The best walking tours in 7 Indian cities

Best walking tours in 7 Indian cities

Discover India on foot this winter: lose yourself in its narrow lanes, drink chai at street stalls, bargain at local markets and talk to locals
In many big cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Varanasi and Bengaluru customised walking tours are now a major attraction. Ranging from jewellery to history to street food these are no accidental leisurely walks around the old town but are carefully planned around specific themes. At this point find out our some of the top picks and choose:


1) Geology tour

Consisting of spectacular grey granite rocks, the Deccan Plateau according to geologists is believed to go back 2,500 million years, when Earth’s crust first solidified. To understand the stories and structures behind the formations that dot Hyderabad’s landscape go on a rock walk. This you can do on the third Sunday of every month.

2) Biryani trail

The cornerstone of Hyderabadi cuisine has assimilated a variety of regional and foreign influences over time which was once considered a dish only for the Nizams. Explore the hidden hubs of this historic dish on the Biryani Detour and find out what makes Hyderabadi biryani different from other versions. Because you’ll be too full to do anything but nap so make no plans for later.

Also explore the splendid world of the Old City’s gold, pearls and diamonds.


1) Nature trail

With parks such as Lalbagh and Cubbon Park contributing greatly to its green heritage, Bengaluru is commonly known as the garden city of India. Through Lalbagh Botanical Gardens the Green Heritage Walk is a lovely Sunday morning leisurely walk with historian and naturalist Vijay Thiruvady. To ancient trees and over 50 species of migratory birds, Lalbagh act as a dwelling. At 7.30am the walk begins and ends with breakfast at MTR, another Bengaluru institution.

2) Neighbourhood stroll

Made up of several cloistered neighbourhoods such as Malleswaram, Jayanagar, Basavangudi and Shivaji Nagar, Bengaluru remains a small city at heart. Bangalore still has a unique character with each of these used to be home to a specific regional or religious community. To get to know these areas and what makes them special, the Parichay walks by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage are a great way. They help you discover the city from flower markets to forts and palaces, temples to mosques and churches.


1) Jewellery excursion

To Indian hearts Gems and jewellery has always been close and Chennai is known for producing superb and delicate ornaments. By means of Jewellery Trail you will be taken through the lanes of Mylapore, one of Chennai’s oldest neighbourhoods, into the workshops where these beautiful pieces are handcrafted. On this dazzling tour understand the history of gold and precious gemstones; listen to legends and myths about jewellery.

If you have some spare time still left then do consider the Mystic Trail, which decodes the mysticism and superstition that are woven into the fabric of everyday Indian life.

2) Photography walk

Leisurely walk with likeminded photographers through the streets who exchange notes about their experience of the walk and the shooting process. On Sunday mornings the Sunday Photo walk happens twice every month and is conducted by a group leader. As per the theme, the route changes which could be anything: history, food, architecture, gardens and so on.


1) Culture trail

Indelibly influenced by the various communities, including the Chinese, Parsis, Armenians, Anglo Indians and Marwaris, once calling it home, Kolkata is a city of many cultures. With confluence of cultures, peek into the lifestyles, art, architecture and cuisine of these communities and learn what makes the city a real melting pot.

Do consider a walk centred on Kolkata’s lifeline, the Hooghly River of bringing the Goddess to Earth and see what life is like for those who depend on this river, from the fresh flower-sellers to the clay idol-makers of Kumartuli.

2) Go for a walk through the Raj

Starting from the ‘White Town’ developed by the East India Company to the Dalhousie Square, you can follow in the footsteps of the British. With a boat ride on the Hooghly this walk combines an exploration of stately Raj-era buildings.


1) Purani Dilli

Old Delhi lends itself remarkably to detailed exploration with the imposing monuments that tell a thousand stories, the rich aromas of sizzling jalebis and parathas. Walk down the lanes of Old Delhi, the narrow lanes of around the 17th-century mosque and climb up the towers for excellent views of the old city. For the deep-fried good stuff make sure you stop regularly.

Do consider Hauz Khas, which was once a reservoir for the royals and now a maze of gorgeous ruin.

2) Wedding walk

During wedding season, created in the 17th century by Shah Jahan’s daughter Jahan Ara, Chandni Chowk is still the capital’s go-to shopping zone with everything you need available, from card-printing to jewellery to bridal lehengas. You can explore the bustling lanes of Kinari Bazaar and Dariba Kalan with the Wedding Market Tour and see what it takes to create that beautiful traditional wedding.


1) Book tour

For some of the greatest literature about India, Mumbai has been the backdrop and for good reason: the city is populated with some of the most colourful characters you can hope to meet. Explore the city with Book worming as Maximum City writer Suketu Mehta did, by following in the footsteps of a character from the book, Babbanji Bihari, a Bihari immigrant who moves to Mumbai in search of a better life. Or based on Gregory David Roberts’s bestselling novel, you could do a Shantaram tour, which will take you through the hidden lanes of this charming, chaotic city.

In addition to the above you can also consider Thali Tripping, an eating tour that includes classic Irani cafés and hole-in-the-wall idli joints (Mumbai has them all!). Also take in legends such as Chetana and Golden Star serving Gujarati thalis, complete with aamras in season if you have the stomach space.

2) Art beat

Among the British Raj’s greatest legacies is the stately buildings of South Mumbai and the area is littered with cultural hotspots and lovely art galleries and shops. Enjoy a peaceful stroll through the art precinct of Kala Ghoda, named after the black horse of King Edward VII by joining the Art Walk at Kala Ghoda. To Indian art, past and present this is a great introduction.


1) By the Ganga

In Varanasi, as the river is at the centre of all aspects of life so there is no getting away from the River Ganga. Feel like a local with the Varanasi Ganges Walk as you chance upon hidden corners of the city. Walk through the by lanes and ghats, watch the daily aarti on the banks of the river and chat with local boatmen and at the end save time to buy some stunning Benarasi saris.

2) Walk through tradition

It seem to you as if you’re walking into another time in this ancient, holy city that is still deeply rooted in its past. With the Northern Bazaars and hidden alleys tour, escape the chaos of the central ghats and explore secret passageways to the city’s holiest and oldest sites.

If you are still left with some spare time then do enjoy walking the Bengali Tola, which takes you around the streets inhabited by the Bengali community and their cultural landmarks.

Heritage Walk in Varanasi

Walk of Heritage Lanes & Golden Temple

Walk of Heritage Lanes & Golden Temple

Duration: About 2-3 hours
Start Point: Assi ghat
End Point : Dashaswemedh Ghat

Walking tour to Kashi - older than oldest

Walking tour to Kashi - older than oldest

Duration: About 2-3 hours
Start Point: Adikeshaw Ghat
End Point: Lord Kaal Bhairao temple

Walk of Heritage Lanes & Golden Temple

Excursion to Sarnath - Walk at Buddhist Trail

Duration: About 4-6 hours
Start Point: Your Hotel
End Point: Your Hotel

Panchkosi Parikrama in Varanasi

Learning & Burning Walk at Cremation grounds & Ashrams

Duration: About 3-4 hours
Start Point: Assi Ghat
End Point: Dashaswemedh Ghat

Panchkosi Parikrama in Varanasi

Panchkosi Parikrama in Varanasi

Duration: About 4-5 hours
Start Point: Manikarnika Ghat
End Point: Manikarnika Ghat

walking tour around Magical ponds & Temples

Walking tour around Magical Ponds & Temples

Duration: About 3-4 hours
Start Point: Assi ghat
End Point: Ashram