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Best Places To Visit Near Delhi - Weekend Getaways
Delhi or Dilli as the heart of India is called, is a beautiful historical city, with lyrical melodies that are hidden in its monuments and markets, colonial houses and Mughal mosques. The city dwells in its own unique culture and offers you a unique holiday experience. However, there is more to the surroundings of Delhi, as attested by the locals, who take off every opportunity they get, to holiday on the weekends. Be it the religious towns of Mathura-Vrindavan or just one-more-time at the heavenly Taj Mahal in Agra, be it the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks or mountains and foothills of Himalayas - weekend getaways from Delhi take you to unique locations. If you are inquisitive and ready to pick out already, here are the best places to visit around Delhi.
Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary
Only 22 km away from the city of Delhi, Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary rests at the northern end of the Aravali Ranges. People flock to its hidden lakes, 5 in number, and are most attracted to the Bhardwaj Lake for a day-picnic. You can chomp on chips and sandwiches on a picnic blanket one minute and go exploring to search the various bird species, mammals and reptiles in the jungle the next. It is that wonderful. There are a few seasonal waterfalls active in monsoon and a few ruins and forts around the sanctuary too.
Who wouldn’t want just one more visit to the Taj? Since Agra is one around 200 km from Delhi, it’s easy to plan a day or even a weekend trip to the city of Shah Jahan. Well, it’s a no brainer that you would visit Taj Mahal the first thing here, followed by the local markets and restaurants. Fatehpur Sikri nearby is also a very coveted day tour, where you get a whole lot of insight into the life and reign of Emperor Akbar, along with various tid-bits about his family life, Jodha Bai and his nine gems of courtiers. If you still got time on you then don’t miss Itmad-ud-Daulah’s tomb.
Madawa is a small fort town, not in the state of UP or even nearly close by to Delhi, but in Rajasthan. Since Rajasthan shares a border with UP, Madawa is a very convenient getaway for those who are fans of history, myth, lore, Rajasthani havelis and culture. The culture here is not exactly marwari or mewari but decidedly Shekhawati. You can see it in the architecture of the palaces, and even local houses and havelis that date back centuries. The town is so beautiful that it has many a times been referred to as an open-art gallery. For photographers and Instagram lovers, Mandawa is a brilliant destination.
Surajkund is a small reservoir in Faridabad, with an ancient semi-circular amphitheatre. Surajkund was built in the 10th Century, named so after the sun god. Today it hosts a very lively annual Surajkund Festival, with day tours becoming very coveted during winters. The Surajkund Annual International Crafts Mela held in the first fortnight of February is a massive crowd-puller. You can also visit the nearby Anangpur Dam, Tuglaqabad Fort and the Chattarpur Temple.
Damdama Lake close to Delhi is the best bet for a overnight camping trip. Nature lovers and thrill-seekers, star-gazers as well as peace-seekers, this place is the go-to for a quiet weekend. The hills around the lake make for perfect rock-climbing and trekking expeditions, while the bank of the lake is great for pitching a tent and burning a bonfire. Many travel companies arrange lake-side movie screenings, group camps, star-gazing and metro shower camps as well as boating, rock climbing and night-sky photography expeditions. Damdama Lake is only 38 km from Delhi.
Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary
Bird lovers, this is the destination of your hearts. More than 250 bird species nipping at trees, resting in nests, chirping along canopies; that’s just beauty in its purest form. During winters, more migratory birds come here in flocks, from the flamingo to common teal, the Siberian cranes to yellow wagtail and the beautiful rosy pelicans. So this is the best time to take a trip to Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary.
Jim Corbett National Park
What can be said about Jim Corbett that already hasn't? One of India’s best wildlife parks to spot tigers, it is around 230 km from Delhi, making it a coveted long weekend getaway for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. The safaris are best experienced through summer and winter months, and you get to spot exotic species like leopards, rhinos, chitals, elephants and the Himalayan Black Bear. Of course, the tiger is the best. You can also go mountain climbing, fishing, biking and rappelling in the nearby fringes of the forest. And there are a couple of luxury resorts and lodges to accommodate you, as well as forest camps pitched in non-restricted areas.
A Rajasthani fort village, Neemrana lies on the Delhi to Jaipur highway and is only 118 km from Delhi. It makes for a great escapade for families, friend groups and people sold out on history and architecture. The Neemrana Fort on top of the green hills is now a converted heritage hotel and invites you into its fold of luxury, opulence and royalty. Other activities here include zip-lining, hiking, visiting the Neemrana Baori (tank) and checking out the views of Alwar from the hill’s pinnacle. It's bound to give you all the Padmavat feels.
One of the corners of the Golden Triangle, Jaipur is only 270 km from Delhi and the usual next stop for most tourists out on the Golden Triangle trail. For others who want to escape Delhi heat and madness for a weekend, Jaipur is perfectly beautiful. The pink city, with its Hawa Mahal and City Palace, Jaigarh Fort and Amer Fort, Jantar Mantar and local markets, makes for a colourful lively holiday. Shopping for ethnic Indian wear from leheriya to mothra sarees, and jotis to mojris is a treat here. Winter is a better time to go.
