There is a saying that India is so diverse that the culture, language, food, and lifestyle, change every few kilometres. You surely don’t want to zoom past all this diversity. The way to explore and soak in all of it is by walking around the cities in India.

Walking is not just aesthetically satisfying, but it is an opportunity to understand and briefly live through the culture of the city.

Wondering which are the best cities to explore on foot, we have got you covered! Go through this exhaustive list of the best cities you can explore on foot across India:

Lucknow: The City of Nawabs

Lucknow is like walking through lanes of history
Picture Courtesy: Google

Walking through the streets of Lucknow is like walking through lanes of history, culture, architecture, and rich heritage. One can start by exploring the beauty of the Bara Imambara, the central hall of which is the largest arched construction in the world. One can then visit Chotta Imambara to admire the chandeliers, silver throne, and beautiful gardens. Inspired by the sublime porte in Istanbul, Rumi Darwaza is a photographer’s dream and cannot be missed during this walk.

The Awadhi cuisine offers everything from appetizers to desserts. Tunday Kebab, Galouti Kebab, and Awadhi Biryani are some of the mouth-watering options apart from the Nawabi curries and different types of chaats and one needs to taste these delicacies for a complete experience while admiring the Adab and Tehzeeb of the locals.

Varanasi: A spiritual journey along the Ghats

Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in the world
Picture Courtesy: Google

 Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in the world that has been continuously inhabited. People visit the place to attain Moksha, that is, liberation from the cycle of life and death.

Considering the spiritual essence of the city, walking along the ghats of Varanasi is a treat to the spiritual self. The walking tour begins at any one of the prominent ghats like the Dashashwamedh Ghat or the Assi Ghat. As the tour progresses, a person gets to witness the mesmerizing Ganga Aarti. Some knowledgeable guides provide insights into the history and culture of each ghat and provide a deeper understanding of Varanasi. Walking on the streets of Varanasi also allows one to discover some lesser-known temples and interaction with the locals gives an insight into their daily lives, their beliefs, and traditions.

One of the fun facts about Ganga Aarti is that it is performed by a group of young priests known as the “Pandit boys”. These boys are young adults who have been thoroughly educated in Vedic Scriptures and tradition to perform the rituals with precision.

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Stroll through Bangalore’s Garden Trail

Bangalore, is popular for its lush green spaces
Picture Courtesy: Google

The ‘Garden City of India’, Bangalore, is popular for its lush green spaces, and botanical wonders. Bangalore is a busy city and places like Lalbagh Botanical Garden, Cubbon Park, and Bannerghata Biological Park serve as an escape for residents as well as visitors looking for a place for lazy evening strolls.

The Lalbagh Botanical Garden is a house to a diverse collection of flora, which also includes some rare species and exotic plants. The Glass House is a prominent feature that is known to host flower shows and exhibitions throughout the year. The granite monolith or the Lalbagh Rock, provides an amazing view of the surrounding landscape and is also a popular spot for lazy walks.

Cubbon Park serves as the lung space for the city and is located in the heart of Bangalore. Apart from the themed Gardens, the place also has architecture like the State Central Library, Attara Kachari, and Seshadri Iyer Memorial Hall. One interesting fact about Bangalore is that Bangalore owes its status as the ‘Garden City’ to British Colonial Administrators.

Thanjavur: Heritage Walk Amidst Ancient Temples

Thanjavur served as UNESCO World Heritage
Picture Courtesy: Google

Thanjavur served as the capital of the Chola Empire and therefore, art, literature, and legacy of the empire continue to influence the cultural landscape. The history of the place also contributes to its architectural marvels like its temples and palaces. A walk through the city is an opportunity to explore the intricate carvings and sculptures of the Dravidian style architecture.

A pedestrian gets an opportunity to admire the crowning jewel of Thanjavur’s Architectural Heritage, Brihadeeswarar Temple. The UNESCO World Heritage is a masterpiece of Dravidian architecture. The Thanjavur Palace is a unique amalgamation of Maratha and Dravidian architecture. A person gets an opportunity to see the grand halls, courtyard, and towers and admire the design and craftsmanship. Thanjavur has played an important role in Tamil Literature as it is home to Saraswati Mahal Library which has many ancient manuscripts in languages including Tamil, Sanskrit, and Telugu. It has also given Tanjore Veena, Bharatnatyam, and Natya Shastra to classical music and dance.

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Mumbai’s Architectural Marvels on Foot

Gateway of India which was made during the British era.
Picture Courtesy: Google

Mumbai is known for its eclectic mix of colonial and contemporary architecture. Gateway of India and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus are part of the colonial architectural marvels while the skyscrapers, Bandra bandstand, and Bandra-Kurla Complex present a more modern style of architecture.

A person can begin by visiting the Gateway of India which was made during the British era. It marks Mumbai’s maritime history and it also shows architectural grandeur. Then a person can proceed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and understand the significance of the UNESCO World Heritage status. On a walk through the precincts of the Fort Area, a person comes across the Rajabai Clock Tower, Bombay High Court, and Flora Fountain, all remains of colonial times.

Bollywood has played its part in shaping the recent image of Mumbai as a Global city. Visitors also visit the film city of Mumbai which adds to the already rich cultural aspect of the city.

