One of the best ways to indulge in travel is taking a road trip but zeroing upon one in the post-Covid world is not as easy as it used to be earlier. One needs to be extremely careful while choosing the destination as maintaining social distancing is the need of the hour. Hence, it’s best to avoid places that are swarming with people on weekends as all places from markets, tourist destinations and even your hotel would be full of people, increasing the risk of exposure to the virus. Express Drives team undertook a few road trips after the unlock to find such destinations and here are some places where you can drive/ ride to without having to worry about road conditions and crowds and satiate your wanderlust.
If your idea of a rod trip is primarily focussed on experiencing the joy of driving/ riding Tehla can be a good spot from Delhi provided you plan to return on the same day. Situated about 230 km from Delhi, Tehla is nestled in the Aravali hill range near the Sariska wildlife sanctuary. Roads from Delhi to Sariska are mostly smooth and only the final 20 odd kilometres leading to Tehla have broken patches. That said, there’s a short hill section road to have some cornering fun. Once in Tehla, you can visit the fort, which is an old building and in a dilapidated state but still makes for a memorable experience. Just be careful of leopards that can bee spotted frequently in the fort.
The capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal is about 770 km from both Delhi and Mumbai and hence, is a good option if you are planning a three to five-day trip to a serene place that is not overcrowded. Coming to what all you can do in Bhopal, the Upper Lake, Sair Sapata and Van Vihar National Park are must-go places. If you have some more time left, you can also visit Sanchi Stupa that is located 46 km from the city. Talking of what all you can try in terms of food, the list primarily includes Poha Jalebi and Daal Pakwaan. Moreover, if you are a non-veg lover, you should try it at Chatori Gali near Ibrahimpura where you can have lip-smacking kebabs.
Kesroli is a small village situated in Rajasthan and is 175 km from Delhi. The roads are largely in good condition, which is a common sight across Rajasthan. There isn’t much to do in Kesroli but there’s a famous Neemrana hotel that you can look at if you’re looking for a place to stay. Since Kesroli is not a popular place, you won’t find many people around you and hence safety is taken care of. This road trip makes for an ideal destination to finish up your newest book while looking at the hills on the horizon.
If you don’t mind a slightly longer drive then Ranthambore is a great place to visit, especially if you love wildlife. The park is open right now so getting a glimpse of the magnificent Tiger should be on your itinerary. Roads from Delhi to Ranthambore are largely good and smooth with the exception of some towns on the way.
Being a little farther than the popular hill stations around Delhi you won’t risk yourself walking into crowded places here. Also, we found local adherence to wearing masks quite high, uplifting the safety quotient. In addition to the wildlife park, you can visit the Ranthambore Fort, which is also home to the oldest temple of Lord Ganesha in the world. Just be careful not to carry loose items in hand else they’ll be taken away by the swarm of monkeys (Langoor) living there.
The fort is situated in the forest area and you can drive to this place but will have to hire a forest authorised vehicle to go inside the actual forest. Prices for a six-seat Gypsy are Rs 2,000 per person and Rs 1,200 for a 20-seat bus (Canter).
Ajmer, a scenic city located at the heart of Rajasthan is particularly famous in terms of tourism for Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti Dargah and hence, the place is also called Ajmer Sharif. Moreover, it is well-known for Pushkar that is located just a 20 minutes drive from the city. Pushkar happens to be a holy place that has the only Brahma temple in the world. Travel time from Delhi to Ajmer is around 6 hours and the distance is 401 km. If you happen to visit this place, Sohan Halwa, Kadhi Kachori and Pushkar’s Malpua are a must-try.
If you are looking for an extended weekend getaway, Jodhpur or the Blue City in Rajasthan is also a good option. Located at a distance of 600 km from Delhi, Jodhpur is proudly known for the Mehrangarh Fort that overlooks the walled city in which many buildings are painted in blue. Moreover, you can check out the Ummaid Bhawan Palace and Mandore Gardens. After this, if you still have some more time to spare, you can visit the streets and the local market of the Blue City for antiques and Rajasthani costumes. Talking of food, Jodhpur’s Mirchi Vada and Lehsun Pyaaz Kachori are a must-try and if you are a spicy food lover, then it’s even better!
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