In 2013 alone, I did 19 trips, some short, some long. Some were within India, some abroad. I did the trips while juggling a job, a child and a travel blog. If I had to do just 5 trips this year, these are the ones, I would do.
5 Places You Should Visit in 2014January 16, 2014 371 0 0
5. Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
When I first visited Rajasthan, I was quite taken aback. Jaipur was the city I visiting. And there was no sign of the desert sand. Jaipur almost looked green; it didn’t look so much pink. I was utterly confused; I was just out of the school and it looked like all I read in books was wrong. So, if you are looking for the sand dunes go to Jaisalmer. The city is charming in its own right with Sonar Kila, Gadisar Lake, Bara Bagh Cenotaphs etc. But drive out a little and there are sand dunes, the desert the way it should be. There are hotels that would arrange a night out for you in the desert as well, do give it a try.
4. Kerala Backwaters
The most natural analogy for Kerala Backwaters is Venice. I have seen both and I am impressed by both. It is just that Kerala is more accessible than Venice. The coconut grooves, the villages by the canals, the kids going to school in boats it is so very charming. The Venbanad Lake is glorious. The houseboat experience must be awesome but I will share two tips. Try homestays, they are away from the maddening crowd and really picturesque. Houseboats can go only in bigger canals. If adventure appeals to you, go kayaking in the backwaters. The kayak will take you to smaller canals while you are sitting right next to the water and glimpse the life of the small villages by the canals.
3. Spiti, Himachal Pradesh
If you liked Ladakh, try Spiti. If you have not been to Ladakh, I will still say try Spiti. Spiti is quite similar in terrain to Ladakh minus the ‘3 Idiots’ crowd. It is in a rain shadow region so monsoons are a good time to visit. Spiti does not have a commercial airport as of now, so you have to do a road journey. The region is remote and yet the village is well connected by a network of roads. In many places homestay would be the only option. Visit it for the breathtaking scenery, grand monasteries and beautiful high altitude lakes.
2. Tiger Quest in Madhya Pradesh
I visited Kanha National Park in 2009 and I spotted my first tiger in 2013 at Pench National Park. In between I visited Jim Corbett, Bandhavgarh, Panna and yet the tiger eluded me. If you ask me being in the jungle is a reward in itself. Away from the noise and pollution of the cities the green of the jungle has a soothing effect. Tigers can’t be produced at will, so you have to take what the jungle has to offer, be it a jackal, wild boar, deer or a porcupine. If you are interested in birds, the jungle will never fail you. But when I finally spotted my tigress it was a truly awesome experience. Once you see a tiger in the wild, you would be sold on that experience for a lifetime. So, it was worth the wait for me. I am told Bandhavgarh has really good odds but my sighting came at unlikely Pench. Madhya Pradesh has four awesome national parks- Kanha, Panna, Pench and Bandhavgarh. They could be an excellent starting point. I would say don’t give up till you see a tiger! You will see one if you are lucky. If the luck doesn’t favor you then patience would certainly get rewarded.
1. Andaman Islands
Andaman is remote, it is pristine and it is becoming mainstream fast! Port Blair, the capital, is a fascinating place in itself. After all it has the infamous Cellular Jail (known as Kala Pani) where the political refugees were sent during the freedom struggle. What was a dreaded exile, has become a tourist’s paradise, how times change! But if you want the beach, I say, head to Havelock. The sand is white, the hamlet small and snorkeling and scuba diving out of this world. There is no hawking allowed right on the beaches in Andaman so they are clean. Most of the package tours now run a trip to Andaman. Before they completely take over, I say go and visit this paradise.
Desert, backwaters, a high altitude cold desert, wild life and beaches, we have it all in India. As of now I have not even mentioned the alluring North-East. India is vast; India is beautiful so start exploring.