The constant movement in and around the city of Delhi, not to mention the enormous traffic could drive human beings slighty insane. I have been told that, most working class Indians living in the sprawling capital city is always looking out for the weekend. An escape over the weekend to a pollution free, serene and captivating environment is what folks in Delhi crave for. Therefore here are some of the best backpacking destinations that will give you the much needed break each one of us very well deserve.
One of the most popular destinations in India, Rishikesh not only underscores the religious significance but is also an epitome of natural beauty and brilliance. Situated amid the foothills of Himalayas, along the banks of Ganga River, it is a perfect region to explore for tourists looking for a spiritual enlightenment to relax and prepare for the coming week. Referred to as the ‘World’s yoga capital’ it has numerous ashrams where one can practice and learn facets of yoga. Apart from this, the region is magnificent in vision with lush green hills, the vast banks of River Ganga and ancient temples that pay tribute to Hinduism and ancient architecture. One of the most prominent places here to view the mesmerizing scenic beauty is from the iron suspension bridges across the river offering panoramic views of the city consisting of beautiful mountains, water and the city premises. Being an ultimate trekking destination some of the famous treks are Roopakund trek and Nag tibba trek. Besides temple visits some of the other activities one can indulge in this region are river rafting in the rapids of Ganga River, Bungee Jumping, Giant swing, Camping and Rappelling.
Distance from Delhi: 240 Km
Other Places: Lakshman Jhula, Triveni Ghat, Flying fox
Located in the capital city of Himachal Pradesh at a height of 2200 m, Shimla provides an unusual charm with its thick green forests and breathtaking beauty of the hills that makes nature enthusiasts pine for a visit to this region. As refreshing as the vision of this destination may be Shimla is also a hub when its comes to adventure making it a double whammy for people who want to have the best of both worlds. The pristine temples of Shimla such as Jakhoo temple and Tara Devi temple bring tranquillity to the minds of tourists. On the other hand you can even trek to these temples which is in itself a mind blowing experience. Shimla is also home to some of the prominent wildlife sites such as Himalayan Bird Park which has a unique collection of birds. Apart from these the region also has one of the most thrilling adventure activities such as camping, Ice skating, paragliding, river rafting and heli skiing.
Distance from Delhi: 342 Km
Other Places: Mall road, Kufri, Chail, The Ridge
A quiet hilly town, Nainital is one of the most sought after and favourite spots to visit by tourists. With a name that derives from the eye shaped lake that the town is built around, this region is splendid in its scenic beauty and vibe. This region is a treat to our vision and senses and is a must experience in one’s lifetime. One of the region’s most famous spots Kumaon Himalayas are regarded as ‘Devbhoomi’ where tourists flock in hundreds only to experience the divine wonder of the peaks which evokes in us a blessed feeling. This budget weekend getaway destination has various climatic patterns that tourists enjoy. The Naini lake in the region is famous for its serene environment and the sparkling waters where tourists enjoy sunrise and sunsets. Some of the activities one can indulge in this region are boating at the lake, an adventurous rope way ride amid the snow capped mountains, a camping in the thrilling forests and exploring the wildlife at Nainital zoo.
Distance from Delhi: 298 Km
Other Places: Eco Cave gardens, Naina devi temple, Tiffin top, Mall road
A sweet romantic town, Mussoorie will indulge us in its spectacular view of its lofty hills and lush green forests. Situated at a height of 1900 m from the sea level, this picturestique destination is a paradise for tourists. Over the course of its time it has won the title of ‘Queen of the hill stations’. With a truly blessed climate, this magnificent city has some of the most popular landmarks. This region consists of the infamous glaciers Yamunotri and Gangotri where tourists flock. Considered to be an ideal place for summer vacations, many families from around the world come to the region to be laid back and lazy among the serenity and tranquillity of the place. It is also adorned with brilliant architecture in the form of hotels and churches which are a treat to the eyes. Some of the activities one can undertake here are an adventurous ropeway ride at the gun hill which is the second highest peak in Mussoorie and camping amid the beautiful starry lit sky.
