Posted 06 December 2022
Six cities in Haryana that are perfect for a weekend getaway
The word Haryana has been derived from two Sanskrit words – 'Hari' (meaning God) and 'Ayana' (meaning home). Haryana means "abode of Gods". This state has a rich history and has been extremely important to the Indian landscape since the Vedic ages. It is said that Veda Vyasa wrote the epic Mahabharata in Haryana.
Several rivers flow through this land-locked state, making it extremely fertile. The chief occupation here is agriculture. Haryana is presently one of the wealthiest states in Southern Asia and is fondly called the "Green Land of India".
If you are a history enthusiast, then this state is a paradise for you. Haryana also has strong religious roots and draws pilgrims from around the world. However, if you lack the religious bend of mind, then Haryana has a lot to offer to the tourist in you.
Best cities to visit in Haryana
Here, we shall elaborate on some of the best cities to visit in Haryana.
Gurgaon has seen rapid urbanisation in the past few years. It has shed its previous image of a dull suburb town of Delhi- NCR and grown to become one of the most upscale cities. This city can be very easily accessed from Delhi and Noida by road. Some of the most popular tourist attractions are:
- Sultanpur National Park and Bird Sanctuary: This wildlife sanctuary is at a 46 km distance from Delhi and 15 km from Gurgaon. It lies on the Gurgaon-Farukh Nagar Road and can be easily accessed by road. One can feast his or her eyes on the wide variety of flora and fauna in this sanctuary. There are four watch-towers at different sanctuary parts to facilitate bird-watching. The Educational Interpretation Centre at the sanctuary is equipped to provide the necessary guidance to tourists. The place also has a lovely restaurant, bar and accommodation facilities for avid travellers.
As many as 90 different bird species arrive at the sanctuary every year during the winters. One can sit for hours beside the lake and enjoy the chirping of birds and watch them wading in the water.
- Timing: 7:00 am to 4:30 am
- Entry fee: 5 for Indians and Rs. 40 for foreign nationals
- Camera Charges: 10
- Video Camera Charges: 500
- Closed: Tuesday
- Tip:Don't forget to carry your binoculars for an excellent bird-watching experience.
- Damdama Lake: Situated 24 km south of Gurgaon, this lake is popular among nature lovers. The British commissioned it in 1947 to facilitate rainwater harvesting. Over 190 species of migratory birds visit the lake every year. It is Haryana's largest lake, stretches for about 300 acres and is a popular picnic spot. Adventure enthusiasts can try their hand at rock climbing activities here.
- Sohna: It is located at the Aravalli foothills and is a popular getaway for weekend trips. One can visit the hot water spring at Shiv Kund, the Ruins of Kamboj or the Gora Barak Mosque while here. Every year, in February, a vintage car rally is organised here, attracting hundreds of tourists.
Read more about - Wildlife Tourism: Fifteen best National parks in India for a memorable wildlife experience
The city of Kurukshetra is also called Dharmakshetra. It is also called the "Land of Bhagavad Gita". It is located around 170 km from Delhi. It is here that the battle between the Pandavas and Kauravas took place in the epic book of Hindus, Mahabharata. It is that holy place where Lord Sri Krishna is said to have recited the Bhagavad Gita to his dear friend Arjuna.
Kurukshetra is an important centre for education during the Vedic period. Reportedly, Lord Buddha and quite a few Sikh Gurus had visited and spent time here. Kurukshetra has several holy shrines dating back to the earliest years of Indian civilization.
Archaeologists have determined that the city existed even before pre-Harappan times. The old name of Haryana was Thanesar (sometimes called Sthaneswar), meaning 'place of God'. The mighty Mauryan ruler, Emperor Ashoka, developed this place as a centre for learning.
A village named Amin is situated a few kilometres from Kurukshetra. Here, one can visit the remnants of a fort, which is believed to be Abhimanyu's (son of Arjun) fort.
There are several tourist spots within this city, which include:
- Brahma Sarovar: This water tank is considered sacred by Hindus. Pilgrims come to this reservoir to take a dip in the holy waters. A beautiful temple is situated at the reservoir's centre. It can be reached by a concrete bridge. Though the chief deity in this shrine is Lord Brahma, there is also a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva here.
- Bhisma Kund: This place is associated with the Mahabharata. It is the spot where Pitamah Bhisma is said to have laid a bed of arrows to watch the epic battle. Arjun had shot an arrow in the ground to let out a water spring to quench Pitamah Bhisma's thirst. This water body is now known by the name of Bhisma Kund.
- Sheikh Chilli's Tomb: This mausoleum was built in the memory of Sufi Guru Prince Dara Sikoh. The architecture of this structure is stunning and has a lot of Persian influence.
- Sannihit Sarovar: The seven tributaries of the River Saraswati meet here. It is 550 ft wide and around 1500 ft high. Sannihit Sarovar houses shrines of Lord Hanuman, Lord Vishnu and Goddess Durga, among others.
Read more about - Everything to do when you visit Kurukshetra, the gateway to the Mahabharata
The Chandels ruled this hilly city from the 9th to 12th century AD. It derives its name from the five irrigation canals (also known as 'kuls'), which draw water from the river Ghaggar. Panchkula often serves as a halting point for tourists on their way to hill stations of Himachal Pradesh. There are several tourist spots located in this city, which include:
- Morni Hills: This hill station is situated on the outskirts of Panchkula city. The hills are 1220 metres above sea level. The place is very popular among tourists due to the beautiful view and pleasant climate. One can indulge in activities such as trekking and bird watching. Two lakes also grace the area. The quaint hill town at the Shivalik foothills is sure to enchant you. You can also visit the remains of the Morni Fort and the Thakur Dwar Temple here.
