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Best places to visit near Delhi

Discussion in 'North India' started by GoyalSumit, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. GoyalSumit

    GoyalSumit New Member

    I want to take my family out on a short trip somewhere, and I want it to be near Delhi as well. I am quite new to the capital which is why I don't really know which places to visit.

    I don't really want to go too far out but to a place which is cooler than Delhi and I would also like the place to be worth visiting, so please give some suggestions for the best places to visit near Delhi.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, welcome to the forum!

    (Images from China, Arpita, Harshanh, JM and Gaurav)


    How much can you do on a weekend? Is it enough to rejuvenate and have that special time with your loved ones or friends? Living in the city usually means restricting yourself to nearby getaways. Sometimes, this can get a bit repetitive, especially since many locals from cities have their lives revolved around work, work and work. So in this guide, let's change it up a bit, aside from the usual getaways that are popular with the tourists, each section would also feature a place that isn't under the limelight as much yet. This way, you have your options for when you're looking for the usual getaways or for when you're looking for the offbeat getaways.

    Best Places to Visit Near Delhi (Under 300 Kilometres)

    Because history is always interesting...

    1. Agra (Uttar Pradesh) - Under four hours of driving from the capital is the city of Agra, also known as the City of the Taj. A monument built out of love, the Taj Mahal, is designated as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The white-marbled beauty exudes a different aura during the specific times of the day. It was Shah Jahan who built this mausoleum for his deceased wife, Mumtaz Mahal. This monument has made Agra one of the top destinations in the world for heritage tourism. Most tourists though visit the city solely for this purpose but the truth is, there's more to Agra beyond the iconic mausoleum. The Agra Fort is just a few kilometres from the mausoleum, a magnificent fortification built during the rule of Akbar. His grandson, the same Shah Jahan, built many of the structures inside the fort. Though this structure isn't as replete with intricate carvings, its history is just so fascinating that it's truly worth a visit just for this reason alone. Did you know that Shah Jahan's own son, Aurangzeb, imprisoned him here for the last few years of his life? Then you have the Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, nicknamed as the Baby Taj, a beautiful mausoleum in its own right built by Noor Jahan for her father, Mirza Ghiyas Beg. This mausoleum is like a jewelry box, filled with beautiful treasures inside in the form of intricate carvings. Fatehpur Sikri is about an hour of driving away from the city centre but worth a detour. The name means the City of Gratitude, referring to his gratitude for Salim Chishti, the Sufi saint who predicted and blessed him with a son. The fortified city is filled with the early Mughal style of architecture made from red sandstones. If you still have some time to spare, the Tomb of Akbar, located in Sikandra, and the Red Taj Mahal, located in Padretola, are other mausoleums near the city's outskirts that can you also visit.
    • Distance from Delhi - 238 Kilometres
    • Must Visit Attractions - Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, Fatehpur Sikri, Tomb of Akbar and Red Taj Mahal
    Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah in Agra (Image from David)

    2. Jhunjhunu (Rajasthan) - Jhunjhunu is about a five-hour drive from the centre of Delhi. The history of Jhunjhunu is not established yet, many scholars are on contrasting ideas about who founded the city. Some say it was established by the Kaim Khani Nawabs before being annexed to the Shekhawati rulers thereafter during the early 18th century. A must visit here is the Khetri Mahal, supposed to be the precursor and inspiration for the Hawa Mahal of Jaipur. You would understand this once you visit the structure, a breezy place filled with pillars instead of walls allowing for continuous flow of wind into the palace. Interestingly, it is devoid of any windows or doors despite the airy interiors. The structure stands in ruins already but it's not hard to imagine the glory that it once has. A number of havelis also line the busy streets of Jhunjhunu, though a bit further from the centre of the town. The Sone Chandi Ki Haveli is perhaps one of the more popular ones but it looks unassuming from the outside. By its name, you can decipher the royalty sense of the structure, with sona meaning gold and chandi meaning silver. Inside, you would find frescoes of the same motifs of gold and silver, found all over the ceilings and walls. The ceilings have more intricate frescoes depicting scenes from the Ramayana, various incarnations of the Lord Vishnu and also depicting scenes from the life of Lord Krishna. You also can't miss the Modi Haveli, nearby the main market of the town. The frescoes here depict scenes from the life of Lord Krishna too, but aside from that, you would also find some depicting the lives of ordinary men during the era of when it was built. Other places worth visiting here are the Rani Sati Temple and Dundlod Fort.
    • Distance from Delhi - 242 Kilometres
    • Must Visit Attractions - Khetri Mahal, Sone Chandi Ki Haveli, Modi Haveli, Rani Sati Temple and Dundlod Fort
    Onto your spiritual side...

