These are some of the offbeat locations near Delhi that you can head to without actually boarding a flight, for a perfect escape from crowd and chaos. By Tanvi Jain

1. The ancient town of Bundi in Rajasthan 

 

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Blue homes, colourful bazaars, captivating stepwells and beautiful lakes, Bundi in Rajasthan is just an eight-hour drive from Delhi. With its royal palaces, like the Garh Palace, Bundi Palace, Hadoti Palace, etc., and the old streets — the town has successfully managed to keep Rajasthan’s history alive. Not only can you drive to this place, but you can also avoid the crowd of Jaipur and Udaipur. When here, you can opt to stay in their 300-year-old haveli Bundi Vilas and experience living in traditional Rajasthani style. 

2. Time travel in Orchha, Madhya Pradesh

 

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Another escape from the crowded tourist spots of India, is the historical town of Orchha in Madhya Pradesh. This hidden treasure located on the banks of river Betwa, appears like it has frozen in time. Temple-hopping, exploring one of the 14 beautiful cenotaphs, enjoying the scintillating sound and light show at the Raj Mahal, are some of the many activities you can indulge in on your next drive to this town, which is just nine hours from Delhi. Sheesh Mahal for history enthusiasts, and Bundelkhand Riverside for nature lovers, are some options you can shortlist for a wonderful and comfortable stay.  

3. Andretta, the artist hub in Himachal Pradesh 

 

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Last century’s meeting point of some of the greatest minds behind theatre, art and pottery, Andretta in Himachal Pradesh is no ordinary village. Norah’s Centre for Arts, Andretta Pottery and Craft Society, Norah’s Mud House, Sir Sobha Singh Art Gallery, Andretta Artist Village is a connoisseur of arts. Apart from the art, you can also plan a picnic at Neugal Khad, which comes with a view of the Himalayan Dhauladhar range, or visit the 14th-century Bundlamata temple. Home to The Mirage – a heritage homestay and yoga retreat, Andretta can be reached via road within 10 hours from Delhi. 

4. Camping at Theog, Shimla 

 

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One of the lesser-crowded, quieter escapes of Himachal Pradesh, it takes approximately an hour to reach Theog from Shimla. Despite being a popular tourist destination, here you can easily explore its beauty without worrying about the crowd. It is also a preferred camping site for travellers. This underrated destination has successfully twisted the title in its favour, because with those seeking some quiet time in the lap of nature, Theog is the go-to place. From Delhi it takes approximately 8.5 hours to drive to Theog. 

5. For a one-on-one with nature at Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand 

 

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Snow-capped peaks, rivulets, lush green valleys and long stretches of alpine forests, Pithoragarh located in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, is a nature’s paradise. Moreover, activities like rafting, skiing, paragliding, make it an adventure hotspot. Known as the ‘Little Kashmir’, here pilgrims can also take their journey to Kailash Mansarovar. Below the snow-crested Nanda Devi peak, lie the alpine valleys and glaciers like Milam, Ralam, Namik and Sundardunga. The place can be reached from Delhi via road in somewhere around 10 to 11 hours.  

Related: 20 Offbeat Experiences In India For You To Discover In 2020