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Travel: 10 lesser-known getaways around Delhi

Last updated on: March 15, 2013 17:43 IST

Travel: 10 lesser-known getaways around Delhi

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Aditi Bose

When we talk about weekend travel destinations from Delhi, most of us come up with Nainital, Agra, Shimla, Bharatpur etc. So I thought of listing out some offbeat places for the next time you plan a quick trip from Delhi.

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Dundlod

Located 252 km (4.5 hours) from Delhi, in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan is Dundlod.

Most popular here is the Dundlod fort. It is a blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture. Near it lies the Chhatri of Ram Dutt Goenka. This dome with floral designs is encircled by frieze showing dancing Krishna.

In Dundlod one can also see the fine mirror work at the Bhagirath Mal Goenka Haveli. The Marwari breed of horses are also bred here and a family arranges for tailor made desert safaris on them.

Summers here are quite dry and rains are heavy during the monsoons. The best time to visit is during the winter months. One can stay at the Dundlod Fort Heritage hotel here – a 17th century Rajputana fort that has not been converted to a luxurious hotel with lovely rooms.


Photographs: Simone Pacini/Creative Commons
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Galta

Located 260 km away from Delhi, just beyond the Sisodia Rani-ka Bagh on Agra Road, Galta is a pilgrimage spot.

Most popular here is the Galtaji temple. Situated beside a natural spring, this temple made of pink stones and which looks more like a haveli is dedicated to the Sun God. At one time it was one of the most important spots for the Ramanand sect of Vaishanavites.

The spring near the temple is a holy bathing spot and is believed to have 'sin cleansing' powers. Makar Sankranti is regarded as one of the most auspicious day to take a dip here.

The best time to visit is during the mild winter months. Plenty of staying options are available at Jaipur. Galta is just 10 km away from Jaipur.


Photographs: Dixie Lawrence/Creative Commons
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Pangot

Travel 13 km from Nainital to reach Pangot, a beautiful hill hamlet in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand.

It is a popular summer getaway and tourists flock to this place during winters (November to February) too to witness the snowfall. It's also known for bird watching with over 150 different species of birds. Snow View Point and Kilbury are the most popular bird watching points.

If trekking interests you then you could try the trail that starts from Pangot and leads to the Naina Peak. Spend a morning walking around the place eating tasty samosas, pakoras with chai that the many street-side stalls serve.

One can stay at the various hotels in Nainital as Pangot is only a stone's throw away. Else, within Pangot one can stay at the Hotel Monal, Jungle Lore Birding Lodge, Kafal House or the Nest Cottages.


Image: A Gray hooded warbler in Jungle Lore Lodger, Pangot.
Photographs: Patty McGann/Creative Commons
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Mansa

The main attraction of Mansa in Punjab is the Mansa Fair that's held during March-April. Other than the fair it's a city with huge stretches of greenery and ancient temples and gurudwaras.

One can also spend some time by the Ghagar river that flows through this region. One can stay at the Jagat Resorts here.


Photographs: Itar Buttar/Creative Commons
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Hansi

Legend has it that Hansi once had a sword manufacturing company started by King Prithviraj Chauhan which manufactured swords that were exported to the Middle East. Now all that remains are innumerable forts, mosques, shrines and tombs and those interested in ancient history should visit this town.

An architectural interest of this town is the Barsi (South) Gate in the centre of the bazaar. It was constructed in 1304 by Alauddin Khilji. Another popular tourist spot here is the Asigarh fort. Spread over 30 acres it has over 80 forts that stand around it and the statues of Buddha and Mahavira are present outside the fort.

Lastly, when you are at Hansi don't forget to buy the peda - a milk-based sweet that this region is hugely popular for.

Hansi is located in Haryana. One can either travel by road (distance 167 km) or by train. The best time to visit this town is October to May.

Not much of staying options except a few low budget hotels in town or the Blackbird Resort run by Haryana Tourism which is at least an hour's walk from the main town.