Distance from Delhi: 279 Km
Other Places: Cloud’s end, Mall road, lake mist, Kempty falls
Located in Uttarakhand, Haridwar is popular for its divinity and holiness. It has served as a Hindu pilgrimage site for devotees for a considerably long period of time. Its divinity exudes from the fact that, this is the place where River Ganga emerges from the base of Himalayas. The sacred city is filled with interesting myths and legends of its formation which is makes it rich in history and culture. One of the most famous festivals here is The Kumbh Mela which is held every 12 years. So for anyone looking for a peaceful getaway with a ton of spiritual enlightenment this could serve as the perfect place since it has now evolved into a hub for yoga and meditation. Some of the popular places people flock to here are therefore the yoga ashrams and to the banks of the river Ganga to witness the infamous Ganga Aarti. With fewer adventure spots the only adventure here is trekking.
Distance from Delhi: 223 Km
Other Places: Har Ki Pauri, Chand devi temple, Chilla wildlife century
A hill station located at an elevation of 1700 meters, Lansdowne is filled with thickets of oak forests, spectacular hills and its splendid scenic brilliance. This place is perfect for a weekend getaway to nature lovers who wish to indulge in the magic of nature’s creations. The region is gifted with exotic wildlife and is also popular for its pine timberlands. The majestic destination is also known for its architectural prominence of their pilgrimages which serves as famous places of visit for tourists. The region is also preferred due to its climate and the beauty of it is manifold when it is snowing. Some of the activities that tourists indulge in this region are nature walks amidst the breathtaking greens, trekking along the dangerous trails of Lovers lane, jungle safari and exploration of temples like Durga devi temple.
Distance from Delhi: 245 Km
Other Places: Bhulla Lake, Tip n Top, Bhim Pakora
Infamous for its most romantic site and a structure of architectural brilliance, tourists flock to Agra mainly to visit the taj mahal, considered rightly to be one of the most beautiful monuments in the world. The destination has several other buildings of historic and artistic prominence, three of the most popular listed as UNESCO world heritage sites being The Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. This culture rich destination is also a tribute to the Mughal era and anyone who enjoys the fine art must visit this pristine place. The buildings are an interplay of Persian and Mughal architecture that dates back many centuries. Located on the banks of river Yamuna one of the major activities popular in this place besides site seeing is the sunset and sunrise watch at The Taj mahal which considered to be one of the most iconic.
Distance from Delhi: 210 Km
Other Places: Itimad-ud-daulah’s Tomb, Mehtab Bagh
Referred to as the oldest national park in India and the First it is famous for its wide variety of wildlife that is a treat for its visitors. Named after Jim Corbett who played an integral role in the establishment of the park, it is now a home to the most endangered species of the royal Bengal tiger for which it is well known for. The park is said to have 480 species of stunning flora and fauna, 580 species of birds and around 25 species of reptiles. The beauty of the place is also in the fact that it is spread over an area of above 500 sq km amid rivers, lofty hills, lakes and thickets of grasslands. Located in Uttarakhand, the best time to visit this place is during the months of November to June. The park has 5 gates and the most memorable here is the jungle safari. Besides the safari elephant rides and river rafting is also popular.
Distance from Delhi: 294 Km
Other Places: Corbett waterfall, Garjiya devi temple, Corbett Museum
Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, Dehradun has everything a traveller would look for, be it stunning greenery, an exciting climate and excellent local delicacies to savour. The quaint hill station lies in Doon Valley which is located at an altitude of 1400 meters above sea level. The climate is cool and has frequent rainfalls because of which it is called the Rainy city of India. Therefore the best time to visit Dehradun is during the monsoons. Adorned with caves, one of the most popular caves to visit in the region is Robbers cave surrounding the mesmerizing view of the hills. The place is also famous for its spellbinding views of the sunset and sunrise which can be viewed from Lacchiwala which is iconic for its greenery and natural brilliance. Some of the activities that one can indulge in this place are camping, bird watching and trekking.
Distance from Delhi: 247 Km
Other Places: Sahastradhara, Mindrolling Monastry, Har ki dun, Tapovan temple
Located in the district of Solan in the state of Himachal Pradesh, Kasauli is the most talked about destination for its scenic beauty and tranquil vibe. The cool climate of this place attracts many tourists and the best time to visit the region is during the months of March to June. The town is also marvellous with its forests of pine and Cidar trees apart from the Victorian architecture that it pays tribute to through its buildings which nearly take us back to that era. This unique town is abound in various attractions such as Manki point which is a Hanuman temple, Shirdi sai baba temple which is a prominent religious site for devotees from all over the world, the central research library which is known for its virological research in the field of immunology. Some of the major activities in this region are sunset watching and cable car ride.
