The City of Nawabs, Lucknow, is close to a number of weekend getaway destinations that you can head to this Diwali. The festival of lights falls on a Thursday, 19 October, which means that you have a four-day holiday ahead of you. So if you are looking for a different Diwali celebration away from the city, here are a few places to head to nearby for a few days of fun and relaxation. ALSO READ: Festivals and Events in India in October 2017 That Promise an Unforgettable Experience Also Read - Coronavirus: Women at Lucknow's Clock Tower Call Off Protest Amid Statewide Shutdown
Naimisharanya and Ayodhya
Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh
With enough days in hand, you can visit Naimisharanya and Ayodhya for a religious getaway. Naimisharanya lies just around 100 km from Lucknow, and it is said that the gods came down to this city to ask for arms to fight demons. You can spend a day here and head out to Ayodhya, 163 km from the city, for the second leg of your pilgrimage. Ayodhya is famous for its temples, ghats, Jain and Buddhist shrines, and its connection to the Ramayana. The Dasrath Mahal, Ramkatha Museum, Nageshwar Nath Temple and Hanuman Garhi fort are popular attractions. Also Read - Coronavirus: Jitin Prasada, Wife, Who Attended Party in Lucknow, Test Negative For COVID-19
Angulimal Stupa, Shravasti, Uttar Pradesh
Another great pilgrimage destination is Shravasti, which lies around 330 km or four hours away from Lucknow by road. Shravasti is famous as a Buddhist pilgrimage site, and was once the capital of the ancient kingdom of Koshal. You can see some ancient and popular Buddhist Stupas here, including Pakki Kuti and Kachhi Kuti. There is also a monastery where it is said that Buddha lived for many years in his quest for enlightenment. CHECK OUT: Best Places to Visit near Delhi on the Long Diwali 2017 Weekend Also Read - Coronavirus: 13 Test Positive For COVID-19 in UP, Shutdown in Lucknow Till March 31
Dudhwa National Park
Peacock walking the woods at Dudhwa national Park
If nature is where you find solace, the Diwali 2017 long weekend is a good opportunity to head out to the Dudhwa National Park, around 300 km from Lucknow. The national park is open from October to May, and spreads across around 490 square kilometers. It lies along India’s border with Nepal in Lakhimpur Kheri district. And with species like panthers, tigers and sambhar deers calling this place home, there is plenty to see here. The park is also heaven for bird lovers, with more than 400 species found in its jungles.
Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary
Nawabganj bird sanctuary, Unnao, Photograph Courtesy: Yoc2007/Wikimedia Commons
Speaking of ornithology enthusiasts, there is also the Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary much closer home. The sanctuary lies just around 45 km from Lucknow along the Kanpur highway, and is a great place to spend a few days away from the crowd and commotion, in the midst of the jungle. More than 1,000 migratory bird species can be found here in the winter months of November to January, but October is a good time to visit too.
Taj Mahal in Agra
You may have come here a million times, but you can never really tire of visiting Agra. The city lies around 335 km from Lucknow by road and holds a special place in India’s historical and archaeological heritage. There is, of course, the eternally beautiful Taj Mahal, along with other incredible pieces of heritage like the Jama Masjid, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri and Itimad Uddaulah. Really, we don’t need to tell you at all why a few days in Agra is a good idea.
Sas Bahu Temple in Gwalior
Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh also lies around 350 km from Lucknow and is just as famous as Agra for its history. The city is most famous for its ancient fort atop a majestic hill, with incredible and expansive temples and palaces contained within its walls. The Gwalior fort itself is worth a few days of stay, but there is also the Jai Vilas Palace, where the former royal family of the Scindias still reside. Take the Diwali 2017 long weekend and visit the princely city for a charming getaway.
Finally, we have Nainital, which lies around 430 km from Lucknow in the Kumaon Himalayas. The hill station, famous for its lake that is said to be the emerald eye of a fallen goddess, is pretty popular most days of the year. But you can still find pockets of serenity in and around Nainital. Activities like horse riding, trekking and boating along Naini lake are also available. There is also nearby Bhimtal for a more relaxed and secluded getaway from Lucknow. NOW READ: Diwali 2017 celebration in Kerala: How Gods Own Country celebrates the Festival of Lights
So those are just a few of the options available for you. Lucknow has plenty of other places to explore, like Varanasi that is 320 km away for a one-of-a-kind Diwali celebration. History buffs can also head to Khajuraho in Bundelkhand, where the Kalinjar fort, Chitragupta temple and Ajaigarh fort still stand after centuries. So do yourself a favor and escape somewhere this Diwali 2017 long weekend.