India is known for its rich heritage, vibrant culture, and diverse ethnicity; the authenticity radiates from each corner of the subcontinent. If you’re looking to experience this cradle of civilization with a more personal outlook, then a walking tour is sure to bring you closer to the heart of India. What better way to explore a city than to walk through its narrow streets and colorful lanes, and see it from the eyes of a local!
Heritage walks make it a point to cover some of the famous spots in the city but also aim to rediscover spots that are often seen but rarely explored in depth. So, don your comfiest pair of shoes and get ready to experience the cities in a way you've never before, with the best heritage walks in India.
Goa is popularly known for its never-ending parties, scrumptious seafood, friendly locals, and of course, the white sandy beaches. But it is also riddled with rich heritage and visible European influences that are a must-explore. You will get a glimpse of the vibrant and colorful side of Goa, with beautiful lanes dotted with humble quarters, churches, and blooming gardens.
You can opt for walks through Old Goa, which explores several beautiful churches and ancient forts like the Basilica of Bom Jesus and Aguada Fort. Or a walk through Fontainhas which exudes a Mediterranean charm. One can see the Portuguese influence on the architecture of this place, with its narrow alleyways and buildings of vibrant colors.
The heritage walks explore the enchanting town of Panjim, the grand Adil Shah palace, the Old Central library, and the regal Panjim church among other places. The walls in these streets are adorned with tiled mosaic images and quirky illustrations representing the rich Portuguese culture that made this town a prime tourist destination in India. The seamless collision of the Portuguese and Indian cultures can be experienced and witnessed in the architecture of the town, the food, and lifestyle of the locals. A walk through Old Goa will simultaneously transport you back in time and bombard you with colorful markets and shops!
Best Time To Visit: Mid-November to mid-February since the weather is pleasantly cool and comfortable. It's the perfect time to relax on the beaches and explore the beautiful and eclectic state.
Delhi is known for its fast-paced life and for being one of the best metropolitan cities to live in India. So the Old Delhi heritage walk will come as a pleasant surprise to explorers. Standing in stark contrast to New Delhi, Old Delhi is bound to teleport you back in time! A heritage walk of Old Delhi will give you a glimpse into the foundations of present-day Delhi, with narrow, age-old alleyways, buildings dating back to the Mughal era, and a rich fragrance of the local street food.
The entire area is dotted with pre-independence era shops and colorful bazaars, throughout its narrow alleys and lanes. The Unzip Delhi tour peels away the layers of this charming city, so you get a real deep dive into its heritage and culture. The tour revolves around the story that Delhi is actually eight cities built on top of one another. Apart from covering Shahjahanabad (Old Delhi), the tour also offers walks in Nizamuddin, the ruins of Mehrauli, Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort, and other areas. The Old Delhi heritage tour is ideal for foodies, photographers, avid readers, history lovers as well as shopaholics alike.
Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit Delhi is from October to March when the weather is at its best. The temperature is not too hot making it impossible to wander around.
Also Read: Top 12 Things To Do In Delhi
The best way to experience Pondicherry is on foot. With brightly colored quirky buildings, French architecture with ornate windows, and clean streets lined with tall green trees, the town makes for great photographs. Pondicherry is a post-Colonial city, where the remnants of its past continue to thrive amidst urban modernization. A heritage walk of the town will take you on a journey through history and time dating back to the 17th century when this coastal town was brought to life by the long-term French reign here.
The city is still divided into two significant parts by a Canal - The French Quarter and the Tamil Quarter. The remnants of these colonial quarters are an oasis for nature lovers and avid photographers. The colonial influence has seamlessly blended with the traditional culture of the town giving it a personality of its own. CNN Traveller paints an accurate portrait of Pondicherry as “designed by the Dutch, coveted by the English, built by the French, and engaged in trading with Rome - in this coastal town, glimpses of Mediterranean Europe still linger.” The heritage walks through the French Quarter will take you to some of the most iconic structures of the town like Ayi Mandapam, Dupleix’s Columns, Pondicherry museum, and Le Café.
Best Time To Visit: Although Pondicherry has a warm climate, October to March can be considered an ideal time to visit. It is during this time when the climate is comparatively cooler and also perfect for sightseeing, enjoying the beach, and indulging in water sports.
Also Read: Traveling To Pondicherry During Covid
Varanasi is one of the oldest living cities in the world. Mark Twain in his book ‘The Indian Equator’ wrote, “Varanasi is older than tradition, older than civilization, and looks twice as older if all these are put together!” A heritage walk of Varanasi will evoke not just a sense of extreme spirituality but will also bring you in close contact with the ancient stories that make up one of the oldest cities in the world. There are several undiscovered and hidden gems in Varanasi that can only be truly experienced by taking a walk through its winding alleys and lanes.
