Delhi is truly wondrous to live in. But sometimes the cacophony and hullaballoo of the city can erode your thirst for solitude and make you want to run for the hills! Here’s a list of the major tourist attractions near Delhi which you ought to head to carving out a weekend from your busy schedule to offer you respite from the myriad businesses of life.
The first name that comes to mind when one plans a weekend getaway from Delhi is that of Agra’s. Agra’s Taj Mahal has become the icon for perhaps the whole of Indian Tourism, and for good reason. Could anything be more romantic than a drive to the famed ‘city of Love’ and witnessing the glorious glow of Taj Mahal against the luminous full moon? Taj Mahal continues to exist as the symbol of everlasting love across myriad narratives of literature, films, art and entertainment.
But did you know the city is also home to Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri along with Taj Mahal, the trio of monuments that form UNESCO world Heritage sites? Let the history connoisseur in you feast on its array of monuments, mausoleums, palaces and forts and if time permits, revel in the old world charm of the adjacent Fatehpur Sikri as well.
Need a retreat into the fairyland environ of hills? The enigmatic beauty of the hill station is sure to offer you an ideal respite from the heat characteristic of Delhi’s climate. Be it the mesmerizing views of glistening mountain tops on its north-east, or the enchanting panorama of Doon valley in its south, a walk along the contours of the picturesque hill station truly makes you feel as if you are taking a stroll through a fairyland. While at Mussoorie, enjoy walking through its promenade ‘Mall’, escape to the retreat offered by the many waterfalls like Kempty Falls, Bhatta Falls, Jharipani Falls, Mossy Falls and lakes like Mussoorie lake, Lake Mist and head to the amazing viewpoints at Cloud’s End, Nahata Estate, Gun Hill etc.
There’s something about this hill station built around an eye-shaped lake that promises tranquility to city dwellers. Boating in the vast expanse of Naina Lake is an experience to be cherished. So is hopping onto the aerial rope-way and letting it ascend you till Snow Viewpoint. The Snow View Point gifts you mesmerizing views of Tiffin Top and China Peak. Also, pay visit to Naina Devi Temple situated on the banks of Naina Lake and bask in the holy energy of the Divine Mother! If you want to stretch your adventurous spirit, trek till the viewpoints at Naina Peak, Tiffin’s Top etc.
A true hub of spiritual seekers from around the world, a visit to Rishikesh is a must for anyone who wants to experience the amalgamation of ancient and modern spiritual streams. Educate yourself at the many yoga centres and bask in the holy energy of its myriad temples and ashrams along the sacred banks of River Ganga. Meditating in the open air against the backdrop of the musical cadence of the revered River is truly beautiful! Rishikesh acts as an important stopover for pilgrims on their Char Dham Yatra from Delhi, a popular pilgrimage to the sacred shrines at Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. But pause before you write off Rishikesh as just a f of spiritual retreat, this hippie town is equally famous for the many avenues of adventure sports it offers like river rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking, rappelling, cliff jumping etc.
Experience the flamboyancy of Rajasthan in its capital city’s colourful mayhems. The fusion of the old and new presented by its chaotic streets strangely complement the quiet grandeur evoked by its myriad palaces, Havelis and fortresses. Treat yourself to the myriad views of the city bazaar offered by the million palace windows of Hawa Mahal, explore the striking blend of Mughal and Rajputi architecture in City Palace and Amber Fort, let your heart afloat the waters of Mansarovar Lake that rest the architectural marvel of Jal Mahal, gaze at the mystery of heavenly bodies at Jantar Mantar and just let the old world charm of the Pink City work its magic on you!
06. Jim Corbett National Park
India’s first National Park covering an area of 1318 sq km of forests is just a six hour drive from Delhi. Wildlife enthusiasts will find Jim Corbett National Park an abundant haven of such diverse species of flora and fauna. Spot golden jackal, Himalayan Black bear, leopard cats, elephants and its chief attraction of Royal Bengal Tigers while on its wildlife safaris. Keep your eyes glued to the tree-tops that touch the skies as well, for there are over 580 species of birds that make its beautiful forests their home.
07. Keoladeo National Park/Bharatpur bird sanctuary
Another must-visit spot for wildlife enthusiasts, the conducive physical environ of Keoladeo National Park is home to over 230 resident bird species and offer winter retreat to thousands of migratory birds. The key role played by this World Heritage Site in conservation of such staggering species of avifauna makes it an important is commendable. Do not forget to grab your cameras while you are on a trip to this National Park, a mere 5 hour drive from India’s capital, for the enchanting views offered by its forests can make even a layman into an avid photographer!