What is solo travel?

Well, you all must have been encountered with this question a several times. But now, no worries at all!! I’ll tell you the actual meaning of solo travelling. Are you ready? So, come on, let’s dive deep in the meaning of the definition of solo travel and why it’s important part of our life.

Hey, Beautiful Explorers!!! Brace yourself everyone because I’m going to tell you all an interesting definition of solo travel.

Solo travel is a transformative experience, and India, an incredible country, offers a myriad of destinations catering to solo adventures. From vibrant cultural hubs to serene landscapes, here are the top seven places for solo travelers in India, each with its unique features, attractions, culture, food, accommodations, and the warmth of local hospitality.

1. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh:-

Varanasi, situated on the banks of the Ganges River, is one of the oldest cities in the world. Known for its spiritual aura, it’s a blend of ancient traditions and modern life. Varanasi, also known as, Banaras or Kashi, is a city on the Ganges river in northern India that has a central place in the traditions like pilgrimage, death, and mourning in the Hindu world. The city has a syncretic tradition of Muslim artisanship that underpins its religious tourism. Located in the middle-Ganges valley in the south-eastern part of the state of Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi lies on the left bank of the river.

Varanasi, the center of the Bhojpuri cultural region is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities. Kashi, its ancient name, was associated with a kingdom of the same name of 2,500 years ago. The Lion capital of Ashoka at nearby Sarnath has been interpreted to be a commemoration of the Buddha’s first sermon there in the 5th century BCE.

Silk weaving, carpets and crafts and tourism employ a significant number of the local population, as do the Banaras Locomotive Works and Bharat Heavy Electricals. The city is known worldwide for many of its ghats, steps leading down the steep river bank to the water, where pilgrims performs rituals. Of particular note are the Dashashwamedh Ghat, the Panchganga Ghat, the Manikarnika Ghat, the last two being where Hindus cremate their dead. Among the notable temples in Varanasi are Kashi Vishwanath Temple of Lord Shiva, the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, and the Durga Temple.

(a)Attractions:-

  • Ghats- Witness the mesmerizing Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat.
  • Sarnath- Explore the Buddhist ruins and the famous Dhamak Stupa.

(b)Culture:-

Immerse yourself in the rich religious and cultural practices, from traditional music to vibrant festivals.

(c)Food and Cuisine:-

Indulge in local delicacies like Banarasi Paan and Kachori. Don’t miss the famous lassi while hanging out there!

(d)Accommodations:-

Choose from your budget hostels to boutique guesthouses along the ghats.

(e)Local People:-

Experience the warmth of locals who are deeply connected to their spiritual heritage and unique cultural.

2. Rishikesh, Uttarakhand:-

Rishikesh, also spelt as Hrishikesh, is a city near Dehradun, in Dehradun district of the Indian state Uttarakhand. It is situated on the right bank of the Ganges River and is a pilgrimage town for Hindus, with ancient sages and saints meditating here in search of higher spiritual knowledge. There are numerous temples and ashrams built along the banks of the river.

It is also known as the “Gateway of the Garhwal Himalayas” and “Yoga Capital of the World”. The city has hosted the annual “International Yoga Festival” on the first week of March since 1999. Rishikesh is a vegetarian-only, and also alcohol-free city too.

Rishikesh is the starting point for traveling to the four “Chota Char Dham” pilgrimage places: Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. It is also a starting point for Himalayan tourist destinations such as Harsil, Chopta, Auli, as well as summer and winter trekking destinations like Dodital, Dayara Bugyal, Kedarkantha and Har Ki Dun.

Although Rishikesh has always been a popular tourist destination due to its status as the birthplace of yoga, the city gained more notoriety when “The Beatles” visited in 1968. Since ancient times, the location has served as a heaven for yogis, saints, and practitioners, who come there to learn about this traditional Indian practise, advance their understanding of it, become instructors, or even find enlightenment.

(a)Attractions:-

  • Laxman Jhula and Ram Jhula- Iconic suspension bridges with spiritual significance.
  • Triveni Ghat- Must attend the evening Ganga Aarti.

(b)Culture:-

Participate in the yoga and meditation retreats. The city exudes a peaceful vibe.

(c)Food and Cuisine:-

Enjoy the mouth-watering vegetarian delights in the form of Thali and local street food.

(d)Accommodations:-

Numerous ashrams and budget-friendly lodgings cater to solo travelers.

(e)Local People:-

Engage with friendly locals who appreciate the serenity of their hometown.

3. Jaipur, Rajasthan:-

Known as “The Pink City”, Jaipur is a vibrant destination with a rich history. Jaipur, formely “Jeypore” is the capital and the largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan. As of 2011, the city had a population of 3.1 million, making it the 10th most populous city in the country. Located 268 km (167 miles) from the national capital New Delhi, Jaipur is also known as the “Pink City” due to the dominant color scheme of its buildings.

