Updated: Dec 24, 2020
Whether you are looking for the best places to visit in November or best places to visit in February, places from Uttarakhand will surely be there on every list you find. You will literally be able to understand why this place is called Devbhoomi (Land of the Gods) once you enter Uttarakhand. As the majority of the ‘Janta’ go after highly crowded tourist spots in Himachal, visiting some offbeat locations in Uttarakhand can be a better choice this time if you are more inclined towards exploring than sightseeing while travelling. Follow this 7 days itinerary to have the best week of your life during your Uttarakhand trip.
Uttarakhand is rightly called the heaven on earth. This mountain state of the country has something that can only be experienced when you travel to it. Whether it's the spiritual vibes on the streets of Rishikesh or the dreamy evening walk on the mall road of Mussoorie, no other place can offer you that. I have recently done a 7 days of solo trip across Uttarakhand covering mainly Dehradun, Mussoorie and Rishikesh and trust me this was the best trip I ever had so far.
Uttarakhand consists mainly of two mountain regions, the Garhwal and the Kumaon region. All Char dhams, Rishikesh and Mussoorie are in the Garhwal region whereas Nainital is in the Kumaon region. My recent solo trip was completely limited to the Garhwal region. I have shared my 7 days of itinerary of my recent Uttarakhand trip here and by following this you can easily cover some major locations of Uttarakhand giving enough time to each destination. Follow this itinerary and cover the best of Uttarakhand in the most exciting way possible during your one week of stay.
Delhi to Dehradun:
Uttarakhand is not very far from Delhi. Dehradun is very well connected with other parts of the country. You can easily reach Dehradun by train, bus or flight. As I am fond of travelling by bus, I chose to cover this distance by bus. Plenty of busses of both government and private operators run on this route. So getting a bus booked is nowhere a problem here. The distance is approximately 247 kilometres and generally can be covered within a time frame of 4.5 to 5 hours.
Day 1: Dehradun:
Dehradun is the heart of Uttarakhand. This capital city has everything you can ask for in any modern Indian city. Though Haridwar and Rishikesh are nearer to Delhi and most people follow that route too while coming to Uttarakhand, I would suggest you to make Dehradun your base. It has its own pros. All the three locations Dehradun, Mussoorie and Rishikesh are very near to each other and any two of these can be commuted in just 2-3 hours. My 1st location was Dehradun and I stayed there for one day. 1 day is enough to visit almost all of the major tourist spots in Dehradun. You can visit Robbers Cave, Sahastradhara and Budha temple. Honestly saying, I found only the Robbers cave worthy enough, Buddha temple was closed though due to the ongoing pandemic. One more tip, always stay at hostels.
Day 2: Mussoorie:
Rightly called the ‘Queen of the hills’, Mussoorie is just at a distance of 34 kms from Dehradun and it takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours by bus. Connectivity is good. You can either go by Uttarakhand roadways busses or private taxis or even can go by hiring a bike in Dehradun. Biking on the mountain roads itself is a different kind of experience. I would suggest you to go for the Roadways busses. They are very fast and charges are also low. It took just 65 Rs for me to reach Mussoorie by a Uttarakhand roadways bus.
Day 2: Landour ( 1st day in Mussoorie):
I have always been a huge www.booking.com fan. I already had my hostel(Zostel) booked prior to reaching Mussoorie but had to cancel it as it was approx 11 kilometres far from the Mall road. Hotel was the last option and finally decided to stay in a hotel in the Library chowk at a rate of just 600 Rs per day. As half of the day was gone, I had to decide what to visit. Landour seemed interesting and why not, this old British cantonment town has everything to pull you towards it. 6 hours is more than enough to cover Landour, Char dukan, Lal Tibba and Sisters bazar. Any trip to Uttarakhand is incomplete without witnessing the sunset from the mountains. An evening walk on the Mall road is a must.