The elaborate tour will explore the true vibrancy of the holy river of Ganga and its neatly lined ghats. Next, you get to dive into the rich history of the city by walking through the alleyways of some of the most pious and ancient temples like Kashi Vishwanath, Sankat Mochan Hanuman Mandir, Bharat Mata Mandir, and more. These detailed heritage walks typically start in the heart of the city and cover the famous street markets, Thatheri Bazaar, Dharara Mosque, the winding roads of the ghats, the timeless temples, and finally end with a boat ride on the holy Ganges.
Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit Varanasi is winter between November and February since the temperature is low and there is a calm breeze throughout the day. Summers in Varanasi experience high temperatures; it is best to avoid the summers since they are hot, dry, and sunny making outdoor sightseeing difficult.
Brimming with an opulent history, unique culture, and traditions that date back to ages ago, a heritage walk through Mysore is bound to be full of rich and unique experiences. Home to the famous Mysore silk sarees and Mysore masala dosa, this grand town is located comfortably on the foothills of Chamundi Hills which creates a picturesque backdrop. If you are looking for a holiday where you expect to soak in some prolific history of the place and walk among the locals then Mysore is the place to be.
The heritage walks in Mysore range from a Maharaja Walking tour that showcases the rich cultural influence the Maharajas of the past have on the city today. The tour will take you through some magnificent structures like the Amba Vilas Palace, Crawford Hall, Jaganmohan Palace, Devaraja Market, and you can even visit local artisans. Experience the best of Mysore through a tasteful combination of history and sightseeing, with walks through the market and food trail, giving you a taste of the city like no other. And if you’re a fan of Malgudi Days, then the Malgudi Tour is a must. It will take you around R. K. Narayan’s favorite jaunts and the places that inspired his writings.
Best Time To Visit: The months of October and February, when the weather is pleasant and blessed with cool breezes, make it the best time to visit Mysore. With a drop in temperature, the region also experiences occasional showers offering vibrant and beautiful views.
Also Read: Top 9 Things To Do In Karnataka
The lively city of Mumbai needs no introduction. This is the metropolis that never sleeps. It is India’s largest city and one of the biggest urban sprawls on the planet. And the heritage walks across this bustling city are just as quirky and eclectic as the city itself! With several options in routes and themes of the tours, heritage walks in Mumbai are one of a kind and thoroughly enjoyable. The Bandra heritage walk will take you through the past and present of Mumbai’s most fascinating neighborhoods. The walk focuses on the unique physical spaces, character, and cultures of Bandra today, along with its history and legacies from the past.
Another heritage walk that piques travelers' interest is the architectural walk. You will be surprised to know Shakespeare’s face is sculpted on the façade of a building in South Mumbai. And that the architecture of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya incorporates Islamic windows, Hindu temple motifs, and Rajasthani jharokhas. The architectural walk takes you around the cultural precinct of Kala Ghoda and explores its varied architectural styles—from Gothic and Indo-Saracenic to Neoclassical and Art Deco.
Best Time To Visit: Mumbai has pleasant weather throughout the year. The city has a mild winter which is ideal for traveling and sightseeing. Summers can be hot and humid, which is why the best time to visit Mumbai is between October and March.
Also Read: Top 12 Things To Do In Mumbai
Kolkata is a city stuck in time. From the trademark yellow ambassador taxis to the Victorian Gothic structures in North Calcutta, the first impression is that the city exists in a timeless loop. But Kolkata has managed to retain all the elements that made it so irresistible to the British and now to a new India as well. From heritage sites to narrow lanes, you can rediscover the city through the various heritage walks happening here. For all the history, culture, and architecture buffs, the walking tours from Chitpur to College Street, Burra Bazar, and New Market are incredibly informative and open up a rich cultural treasure for the explorers.
Another tour discovers the ins and outs of Calcutta’s labyrinthine streets at midnight! This is perfect for those who’d choose to brush with history without the bustle of daytime traffic. You will walk past Eden Gardens, cross the Vidhan Sabha, stroll past St Andrews Church and Lal Bazaar, and see Howrah Bridge in its night-time glory. And if you're interested in daytime walks, then there are several tours that explore the ancient temples, murder mysteries, heritage buildings, and churches, or go on a culinary trail to Tiretti Bazaar. They showcase a different side to the city.
Best Time To Visit: The autumn and winter months between October and February are the best time to visit Kolkata, as the weather is perfect and festivities are aplenty. This is the season that witnesses the peak arrival of travelers, especially during Durga Puja.
