This year may not have been ideal for your travel plans, but 2021 isn’t far away. And it packs in quite a few long weekends too! We have curated a list of destinations at driving distances from New Delhi that are perfect long-weekend road trip choices. Scroll down to take a look at the 2021 holiday calendar in India. By Satarupa Paul

2021 Holiday Calendar In India

1. JANUARY

New Year’s Day
January 1 to January 3 (Friday to Sunday)

 

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Where to go? Landour, Uttarakhand

Ringing in a new year in the mountains is an experience unlike any. Think bonfires, barbecues, and awe-inspiring views of the hills around. Add to that the possibility of snowfall and you’re in for a treat! Landour, a small cantonment town near Mussoorie, has all the trappings of a fairytale—with towering coniferous forests, striking views of the Garhwal Himalayas, and Raj-era houses and churches. The nerve-centre here is Char Dukaan with four shops serving delicious pancakes and Maggi, while popular sights such as Lal Tibba and Nag Tibba are a short drive away.

Distance from Delhi: 298 kilometres

Duration: Approximately six-and-a-half hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Cheetal Grand, Muzaffarnagar

Where to stay?: Rokeby Manor

What to do?: Savour lemon cakes, blueberry cheesecakes and apple pies at the iconic British-style Landour Bakehouse.

2. FEBRUARY

Basant Panchami
February 13 to February 16 (Saturday to Tuesday; take a leave on Monday)

 

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Where to go? Old Manali, Himachal Pradesh

Just a 10 minute-drive uphill from the popular destination, Manali, is the hamlet of Old Manali, a more idyllic and less touristy setting for a long weekend getaway. Quaint cafes line the main road here, while the Manalsu river tumbles by. Within short distances are the Himachali-style Manu Temple and Hadimba Temple, located atop a hill with expansive views of snow-tipped mountains and amidst a mystical cedar forest, respectively. Travelling here in February also presents the possibility of experiencing the last snow of the season, as well as skiing in the scenic Solang Valley, about 15 kilometres away.

Distance from Delhi: 535 kilometres

Duration: Approximately 13 hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Haveli, Karnal; Bahadur Dhaba, Bilaspur; and Chawla’s, Mandi

Where to stay?: The Himalayan

What to do?: Visit the medieval-era Naggar castle in Kullu (a 40-minute drive away); try rafting in the Beas river; hike to Jogini falls, and take a dip in the natural hot water spring in Vashisht.

3. March

Holi
March 27 to March 29 (Saturday to Monday)

 

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Where to go? Udaipur, Rajasthan

Famed for its royal Holi celebrations, Udaipur makes for a great place to experience the festival of colours amidst opulent settings. The celebrations begin the night before Holi with the Mewar Holika Dahan, where a majestic bonfire is lit on the City Palace grounds by the Mewar king and his family, while locals perform a folk dance called Gair around it. This is followed by a vibrant rally of the royal family on decked-up camels, elephants and horses, concluding with a magnificent fireworks display. The following morning, the city erupts in a riot of colours and a flood of bhaang-laced thandais.

Distance from Delhi: 663 kilometres

Duration: Approximately 11 hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Rajwada, Dharuhera; Rang Mahal Hotel, Jaipur; Kapil Veg Restaurant, Ajmer Road

Where to stay?: Taj Lake Palace, or The Oberoi Udaivilas

What to do?: Take a sunset boat cruise on Lake Pichola, visit the Vintage Car Museum, and relish decadent Rajasthani cuisine at the lakeside Ambrai in Amet Haveli.

4. April

Good Friday and Easter Sunday
April 2 to April 4 (Friday to Sunday)

 

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Where to go? National Chambal Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh

On the banks of the Chambal river where the three states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh meet, is the 5,400 square kilometres protected area of National Chambal Sanctuary. Unlike other popular wildlife areas around Delhi, this one is still lesser known and hence, makes for a quiet and offbeat getaway amidst nature. The critically endangered gharial, red-crowned roof turtle and Ganges river dolphin are the keystone species here. But one can also spot striped hyenas, blackbucks, nilgais, muggar crocodiles, eight varieties of turtles, 320 species of avian fauna, besides a host of other animals.

