People. Are. Everywhere. Traffic in the Hills Angers Travellers
On the way to Shimla.
On the way to Shimla. (Photo: ANI/Altered By The Quint

People. Are. Everywhere. Traffic in the Hills Angers Travellers

The mercury is no longer rising, it has evaporated!

That’s how hot it is this summer.

Good thing is that schools and colleges are finally shut for vacations and your boss has reluctantly approved the request for that ‘longish’ leave. Yay, now is your chance to go ‘chill’ somewhere in the hills.

Err... MAYHAP!

Before you set off to your favourite summer destination in north India – you know, the Shimlas, Massouries, Nainitals, and Manalis of the world – please do carry a tent with you, because there is a fair chance you may not get a hotel reservation. Or worse, not even make it there!

Word has it that the footfall on the usual summer destinations is so high this year that the authorities have to send back tourists. Not just that, the long queue to such places has resulted in hours-long traffic jams, moving at less than a snail’s pace.

People. Are. Just. Everywhere.

Lakhsman Jhula at Rishikesh.
Lakhsman Jhula at Rishikesh.
(Photo Courtesy: Raman)

“Tourists come all the way to Rishikesh just so they can sit in the car amidst a f**king traffic jam. Yup, people are everywhere — doesn’t matter where you are — be it at the top of a f&*king mountain or just a freakin’ public toilet,” shared a frustrated Rao Indrajeet Singh, who had just returned home from a trip to Rishikesh. Inderjeet’s drive back to the Gurgaon, Haryana took much longer than it should have.

Not Just Tourists, Pilgrims Also Suffering

<a href="https://www.instagram.com/explore/locations/998907656900843/kedarnath-dham-mandir/">Kedarnath Dham Mandir</a>
Kedarnath Dham Mandir
(Photo: Isntragram/thehimalayanfolk
“From May to June there is special interest here because of people traveling for Char Dham Yatra and Hemkund Sahib. For them this year has been especially difficult to reach their destinations. It has been time consuming. It is taking at last 5 to 6 hours to cross Rishikesh because of the traffic conditions, and lack of a bypass.”  
Himanshu, Yoga instructor in Rishikesh

Thanks Internet, For Ruining It

What about lesser known places or the hidden gems you ask? Well, they are no longer that obscure.

Spiti Valley.
Spiti Valley.
(Photo: Instagram/haram_khor_) 

“The Internet has made it super simple to find these places. And everyone wants a slice of the pie,” points out Pranay Tiwary, a content writer by profession and a traveller by passion.

“For example, Kheerganga in 2015 was super enticing, but slowly became overpopulated and lost some of its charm. Kasol is another example of this.”
Pranay Tiwary
Kasol in 2017.
Kasol in 2017.
(Photo: Instagram/aditya1056

This is Not a Unique Problem. It Happens Every Year

Vaibhav Kala, who runs an adventure sports facility called Aquaterra across destinations in India and abroad, says that summers in the hills have always been crowded.

“Last year, the Chandigarh airport was shut down in the middle of the peak season,” he adds.

“On the bright side there is a lot of infrastructural work going on in the last 5 to 10 years so that the hills can support the peak season. Better and timely planning should help.”

Alternatives Are There If You Are Creative

“People need to get smarter and not crowd the same 40 hill stations and choke its resources. They can move to new locations. The east of India is great,” Kala points out.

Pranay Tiwary has a similar suggestion for creative travellers, who can also focus on places with less amenities.

“The good thing is, because most of this crowd is only looking for a good time with a view, they usually throng the places with comfortable hotels and such. That’s why places like Manali and Kasol (not to mention Shimla) fill up first. So a good bet is going to a place with lesser amenities, with the added advantage that they have the best views as well.”
Pranay Tiwary

He also suggests places that are difficult to reach like Chadar Trek or Grahan village trek from Kasol.

And while travellers continue to crib about the increasing traffic ruining their experience, they must also realise that they are part of the same footfall that they complain of.

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