    3. Vrindavan (Uttar Pradesh) - Vrindavan is under a four-hour drive from the capital city. This is known as the Playground of Lord Krishna, where he spent most of his growing up years in. The small town is filled with over a thousand temples, some strikingly big, others seemingly small. Prem Mandir is surely the most popular religious attraction of the city. This is a fairly new temple built during the 21st century. It has pure white Italian marble exteriors which glows during night time with various LED lightings. It is dedicated to both Radha Krishna and Sita Ram, with intricately carved interiors that are worth exploring. One of the oldest temples in the region is the Banke Bihari Temple, dedicated to the dual deity of Radha Krishna. Here, Krishna is depicted in the Tribhanga position, while the other half is depicting that of his consort, Radha. This temple is frequented by many pilgrims, hence only suitable for visit for the patient devotees or individuals. You can also visit the ISKCON Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna along with Balaram, as well as some other Hindu deities. The gateway and the main temple were both built using white marble, hence exudes this grandeur to it. For the true devotees of Krishna, it's a must to visit the Seva Kunj & Nidhuban. It's a place where mythology comes true, as it is believed that this is where Krishna performs the Rasa Lila, along with the gopis and his consort, Radha, every night. Other temples you can fit into your itinerary during your visit here are the Radha Damodar Temple, Madan Mohan Temple and Pagal Baba Temple. By night time, enjoy viewing the aarti in the Kesi Ghat, located on the banks of the Yamuna River.
    • Distance from Delhi - 184 Kilometres
    • Must Visit Attractions - Prem Mandir, Banke Bihari Temple, ISKCON Temple, Seva Kunj & Nidhuban, Radha Damodar Temple, Madan Mohan Temple, Pagal Baba Temple and Kesi Ghat
    ISKCON Temple in Vrindavan (Image from Sahadeva)

    4. Dausa (Rajasthan) - Next we have Dausa, under six hours of driving away from Delhi. This is a unique destination in that it is home to the Mehandipur Balaji Temple, the only witch temple of India where live exorcisms are done. Built out of stones and bricks, even from the outside, the temple has an eerie vibe to it. The temple is spread across various levels, from which each level serves a specific purpose for evil spirit expulsion. You would also find just outside the temple, on a hillock, stone slabs that are supposed to be markers for the evil spirits removed from the bodies of mortals. Surely this temple is not for the faint-hearted individuals but can give you a different angle of the intense spirituality in the country. You can also visit the nearby attractions of Abhaneri, a town just 45 minutes of driving away from Dausa. Here, you would find the Chand Baori, an ancient step well comparable to a 13-storey building but built underground. Opposite it is the Harshat Mata Temple, an 8th century temple built of stone, established during the rule of King Chanda of the Chauhan dynasty. The temple stands in ruins already but you can still recognize the beautiful stone carvings in its pillars and ceilings.
    • Distance from Delhi - 285 Kilometres
    • Must Visit Attractions - Mehandipur Balaji Temple, Chand Baori and Harshat Mata Temple
    Be cool with hill stations...

