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5 DELIGHTFUL PLACES TO EXPLORE IN PARIS IN WINTERS

5 DELIGHTFUL PLACES TO EXPLORE IN PARIS IN WINTERS

About the Blog: Learn more about your favourite city which is none other than Paris and how good it is to visit the city in winters. Thus presenting the 5 Delightful Places to Explore in Paris in Winters with your loved ones.

 

Paris, the name itself is enough to fill your minds up with the thoughts of dreamy locations and scrumptious cuisine. Paris is also the most visited city in the world. France’ capital, Paris comprises of huge population and there is no shortage of visitors/travellers/explorers who come here. The extraordinary landmarks and the exquisite cuisine that are found in this city cannot be seen anywhere else. That is what makes Paris special for the travellers and they never want to cease exploring this fascinating city. Paris has forever been that one city which is desired by every traveller across the world.

 

Regarded as the romantic destination for couples or the dreamiest ones for the singles, Paris is always a pleasure to explore. Enlisted below are the 5 Delightful Places to Explore in Paris in Winter Season. Go through the list and prepare yourselves for the most magical vacation of your lifetime.

 

1- Notre Dame Cathedral

An architectural marvel, Notre Dame Cathedral has been standing on the grounds of Paris since forever. Millions of people gather to observe this captivating beauty and to pray inside the cathedral. Notre Dame Cathedral is certainly one of the most iconic buildings in the city of Paris.

 

Notre-Dame-Cathedral

 

2- Eiffel Tower

The monument which basically represents Paris is none other than the incredible Eiffel Tower. Around 324 m high, the Eiffel Tower’s width is nearly 125 m which automatically makes it the tallest structure in the city. The Eiffel Tower is also counted as amidst the wonders of the world is exceptionally beautiful.

 

Eiffel-Tower

 

3- Louvre Museum

The famous Pyramid designed structure is also known as the Louvre Museum, one of the finest locations to visit in Paris. The enormous crowd can be seen enlightening themselves with the rich history, art, culture and music that is the trademark of this enchanting city. The Louvre Museum thus is a must-visit.

 

louvre-museum

 

4- Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge is the perfect location for those who need to relax and rejuvenate their souls. This place consists of the following: theatrical entertainment that features music, song, dance, recitation, and drama. Also surrounding the Moulin Rouge are these: pub, casino, restaurant, nightclub

 

Moulin-Rouge

 

5- Le Marais

Get to witness the intriguing Jewish culture that is present in the Le Marias. Take a stroll at this location and become a fundamental part of the culture that resides in the area. Le Marias takes the explorers on an incredible ride into the past when the Jews used to live in those areas.

 

Le-Marais-paris

 

These are the places that you must explore in the winter season in the captivating city of Paris. Dreamy as it already is, Paris is equally soothing for those who seek solitude and what better season than winters to explore Paris in complete peace your loved ones. For more fun within your budgets connect with Country Holidays Inn & Suites. Get access to a diverse range of holiday memberships and exclusive vouchers as well.

5 AMAZING THINGS TO EXPERIENCE IN LEH-LADAKH 2019

5 AMAZING THINGS TO EXPERIENCE IN LEH-LADAKH 2019

About the Blog: Vacationing becomes perfect once you get to know about any place in a much better way. Get to know about the 5 Amazing Things to Experience in Leh-Ladakh in 2019 with your family, friends or even solo.

 

Everyone wants to go on trips to the unknown lands, where they have never been to before. But only a few of them actually get to execute their plans. Vacations are extremely special for people, this is because of the moments of joy they get to spend with their family and friends. One of India’s most captivating destination is the Leh-Ladakh where millions of travellers/explorers can be seen having the best time of their lives. Travelling with family or friends is always exciting because of the fun time people get to enjoy which has nowadays become impossible for them to pursue. Go on for an exciting vacation with your loved ones to the most popular town in terms of tourism.

