by Akshay Natu
Now I know as B-School students, we rarely get time to pack our travelling bags, unless forever homesick kids have the urge to run to mumma and papa the moment the last class ends on Friday afternoon. Therefore, we tend to miss out on some amazing destinations which reinforce my belief that India is indeed: “incredible”. (Also because abroad jaane ka paisa nahi hai)
I present to you a list of places you can visit when that long weekend arrives and you don’t have a pile of dirty laundries to wash.
1. Auli, Uttarakhand
Distance from Delhi: 510 km.
This has to be my personal favorite. Hence, it tops the list. Why you ask? I’ll let the proverbial picture speak more than a thousand words:
It will take you 16 painstakingly long hours to reach Auli (Google will say 12-13 hours, don’t trust that misleading devil). I know you will take way too many chai-maggi-sutta breaks and at one point during the enroute journey even consider calling me and bashing me for recommending a place which takes God-forsakenly long to reach. But trust me, it’s worth it (The picture below is the moment I realized that). You can also try Skiing at the Auli Ski Resorts (you will give up after ten minutes, you’re unhealthy pizza eating logs and not Hrithik Roshan from the second half of Kaho Na Pyaar Hai), and take the ropeway from Joshimath to Auli. It is breathtaking. If I were a movie critic, I would give this place 5 out of 5 stars.
2. Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
Crowned in the foothills of Himalayas, Jim Corbett National Park is well acclaimed for its exotic wildlife, especially for its wild big cats roaming the jungle freely. Enthrall in a camping experience that provides a stay in this stunning national park.
Jim Corbett National Park is one experience that you have only dreamt of! Camp in flat valleys, that restrict the mountain ranges from extending, also known as ‘Chaurs’, delight in camping in this beautiful landscape that has excellent view of wildlife. Get ready to witness beautiful Ramganga River winding its course through the park.
Enjoy a captivating jeep safari and an elephant ride. Spend some quality time while taking a walk through Jim Corbett’s museum, picnic by the river side Kosi while watching a delightful wildlife movie. Enjoy the traditional Kumaoni folk dance, and relax yourself while enjoying exciting sessions of indoor and outdoor games at your resort. Experience a life so simple and peaceful, you might regret going back.
3. McLeodganj, Himachal
When I say McLeodganj, read: McLeodganj, Dharamshala, Bir Billing and Triund.
If you are someone interested in fascinating stories, of struggle, of revolution and of brewing hope, the walls of this beautiful Himanchali town have one to tell. The seat of the “FreeTibet” movement McLeodganj town is abuzz with an Indo-Tibetan culture walking hand in hand welcoming tourists with open arms. My suggestion: Sit at a Tibetan Café, order pancakes, (they are absolutely delicious), grab a book and a cup of coffee and dive into an ocean of serenity overlooking those lustrous green mountains.
Dharamshala, on the other hand is the recently declared second capital of Himanchal Pradesh and also the home to the revered Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile. It also has the picturesque HPCA stadium overlooking the beautiful Dhauladhar's ranges. If you’re a cricket fan like me, the stadium will give you extreme feels.
Bir Billing can be visited for paragliding, trekking and other adventure activities. Because birds flying in the sky isn’t enough!
Triund is a 9.5 km trek from Bhagsun Nag above Mcleodganj. For enthusiastic trekkers, Triund is conquered as easy as the straight drive by Sachin. For the urban cosmopolitan living in concrete jungles and boardrooms, its one tough ask! If you trek rarely (read: never) the words of every well-wisher who asked you to maintain a healthy lifestyle will echo in your ears.