Shoestring Travel: Bookmark these budget trips in India – Travel + Leisure India | Gmx Pharm

Going through a financial crisis is normal. But that shouldn’t stop us from exploring the beautiful country we are blessed to live in. Growing up comes with its own share of challenges and costs. We’ve all experienced the end-of-the-month vow at some point. If you’ve been looking forward to a much-needed escape from your everyday routine, we’ve compiled a list of cheap trips in India you can take from metro cities. By Karan Kaushik

Budget travel in India for your next adventure

From Delhi

Abhaneri (Distance: 237 km)

Located near Dausa in Rajasthan, Abhaneri is home to the famous stepwell of Chand Baori. The construction of Chand Baori, one of the oldest and largest stepwells in the world, is attributed to King Chand Raja of the Gurjara Pratihara clan. It was built in the eighth and ninth centuries with the aim of collecting water. It has 3,500 narrow steps descending 20 meters to the bottom of the fountain and 13 floors. Its geometric pattern is unique and hard to find nowadays. The staircase is surrounded by water on three sides and a three-story pavilion on the fourth side carved by beautiful jharokhas and galleries on two columns and sculptures on the balcony. Abhaneri is best reached from Delhi by taking an RSRTC bus to Dausa. You can take a day trip and save the overnight cost.

Agra (Distance: 246km)

A visit to Agra is always a good idea. Agra bus and train tickets are pocket-friendly. You can take a day trip and explore prominent monuments. Start your day with a visit to the Taj Mahal. Spend your time exploring the various rooms, gardens and museums here before grabbing a bedai kachori breakfast at one of the local restaurants or street vendors. Continue to Fort Agra and explore the intricate red sandstone architecture and marvel of Jehangir Palace. You can then head to Itimad-Ud-Daulah to take a look at what served as the blueprint for the Taj Mahal. Spend some free time in Mehtab Bagh. As evening approaches, sample and buy pethas from local shops and hop on the bus to Delhi.

From Bombay

Lonavala-Khandala (distance: 79 km)

Although they are two separate destinations, we have combined them into one because they are about three miles apart. Both Lonavala and Khandala are popular spots for tourists from Mumbai and Pune due to their proximity to the cities. Plan a weekend getaway there to enjoy stunning mountain views, cool weather, and scenic greenery. Take a trip with your friends and enjoy a weekend of fun and games while enjoying outdoor activities, campfires and more. You can also visit Lohagadh and do a trek or just go to Lohagadh Fort for a picnic. Other popular spots are Pavana Lake, Tikona Fort, Lion’s Point, Tiger’s Leap, Duke’s Nose and Bhaja Caves.

Matheran (distance: 83 km)

Matheran prides itself on being the only pedestrian hill station in Asia. Perched at an elevation of 2,636 feet above sea level in the Western Ghats, Matheran rewards travelers with its dense blanket of evergreen forest making the hill station a hiker’s paradise. Matheran was discovered in 1850 by Hugh Poyntz Malet, Collector of Thane District. Enjoy the beautiful views after a refreshing hike to Panorama Point, take nature walks to Hart Point and Monkey Point, watch the sunsets from Porcupine Point, go hiking and enjoy some Chikkiland , a caramel confection.

From Bengaluru

Mysuru (Distance: 143 km)

A scenic bus ride from the Majestic Bus Stand in Bengaluru takes you to the city of silk, sandalwood, palaces and horse-drawn carriages. Mysuru – formerly called Mysore – is the cultural capital of Karnataka and has lent its name to some iconic products over the years. The city can be visited on a day trip. Start with the Mysore Palace, built in 1897 and remaining the city’s most enduring landmark. Head to Nazarbad and treat yourself to the legendary Mylari Dosa. Pick up some Mysore Pak from a nearby shop and head to St. Philomena’s Church. If your budget allows, you can also shop for Mysore Silk Sarees in the shops across from the church. Your last stop may be Brindavan Gardens. Built on the banks of the River Cauvery, this garden also offers boating opportunities.

Ooty (distance: 265 km)

By far the most popular hill station in South India, Ooty is known as the queen of hill stations. And rightly so. Between its lush gardens, charming colonial buildings, green valleys and fragrant tea plantations – the city is straight out of the pages of a fairy tale. Board the miniature train here and enjoy the region’s stunning scenery from the front row. You can also visit one of the area’s many waterfalls, shop for chocolates, have picnics by the lake, or watch the sun set over the hills. Staying at a plantation and sampling local delicacies such as pongal and idli is highly recommended.

From Kolkata

Digha (Distance: 182km)

Can’t afford to travel to Darjeeling or Sikkim any time soon? Give the unspoilt beach town of Digha a chance. This seaside destination will satisfy all cravings for a tropical vacation and is budget-friendly. Digha has a coastline that stretches for up to seven kilometers and is dotted with She Oak (Casuarina) trees. Both sunrise and sunset here are a sight to behold, and a typical itinerary includes swimming, leisurely strolls on the beach, visits to see sharks and sea snakes at the Marine Station, and exploring Amarabati Park. Beach hopping from New Digha Beach to Udaipur Beach, Shankarpur Beach and Talsari Beach is also recommended.

Mandarmani (171km away)

Another cheap trip you can take from Kolkata is to Mandarmani. Roads lined with rice fields and ponds and the rushing views of rural Bengal lead you to this tranquil beach, hailed as “India’s Longest Motorable Beach”. While there are plenty of fun activities to do here, one option preferred by many is to sit back and soak up the almost evocative atmosphere of this oasis. Mandarmani, or Mandarmoni as the Bengalis pronounce it, is the place to see the sunrise on the horizon.

Feature and hero image courtesy Shutterstock

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