 

And when it’s a trip to Leh-Ladakh, it automatically becomes interesting. There are so many things to explore in Leh-Ladakh plus the abundance of nature. If you enjoy staying amidst nature, then the Leh-Ladakh trip is perfect for you. Here are the 5 Amazing Things to Experience in Leh-Ladakh in 2019:

 

1- The Chadar Trek

 

The Chadar Trek is certainly one of the favourites of the explorers. People love to go on trekking at this beautiful place. Those who have a keen interest in trekking and other such adventurous outdoor activities. Also, the view of the surroundings is spell-binding and will leave you amazed.

 

The Chadar Trek

 

2- Explore the Khardung La Pass

 

The elevated Khardung La Pass is a dream place for every biker or an enthusiastic traveller. Since the Khardung La Pass is an elevated pass, travellers must always carry a medical kit with them. Apart from that, there isn’t any specific thing to worry about, in fact after the snowfall, the area becomes even more beautiful.

 

Khardung-La-Pass

 

3- The Magnetic Hill

 

This is a mysterious location wherein if you park your vehicle at a certain point, it starts moving forward on its own. The Magnetic Hill, as it is termed to be, has become famous because of this intriguing phenomenon that occurs over here. Many travellers can be seen exploring this point with keen interest.

 

The-Magnetic-Hill

 

4- Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary

 

Enjoy Exploring Wildlife? Well, the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary is for you to explore.There is a diverse range of flora and fauna present in the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary which is absolutely wonderful. Inside the sanctuary, there are some unique species of animals too, which are mesmerising.

 

Changthang-Wildlife-Sanctuary

 

5- Night-Time Exploration at Lamayuru Monastery

 

Leh-Ladakh is full of many beautiful monasteries which attract more than thousands of travellers from all across the world. One of these is the Lamayuru Monastery which is, in particular, popular for the night-time exploration that takes place here. Watch the skies full with millions of celestial objects that provide an outstanding.

 

Night-Time-Exploration-at-Lamayuru-Monastery

 

Therefore, these are the 5 Amazing Things to Experience in Leh-Ladakh in 2019 which people must surely explore. Apart from these, there are numerous other places, locations and landmarks where people can travel when exploring Leh-Ladakh. Undoubtedly, this is one of the coolest locations to travel to, be it for the youth, or for the others as well. Visit these mesmerising areas in India’s most preferred holiday destination which is Leh-Ladakh. For much more fascinating vacations, connect with Country Holidays Inn & Suites and begin your moment of joy, the thing that you have always been dreaming of.

Want To Travel In 2021 or 2022? Now’s The Time To Start Planning

Want To Travel In 2021 or 2022? Now’s The Time To Start Planning

2020 is finally over and 2021 has arrived. But even with vaccines starting to be distributed, the pandemic is still going strong, both in the United States and elsewhere around the world. As transmission rates and a harrowing death tally climb ever higher, in addition to the new, more contagious strain of COVID-19 starting to pop up around the world, the CDC and most government and health organizations are still cautioning against unnecessary travel, especially overseas. However, you may have heard the rumblings that travel could start picking up again come summer 2021 or toward the end of the year and are wondering if you could start planning or booking a trip in that time frame. This has largely emerged as an option since infectious disease experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have said that, should enough people start receiving the vaccine once it’s more widely available, the U.S. could start to see early signs of herd immunity come spring or summer, which opens the door to travel and the beginning of a return of “normal” life from the summer onward. But that’s all still a big “if” as it depends on wide-spread vaccination and people continuing to follow guidelines like wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and staying home as much as possible.

After a long year stuck at home, though, it’s completely understandable that you want to know when you can take a well-deserved vacation. And the thought of planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip so far in the future with so many unknown variables is hard; why plan and book a trip months in advance when one can just wait and see how the next six months play out and make plans then? Sure, you can do that, but there are actually many good reasons to go ahead and start planning and booking a trip for mid-to-late 2021 or 2022.

First, do your research

Before doing anything, it’s important to make sure you’re up-to-date on the current COVID situation where you are and where you’re interested in traveling. The CDC website has a comprehensive map showing COVID-19 risk levels in countries around the world, divided into “Very High,” “High,” “Moderate,” “Low,” and “Unknown” levels. Clicking on each country, you’ll see whether the CDC recommends travel there, as well as any entry requirements the country may have, such as a negative COVID-19 test or requiring that all in-bound travelers quarantine after arrival. This information is continually being updated so that you can stay informed and make educated decisions.

