Weekend getaways to visit over the weekend in Delhi, India

There are several places  to visit over the weekend or for a day trip from Delhi. Here is a list primarily for myself and friends of such places. These include mostly places that I have visited myself.

Please note that several of these places would be done better, if you include an extra day i.e friday or monday or do it over a long weekend of 4-5 days as traffic and road conditions make it difficult to cover much distance for a reasonable trip in India unlike US or other western countries.

Weekend Trips

Common ones, first choice, if you haven’t seen them before:

Itinerary I:

* Agra – Famous for Tajmahal & Fatehpur Sikri (which is about 25 km from Agra). Agra is appx 200 km from Delhi & it takes about 3.5 to 4 hours on average each side.

* Mathura & Vrindavan – It is en-route to Agra from Delhi – Appx 150 km from Delhi. It is famous for temples & ashrams & birth place of Lord Krishna. A good place to visit, if you into this but can skip, if you are not too fond of crowded places. It can get very crowded especially on weekends.

You can do both Agra & Mathura in one day, if you leave early or you can spread it over 2 days.

Itinerary 2:

* Jaipur – Appx 200 km from Delhi in Rajasthan, famous for its palaces, handicrafts, Rajasthani food & culture.

* Ajmer Sharif – Appx 50 km from Jaipur, Holy shrine of Khwaja Ajmer sharif attracts a lot of visitors. It is one of most sacred shrines in India.

* Pushkar – Appx 20 Km from Ajmer sharif, famous for its Bramha temple, food & culture that attracts tourists from all over the world. It is probably one of the most visited (among lesser known places) by foreign tourists.

Jaipur, Ajmer Sharif & Pushkar can be done in appx 3-4 days comfortably. If you want to cover other places in Rajasthan  (which are certainly worth visiting) such as Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer etc you need several additional days.

Mountains:

If you love mountains or are planning to travel in summers, here are the destinations up north. Again, first the most popular but a bit crowded ones:

Shimla: Appx 250 km from Delhi in Himachal Pradesh – Good Road, you can reach in appx 7 hours. It used to summer capital of India during British Rule. It still is a very popular choice to beat heat of people from Delhi & nearby areas. Shimla has several places nearby for local sightseeing. You can do Shimla in 2 days, but a 3 day weekend would be better.

Mussorie: Appx 250 Km from Delhi in Utrakhand, a nice hill station has good hotels & sight seeing. Can get crowded during summers so try to do hotel booking in advance. It would take appx 3 days to cover Mussourie & nearby places.

Nainital: Appx 300 Km from Delhi in Utrakhand, a nice hill station surrounding a lake with many nearby local sightseeing places. You need appx 3-4 days for Nainital.

Landsdown: Appx 200 Km from Delhi in Utrakhand, a quiet militray cantonment can be done. Make sure you don’t reach there after 6pm as most of the market closes by then. Leave Delhi early morning so that you can reach Landsdown by noon.

Kasauli – Kasauli is also a miltiray cantonment hill station in Himachal Pradesh, 50 km before shimla. You can leave friday after noon. A quiet place with nice weather.

Chail – 40 Km from Kasauli on route to Shimla is also a good hill station in Himachal pradesh. There are about a dozen hotels to choose from. Can be done in 2-3 days & can be combined with Kasuali & shimla if you have additional days.

Parwanoo – Timber trail resort in Parwanoo is a recent destination that has become favorite among weekend travelers. The resort is great with awesome views. You reach the resort via a Gandola. Advance booking of the resort is highly recommended.

Other destinations that one can cover over the weekend or in 3-4-5 days are Chandigarh, Amritsar in Punjab. Dalhousie, Kulu, Manali, Dharamshala, Mandi in Himachal Pradesh.

Rishikesh & Kudiala: Rishikesh (Shivpuri) & Kudiala have surfaced as very popular destination for river rafting among adventure seeking travelers. Shivpuri is appx 240 km from Delhi. This itenerary can comfortably done in a regular weekend. If you leave on friday afternoon, you can reach Rishikesh late night, can do rafting for 2 days i.e sat / sunday & come back by sunday evening. There are dozens of tour organizers for river rafting and camping for Shivpuri & Kudiala. They charge anywhere between INT 2000 – 4000 per person for the whole weekend including camping in tents, rafting & meals. You can also contact Garwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN), govt of Utrakhand for booking of the package.

There are many other exotic places if you have a few more days i.e 5-7 days that I would cover in one of the other posts. Feel free to ask questions or clarifications via comments.

