In our series of sharing inspiring stories from bucket listers around the world, we bring you the ultimate budget travel story of three friends who executed a trip from Mumbai > Amritsar > Kasol. On a rather tight budget of just INR 11,000, Gireesh and his two friends managed to have a lifetime experience at three pleasant locations. Below, we share the details about the entire experience of Mumbai > Amritsar > Kasol budget trip. Keep scrolling to know about their trip and ways that you can also pull out a similar experience with your friends.
Starting From Mumbai Central Railway Station
Gireesh and his friends had been planning the trip from three months; their ultimate motto was to explore the northern part of India like Amritsar and Kasol. Their main concern was about the routes to take and managing the bookings under their tight budget. What posed to be a challenge was the fact that they could not find relevant information for their trip on the internet.
The initial plan consisted of more than three people heading out for the journey, but many backed out due to the news of unrest at India-Pakistan border. Eventually, only three friends were left for heading out on the trip. In light of their budget, three friends decided to take a train to Amritsar and return by flight from New Delhi. Below is the account of the Mumbai > Amritsar > Kasol budget trip.
Day 1: Reaching Amritsar, Getting Affordable Stay Near the Golden Temple
Gireesh and his friends started their journey on Friday after their office. They boarded the Golden Temple mail train from Borivali station at 10 pm, the journey was rather tiresome and took 36 hours to reach Amritsar. They arrived at 8 pm on a Sunday. After getting out at Amritsar junction, they hired an auto for INR 100 for Golden Temple. On reaching the Golden Temple location, they had to walk for around 15 to 20 minutes to get to the temple. They found plenty of other gurudwaras too on their way to the Golden Temple.
While heading to the Golden Temple, they enquired for stays at the rooms provided by the temple authorities. These rooms were available at cheaper rates, and they finalised the one with a charge of INR 400 per night. They kept their luggage in the room and freshened up to finally head to the Golden Temple.
Witnessing the Glorious Golden Temple
At 11 am the next day, the three trippers made their way to the Golden Temple. They walked for around thirty minutes to reach the temple. As part of the tradition, they tied the orange scarf on their forehead before entering the temple premise.
The atmosphere of the temple was peaceful as they noticed how self-managed and disciplined the crowd was. Their favourite memory was witnessing the water reserve in the middle of the temple for devotees to clean their hands and feet before entering the central area of the temple. The peace at the temple had them in a mesmerised state of mind. They spent around an hour and a half just looking around the temple and seeking blessings.
The next step was to quench their food hunger. It was time to sit for the great langar that happens daily at the Golden Temple. Volunteers from the Sikh community prepare the food at the temple and also serve food to people. Their work is divided, wherein some help in washing dishes, some help in handing plates to the visitors, while some are entirely dedicated to serving food. The langar was one of the highlights of their trip to the Golden Temple.
Visit To Jallianwala Bagh
After the Golden Temple, the second stop in Amritsar was the Jallianwala Bagh for them. For those unaware, Jallianwala Bagh holds a dark spot in the history of India’s freedom struggle. This is the garden where East India Company’s General Dyer shot thousands of innocent Indians.
To honour the memory of the people who lost their lives in the most brutal attack by the Britishers, the walls of the garden have the history written all over them. The information on the wall is to enlighten the visitors about the dark past. Also, there is a small museum with historical artefacts (mainly the items found in the barren and bloody garden after the attack subsided). Looking at those items makes the visitor feel the pain of the Indians who suffered in the attack.
The next stop for the three friends was meant to be the Wagha Border, but due to the ongoing unrest between Indian and Pakistan during that time, the border was closed indefinitely. That’s why they had to drop it from their itinerary.
Since their trip to Wagah border was dropped, they decided to head to Kasol that evening. On their way back to their room, they made a pitstop at one of the famous Punjabi Lassi shops while also consulting the locals for direct buses to Kasol. They found out about a bus that directly goes to Manikaran Gurudwara near Kasol, departing at 5 pm from Amritsar bus stop. The three trippers went back to their rooms, quickly changes, and headed to the bus stop to catch the direct bus. They reached the bus stop and waited for an hour for the bus to leave for Manikaran. The one-way ticket to Manikaran costed them INR 550 for 12-hours long journey.
Day 2: Heading To Manikaran and Parvati Valley
Day 2 started with reaching Manikaran at 6 am. The temperature took a major downturn, coming to 10 degrees. For Mumbaikars like the three friends, such low temperature came as a treat. Real winter feels as they call it. The three friends rushed to the Gurudwara crossing a bridge. That was going to be their stay place just like the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
Interestingly, they were asked to do some Seva at the Gurudwara before getting the keys to their rooms. As part of the Seva, they had to carry some firewoods to the kitchens of the Gurudwara. The room given to them has three beds, and the window opened to the full view of mountains and river flowing.