- Pinjor Garden: This Mughal garden was created in the 17th It spans over an area of 100 acres. It is also called the Yadvinder Garden. With its refreshing fountains, manicured lawns and stunning greenery, this garden is sure to charm you. The annual Mango festival is organised here during Baishakhi, usually from April to June.
- Ramgarh Fort: Built by Raja Ram Chander, this fort is located at a hilltop and provides a lovely view of the Shivalik hillocks.
It is 90 km from Delhi. The three battles that were fought here shaped the course of Indian history. This city is said to have been founded by the Pandavas. It is a paradise for people who love historical places. Some of the most popular tourist attractions are:
- Kabuli Bagh Mosque: Babur built this mosque to celebrate his victory over Ibrahim Lodhi. It is named after Babur's wife, Mussammat Kabuli Begum. Humayun added a masonry platform called Fateh Mubarak to the mosque after defeating Salem Shah at Panipat.
- Tomb of Bu-Ali Shah Kalandar: This monument is around 700 years old. Bu-Ali Shah Kalandar was a saint born in 1190 AD. The tomb's architecture resembles that of Ajmer Dargah and Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah. Emperor Jahangir's army general constructed it.
Faridabad is Haryana's largest city and the state's chief industrial hub. There are many tourist spots located in this city, which include:
- Raja Nahar Singh Fort: It is also called Ballabgarh Fort. It was built by Raja Nahar Singh's ancestor, Raja Rao Balram. Raja Nahar Singh was a brave emperor who laid down his life in the 1857 War of Independence.
This fort now contains accommodations for tourists. The Kartik cultural festival is organized here.
- Baba Farid Tomb: It is said that Faridabad is named after a famous Sufi saint, Baba Farid. Pilgrims flock to this tomb of Baba Farid all year round.
Situated in Haryana's Mahendergarh district, this historic town is popular among tourists. It exhibits a beautiful blend of Mughal, Persian, British and Narnaul architectures. It is Birbal's birthplace, a minister at the Navaratna Court of Emperor Akbar. It is also the birthplace of Sher Shah Suri, the Afghan Emperor who delivered lethal blows to the Mughal dynasty. Some of the most famous tourist spots within the city are:
- Doshi Hill:Located 8 km from Narnaul's centre, this hill is famous for being the origin of the Chayavanprash made by Chavan Rishi. It is a very famous Ayurvedic paste that aids in the overall well-being of the human body.
- Jal Mahal: It was built by an important officer of Akbar, Shah Quili Khan, in 1591. It is a fine piece of architecture and is situated in the middle of the waters. It exhibits a beautiful blend of Persian and Indian architectural styles.
Most of the cuisine of this state is quite simple and down to earth. Here, you can find various flatbreads like bajra aloo roti and besan masala roti. Popular dishes include kachri ki sabzi, mixed dal, kadhi pakora, bathua raita and singri ki sabzi. Milk and milk products are widely available here. Hence, one can enjoy the taste of authentic desi ghee in Haryana. Lassi and thandai are the go-to drink in every household here. Haryanvis also indulge in desserts such as meethe chawal, malpua and kheer.
- Do not go overboard with your luggage. Travelling light is always preferable for a smooth experience.
- Wear light clothing at all times, especially if you are travelling during the summer months. Cotton fabric is preferable in hot months.
- Always carry a medical kit containing medical supplies and a first-aid kit.
- It shall be prudent to wear comfortable footwear at all times so that your tour is unaffected by aching feet.
- Haryana is famous for handicraft items like brass metal sculptures, beautiful pottery and phulkari dupattas. So, splurging on a bit of shopping might not be a bad idea.
How to reach Haryana?
- By air: The main airport that travellers use to reach Haryana is Chandigarh International Airport. You can avail flights operated by major airlines like IndiGo to reach Chandigarh from all major cities of India. International flights also operate from Chandigarh Airport, connecting cities such as Sharjah and Dubai. Cities closer to Delhi, such as Gurgaon, can be reached by arriving at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.
- By rail: The Northern, North-Western and North Central Railways of the Indian Railways connect Haryana to the rest of the country. Trains connecting Haryana to cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai and Agra are available daily. A luxury train service by the name of Delhi-Rewari Fairy Queen Heritage Train also operates in Haryana.
- By road: The state is well-connected by as many as 32 National Highways. It also has 11 Expressways, including 3 National Expressways. These roads connect Haryana to New Delhi, Ajmer, Jaipur and Amritsar. In addition, a new expressway is being constructed that shall connect Haryana to Mumbai.
Haryana is bounded by Punjab in the North, Himachal Pradesh in the North-East, Rajasthan in the West and South and Uttar Pradesh from its Eastern border. Being a landlocked state, it experiences relatively harsh weather. Its climate can be classified as sub-tropical. Summers here are extremely hot, with temperatures soaring up to 45°C. Winter temperatures can drop up to 3°C. The average rainfall is around 560 mm. However, the arid South-Western regions receive as little as 300 mm. On the other hand, the Shivalik Hills receive ample rainfall of around 1000 mm.
Best time to visit Haryana
The best time to visit the state would undoubtedly be from October to March. The cold starts setting in during this time, making the weather very comfortable. The chill in the air during this time is very refreshing, and indulging in outdoor activities like sightseeing and exploring the city shall not be a problem.
So, if you wish to visit Haryana, then choose the winter months so that you can soak in the entire travel experience and enjoy the rich Haryanvi culture. Not only that, but the best cities to visit in Haryana will also give you a mixed bag of experiences. From taking in the historical significance to the lip-smacking food to innumerable items to shop for, Haryana will offer something to everyone.
Related travel blogs