Wish you all a very happy new year. Am sure most of you must have started with your new year resolutions and working towards your goals and dreams. But how about also planning a little for your travels now at the beginning of this year? What about taking a resolution to visit once place every month of the year, 12 destinations in 12 months? Here I have compiled a short month-by-month travel guide for must visit places in India for 2016. Also, watch out for my next post on month-by-month travel guide for international destinations.
January: Rajasthan & Gujarat
For all book lovers and geeks, Jaipur tops the list for January. The Zee Jaipur Literature Festival is regarded as the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’. Its a five-day program from Jan 21st– 25th featuring some of the best writers and speakers from around the world including Stephen Fry, Esther Freud, Jerry Pinto, Ruskin Bond, Shashi Tharoor and many more. There are also musical events scheduled in the evenings. The festival takes place in The Diggi Palace Hotel in Jaipur, Rajasthan and is free for everyone. Apart from this, there is also the Rann Utsav, a carnival of music and dance happening in Gujarat during this time. Spread across a massive 5,00,000 sq. Mt with more than 2 lakh visitors, 350 tents, the picturesque white desert on a full moon night is an experience worth it.
February: Andaman & Nicobar (Read our Andaman travelogues)
This valentine’s day, leave behind the cities and traffic and escape with your loved one to the Andaman and Nicobar islands, spend a day relaxing in the virgin beaches with a cocktail and enjoy the beauty of the pristine Havelock island. For singles and free spirits too, the island offers a variety of adventure activities like scuba diving, snorkelling, trekking through tropical evergreen jungles and camping, etc,
March: Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
Jim Corbett National Park is one of the most popular tiger sanctuaries in India and March is a best time to spot a variety of wildlife here. There are variety of accomodation options from jungle resorts, tree houses and luxury tents. Tiger safaris, elephant safaris, night wildlife safari, bird watching, nature walks are some of the fun activities you can do here.
April: Jammu & Kashmir
As summers start and the weathers turn hot and humid, its a good time to head to Kashmir. Srinagar hosts South Asia’s largest Tulip Festival during the month of April in Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden. Its a spectacular, breathtaking view of hundreds and thousands of tulips blooming over five hectares of land creating a multi-color riot of reds, yellows, pinks, whites, blues and purples.
Also, you can take a romantic Shikara ride in the Dal Lake, ride the cable cars in Gulmarg, visit the famous hot water springs, and also do adventure activities like parasailing and water skiing.
As the academic year comes to an end and with the long summer vacations, Sikkim is a nice place to chill out at this time of year. The scenic landscapes, quiet monastries, the many beautiful lakes and passes in this region makes it one of the must visit destinations in India. Darjeeling, Gangtok, Pelling are some of the places to visit from here. Also, there are a lot of trek options, caving, rafting and yak safari you can do here.
Ladakh is a dream destination for travellers and adventure enthusiasts. June and July are the best months for the region in terms of beautiful mountain landscapes. Visit the world’s highest motorable pass Khardong La, trek to Nubra valley and ride the double-humped camel, go swimming in the Pangong Lake (where the movie 3 Idiots was shot), or white-water raft on the Zanskar, there is no dearth of things to do in Ladakh!
July: Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand
Valley of Flowers is a vibrant and splendid national park nestled in Uttarkhand. July is the season where the park is in full bloom. Spread over 87.5 sq.kms and with millions of species of wild flowers, running streams, cascading waterfalls, cold water springs and beautiful backdrop of mountains, its a wonderland of natural beauty. Valley of Flowers can only be reached by trekking which is around 17kms approx.
August: Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, North East India
Cherrapunjee is the second wettest place in the world. If you are someone who love the rains, then plan for an exciting monsoon trek here. Myself being a rain lover, Cherrapunjee has been my dream destination for long. You can also find the unique orange flower honey here and don’t forget to taste the Meghalaya tea which is quite different from the regular Assam or Darjeeling tea. The double decker tree bridges are one of its kind experience that one can have the best in the late monsoon when the greenery is in full bloom.
September: Lonavala, Maharashtra
Lonavala is a beautiful hillstation and monsoons are the best time to visit this place as the surroundings come alive in a beautiful lush green scenery and the lakes get filled up to the brim with all the rain. Enjoy long, romantic walks in the rain with hot coffee. Also, enroute you can plan a trip to other popular attractions like Ajanta and Ellora caves, Rajmachi Fort and Tadoba National Park.
October: Wayanad, Kerala
As the year is drawing to an end, what other better way to relax than to head to Wayanad in Kerala, ‘God’s Own Country’. Enjoy the tranquility and solitude amongst lush greenery and dwell in perfect harmony with nature. There are a lot of amazing resorts here and Vythiri Resort is one that will leave you spellbound. Exquisite cottages and villas overlooking a gurgling stream, living rooms featuring a plunge pool coupled with a bedroom offering total privacy and hot water Jacuzzi fitted bath. Also there is a luxury spa and an ayurveda center offering massages, scrubs, wraps and facials. What more can a person need!
November: Coorg, Karnataka
This November, plan a trip to the beautiful state of Karnataka in South India. Coorg, famously known as the ‘Kashmir of South’ and ‘Scotland of India’ is an extremely picturesque mountainous area near Bangalore. Stay amidst lush green coffee plantations in homestays and wake up to the aroma of fresh coffee and spices in Coorg. Other popular places to visit in Karnataka are Mysore, Jog Falls, Bandipur, Nagarhole, etc.
What other better way to end the year than a trip to Goa in December! You can experience the famous Sunburn Festival, Asia’s largest 3 day electronic music festival, during this time of year.
Also, beaches, parties, water sports, Saturday night market and casinos makes it the most happening place towards the year end.
So which places are you planning to visit in 2016?
Author: Archana Gurusamy