Delhi is the capital of India and is one of the oldest cities in the world, with Old Delhi dating back over 5000 years.
The city is full of interesting sites both modern and ancient to entice visitors on their trip to India.
The bustling streets have numerous temples, bustling markets, and interesting glimpses into the modern nation of India.
There are also some great day trip opportunities from the city to satisfy anyone wishing to stay in the local area.
From some of India’s most iconic monuments to small, local villages, there is something to suit everyone within a short trip from the capital.
Here are the 15 best day trips from India.
1. Taj Mahal
Possibly the most iconic symbol of India, the Taj Mahal can easily be reached within a day trip thanks to a high-speed train.
Nevertheless, we recommend you consider one of the organised tours from Delhi to make sure you can see everything that is worth seeing at the site within a day.
Unlike many major tourist monuments across the world, the Taj Mahal will not leave you disappointed, and many visitors are amazed at just how awe-inspiring it is in real life.
The white marble mausoleum attracts millions of visitors a year, so going with a guide will help you cut the lines – although there are special tickets you can buy if visiting by yourself that will also reduce waiting times.
Recommended tour: Private Taj Mahal & Agra Tour from Delhi by Car
The city next to the Taj Mahal is well worth a day trip in itself if you are looking to avoid the main tourist draws.
The Agra Fort, located within the centre of the city, and Fatehpur Sikri, a collection of palaces and gardens, are both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Built by the Mughal Empire, the city is packed with well-preserved historical sites and cultural experiences.
As with the Taj Mahal, we recommend taking one of the day trip tours from Delhi to maximise your time in the city.
If visiting by yourself, there are, however, a number of guides and mobile apps you can download to get the most out of a day trip.
Aside from the main attractions, there are plenty of temples, gardens and culinary experiences for you to enjoy.
The capital of Rajasthan is also a little bit further from Delhi than other day trip options, however there are plenty of organised tours available between the two cities.
It is possible to drive and enjoy a great day trip, and you can also opt to fly there if you have a bigger budget, arriving earlier in the morning and leaving later the same evening.
Named the Pink City due to its distinctively decorated buildings, Jaipur completes India’s Golden Triangle alongside Agra and Delhi.
Like other cities within the triangle, Jaipur is full of historical sites, palaces and gardens.
There is also a large bazaar where you can enjoy an authentic Indian market experience.
Recommended tour: Jaipur Full-Day Tour from Delhi
Located just outside New Delhi, Swaminarayan Akshardham temple was only built in 2005. You would, however, be forgiven for mistaking it for an ancient temple.
It was built using red sandstone sourced from within India, and the elaborate architecture and decor draw heavily from India’s past.
This building is dedicated to the Swaminarayan faith and is the largest temple for the religion in the world.
The centre of the building features a gold statue of the religion’s founder which looms over visitors at 11 feet tall.
Please keep in mind that all electronics, including cameras, are prohibited within the temple and will need to be locked away before you can enter.
Suggested tour: Akshardham Visit with Exhibition including Lunch/Dinner
5. Mathura and Vrindavan
These two towns are located south of Delhi in the Uttar Pradesh province and are central to the Hari Krishna faith.
The entire region is full of monuments to Lord Krishna, with worshipping temples and beautiful gardens that can be visited by tourists and followers of the Krishna faith alike.
Local guides can show you around both of the towns and teach you about the history of the region, and of the religion, which has been deeply shaped by both towns.
Both towns can be visited together within one day trip.
Available tour: From Delhi: Full-Day Mathura & Vrindavan Tour
Located on the outskirts of Agra, just past the Taj Mahal, Kachhpura village will give you an entirely different experience of India compared to the major cities and tourist attractions.
The village is an excellent example of the rural lifestyle in central India, and also comes with some great opportunities to look at and purchase traditional Indian handicrafts and artworks.
The Islamic culture of India is also prevalent here, and you can visit the Humayun’s mosque whilst in the village.
The central courtyard has a local market with more of a rural feeling than the larger city markets.
7. Old Delhi
If you want to stay within the city but need an entirely different experience from the modern New Delhi, Old Delhi is a part of the city often overlooked by visitors to India despite having some of the best sites in the city.
Older than almost any other city in the world, Old Delhi was the capital of the Mughal Empire and contains some great examples of traditional Indian culture.
