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.
Majestically rugged, the greatest attraction of this mountain-hemmed Ladakhi Buddhist valley is simply getting there, preferably on a trek, which begins in January. Gear up with proper equipment and most of all the strength and will power to survive cold days and colder nights. As in Ladakh, the main sights are timeless monasteries, notably at Karsha, Stongdey, Sani and Phuktal, the latter only accessible on foot.
Also Read: 19 travel resolutions for 2019
Bikaner is a vibrant, dust-swirling desert town with a fabulous fort and an energising outpost feel. It’s less dominated by tourism than many other Rajasthan cities, though it has plenty of hotels and a busy camel-safari scene, which attracts travellers looking to avoid the Jaisalmer hustle.
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 from January-March, Auli becomes a favourite tourist spot for its ski activities, magnificent peaks 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).
Kutch, India’s wild west, is a geographic phenomenon. The flat, tortoise-shaped land, edged by the Gulf of Kutch and Great and Little Ranns, is a seasonal island. During the dry season, the Ranns are vast expanses of dried mud and blinding-white salt. Come the monsoon, they’re flooded first by seawater, then by fresh river water. The salt in the soil makes the low-lying marsh area almost completely barren. Only on scattered ‘islands’ above the salt level is there coarse grass, which provides fodder for the region’s wildlife.
Goa’s biggest draw is undoubtedly its virtually uninterrupted string of golden-sand beaches. This shimmering strand stretches along the Arabian Sea from the tip to the toe of the state, and each of the various beaches has developed their own personalities and reputations since the hippie days of the sixties. But the pint-sized state is more than beaches and trance parties. A kaleidoscopic blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures, sweetened with sun, sea, sand, seafood and spirituality, there’s nowhere in India quite like it.
Alappuzha or Alleppey- is the hub of Kerala’s backwaters, home to a vast network of waterways and more than a thousand houseboats. Wandering around the small but chaotic city centre and bus-stand area, with its modest grid of canals, you’d be hard-pressed to agree with the ‘Venice of the East’ tag. Float along and gaze over paddy fields of succulent green, curvaceous rice barges and village life along the banks. This is one of Kerala’s most mesmerizingly beautiful and relaxing experiences.
With breathtakingly beautiful coastline, lush forested interior, fantastic diving possibilities and a far-flung location, the Andaman Islands are a perfect place to ramble around or simply chill out on sun-toasted beaches. Go island hopping and indulge in water sports, if interested.
Steeped in history, thronged with people and buzzing with commerce, the Old City of Hyderabad is one of India’s most evocative ancient quarters. Exploring the lanes of this district, with its chai shops and spice merchants, you’ll encounter a teeming urban masala of colour and commerce. Looming over the Old City is some of Islamic India’s most impressive architecture, in varying states of repair. Most visitors concentrate their time in this area, though the magnificent Golconda Fort should not be missed too.