With overseas travel being riskier than traveling locally, national or regional travel will once again be a top travel trend for 2021, especially road trips. With local travel — especially by vehicle — being easier to plan and make itinerary changes on than a large international trip, traveling safely within your region or state is likely to be a popular option.

Above all, always listen to what health and safety experts in your area and around the world are recommending in terms of travel. While travel advisors and the overall travel industry have been equally thoughtful and cautious about recommending travel, not wanting to put lives at risk or create unrealistic expectations about timelines, listening to experts is a must. For any kind of travel, national or international, refer to CDC guidelines for their health and safety recommendations. And whether traveling for work, necessity, or fun, always wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands.

Availability

You may be thinking, “If I want to travel in 2021 or 2022, why should I book now? Shouldn’t I wait to see what the situation is?” While the second part of that rhetorical question is answered below, the answer to the first is because of availability. When COVID-19 hit, a wave of cancellations swept through the travel industry, but many people were also willing to push their travel dates into 2021 or 2022. That means there may be entire weeks to months at hotels, resorts, and popular destinations that have already filled up. So if you want to guarantee good travel dates and access to the accommodations and activities of your choice, it’s better to book soon to guarantee availability.

Flexible cancellation and postponement policies

Everyone from airlines to cruises to tour operators have changed their policies pertaining to booking, postponing, or canceling a service, making them more flexible than ever. The exact policies vary by company, but the gist with most is that, within a set amount of time, you can easily cancel or change dates for your travel with no extra fees. You can even find “book now and decide later” policies that allow you to book a trip without set dates and just wait and see when the best time to travel is. The new policies are extremely consumer-oriented and make it extremely easy to adjust your travel plans for these rapidly changing times; if there’s a sudden surge of COVID-19 cases in your area right before your trip or the destination you were planning to visit decides to shut down again, you can change plans. Knowing that you’re not going to be saddled with fees and extra charges for changing travel dates makes it easier to take the jump and book a trip.

Great deals and rates

Every sector of the travel industry is desperate for travelers and the money they bring right now, so in looking to next year and beyond, many hotels, tour operators, airlines, and cruises are offering great deals to entice travelers to reserve a trip in advance. From special discounts or rates during select time frames to great perks, you’re bound to find some amazing deals out there if you start looking.

Support the travel industry

Another key reason why you should invest the time and money in booking a future trip now: It helps support the travel industry in the meantime. The big hotel chains, resorts, cruises, and airlines may be able to survive a tough year, but what about the small boutique hotel with slim margins? The family-owned-and-operated tour company? The workers and communities that depend on annual tourism revenue? Studies have shown that one in eleven people works in a job related to tourism, and with nearly the entire industry shut down due to COVID-19, that’s millions of people out of work for the foreseeable future. Booking a future trip provides a direct cash infusion to all the different sectors of a destination. Book a tour and you’ll be supporting trip planners, tour guides, drivers, and more. Book a hotel and you’ll be helping the hotel stay afloat and retain staff. If we want to be able to get back out there and travel once it’s safe to do so, there needs to be an industry there to support that demand, so booking now for future trips throws the travel industry a lifeline during these turbulent times.

Gives you something to look forward to

The thought of finally packing your suitcase, heading to the airport, walking down that jet bridge, settling into your seat, and feeling the anticipation of an adventure wash over you … we all want that right now. We’re going to have to be patient for longer, but do you know what makes the waiting easier? Having something to look forward to. Even if it’s still some ways in the future, knowing you have a great trip already planned, booked, and paid for means that you’ve done your part. You can spend the beginning of 2021 safely at home, following local health and safety mandates and waiting for your turn to get the vaccine, and when the time arrives, you’re all good to go. Counting down the months and weeks to a new trip helps the time fly by, so even if the thought of booking a trip for later this year or even early next year feels like an exercise in torture, you’ll reap the benefits come travel time.