Photographs: Courtesy Directorate of Archaeology & Museums
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Pilibhit

Located 310 km northwest of Delhi in the state of Uttar Pradesh is Pilibhit, meaning 'Wall of Yellow Mud'. It is on the Nepal border and known for the origin of river Gomti. It is a densely forest region.

Pilibhit is also called Bansuri Nagari and exports majority of India's flutes. It also has a Tiger Reserve that came into existence in 2008.

Accommodation is (log huts and lodges) available within the tiger reserve. The best time to visit the reserve is between September and mid June.


Image: Forest Watch Tower in Pilibhit Forest Range
Photographs: Makks2010/Creative Commons
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Rohru

Located a little over 100 km from Shimla, is the peaceful hill town of Rohru in Himachal Pradesh.

A perfect summer retreat, this town is most famous for trout fishing on the banks of the Pabbar River. Other than angling, one can also spend time camping, gliding and trekking in this region. During the winters, visit Rohru to experience snow.

Rohru is also known for its apple orchards, the most popular varieties being Royal Delicious and Rich Red.

Other important attractions the Shikhru Devta temple which has a fair every year in April, the heli-skiing on the Chanshal ranges, the village of Dodra, fishing in the shallow water in spots like Seema, Sandasu, Tikri in Chirgao region (10 km from Rohru) or canoeing and rafting.

The best places to stay are the Chanshal Hotel, Monal Hotel and the Hotel Riverview.


Photographs: Shimla171207/Creative Commons
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Una

According to local folklore, Una meaning 'Only That Much' in Punjabi, was named by Guru Nanak Devji. Located in Himachal Pradesh by the river Swan, a tributary of the river Sutlej, Una is known for its hills and places of religious significance. It remains pleasant throughout the year hence so can be visited any time.

One of the most popular temples is the stone temple of Chintpurni dedicated to Lord Ganesha and Hanuman. The annual 10-day fair in August at the temple premises attracts a lot of visitors. For accommodation, try the Yatri Niwas managed by HP Tourism.

The Dera Baba Rudru temple located about 10 km from the main town is another major attraction. For those interested in history and legendary tales, visit the Shiv Bari. It is said that Dronacharya used to teach archery to his students there.

40 km from Una, is the Gurudwara Dera Baba Bharbhag Singh located atop a hill surrounded by eucalyptus trees. A fair is held here every February-March where people suffering from mental illness visit to seek the blessings of the priests known as Masands. Apart from the Gurudwara Sarai, a PWD Rest House is also available for accommodation.
 
Other accommodation options in Una are Maya Deluxe Hotel and Suvidha Palace.


Photographs: Gopal Agarwal/Creative Commons
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Bhandarej

Bhandarej located 62 km from Jaipur is an ancient village in the Dusa district.

It is known to produce some unique lattice work pottery of terracotta and carpets which is what attracts tourists to the region. Also, as excavation continues here, there are many interesting archaeological sites that one can visit.

Another place to visit is the Bhandarej Baodi. It is a well with the carvings of wild animals and various domes and sculptures.

The village of Bhandarej has been in existence since the 11th century. So once here don't miss the opportunity to visit one of the village homes. Camel rides are also organized here. The Sariska forest reserve is nearby, so spend a day visiting the animals there too.

One can stay at the Hotel Bhadrawati palace here.

Chhachharauli

Situated 214 km (around 4 hours from Delhi), on the foothills of the Shivalik Range lies the erstwhile capital of Raja Gurbaksh Singh's state - Chhachharauli.

It is a small town in Haryana and is known for its greenery and scenic beauty. It also has an old haveli with colourful paintings which is frequented by tourists. Once here, don't miss a visit to the Big Grain Market where farmers gather to sell their produce. This town is also dotted with temples, most popular of which are the Raghunath and the Shiva temple.

The best time to visit is between October and March.


Image: Hotel Bhadrawati Royal Camps
Photographs: Courtesy Hotel Bhadrawati Royal Camps
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