So your board exams just got over and you have a lot of time in hand. You are free from the bonds of school and for a while, books and classes before you start a novel chapter of your life: college. While the magnanimity of college life can be daunting, it’s important to relax and untie the knots in your head formed during months of relentless exam preparation. The best way to do so? Travel. Or rather, solo travel. Take the plunge, pack your rucksacks, and venture on a journey to the unknown all by yourself for the very first time. Where to go? We have you sorted. By Shubhanjana Das
Strolling through the quiet streets of Puducherry and taking in the colonial French lineage through its vivacious buildings, sipping coffee in one of its many quaint cafes, visiting the world-renowned Matri Mandir in Auroville, Puducherry is one of the best places to kick-start what is surely going to turn out to be a habitual practice of solo travelling. It is safe yet fun, educative yet calming. Not convinced? Try spending a few hours in Auroville beach and then we’ll talk.
The much unexplored North-Eastern part of India shelters landscapes that are hard to believe at one glance. The Sikkim region of the Himalayas is home to its capital city, Gangtok. This small little haven is as much a refreshing cultural experience as it is filled with adventure and thrill. Learning about the ways of the world while travelling is a delight of a different kind and Gangtok, with its plentiful attractions, is one of the best places to introduce yourself to the same. Rumtek monastery, Tsuk La Khang monastery and Pemayangtse monastery are absolute must-visits for understanding Buddhism and spiritualism better.
This is no surprise, is it? Chances are that you have already visited Rajasthan at least once, if not multiple times, with your family already. So, why go again? Solo travel is all about your perception of the world through an unhindered vision of the world, and a solo travel trip to Rajasthan allows just that. Given that Rajasthan attracts tourists from all over the world, has the key to India’s history like no other state, and is perfectly safe for newbie solo travellers, it is a great place to start. Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, Nahargarh Fort, the folk music, culture, costume, Bikaner, the desert, the maharaja thalis –– there is truly no end to the number of things you can explore in Rajasthan.
There’s nothing quite like an escape to the mountains, is there? Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, even though brimming with tourists from all over the country and abroad, is the perfect place for self-contemplation while strolling along the Mall Road or enjoying your cuppa at one of the many hip cafes in Shimla. Although, when the opportunity approaches of interacting with people, grab it with both hands! You may be travelling solo but that doesn’t mean you have to be alone.
5. Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh
The thrill of going on a safari looking for the cat in the Bandhavgarh National Park located amidst the Satpura and Vindhyan area can be one liberating experience for first time solo travellers. The Bandhavgarh National Park is home to around 250 species of birds, 80 species of butterflies, reptiles and more. You can venture to the rest of Madhya Pradesh as well to explore the heart of the country brimming with history and heritage that you may have only read in books till now.