Distance from Delhi: 298 Km
Other Places: Timber trail, mall road, Gurudwara
The royal town of Neemrana is most noted for its mighty hills and lush greenery, besides its historic and cultural prominence. Located in Alwar, Rajasthan, this town is an unusually unique experience for its visitors. One of the most prominent attractions in this magnificent region is the infamous Neemrana Fort which is at the moment turned into a heritage hotel which is not only beautiful but is royalty at its best. Another such royalty is in the Vinay Vilas Mahal which has immense historic prominence also visible in the contours of its alluring architecture. Some of the adventure activities one can indulge in are zip-lining, trekking at Bala Quila, a wonderful boating experience at the lake and an exploration of wildlife at Sariska wildlife century. Neemarana is therefore a treat not only for history buffs but also for adventure enthusiasts.
Distance from Delhi: 130 Km
Other Places: Baori, Siliserh Lake, Vrindavan palace
Located in the quaint town of Shekhawati in the state of Rajasthan, the cultural prominence of the town is spellbinding. Due to the same reason the town is popular for its stunning forts and spectacular mansions dotted in stories and myths of History. One of the famous fort in the place is the Royal fort which is currently a hotel is another major attraction for the tourists. A walk along these forts to explore the blissful vibe of ancient art and architecture is an experience that one must have in their life. The town is also referred to as an open art gallery. Another incredible place is the Harlalka well and the Hanuman Prasad Goenka Haveli. Some of the paintings in these Haveli’s are considered important works of art which pay tribute to the deities of Hindu mythology.
Distance from Delhi: 233 Km
Other Places: Snehi Ram ladia haveli, Khedwal Bhavan
Located in Himachal Pradesh, this beautiful hill station lies on the Shivalik range and has one of the most blissful scenic views. A budget weekend getaway, the cool weather all year along makes it an ideal destination to flock to for the tourists. The best time therefore to visit the hill station is during monsoons when its magnificence is manifold. With destinations like Renuka lake engaging us in its natural beauty and rawness, it also has Renuka Sanctuary which serves as a wildlife exploration centre here. Some of the activities that a backpacker can indulge in are trekking to Churdar peak, camping at Kangojodi and exploration of forts and pilgrimages. Nahan therefore makes for a romantic getaway which offers an unforgettable experience.
Distance from Delhi: 267 Km
Other Places: Suketi fossil park, Jaitak fort, Dhaula kaun
Located in Garhwal Himalaya’s, it is one of most sacred places in India adorned with important pilgrimage sites where tourists from all over the world flock to devote themselves in peace and prayer, Kedarnath is said to be dedicated to lord Shiva. Located in Uttrakhand, its famous for its Chhota Char Dham Yatra. The speciality of this place lies in the fact that the dwelling of lord shiva can only be reached through a trek which remains closed for 6 months due to snow fall. This visit is said to be taken by human beings for salvation. The best time to visit this place is during the winter when the beauty of its snow capped mountain will feel like magic to our senses. The divine and sacrilegious vibe that is predominant here is ideal for spiritual and religious people who not only flock here for its temple but for calm and adventure. One of the most important destinations here is the Kedarnath temple which has a long and important history.
Distance from Delhi: 349 Km
Other Places: Vasuki Tal, Sankaracharya Samadhi, Chandrashila, Agastyamuni
Surrounded by the Himalayas, Manali is one of the must visit destinations in a travellers bucket list. With lush forests of Deodar, oak and pine, there is nothing that a traveller will not cherish in Manali. An ideal destination for both nature lovers and adventure seekers, this spectacular town is at its best during the winter months. It has a collection of brilliant architecture that pose an absolute treat to tourists which is moulded in historic significance in the form of Hadimba and forts such as Naggar and Kuthar. Besides this, the region is famous for its local delicacies which are a blend of Punjabi and Tibetian with enough variety to delight us with. Some of the most admired activities in Manali are paragliding, camping, trekking and river rafting at places like Solang Valley and Rohtang pass. The beauty of this place is a privilege for those who capture it because it’s an experience that one may not want to miss.
