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Summer theme break

From fossil collecting to coffee plantation trails, holidays have gotten much more goal oriented. Why merely wander about, when you can come back with a new skill and knowledge, writes Zofeen Maqsood.

delhi Updated: Mar 29, 2013 22:35 IST
Zofeen Maqsood

It’s the time of the year when one starts looking at holiday brochures and gets busy planning summer holidays. While the idea of going on an exotic yacht vacation may sound great at chi-chi gatherings, holiday planners say that, in an encouraging new trend, more and more youngsters are looking for breaks that combine a hobby, sport or a knowledge-based activity along with it.

Escape festival director L Tochhawng, who organises music retreat holidays around Delhi says, “Travel agencies and resorts today are not only doing custom made holidays but are also including various cultural activities ranging from music to arts and painting along with the holiday experience. While the West has always inspired us when it comes to music retreats it is great that we are undertaking an inward journey and are willing to look at activities like goat herding or archery during holidays.”

Experts say it’s a sign of maturity that people are breaking away from sightseeing that pack in little in terms of real experiences and are more about vacuous bragging. The idea of undertaking experiential holidays is to come back with a newly acquired knowledge or skill that stays for a lifetime.

Rainforest walk
Where: Vivanta by Taj, Madikeri, Coorg

How to get there:Take a flight from Delhi to Bangalore and then a six hour road trip to Coorg

USP: The hotel organises a nature walk in the rainforest where you can study the flora and the fauna and combine it with a group bird watching tour into the reserve forest and a mountain bike ride

Charges: Package charges vary seasonally.

For details: www.vivantabytaj.com

Coffee trails
Where: Tata Coffee Plantation Trail bungalows, Chikmaglur, Karnataka

How to get there: Take a train trip or a flight from Delhi to Chikmaglur in Karnataka

USP: Special coffee plantation tours are conducted where you can study the difference between Arabica and Robusta.

Charges: For details go to www.plantationtrails.net

Cycling trips
Where: Treehouse Hotel, Bhiwadi

How to get there: A 30 minutes road trip from Gurgaon

USP: To make the most of the spring season the hotel has come up with a special package for all cyclists and cycling groups in Delhi and NCR region. The hotel encourages cycling enthusiasts to explore the bike path and trails near the hotel with a guide and combine the experience with a night stay at the hotel. Activities like karaoke are also part of the package

Charges: Rs 2800 per night/person

Eco escapes
Where: Mana Hotel at Ranakpur, Rajasthan

How to get there: Take a train or flight from Delhi to Udaipur and then a two hour road trip to Ranakpur

USP: The hotel teaches rain water harvesting techniques besides usage of glass and vinyl to save energy and reduce carbon emissions.

Charges:Rs 3499/ night for a couple

Music retreat
Where: Escape festival of art and music, The Lake Resort, Naukuchiatal

How to get there: Take a train trip to Kathgodam and then a two hour drive by road to Naukuchiatal

USP: The festival promoted as a family holiday will be held from 24-26 May 2013. It will feature performances by artists from the field of music, art and comedy. There will be live photography and painting as well.

Charges: The ticket charges will be announced by mid April on the website http://escapefestival.in/

Kafila rides
Where: Pushkar Resorts, Rajasthan

How to get there:Take a train trip to Ajmer and a road trip to Pushkar

USP: During your stay at the resort you can enjoy the rich rustic tradition of Rajasthan. A kafila ride takes you to enjoy the Aravalli sunset and study the local culture. Besides you can also enjoy tours to the wholesale Pushkar market and hikes upto the Savitri temple located on top of Ratangiri hills.

Charges: Rs 15,999 for a two day three night stay

Fossil search trips
Where: Suryagarh Hotel, Jaisalmer

How to get there: Take a road trip to Jaisalmer, the hotel is built on a medieval fort 12 kms outside of the city.

USP: The place is a pericratonic shelf basin and features jurassic rocks and a diversity of marine fauna. You can experience the fossil hunt trails as well as archery lessons.

Charges: Prices begin from Rs 16,000 per room.