Do you fancy heading out into new and offbeat terrain with nothing but a bag of essentials?
You might be bitten by the backpacking bug. Offering a fresh perspective, backpacking brings along a breath of freedom and the chance to truly live the journey on the go. Meet new people, experience new cultures, and amalgamate truly into the place you are travelling. That is the essence of being a backpacker. To get you started, here is a compilation of the best backpacking trips in India that should be in your bucket list.
This tiny beach-town is a popular haunt for those who love the sand and sea. A more Laid back version of the crowded sister beach-town Goa, Gokarna is a backpacker’s paradise. Helpful locals, backpacker hostels, streets dotted with souvenir shopping, budget food joints, and friendly faces all around, make this town a perfect destination, whether you are backpacking alone or with friends.
Bir, Himachal Pradesh
If offbeat locales are more on your list, then Bir is definitely one of the top destinations for backpacking in India. This quaint little village in the Himalayas will truly satisfy your thirst of adventure and discovery. Popularly referred to as the ‘paragliding capital of India’, Bir also offers a host of other fun activities including mountain biking, snow trekking, and camping. Definitely the perfect destination to bring out that much needed adrenaline rush.
Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
One of the jewels of North India, Spiti Valley is a diamond in the rough. Soaring ice-capped mountains, gushing rivers, and lush fir forests make up a truly heavenly topography for a backpacker to wander into. Wander through Pin Valley, sip a hot cuppa tea near the mountain lake Suraj Tal, trek to Key Monastery or bike through some of the most challenging mountain routes in the world, Spiti Valley is bound to leave you speechless with admiration and full of wonderful stories.
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
This colourful city in North India is thronged by thousands of pilgrims throughout the year. Yet, it also holds a special thrill in the heart of a wanderlusty backpacker.
Come and meander through the culture-rich by lanes, take a boat ride during sunrise in the Ganga, pay homage at one of the many divine temples, and let your inner foodie indulge in some mouth-watering kachori and paan. Also, a photographer’s delight throughout the year, the hustle-bustle of this city will truly amaze the shutterbug in you.
McLeodganj, Himachal Pradesh
Another top destination for backpacking in India, McLeodganj is cosily nestled in Dharamshala, a Buddhist abode of India. A backpacker’s haven, the cosy lanes dotted with Tibetan souvenirs, affordable and homely stay, continental cuisine, and friendly locals, all bring warmth to the heart. To top it all, the scenic view offered by the surrounding Dhauladar range of the Himalayas beckons one on adventure on treks. (adventurous treks) Else, you can also opt for a spiritual retreat at one of the many monasteries.
The holy city of Pushkar is a pilgrimage site for religious devotees across the country. It also houses vibrant culture and tradition that draws adventure seekers, looking for backpacking trips in India. The best time to visit is undoubtedly during the annual Pushkar Mela. A cultural festival, this celebration sees Rajasthani tradition shining to full glory. Apart from that, Pushkar has much to offer to the discerning backpackers. Immerse yourself in yoga, trek to nearby temples, savour delicious Rajasthani cuisine, or unwind and take a dip in Pushkar lake.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the places in India with the oldest history. With an old-world charm, Hampi welcomes an eclectic mix of travellers from across the world, thus, making it truly cosmopolitan. Hire a scooter and head straight to the rock-cut temples depicting stories of lord from days gone by. Hampi dam, elephant stables, and sunset point are a must visit. With plenty of options for budget bed and breakfast, Hampi is backpacker-friendly and it is a guarantee that you will meet new people and make connections for life.
Kasol, Himachal Pradesh
A tiny hamlet locked in the embrace of heavenly Parvati Valley, Kasol is on every avid traveller’s bucket list. It is an experience more than a destination. And hence many adventurers say this place is a must visit. Clear blue skies, flowing rivers, apple orchards, and lush meadows, all framed by the glorious Himalayas, truly make Kasol picturesque. A dip in the hot water springs of Manikaran, post a short trek is an absolute must-have experience.