The chill has gradually started to settle and spring is set to make its way this month. For those looking for a short break, this short month is the perfect one! Choose from the list of destinations we have listed.
Jaisalmer, also known as the golden city, is at the far end of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. It’s the ethnic heart of the nomadic desert culture and besides the sand dunes it is famous for its Jain temples and the sprawling Jaisalmer Fort that dominates the city landscape. Here you can immerse yourself in the art that is found in everything – from the places of worship to the buildings, streets, local products and of course the fort which houses an entire eco-system within itself, making it more than just a tourist monument.
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Allahabad’s Sangam and the Ardh- Kumbh Mela attract a large number of religious tourists. Yet for all its importance in Hindu mythology, Indian history and modern politics, Allahabad today is a much humbler place. Though there are a few good places to stay and eat, the main sights are of modest appeal – and the mix of dust, exhaust fumes and traffic make for a gritty stay. The commercial heart of the city is Civil Lines, centred on MG Marg, which has the bulk of the shops, restaurants and hotels.
Pint-sized Goa 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. Laze away days lying along the beachline or go for some sport activities like banana ride, parasailing and even scuba diving!
Hindu pilgrims, Bengali holidaymakers and foreign travellers all make their way to Puri. For Hindus, Puri is one of the holiest pilgrimage places in India, with religious life revolving around the great Jagannath Mandir and its famous Rath Yatra (Chariot Festival). The town’s other attraction is its long sandy beach, which is much better for strolling than swimming.
Famed as a haven for the one-horned rhinoceros, one of India’s great wildlife emblems, Kaziranga National Park encompasses grasslands, wetlands and forests for about 60km on the south side of the Brahmaputra River. Its 2400-plus rhinos comprise two-thirds of the world’s population and you’re highly likely to see some on any safari in the park (usually grazing peacefully). You’ll probably also spot some of the park’s 1100 elephants, and if you’re very lucky, a tiger (over 100 live here). Also commonly seen are two other rare large mammals: the wild water buffalo and eastern swamp deer.
This famous national park is the best place to spot wild tigers in Rajasthan. Comprising 1334 sq km of wild jungle scrub hemmed in by rocky ridges, at its centre is the 10th-century Ranthambhore Fort. Scattered around the fort are ancient temples and mosques, hunting pavilions, crocodile-filled lakes and vine-covered memorials. The park was a maharajas’ hunting ground until 1970, a curious 15 years after it had become a sanctuary.
Varanasi is the India of your imagination. This is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities, and one of the holiest in Hinduism. Pilgrims come to the Ganges here to wash away sins in the sacred waters, to cremate their loved ones, or simply to die here, hoping for liberation from the cycle of rebirth. Still, the so-called City of Light is one of the most colourful and fascinating places on earth. Strolling the ghats or watching sunrise from a boat on the Ganges are a highlight, and confronting the reality and ritual of death can be a powerful experience.
Located on the banks of the holy Godavari River, Nashik (or Nasik)is a large provincial city. The city is noticeably cleaner, better maintained and greener than many Indian cities of its size. As Indian wine continues its coming of age, Nashik’s growth potential as a wine tourism destination is wide open. India’s best wines are produced locally and an afternoon touring the gorgeous vineyards in the countryside surrounding the city is a great reason to point your nose in Nashik’s direction.
India’s premier ski-resort Auli is a little earthly paradise. This town comes to life in winters with professional skiers flocking the place to test their skills along nearly 20km of mountain slopes. There is still much more to do here. Ride on a cable car for the most gorgeous views of the snow-capped hills around. Sample typical Garhwali food for an authentic experience.
Rapidly developing into a new mini-Dharamsala, little Bir is an attractively compact base for mountain biking and walking but is best known for some of the world’s best paragliding. It hosts major competitive flying events most years. Experienced solo fliers can reach as far as Dharamsala, Mandi and Manali, while novices can learn the art or make tandem jumps.
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 the Taj is not a stand-alone attraction. The legacy of the Mughal empire has left a magnificent fort and a liberal sprinkling of fascinating tombs and mausoleums, and there’s also fun to be had in the bustling marketplaces.