcourse those involved in business do their stuff to earn extra profit).
My first solo travel: Destination
I decided to start my solo journey with some divine blessing, so decided to visit Kainchi Dham (Neeb Karori Baba ashram), popularly known as Neem karoli baba ashram.
Getting confirm tickets from Delhi is also not very easy, so I decided to travel in General coach. I booked a general ticket (online) from New Delhi (NDLS) to Haldwani using UTS app.
My first solo travel to Dev Bhumi Uttrakhand: The Begining..
I arrived at the NDLS station 1hr before the train start time, the general compartment in this train was in the front. I boarded the train and got 3rd seat.
By the time the train started at 4pm, the general coach was full.
It was a 5hr trip from Delhi to Haldwani, I was able to get a small nap as well!!
I got down at Haldwani at around 10pm. There were no bus till morning, so I looked for a stay.
Haldwani does not have a retiring room, so i spoke with the AC sitting room guy. He agreed to let me sleep on bench and charged me as per his tarrif (Rs.10/- per hour).
I slept there and got up early in the morning. After freshning up, I started walking towards Haldwani Bus depot.
The premise outside Haldwani railway station was not very clean, but it was spacious.
After walking for around 15-20 min, I saw few bus. Upon enquiring with a local, he mentioned these are private bus and Government bus depot was bit further ahead.
He advised me to take Government bus as it starts on time unlike private bus which will not start till all the seats were full.
Haldwani to Kainchi Dham
I got into a bus going towards Ranikhet/Kumaon as it would drop me at the ashram gates. Other bus would have dropped me at bus depot from where I would have to further take a vehicle for the ashram.
The bus ticket was around Rs.120/ and after around 2hr, it dropped me at the Baba Neem Karoli ashram.
It was around 7am and devotees were just pouring in. I kept my shoes and bag near the gate (free service), washed my face and leg and entered the ashram.
It was aarti time, I attended the aarti then spent some time in the prayer hall.
After few hours, I came out and wandered around Kainchi Dham. Its a small village. Few hours passed by, then I took a sharing cab (lot are available from the ashram gate). The driver agreed to take me to Nainital for Rs.100/-
Kainchi Dham To Nainital
The cab dropped me at Nainital Mall road. While in transit, I enquired about decent restaruant around mall road and he suggested to go around 500 m ahead of Mall road, there are many decent restaurants and food is much cheap as compared to the on on Mall road.
I visited Naina Devi Temple first. Its at one end of Nainital.
After coming out, I saw a Gurudwara as well so visited there as well.
Just opposit Gurudara, there is a ground. I crossed the ground and reached the place that as suggested by the driver and had Chole Bhautare for Rs.70/-
With food in my tummy, I explored Mall road. The walk took around 45min. I did not try the boating though it looked tempting.
On the other end of the lake, I saw bike taxi guys. Its basically you get a ride on bike and is very economical for solo travelers.
They had a package of Rs.1000/- for 11 tourist spots. It would have taken 4-5hrs. I wanted to move to Kathgodam for my journey to Haridwar, so I bargained and he agreed to cover 5 points for Rs.500/-
The bike ride was worth it! The mountain journey was very exiciting with steep slopes going to mountain top. A few points were not visible due to fog but I was happy after the 2-3hr bike ride.
The rider dropped me at bus stop and I took a bus to Kathgodam that cost me around Rs.100/-
Check out this video for the beautiful Nainital sights
Nainital to Kathgodam by bus
There is a bus from Nainital to Kathgodam ever 30min or so. There are many private taxi also plying between these points.
The bus ride was around 2hrs and it was a plesant one. I keppt a candy (toffee) in my mouth to avoid vomitting sensation and got down at Kathgodam.
Upon enquiring about the train to Dehradun/Haridwar, it came as surprise to me that on that day the train was scheduled to start from Haldwani and not Kathgoda!!
I am sure railwasy must have its reason for this arrangement but it sounded illogical to me.
Anyway, I saw a decent looking eating point opposit Kathgodam station and had my lunch. The food was good and price was reasonable.
After having food, I took a sharing auto towards Haldwani. It cost me Rs.20/-
Haldwani to Haridwar by train
I got lucky as I found the train standing on the platform with the general compartment open. I boarded the train and got window seat. This was my opportunity to lie down till the compartment became full and I had a good 30min nap.
