Summer’s here and so are the blues. If you’re broke and bored in the city, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’ve just completed a year slogging away at college, or at work, this list will definitely cheer you up. It’s time to plan that much-needed – and probably well-deserved – break. Take a look at some of the gorgeous locations in India that fall on the more affordable end of the spectrum!
Hidden away in the hills of Himachal, Dharamshala is a hub of culture and beauty. And the best part is that it’s one of the cheapest trips to the hills you can make in India. Train tickets are priced at about Rs. 2,800 and rooms/hostels begin at Rs.150/per night in and around McLeod Ganj. The food is cheap, the guides are cheap, and the experiences are invaluable. You can even time your trip during the Dharamsala International Film Festival, or opt to volunteer at Tibetan organizations in Dharamsala to make your visit useful!
Nestled in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, Shillong is cauldron of bustling street markets and almost lackadaisical hilltops – a colourful paradox where urban and rural life intertwines. You can spend your afternoons walking down the maze-like streets and along the many cheap local Khasi food joints, or you can embrace the spirit of tourism and venture into the abundant picturesque sites that are in and around Shillong — such as Mawlynnong, the cleanest village in Asia, or Cherrapunji, with its otherworldly waterfalls.
Are you looking to escape to the seaside, but deem Goa far too crowded, far too overblown, and just generally a little too far? Daman harbours all the Goan perks without the hoards of tourists. Located off the NH8 from Mumbai, this picturesque port town offers a quaint and peaceful escape from city life, with beaches and palm trees as far as the eye can see. Luxury buses from Mumbai to Daman cost about 600 per person, and accommodations are pretty cheap as well, and let’s not forget the alcohol prices, which are famously cheap.
Kodaikanal is a tropical paradise everyone should experience once in their lives. It’s a clever escape from the suburban heat that plagues most of the metropolitan cities in India during summers, but the monsoons are when the city is truly breathtaking. From the magical, star-shaped Kodaikanal Lake to the many lovely hills, there’s much to look forward to in Kodaikanal.
Built stylistically to resemble the quaint little Italian town of Portofino, with a street and several buildings bearing the same names, Lavasa is a quick getaway close to residents of Mumbai and Pune. This neat little city is visually captivating and makes for a great short-vacay spot. Accommodations in Lavasa can be found for about Rs.1000-1200 per night and it’s only a car journey away from Pune and Mumbai.
If you’re looking for more of a quiet retreat ideal for introspection than a fast-paced journey with friends, Amritsar is the place for you. Peaceful and undeniably transcendent for spiritual folk, this city is known for the idyllic Golden Temple and its humble people. Spend your afternoons meditating at the temple or visiting the Amrit Sarovar lake. You can stay at the gurudwara for a minimal to negligent fee and will be treated fairly well as long as you’re respectful of the faith.
Hampi is just as breathtaking as it is historically rich. This ancient village has become one of the most popular holiday destinations in India in the recent years. The best travel option for Hampi is by rail. There are AC trains that go from Bangalore to Hampi for as cheap as Rs. 750. Within Hampi’s arid landscape lies a little oasis littered with palm, banana, and mango trees near the river. You can spend hours in the ruins here, reveling in the many tales they have to tell.
8. Parvati Valley
For all the closeted hippies and nomads out there, this one’s for you. Parvati Valley is the sacred land that’s fortunately been left untarnished by the urban areas of the country. If you truly want to experience the quintessence of nature in its prime, visit Parvati Valley. If you go mid-year, you may be able to catch the music festival Parvati Peaking that lights up the hills as well.