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One-day trips in and from India’s metropolises

by Mahmood Hossain

It’s wanderlust: one city in just one day.

By Mahmood Hossain

Being tossed in the whirlwind of India’s bustling metropolises can be quite overwhelming for tourists, even if you are well-versed in the cultures of the Indian subcontinent. One of the best ways, and possibly the most comfortable, is to book yourself a private one-day trip with one of the many popular touring guides in each major city. Some trips can take you through the heart of the city, while others sway you to the outskirts. Either way, when you’re pressed for time and you want to get in as much local culture as possible, it’s probably best to book yourself a one-day tour that covers various landmarks that make up the city’s personality.

Here is a selection of cities and recommendations from travellers on popular travel booking sites on excellent tour guiding services across the country, with the best value.

From New Delhi to Old Taj

One of the most obvious trips in India, especially if you find yourself in Delhi, is visiting one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal in Agra. From the capital to Agra, you can book yourself a day trip with one of the many touring services and meet your personal guide once you arrive at the UNESCO-listed mausoleum. With entrance fees and guiding included, it’ll be one of the more easy-going tours to the Taj, while you are swept away from its iconic love story. From cars to trains, the entire tour can take from 6-12 hours (depending on the service) as you are guided through the many historical sites of Agra and its pièce de résistance, the most romantic gesture made by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in honour of his wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Recommended guide: Amin Tours

Tour cost: THB 2,500 per adult

Yeh Mumbai Hai, Meri Jaan!

Attempting to see every landmark in the city of Mumbai on your own with public transportation on a single day would be an absurd notion. Yet again, private tours are the way to go. Not only is it about convenience but you are also provided with your tour guide’s knowledge of the city and colourful commentary; there is no need to pull out your phone constantly to do your own research. Mumbai isn’t only known to be the hub of Bollywood movie stars. It’s packed with markets, temples, and significant landmarks such as the Gateway of India, the picturesque Marine Drive, a most-welcomed world of greenery in the Hanging Gardens of Simla Nagar, and much more. Depending on the private touring service, and whether you want to see the entire city in one go, the duration of these 1-day trips can last from 8-10 hours.

Recommended guide: Shreeji Tours n Travels

Tour cost: THB 4,500 per group (up to two people)

The City of Joy

The view of historic Howrah bridge Kolkata, India at sunrise. 

The former capital of British India is a whole different beast, filled with some of the oldest marketplaces, wonderful architecture, a rich culture of the arts, and multicultural communities, among other chaotic yet charming elements, that make Kolkata a unique cosmopolitan city. An all-day tour of this city can take you to places such as Mother Teresa’s House, the country’s largest and century-old Malik Ghat Flower Market, the famous Howrah Bridge, the grandeur of Victoria Memorial Hall, and several other popular stops along the way. At first glance, the itinerary may seem a little overwhelming with potentially a dozen stops, but the actual tour can take a solid eight hours, with stop durations ranging from 15 minutes to 30 minutes at the longest.

Recommended guide: Tour De Kolkata

Tour cost: THB 4,000 per adult

A Regal Affair in Jaipur

There’s a reason why this ancient city attracts so many visitors who are left in awe of its charming and majestic sites. This historical land boasts the likes of the City Palace, Jantar Mahar, Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, Amber Fort, and a few significant others. From palaces to some of the most colourful bazaars, a one-day tour around Jaipur is one of the more affordable trips around India’s major cities. Not to mention, a very beautiful one. A full-day trip around this city can take around 8-9 hours, starting at the Amber Palace and ending at the Royal Gaitor Tumbas if you were to acquire the services of Reliable India Tours.

Recommended guide: Reliable India Tours

Tour cost: THB 1,300 per group (up to 3 people)

The Pearl of the Deccan Plateau

Charminar, a historical structure with four minarets built by Qutb Shahi, is located in the city of Hyderabad,Telangana, India.

There is more to this city than its famous biryani. Like any other major metropolis, Hyderabad is built on centuries of rich history moulded by emperors and dynasties. A single-day tour gives visitors the opportunity to climb the medieval Golconda Fort, a short trip to Warangal Fort – a structure once part of India’s Kakatiya Dynasty from the 12th Century, and the symbol of the city, Charminar – a Qutb Shahi-styled monument. Not to mention, a chance to shop at the city’s popular Laad Bazaar Street. With just eight hours on the one-day trip, and so much fun to be had, this will most likely be a less bumpy ride around town as you embrace the City of Pearls and its unique blend of a booming technology industry; global trade of rare diamonds, emeralds, and natural pearls; and a host of historic structures.

Recommended guide: Garuda Tourism

Tour cost: THB 4,800 per group (up to two people)

Royal Southern Excursion

Tipu Sultan Gumbazigh – 18th-century Muslim mausoleum.

Slightly longer (11-14 hours) and a tad higher in price, there is a private package that steals you away from the hustle and bustle of central Bengaluru to a 2.5-hour car ride to Mysore. From one dynasty to the next, the ancient city of Mysore is brimming with historical sites and structures rooted in myth. It would be a shame if you missed out on a one-day trip around this city. Recommended by 98 percent of travellers, Adventuresome takes visitors through the royal residence of the Wadiyar dynasty in Mysuru Palace, the archaeology and history of the Somnathpur Temple, Tipu Sultan’s summer home, Dariya Daulat Palace, a Gothic architectural wonder that is the St. Philomena Church, and much more.

Recommended guide: Adventuresome

Tour cost: THB 4,800 per adult

Along the Chennai Coast

Pancha Rathas Hindu Temple. Pancha Rathas is a monument complex at Mahabalipuram, on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. It is an example of monolithic Indian rock-cut architecture.

There are 42 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India alone, and Mahabalipuram, just an hour and 20 minutes’ car ride from Chennai International Airport, happens to be one of them. Taking that into account, you can spend a solid seven hours on a one-day private tour of Mahabalipuram, filled with historical remnants of the Pallava dynasty. On your trip, visit Pancha Rathas – a series of monolithic temples, Arjuna’s Penance – a magnificent work of ancient art, Pancha Pandava Cave – the largest cave temple at Mahabalipuram, Old Light House – India’s oldest lighthouse, and several other must-visit landmarks on this ancient land along the coast.

Recommended guide: Five Senses Tours

Tour cost: THB 3,700 per adult

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