I took ticket till Dehradun as the train scheduled time at Haridwar is around 3am in the morning and I was not sure if it would be safe. But looking at the number of people who alighted at Haridwar, I also got down.
Haridwar statioin was pretty croweded for 3am. I walked till the road and saw quite some people moving around. That gave me some courage and I decided to explore Haridwar at 3am!!
But before that, I had to keep my bagpack at locker and I found this AC retiring room like the one in Haldwani, only thing is charges were Rs.30/- per hour.
I freshened up in the retiring room and took a locker (Rs.20/- for 8hr). Kept my bagpack in the locker and started towards Har Ki Paudi on foot.
Note: IRCTC dormatory room bed was also availalbe for Rs.150/-, you can avail this facility as well. Just approach TC, show him your ticket (even general ticket will work) and he will book a bed for you. Charges vary for 4hr and 8hr slots.
It was around 4am now and few more people were also visible on the road.
I walked for around 45min to reach Har Ki Paudi. A lot of people were already there, taking bath in the chilling Holy river!
I did not dare and just sprinkled some water ( Kaua snan!) and roamed around for some time as there was still time for Aarti.
Many sellers were selling T shirt and shots for Rs.30/- in case you did not bring your bathing cloth. Plastic sheets were also available in case you need to spred it at the ghat and sit.
There are many changing rooms as well for free.
The arati started around 6am and lasted around 30-40min. After the aarti, I roamed around some more time. I saw people (official looking people) persistently asking for donation. You can politely decline and move ahead in case you don’t want to donate.
It was around 7am now, I had light breakfast (better have it near Har ki paudi itself as very few shops were open else where).
I looked for Mansa Deve, Chandi Devi Roap way counter and was surprised to see it was open at 8am!! Good for me, it was less croweded.
I took a combined ticket for Rs.500/- that included the connecting bus from Mansa devi base to Chandi Devi base.
Watch this video for Mansa Devi Chandi Devi darshan details
Haridwar To Rishikesh By Bus
After a good darshan of both the devi, I had the option of visiting more temple or start towards Rishikesh.
I was not very keen on visiting more temple and it was getting hot as day progressed, so I picked up my bag from locker room and went to bus depot (Opposit the railway station).
Though people mentiond there is a bus every 30-40 min from this bus depot, but somehow I could not find one even after 1hr!!
After around one and half hour, I got into a bus towards Rishikesh. The ticket cost was around Rs.70/-
The tourist place is not near the bus stop, you will have to take auto for Ram Jhula, it will cost you around Rs.50/-80/
Where to stay at Rishikesh?
There are plenty of stay options at Rishikesh. If you are on a budget, staying at Dharshala will be cheapest. You will get rooms for as little as Rs.200.
Note: Solo travlers will not get accomodation in Dharmshala.
Rishikesh to Uttarkashi Bus
The governmet bus from Rishikesh to Uttarkashi leaves around 5am, better opt for private bus that has more frequency. Remember, the bus service is till 4pm only, in case you are looking for long distance better start early in the morning.
I got a bus at 10am to Uttarkashi, it took around 4-5hrs and ticket price was Rs.350/-
Uttarkashi to Gangotri
During off season, bus do not operate between Uttarkashi to Gangotri. Someone suggested to go till Dharali or Harshil, chances were good to get a vehicle till Gangotri from there . So I took private sharing taxi, it cost me Rs.200/- for a 4hr drive from Uttarkashi to Dharali village.
From Dharali Village, I could not get a sharing vehicle so I bargained with a villager and he agreed to take me till Gangotri and back for Rs.700/-
Where to get bus for Kainchi Dham?
You will get state governemnt bus from Haldwani to Kainchi dham. Else, you can get bus from Delhi Anand Vihar as well (not from Kashmiri gate).
Taking the first step is the most difficult in solo trip. Once you step out, the little challanges will get sorted. So I highely recommend, don’t be at fence, pick your bag and move (Jhola Utha K Chale)!!
Dev bhumi Uttrakhand is among the safe and best solo trip destination, once you visit the state you will realize why its called Dev bhumi!
You will also enjoy Guide To Budget Solo Trip