Delhi, the capital of the country, is favourably located for all adventure aficionados. The city sits close to the Himalayas, while at the same time bordering the desert region of Rajasthan, or the lush green agricultural plains of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Here are 5 places which you can drive or ride to from Delhi, to unwind on your weekend from all the office trivial
Starting with the holy town of Rishikesh, which rests on the banks of the River Ganga. This town is under 300 km from Delhi, resting in the foothills of Uttarakhand. You drive there through the plains on great roads. An early morning start will allow you to have a late breakfast in Rishikesh.
The town is also known as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’ and has people visiting from around the globe. There are numerous ancient temples and yoga centres to visit. Those looking for adventure, can enjoy rafting options on the river and many camps outside town in the lower hills.
Rishikesh is excellent for both the spiritual and adventure traveller. Being so close to Delhi, one can easily visit and be back in time to join office, without worry.
Our next weekend destination is Shimla in the neighbouring Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh. The capital of HP is just 350 km from the country’s capital, making it an ideal weekend getaway in your car or on your motorcycle.
This hill station is a legacy of the British, who chose to make it their summer capital, because of its pleasant weather and dense vegetation. Even now, one can see a firm imprint of the British, in the architecture and influence on local culture.
Enjoy the architecture on the Mall and Ridge, the Jhaku temple which is the highest point of the city. And if you are looking for some additional adventure, you can even drive up to Kufri, Naldhera or Narkanda. Scenic villages flooded with apple orchards. You can visit these hamlets in winter for snow views.
Jim Corbett National Park
A tiger reserve named after the famous hunter turned wildlife conservationist, Jim Corbett. The oldest national park in the country is just 250 km from Delhi. It is perfect for nature and wildlife lovers.
In the park, you can enjoy elephant safaris and jeep safaris. Both of which are unique experiences to enter the jungle and feel the dense forests enveloping you. Feast yourself on the views of tigers, deer and 50 other mammal species. The sanctuary also has around 600 species of birds and a handful of reptiles as well in the marshy lands.
Book in advance in the government camps which are located inside the national park. All the private hotels are outside the borders of the national park and do not provide the same experience of staying in the lap of mother nature.
An entirely different trip as compared to the previous three destinations. Agra is a big metropolitan city in Uttar Pradesh, which is just 250 km from Delhi. Most famous for the Taj Mahal, Agra has a host of other Mughal legacies as well to visit.
The journey to Agra can be as pleasurable as getting there, as you drive on one of the finest roads of the country in the form of the Yamuna Expressway. The city itself has something special for those with a sweet tooth, the ‘petha’ of this place is famous, which is a kind of pumpkin preserve.
For those interested in architecture and history, there are numerous monuments to be explored. Including the World Heritage, Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Akbar’s Tomb, there are plenty of other smaller places which are equally worth a visit. If the city isn’t sufficient, you also have the neighbouring holy land of Mathura, along the way. Or you can drive down to Fatehpur Sikri which is just 35 km away.
Agra is teeming with history and culture for the traveller looking for such in a big bustling city. It is not a place to visit for people looking to get out of the city and absorb nature.
Udaipur is the lake city of Rajasthan, which is 650 km from the national capital. As such, it is perfect to visit on a long weekend in the winter. Not quite your quick weekend dash.
The ‘City of Lakes’ paradoxically sits in the desert state of Rajasthan. Unlike the desert, this city is blessed with water, thanks to Aravalli Range which surrounds it and separates it from the Thar Desert.
For the traveller, you have the 5 major lakes of the city, Fateh Sagar, Pichola, Swaroop Sagar, Rangsagar and Doodh Talai. But you also have museums, forts, palaces and temples which are worth visiting. The city is steeped in Rajput culture and you can see that visible in all parts of town. At certain times of the year, you can also enjoy the spectacle of traditional village fairs on the outskirts of the city. One can also enjoy traditional Rajasthani cuisine, which is quite different from food consumed in other parts of North India. It is a gastronomic treat, whether you are vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
This oasis in the desert is well worth a visit, but one needs to go there with sufficient time in hand. Rushing through Udaipur would be a travesty of travel.