Distance from Delhi: 322 kilometres

Duration: Approximately five hours

Where to take a pitstop?: JollyGo Food Court, Yamuna Expressway; MoMo Café at Courtyard by Marriott Agra

Where to stay?: Chambal Safari Lodge – Mela Kothi

What to do?: Go for a river safari and jeep safari for the best wildlife spotting; opt for a camel safari along the Chambal ravine to explore the magnificent ruins of Ater.

5. May

Eid Ul Fitr
May 13 to May 16 (Thursday to Sunday; take a leave on Friday)

 

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Where to go? Garli, Himachal Pradesh

Nestled amidst the mighty Dhauladhar ranges in the Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh is the hamlet of Garli which, along with the nearby Pragpur, were notified as heritage villages. Established over three centuries ago, the area is remarkable for its architectural diversity, with Portuguese, Italian, Islamic, Anglo-Indian and Rajasthani influences. Narrow cobbled streets are lined by havelis, villas and heritage homes, each sporting slated roofs, jharokha windows and brick walls. Take a walk through the two villages to immerse yourself in the fascinating stories of the place.

Distance from Delhi: 415 kilometres

Duration: Approximately eight hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Amrik Sukhdev, Murthal; Pehlwan Dhaba, Anandpur Sahib

Where to stay?: The Chateau Garli

What to do?: Visit the famous Kangra Fort and Masroor rock-cut temple complex nearby.

6. July

Eid al-Adha
July 17 to July 20 (Saturday to Tuesday; take a leave on Monday)

 

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Where to go? Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

Best known for its architecture, handicrafts and food, Lucknow—along with its neighbouring townships—also constitute the mango belt of India. July is a great time to visit, as many late varieties of mangoes are harvested during this time. Immerse yourself in the exquisite architecture of its grand monuments—Bada and Chota Imambaras, Rumi Darwaza, etc., shop for chikankari embroidery, and feast on Tunday kebabs, chaats and nimish mithais. Then, take a trip to Malihabad—an hour away—to witness the sprawling centuries-old, family-run mango orchards and pack in a few boxes of your favourites!

Distance from Delhi: 554 kilometres

Duration: Approximately eight hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Subway, Taj Expressway; Gunjan Resort, Sirsaganj

Where to stay?: Lebua Lucknow Saraca Estate

What to do?: Take a guided walk of Chowk and watch craftsmen make beautiful Chikankari and Zardozi embroidery.

7. August

Janmashtami
August 28 to August 30 (Saturday to Monday)

 

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Where to go? Orchha, Madhya Pradesh

The erstwhile capital of the Bundela kings, Orchha is steeped in history and heritage. Rising on the banks of the Betwa river, the town is dotted with palaces and temples from the 16th and 17th centuries. The most prominent landmark here is the Orchha Fort complex, located on an island on the river. A four-arched bridge leads to the fort that has a number of palaces within—Jahangir Mahal, known for its delicate work and masonry; Raj Mahal, well known for its murals; and Rai Parveen Mahal, set amidst landscaped gardens. Some important temples in Orchha include the Raja Ram Temple, Chaturbhuj Temple and Laxminarayan Temple.

Distance from Delhi: 478 kilometres

Duration: Approximately nine hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Yamuna Expressway Café, Hazirpur Khera; Param Food Complex, Gwalior

Where to stay?: Amar Mahal

What to do?: Visit the historic city of Jhansi, known for the exploits of Rani Jhansi against the British, just 18 kilometres away. Jhansi Fort and Rani Jhansi’s Palace are important attractions here.