Also Read: Bicycling Around Kolkata During Covid
Founded in the late 16th century by the Qutub Shahi rulers, Hyderabad is home to a vast collection of gorgeous mosques, minarets, tombs, and palaces. Under the Nizam rulers, Hyderabad became one of the richest cities in India and an important center of art, culture, and education. Whether you are a Hyderabadi or a traveler, going on a trail with a group of wanderers and city lovers will give you an understanding of the true essence of Hyderabad. The heritage walks take you through the bylanes and labyrinthine streets to the neglected gems of the city. You get to discover Mushk Mahal, Musi River Front, and the colorful bazaars.
The Charminar Precinct Walk not only takes you to must-see monuments but also gives you a glimpse into the city’s history from the Qutb Shahi dynasty to the Nizams' rule. You can also experience Hyderabad’s daily life up close as you walk through its busy streets and bazaars laden with traditional craftworks such as zardozi and lac bangles. If that's not enough to hook you on, then the super-fancy titles of the various walking trails should do the work. From Jashn-e-Hyderabad to Shehr-e-Ishq, from The Tastes Of Charminar To Unseen Golconda, all are meant to entice folks to get on board and explore the city from a unique perspective!
Best Time To Visit: Winters in Hyderabad, which start from November and last till February, are the best time to plan your trip to this place. Characterized by a cold climate, it is ideal for sightseeing and city shopping.
Heritage walks offer tourists and visitors a completely different method of exploring their favorite cities. You get to experience these cities from a local point of view, traversing through hidden alleyways and discovering unknown stories that seem to have been lost in time. And the best way to explore the rich diversity of this vibrant country is through some of the best heritage walks in India. So put on your running shoes and get ready for some cardio that you won’t mind one bit! These heritage walks are going to leave you in absolute awe of these cities, whether you’ve been living there for years or are just visiting over the weekend.
What Are Heritage Walks?
A heritage walk is a tool to explore the unexplored and neglected richness of the country. Heritage walks cover the famous spots in the city but also aim to rediscover spots that are often seen but rarely explored in depth.
What Can One Experience During A Heritage Walk?
Heritage walks in India are often centered around exploring monuments, architecture, or inevitably, food. But nowadays, these walks center around quirky themes like discovering fonts in shop signs, linking plotlines of books to buildings, and exploring street art in unexpected alleys. These walks not only cover the well-known heritage monuments but also some old buildings and shops which have been around for decades and have seen much of the past of the city.
What Should Not Be Missed In Goa?
Goa has quite a few must-visit destinations like Grande Island, North Goa, Kakolem Beach, Assolda Ground, and Todo Waterfall.
How Many Gates Are There In Old Delhi?
Ten gates connected the city with the surrounding region. The Lahore gate, Kashmere Gate, Calcutta Gate, Mori Gate, Kabul Gate, Faresh Khana Gate, Ajmeri Gate, and the Turkman Gate were the other major links of the city with the highways.
What Is The French Quarter In Pondicherry?
The White Town area of Pondicherry is also known as the French Quarter due to the French colonies that settled here in 1674. The French Quarter is filled with elegant colonial mansions in the midst of tree-lined boulevards, names of French streets beginning with 'rue', numerous parks, and charming cafés.
What Is Special About Varanasi?
Varanasi (Kashi) is known as the ultimate pilgrimage spot for Hindus for ages. Hindus believe that one who is graced to die on the land of Varanasi would attain salvation and freedom from the cycle of birth and rebirth.
Why Should I Visit Mysore?
Apart from its splendid architecture and breathtaking expanse, the palaces in Mysore boast a rich heritage of the city and are worth visiting.
Why Is Mumbai So Popular?
Mumbai is a mix of iconic old-world charm architecture, strikingly modern high rises, and cultural and traditional structures. The city is known as the commercial capital of India and is a beautiful blend of art, history, culture, food, theater, cinema, nightlife, and a lot more.
Why Is Kolkata Called The City Of Joy?
Dominique Lapierre in his novel ‘City of Joy’ first named Kolkata as the City of Joy, and it truly captures its real essence. The city indeed exudes warmth, hospitality, and a sense of euphoria, and to experience it, you have to see it.
What Is The Famous Food Of Hyderabad?
Hyderabadi Biryani is one of the most popular dishes in the city. It is distinctly different from other variations of the Biryani, originating from the kitchens of the Nizams of Hyderabad. Made of basmati rice and mutton, along with yogurt, onions, and various spices, it is truly a dish made for royalty!