While sitting snug in our cars and watching the world pass by seems hip, the seemingly passé trend of exploring on foot has its own charm. Hence, this list of places in India that are best explored on foot. By Shubhanjana Das
Good things no longer come to those who wait, it comes to those who go out and seek. You can only come across some views, people, foods, and experiences when you trust your feet and take that long walk. In a few destinations in India, cycling and walking are the only norms, so wear your most comfortable walking shoes, have your GPS ready as we reveal some of the best destinations in India that are a walker’s paradise.
This old, joyful, vibrant, chaotic but extremely exciting city hides most of its gems in the smallest labyrinthine alleys that have to be explored on foot. New Market, Chandni Chowk, Baghbazar, Shyambazar, and not to mention the best street food spread across the city is only best explored on foot. When you feel too tired or overwhelmed, there’s always the trustworthy rickshaw to take you a little further. Calcutta Walks also organises a street food tour, details of which can be found on their website.
Sure, you can drive past the mountains and the verdant greenery but you will miss out on the gorgeous viewpoints that don’t make it to the list of ‘tourist destinations’, the old British bungalows and cottages that hide in plain sight, and the serene calm that every turn of the road brings with it. Dalhousie is one of the few destinations in the Dhauladhars, which have level walks. The depths of the oak, rhododendron, and deodar forests lend an extremely pleasant sight and beautiful weather (barring the chilling winters) to it.
It is no surprise that this pretty French colony is best explored on foot, which is the only way to find out about its French-architecture styled houses in brightest colours, the wonderful Pondicherry shoreline, and the petite cafés that line its streets. The more you walk, the more you reveal something new and thank yourself for ditching the car. If you want a more guided walking tour, Pondicherry’s heritage walks takes you across 22 iconic spots in the French Quarter for some amazing photo ops and interaction with fellow travellers.
Walk past and beyond the ghats and aartis and go further inward to the alleys in Varanasi, where nothing ever stands still for long. Shops, more temples, and the daily far-from-mundane lives of the locals await you. If you are a videographer or photographer, you will find the best street and portrait photography ops. If you feel overwhelmed by all the activity, contact Varanasi Walks for an organised tour to witness the ‘real’ Varanasi, behind the scenes.