Public Holidays in India 2021: Check out the complete list and plan your holidays accordingly

Public Holidays in India 2021: Check out the complete list and plan your holidays accordingly

New Delhi: As the year 2020 winds down, we would all be looking forward to 2021. While 2020 was saddled by the burden of COVID-19 pandemic that restricted our travel plans, one hopes that the coming year will be better.

The information regarding public holidays becomes really handy on two occassions –when you want to take a quick retreat (in case of long weekends) and when you want to go on a planned leave.

These holidays are as per the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. The holiday list is categorised on the basis of Gazetted Holidays (denoted by G) as well as some very popular Restricted Holidays.

MonthHoliday
January 1New Year
January 13Lohri
January 14Makar Sankranti/Pongal
January 20Guru Gobind Singh’s Birthday
January 26Republic Day (G)
February 16Basant Panchami / Sri Panchami
February 19Shivaji Jayanti
February 26Hazarat Ali’s Birthday
February 27Guru Ravidas’s Birthday
March 8Swami Dayananda Saraswati Jayanti
March 11Maha Shivaratri
March 28Holika Dahan/Dolyatra
March 29Holi  (G)
April 2Good Friday (G)
April 13Chaitra Sukladi/ Gudi Padava/ Ugadi/Cheti Chand/ Vaisakhi/ Vishu
April 21Ram Navami (G)
April 25Mahavir Jayanti (G)
May 1Labour Day
May 14Eid-ul-Fitar (G)
May 26Buddha Purnima (G)
July 12Rath Yatra
July 21Id-ul-Zuha (Bakrid) (G)
August 15Independence Day (G)
August 19Muharram (G)
August 21Onam
August 22Raksha Bandhan
August 30Janamashtami (G)
September 10Vinayaka Chaturthi
October 2Gandhi Jayanti (G)
October 15Dussehra (G)
October 19Milad-un-Nabi or Id-e-Milad (G)
November 4Diwali (G)
November 6Bhai Duj
November 19Gurupurab  (G)
December 25Christmas (G)

How to Plan a Vacation in 2021 (+ FREE Travel Checklist)

How to Plan a Vacation in 2021 (+ FREE Travel Checklist)

How do you go about planning an exciting new trip?

This part of the travel experience is a tricky step for many people.

You’ve got hours and hours of internet research to get through – narrowing down and picking out the best flight tickets and accommodation deals.

Not to mention, there’s all the boring stuff like travel insurance, and the visa process – which could be a long, drawn out process in depending on where you’re travelling to.

And, you’ve got to figure out exactly how much this trip is gonna cost.

You’ve got to plan your daily routine and itineraries – what will you see and do?

You’ll want to make sure you’ve added the BEST activities/landmarks etc. to your itinerary, and that you’re not wasting any precious time or missing out during your trip.

But there’s more:

You’re gonna need to be meticulous and include every single expense – every meal of every day, every beer or coffee.

Will you be fully prepared for the climate? If it’s a hot place – you’ll need your sunblock, shades, hat, mosquito repellent, tiger balm, etc. BEFORE you go.

Aftersun costs an absolute fortune abroad, and you’ll be forced to buy some if you forgot to pack yours.

Will you be using public transport? or hiring a car? You’ve got to put aside money for gifts perhaps, and you’ll definitely need a contingency plan.

Oh and you’ll need a SIM card on arrival too!

Happiness Is Planning An Adventure

I read somewhere that it’s scientifically proven that planning a vacation increases happiness, even if you don’t actually GO on the trip!

Weird huh!

So even if you aren’t ready to go yet, or are having financial difficulties that means changing plans, you can still enjoy the process of planning a trip, until the time comes when you’re ready to put it to action!

In all honesty, it doesn’t need to be difficult at all.

In fact, with time and patience, planning your brand new trip – whether its a weekend getaway or a three-month backpacking adventure, should always be an enjoyable experience – just keep it nice and simple.

Here’s my FREE printable  Vacation Planner Checklist PDF to help you plan your vacation up to a year in advance.

