The Indian subcontinent is gifted with vibrant cultures, picturesque landscapes, and some ancient architectural monuments. While safety is of utmost importance, especially for solo travellers, be it men or women, the need to explore the hidden gems of India is at par. I’ve been to few solo trips and have also laid down 10 reasons why one should travel solo in my previous blog post. Here, I bring you a list of four places in India that would ensure your safety and offer unforgettable solo travel experiences:
1) Hampi, Karnataka –
Hampi, a UNESCO heritage site is located in Karnataka, near Hospet town and is laden with temples, remains of archaic palaces, old market streets, bastions and royal pavilions. Visit Hampi if you love places of historical value, monuments and have a thing for temples.
Things you can do in Hampi: As already mentioned above, Hampi is the land of temples and paradise for those who have a special liking for historical monuments. The Virupaksha Temple is a 15th Century temple that lies in the Hampi Bazaar area and is dedicated to Lord Shiva’s form of Virupaksha. Another must-visit temple in the Hampi Bazaar area is the Vittal temple. The Vittal Temple was built in the 16th Century has some mind-blowing architecture with pillars that produce music when they are tapped. Another part of Hampi is the Royal centre that falls between Hampi Bazaar and Kamalapuram, just about a 2-kilometre walk from the Hampi Bazaar area. Visit the Lotus Mahal, a palace that is a combination of Indian and Islamic architectural styles with a lotus petal carved out on its ceiling. Wake up the inner archaeologist in you and visit the Archaeological Museum at Kamalapuram which has an exquisite collection of ancient sculptures dating back to the 13th Century from the Vijaynagar empire of South India. Hampi also hosts the annual festival of Purandara at the Vittal temple in the months of January-February which celebrates the birth anniversary of a medieval era composer-poet, Purandar. Besides these things, Hampi also has a Hippie side where you could just chill at all these cute and vibrant cafes. My friend visited Hampi for the weekend and he has jotted it here – Weekend in Hampi
Getting to Hampi: You could take a train to Hospet Junction railway station which is about 13 kilometres from Hampi. If you’re looking to travel from cities near Hampi, you can check out the long-distance buses that drop you to Hospet town’s bus stop. From Hospet town, you can either book a car, take an auto or use one of the local bus services that will drop you to Hampi. Make sure you bargain if you’re taking an auto or cab.
2) Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh-
Located at a distance of about 80 kilometres from Pathankot, Dalhousie is a quaint hill station that is frequented by foreign nationals for some downtime. As you might have guessed, this hill station nestled at an altitude of 2,030 meters above mean sea level is named after the Viceroy of India, Lord Dalhousie.
Things you can do in Dalhousie: When you reach Dalhousie, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into an old British colony from the 1900s. Go to Khajjiar, also known as mini Switzerland, this place is the best spot for a day out in the midst of dense pine trees, white-capped Himalayan mountains, the Khajjiar lake only adds to the already beautiful Dalhousie city. Visit the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, a 150-year-old temple located very close to the city of Dalhousie and is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu along with shrines of Gauri Shanker temple, Radha-Krishna temple and the Shiva temple of Chandra Gupta. You can shop from the Tibetan Market at Gandhi Chowk where you can buy metal diyas, carpets, Buddhist paintings, souvenirs for everyone back home and also pick up some Kashmiri handicrafts from the Himachal Handloom Industry Emporium that sells first-hand Kashmiri handicrafts directly from Kashmir.
Getting to Dalhousie: The nearest airport to Dalhousie is Gaggal in Kangra district and the Amritsar airport. You can also choose to go to Dalhousie by train or by bus. If you plan to go by train, it can drop you off at Pathankot station and from there you can take a direct taxi to Dalhousie.
Goa, the ultimate party place in India has lots to do for solo travellers. The beach state has more to it than meets the eye. Right from churches to night markets, there is something for everyone in Goa.
Things you can do in Goa: Start off your trip by visiting the Dudhsagar falls that fall on the border of Goa and Karnataka, on the Mandovi River. Go to the largest Goan city of Vasco Da Gama for some fun water sports such as snorkelling, kayaking and parasailing. Next up, hit the dance floor at the silent party being hosted at Silent Noise from 9 pm onwards, all you have to do is plug your earphones in and enjoy the music. For another night of fun partying, head to Club Cubana, a club that is mounted on a hilltop. Cubana is a club spread over a large area, with different club rooms playing different genres of music to cater to different music choices, the club also houses a swimming pool within the premises. Grab some breakfast at Infantaria bakery and go on to shop at the Anjuna beach. If you’re fond of night markets, head to the Arpora night market that is held on every Wednesday night. Visit the UNESCO heritage site of Bom Jesus Basilica’s Church before you bid adieu to Goa. Do check these top 10 things to do in Goa
Getting to Goa: Goa is easily accessible by flight from most of the cities in India. You can also take a direct train to Thivim or Madgaon railway station in case you’re going from Mumbai.
4) Pushkar, Rajasthan-
Pushkar is the quintessential Indian city with vibrant colours and cultures that fly around in this city of Rajasthan. Pushkar lies on the Thar Desert border and has some extremely scenic spots for solo travellers to visit. A city that is close to the hearts of most Hindu followers, Pushkar is set on the beautiful Pushkar lake.
Things you can do in Pushkar: The Pushkar lake is one of the most visited sites in all of Pushkar. Thousands of visitors from across the world flock to the Pushkar ghats and the lake to bathe in the holy water which is known to wash away all the sins that you’ve committed in the past hundred years! The Pushkar lake is surrounded by over 400 temples and 52 ghats, these are bustling with crowds of tourists, priests and locals. After a heavy day in the midst of the crowd at Pushkar, visit the Pushkar Yoga Garden, the ideal place to enjoy the calm and serenity in the ashrams, rejuvenating yourself from all the weariness. The Yoga centre is based on ancient yogic principles that teach the importance of yogic healing through various therapeutic methods. Shop handicrafts in Pushkar, put your haggling skills to some use at the Market road and the Sharafa Bazaar. You can buy sarees, hand-stitched purses, sweets, local handicrafts and gifts for loved ones from the markets in Pushkar. The biggest and one of the most beautifully made Brahma temples in India is also situated in Pushkar, head there to offer your prayers before you leave this enchanting city. You could also enjoy the camel fest that happens every year somewhere in November. You can read more about Pushkar Festival.
Getting to Pushkar: The closest airport to Pushkar city is the Jaipur airport located about 140 kilometres away which takes around three hours to cover. You can reach Jaipur airport from major Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Calcutta. There are Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation buses that ply from Delhi to Ajmer and then take you to Pushkar. However, bus travel is not very suitable for travellers coming in from far off locations.
You could also visit Udaipur, Jaipur, Jammu & Kashmir, Kodaikanal, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh go get the best experience from your solo trips. Have I missed out on any place? Have you been to any other place in India that you feel should be on the list?