Things to do in host cities before and after the Indian Premier League (IPL) - Hindustan Times
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Things to do in host cities before and after the Indian Premier League (IPL)

Apr 07, 2024 02:28 AM IST

Sports tourism is rising in popularity and these Indian Premier League (IPL) destinations have it all, on and off the pitch.

The 17th edition of the Indian Premier League which kicked off in late March—an annual men's Twenty20 cricket league—is attracting both connoisseurs and novices of the game, and many are travelling to support the game across India. According to American Express Travel’s 2024 Global Travel Trends Report, 67% of Millennial and Gen Z respondents (compared to 58% of all respondents) will be interested in travelling for sporting events in 2024. National and international travel operators have reported an increase in demand and cost of airfares, accommodations, and tailored itineraries in the host cities—Chennai, Mohali, Kolkata, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Mumbai, Lucknow, Dharamsala, Guwahati, Delhi.

While the iconic Sawai Mansingh Stadium will be the target destination for visitors heading down to the city for upcoming matches from April 6, there’s much more to look forward to in the city, especially during the off-season.
While the iconic Sawai Mansingh Stadium will be the target destination for visitors heading down to the city for upcoming matches from April 6, there’s much more to look forward to in the city, especially during the off-season.

India's fan culture certainly brings an atmosphere and a reputation that can't be compared to too many other nations in cricket. On 29 May 2022, the IPL 2022 final between Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad created a Guinness World Record after being attended by 1,01,566 people. As the game is underway, if you are looking to plan a trip beyond the metropolitan cities, here’s where and how to plan a trip around IPL in 2024.

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Jaipur, Rajasthan

While the iconic Sawai Mansingh Stadium will be the target destination for visitors heading down to the city for upcoming matches from April 6, there’s much more to look forward to in the city, especially during the off-season. Shake off the summer heat with kesar and rabdi kulfi at Pandit Kulfi before going on a shopping spree at Johri Bazar, Tripolia Bazar, and Chameli Market. Unwind with an elevated Rajasthani Thali brunch at Suvarna Mahal or relish a more rustic experience at the village-themed resort of Chowki Dhani. Before heading back in, catch the glittering glow of the Jal Mahal and Hawa Mahal after sundown—but not before a nightcap at Taj Rambagh Palace’s Polo Bar or Narain Niwas Palace Hotel’s Bar Palladio.

Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh

After millions tuned in to watch five of the World Cup 2023 matches held at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium last October, Dharamshala’s reputation among sporting and travel communities is on a booming rise. With two action-packed encounters scheduled on May 5 and 9, sneak in a tour of Bhagsunag Falls, Kangra Fort, St. John Church or if you want to blend in some adventure, a trek to Triund. Want a slow, more immersive experience? Mosy through the town’s many modern and historic cafes, staycation at British-era bungalows like Cuckoo’s Nest or cottage-style luxury at Owl’s Nest and slurp on some state-staple Tibetian Thukpa.

Vizag, Andhra Pradesh

Despite never having a team from the city, Vizag the ‘Jewel of the East Coast,’ has hosted 13 IPL matches in the past, and last Sunday, became the opening location for Delhi Capital’s first home match. Logistical reasoning aside, we can argue the port city’s coastal and cultural charm ‘played’ a key role in making the destination an IPL hotspot. After a busy match day, unwind at Rushikonda Beach where you can’t leave without trying Raju Gaari Dhaba’s prawn fry with rasam rice. The next morning, on a spiritual trail head to Simhachalam Temple, Sri Varahalakshmi Narasimha Swamy Vari Devasthanam and more. Conclude the day with a walk through the Old Book Market, snacking on Punugulu (fritters made with idli dosa batter).

Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

Apart from boasting a state-of-the-art build and hosting Lucknow Super Giants’s seven home matches, Ekana Cricket Stadium is just 15-20 minutes from the city’s bustling locations like Hazratganj and Gomti Nagar—the perfect excuse for extending your IPL experience before or after the match. Take an extra day (or 3, no we are not kidding) to explore the ancient art of Chikankari at Sangraha and the Kalhath Institute, take in the iconic architecture of Imambaras to the majestic Rumi Darwaza and shop-hop at Aminabad Market and Hazratganj Market. Coming to the best part—visit Bajpai Kachori Bhandar to chomp on a special Poori-Aloo recipe, Tunday Kababi for the legendary kebabs rooted in royal patronage, and dinner at Idrees Biryani for a plateful of Awadhi flavours.

Mullanpur (Mohali district), Chandigarh

Host to the newly-developed Maharaja Yadavindra Singh Stadium, Punjab Kings will be playing all their home games in what the Punjab govt. is calling the next ‘eco and smart city.’ Bank on Mullanpur’s proximity to Ludhiana and Chandigarh to map out a culture and food-centric travel circuit. Arrive in Chandigarh (a day in advance if possible) to take a guided walk around the UNESCO-listed Capitol Complex, Le Corbusier Centre, the Rock Garden, and more. After the match, drive 30 minutes to Ludhiana to tour the Maharaja Ranjit Singh War Museum before heading out to explore street-popular dishes like Dyal Di Hatt’s imarti and digging into Amritsari kulche chole at Kulcha Land in Model Town.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Sneha Chakraborty writes on travel, food, culture, gadgets and lifestyle for the Daily Entertainment and Lifestyle supplement, HT City.

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