Weekends are for travelling. If you are anything like me, your Friday nights are reserved for overnight journeys, on the road to somewhere new. While ISBT Delhi is perfect for quick, spontaneous getaways, there's nothing like waking up in a beautiful place after a good night's sleep on your very own berth on a train.
Here's a list of (slightly) offbeat getaways from Delhi that can be reached within 10 hours on a train. Most of these journeys begin late at night; the idea is to make the most of the weekend by taking an overnight train. Uncomplicated, time-efficient and easy on the pocket - a perfect setup for a perfect weekend getaway.
1. Udhampur, Jammu & Kashmir - 9-10 Hrs
Image Credits: Wikimedia
This beautiful city in the heart of Jammu is perfect to escape to the silence of the mountains and enjoy the murmur of nature on a quick, easy getaway.
Best Train To Reach Udhampur from Delhi: Dee Uhp Ac Superfast (22401)
Nearest Railway Station: Udhampur
The train leaves Delhi Rohilla at 22:15 (Perfect for a Friday night escape) and gets in at Jammu Tawi at 07:20. Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary is 28 kms from the railway station. Best places to stay near the Wildlife Sanctuary is Jammu
Suggested Places To Stay In Udhampur
2. Barog, Himachal Pradesh - 6 to 9 hrs
Image Credits: Saumya
Perched enroute Shimla, this hillside hamlet is the perfect hideaway, framed within Deodar forests and the magnificent Himalayas.
Best Train to Reach Barog: Howrah-Delhi-Kalka Mail (12311)
Nearest Railway Station to Barog: Kalka
The train leaves from Delhi (DLI) railway station at 21:25 and gets into Kalka at 04:30 in the morning. From here, take the gorgeous winding trip through Himalayan tunnels on the narrow-gauge(toy-train) tracks as the sun rises behind the mountains. If you manage to get on the 04:51 AM train, then you can enjoy a steaming cup of chai and hot breakfast at 07:00 AM amidst dewy Deodars and fresh mountain air. It doesn't get sweeter than this.
Suggested Places to Stay in Barog
3. Ranthambore, Rajasthan - 4 to 8 Hrs
Image Credits: Uday Tharar
Ranthambore teems with some of the planet's most prized inhabitants, that roam these subtropical forests, at the confluence the lush Northern Indian vegetation and Rajasthan's arid expanse.
Best Train to Reach Ranthambore from Delhi: Dehradun Express (19019)
Nearest Railway Station to Ranthambore: Sawai Madhopur
The train leaves Hazrat Nizamuddin at 21:55 PM and arrives at Sawai Madhopur 05:20 AM, just in time for sunlight. You get to have a good night's sleep (kinda) and wake-up to a countryside dawn. Ranthambore National Park is about 10 kms from Sawai Madhopur. You will find plenty of auto-rickshaws and a few taxis at the railway station. If it's still too dark outside for your comfort zone, consider waiting it out at the railway station till the day dawns in.
Suggested Places To Stay in Ranthambore:
4. Amritsar, Punjab - 10 hrs
Image Credits: Sagnik Basu
Amritsar, home to the famous Golden Temple, is an enigmatic blend of the ineffable and the urbane, in a bustling city with a lot to say.
Best Train to Reach Amritsar from Delhi: Tata Jat Express (18101)
Nearest Railway Station: Amritsar Junction
The train leaves New Delhi (NDLS) railway station at 22:00 PM and arrives Amritsar Junction at 07:50 in the morning. The Golden Temple Gurudwara is just under 2 km away. Arrive just in time for morning chai at the Gurudwara and witness life in one of the world's most sacred places as the day starts to unfold.
Best Places to Stay in Amritsar
5. Naukuchiatal, Uttarakhand - 8-10 hrs
Image Credits: Maryam Yasmin
Escape the crowds taking over the lakeside in Nainital and go back in time to serene waterside strolls and boating thorugh the mist. Naukuchiatal is a classic hill-station, complete with activities like paragliding and parasailing for adventure enthusiasts.
