For most people Delhi is the gateway to India. As much as the city itself has to offer to guests there are plenty of beautiful cities and places to visit just a few hours from it, perfect for creating a multi centre break. Some, like The Golden Triangle (Agra-Delhi-Jaipur), are extremely popular while others, like Pali and Malsi, are well kept secrets.
Life in Shimla is focused around The Mall, which is a popular shopping street. It is packed with restaurants, cafes, shops and more. To experience the latest in Indian cinema hop into The Mall’s Gaiety Theatre, which hasn’t been commercialized like the homogenous chains of the big cities. Shimla is teeming with temples and the prominent amongst them are Tara Devi’s Shri Sankat Mochan temple and the Jakhoo Temple, which is famous for its countless playful monkeys. Here you can also find the Christ Church on the Ridge. It is North India’s second oldest Church and important for it’s history as well as stunning architecture. A great way to see the region is by the incomparable Kalka-Shimla Railway. The train affords you scenic views as it takes you up an extremely steep and record-making ride.
Jim Corbett National Park has long been the favoured getaway for explorers and wildlife lovers in North India. The Park houses many endangered species such as Tigers, Chital, Sambar and even the humble Deer. A great way to explore the landscape and see these animals going about their daily life is by a jeep or elephant safari. There are plenty of resorts in Corbett but camping is a great experience for those like to rough it out. Wildlife photographers throng to the park in large numbers looking for the illusive Tiger and walking away with stunning shots of the Shivalik and the Himalayas.
Nainital is one of North India’s most popular and famous hill stations. It’s most famous for its numerous lakes and boating is a popular pastime. You can opt for a paddle boat, a row boat or a sailboat. The Naini Cable Car takes you up to a beautiful viewpoint located 7,500 ft above sea level. The popular tourist spot offers enchanting vistas of the Himalayan range. Bhimtal is the most popular day tour trip from Nainital. It’s 22 kilometers from Nainital and is famous for the Bhimtal lake and an enchanting aquarium, which is located on the lake’s island. A great way to explore Nainital is on horseback.
Agra is known the world over for the beautiful Taj Mahal. But other than the Taj, there are many Mughal creations that are timeless testaments to their love for art and architecture. One such monument is the Itmad-ud-daulah also called the Baby Taj. The spectacular white marble creation was commissioned by Queen Noor Jehan as a tribute to her Father and is believed to have inspired the Taj Mahal. Minutes away from the Taj Mahal is the sprawling and magnificent, Agra Fort. The fort served as a home to six Mughal Emperors and it offers a breath-taking view of the Taj. Emperor Shah Jahan spent the last seven years of his life here, looking at the final resting place of his wife, after he was placed under house arrest by his son. A long drive from Agra leads you to Fatehpur Sikri, which just like the Agra Fort, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is famous the Buland Darwaza (Grand entrance) and the revered Tomb of Salim Chishti.
Known as the Pink City, Jaipur is one-third of the “Golden Triangle”. The city is packed with havelis, palaces and monuments. Jaipur’s City Palace is still inhabited by the Royal Family. Also in Jaipur is the 18th century Jantar Mantar, Nahargargh Fort and Jaigarh Fort. The Birla Mandir and the Surya Mandir are the city’s most beautiful temples. 11 kms from the city are the ancient ruins of Amber. The most prominent festival in Jaipur is the Elephant Festival, which is held in March. The Gangaur Fair is held in April and Makar Sankranti is a kite flying festival, which falls in January. Blue pottery is a trademark of the city and is exported all across the world.
Udaipur is set around Lake Pichola and is fringed by the Aravalli hills. The Lake Palace (Jag Niwas) and Jag Mandir palaces are located in the centre of lake Pichola. At Bagore-Ki-Haveli nightly music and dance shows are held. Boat trips can be taken on the lake to reach the Jag Mandir palace and the Lake Palace. The Lake Palace Hotel is an extremely exclusive and expensive place to visit. The City Palace museum offers Rajput and Mughal influences. The Monsoon Palace offers absolutely enchanting vistas of the region and all the balconies become quickly occupied by visitors looking for the perfect vantage point.
Ajmer is 4 hours from Delhi. It’s most famous attraction is the hallowed Dargah Sharif, tomb of Saint Muinnudin Chisti. Millions visit it yearly to offer their respects and ask for his blessings. A lesser-known gem in Ajmer is Soni ji ki Nasiyan where a gold-plated model of heaven has been created as conceived by Jainism.
The city famous for its annual fair and its bohemian spirit is just 11 kilometers from Ajmer. One can opt for an overnight stay or just go there for a few hours to visit the Brahma temple, saunter through the streets and feast on mouthwatering vegetarian dishes served in its trendy cafes.
One of Dehradun’s biggest attractions is Rajaji National Park. This 50 year old sanctuary houses many rare species of flora and fauna. Another place to see regional wildlife is the Malsi Deer Park where many birds, deer, and a leopard are seen. A beautiful spot near Dehradun for picnics, photography and relaxing is the Sahasratra Dhara. It is located 11 kilometres from Dehradun and attracts many people for a long walk along in the Baldi River and into the nearby caves. Close to the river is a sulphur spring, which is believed to posses many healing properties and many tourists travel to it for a dip.
This district is located in India’s hinterland and is all about the rural culture, fairs and festivals. Nearby attractions include the beautiful Ranakpur temple, the Jawai Dam near Bera Village, Parshuram Mahadev Temple and Jadan Ashram. The Ranakpur temple is a glorious Jain temple built in 15th century. In Bera, it is extremely common to spot a leopard many times a day. The nearest airport is 70 kms away in Jodhpur.