We are in the ninth month of the year 2020. And so far the year has been an absolute washout, for travel and everything else. And no one knows when things will start getting better. I sometimes wish there was a way to just press F5, the refresh button, and start all over again. Alas, that’s not something that we can do.
But now, there are some options for us to get a breather, a short-term refresh button that helps us shake off the drudgery of the lockdown and beat the blues. If you are a Delhi/NCR resident, you could consider travelling to these five places in a safe and sanitised manner.
Jayanti Pandey, who runs ‘One Life to Travel’, a travel-based company from Gurugram, says, “Unlock 4 is underway, and parts of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand have opened up.”
She outlines the following places that one can reach in the safety and comfort of their own car.
Situated at a distance of about 167 kilometres from Delhi, Alwar is an ideal destination for those looking to drive out for a weekend break. Travel enthusiasts recommend visiting Alwar between October and March. Museums, the Silisereh lake and Bala Qila are the major attractions here.
If you enjoy local culinary delights, then you must indulge in the famous Mirch Vada, Gatte ki Sabzi, and the Sohan Halwa. Some stay options in Alwar are Tijara Fort Palace and Hill Fort Kesroli.
Given that Alwar is about 3.5 hours away by road from Delhi, you could also consider this for a quick day trip.
2. Monuments in Delhi
If you want to remain within the city and are looking for options then you could consider day picnic trips to the various monuments in Delhi. From Humanyun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar, Red Fort, to the lush green Sunder Nursery – you could pack your own picnic basket and head to one of these open spaces for a day out.
Usually, these public monuments remain open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and are also pet friendly very often. Please also do a quick search to check on what day of the week they remain shut before you decide to head out.
3. Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary
If what you are looking for is an expanse of green and a chance to be amongst nature, then planning a trip to Sultanpur National Park is what you ought to be doing. Known to be the home to about 250 bird species, this sanctuary is not just a bird watchers and photographers delight but also the perfect place to get children enthused about nature.
Located about 14 kilometres from Gurugram, this sanctuary can be reached in about thirty minutes drive time. The sanctuary remains closed on Tuesdays and other days is open for public from 7.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Do call and check before you make a trip to the sanctuary.
Jayanti believes that a short break can have quite a positive impact. “While our health remains paramount, I honestly think that a short break can do wonders to our mental health,” she says.
Shilpi Singh, proprietor of Unhotel, a travel company in Gurugram says, “Backyard tourism, domestic tourism, homestays are now picking up. Properties with small inventories and road trips are also gaining popularity.”
Since the unlock phase has begun, Shilpi says that on an average she gets between 5 to 7 calls from potential travellers and spends a minimum of twenty minutes answering questions.
4. Sohna Hills
An hour’s drive from Delhi will take you to City Escape, nestled in Sohna hills. “ One of the USP’s of this property is the forty-eight-hour gap that they maintain between a check-out and the next check-in. The entire area is sanitised and made ready for the next guest,” explains Shilpi.
Perfect for a weekend getaway, a day picnic, or even a staycation. You could reach out to get more details about this property by contacting Unhotel at +91-9650033353
A five-hour drive from Delhi will take you into Jaipur. Ideal for a weekend holiday, Jaipur offers something from all kinds of travellers; budget, luxury, and even those of you who might be keen on exploring homestay options. Shilpi recommends Farm Retreat, an erstwhile haveli, which now serves as a hotel.
You could also make this your base and explore some day trips in and around Jaipur – Amer and Jaigarh forts are nearby places. If this interests you, do reach out to Unhotel at +91 9650033353.
Things to keep in mind while driving to these locations:
While one does not need an e-pass for inter-state travel any more, it is important that you carry the following with you:
1. Valid ID proof of all travellers
2. Valid RC copy for the vehicle in which you are travelling.
Do note: You might be subject to home quarantine or even a mandatory COVID-19 screening, at the borders. Do check before your trip. These rules are subject to change.
While travelling, do remember that it is our duty as responsible travellers to take the necessary precautions, to not overstretch, and to enjoy the break without putting your lives or of those around you to any health risk.
Also, given that sanitation workers are already overstretched all over the country, do not litter, carry your own bottle of water, reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as possible. Stay safe and happy travels!
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)