Republic Day weekend: Tired of run-of-the-mill destinations? Try these
Here’s a surprise for all travel junkies! Starting this Republic Day (Jan 26, 2017), the year will have quite a few long weekends. We bet you didn’t know that! So, if you are a late bloomer and didn’t realise that the R-Day weekend was just around the corner, here is some help for a sudden holiday.
We know you love to travel or simply take off without a care in the world. As much as you want, looking up for a getaway at short notice and, much worse, getting a booking seems like an uphill task now. But no sweat!
If you are looking for a quick getaway from your city, we have the perfect destinations for you. HT gives you the option to choose from the four big metros.
The best bit here is you don’t really need to book at the destination. Many of these places are close to big cities or towns. So, you could even stay in one such a town and head for your destination! So, bon voyage!
Kanatal (321 km from Delhi)
This tiny little hamlet in Uttarakhand is a perfect place as a getaway for a relaxed weekend. Barely 12 kms from Chamba and 38 kms from Mussourie, the place is famous for its eco tourism. It has a couple of hotels and some camping places such as Camp Carnival, Little Jaguar and The Kanatal Orchids - Camps & Resort.
Attraction: Camping, trekking, mountain biking, visit to Tehri dam
Bir (516.4 km from Delhi)
Bir in Himachal Pradesh is a village and a centre for eco tourism too. The place also hosts of a small Tibetan settlement and a large stupa. With an abundance in natural beauty and a spiritual environment, it is a perfect break from the din and bustle of city life.
Attraction: Para gliding, hang gliding, trekking, Tibetan stupa and culture, yoga and spiritual studies
Bhimtal (307 km from Delhi)
Bhimtal in Uttarakhand is a perfect place to unwind. With its lake as its crowning glory, the place is just right to take in the bounties of nature. In case, you are keen for a bit more seclusion, drive up to Naukuchiatal (around 7 kms). Both the places offer lots of places to stay, even if you haven’t booked anything yet.
Attraction: Boating, nature walks
Pangot (316.3 km from Delhi)
A picturesque hill station about 15 kilometres from Nainital, the hamlet is famous for its bird life. Some 580 species of birds can be spotted in the vicinity of the town. A host of Himalayan species await you.
Attraction: Himalayan griffon, blue-winged minia, variety of thrushes, leopards, Himalayan civets, ghorals, barking deer and Sambhars
Lavasa (187.3 km from Mumbai)
The newest planned city to come up in independent India, Lavasa is fast emerging as a tourist hotspot for people around the Mumbai-Pune belt. Its town planning and designs have come up for much praise and have won awards too but the site has been plagued with issues relating to environmental damage as well.
1) City tour: Lavasa’s urban landscape is a huge attraction. Gallivanting in the town, its many restaurants, its hilly terrain, inviting weather remain a huge attraction.
2) Its many lakes and the undulating Western ghats
3) Joy rides and motor cyclists rides: Its many winding roads with their twists and turns are a big high for bikers.
Karnala (47.8 km from Mumbai)
Situated close to Panvel (10 kms) and about 48 kms from Sion-Panvel highway, Karnala is just the right place to head for if you live in Mumbai. The place was an important post as it overlooks the Bor pass, which connects Konkan with the rest of Maharashtra. The place is visited by a huge variety of birds and hence is popular with bird lovers as well.
Attraction: Karnala Bird Sanctuary and Karnala Fort
Karjat (62.3 km from Mumbai)
This forested area in the Western ghats where it meets the coastal plains is famous for farm houses of a host of celebrities. It is believed to be the largest in Asia. The place is also famous for the Nitin Manmohan Desai studio where many big films such as Slumdog Millionnaire were filmed. The place is haven for nature lovers.
Attraction: River rafting, trekking, hiking, mountain climbing, visit to ND Studios
Camping in Khopoli (70.8 from Mumbai)
Khopoli camp close to Mumbai is a popular place for camping. Barely 3 hours drive from the city, the place offers endless options for nature lovers. Many adventure companies such as Big Red Hut offer camping services, providing food, tents and gear.