Complete Travel Checklist

Holiday Packages In India

Holiday Packages In India

  • manali
    Manali3 Nights

    Starting from

    Rs 4,750

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    Per person on twin sharing

  • goa
    Goa3 Nights

    Starting from

    Rs 3,999

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    Per person on twin sharing

  • kashmir
    Kashmir1 Nights

    Starting from

    Rs 5,900

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    Per person on twin sharing

  • ooty
    Ooty1 Nights

    Starting from

    Rs 4,999

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    Per person on twin sharing

  • kerala
    Kerala2 Nights

    Starting from

    Rs 5,100

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    Per person on twin sharing

  • ladakh
    Ladakh4 Nights

    Starting from

    Rs 23,999

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  • darjeeling
    Darjeeling2 Nights

    Starting from

    Rs 11,200

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  • shimla
    Shimla2 Nights

    Starting from

    Rs 7,600

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  • gangtok
    Gangtok2 Nights

    Starting from

    Rs 5,999

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  • thailand
    Thailand3 Nights

    Starting from

    Rs 10,990

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  • dubai
    Dubai2 Nights

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    Rs 19,990

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  • maldives
    Maldives3 Nights

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    Rs 29,990

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  • singapore
    Singapore3 Nights

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    Rs 22,990

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  • bali
    Bali5 Nights

    Starting from

    Rs 9,990

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  • bangkok
    Bangkok3 Nights

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    Rs 10,990

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  • malaysia
    Malaysia1 Nights

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    Rs 47,990

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  • europe
    Europe3 Nights

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    Rs 22,990

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  • mauritius
    Mauritius4 Nights

    Starting from

    Rs 19,990

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  • sri lanka
    Sri Lanka1 Nights

    Starting from

    Rs 11,599

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2021 Holiday Calendar In India: Start Planning Your Long-Weekend Road Trips From Bengaluru

2021 Holiday Calendar In India: Start Planning Your Long-Weekend Road Trips From Bengaluru

This year may not have been ideal for your travel plans, but 2021 isn’t far away. And it packs in quite a few long weekends too! We have selected the best of the holidays and curated a list of destinations at driving distances from Bengaluru. So, take your pick and get planning on those vacations you missed out on. By Satarupa Paul

2021 Holiday Calendar In India

1. JANUARY

New Year’s Day
January 1 to January 3 (Friday to Sunday)

Where to go? Chikmagalur, Karnataka

Imagine waking up to the smell of freshly roasting coffee on the first day of a new year. Sounds pretty ordinary? Now imagine doing that in a lovely villa with a private plunge pool set amidst a sprawling plantation in the heart of the prime coffee country—Chikmagalur. Perched on the slopes of the Western Ghats, this sleepy town is where the first coffee seeds in India were planted by Sufi saint Baba Budan in 1600 CE. Today, a stay at one of its numerous plantation resorts comes with immersive experiences, such as plantation walks, harvest-time berry picking, guided tours of coffee processing from bean to cup, coffee appreciation, and more.

Distance from Bengaluru: 243 kilometres

Duration: Approximately four-and-a-half hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Murali Miltry Hotel, Nagatihalli

Where to stay?: The Serai Chikmagalur

What to do?: Visit Baba Budangiri hills with its sacred caves housing a shrine to the Sufi saint; hike up to Mullayyanagiri—the highest peak in Karnataka; sample the exquisite regional Malnad cuisine.

2. MARCH

Maha Shivratri
March 11 to March 14 (Thursday to Sunday; take a leave on Friday)

Where to go? Puducherry

Even the most seasoned traveller isn’t immune to the charms of Puducherry, such are the offerings of this erstwhile French colony that is still popularly known by its old name of Pondicherry, lovingly shortened as Pondy. Paved promenades front the rocky sea-face of the French quarter, whereas tree-lined cobbled lanes lead to mustard-coloured colonial villas, elegant boutiques and chic cafes. It’s delightful to simply walk through this quaint European-looking town, and idling at one of its cafes, reading a book and savouring continental dishes. Whereas, a visit to the serene Aurobindo Ashram and partaking in its simple community lunch — tops the surreal experience.

