This is by far the most popular tented destination from Delhi. Winding upwards on the road from Rishikesh is the beginning of the white sandy beaches alongside this clean and gurgling avatar of the river Ganga. And all along the beach one can see little dotted lines of colorful tents. Many a camp offer stay, rafting and a weekend of great food and lounging around. A perfect place for friends to do nothing or that little something that city malls will just not provide. I have gone there more than a dozen times and stayed in across many camps. Whichever camp you choose, the crispy air, the free spirited ganges, the nurturing sun and fresh delicious camp food would be on everyone's menu. I will suggest choose one which has a large sandy beach and not too many tents.
The sad part is that most people pass this by in a hurry to get to Musoorie, Rishikesh, and the other prime attractions in that part of the country. The good part is that it is uncrowded, green and a perfect hideout for the loner, a family, or a large group of friends wanting to do their own thing. Rajaji National park is bang opposite Haridwar. You cross the bridge and almost immediately reach one of the gates. This place boasts of around 500 elephants, 12 tigers and around 250 panthers. along with 400 species of birds. And there are plenty of delightful water bodies around, for a picnic. There are not too many options to stay around here. Try Camp King Elephant or the Wild Brook retreat for a memorable weekend.http://www.rajajinationalpark.co.in/6.%20Stay%20in%20Rajaji.htm
If you leave at 4 am, Kasauli is just a 6 hour drive down. You would be there by 10 for a hearty breakfast and a good stretch. And this destination is just a little bit before Kasauli. The Sanawar nature camp. A collection of log huts and tents. On a lush green hill. A very short distance from Kasauli town centre. And with a delicious kitchen, two friendly dogs and the lap of nature. While the place has enough games and physical activities for the high adrenalin family member, for the rest this is just what the hectic week ordered. Wind down with a book, a long walk, your music and just about anything you like to do.
Around 345 kms from Delhi, this place might just take a little above 6 hours, depending on traffic. One could also take the night train to Kalka, or the early morning Shatabdi, and then cab it up. Around 13 km before Shimla is this tiny little Hamlet called Shoghi. And while here, if you do not want to run away to the usual Shimla and the mall road, you will find plenty of time to connect back with yourself. A nice easy trek to a water stream, or a campfire at night is just what the shrink would prescribe, for a power recharge.
In case you cannot grab the train to Ajmer, this is an overnight bus away from Delhi. You get volvos, sleeper bus and just about any type at midnight. They promise to get you in by 7 in the morning, and normally make it by 8.30 or so. There will be many budget and kitsch places to pick from in this colorful town dedicated to Lord Brahma. But for an off centre experience, there are also many tented options that spring up at the end of the year starting with the famous Pushkar fair. Right out of the main town centre but just a short walk or camel ride away from the fair grounds, they might be on the steeper side for the budget traveller, but quite the experience. For a reasonable rate try the Foothills camps and resort.
So pick a friday night and get out. Sunday night/early monday morning, get back in. You might walk in a little tired. But you will also walk in with that big quickie smile.