As a recent Delhi resident and longtime nomad, I’m always happy to skip out of the city. If for no other reason but the fact that I can. Sometimes the best thing about leaving is knowing how exhilarating it will be to come back. At other times, it’s great because of what you’re leaving for. In the case of these five getaways, it’s equal doses of both. If you’re looking for history, head to Fatehpur Sikri. If you’re looking for wildlife, you’ve got divergent roads leading to Bharatpur and Sariska. If you want romance, head to Neemrana Palace. And there’s Khurja, for the shopper with commitment. These five destinations are for different kinds of travelers or maybe just different moods. A few hours of a drive, and Toto, you’re not in Delhi anymore. But if you’d like to be, it’s only a short distance to get back.
I think it’s safe to say that the Taj Mahal is already on most travelers’ lists. While you’re headed there, take a 45 minute detour to the ancient walled city of Fatehpur Sikri that served as Emperor Akbar’s capital for a brief period, and almost on a whim, inspired by a prophecy come true.
Neemrana Fort Palace
If you want to feel like royalty for a day, Neemrana Fort Palace is where you can head with your entourage. A 15th century fort, it has now been converted to a heritage hotel. With views of the village from a higher plain, gardens and beautiful bits of Rajasthani design, it’s the perfect place to have lunch. If you aren’t staying overnight, get there before 4pm—after that entry for visitors is restricted.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
If you’re a birder at heart, you may like to visit Bharatpur where over 230 species of birds have made a home. The sanctuary is officially known as Keoladeo National Park; both land birds and waterfowls play here together. If you’re tempted to sleep over, you’d be well placed to land up at The Birder’s Inn, The Bagh, or Laxmi Vilas Palace.
This is an expedition with a shopping agenda in mind. Khurja is a village in Uttar Pradesh that is famous for its potters. In fact, most of the ceramics found across the country are said to trace their origins in some part to Khurja. It isn’t much of a tourist town; get in, get your pot(s), get out. Weekly fair is held on Wednesdays.
Located in the Aravalli mountain range, this town in Rajasthan is a tiger reserve. I’ve got to say at the outset—if you have your heart set on spotting a tiger, this may not be for you. Head here if you’d be happy to see other wonderful creatures of the forest and old forts that somehow manage to hold themselves together. The Sariska Palace is a great place to stay the night, in case you’re thinking of an early morning safari ride.