Distance from Bengaluru: 310 kilometres

Duration: Approximately six-and-a-half hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Hotel Mangalam, Krishnagiri; Adyan Ananda Bhavan, Arcot

Where to stay?: La Villa

What to do?: Spend a day in the experimental township of Auroville, about 20 minutes away, featuring the gold-domed Matrimandir, organic vegan cafes, gourmet coffee shops and bakeries.

3. April

Good Friday and Easter Sunday
April 2 to April 4 (Friday to Sunday)

Where to go? Wayanad, Kerala

The hottest month of the year in Bengaluru calls for a cool getaway. Adorning the lush Western Ghats in northern Kerala, Wayanad makes for the perfect pick. A protected forest district, with a small population engaged in farming and plantation activities, Wayanad remains secluded from the purview of urbanisation, making it an ideal retreat for quiet relaxation. Studded with waterfalls, lakes, birdwatching spots, caves, trekking trails and a general abundance of magnificent sites, Wayanad is also leading the charge on sustainable tourism initiatives. A stay in a colonial plantation bungalow set amidst tropical rainforests, complete with Ayurvedic massage therapies and delicious local food, comes highly recommended.

Distance from Bengaluru: 271 kilometres

Duration: Approximately five-and-a-half hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Hotel Ruchi Mane, Srirangapatna

Where to stay?: Pepper Trail

What to do?: Take a plantation tour and learn about traditional methods of cultivation; make the arduous climb to Chembra Peak or do a relaxed hike to Meenmutty Waterfalls.

4. May

Eid Ul Fitr
May 13 to May 16 (Thursday to Sunday; take a leave on Friday)

Where to go? Bandipur, Karnataka

Once a private hunting reserve for the Maharaja of Mysore, Bandipur was declared a National Park under Project Tiger in 1974. Spanning an area of 874 square kilometres, it is home to leopards, elephants, gaur, chital, sambar, sloth bears and more, along with a small population of tigers. A jungle safari is a highlight here, but guided nature walks by naturalists is a great way to experience the lay of the land at close quarters. Also recommended is a trip to the top of Gopalswamy Betta, a densely-wooded hill that lies in the core area and houses a beautiful old temple at the top from where you are afforded astounding views of the entire forest.

Distance from Bengaluru: 230 kilometres

Duration: Approximately five hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Ramgad Vegetarian Restaurant, Ramanagara; Kamat Madhuvan, Mysuru

Where to stay?: The Windflower Tusker Trails

What to do?: Take a day trip to the famous hill station of Ooty, just two-and-a-half hours away. Spend the day strolling through the Botanical Gardens, boating in the Ooty Lake, and riding a toy train.

5. July

Eid al-Adha
July 17 to July 20 (Saturday to Tuesday; take a leave on Monday)

Where to go? Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu

Located in the Palani Hills, Kodaikanal is an enchanting hill retreat of lakes and dales where flowers and berries grow with wild abandonment. Surrounded by misty forests, colonial-era bungalows dot the landscape here, lending it a certain old-world charm. The centre-piece is Kodai Lake. Being a missionary town means there’s a quaint church at every corner—LaSalette Church, Lutheran Church, and Christ the King Church are must-visits. The untouched beauties of Berijam forest, Kookal Lake, and Mannavanur sheep farm that look straight out of a fairytale are short drives away. Kodaikanal is just the soothing balm your city soul needs in the midst of a busy year.

Distance from Bengaluru: 467 kilometres

Duration: Approximately nine hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Adyar Ananda Bhavan, Thoppur; RK Mess & Restaurant, Karur; KDFC’s Filter Coffee, Pithalaipatti

Where to stay?: The Tamara Kodai

What to do?: Buy local cheese (Kodai cheese and Caroselle) and homemade dark chocolate from artisanal shops in the market; take a guided walk of the landmark bungalows in town.

6. August

Janmashtami
August 28 to August 30 (Saturday to Monday)

Where to go? Coorg, Karnataka

Framed by the green hills of the Western Ghats, with acres of coffee and spice plantations intermingling with thick forests, Coorg (or Kodagu) paints a striking picture of wanderlust. Contrary to popular advice, travelling here during the monsoon is especially rewarding—for, this is when you can witness it in all its glory. A mysterious mist blankets the landscape at all times, trickling streams become roaring waterfalls, and the scenery is awash in myriad hues of green. The rain alters between torrential and dreamy drizzle, clearing often to let you enjoy a plantation walk, a hike to a waterfall, or indulge in some rejuvenating forest therapy. Then there’s delicious spicy Coorgi food and relaxing spa sessions to go back to!