    5. Mussoorie (Uttarakhand) - Mussoorie is around a six to seven hour drive from Delhi, so it's best to leave the city early in the morning to at least have a whole day to spend here during the weekend. While Mussoorie is as commercialized as can be, no doubt it's worth a trip if only for the salubrious climate it has. So if you want to avoid the heat of the plains, this is your best bet for that. The hill station is filled with many attractions that you can cover during your stay. Noteworthy of which is the view points, where you can enjoy the grand views of the mountains with the mists. So venture into Lal Tibba for a scenic journey amidst greenery, Cloud's End for a beautiful view of the surrounding valleys and Gun Hill for the enjoyable ropeway ride. For families, you can indulge in boat rides in the popular Mussoorie Lake or the lesser known, Lake Mist. For lovers of natural attractions, you can visit the nearby Kempty Waterfalls and Jharipani Waterfalls, both require a bit of trekking to reach. You also can't miss the Happy Valley, a thriving Tibetan community settlement in the hill station. Aside from a visit to their main religious site, the Shedup Choepelling Temple, you can also explore the local homes, school and shops that the settlement already has established. Don't forget to spend some time strolling in the Company Garden, especially during summer season when all the flowers are in full bloom here.
    • Distance from Delhi - 280 Kilometres
    • Must Visit Attractions - Lal Tibba, Cloud's End, Gun Hill, Mussoorie Lake, Lake Mist, Kempty Waterfalls, Jharipani Waterfalls, Happy Valley, Shedup Choepelling Temple and Company Garden
    6. Barog (Himachal Pradesh) - Barog is about a six-hour drive from Delhi, several kilometers away from Chandigarh. Unlike Mussoorie, Barog is not yet on the usual tourist circuit and remains idyllic. So if you're not really into sightseeing or you just want a place to unwind for a day or two, then Barog might be suitable for you. There are a few places or attractions in the hill station but they aren't really touristy. For instance, the charming Barog Railway Station is one of them, as if the train is coming out of a rural scene depiction in a movie. The blue-lined houses beside the railway tracks along with the surrounding greenery is very picturesque. You can also visit the Old Tunnel No. 33 here which has some historical significance to it. So according to local legends, the original engineer of the railway station here was named Barog. During that time, engineers based on calculations and predictions to align tunnels and unfortunately, Barog miscalculated his studies about this tunnel. This leads to the misaligning of the tunnel entrances and exits, leaving the engineer into shame and eventually, into his suicide. You can visit this tragic tunnel about a kilometer from the New Tunnel No. 33 of Barog. A few minutes of driving from Barog and you'll find the Dolanji Bon Monastery, which is a unique Buddhist settlement slash religious attraction. Just like other Buddhist monasteries, this monastery has a red and yellow bright facade. The best part is that it is very much active, with shops, school and hospital around that you can also visit.
    • Distance from Delhi - 289 Kilometres
    • Must Visit Attractions - Barog Railway Station, Old Tunnel No. 33, New Tunnel No. 33 and Dolanji Bon Monastery
    Barog Railway Station (Image from Gopal)

    Wildlife spotting...

    7. Sariska National Park (Rajasthan) - You won't need to drive for more than five hours to reach the Sariska National Park from Delhi. With its deciduous forests, lovely views of the Aravalli ranges and steep cliff inclines, this national park has very diverse landscapes that are sure to mesmerize you. Of course, it is frequented by tourists for the royal Bengal tigers, but their numbers here aren't that huge, just around 13 as of latest estimates. Thus, spotting them is based purely on luck though the guides here have trackers that help them find the tigers more easily. Other animals residing here are jackals, nilgais, chitals, wild boars, langurs and hyenas. You can indulge in a jeep safari here which can be costly if you're only few so make sure you invite your friends or family so that the visit would be more fulfilling and easy on the pocket. The national park is divided into several zones and tourists are usually designated one zone per session. There are many resorts and lodges a few kilometres away from the national park so you can stay overnight and even indulge in more than one safari for higher chances of tiger spotting.
    • Distance from Delhi - 243 Kilometres
    • Must Spot Animals - Royal Bengal Tigers, Jackals, Nilgais, Chitals, Wild Boars, Langurs and Hyenas
    Tigress in Sariska National Park (Image from Sanjay)

    8. Sultanpur National Park (Haryana) - You don't have to venture too far from the city for wildlife, as is the case with the Sultanpur National Park, which is just under two hours away from Delhi. This is a haven for bird watchers where numerous resident birds can be found. You only need a full day to set aside for this wildlife attraction. There's a huge marsh lake in the centre which attracts birds. The best time to visit though is during the winter season, from October to February, when the number of birds in the sanctuary doubles, even triples, due to the migratory season. So on a normal non-migratory season, you can spot birds such as Indian rollers, egrets, laughing doves, spotted owlets and more. But during migratory season, be prepared to spot rare species such as Siberian cranes, greater flamingoes, grey herons, black-crowned herons and rosy pelicans. The entry fee here is also very nominal so even if you're on a budget, you have that place that you can go to. Bring your binoculars and make sure you time your visit either early in the morning or late in the afternoon for better bird sightings.
    • Distance from Delhi - 57 Kilometres
    • Must Spot Animals - Indian Rollers, Egrets, Laughing Doves, Spotted Owlets, Siberian Cranes, Greater Flamingoes, Grey Herons, Black-Crowned Herons and Rosy Pelicans.
    The beauty of nature...