Jaipur was founded in 1727 by Sawai Jai Singh, the ruler of Amer, after whom the city is named. It is one of the most earliest planned cities of modern India, designed by Vidyadhar Bhattacharya. During the British colonial period, the city served as the capital of Jaipur State. After Indian independence in 1947, Jaipur was made the capital of the newly formed state of Rajasthan in 1949.

Jaipur is a popular tourist destination in India, forming a part of west Golden triangle tourist circuit along with Delhi and Agra. The city serves as a gateway to the other tourist destinations in Rajasthan. On 6 July 2019, Amer Fort and Jantar Mantar in the city were named as a “World Heritage Sites”.

In the 2008 Conde Nast Traveller Readers Choice Survey, Jaipur was ranked the 7th best place to visit in Asia. According to TripAdvisor’s 2015 Traveller’s Choice Awards, Jaipur was ranked first among the Indian destinations for the year. The Presidential Suite at the Raj Palace Hotel, billed at US$ 45,000 per night, was listed in the second place on CNN’s World’s 15 most expensive hotel suites in 2012. Jaipur was ranked eighth in “The Top 15 Cities in Asia”.

(a)Attractions:-

  • Hawa Mahal- Iconic palace with intricate architecture.
  • City Palace- Explore the historical royal residence.

(b)Culture:-

Witness the grandeur of Rajasthani culture through folk dances and traditional arts.

(c)Food and Cuisine:-

Indulge in the Rajasthani specialities like Dal Baati Churma an Jaipur’s world famous sweet dish, Ghewar.

(d)Accommodations:-

Choose from the heritage hotels to modern hotels within the city.

(e)Local People:-

Encounter the hospitality of Rajasthani local, being proud of their cultural heritage.

4. Hampi, Karnataka:-

Hampi or Hampe (in Kannada), also referred to as the “Group of Monuments” at Hampi, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Hampi (City), Ballari district, now known as Vijayanagara district, east central Karnataka, India. Hampi predates the Vijayanagara Empire; it is mentioned in the Ramayana and the Puranas of Hinduism as Pampa Devi Tirtha Kshetra. Hampi continues as religious center, with the Virupaksha Temple, an active Adi Shankara-linked monastery and various monuments belonging to the old city.

Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1336 to 1565, when it was abandoned. It was a fortified city. Chronicles left by Persian and European travellers, particularly the Portuguese, say that Hampi was a prosperous, wealthy and grand city near the Tungabhadra River, with numerous temples, farms and trading markets. By 1500 CE, Hampi-(Vijayanagara) was the world’s 2nd largest city, after Beijing, and probably India’s richest at that time, attracting traders from Persia and Portugal. The Vijayanagara Empire was defeated by a coalition of Muslim sultanates, its capital was conquered, pillaged and destroyed by Sultanate armies in 1565, after which Hampi remained in ruins.

Hampi ruins are spread over a 4,100 hectares (16 sq mi) and it has been described by UNESCO as an “austere, grandiose site” of more than 1,600 surviving remains of the last great Hindu kingdom in South India that includes “forts, riverside feature, royal and sacred complexes, temples, shrines, pillared halls, mandapas, memorial structures, water structures and others”.

The name was derived from the old name of the Tungabhadra River which was Pampa, so the name Hampi is the English version of the Kannada name “Hampe”.

(a)Attractions:-

Step into the past with ancient ruins, temples, and the boulders of Hampi.

(b)Culture:-

Discover the unique blend of Vijayanagara architecture are the laid-back backpacker vibe.

(c)Food and Cuisine:-

Relish in with the yummiest ever South Indian cuisine in local cafes, with a focus on tempting dosas and filter coffee.

(d)Accommodations:-

From budget guesthouses to the luxurious riverside resorts, Hampi also accommodates all types of travelers.

(e)Local People:-

Engage with the artistic locals, often found playing traditional instruments and showcasing their crafts.

5. McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh:-

McLeod Ganj or McLeodganj, is a suburb of Dharamshala in Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh, India. It is also known as “Little Lhasa” or “Dhasa” as the Tibetan government-in-exile is headquartered here and there is a significant population of Tibetans in this region.

McLeod Ganj is named after Donald Friell McLeod, a Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, the suffix “ganj” is a common Persian word used for “neighborhood”.

The region finds references in ancient Hindu scriptures such as “Rig Veda” and “Mahabharata”. There are mentions of the region by Panini in 4th century BC and by Chinese traveler, Heun Tsang during the reign of king Harshavardhana in 7th century AD. The indigenous people of the Dharamshala area (and the surrounding region) are the “Gaddis”, a predominantly Hindu group who traditionally lived a nomadic or semi-nomadic transhumant lifestyle.

(a)Attractions:-

Home to the Tibetan government-in-exile, explore the Tibetan culture, Dalai Lama’s residence, and trek to Triund.

(b)Culture:-

Attend Tibetan festivals, visit monasteries, and embrace the serene mountain atmosphere which is most wonderful feeling of attachment towards our mother nature.

