Panipat, in Haryana, has a strong historical connection with India’s royal past. With several monuments and museums to its credit, Panipat is the place to be for those interested in history. The tomb of Ibrahim Lodhi is a great display of the interesting patterns of lakhori bricks. Besides its historical significance, it is a great architectural feat. The tomb of Bu Ali Shah Qalandar is another place to visit. The Salar Gunj Gate, a major archeological feat, is now the nucleus for a lively local market. The Panipat Museum is a popular attraction. You can find information, armoury, sculptures, paintings, maps and documents from all the three battles fought in Panipat in its galleries. There is no better way to indulge in the much-acclaimed past of the city. Before you leave, don't forget to indulge in the lip-smacking chaats and faludas at the street food joints to complete the satisfaction circle of all senses.
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93 Kms from Panipat
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
If you can explore one place in India, let it be its capital, New Delhi. This modern city offers everything that a city traveller could possibly want – chaos, quiet, spirituality, history, culture and food. Delhi is said to be one of the oldest existing cities in the world. This ancient city never stops growing. The Mughal and British, the two main empires who invaded the city, have left a deep mark on its face and infrastructure. Their monuments and mausoleums lie scattered across the city, such as India Gate, Jama Masjid, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar, Purana Qila and the Lodhi Gardens. The iconic Red Fort or Lal Qila, built of sandstone, has been standing tall since 1648 and was the brainchild of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. You can participate in the celebration of modern Indian art at Akshardham, a wondrous house of worship. The colossal, Lotus Temple is a centre of Baha'i faith and is a peaceful refuge from the breathlessness of the city. The city has a rich and colourful character, which is visible in its chaotic bazaars such as Janpath, Sarojini Nagar, Dilli Haat and Chandni Chowk – all heavens for shopaholics. You may splurge at the high-end restaurants and pubs all across Delhi, but do not miss out on the street food. Connaught Place, Chanakyapuri and the Parliament Street stretch, everything contributes to the grandeur New Delhi is. If you’re touring Delhi, Paharganj is a good choice for inexpensive lodging with good connectivity.
305 Kms from Panipat
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
The Pink City, as Jaipur is fondly called, is thronged by tourists almost all year round. And why not, with it being home to majestic palaces and forts like the Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, City Palace and Sisodia Rani Garden – some of the most beautiful architectural wonders you'll ever set your eyes upon. Galtaji temple, also called the Monkey Temple, is another must visit. If your eyes just can't get enough, visit Amber Fort, which has its own 600-year-old story to narrate, through its spectacular light and sound shows, cultural performances and folk music. Rajasthani tailored clothes, jewellery and handicrafts are a huge hit as souvenirs, for their exquisite mirror work, embroidery, leather and splashes of colour. Some famous places this illustrious workmanship can be bought from are Rajasthali, Anokhi, Johari bazaar and Sireh Deori Bazaar, but remember to bargain. Central Museum and Albert Hall museum are great places to learn about Rajasthan's rich history and culture and also to buy handicrafts. The Jaipur Literature Festival, the world's largest free literature festival, is dear to almost every bibliophile around the globe. Here one can enjoy literature and music, amidst the likes of William Dalrymple, Stephen Fry and many other renowned writers and personalities. The 5-day festival is hosted in Diggi Palace, which gives people around the world an insight into Rajasthan's captivating cultural heritage. For those interested in pampering their palates with the flavourful Rajasthani cuisine against the backdrop of a picturesque village should visit Chokhni Dani. For a regal experience, a stay at the Suvarna Mahal is a must visit.
274 Kms from Panipat
Best time to visit - January,February,March,November,December
Home to the seventh wonder of the world, the Taj Mahal, Agra is best explored on foot or rickshaw or a rented bike. Renowned worldwide as not only a mausoleum but an epitome of love, the Taj Mahal is profusely crowded during the day till evening. If you're looking to escape the crowd, however, the city's Mughal beauty can be enjoyed from several rooftops and secret locations in the city, or at an early morning yoga session just 100 metres away from the monument. If you want to go further, why not go into the depths of its history through the light and sound shows and plays at the Kalakriti Cultural and Convention Centre. Agra annually hosts the 10-day festival, Taj Mahotsav, a rostrum for culture and colour in the month of February, known for celebrity performances, food stalls and a creative congregate of about 400 artisans across the country showcasing their exquisite art and craft items. Agra easily competes with Delhi's Mughlai monopoly with decade old restaurants such as Bilal Restaurant and Hyderabad Handi, while the Agra cant area houses local food. Speaking of local, Korai village remains a lesser known location, which can give you an entirely different experience and a chance to interact with villagers. Travelling through this beautiful necropolis, one can also enjoy quiet spots, wholesome with nature such as the Keertham Lake and the Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, before signing off with a visit to the Agra Fort, I'timad-Ud-Daulah (also known as baby Taj), Chini Ka Raza and Akbar's Tomb, architectural tributes to Mughal history, admired above and beyond India.
192 Kms from Panipat
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,June,October,November,December
Once known as Shyamala, synonymous with Goddess Kali, Shimla has been a summer retreat long before India even gained independence. This famous hill station similarly has a lot of places and things to see untouched by time. For instance, take a vintage joy ride from Kalka station to Shimla in a charming toy train that will take you through towering Deodars, hills and villages. Shimla truly comes alive during winters when a blanket of snow covers it all over making every nook and corner gleam and glisten. One such place is the ice skating rink (natural ice) near Lakkar Bazaar that opens from November to December. More winter sports include skiing, which can be enjoyed 21 km from Shimla in Kufri. Adventure activities such as rafting at Tattapani or a trek to Shali Tibba and Pabbar Valley are also worthwhile experiences. If you are fond of haunted stories and interested in having your own spooky adventure, you'll love Shimla. A lot of people including the renowned Rudyard Kippling (in 'My Own True Ghost Story) have written various eerie stories set around Shimla. A place known most for giving many people the jeepers-creepers is the Charleville Mansion. Another time travelling portal is the antique bookstore, Marina Brothers, located on Mall Road, which is truly a reader and collector's paradise. There are many luxury and budget hotels here, meaning you'll never fall short of options. Popular places to eat include Wake & Bake, Ashiana, Cecil and Minchy's that serve commendable Indian and multi-cuisine dishes and delicious gourmet food.