Bhangarh can easily be classified as one of the most haunted locations in India. So much so, that scholars of paranormal studies and occult sciences, as well as thrill and adventure seekers from around the world have come here to know what is it that is so scary about the Bhangarh Fort. People have shot shows in here, left cameras rolling night after night, tried to make documentaries, and come up with weird phenomena that scare the hell out of you, but never begin to explain the whys of those. So if you are daring and have a taste for the paranormal, then do pay Bhangarh a visit. After sunset, entering the fort is prohibited and at your own risk, so a good time would be the afternoon.
Mathura-Vrindavan-Gokul region of Uttar Pradesh is termed as Vraj. The land of Lord Krishna’s birth and leelas. The belt is close to 160 from Delhi and makes for a nice experience in religion, history and culture. From the ghats of Mathura to the Krishna Janma Bhoomi temple, from the Mukharvind and Parikrama marg of Govardhan to the many mandirs of Radha-Krishna in Vrindavan, you will be stunned to see and know about it all. Festivals like Holi, Janmashtami and Basant Panchami are ideal times for a getaway.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
This is a World Heritage Site, ensconcing beautiful ecosystems and varied species of birds, mammals, trees and flowers. UNESCO has listed Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary as a World Heritage Site and rightly so. For here you have such unparalleled beauty. Safaris run in tourism season from 6 in the morning to 6 in the evening. You will find migratory as well as local birds at most times, and also be able to camp out with some luxury resorts in the area.
A hub of Indian spirituality, Haridwar has some of the most ancient Hindu mystic temples, sites, ghats and hills. The River Ganga flows through here, cleaving this city, making it the most coveted destination for those who want to worship Ganga. It is 213 km from Delhi, making an easy weekend trip possible. You get to attend the evening Ganga aarti, visit the many ashrams and temples, enjoy the tranquil chaos of Har ki Pauri and try your hand at understanding religion the Indian way.
Rishikesh is also not quite far from Delhi, nestled in the foothills of Uttarakhand. With its proximity to the Himalayas and the Ganges flowing freely, this destination is a mix of adventure and religion. You can visit Triveni Ghat as well as go for the best river rafting in the country, swing while walking across bridges like Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula as well as try rock-climbing, zorbing and kayaking. Other fun actives to indulge in here are bungee jumping, rappelling and trekking.
Deeg is a small town in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan, 194 km away from Delhi. People flock here to soak in the palaces, forts and jungles; from the Deeg Fort to the Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary. The town, once ruled by the Jat community, is a coming together of various architectural styles, that are based on Rajasthani style but don’t resemble its neighbours. You should check out old havelis like Gopal Bhavan, Hardev Bhavan and Suraj Bhavan.
The isolated town of Manesar is not more than 55 km away from Delhi, and serves as a quick drive and getaway from the city heat. Home to good holiday resorts, some luxury hotels and Rajasthani architecture, the place is good to go and unwind. Especially if you want some place where the crowds won’t find you. Visit the Kingdom of Dreams, Damdama Lake, Manesar Golf Course and go for the Flyboy Air Safari when you want to get out of your resort and explore.
One of Rajasthan’s royal hidden secrets, Dausa is offbeat, appealing and quieter than the rest. With its forts, step-wells, havelis and heritage hotels, you are bound to fall in love with this town. Go for camel rides, enjoy a desert safari, pray at the various temples and chill by the baoris or step-wells. Winter time, from November to March, make for a great time to do a weekend in Dausa. The Chand Baori especially is a famous and beautiful feat of architecture here, which shot to fame with the movie Paheli, and you must visit at least once to get cool photos.
India’s first planned city and what a city! Chandigarh is the epitome of clean, meticulous roads, nicely planned streets and homes, Rose Gardens and the world-famous Pinjore Garden. You can visit malls, go boating to Sukhna Lake and catch a cable car ride up to Timber Trail. What’s more is, Chandigarh is only 4.5 hours away from Delhi, at a distance of 260 km. So if you always wanted to visit this beautiful city then here it is, a long weekend getaway from Delhi, just waiting to happen.
Nestled in the lap of Uttarakhand, Dehradun, also known as Doon, is a hill station that was developed by the British. Back in the day, the hills and valleys, the calm and myth, all invaded and made Dehradun quiet. Now, not so much. And yet you find a thread of peace to hold on to here. From treks to cave expeditions, hot chocolate drinks at night to forest and deer park adventures in the day, Dehradun beckons you with all that natural beauty and culture.
The small town of Pataudi just outside Gurgaon, is the seat of the Nawabs of Pataudi, the current Nawab being Saif Ali Khan. While the titles and royalty and privy purses don’t endure anymore, Pataudi is still identified by its glamorous royals. Only 87 km outside of Delhi, here you can visit the Thakran Farms, go for treks into the wild, have a splendid time at Aapno Ghar Amusement Park, and of course, check out the iconic Pataudi Palace.