Attraction: Camping, trekking, hiking
Riverside Camping in Vasind (63 km from Mumbai)
Yet another option to be in the midst of nature is camping in Vasind close to Mumbai. At a distance of 63 kms from Mumbai, the place offers camping options with a host of adventure companies providing such services (gear, tents, food, etc).
Attraction: Trekking, camping, hiking
Nandi Hills (61.1 km from Bangalore)
Situated at a distance of 60 kms from Bangalore, Nandi Hills, is a perfect as a quick getaway from Bangalore. Popular as a team cycling and trekking destination, this is the place to head for some rejuvenation.
Attraction: Trekking, cycling
Kanakapura (62.1 km from Bangalore)
The town of Kanakapura, situated barely 63 kms from Bangalore, is immensely popular for various adventure camps that take place there. Situated on the banks of river Arkavathi (incarnation of river Kaveri), the town is also popular for water sports.
Attraction: Camping, water sports
Narayanagiri Night Trekking, Ramanagara (54.6 km from Bangalore)
This trekking spot situated near Ramanagara town in Bangalore district is a hotspot with adventure lovers. Made famous by Sholay, the place is littered with natural rocky outcrops and hills.
Attraction: Trekking, night treks
Kabini (215 km from Bangalore)
Deep in the heart of forests between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is Kabini. Situated by the side of river Kaveri and at a distance of 250 kms from Bangalore, the place is ideal for lovers of wildlife. Go on a boat ride and you might spot a tiger. Enjoy an elephant ride in the mornings. Choose from the many luxury resorts situated right the lap of nature.
Attraction: Tigers, deer spotting, elephant rides, nature walks
Cycling in Ghati Ghats (outskirts of Bangalore)
For lovers of adventure sports, there is no dearth of cycling tracks around Bangalore. One such a place is Ghati Ghats, close to the city. Untouched by urbanisation, the place is a perfect to get a breather from the bustle of urban life.
Doars, WB (632 km from Kolkata)
In the north of West Bengal lies the Dooars, the floodplains at the foothills to Himalayas. Meaning door in east Indian languages, it serves at the entry point to Bhutan and is blessed with a wide variety of flora and fauna.
1) Wildlife sanctuaries: National Park of Gorumara, Chapramari forests, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Jaldapara Santuary
2) Detox with nature
3) Wildlife spotting: Tiger, Rhinoceros, Elephants among others
Simlipal, Odisha (226 km from Kolkata)
The Simlipal National Park in north Odisha is a perfect weekend getaway from Kolkata. At the distance of 240 km from the city, it can be easily reach by road and rail. Tigers occupy the pride of place but the park has many more surprises in store. A word of caution: the place is prone to cerebral malaria so take utmost care while planning the trip.
1) Wildlife: While its principle attraction remains tigers, it boasts a plethora of wildlife with elephants and crocodiles being the big gamers.
2) Flora wealth: The place is home to close to 96 varieties of orchids.
3) Detox in the lap of nature
Netrahaat, Jharkhand (559.6 km from Kolkata)
Tucked away in the heart of eastern ghats is a jewel called Netrahaat in Jhakhand. Surrounded by verdant hills and virgin forests, Netrahaat is often referred to as a queen of Jharkhand.
1) Detox with nature
2) Spectacular sunrise and sunsets (better in summers though) - Magnolia and Koel viewing points
3) Waterfalls - Sadni, Upper Ghaghri, Lower Ghaghri and Lodh falls
McCluskieganj, Jharkhand (472.7 km from Kolkata)
What was set up as a township for Anglo Indians in pre independence India has now become a tourist spot to take in a bit of nature away from the rumblings of big city living. Situated at a distance of 40 kms from Ranchi in Jharkhand, if listening to wild calls and soothing your eyes with nature’s bounty is your calling, then McCluskieganj is the place to head for.
1) Nature walks
2) Detox in pleasant weather and unpolluted environs
3) Trek to Dugadugi river, hills and river-lets in the neighbourhood
4) Old colonial mansions