The distance from Amritsar to Shimla is perfectly ideal for a road trip, that can be enjoyed with both family and friends. The distance between the two beautiful cities is 336 kilometres, and the journey duration can be somewhere between 7 to 8 hours, depending on the route taken, driving speed as well as the number of stops made.
If not self-driving, the journey can be best experienced by a chauffeur-driven cab. You can hire a taxi or cab from popular cab rental companies and make halts at your own convenience anytime and anywhere to enjoy short breaks. Some of the local car rentals are aha taxis, Jawala Travels, Car hires in Amritsar etc, with some popular go-to cab booking sites being Savaari, getmecab, gozocabs etc. You must make sure that you check for the cab operator's authenticity and vehicle conditions so as to avoid any unpleasant situation during the road trip. Some of these local taxi operators provide a whole taxi package, with a round trip as well as point tours in the city included. You can look for such taxi packages and avail them if you find them helpful. If you are insistent upon a budget trip, you can also book shared taxis or do carpooling from Amritsar to Shimla, because that way, it becomes cheaper than train or bus. If you are travelling with friends or family, the best option is booking an outstation taxi or cab, entirely dedicated to your use. If you want to save a few bucks, book it in advance, that is a minimum of 10-15 days before the journey date.
The roads from Amritsar to Jalandhar to Phagwara to Ropar are in excellent condition, and you can be rest assured that the drive will be a smooth one. This part of the journey takes about 3 hours. The traffic is moderate. Amritsar to Phagwara is on NH 1, which is the Delhi Amritsar Highway. Phagwara to Ropar is a toll road that leads to Chandigarh also. The Himalayan expressway is very well-maintained and in good condition. Before reaching Nalagarh, you have to drive on NH21 leading to Manali for about 8-9 kilometres, which is again a well-maintained highway. After Nalagarh, you must take on the road towards Ramshahr, and this is a state highway road on which you have to drive for another 80 kilometres. This is relatively maintained road, with some patches and potholes in between. Up to Ropar, the road is good. From Ghanauli to Kalka it is a single road, via Nalagarh. It is recommended that you drive on this route during daylight.
If you are taking a shared taxi or carpool, the cost can be low. But, if you are booking a chauffeur-driven cab or outstation taxi, your fare will be calculated based on the kilometres travelled, which again will depend on the route taken. Usually, a four-seater hatchback or sedan cab takes ₹3500-3700 while a six-seater SUV can take about ₹4900-5000. If you are travelling in a big group, you can book a nine-seater, ten seaters or 12 seater Tempo Traveller which can cost about ₹9400, ₹10300 and ₹12000 respectively.
Eating Options on the Way
The state of Punjab is synonymous to dhabas. What makes this road trip more amazing is the countless number of dhabas and eating options that come on the way. AJ Dhaba, Inqalaab Dhaba, RD Dhaba, SK Seven Dhaba, Sandhu Malhi Punjabi Dhaba, Majha Food Court, Om Star Dhaba, Gagan Vaishno Dhaba, Kabir Vaishno Dhaba, Kulwant Dhaba, Kalnorian Da Dhaba, Sami Vaishno Dhaba are the some of the best dhabas on the way, where you can stop by and taste Punjabi food, especially paranthas and lassi. McDonald's and Café Coffee Day outlets also fall on the way, and one can stop by and chill out at these with friends.