149 Kms from Panipat
Best time to visit - August,September,October,November
A perfect combination of ancient and urban, this city has been deemed the most futuristic in the country, while also having been occupied by the Harappan civilisation almost 8,000 years ago. In fact, BBC has named Chandigarh as a perfect city with regard to its cultural growth, modernisation and architecture. Nek Chand Rock Garden is a unique and fascinating site, built solely by a man (after whom the garden is named), who used remnants from various demolition sites (particularly the debris while Chandigarh itself was being built) and a whole lot of scrap to build 2000 sculptures, statues, all integrated on walled paths, wherein one can also see man-made interlinked waterfalls. A short walk away from there is the artificial Sukhna lake, a landmark for families to relax and walk around while enjoying street food and keeping kids busy with quaint toys bought from vendors all around. Pertaining to Le Corbusier's (chief architect of the city) vision of Chandigarh being a garden city, Rose Garden is home to over 1,500 varieties of rose and the Garden of Fragrance is perfect for those mind-refreshing walks. Popular places to visit for an insight into Chandigarh and the entire country's history through various artworks are the Government Museum & Art Gallery and the Chandigarh Architecture Museum. Being one of the top four metro cities of the country, Chandigarh has a bustling food scene, home to every cuisine you can think of right from Mediterranean (Kelong, Virgin Courtyard) to Thai (Tao- Bar & Lounge). Some popular places for Punjabi dishes are Punjab Grill and Sher-e- Punjab. Chandigarh is also close to many hill stations such as Solan, Kasauli, Shoghi and Naldehra.
157 Kms from Panipat
Best time to visit - March,April,May,October,November
Dehradun is easily one of the most popular hill stations in India. Though easily accessible by all modes of transportation, taking the road would be the best way to experience this heaven. The drive will take you through dense forests on the hilly road and if you're lucky, you might even see a wild elephant or leopard pass you by. The fresh and dewy hill air will infiltrate your lungs and put you in a great mood right away. In terms of things to see, there is Robber's Cave, a river cave formation and Sahashtradhara, which is also a stunning sight of nature consisting of sulphur springs. But more than its sights, Dehradun is the perfect place for a family getaway. After all it has everything that you could need for a relaxing holiday. The town has many vintage bookshops (Natraj Publishers, The English Book Depot), college campuses with hilly backdrops, architectural marvels (such as the Forest Research Institute), alleys filled with quaint restaurants, adventure sports gear shops and forest resorts and hotels to fit every budget. Vishranti, a resort tucked away discreetly in the Sal forests of the Doon valley, deserves a special mention for its beauty and luxury. The city is a haven for foodies as Dehradun offers a lot of variety and affordability in its cuisine. Restaurants and cafes such as Doon Darbar, renowned for devour-worthy Mughlai dishes and The Buffet for its mouthwatering burgers, cutlets and coffee, are popular options.
302 Kms from Panipat
Best time to visit - April,May,June,July
Scenic and serene, Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh is perhaps one of the most unexplored places in Himachal. Passing through serpentine roads, refreshing, lush greenery, the district is a delight to explore. Though travellers looking to enjoy a luxurious holiday may not have a great time here. Kalpa is the first village that greets you when you enter Kinnaur. Reckong Peo, Nako and Sangla Valley are some of the villages and valleys that make up Kinnaur district. A journey to Kinnaur is marked with adventure and also an unpredictability that comes from travelling so high up in the mountains. The people in all the villages are very warm and welcoming and are open to sharing their way of life with travellers. Do plan a long trip here, since Kinnaur district can easily take up to 2 weeks and it's best not to hurry your way through this spellbinding valley.
244 Kms from Panipat
Best time to visit - March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October
A kingdom that has risen above disasters like the 2010 cloudburst and is still able to magnetise a plethora of tourists and travellers every month to it, even when the mercury dips below sub-zero levels. This former capital of the Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh is chiefly dominated by the ruined Royal Palace of Leh and the eternally serene Pangong Tso, Tibetan for 'high grassland lake', which is spread for 134 km from India to China. If you're someone who loves travelling unconventionally and is interested in the lifestyle that thrives in this high altitude desert, you can stay with locals who have turned their homes into 'homestays' and are open to interacting with non-natives. For a more spiritual and mystical experience, one can also spend the night at monasteries such as Thiksey, Lamauru or the Hemis Monastery, where you will get a chance to interact with Lamas (Buddhist teachers) and learn all about their lives and what they preach. For more visual and audio insights and treats, one can attend the 6 day Ladakh festival, a multihued explosion of Ladakhi culture and tradition, celebrated annually in the month of September in Leh's villages. Leh can always keep you entertained, for instance, with trekking (frozen river trek to Chadar, Padam to Darcha trek), mountain biking, skiing, camel safari, paragliding and even having your car pulled uphill by the magnetic force at the Magnetic Hill. Foodies will get no better thrill than eating at the highest cafeteria in the world, Rinchen Cafeteria. Other popular cafes such as Gesmo, Nirvana Garden, Cafe Jeevan and Norlakh are a must to go to for their lip smacking Italian, Himalayan and local dishes.