Best Train To Reach Naukuchiatal From Delhi - Ranikhet Express (15013)
Nearest Railway Station to Naukuchiatal - Kathgodam
The train leaves Delhi Cantt Station at 20:00 PM and gets in to Kathgodam at 05:05. Naukuchiatal is under two hours from Kathgodam railway station. Plenty of buses run from the bus station and taxis (shared and private) from the train station.
Suggested Places To Stay in Naukuchiatal
6. Shivpuri, near Rishikesh - 6 to 8 hrs
Image Credits: Neha Mishra
Rishikesh is an effortless getaway destination, but Shivpuri is just an hour away and offers the gushing adventure of the river Ganga along wth the serenity of the mountains in the backdrop.
Best Train to Reach Haridwar From Delhi: Delhi Haridwar Special (04057)
Nearest Railway Station to Shivpuri: Haridwar
The train leaves 21:10 PM from DLI station and gets into Haridwar at 05:00 AM. From here the journey to Shivpuri takes anywhere between 2-3 hours. Frequent local buses are available from the bus-station, which is just across the road from the Haridwar railway station.
Suggested Places To Stay In Shivpuri
High Bank Himalayan Retreat - Rs. 5000
Neemrana's Glasshouse on The Ganges - Rs. 8500
7. Orchha, Madhya Pradesh - 5 to 7 hrs
Enjoy Bundelkhandi hospitality in a riverside town so spectacularly integrated with the 16th century relics that decorate its streets, it takes you back in time. Be mesmerized by the local life that moves through the sandstone arches and lingers within fortified walls, like a beautiful painting from a time gone by.
Best Train To Reach Orccha From Delhi: Uhl Ned Superfast Express (22458)
Nearest Railway Station to Orchha: Jhansi Junction
The train leaves 23:45 PM from NDLS station and gets into Jhansi at 05:45 AM. Auto-rickshaws (shared and private) and pre-paid taxis are available from the railway station that take you straight to Orchha, which is about 15 km away.
Suggested Place To Stay In Orchha
Bundelkhand Riverside - Rs. 3000
8. Pushkar, Rajasthan - 7 to 9 hrs
Image Credits: Munish
Think camels, turbans and groomed moustaches, and leave plenty of room for images that escape the attention of travel photographs. Pushkar is Rajsthan's own cocktail of trendy and traditional, completely unpredictable but always on point.
Best Train To Reach Pushkar From Delhi: Sln Adi Express (19404)
Nearest Railway Station to Pushkar: Ajmer
The train leaves at 06:40 AM from DLI station and gets into Ajmer at 14:00 PM. Pushkar is under an hour from Ajmer and plenty of local buses and Auto-Rickshaws can be caught from practically anywhere in Ajmer.
Suggested Places to Stay in Pushkar
9. Landour, near Mussourie - 6 to 8 hrs
Image Credits: Sarbajaya
Just a few minutes from the tourist hotspot in Mussourie, is a tiny little place called Landour. Enjoy what's best about Mussourie, while escaping the tsunami of weekenders. While there, make your way up to Dhanaulti and nearby for a real taste of the hills.
Nearest Railway Station to Landour: Dehradun
The train leaves at 23:50 PM from NDLS station and gets into Dehradun at 05:40 AM. The Mussourie Bus Station a short walk away from the railway station. Landour is about 5 km away from Mussourie. Taxis are available near Mussourie's Picture Palace.
Suggested Place to Stay in Landour
10. Chakrata, Uttarakhand - 8 to 10 hrs
Image Credits: Dave Konwar
Probably among the least explored places to visit near Delhi, Chakrata is a delightful escape into the unspoiled wilderness of the mountains of Garhwal. Head Deoban and Tiger Falls to get the most out of your visit. Only citizens of India are allowed in to Chakrata due to the Cantonment restrictions.
Nearest Railway Station to Chakrata: Dehradun
The train leaves at 23:50 PM from NDLS station and gets into Dehradun at 05:40 AM. Chakrata is connected to Dehradun by regular local buses from Dehradun ISBT which is a 15 min auto-rickshaw ride from the train station. Shared and private taxis can be hired from private taxi agencies near the train station.
Suggested Place To Stay in Chakrata
GMVN, Hanol - Rs. 580 and above