The new year has been welcomed with lots of celebrations and revelry. To some, this might be the year of activities, while for others, it is just another year of work and relaxation.
For those who top their resolutions’ list with travel, these are the places you must visit this month.
Beauty and adventure lovers can just take the 4km long cable car from Joshimath and land on India’s premier ski-resort of Auli in Uttarakhand. During its peak season in January-March, Auli becomes a favourite tourist spot for its ski activities, magnificent peaks around and simply for its spectacular beauty. The snow is consistently good and the setting of the place is superb. When on top of the cable car station, enjoy the awesome views of Nanda Devi (India’s second-highest peak).
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Shimla is one of India’s most popular hill resorts, buzzing with a happy flow of vacationers and full of relics of its previous life as the summer capital of British India. Traffic is banned from the central part of town, so walking is pleasant – even when huffing and puffing uphill. The long, winding main street, the Mall, runs east and west just below the spine of the hill. The town gets carpeted with snow during this season so snowfall lovers can definitely head here for a unique experience.
With the shimmering Lake Pichola, the wooded Aravalli Hills, fantastical palaces and havelis, Udaipur has a romance of setting unmatched in Rajasthan and arguably in all India. For the visitor there’s the tranquillity of boat rides on the lake, the bustle and colour of ancient bazaars, a lively arts scene, the quaint old-world feel of its better hotels, endless tempting shops and some lovely countryside to explore on wheels, feet or horseback. Head here with friends or family and bring back loadful of memories to cherish forever.
The magical allure of the Taj Mahal draws tourists to Agra like moths to a wondrous flame. And despite the hype, it’s every bit as good as you’ve heard. But apart from the Taj, the legacy of the Mughal empire has left a liberal sprinkling of fascinating tombs and mausoleums; and there’s also fun to be in the bustling chowks (marketplaces). Agra straddles a large bend along the holy Yamuna River. The Agra Fort and the Taj, 2km apart, both overlook the river on different parts of the bend.
Centre yourself on a surfboard or yoga mat, descend the bat-filled caves or misty volcanic peaks, go hiking, biking or ziplining; in Costa Rica, your only limit is your return date. The ‘rich coast’ has earned its name and stands apart from its Central American neighbors on the cutting edge of so many trends: surfing, farm-to-table restaurants, and sustainable tourism. Explore one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, with half a million species– from insects to the giant anteaters. Also adapt the mantra of a healthy living, pura vida, from Costa Ricans.
Unrivalled luxury, stunning white-sand beaches and an amazing underwater world make the Maldives an obvious choice for a true holiday of a lifetime. The place is home to perhaps the best beaches in the world; you’ll find consistently whiter-than-white powder sand and luminous cyan-blue water like this almost nowhere else on earth. This fact alone is enough to bring over a million people a year to this tiny, remote and otherwise little-known Indian Ocean paradise. With some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world, the clear waters of the Maldives are a magnet for anyone with an interest in marine life as the richness and variety is astonishing. The island country is ideal for couples, families and even backpackers.