Delhi can be considered a gateway to the magnificent Himalayan expanse. Delhi has a very strategic location, with all the mountainous regions surrounding it, be it Himachal or Uttarakhand or even Jammu and Kashmir. The best part is you can travel to these parts on a tight budget. So if you are in Delhi, and you have a long weekend, here is what you need to plan.
Kasol, Parvati Valley
Kasol is another name for Parvati valley, which rests on the banks of Parvati River. It is approximately five hours from Delhi and there are flights, trains and buses to take you there. But I would suggest a bus or rented cars (if you are a big group). Once you go there, you will spot innumerable cafés and shops. Don’t worry about accommodation, but don’t expect too much either. You can sit by the banks or take a stroll into the valley. If you want to trek instead of just lazying, leave at dawn and definitely trek to Kheerganga. You must also trek to Malana. There is an easy route to climb up to Malana, which are used by locals. It is challenging, but also life-changing. Local commute to closest points to the trekking spots are also quite reasonable.
Food is mostly continental there and extremely cheap. It is a good place to shop as well. Keep 6,000 INR for a good Kasol trip. You must visit Evergreen café and Jim Morrison’s café.
Mussourie and Landour
You have often heard of Mussourie, but what you may not know is that the road from Dehra Dun to Mussourie is a lifetime experience, with trails of rhododendrons, lighting your eyes. So I suggest you take a Shatabdi to Dehra Dun and take the 2-3 hours bus journey to Mussourie. You will never regret it and it is also cheaper than taking a bus. Once there, explore the Mussourie market and local cuisine; delectable momos and continental food and desserts. The mall road is the most happening place and you can discover every nook and corner in a day. You can utilise your day two, trekking to Landour. The trek is beautiful and will take you to a small cantonment town, with breathtaking landscape. You can roam around and trek back to Mussourie by evening.
You can totally take this trip in 6,000INR and enjoy to the fullest.
Mcleodganj and Dharamshala
A mountain-lover’s paradise and of course surrounded by mesmerising mountains. There are churches, the beautiful Himachal Stadium, and Triund is a place, you must-visit. You can also take your time out and visit all the ranges in that belt, like the Dhauladhar range, from where again you can visit other viewpoints. Dharamshala is just 10 kilometers away, so you can choose to stay there or go for a day long visit. You can find guest houses or hotels at affordable rates, with basic amenities.
All in all, you will spend 6,000 INR to enjoy your trip.
Also known as the ‘Pink city’, it is full of treasures that you need to explore. Rajasthan is known for its historical relevance and every fort or ‘mahal’ has an interesting story behind it. You can sink in rich Rajasthani culture, being a part of dancing and musical evenings. It is also a very good place to shop if you are like vibrant, and ethnic collectibles. You can visit the exclusive ‘Hawa Mahal’, or ‘Jal Mahal’, ‘Amber Palace’, ‘City Palace’, ‘Jaigarh Fort’, ‘Nahargarh Sanctuary’. When in Rajasthan, do not miss the exquisite Rajasthani cuisine like ‘Dal baati churma’, Rajasthani Kadi’, ‘Gatte ki Khichdi’. You can rent a bike here as well and go around to sanctuaries, national parks. If you are feeling very adventurous, do try out the hot air balloon experience.
5,000 INR should be your cap, unless you are splurging in your shopping spree.
A mere 300 kilometers away, this place is only meant for you to relax and forget about all the things that disrupt your peace. It is very well connected by railways, but you have to get down at Kotdwar and share a jeep or rent your own car (depending on how many people are there). There are lot of local sightseeing spots, but nothing like exploring the mystified and mysterious mountains, right? You can trek, travel, read, and explore local culture to make your getaway memorable.
4,500-5,000 INR is all you need for a two days Landsdowne trip.
Ranikhet and Almora
Another admirable and breathtaking landscape in Uttarakhand, offering widespread flora and fauna. You need to get to Nainital at very affordable bus fares or you can take a train to the nearest station and take any mode of commute like bus, or cabs from there. You can walk around the mall, engage in local banters, try out the exotic local sweets and treat yourself to some good photographs. Once your soul is satiated, pack up and take any local SUV or jeep and get to Almora. The most interesting thing in Almora is the village walk, where you get to interact with local villagers, who are very hospitable and also request them to be your guide to the local markets.
All in all, you spend only 6,000 INR for a happy trip to these places.
Pushkar and Ajmer
Pack your bags, pay 400-800INR, one way, and you will reach another destination in Rajasthan. Of late, this holy town has gained prominence and has attracted tourist from all over the world. The town also hosts an annual fair, which is beautiful and you must book your tickets and accommodation in advance if you want to go there during that time. Pushkar is also known for its hot springs, so take a holy dip in the steaming spring. Ajmer is known solely for the Ajmer Sharif Dargah and visiting that is absolutely compulsory. Once you have visited that, take a stroll around local markets.
You will need 6,500 INR for a content trip.
You can reach this heavenly abode after a 10 hour bus ride, via Shimla. What do you need to catch in Kasauli? The gripping sunset, the age-old club of Himachal Pradesh, the mall, local churches. Another gorgeous small hillside village is Chail, where you can trek halfway or take a cab full way. It intrinsically upholds the local culture and lifestyle. It is at a slightly higher elevation than Shimla, and overlooks the expanse of Punjab and Haryana. Man-ki-point is another famous peak in Kasauli.
Keep 6,000 INR in your pocket and that should do.
One of the most popular temple cities of North India and also my favourite. The ‘Ganga Aarti’ is the most intense spiritual experience you will have. The whole city gathers at Assi Ghat for this daily scheduled routine. You can rent boats and watch the spiritual practice from the boats, and I assure you that it is a rare experience. It is congested and you must choose your accommodation wisely. Indulge, splurge, and delve into the delectable sweets namely, ‘Rabri’, ‘Kheer’, ‘Jalebi’ and the extremely popular ‘Banarasi Paan’. It is also a good place to shop ethnic attires and even sarees.
You need just 5,000 INR to spend a good 2-3 days in Varanasi.
If you are feeling particularly adventurous, then make sure you visit this place, a perfect culmination of mountains and white sand beach. Tourists go there only to partake in adventurous activities. You can go skydiving, paragliding, rafting, camping and do so much more. It is a very popular destination where ‘Hippie’ culture finds prominence. Although it is difficult to find non-vegetarian eateries, you can always try out exotic local cuisine. You can stay for very cheap rates but if you are camping, the package for camping includes stay, bonfire and breakfast. You can hail a jeep or bus and go to nearby tourist attractions.
You need 6,000 INR at the most for a trip to Rishikesh.