Dharamkot in Himachal: For solitude seekers
Dharamkot: It may not be as famous as lower-lying destinations like McLeodganj or Dharamshala, but that's exactly what sets apart Dharamkot, a quiet Himachali town with breath-taking views of the Kangra valley and the Dhauladhar mountain range.
Reachable by private cabs or after some walking, Dharamkot's bus stop and nearest airport are 30 kilometres away in Dharamshala, which has direct flights from New Delhi. The nearest railway station is Pathankot.
For the many who undertake the laborious and highly-recommended two-day Triund trek, Dharamkot is the gateway to the spiralling, narrow trail in the mountains. If extreme hiking is not your thing, a diversion from the usual route can take one to a shorter, less-visited trek to a local waterfall.
Young Indians and foreign travellers seeking solitude flock to the area for its vibrant hostel scene. It is equally preferred for a short stay. Though accommodation spaces and cafes grow sparse as one moves to upper Dharamkot, one is sure to find Maggi-and-chai points - indispensable to the classic Indian trek experience.
Speaking of cafes, the town has a multitude of cuisines, especially Israeli, owing to the high number of Israeli tourists it attracts. Young Israeli flock to the hills to 'decompress' after completing their mandatory military service.
But almost 2,100 metres above sea level, Dharamkot is not a very child- or elderly-friendly destination. To put that into perspective, the word's tallest peak, the Mount Everest is roughly four times that elevation. Reason why the Kangra town is free of the long vehicle trails and excessive commercialisation, and has truly everything the young solo travellers can root for.