This winter vacations, certain reasons best left to the vivid imagination of the reader, have prevented me from flying back home. Therefore, as I write this down, I find myself stranded in the hostel: a captive of my own hapless circumstances.
But last night, I had an epiphany. You see, as an outstation student of Delhi University, any break, no matter how long or short has always meant a trip back home. So for the last two and a half years, travelling to me has equalled boarding an Indigo flight on the Delhi-Visakhapatnam corridor and back. But when you have the freedom of a collegiate life, travelling shouldn’t be so monotonous! Rather, it should be spontaneous and unexpected, like backpacking away to new destinations with friends or traversing solo through unknown lands in the process of self-discovery.
So when I awoke this morning, I had an agenda: to take a solo road trip. After many hours of research, spent beaming at the computer screen and bothering Google with my travelling queries, I have perfected a list of ‘The top 5 places worthy of your resources this winter season’. Here goes:
For the Cold-Averse
If Delhi winter has you shuddering and quivering at its mercy, you’re best off avoiding any and all places north of the national capital. Therefore, try Rajasthan, which presents the following gems:
‘The City of Lakes’, Udaipur is all about elegance and magnificence. Touted as ‘The Venice of the East’, Udaipur is capable of stirring romantic feels in the steeliest of hearts. Even when you’re here on your own, you must take in the vibrant culture and history of the city. You could visit City Palace, Lake Pichola, and Fateh Sagar Lake. You could also sign up for the Old City Cycle Tour. September-March is the best time to visit Udaipur, making this deal even more alluring.
A mere 271 kms from Delhi, Mandawa is ideal for satisfying your artsy streak. The Mandawa Fort is the most popular tourist destination. But you can also visit the numerous havelis and castles that dot the landscape. For a taste of the royal Shekhawati life that is spoken of in such high value, do give Mandawa a visit.
How can one not visit Jaipur when in Rajasthan? It takes round-about 4-5 hours to get to Jaipur from Delhi. Once there, you can satisfy the history buff in you by treating yourself to the palaces, forts, and temples. Go a step further in self-indulgence and shop and eat to your heart’s content at the local markets. If you can afford to take some time out in January, then also catch the Jaipur Literature Festival from 19-23rd January.
For the Cold-Loving
For the truly brave hearted, who can not only handle, but rejoice in the Northern winter chill, the Himalayan hills offer the best getaways:
Whoever said that hill stations are meant for only summer holidays? If you find yourself in McLeodganj in December, you could trek up to Guna Devi or take the Kangra Valley Trekking tour. You could also enrol for the Cycle Tour of Kangra Valley. For sightseeing, visit Namgyal Monastery, Tsuglagkhang, Tibetan Museum, Bhagsunath Temple, Bhagsu Falls, Church of St.Johns, Dharamkot Kareri Lake and Kangra Fort. Wow! So much in one tiny part of Dharamshala!
Unlike Mussorie, Shimla and Nainital, Lansdowne is untouched and unspoilt by rampant tourism. Located just 248 kms off Delhi, Lansdowne is known for its picturesque landscape, old colonial bungalows, sunrise and sunset points, rare views of the Himalayas and Ganga and trekking activities. If you’re a foodie, you can additionally enjoy the delicious baked goodies(quiches, cookies and cakes!) that the many cafeterias and bakeries have on offer. A warm cuppa with a muffin, warmly snuggled inside a blanket in a wooden café: My Garfield moment.
My solitude in the hostel as the lone inmate made me want to disappear. But looking down at my list now, I realise that you don’t need magic to disappear. All you need is a destination. And now, I have five of the very best!
I’m off! Anyone care to join?
Feature Image: quotefancy.com