Day 3: (2nd day in Mussoorie)
Mussoorie is generally known as a hill station and honeymoon destination. But there are a lot of things in Mussoorie, a solo traveller will love to explore. Dhanaulti and Kempty fall are two major spots you should not miss at all. Don't forget to have a ride to the Surkunda Devi trek. Bikes and scooty are easily available for hiring at reasonable rates. The 2 hours of scooty ride to the Surkunda Devi trek on the curvy mountain roads is a once in a lifetime experience. The trek is approx 1.5 Kms long with 4000 fts of elevation. Surkunda Devi temple is at the top of the trek. The majestic view of the picturesque mountain ranges can be seen from the top and if you are lucky enough, you could also see the views of clouds parallel to you.
Day 4: (Mussoorie-Dehradun-Rishikesh)
The last destination of this 7 days of Uttarakhand trip was Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world. The return journey to Dehradun started, this time by a shared cab. It took just one hour to reach Dehradun, the advantage of paying more maybe. Next step was to board a shared cab to Rishikesh.
The distance from Dehradun to Rishikesh is approx. 46 kms and it takes almost 1 hour to cover this distance by a cab. The fare was also reasonable enough. It took just 60 Rs for me to reach Rishikesh by a shared cab from Dehradun.
Again thanks to booking.com, I got a really cool hostel in the Tapovan area. It's called Backstayz hostel, a newly built hostel with all the facilities with a homely vibe and cool people. Whenever you choose a hostel, always go for the dorms. It has its own advantages like socialising with people from different cultures, traditions and even nationalities. My dorm was a 6 bed mix dorm which was pretty good, most of the time it was empty though.
Other dorms were being occupied by folks coming for workations and couples.
Any list of best places to visit in Uttarakhand is incomplete without having Rishikesh included in it. Rishikesh is known for its spiritual and religious traditions, Yoga and of course adventures. This city has something that just cannot be expressed in words. You can feel this only when you roam around the streets of Rishikesh.
As it was already mid of the day, I had the option to explore the locality. The Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula which was not very far from the hostel. This approx one kilometre walk from the Laxman Jhula to the Ram Jhula exploring the spiritual vibes was just out of the world. Evening aarti at the Parmarth Ashram will take you to a different mindstate. Try to explore this by walking. Bikes are available too but waking will give you a different feel on these streets.
Day 5 (Day 2 in Rishikesh):
As you start walking on the streets of Tapovan, you will see the offices of rafting and trekking operators and bike rental service providers. Don't return from Rishikesh without having an experience of river rafting. Shivpuri river rafting site is very well known. They charge around 500 Rs per person for a rafting trip. Rafting and Trekking are the two things you should definitely try in Rishikesh.
Day 6 (Day 3 in Rishikesh):
Neelkanth Mahadev is approximately 22 kms from Rishikesh. This temple has mythological connections with Lord Shiva. This place is a must visit. Whole journey and exploration will take at least 4-5 hours.
I had the 2nd half of the day to explore what I can more of Rishikesh. The best way to explore any city is by walking on the streets, talking with the locals and visiting the local shops. I went on the streets just to roam around and to enjoy the vibe. Cafe scene is not bad in Rishikesh. Number of cafes offer a serene environment with cool music. The Ganga view is a bonus. Little Buddha cafe is one of such cafes near the Ram Jhula. You can sit for some time there in the evening coffee and watch the Ganga view around. Folks coming for workation like to sit in such cafes in the evening working on their laptops.
Day 7 ( Last day in Rishikesh):
Devprayag is where river Bhagirathi and Alaknanda merge to form the mighty Ganga river. A very spiritual, serene and calm place which indeed demands a visit from you. The journey is approximately two hours. Road conditions are not that great. Still a worthy place to end your Rishikesh trip with lots of memories.
If you have enough time, you can visit the market near the Laxman jhula. Various traditional shops along with shops selling Rudrax will surely attract you. I explored the madhubani art and craft stores in the market area.
My 7 days of Uttarakhand trip ends here and finally headed towards Delhi. I covered the best I could of this Humalaysan state during my short 7 days of Uttarakhand trip.