While a holiday is the best remedy for general lack of interest in work and other sundry enterprises, a full-fledged vacation might not always be possible. A weekend getaway is a good-enough energizer, too. Chandigarh may be a destination that gives R&R a whole new meaning, there are a couple of places where you can travel to, from Chandigarh as well. Here, we list out some great getaways that you can escape to over the weekend.
We clearly want you to go off-the-beaten path, and travel new roads. Pack nothing but an overnight bag when you embark on these trips, and let the weekend be a relaxed one. Read on to find out what our ideas are.
This holy town is of great importance because it is the land where Lord Krishna sang the eternal song, The Bhagavad Gita, to Arjuna. Rediscover your inner calm at a few of the many temples that dot this town, or watch the sunset at the sarovars or kunds here. As an ode to its most famous daughter, astronaut Kalpana Chawla, there is also a science centre here, where you could do some star gazing. There is also a crocodile farm at Bhor Saidan that is a must-visit. You could even take a little detour from Kurukshetra, and get your genealogical chart made by the pandits at Pehowa, who specialize in this science. Kurukshetra is just two hours away from Chandigarh.
Located in the Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh, which in itself is a great place to spend a weekend at, Renukaji is a beautiful lake surrounded by the Himalayas. Said to be the embodiment of Renuka, the wife of the Rishi Jamadagini and the mother of Parshuram – who was one of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu – Renuka Lake is spread over nearly three kilometres.
Renukaji is a beautiful place to be one with nature and also indulge in boating and trekking. There is also a miniature zoo here that houses leopards, black bears, and other mountain fauna. Renukaji is a four-hour drive from Chandigarh.
Very famous for being home to the oldest brewery in India, Solan is also a nature-lover’s haven. It is an ideal place to enjoy the tranquility of the hills, without the crowds. The city is dotted with various monasteries and temples, and also produces the largest amount of mushrooms in India. Don’t get too excited, we mean the vegetarian variety! Other must-see places in Solan are Arki Fort, Shoolini Devi temple, Hari Mandir, the Solan railway station (one of the highest railway stations in the world), Mohan Shakti National Heritage Park, Dolanji Bon Monastery, and the church in Solan cantonment. Do also visit the Mohan Heritage Park in Ashwani Khad. Solan is a couple of hours’ drive away from Chandigarh.
Instead of going to over-crowded Shimla, where a ‘walk’ on the famous Mall Road is more like a jostle now, go to Chail – after all, it is just 50 kilometres away from Shimla. It is a welcome change to the noisy bustle of Shimla and also a hiker’s paradise. Do pack in your binoculars as you leave home, considering that the place boasts of several varieties of birds. While here, do go to the Chail Sanctuary in Sadhupul, Cricket Ground (highest cricket ground in the world), Chail military School, and the Chail Gurudwara. And don’t forget to try their bun-samosa, a famous street food here – a hot samosa enveloped in a butter-laden bun. Driving from Chandigarh to Chail will take you about three hours.
While the trip to Kausani is ideal for a long weekend (considering it will take about 12 hours to drive there), the beauty of this place will make it totally worth the time spent on driving. Located in the Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand, Kausani has a population of only about 400-odd people. A wonderful picnic spot, Kausani is surrounded by dense pine forests and also tea gardens producing a high-flavoured tea that is exported to many countries, including Australia, Germany, Korea, and the United States. Kausani offers a 300 km wide panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks of Nanda Devi, Trisul, and Panchachuli. It wasn’t for nothing that Mahatma Gandhi referred to Kausani as ‘the Switzerland of India’.
A small hamlet in the Panchkula district of Haryana, Morni Hills is yet another wonderful place for a weekend getaway from Chandigarh. Situated about 45 km from Chandigarh, Morni Hills is a scenic place with two lakes – or taals – that are fringed by hills. It is also a great place for those who like to trek and camp. Morni Hills is known for its variety of flowers and different bird species such as Crested Kingfisher, Grey and Black Francolins, Wall Creeper, Bat-tailed Tree Creeper, Oriental Turtle Dove, and Himalayan Bulbul.
For those of you who have a green thumb, Hoshiarpur near Jalandhar is a wonderful place that is testimony to the fertility of Doaba – the most fertile region of Punjab. It is quite an experience to revel in the orange orchards here (there are quite a few resorts that have their own). From wildlife to agriculture, great food to even better shopping, Hoshiarpur aces everything. Take a nice book along, or just go here to put your feet up and do nothing.