2018 is here and with that comes 16 long weekends and at least 20 days of paid leave for us – lesser beings – who have to work (supposedly) 9 am to 6 pm, five days a week to earn a living & thus the means to – travel, travel & travel.
No matter how your 2017 was, ditch the blues, shirk off the fears & resolve to be a ‘better you’ this year. Explore something new, experience something like never before & encourage yourself to live a better tomorrow than today. And what could be a better way to achieve all this than travelling?
With 16 states already done, I am running behind by 13 before I declare myself an ‘India Trotter’. And here I share my travel experiences from these 16 states & present to you 12 top travel destinations for the new year – 2018.
1. Begin with a bang with the Pink City of India, Jaipur in January:
Pink City aka Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan is a rainbow of colors. Look around and you will see a melange of bright, illuminating neon colors. Top it up with spicy Pyaaz ki kachori & cool your sense with a glass of Lassi.
Bonus – Go & visit the stepped well in Abhaneri, where they did the shooting of Dark Knight Rises.
Abhaneri is 2 hrs. away from Jaipur (at a distance of 95.8 kms.)
2. Experience the love in February in Khajuraho & Orchha:
February is the month of love with so many cliche days. Is that way I am suggesting Khajuraho? Well, that & the breath-taking dance festival of Khajuraho that’s held in February every year.
It’s being believed that classical dance was the form of expression of devotion to God. Every year, the greatest classical dancers of the world, gather to pay respects to the ancient Khajuraho temples and celebrate art, architecture & culture.
Bonus – At a distance of ~3 hours from Khajuraho exists Orchha with beautiful Jahangir Mahal that was built to welcome Mughal Emperor Jahangir. And you know what? He stayed there only for a day. It took 2 years to build Jahangir Mahal and the emperor stayed there for only 1 day. Yeah, that’s right.
3. Marvel at the Marble Wonder in March – The Taj Mahal of Agra!
After visiting Jaipur of Golden Triangle, visit the second knot at Agra & awe yourself with one of the seven wonders of the world – the gorgeous Taj.
Bonus: At a mere distance of 35 kms. from Agra exists Fatehpur Sikri where Mughal Emperor Akbar had his court for years. Do pay a visit if you have got time & create memories of high Buland Darwaza.
It’s sad that a place as significant as Fatehpur Sikri is unkempt. As a tourist/ traveller, we must exercise full caution to not litter & add to the problem.
4. Celebrate Baisakhi in the magical Golden temple of Amritsar:
Golden temple or Swarn Mandir got its name from the sanctum (of Sri Harmandir Sahib) that’s overlaid with Gold foil. It’s the holiest gurudwara & one of the most revered sites in India, worshipped equally by Sikhs and other religious fraternities.
For an ethereal experience, visit early mornings & late evenings or any other time of the day because the door to the God’s place is never shut down.
Also visit the Jallianwala Bagh – next to Golden temple. It was also the day of Baisakhi in 1919 when many innocent families gathered in a park on an early, fateful morning. Little did they know that minutes later; they all will leave the world for good without their goodbyes, farewell’s & last words.
5. May is only for Manali, Himachal Pradesh:
Come May and the child in you craves the Summer Vacations. No place is better than the one with mountains. Pack your bags, leave your baggage behind & revel in the mountains of Manali.
6. June will bring joy when you spend it with Goa’s monsoons:
Goa trips are generally reserved for December holidays or bachelorette parties (oh yes, I used ‘bachelorette’). Last year, we visited Goa in June. We didn’t have much expectations since we were going out of season but Goa startled us. It was amazingly green, pleasant & peaceful. There were very few people to bomb my pictures or encroach my space. And that was enough to make me happy.
Go Green and Go Goa this June!
7. Chase the ruins, caves and temples in Karnataka in July:
Karnataka is an amazing state & offers immense travel opportunities. While the beaches, hill stations and back waters are explored by many, very few are aware of the ancient treasure trove of Karnataka – the temple trail.
Begin your itinerary with Hampi, move on to Badami & finish with Aihole and Pattadakal. Here’s the route:
And here are the pictures:
8. Romance the August in Khandala, Lonavala & Mahabaleshwar near Pune:
This one, right there, is an amazing itinerary where you begin with Pune, go to Mahabaleshwar (and probably Matheran), and come back via Khandala and Lonavala. This is the route to die for!
9. Before September ends, spend a weekend in Bhimtal, Uttarakhand:
Bhimtal is a lake town like Nainital where you get intermittent wi-fi signal, hear occasional chirping of birds and receive full time rains (if you visit in September-October). The place guarantees a peace of mind & a sense of calm.
Bhimtal is the much needed break from your work.
10. Welcome the October in Chikmagalur, Karnataka – the coffee place of India!
You know who brought coffee to India? Baba Budan Giri. Who was Baba Budan Giri?
Visit Chikmagalur to know the story of how coffee was brought to India and taste some of the finest.
11. November means love and romance. And that means Munnar, Kerala:
I may write volumes about Munnar, but it will never be enough. The place is gorgeous and touches your soul in ways more than one. Munnar is an exclusive experience with the tea plantation, spice farms, Kathakali & Kalaripayattu.
12. Celebrate the year that’s been by visiting the tip of the nation: Kanyakumari
India’s tip – the farthest end – the last place is Kanyakumari. The place has the most gorgeous Sunrise and Sunsets & splendid rock memorial in the middle of the sea. This is a place that’s different than the rest. It’s got no mountains, hills, lakes or popular beaches, but it’s got a view & you would love that.
Happy New Year, guys!
Wish you all a wonderful 2018!