8. October

Mahanavami, Dussehra, and Eid-e-Milad
October 14 to October 19 (Saturday to Monday; take a leave on Monday)

 

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Where to go? Spiti, Himachal Pradesh

This six-day extra-long weekend presents the perfect opportunity to do that essential Spiti road trip. Spend the first night of the drive in Kufri, just beyond Shimla, and the second in the enchanting town of Sangla in the lap of the fairyland-like Kinnaur Valley, the apple bowl of India. Snow-tipped peaks guard verdant valleys and apple orchards here. On the third day, the landscape changes dramatically to barren mountains as you enter the cold desert valley of Spiti. Worth exploring here is the main township of Kaza, and the villages of Hikkim (the highest post office in the world), Langza (known for its marine fossils) and Komic (one of the highest settlements in the world).

Distance from Delhi: 357 kilometres (Delhi-Kufri); 208 kilometres (Kufri-Sangla); and 225 kilometres (Sangla-Kaza)

Duration: Approximately eight hours from Delhi to Kufri, six from Kufri to Sangla, and another six from Sangla to Kaza

Where to take a pitstop?

En route Kufri: Puran Singh Da Dhaba, Ambala Cantt; Giani da Dhaba, Dharampur

En route Sangla: Hotel Satluj View Bar & Restaurant, Rampur Bushahr

En route Kaza: Bittu Dhaba, Skibba; Travellers Point Café & Restaurant, Nako

Where to stay?:

In Kufri: Royal Tulip

In Sangla: Banjara Camps

In Kaza: Grand Dewachen

What to do?: Visit Chitkul—the last Indian village before the China border—a short drive away from Sangla; visit ancient monasteries in Spiti such as Key Monastery, Tabo Monastery and Dhankar Gompa.

9. November

Diwali
November 5 to November 7 (Friday to Sunday)

 

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Where to go? Manvar, Rajasthan

Somewhere between the historic cities of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, in the midst of untouched sand dunes in the heart of the Thar Desert, lies the desert camp of Manvar—an idyllic getaway for connoisseurs of privacy, solitude and relaxation. The luxury tents here are spread over 100 acres, with indigenous shrubs, a shimmering infinity pool and shaded sit-outs making the camp an oasis amidst the desert landscape. Thrown in the mix are engaging activities such as jeep desert excursions, camel safaris, walks to traditional villages and Siberian crane spotting trips.

Distance from Delhi: 642 kilometres

Duration: Approximately 12 hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Fast Food Corner, Sadulpur; Mirch Masala, Bikaner

Where to stay?: Manvar Desert Camp & Resort

What to do?: Indulge in a mouthwatering Rajasthani spread during a desert dinner, as local musicians and dancers regale you with folk numbers.

10. December

Christmas
December 24 to December 26 (Friday to Sunday)

 

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Where to go? Binsar, Uttarakhand

Perched at a height of about 8,000 feet, the sleepy hill town of Binsar is one of the most scenic spots in the Kumaon Himalayas, with jaw-dropping views of the majestic peaks of Chaukhamba, Trishul, Nanda Devi and Panchchuli, amongst others. The misty mountain trails winding through thick forests of oak, pine, deodar and rhododendron offer magical settings for hiking, nature walks and photography. Being encircled by the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary means that a wide variety of flora and fauna greet you at every turn. Mountain temples, manors, and estates from British days make for other delightful discoveries, while a number of new luxury openings offer blissful rejuvenating stays.

Distance from Delhi: 384 kilometres

Duration: Approximately nine-and-a-half hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Uttaranchal Green Family & Tourist Dhaba, Moradabad; Sakley’s Restaurant & Pastry Shop, Nainital

Where to stay?: Mary Budden Estate, The Kumaon

What to do?: Visit Jageshwar Dham, a cluster of over 100 temples dating between the 7th and 12th centuries, located about a two-hour drive from Binsar.

Related: #TnlRoadTrips: These 5 Road Trips From Delhi Will Forever Have Our Hearts!