Raksha Bandhan, Independence Day, Janmashtami travel special: 9 vacation destinations for upcoming long weekend
If you plan to take a short getaway with family, friends or all by yourself this Raksha Bandhan and Independence Day weekend or during Janmashtami holiday then here are a few recommended travel destinations in North, South, Middle, East and West India
What could get better than a weekend? A long weekend! This August comes with a host of holidays ranging from Independence Day to Raksha Bandhan to Janmashtami. If you plan to take a short getaway with family, friends, or all by yourself, we got you sorted with a few recommended travel destinations.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Abhilasha Negi, Co-Founder of SanKash, suggested the following 9 vacation destinations for upcoming long weekend:
1. North India
a) Tijara Fort- Palace, Alwar, Rajasthan
Alwar’s Tijara Fort Palace is exactly what you need if you want to take a break from the hustle-bustle of the city life! A promising idyllic and regal experience, just three-hour drive away from Delhi, is a stunning heritage property of the Neemrana Hotels’. The property offers the appropriate blend of modern cons and traditional aesthetics and is nestled amidst lush pastures, right for this weather! Built in the 18th century, adorned by seven terrace gardens, imposing ramparts, and beautiful artwork by renowned artists, it’s no less than a treasure. In addition, the hills around with a surreal sunset, make it a visual treat.
2. Middle India
a) Orchha, Madhya Pradesh
Steeped in history and located in the erstwhile Bundelkhand, over the past few years, Orchha has emerged as the top tourist destination in Madhya Pradesh. The enthralling serenity and tranquility of Betwa flowing by Orchha, sights of the old temples and forts, along with options for river rafting and jungle safari, make it a complete package in itself! The Jehangir Mahal Palace, the Raja Ram Temple, and the Laxmi Narayan Temple are full of insights about the Bundelkhand culture. The Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary which serves home to animals like wild boar and sloth bear is great for nature lovers to explore. Another noteworthy attraction is the iconic Chaturbhuj Temple, located right opposite the Raja Ram Temple. The Orchha Fort complex’s sound and light show held every evening is amazing and not to be missed.
3. West India
a) Panchgani, Maharashtra
Panchgani, a serene hill station nestled amid five hills of the Sahyadri mountain ranges of the Western Ghats was once a summer retreat for the British. Known as the Table Land, these hills are topped off with a volcanic plateau—the second-highest in Asia after the Tibet Plateau. The panoramic view surrounding thick forests is a treat to sight!
Diverse scenic views can be enjoyed from various points like Parsi Point, Sydney Point, Wilson Point and Kate’s Point. You can explore the over 100 temples in a small town of Wai on the banks of the Krishna River flowing through the valley. The popular hill town of Mahabaleswar is just 30 minutes away and the Rajpuri caves make for an exciting discovery.
b) Malshej Ghat, Maharashtra
The Malshej Ghat is one of the best places to drive to during the monsoon for a visual treat. Its enchanting mountain pass in the Sahyadris, glistening green from the rains, with brimming waterfalls tumbling down the sides or crashing by a winding road make it Instagram worthy and picture perfect. You can access many of the ancient forts, temples and villages by trekking trails.
For all trekking lovers, one of the most famous monsoon treks is that to the mystical 6th century Harishchadragad Fort, hovering atop a hill with temple caves and a serene lake nearby. The soaring peak of Taramanchi with astounding views of the Naneghat range and neighbouring forts, the primeval fortress of Shivneri, and the hill-fort of Ajoba are other popular treks here.
4. South India
a) Coorg, Karnataka (closer to Bengaluru)
During monsoon, Coorg paints a striking picture of wanderlust. Framed by the green hills of the Western Ghats, with acres of coffee and spice plantations intermingling with thick forests, Coorg (or Kodagu) visiting Coorg is especially rewarding in this season. A mysterious mist blankets the landscape at all times, the rain alters between severe and dreamy drizzle, clearing often to let you enjoy a plantation walk, a hike to a waterfall, or indulge in some rejuvenating nature therapy. Add-ons are the delicious spicy Coorgi food and relaxing spa sessions to go back to!
b) Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu (closer to Chennai)
Kodaikanal is an enchanting hill retreat of lakes and dales located in the Palani Hills, where flowers and berries grow vastly. The surrounding misty forests, colonial-era bungalows time travels you back to some old-world charm. At the centre of this all is the Kodai Lake. Quaint churches like LaSalette Church, Lutheran Church, and Christ the King Church are must-visits. The unscathed 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 right getaway to sooth your city senses down.
c) Maredumilli, Andhra Pradesh (closer to Hyderabad)
If you love driving on calm and serene serpentine roads surrounded by large mountains and foggy clouds, then you will love Maredumilli. Located in the East Godavari district, the Maredumilli Forests are the semi-evergreen forests feature an undulating terrain and form an integral part of the Eastern Ghats. The Maredumilli Community Conservation and Eco-Tourism Area is located near the Maredumilli village and is worth the weekend break! The white streams flow over surging rocks in deep woods, offer a soulful experience to nature lovers. A visit to this scenic place also gives a chance to interact with the tribal communities of Valamuru, Somireddypalem and Valmeekipeta Vana Samrkshana Samithi, who handle the Eco-Tourism project. The Forest Rest House here was built in 1914 and offers a peaceful stay.
5. East India
a) Mayurbhanj, Odisha
Mayurbhanj known for its tribal communities and their unique cultures, most notably the Santals was once a princely state. Here, the ancient village of Khiching houses the black chlorite stone, Kichakeswari Temple is worth a view. It was constructed during CE 920-925 for the state deity of the ruling Bhanj Dynasty. For nature lovers Mayurbhanj is home to the massive Similipal National Park, which features serene waterfalls and red silk cotton tree forests that teem with Bengal tigers, Asian elephants, gaurs and chausinghas (four-horned antelope). The 18th-century Victorian-style Belgadia Palace of the Bhanja royal family serves as a sustainable boutique homestay and social enterprise that employs and skills local tribal people.
b) Murshidabad, West Bengal
This forgotten capital of Bengal lies along the eastern bank of the Hooghly, some six hours upstream from Kolkata. Murshidabad served as the seat of the Nawab of Bengal under the Mughals. An important centre of trade and commerce, and a hotspot for Hindustani classical music, art and literature, was home to wealthy merchants and banking families. Today, the town is a shadow of its glorious past, where mansions from a bygone era stand by tree-lined streets, and historical monuments present a study of the opulence and culture of the place. Begin your trip by spending a few nights here at Bari Kothi—a revamped 18th-century mansion.