    9. Karnal (Haryana) - Karnal is merely a two to three hour drive from Delhi and is a great short weekend getaway option. It doesn't boast of too many attractions and in fact, the main natural site here is the Karnal Lake. This sprawling lake has well-maintained grounds and remains quite serene. For families, it's the best place for a simple picnic without venturing too far from the city. There is also a number of hotels nearby the lake like the government-operated, Haryana Tourism Resort, or the private-operated Savoy Greens Motel. Thus, you can opt to stay overnight here just to have that space or time away from the city. During early mornings, you can enjoy boating in the lake, in the form of pedal duck boats. Other attractions in the city are not really natural but you can take some time to explore them if you would like. There's the Cantonment Church Tower, a remnant of an old British church in the city. It is a tall tower that you can spot from even a distant area. The Tomb of Qualander Shah is set amidst lush greenery due to its gardens so another serene place to visit. It is dedicated to Bo Ali Qualander Shah, a simple tomb made during the rule of the Tughlaq dynasty reign in the area.
    • Distance from Delhi - 149 Kilometres
    • Must Visit Attractions - Karnal Lake, Cantonment Church Tower and Tomb of Qualander Shah
    10. Naukuchiatal (Uttarakhand) - Well this is a bit of a cheat destination since it is over 300 kilometres from Delhi or around a 7-hour drive. But it's truly worth the excess kilometres and since it is idyllic, you can spend your few hours here just relishing in the beauty of nature. Whereas Nainital is commercialized and crowded, Naukuchiatal remains pristine and serene. The main attraction here is the Naukuchia Taal or Naukuchiatal Lake which simply means nine-cornered lake. You can also enjoy boating here along with a myriad of other activities such as kayaking, paragliding and even zorbing. There are a number of resorts and hotels nearby the lake for a rustic nature experience that the whole family can enjoy. Don't forget to pay your respects to Lord Hanuman in his abode here, the Hanuman Temple. The temple itself is small and new but there's an imposing statue of Lord Hanuman outside it. There's also a replica of the cave found in the original Vaishno Devi Temple that you can visit here. Overall, Naukuchiatal is a nature-laden place, filled with lush greenery and a beautiful lake to boast of. If you find Nainital too overrated, you'd be enthralled by the less commercialized serenity of Naukuchiatal.
    • Distance from Delhi - 315 Kilometres
    • Must Visit Attractions - Naukuchia Taal and Hanuman Temple


    If you have a day or two to spare away from Delhi, fret not, you have options for getaways. Just remember that this guide highlights a popular destination and an offbeat one for each category. So for heritage destinations for example, you have Agra, a popular one, and then Jhunjhunu, a lesser known one. Take your pick, be the own sailor of your travel adventures. You don't have to let your corporate life get the best of you. Take any of these weekend getaways to truly find the beauty of traveling. Good luck and I hope this helps you!

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2017

  3. Shiv

    Shiv Member

    Another destination to visit near Delhi is Shimla, I am suggesting this destination as you had mentioned that you wanted the places to be cooler than Delhi. It's not only a place where the temperature is lower than Delhi but it is also a popular holiday destination where many people go, so you are bound to see many other tourists there.
    Other than Shimla you can also visit Nahan in Himachal Pradesh, this is around 90km closer to Delhi than Shimla is and is a quiet location but also like Shimla has some serene surroundings.
    In Uttarakhand, you can visit Lansdowne which is a popular hill station but isn't as crowded as places like Mussoorie. When in Lansdowne the two popular things to do are to visit are Bhulla Lake and go on the Jungle Safari.