For last few years, we have noticed various comments on our portal wherein folks want to know about various options to reach different Hill Stations in Himachal Pradesh. So we thought of sharing this Photo Journey with some details about Transportation mediums in Himalayan State of India - Himachal Pradesh.
If you are someone who doesn't want to break the journey, VOLVO buses are best for you to reach Himachal Pradesh. Take an over-night VOLVO for any of the destination in Himachal and you will reach early morning, which will give you enough time during the day. Travelling via VOLVO is one of the most efficient way. Direct VOLVO buses are available for Shimla, Manali, Dharmshala, Baijnath, Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Solan, Una, Mandi, Kullu, Sundernagar etc. There is no VOLVO bus for Dalhousie or Chamba, but 2*2 buses are there for Dlahousie region. Most of these VOLVO buses start from Himachal Bhavan, Mandi House, Delhi and ISBT is also a pick-up point. Seats can be booked in these VOLVO buses through HRTC website - http://www.hrtc.gov.in/hrtctickets/
There is an advice to do your VOLVO booking in advance (probably 2-3 weeks before your travel date.). VOLVO buses are very comfortable. These buses stop at nice place for dinner and then take another break at Chandigarh.
Time taken by VOLVO buses to different places in Himachal -
Shimla : ~8 Hrs
Dharmshala : ~ 10.5 hrs
Manali : ~ 14 hrs
Kullu : ~13 hrs
Mandi : ~ 11.3 hrs
Bilaspur : ~ 9-10 hrs
Solan : ~ 7 hrs
Hamirpur : ~10 hrs
Baijnath : ~ 12 hrs
Palampur : ~ 11 hrs
If you don't find place in HRTC VOLVO buses, there is another option. You can check Himachal Tourism VOLVO buses. These buses can be booked through http://www.hptdc.nic.in/bus.htm and they also start from Himachal Bhawan in Mandi House, Delhi. Please note that Himachal Tourism buses don't go inside ISBT Kashmiri Gate.
If you don't find place in VOLVO buses, then you can opt for TATA-AC buses. This can happen if you are planning the trip in very short time. TATA-AC buses also have adjustable & comfortable seats but these are comparatively old buses. These buses would not be as silent as VOLVO coaches. TATA-AC buses can also be booked through following website - http://www.hrtc.gov.in/hrtctickets/
If you miss out on all above options, you will have few other options which are huge in number and hence high probability of getting booking. Deluxe (Non-AC), Semi-Deluxe and Ordinary buses by HRTC (Himachal Roadways Transport Corporation)
Via Train -
There are very few places in Himachal which are accessible through Train. Following are the few of the railway stations in Himachal Pradesh.
Pathankot Railway Station - Nearest Railway station for Dlahousie, Chamba, Dharmshala, Mcledoganj and Palampur.
Una Railway Station - Nearest Railway station for Hamirpur. This can also be an option for folks visiting Mcleodganj or Palampur.
Kiratpur Railway Station - Nearest Railway station for Kullu, Manali, Mandi, Bilaspur & Sundernagar.
Chandigarh Railway Station - For Shimla, Kasauli, Solan & Kinnaur
Apart from these main Railway stations, Himachal Pradesh also has two narrow gauge railway tracks wherein one can continue the journey in Toy Trains. Of-course, these journey would take more time to reach your destinations.
Shimla - Toy trains for Shimla start from Kalka Railway station and it takes 7 hours to reach Shimla from Kalka. These Toy trains cross through Solan town as well.
Jogindernagar - Toy trains for Jogindernagar start from Pathankot and crosses through Kangra, Palampur, Baijnath towns.
Near-by Railway Stations around different tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh -
Shimla : Chandigarh and Shimla(Toy Train)
Dharmshala : Pathankot and Una
Manali : Kiratpur
Kullu : Kiratpur
Mandi : Kiratpur
Bilaspur : Kiratpur
Solan : Chandigarh & Solan(Toy Train)
Hamirpur : Una
Baijnath : Pathankot and Una
Palampur : Pathankot and Una
By Air -
There are three airports in Himachal Pradesh - Shimla, Kullu (Bhuntar) and Kangra. Schedule of various flights to Himachal from Delhi are listed on following link - http://www.hptdc.nic.in/access2.htm. Mainly Kingfisher and Air India operates in Himachal Pradesh.
Own Cars/Taxis/Tempo-Traveller -
If you are visiting Himachal in a group, you can plan to have your own Taxi or Tempo traveler, depending upon the number of folks in the group. Roads in Himachal are pretty good and this is a recommended mode because you get freedom to roam around the main tourist destinations and also have freedom to stop wherever you want.
Apart from above details, I would like to mention transportation modes for Kinnaur, Kaza, Lahual & Spiti and Leh.
One needs to go to Kinnaur/Kaza region via Shimla. So transaportation modes for Shimla are shared above. One can halt in Shimla for a day and move further in Deluxe buses or can hire taxi from Shimla. If you are in a group, I won't recommend to hire the taxi from Delhi, It's recommended to have local driver with you. Roads beyond the boundaries of Shimla district are tricky and local driver would be a good companion for the journey ahead. Same rule applies for Lahaul and Spiti.
If you plan to go to Leh via Manali. Head to Manali through one of the modes mentioned above then you have few options. Hire Bikes from Manali, if you want. Or you can also take Himachal Tourism bus to Leh. There is a halt and Tourism department takes care of stay on the way. It's quite economical as well. But best is to have your own vehicle because landscapes on the way are very beautiful and you may want to have freedom of stopping whereever you want.
Please feel free to comments back in case you have some specific queries on this.