Have a vacation on your mind? How about exploring India’s exotic destinations all year round? Well, if that is what you are planning next, this list of 12 destinations for 12 months is sure to make you pack your bags and head off to these amazing places in India.
January– Enjoy skiing at the snow-capped peaks of Gulmarg
Even though winter feels freezing at this pristine hill station, it is just the right time for skiing. The gentle slopes of Gulmarg are perfect for first-timers. The more experienced have the option of slaloming down from the Gondola Cable Car at Kongdori, a 3.5 km run. The pristine hill station is a must-visit on your Jammu and Kashmir trip.
The Gondola Cable Car, which makes Gulmarg the highest lift-accessible ski terrain in the world, is a big attraction for skiers and non-skiers.
February– Travel to Goa for the Goa Carnival
The Goa Carnival was traditionally a four-day event of feasting and celebration before Lent, a season of fasting and abstinence for the Christians. However, now it is one of the biggest festivals in Goa. It usually falls in February/March, though the dates change every year.
The opening events are held along the picturesque banks of the Mandovi River. Parades and floats pass down the waterfront with masked dancers, family floats and food stalls pacing along the Mandovi. Plan a trip to Goa in February to enjoy all the celebrations to the hilt. You may also avail a lucrative tour package. There are numerous Goa packages to pick from, some as interesting as you want them.
March– Celebrate the Braj Holi in true style
Heard a lot about the holi celebrations in India, especially in Mathura? Well, plan a trip this year to Barsana, 41 km from Mathura, to experience the real flavour of this colourful festival.
Catch it all on Holi with the musical, dancing parikrama of Barsana, witty lyrical verses in Braj Bhasha, showers of colours, and the lathis of Barsana women raining blows on the Nandgaon men (Lathmar Holi), quite evocative of Radha and her friends beating Krishna and his playmates. Delhi is a popular gateway to access Mathura. The distance is about 131 km with a good frequency of cabs and buses.
April — Make a trip to our own Switzerland, Khajjiar
The gorgeous Khajjiar is known as the mini Switzerland of India, owing to the wide spread of green meadows and picture-perfect valleys, apart from bearing a topographical resemblance to Switzerland.
Plan a trip to this picturesque hill station in April as the weather is perfect with less crowd and you will find good accommodation options at affordable tariffs.
May– The lush hills of Kodaikanal
One of the most popular hill stations in India, Kodaikanal is all about lush greenery and picturesque beauty. The pleasure of a laidback life can be found in Kodai, in nooks and corners, in secluded paths and in the unexplored quarters of this beautiful hill station.
The guided sightseeing tours might be useful if you’re short on time, but it’s best to explore on your own, and fortunately, there are a bunch of options for doing this. If you don’t have your own vehicle, taxis are readily available. In the town, cycles are also easily available on rent; the roads are clean and well-maintained, ideal for walking. Grab one of the lucrative Kodaikanal holiday packages and head off for a wonderful and undisturbed vacation.
June — A raid of colours at Valley of Flowers
The Valley of Flowers is like an absolutely radiant floral canvas as it is home to a bewildering variety of plants. In a few square kilometres you can see a hundred species of flowers in myriad hues and colours. The trek to Valley of Flowers opens on 1st June and you can visit this place till the mid of October.
Go up till Joshimath and then you have to hike up from Govindghat. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful trek, with majestic views of mountains, snowy backdrops, a gushing stream, and an incredible greenery as you cross the Alaknanda River. After 5-6 hours, you reach Ghangharia, which has many staying options. Staying at the Valley of Flowers is not allowed so as not to disturb the ecological balance.
July-The rolling hills of Munnar
Munnar is in a valley hemmed in by hills. Many of its attractions are to be found on its outskirts, within a radius of 30 km from the town. Even though the hill station can be visited anytime of the year, it looks its best during the monsoons with rain-kissed valleys and misty tea plantations.
August — Visit Ladakh to experience its magic!
For a tourist, the defining experience of this northernmost tract of India is in its landscape: largely immaculate to the sight, beautifully captivating to the senses, disconcertingly bare, isolated. Blessed with natural beauty, Ladakh has its share of stunning monasteries, arresting valleys, interesting museums, and the lovely, warm locals.
September- Monsoon Magic in Mahabaleshwar
Well, we all know that many hill stations in Maharashtra are a sheer delight during monsoons and Mahabaleshwar is surely one of them. September is the best time to visit this beautiful hill station as there is less crowd and the hills are at their green best.
October– Be a part of festivities at Kolkata’s Puja
Try planning a trip to Kolkata in the month of October to make the most of your holiday. Add to this the celebrations of Durga Puja and a perfect vacation awaits you in the “City of Joy”!
In addition to the rigorous fasting and timely prayers during this period, there is also a lot of not-to-miss action going on at the pandals. From the food stalls to the appearances and performances of Bollywood stars, Durga Puja has it all!
November– Visit Jodhpur for a Royal Experience
Sitting pretty close to the Thar Desert, Jodhpur experiences climatic extremes with very hot and dry summers to chilly winters. However, the winter months are when the official tourist season commences and Jodhpur begins preparing for its festive season.
And if you are interested in trying out desert camping activities, November is an ideal time for the same. In short, plan a trip to Jodhpur in November to avoid the scorching sun or humid monsoons.
December– Join the festivities of Rann of Kutch
Celebrating the unique art forms and culture of Kutch, Kutch Mahotsav is held every year in December around the full moon night in different locations. The haunting music, colourful crafts, camels, jewellery, artefacts–all add up to a great treat!
The wait is over! Explore these 12 destinations for 12 months on a roll and I am sure you will find a newfound passion turning you into an ardent traveller by the time you are back!
Photo courtesy: Rann of Kutch (from official website) and Khajjiar (