(c)Food and Cuisine:-

Relish in with Tibetan momos, veg thukpa, and indulge in international cuisine in the vibrant cafes.

(d)Accommodations:-

Guesthouses, hostels, and boutique stays a cater to the diverse crowd.

(e)Local People:-

Interact with the Tibetan community, monks and fellow travelers drawn to McLeod Ganj’s spiritual aura.

6. Goa, The Beach of Bliss:-

Goa is a state on the southwestern coast of India within the Konkan region, geographically separated from the Deccan highlands by the Western Ghats. It is bound by the Indian states of Maharashtra to the north, and Karnataka to the east and south, with the Arabian Sea in the west. It is India’s smallest state by area and fourth-smallest state by population.

Panaji is the state’s capital, while Vasco da Gama is its largest city. The historic city of Margao in Goa still exhibits the cultural influence of the Portuguese, who first voyaged to the subcontinent in the early 16th century as merchants, and conquered it soon thereafter, whereupon Goa became an overseas territory of the Portuguese India, and remained as such for about 456 years until it was annexed by India in 1961. Goa’s official language, which is spoken by a majority of its inhabitants, is Konkani.

Goa is visited by large number of international and domestic tourists each year because of its white-sand beaches, active nightlife, places of worship, and World Heritage-listed architecture. It also has a rich flora and fauna because it lies very close to the North Western Ghats rainforests, one of the rare biodiversity hotspots of the world.

Tourism is generally focused on the coastal areas of Goa, with lower tourist activity inland. In 2010, there were more than around 2 million tourists reported to have visited Goa, about 1.2 million of whom were from abroad. As of 2013, Goa was a destination of choice for Indian and Foreign tourists, particularly Britons and Russians, with limited means who wanted to vacation outside of their countries. The state was hopeful that changes could be made which would attract a more upscale demographic.

Goa stands 6th in the Top 10 Nightlife cities in the world in National Geographic Travel. Notable nightclubs in Goa include Chronicle, Mambos and Sinq. One of the biggest tourist attractions in Goa is water sports. Beaches like Baga and Calangute offer jet-skiing, parasailing, banana boat rides, water scooter rides, and more. Patnem beach in Palolem stood third in CNN Travel’s Top 20 Beaches in Asia.

(a)Attractions:-

Beyond the beaches, explore Old Goa’s churches, spice plantations, and vibrant markets.

(b)Culture:-

Embrace the laid-back Goan vibe, attend festivals, and indulge in the water sports.

(c)Food and Cuisine:-

Savor the delicious Goan fish curry, Bebinca, and explore beachside shacks offering diverse cuisine.

(d)Accommodations:-

From beach huts to luxury resorts, Goa caters to everyone’s budget.

(e)Local People:-

Interact with the friendly locals who embody the Goa’s relaxed and welcoming spirit.

7. Pondicherry:-

Pondicherry, now known as Puducherry, is the capital and most populous city of the Union Territory of Puducherry in India. The city is in the Puducherry district on the southeast coast of India and is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal to the east and the state of Tamil Nadu, with which it shares most of its culture, heritage, and language.

Pondicherry is a tourist destination. The city has many colonial buildings, churches, temples, and statues which, combined with the town planning and French-style avenues in the old districts, still preserve much of the colonial ambiance.

While the sea is a draw for tourists, Pondicherry no longer has the sandy beaches that once graced its coastline. The breakwater to the harbour and other hard structures constructed on the shore caused extreme coastal erosion, and the sand from Pondicherry’s Promenade Beach has disappeared entirely. As a result of the city’s seawall and groyne construction, the beaches further up the coast to the north have also been lost. An enormous deposition of sand has accrued to the south of the harbour breakwater, but this is not large beach and is not easily accessible from the city.

(a)Attractions:-

Wander through French Quarter, Auroville, and relax on serene beaches like Promenade.

(b)Culture:-

Experience the unique blend of French and Indian cultures, attend yoga workshops, and explore the spiritual retreats.

(c)Food and Cuisine:-

Enjoy the French-inspired delicacies, seafood, and the widest, eclectic range of international cuisine.

(d)Accommodations:-

From colonial-style guesthouses to boutique hotels, Pondicherry offers a variety of some of best diverse stay options.

(e)Local People:-

Engage with the cosmopolitan crowd, local artisans, and the welcoming residents of this charming town.

Conclusion:-

Embark on a solo journey through these diverse destinations in India, each offering a unique tapestry of experiences. From spiritual immersion to cultural exploration and culinary delights, solo travel in India promises an unforgettable adventure.

Come along and explore the “Incredible India”, travelholic adventurers!!!

  • Internal Link:-

Check out our guide on“Solo Travel Essentials” for tips and tricks to enhance your solo journey.

  • External Link:-

Explore more solo travel inspiration on https://National Geographic’s Solo Travel Guide.

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