In all this talk of wanderlust, why you should date someone who travels, and why traveling will teach you more than any other life experience, we have one question: Who is footing these travel bills? Since no one else is addressing that pertinent question, we decided to. Here are 11 getaways you can manage in under INR 5,000, provided you keep the trip short, aren’t fussy about uber luxurious quarters. INR 5,000 is upper limit; let your true penny-pincher out, and you could even manage two trips. Enjoy.

Bharatpur

At a distance of only 200 kms from the capital, Bharatpur is a mere 3-4 hour drive away. It attracts birdwatchers from across the country, with the Keoladeo National Park, a world heritage site. Bharatpur plays home to a bunch of migrating birds in winter. Time your trip just before Holi if you want to catch the colourful Brij Festival. With the petrol costs split evenly among all of you and the INR 75 entry to the national park, it won’t even set you back 5k.

Driving Time: 4-5 hours {approx.}

Find out more here.

Binsar

How does 300 kms of pure panorama sound? Plan a road trip to Binsar, just 380 kms from Delhi, in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, and the view will be all yours. The town has also been made famous by the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, which was declared an important bird region. If you’re lucky enough, you can also spot a leopard or a barking deer. The tickets will set you back INR 40 per person and an additional INR 50 has to be paid per car.

Driving Time: 8 hours {approx.}

Find out more here.

Pangot

411029_437132472978560_2063805931_oPangot is the ideal vacay spot for when you’re seeking some peace and quiet. 13 kms from Nainital and 305 kms from Delhi, the picture-perfect hill station is also a popular site for birdwatching. Snow View Point and Kilbury are the most frequented spots for birdwatching. There are many streams around Pangot, so put sightseeing on your schedule for sure. Staying over? A night at the Jungle Lore Birding Lodge will have you shelling out around INR 3,500. Split that, along with the fuel, with your buddies and you have yourself a nice little budgeted holiday.

Driving Time: 6-7 hours

For Jungle Lore Birding Lodge find out more here.

Tarudhan Valley Golf Resort

Only 50 kms from Delhi lies the Tarudhan Valley Golf Resort, in the Dadu Village of Haryana. It’s the perfect quick getaway for a breather. The resort is a haven for both the avid golfer, as well as the noob. Surrounded by the Aravalli hills, Tarudhan boasts of a beautiful golf course, as well as a spa and wellness centre. A night at the premises costs about INR 5,000 but they have constant deals and discounts, so do call up in advance and enquire.

Driving Time: 1.5 hours {approx.}

Find out more here.

Mandawa

DSCF8712Situated in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, Mandawa is best suited for those excited by haveli explorations. The town is dripping with history, even in the remotest of corners. The Mandawa fort, the Chokhani and Ladia Havelis, and the street with Saraf Havelis are the popular attractions here. Drive the 268 kms when you’re in the mood for some practical history lessons. Stay over at the Hotel Heritage Mandawa {INR 2,400 per night} or Hotel Shekhawati {INR 1,200 per night} and drive back home the next day after your fab mini vacation.

Driving Time: 5-6 hours {approx.}

Find out more about Hotel Heritage Mandawa here and Hotel Shekhawati, here.

Ramgarh

313 kms from Delhi, Ramgarh is an ideal destination for the more adventurous – the vast forest makes it an exciting place to go exploring, and the mountainous terrain provides many sites for rock climbing. On the other hand, Ramgarh is also home to numerous temples such as Sati Mandir, Hanuman Mandir, and Kalika Mandir, among many others, for those looking for a religious/historical escape. Ramgarh has a bunch of reasonably-priced accommodations available. Stay at the Ramgarh Bungalows for just INR 2,500 per night or if you want to really budget, the Camp Club Tarzan nearby in Mukteshwar is a great option {starting at INR 799 per night}.

Driving Time: 7-8 hours {approx.}

Find out more about Ramgarh Bungalows here and Camp Club Tarzan, here.

The Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri

Taj_Mahal-10_(cropped)Image courtesy: Wikipedia

Courtesy the Delhi-Agra Expressway, you can make the drive in under four hours. Hotels start as cheap as INR 1,000 for the night, and 5-star properties start at as low as INR 3,000 {that’s 1,500 if you’re sharing}, and that rate will stay the same provided you eat all your meals outside. As for the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri, a guided tour of both shouldn’t set you back more than INR 1,500; add another INR 500 for a local lunch, and you still have INR 3,000 to splurge on the rest of your getaway.

Driving Time: 3-4 hours {approx.}

Sariska Tiger Reserve

At a driving distance from the capital, Sariska is the perfect spot to drive down to with a bunch of friends, in Alwar, Rajasthan. Far from paw marks, and one too many deer, we hear people have been successful in spotting the striped animal. If you split fuel, and pay the entry fee of INR 25 per person with an added cost of INR 150 per person for a guided jeep tour, you’re still way in the range of the aforementioned budget. As for places to stay, there’s enough to choose from around the park; split room charges and drive back the next day.

Driving Time: 4-5 hours {approx.}

Find out more here.

Vrindavan

Kusuma_Sarovar_GhatImage courtesy: Wikipedia

For all you spirituality seekers, or anyone looking for a good photo-op, this holy city definitely warrants a visit. In the Mathura district in UP, it’s on the Delhi-Agra highway, so it’s super accessible. Vrindavan is considered the place Lord Krishna grew up, so expect to see a lot of pilgrims, especially from the Hare Krishna Community. Dotted with temples {both old and new}, if praying, pilgrimage and rituals don’t catch your fancy, Vrindavan makes for a fascinating place to just observe. Since it is designed for pilgrims, hotels start at as low as INR 600 for a night, if you are looking to make it an overnight stay . We recommend the Pagal Baba Temple {10-storey temple complete with animated puppets, depicting the life of Lord Krishna and Rama}, the Cave Passageway and the Nidhivan Temple.

Driving Time: 3-4 hours {approx.}

Rishikesh

INR 5,000 is a tough budget for Rishikesh, but doable. Opt for a camp site style accommodation; packages come complete with rafting, water sports and home-cooked meals and start at INR 3,200 for two night three-day packages {excluding transportation}. If you’re very strict on sticking to the budget, Rishikesh offers backpacker style hostel accommodation options, so you can cut costs. Check out the Laxman Jhoola, eat at Divine Cafe, and make the drive to Haridwar for darshan to make the most of your budget road trip. Here’s a fun fact – Rishikesh actually catapulted to fame when the Beatles dropped by for a visit to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Ashram.

Driving Time: Under 7 hours {approx.}

Neemrana

Image courtesy: Abhinav Swara/Wikipedia Commons

Image courtesy: Abhinav Swara/Wikimedia Commons [CC-BY-SA]

At a super comfortable distance from Delhi, the fuel charges won’t put too much of a dent in your pocket. At Neemrana zip lining can be a budget activity. Expect a gorgeous aerial view of the historic fort and surrounding rural India. If you’re looking at staying within the budget, we recommend you make it a day trip, since rooms only start at INR 4,000 in the fort. As for the activity, we recommend you book online in advance, especially if you’re in a group. It’s priced at INR 2,199 a person, so that plus a hearty lunch should put you right around the proposed budget.

Driving Time: Under 3 hours {approx.}
Make a booking, and find out more here.
Featured image courtesy: Radhika Agarwal