 

Dr. Naresh Trehan & Medanta Medicity Management, Please Fix your hospital’s parking staff

Update (Jul 4th, 11) : After about 10 days, since Dr. Nalini Jain, Director, Medanta Hospital Contacted me, I am yet to hear regarding any response or update regarding any inquiry or action, whatsoever. Still Waiting for any response from Medanta 😦

Update (Jun 24th, 11) : Dr. Nalini Jain, Director, Medanta Hospital Contacted me & asked me further details about the experience, She consented that the behaviour of Parking Manager Mr. Rakesh Ranjan was extremely disrespectful and improper. The Medanta hospital doesn’t condone or approved of such rude behaviour to the visitors to the hospital, who anyway may be going through some distress upon arrival to the hospital. She assured me to look into this matter & take necessary action. I am glad to have talked to her and look forward for some real action.

Respected Dr. Trehan & Medanta Management Team,

First of all, I would like to congratulate & thank you from deep of my heart for having setup, such an esteemed medical institution, The Medanta medicity in Gurgaon, which has been a boon not only to Gurgaon / NCR residents but to patients from all across India and abroad.

I myself, have gone there a number of times and found the doctors, administrative staff, nurses, housekeeping, radiology, sample collection, cafeteria and all others staff extremely courteous, polite & helpful. My experience has been more than fulfilling & I thank you for the same.

On several occasions, I parked my car on the surface parking and there has never been any issues and the staff was very helpful. Today, I went there for some blood tests and to meet my doctor again & happen to decide to park in the under-ground parking.

That is when, a nightmare, which I wouldn’t even expect even from the worst of worst hospitals in India started. On basement 1, there were a number of vacant parking slots available but those were being cordoned by ropes and a few cars were being allowed, reasons best known to the parking attendants. I inquired, if I can park here as I was getting late for appointment, but was very rudely told that this floor is reserved for staff only and I need to go further down. When all over the campus, it is mentioned that the underground parking is Rs 20/-, It was beyond my understanding why the first floor was reserved for staff.

Upon asking, why some cars are being allowed, I was told that they are staff or they are pass holders. Never the less, I went one floor below again and wanted to park in the early free slots available but then again, I was told that I need to go further down and these are reserved. Again note, there were more than ample parking spaces available but they were cordoned by ropes. I asked to talk to supervisor but wasn’t allowed to do so.

Finally I parked my car & then I went up and then I wanted to meet the Parking Manager Mr. Rakesh Ranjan. I was hoping that he would at-least listen to my grievance but to my extreme surprise, he started giving me excuses that these spaces that are cordoned by ropes are meant for doctors. Upon my asking, where is it not mentioned that they are reserved for doctors, he said that the boards are damaged and we would get new boards. He was extremely rude in his language.

He even showed me a Mercedes and said this is Mr. Trehan’s Mercedes and how can you park next to it. OMG !!

I asked his manager number & he told me that he is not in India, albeit he gave me the name Mr. Rajiv Kaushik and some email address, which proved to be invalid.

Respected Sir: After this experience, I am having serious thoughts of ever visiting Medanta again as the same doctors are available in nearby hospitals also. In any case, I am not going to park my car in Medanta compound.

I am extremely surprised that such a reputed hospital has such a poorly managed underground parking and if I may say so, some goons running the parking lot. (please note, I am only talking about underground parking. my experience with surface parking has been satisfactory & without any issues so far). Hope you would look into this matter.

Regards

PS

Arundhati Roy – A writer, India & Kashmir

Arundhati Roy , one of my favorite writers & booker award winner for her first book, is in news this week about her statement about Kashmir not essentially an “Integral” part of India & there is a huge uproar that she be booked (along with Geelani) for sedition again India.

This is ridiculous to think that if India really wants to be India & not afganistan & pakistan. Moreover the timing of this is completely political. You can see her interview for 1 and a 1/2 year back & there is nothing different that she is saying now.

Arundhati Roy’s interview with naxalites in Dantewada

As always Arundhati Roy writes a really thought provoking narrate of her interview with Naxalites in Dantewada  (yeah, where 70+ security personnel were gunned down by naxals earlier this month). Published in the Outlook magazine, on March 25th, it is a great essay about tribal suppression by their own government & then of tribal uprising. Arundhari, minces no words in this highly thought provoking essay.

Here are some excerpts from the essay:

There are many ways to describe Dantewada. It’s an oxymoron. It’s a border town smack in the heart of India. It’s the epicentre of a war. It’s an upside down, inside out town.

In Dantewara the police wear plain clothes and the rebels wear uniforms. The jail-superintendant is in jail. The prisoners are free (three hundred of them escaped from the old town jail two years ago). Women who have been raped are in police custody. The rapists give speeches in the bazaar.”

Across the Indravati river, in the area controlled by the Maoists, is the place the police call “Pakistan”. There the villages are empty, but the forest is full of people. Children who ought to be in school, run wild.”  Here is the link to the Complete article