Distance from Delhi: 538 Km
Other Places: Zingzing Bar, Darcha, Jispa, Manu temple
A quaint town in Himachal Pradesh, situated amid the Beas River, It has one of the most breathtaking landscapes that is surrounded by lakes and thickets of lush green forests. Kullu is also referred to as one of the most important hill stations in India. It is located at an altitude of 1279 Meters with a climate that is just ideal for the travellers with no extreme temperatures. The ideal time to travel here is during winter when the snow covers the mountain and the beauty of the place is enhanced. This region is yet another such destination that has double benefits of giving a traveller the peace and calm through its natural and fresh landscapes leaving us refreshed at the same time it is loved by adventure seekers who have very many activities here. Some of the activities that one can indulge in this place are paragliding, skiing, trekking, river rafting and camping. It is also home to the Great Himalayan national park which has a variety of flora and fauna.
Distance from Delhi: 497 Km
Other Places: Bhrigu lake, Bijli Mahadev tremple, Chanderkhani Park, Friendship peak
Located in the Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh, this quaint town has become a favourite of the travellers. The town is adorned with beautiful valleys of oak and pine along with scintillating waterfalls that are pristine and spellbinding. Referred to as Little Lhasa due to its stories washed in rich history, tourists flock here for various reasons including religious prominence, adventure seeking as well as sightseeing. This place is also integral to Buddhist culture and various Buddhist pilgrimages are situated here. This is because it has been the home of 14th Dalai Lama. Buddhism is also the major reason for tourists to flock here, not only to learn and practice the religion but also to participate in its festivals. Some of the activities one can indulge in are trekking along the most beautiful and exciting Triund Trek, paragliding, camping and Mountain biking. Therefore this region is filled with adventures and majestic scenery added to it a touch of tranquillity through its spirituality.
Distance from Delhi: 470 Km
Other Places: Bhagsu Falls, Indrahar pass, Chamunda devi temple, Manimahesh lake
A hill station located on the glorious Garhwal region of Uttrakhand, Auli derived its name from its landscape which is full of meadows which is precisely the meaning of the name. This is region where photographers can capture the best part of nature. A budget weekend getaway, Auli is ideal even for solo travellers who want to move away from the hustle and bustle of cities. Situated almost 9000 ft above sea level, it offers mesmerizing landscape consisting of peaks like Nanda Devi, Dunagiri and Mana Parvat. The pleasant environment is enhanced with its cool climate. Auli is also known for its highest and the longest ropeway in India and also in Asia. Its attractions also include a spectacular artificial lake which is considered to be world’s highest manmade lakes. Some of the prominent activities in this region are skiing as it is also referred to as the skiing capital of India with its breathtaking views of lakes, mountains and valleys from up above, trekking along its famous peaks and camping.
Distance from Delhi: 70 Km
Other Places: Vishnuprayag, Joshimath, Chenab lake, Nanda devi national park
For backpackers who wish to explore the thickets of lush greenery, Bhimtal will prove to be a perfect destination. Located in Uttrakhand, it is surrounded with beautiful pine, oaks and shrubs with a backdrop of the most stunning hills that almost look like a paradise on earth. One of the most popular tourist places of the state, Bhimtal is serene and adventurous. It has a warm climate all year around which is loved by the nature lovers. The best time to visit this place is during monsoon when the nature will be alive and would cast its magic. One of the major attractions of the region is the Bhimeshwar temple which is dedicated to lord Bhima. It also has the most mind blowing view of a lake called Bhimtal Lake which is one of the most clicked locations in the region. Some of the activities that engage the tourist in this place are paddle boating, bird watching, trekking and camping.
Distance from Delhi: 314 Km
Other Places: Kedarkanta Trek, Lok Sanskriti Sangrahalaya
Mathura has immense prominence in the mythological literature, therefore the beauty of this place not only is from the stunning scenic brilliance but also because of its rich history woven in interesting stories. This place is said to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna as per the mythical texts and Krishna is the most loved gods in the Hindu religion. Due to this, the place is considered sacred. The expressway here is the one of the longest six lane expressways in the country. One of the popular places that tourists flock to here is the Krishna Janmasthan temple which is considered to be the birth location of Krishna and has a group of temples dedicated to Him. The time to visit this place would be during Janmashtami, which is the festival celebrating Lord Krishna’s birth. One can explore the beautiful temples in the region such as Dwarkadheesh temple, ISKCON and also visit the forts around the region. Mathura is perfect for history buffs and story tellers.
Distance from Delhi: 184 Km
Other Places: Krishna Janma Bhoomi Mandir, Jama Masjid, Kusum Sarovar, Govardhan Hill