There was also a hot water pool. The three friends went dipping in the pool. The water was pretty hot, with smoke coming out of it. After bathing in the hot pool, they headed for langar inside the Gurudwara.
After langar, it was time to head for Kasol. The ride between Kasol and Manikaran is around 10 to 15 minutes only. One can directly board a bus in front of Gurudwara and head to Kasol.
Kasol is a hippie town, often called mini Israel as one sees plenty of Israeli nationals. After reaching Kasol, the three friends wanted to get a room with a beautiful view, but after failed attempts, they managed to get a room at INR 900 per night next to the main road in Kasol Market. They loved the room as it had a nice bed and was sparkling clean. After freshening up, the three friends headed out to explore Kasol.
Before embarking on the trip, they had already researched about Kasol on the internet and circled cafes to visit in Kasol. They went to the Buddha Place Cafe and had lunch. After that, they went to Silent Camp to inquire about a room. The charges were INR 1,000 for a tent accommodating three people. They dropped the idea of a tent stay and decided to stay at the hotel instead. The next stop was back to their hotel where they rested for a bit and then headed to Bhoj Cafe for dinner.
Day 3: Malana > Chalal > Rasol
Day 3 started with boarding a bus to Dhunkra, and from there, they hired a cab to reach Malana. The cab charged them around INR 700 for the round trip. Malana is a small village near Kasol with mesmerising views of the valley. The three friends also tried the “stuff” for which the place is quite famous for. The villagers generally trade it.
As their next steps, the three friends walked to both Chalal and Rasol from Dhunkra. The distance is around 8kms from Kasol. They had to stop on the way for food and then continued walking to Chalal and Rasol.
The bridge between their walking journey did not come across as safe; the condition is quite dilapidated. However, they had to use it to go to the village on the other side. After exploring the area, they walked back to the main road and found out that Kasol was still 3kms away. They then decided to take a bus to cover the rest of the kilometres.
Day 4: Kheerganga Trek
The next action on their itinerary was going for the Kheerganga trek. It was an overnight plan, and they requested the hotel owner to keep their luggage until they return from the trek. For the trek, they carried minimal stuff. It started with boarding a bus to Barshani, which is the base village for both Kheerganga and Tosh. One can also hire a cab to Tosh from Barshani. However, reaching Kheerganga is not easy at all as one has to take the 6-hour long trek to get there.
The trek began at 11 am from the base village. The came across awe-inspiring scenes of snow-clad peaks on their trek along with waterfalls and forests. They reached the village Naktaan at 2 pm. The village also has guest house facilities for those who want to stay. The three friends had their lunch at the Mount View Cafe and then carried on with their trek. In some time, they reached the Rudranag temple.
The trek was getting steeper as they walked while taking small breaks in the middle. At 5 pm, they reached the top. The plan was to stay there for the night in a tent. They rented one tent at INR 500. After that, they went for a hot water pool dipping.
All the pain from walking felt like withering after taking a bath in the hot pool. After that, they planned to head to a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, and then they headed to the tent they booked.
As night fell, the climate became even challenging. The cold wind felt like someone poking pins into the skin. Thankfully, their tent owner arranged for dinner and campfire. Next day, they started their journey back to the base. Since the weather was turning colder, they started at 7 am. It took them 4 hours to reach the base village. After a pit stop at Tosh, they headed back to Kasol from Bashani via bus.
Day 5: Heading Back to Mumbai
The flight to Mumbai was at 9 am so they quickly went for breakfast and then boarded the bus to Delhi from Kasol. The bus from Manikaran was at 1 pm. As they had some time waiting for the bus, they savoured the delicious Pahadi momos. The ticket cost from Manikaran to Delhi was around INR 750. The bus reached the Kashmiri Gate in Delhi at 5 am the next day. From there, the cab charged them INR 250 to the airport.
Words of Inspiration for Fellow Travellers: Wish it > Do it > Woovly!
The overall Mumbai > Amritsar > Kasol budget trip experience was memorable for the three friends as they ticked their Wishlist. They explored a lot of places and had the chance to meet local people and get fantastic hospitality at hotels and tent spaces. Their story is an inspiration for friends and even solo travellers who want to go on trips without spending an even part of their savings.
We, at Woovly, look up to the adventurers and travellers who explore their surroundings and take up the challenge of doing something out of the mundane to achieve their Wishlist. If you also have a story surrounding your travel or adventure experience, then click here to submit your story. Our team will get in touch with you to know more about your journey and publish it on our blog.
We would like to extend our thanks to Gireesh and his friends for sharing their inspiring travel story with us! You can directly reach out to Gireesh on via Facebook (click here) to know about more trips like Kasol budget trip, around India.