Buses from Chandigarh to Kullu
We have decided to cover the following places : Kulu, Manali, Rohtang Pass, Lahaul, Spiti, Kinnaur and if possible, Dharamshala and Mcleodganj. we reach Delhi on 28th night and then have two options. 1. Take the Kalka Shatabdi at 7 in the morning, reach Chandigarh by 11 and then either take the next bus to Kullu or see Chandigarh and take the late evening bus to Kullu. So for this, I need info......read more
Welcome back. I am glad you included Lahaul and Spiti in your travel plans. I am going to make sure your itinerary pans out accordingly.
So for buses from Chandigarh to Kullu here is what I found on IndiaMike
Onward bus information:
Himachal Roadways Tata AC bus 8:40 PM from ISBT-43 Chandigarh (it starts from Chandigarh as originating station). Advance Reservation possible online on the website or at counter. It is a very good bus service. The bus starts from ISBT-43 Manali platform. The bus is painted green (for easy identification) and called HIM GAURAV (which is also painted on the bus). It ideally reaches Manali by 7-8 AM or so (subject to traffic etc).
Online booking URL: http://hrtc.gov.in/hrtctickets/Login.aspx
No booking on phone. Visit the counter personally and book in advance if you cannot book online. Their phone number (for confirming platform, timings etc): Chandigarh 0172-2668943/Manali - 01902-252323.
So to answer your question you will need to stay back in Chandigarh to get the bus to Kulu. Note that there are 11 seats left on that bus (when I checked today) and it would come to about Rs 998 for the two of you. You would, I reckon get into Kulu by 6 am in the morning.
For taxis from Delhi directly
From what I am reading online, it looks like a 10 plus hour long drive from Delhi to Kulu. Apart from that with the costs, you would be overshooting your budget big time considering we haven't looked at accommodation and day to day costs as well during your holiday.
Take for example, the distance from Delhi - Kulu is approx 522 km. Let's say we use these guys's rates @ 8 km/hr, we arrive at a sum of Rs 4176 approx. Then we can potentially consider what rates these guys are advertising, which works out to Rs 2000 a day, you are going to shell out the princely sum of 18k based on your 9 day trip. Even it comes down to lets say Rs 1000 a day, this would still be a very expensive option
My best bet
Take the bus from Chandigarh. It is the cheaper and much more viable option for you guys.
Most of what is online seems to suggest there is nothing much in Kullu to see. I believe all the fun begins when you get to Manali. There are a whole lot of places to see so I would recommend 3 days atleast at Manali including the Rohtang Pass visit.
Places you must visit from Manali
Note that you can spend a whole day in Naggar itself - RECOMMENDED
Naggar. 25 kms. outside Manali, Naggar used to be the capital. It's an absolutely pure thrill to drive there. 100% speechless and breathtakingly beautiful! One of those rare scenes where no amount of photography will help you remember the feel of what it was like being there. Where you just forget about everything else and marvel at the therapeutic qualities of the mountains.
Naggar is famous for two things. Naggar Castle and Roerich's art. Roerich is a legend in these areas. An artist from Russia, his family and he had settled in Naggar early in the century and his artwork has received endless praise. His house is where his artwork is displayed and also at the folk museum.
- Solang Valley - RECOMMENDED. Popularly known as Snow Point, is 13 km northwest of Manali and famous for its 300-meter ski lift. It is a picturesque spot and offers splendid views of glaciers and the snow-capped mountains.
- Rohtang Pass - RECOMMENDED. Make sure you wrap up warmly for this particular ride(which btw should be a hour's drive away from Manali)! Rohtang is gorgeous and beautiful. Its a question of immersing yourself in glacial beauty. But watch out for bad weather when you visit. You can read more about this person's experience here from 2008. Note that the pass as of May 2010 was still closed and and this is the most current update I have. Also found this online so you should check ground reality of things are affected when you get to Manali.
- Do check out Kothi which is at the bottom of the Rohtang Pass. It is a beautiful and photographic village where you can get thrilling views of the deep gorge through which the Beas swiftly runs.
- Hadimba Temple - It's a five hundred year old wooden temple located nearly two kilometers from the Mall. It's located amidst the acres of trees and has wooden carvings.
- Manikaran - For the hot springs and the Gurudwara which demand your attention. 45 km away from Kullu, you can read more about it here.
- Manali Gompa - Famous for a large statue of Buddha and wall paintings
Sigh after looking at all the photos online I wish I could tell you to ditch Manali and head directly to Spiti
But I shall refrain and would suggest that you spend maximum time out of your 9 day trip here - for the walks, the awesome landscape and the extraordinary nature of the place. Think this is the closest you will get to the whole Ladakh experience (i. e if you want to recreate that). I am going to RECOMMEND spending a good 4 days here which I don't think will be enough but given your itinerary, this will work out well for you.
Note that your entry to Lahaul and Spiti will be affected should Rohtang Pass be closed during the time you visit. I would SUGGEST that you try and enter via the back entry - Shimla - Kinnaur - Spiti in case this does happen.
Things to Do
I know I suggested reading this guy's roadtrip report before but these photos are so mindblowing that I thought should reiterate my point again! I am not sure if it is artistic license or just the way the landscape is but it definitely makes me recommend that you do the trip from either Kaza or Tabo basing yourself there.
Kaza is characterised by stark beauty, narrow valleys and high mountains. Its about 12,500 above msl.
From here you can access all the following places:
- Tabo - A village in lower part of Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh, at an altitude of 3265 meters. The biggest attraction of this village, for that matter of the whole valley, is the Tabo monastery, called Chogs-hkhor which is a complex that holds nine temples, 23 chortens, a monks' chamber and an extension that houses the nuns chamber.
- Ki Monastery - 7 km from Kaza. The largest monastery in Spiti Valley. Established in the 11th century has ancient Buddhist scrolls and paintings. It also houses large number of Buddhist monks and nuns.
- Kibber - Attempt to go for short walks from this village and get awed by the scenery
- Dhankar - is a large and remarkable village, that was once the capital of Spiti. Located 12,760 feet (3,890 meters) about sea level, it was founded between 7th and the 9th centuries. Dhankar's old temple complex occupies the southern part of the steep mountain slope of the village.
You can read About.com's guide to Spiti - makes for very interesting reading. Enjoy!
Based on what I have suggested as an itinerary, would like to know how you would want to play it. I can then suggest accommodation options, places to eat, events (if any) accordingly.