Distance from Bengaluru: 250 kilometres

Duration: Approximately five-and-a-half hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Right-O-Food Court, Uramarkasalagere

Where to stay?: Taj Madikeri Resort & Spa, or The Ibnii

What to do?: Visit the gentle giants of Dubare Elephant Camp; explore the 17th century Madikeri Fort and the nearby Omkareshwar Temple; discover the Buddhist settlement of Bylakuppe, just an hour away.

7. October

Mahanavami, Dussehra, and Eid-e-Milad
October 14 to October 19 (Saturday to Monday; take a leave on Monday)

Where to go? Gokarna, Karnataka

This extra-long weekend makes for a great time to set off on a long road trip that ends with days of R&R in the enchanting seaside town of Gokarna. For ages, it’s been a popular Hindu pilgrimage owing to sacred sites of Mahabaleshwar Temple and Koti Teertha temple tank. In recent years though, Gokarna has been attracting thrill-seekers who come looking for its unspoiled beaches that make for arduous treks to reach, as well as those who simply wish to unwind with good food, drinks and music at its many beach shacks. Lately, even wellness enthusiasts have been flocking here, courtesy the yoga centres and spas that are mushrooming all over. Gokarna thus makes for an ideal holiday for a variety of interests.

Distance from Bengaluru: 483 kilometres

Duration: Approximately nine-and-a-half hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Kamat Upachar, Sira; Café Coffee Day, Davanagere

Where to stay?: SwaSwara by CGH Earth

What to do?: Go on a trek to its popular beaches—Om, Kudle, Half Moon, and Paradise; enjoy a night stroll and bonfire at Nirvana beach; explore the flea markets; drive to the beautiful palm-fringed town of Murdeshwar (one-and-a-half hours away), known for the second tallest Shiva statue in the world.

8. November

Diwali
November 5 to November 7 (Friday to Sunday)

Where to go? Hampi, Karnataka

Once the centre of the great Vijayanagara Empire of southern India, today, Hampi is one of the best-known UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. Over 1,600 ruins lie across 4,100 hectares here, which include forts, palaces, temples, shrines, pillared halls, mandapas, water structures and more. Insta-famous ruins include the Badavilanga Temple, Narasimha statue and Vittala Temple whose stone chariot features on the new INR 50 notes. The landscape is further accentuated by the natural topography of boulders—with sizes ranging from skipping stones to mammoth hillocks dating back to 2,500 million years—which attract bouldering enthusiasts as well.

Distance from Bengaluru: 343 kilometres

Duration: Approximately six hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Danish Restaurant, Chitradurga; Kamat Upachar, Sira

Where to stay?: Evolve Back, Hampi

What to do?: Take a ride in the bowl-shaped coracle boats or dongis that ply on the Tungabhadra River to the bohemian Hippy Island.

9. December

Christmas
December 24 to December 26 (Friday to Sunday)

Where to go? Kabini, Karnataka

Recently, a set of viral photos of the elusive black panther Saya shot Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary to instant stardom. But besides the handsome fella, the vast wilderness here is also home to a healthy population of tigers, leopards, elephants, bison, sloth bears, cheetahs, antelopes, crocodiles and around 250 species of birds. Located on the banks of the Kabini river, with thick forests, deep valleys and quaint backwaters, it makes for one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries in southern India. Stay in a rustic luxury tent and enjoy a bush dinner or a sundowner by a beautiful backwater. If that isn’t the perfect way to wind up a year, then a big cat sighting sure is!

Distance from Bengaluru: 162 kilometres

Duration: Approximately four hours

Where to take a pitstop?: Empire Restaurant, Maddur

Where to stay?: The Bison Resort

What to do?: Go on jungle safaris, trek to local tribal villages, take a boat ride on the backwaters, embark on a thrilling night trek with a naturalist, do some birdwatching.

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