Hyderabad’s Heritage and Culinary Delights

Charminar and Golconda Fort and the Nizams of Hyderabad
Picture Courtesy: Google

 The capital city of Telangana has a rich history, and heritage and is known for its delectable gastronomy. Qutb Shahi Dynasty, the founder of the city, contributed to the city by construction of Charminar and Golconda Fort and the Nizams of Hyderabad left behind a legacy of palaces, mosques, and cultural institutions. Hyderabad has earned a reputation as a gastronomic paradise as it offers culinary delights like biryani, kebabs, haleem, nihari, and mirchi ka salan. A walk around the city would thus not only be a treat to the eyes but also serve the taste buds well.

Hyderabad is renowned for its pearls that are prized by connoisseurs or their luxury and elegance. Chowmahalla Palace and Falaknama Palace offer glimpses of Nawabi cultures. Hyderabad is also home to Ramoji Film City, the world’s largest film studio, for its versatility and scale and thus serves as a tourist destination.

Shimla: Victorian Charm Amidst Himalayan Scenery

Shimla is known for its colonial-era architecture like the Mall Road

Shimla is known for its colonial-era architecture like the Mall Road, Viceregal Lodge, and Christ Church. A person can begin walking at the Mall Road which is set against the backdrop of the colonial era and explore the historic Gaiety Theatre. Places like the State Library, Kali Bari Temple, and Ridge Maidan can be explored for better cultural understanding as well as shopping. Viceregal Lodge should also be explored to get a glimpse of Jacobethan-style architecture.

Some fun facts about Shimla are that it served as the summer capital for the British and the Kalka- Shimla toy train attained the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Jaipur’s Colorful Bazaars and Royal Palaces

Jaipur's Colorful Bazaars and Royal Palaces
Picture Courtesy: Google

 The rich history, royal heritage, and artistic traditions of Jaipur are well-known. Rajput architecture adds to the essence of the place. The place’s traditional food and music have attracted visitors for many years. A walk-through of busy markets like Johari Bazaar, and landmarks like Hawa Mahal, and City Palace gives the satisfaction of living the vibrant culture, architecture, and street life of the Pink City.

To welcome the Prince of Wales in 1876, the city of Jaipur was painted pink, and ever since the law mandates some regions to be painted pink to maintain the aesthetics. A person might come across Jaipur’s heritage in the form of ‘hand block printing’ that requires skilled artisans who stamp unique designs on fabric. The city’s jewellery market has artisans who show their expertise in crafting precious as well as semi-precious stones. The designs vary from Kundan and Polki to contemporary styles.

Kolkata: A Photographer’s Paradise and Cultural Hub

Kolkata is a treat for a photography enthusiast as walking
Picture Courtesy: Google

Kolkata owes its status as the ‘Cultural Capital of India’ to the city’s rich cultural and intellectual legacy. Apart from the colonial legacy and cultural heritage, Kolkata has given birth to many renowned writers and poets, and places like coffee houses, and literature festivals serve as a platform for literary discussions and debates.

Kolkata is a treat for a photography enthusiast as walking the city means enjoying the beauty of the Howrah Bridge, Victoria Memorial, and the city’s vibrant street scenes.  Architecture, history, and aesthetics provide opportunities for capturing beauty, curiosity, and moments.

A fun fact about Kolkata is that it has a lot to offer to someone who appreciates art and music as Satyajit Ray, Rabindranath Tagore, and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee are sons of the city.  The construction of Howrah Bridge and the Indian Museum are residues of British colonial rule as the city serves as its capital. Puchka, Kathi rolls and Jhal Muri are the soul of the city of joy.

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Uncover Delhi’s Historical and Culinary Gems

Delhi served as a capital city of India
Picture Courtesy: Google

Delhi served as a capital city for the Delhi Sultanate, The Mughals, and also the British, and its history dates back thousands of years evidence of which is found in its archaeological sites like Indraprastha and Purana Qila. A walk through the city gives a person a hint about the cultural and traditional status of the rulers and gives an understanding as to why the city serves as the cultural and political hub of India in today’s times as well.

A person willing to walk around the city will get a glimpse of the diversity of the place by visiting historic neighborhoods like Delhi’s busiest market Chandni Chowk, and landmarks like Red Fort which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and an architectural marvel of the Mughal era and Jama Masjid as well as its surrounding of narrow alleys of old Delhi and stalls selling crafts and souvenir.

A fun fact about Delhi’s Street food scene is that it has been recognized by UNESCO as the ‘city of gastronomy’. Parathas from Paranthe wali Gali and chaats from Delhi-6 are some mouth-watering reasons to plan a walking tour around the city as soon as possible. Delhi also has many Government offices, embassies, and official residences that contribute to its status as India’s capital city.

Now that you read our list, are you enthusiastic about understanding the India that thrives in its streets? The heart of India belongs in the narrow lanes of Delhi, the ghats of Varanasi, the hills of Shimla, and all those little nuances that cannot be captured in words or pretty postcards. Though India is growing every day, it has managed to embrace its history and that can only be experienced by people who walk through its lanes and taste the food available in its colourful streetside stalls.

Wondering where to start? Cotact Solitary Travels today and have your walking trip customized at your convenience. Also, enjoy exclusive guided tours that take you through off-beat destinations, hidden gems and more! Get in touch today.

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