There is no such thing as the ‘ideal season’ for travel but as the chill in the air reduces, stepping out of home could be easier. Those who have been sticking to their blankets can pack their bags now without giving a second thought. We have listed a few places to pick from.
Enthralling, historical Jaipur, Rajasthan’s capital, is the gateway to India’s most flamboyant state. The splendours of Jaipur’s majestic past are islands of relative calm evoking a different pace and another world.
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The town of Vrindavan is where the young Krishna is said to have grown up. Pilgrims flock here from all over India and, as it’s the centre of the Hare Krishna community, from all over the world. March plays a special role in bringing visitors here as the festival of colours-Holi- is celebrated with great fervour. It’s a delight for the shutterbugs and tourists alike.
Leh is India at its most enchantingly human and scenically stunning. One encounters rugged high-altitude desert softened with Tibetan temples, irrigated paddies and mesmerising mountain lakes.
Offering the much needed seclusion, nature’s bounty and a peaceful landscape, Chikmagalur becomes a perfect short getaway. And an add-on for coffee lovers, the aroma never leaves the air! While you are there, do not miss covering places around like- Hoysala temples, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Hirekolale Lake.
Encompassing part of the Western Ghats’ Nilgiri Biopshere Reserve, Wayanad’s landscape combines mountain scenery, rice paddies of ludicrous green, skinny betel nut trees, bamboo, red earth, spiky ginger fields, slender eucalyptuses, and rubber, cardamom and coffee plantations. Apart from the stunning landscape experience, it’s also an excellent place to spot wild elephants.
Rajasthan’s only hill station nestles among green forests on the state’s highest mountain at the southwestern end of the Aravalli Hills and close to the Gujarat border. Quite unlike anywhere else in Rajasthan, Mt Abu provides locals and tourists with respite from scorching temperatures and arid terrain elsewhere. It’s a particular hit with honeymooners and middle-class families from Gujarat.
As the state capital of Meghalaya, Shillong has rapidly developed into a typical modern Indian town, still retaining some of its colonial-era charm. Top attractions of the city are- Don Bosco Museum, Umiam Lake, Shillong Golf Course, Ward’s Lake and Pinewood Hotel.
A regular nominee among travellers’ favourite beaches in India, Gokarna attracts a crowd for a low-key, chilled-out beach holiday and not for full-scale parties. Most accommodation is in thatched bamboo huts along the town’s several stretches of blissful coast.
Halebidu (also called Halibidu or Halebeedu) is a small town that’s home to a stunning Hoysala temple and some other minor Jain sites. Most travellers visit on a day trip from Belur or Hassan.
The magnificent ruins of Hampi dot an unearthly landscape that has captivated travellers for centuries. Heaps of giant boulders perch precariously over kilometres of undulating terrain, their rusty hues offset by jade-green palm groves, banana plantations and paddy fields. While it’s possible to see this World Heritage Site in a day or two, plan on lingering for a while.
Rameswaram is a small fishing town on conch-shaped Pamban Island, connected to the mainland by 2km-long bridges. The Ramanathaswamy Temple is the key attraction where millions of Hindus flock to worship where a god (Lord Rama) worshipped a god (Lord Shiva). The island’s eastern tip, Dhanushkodi, only 30km from Sri Lanka, has a magical natural beauty that adds to Rameswaram’s appeal.
Irreverent, cheerful and pleasantly boisterous, Sikkim’s modern capital is layered along a precipitous mountain ridge, descending the hillside in steep tiers. Viewpoints survey plunging green valleys that remain beautiful even when partly shrouded in mist.
Amritsar is home to the spectacular Golden Temple, Sikhism’s holiest shrine and one of India’s most serene and humbling sights. The hyperactive streets surrounding the temple have been calmed to some extent by recent urban landscaping, including graceful pedestrianised walkways.
Comprising a string of 36 palm-covered, white-sand-skirted coral islands 300km off the Kerala coast, Lakshadweep (India’s smallest Union Territory) is as stunning as it is isolated. Lakshadweep’s real attraction lies underwater: the 4200 sq km of pristine archipelago lagoons, unspoilt coral reefs and warm waters are a magnet for scuba divers and snorkellers.