Small eateries, vibrant markets and cow-filled streets are common sights in this part of town, and it can feel like a completely different world from the rest of the city.
If you are staying in New Delhi, this can make a great day trip in itself, and should not be missed.
Available tour: Old Delhi Rickshaw Ride and Guided Tour
8. Mehrauli Archeological Park
Located just outside of the city proper, Mehrauli Archeological Park is a hidden gem just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Delhi.
The park is packed with over 440 monuments from across India’s history, including temples built during both the Mughal and British Empires.
The area is mostly forested, giving an entirely different vibe from the neighbouring city, and there is a small village in the middle to give you a glimpse of local culture.
The main attractions are the tombs of Balban and Quli Khan, as well as the neighbouring mosque and monuments to ancient kings.
Suggested tour: Mehrauli Archaeological Park Heritage Walk
9. Ranthambhore National Park
Wildlife fans will love a day trip to Ranthambhore National Park, where you can discover tigers, leopards and macaques, as well as a whole host of other animals, in their natural habitat in the Indian wilderness.
Located in neighbouring Rajasthan, Ranthambhore can be easily reached on a day trip, either self-guided or as part of a structured tour.
You can take one of the guided tours offered by the park to discover more about the native wildlife of Rajasthan, as well as modern conservation efforts against climate change and poaching.
The transportation network throughout the park is designed to keep visitors safe, and there are facilities scattered throughout the park for eating and freshening up.
Compared to the rest of India, Chandigarh can seem bizarre and out of place.
The first planned city in the country has more in common with modern European towns and cities than it does with nearby Delhi.
The town is known for good weather and great views over the distant mountains.
The wide range of museums, art galleries and carefully arranged gardens will give visitors a peaceful break from the constant sensory overload that many tourists experience in other places in India.
It is a great place to experience India’s answer to high-end shopping, and the cosmopolitan nature of the city has allowed a wide range of international cuisines to thrive.
11. Haridwar and Rishikesh
North of Delhi, the Haridwar and Rishikesh region is known as the starting point for tours of the Ganges, and the forested mountains that can be viewed from both towns.
These are great places to experience Hindu culture, and both can easily be covered in a single day trip.
You can take a bridge across the Ganges, sample some of the most unique cuisine in the country and learn more about Hinduism, the most widely-practiced religion in India.
There are, of course, plenty of temples for you to explore in both towns and Haridwar, in particular, is known for excellent street food.
12. Hauz Khas
Located on the outskirts of Southern Delhi, Hauz Khas is a creative neighbourhood that manages to combine history with modern culture in an eclectic mix.
Many of the buildings in the area date back to the 14th Century, however they have been painted with modern graffiti giving the average visitor a very unique experience.
The area is filled with quirky restaurants, unique boutiques and independent art spaces that help give Hauz Khas a cool, youthful vibe that will be sure to make for an interesting day trip out of the central city.
Kurukshetra is a holy city located north of Delhi in the Haryana province.
There are plenty of excellent religious sites to visit in the city which is not as tourist-filled as other parts of India.
There are many holy sites in the city dedicated to both Islam and Hinduism, however Muslim scriptures have documented the city since before the Mughal Empire, and the city is deeply intertwined with Islamic Indian culture.
There is also an interesting crocodile park on the outskirts of the city, and the streets are well known for the carrot juice sellers who seem to pop up all over the place.
Located east of the city in Uttar Pradesh, Bareilly is an excellent example of modern India.
Like every other town in the country, there are many interesting temples for you to visit, and these exhibit some more modern examples of Hindu worship.
Just outside the town, there is a theme park, Fun City, which is popular with local kids and has some great restaurants and an adjoining waterpark called Boond.
The city is best reached by rail if you are planning a day trip, and guided tours from Delhi are available, though not as popular with tourists due to Bareilly being relatively off the radar for most visitors.
Located just outside Delhi proper in Uttar Pradesh, Noida is a haven away from the busy-ness of Delhi.
Compared to most Indian cities, Noida is low on pollution and traffic levels and will seem fairly peaceful if visiting on a day trip away from the nation’s capital.
The Noida Film City is a local hub for the film and TV industry and a great place to spot local celebrities or go check out the latest Bollywood releases.
Shoppers will love the modern mall complexes, and there is a large golf resort within the city for fans of the sport.