Cricket and culture: Discovering India’s treasures beyond the World Cup 2023

If you are among lucky fans planning to travel to India to watch the World Cup 2023, why not seize this opportunity to discover some remarkable places easily accessible from the cities you will be visiting?

Abdullah Al Zobayer

Abdullah Al Zobayer

The Daily Star


File photo provided by The Daily Star.

October 13, 2023

DHAKA – As the ICC World Cup 2023 group stage kicks off, cricket fans around the world have started to flock to the hosting nation, India. If you are among those lucky fans, it is indeed possible to make a lot more out of this trip. Instead of spending idle hours in hotel rooms anxiously awaiting match day, why not seize this opportunity to discover some remarkable places easily accessible from the cities you will be visiting? There is a broader journey awaiting, one that offers a plethora of exciting places to explore in between those nail-biting cricket matches and let us tell you about some of the most enchanting ones.

Ahmedabad, Gujrat

If you are planning to attend one of the matches at Narendra Modi Stadium, it might be an excellent opportunity to explore Ahmedabad. The Sabarmati Ashram on the banks of the Sabarmati River is undoubtedly the most popular tourist destination in the city. The minimalist abode of this Ashram was home to Mahatma Gandhi and served as the centre of the Indian independence movement.

The Kankaria Lake, also known as Hauj-e-Kutub, comes with another set of attractions — a mini train ride that goes around the lake, a hot air balloon ride, a zoo, and a number of other entertainment opportunities. However, the most striking feature of the lake is the Nagina Wadi, a garden constructed right in the middle of the water body! Located only three kilometres from the train station, this is a must-try for those visiting Ahmedabad.

The Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary can also be an excellent choice for spending an evening or two in the serenity of nature. Ahmedabad is also home to some of the most beautiful mosques in India, like the Jama Masjid and Sidi Sayyed Mosque. For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Patang Museum, Calico Museum of Textiles and VECHAAR Utensils Museum is also highly recommended.

Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh

For those who love mountains and managed to secure a ticket for one of the matches to be held at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, we have some good news for you. The stadium itself is a tourist attraction. However, this beautiful city on the edge of the Himalayas has a lot more to offer!

If you are an adventurous soul who can hardly tear his gaze from a beautiful mountainside, a trip to the Naddi View Point, Kangra Valley is a must. On the same note, departing from Dharamsala without experiencing the allure of Triund Hill, the serene Kareri Dal Lake, and the enchanting Bhagsu Waterfall would be missing a great opportunity.

Dharamsala is also an excellent place to get a peek into the world of Tibetan art and culture. Destinations such as the Norbulingka Institute, The Tibet Museum, and the Library of Tibetan Arts and Archives offer a rare glimpse into the unique cultures of Tibet and north-eastern India.

Additionally, the city also features a number of archaeological sites, including the historic Kangra Fort and the St John in the Wilderness Church.

Bengaluru, Karnataka

A total of five matches are scheduled at M Chinnaswamy Stadium and if you intend to attend one of them, let us recommend some of the most attractive places to explore while you are at it. Though famous as the largest IT hub in India, the city of Bengaluru is also known as the ‘Garden City’ for some really good reasons.

The city is home to several parks and gardens, of which Cubbon Park is undoubtedly the most popular. This tranquil estate stretching over 300 acres is like a breath of fresh air in this bustling city. The Lalbagh Botanical Garden is another well-known tourist attraction. Originally established by Hyder Ali, the then ruler of Mysore, as a royal family garden, the Lalbagh saw continuous development through the period of Tipu Sultan and the British Raj.

The Bannerghatta National Park, located on the outskirts of the city is another special attraction of Bengaluru. For a modest fee of Tk 650, visitors will be able to enjoy a safari tour of lions, tigers, sloth bears, wild boars, and a lot more!

For those interested in historical monuments, the city offers the Bengaluru Palace, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace and the Bengaluru Fort. And if you, by any chance, are looking for a shopping frenzy, do not forget to explore the M G Road, the Chickpet and the Mantri Square Mall!

Pune, Maharashtra

Nestled within the Bhuleshwar Range of the Sahyadri Mountains, Pune stands as a picturesque metropolis in the state of Maharashtra and is one of the cities to host the ICC World Cup 2023 at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium. The city holds a special place in the hearts of the Maratha people as the first capital of the Maratha Empire and is home to a number of important archaeological sites. Of them, the Sinhagad Fort is probably the most famous.

With a history spanning over 2,000 years, the fort is a must-visit for those who fancy a glimpse of bygone eras. The Aga Khan Palace, Shaniwar Wada and Vishrambaug Wada are some of the other iconic landmarks of this historic city.

If you are looking for a great view of nature, Pune has something for you too! The Empress Garden, Bund Garden, and Saras Baug are the spots that the locals frequent for a breath of fresh air and you are also welcome. Furthermore, remember to visit Vetal Hill for a great panoramic view of Pune city.

Kolkata, West Bengal

If you are considering attending one of the matches scheduled at the iconic Eden Gardens stadium, allow us to provide you with some suggestions on places to explore in the vibrant city of Kolkata during your stay.

The very first thing that comes to mind while discussing a trip to Kolkata is the Victoria Memorial. This iconic landmark provides a reminder of the colonial past of the nation and a reflection on the struggle for freedom. The second most prominent spot is the Howrah Bridge, often dubbed as the unofficial emblem of the city.

For those travelling with children, a visit to the M P Birla Planetarium and the Alipore Zoo can be fun places to spend a lovely family evening. A Kolkata trip without visiting the Marble Palace and the St Paul’s Cathedral is incomplete. Built by the British in Anglo-Gothic style, these impressive structures are truly a sight to behold!

Last but not least, the city also features Thakur Bari, the ancestral home of famous poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and can easily be reached from the Girish Park Metro station.

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