New Year Destinations

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New Year Festivities

It’s the last month of the year (already) and also the time to ring in the New Year in style and travelling never goes out of fashion. No matter what you like, here are some ideas to escape to some unique destinations in India, that offer a plethora of choices for your New Year partying.

The thrill-seeker: Bir Billing

If adventure gives you an adrenalin rush, Bir Billing which lies about 70 km from Dharamshala and 14 km enroute to the Thamsar Pass trek in Himachal Pradesh must be your choice. A well-known paragliding destination, Bir Billing hosted the Paragliding World cup in 2015 and the views of the Dhauladhar mountains and Kangra valley are most amazing. The weather, smooth winds and the cloud base that ranges between 4000-6000 meters make this place ideal for paragliding. Apart from paragliding, you can also trek to Himachali tribal villages, try camping, mountain biking and angling in this Buddhist town that has a monastery and a Tibetan handicraft center.

The nature lover: Tadoba National Park in Maharashtra

If wildlife gives you a high, the best place to spot the elusive tiger is at the Tadoba National Park in Maharashtra, one of India’s project tiger reserves. The park has three sources of water the Tadoba river, Tadobalake and the Kolsa lake and the safari happens in all three regions. The central part of the park is the Moharli or Mahurli zone which is the best spot in the park to spot animals. The Tadoba zone is known for scenic locales and animal spotting while the Kolsa zone is a thick forest area and the flora and fauna is best enjoyed here.

It’s all about luxury: Villas and forts of Jaipur

For people who enjoy the good life, the villas of Jaipur are the best way to welcome the New Year. Perfect for families, these offer a perfect balance of privacy and luxury. Some of the interesting options include Winter Garden, The Umaid Vilas, The Royal Retreat, Anjana’s homestay, Agwan villa, Perl, Tree of Life Vilas Resort & Spa and Villa 243 among other. While in Jaipur a visit to the architecturally rich Amer Fort is a must. A good idea is to head here in the later part of the afternoon and catch the evening sound and light show too. The Nahargarh Fort, City Palace Fort and the Jaigarh Fort are other options.

Focus on wellness: Ayurvedic spas in Kerala

For a relaxing holiday that can rejuvenate you and help you start the year on a positive note check into a good resort in Kerala that offers an Ayurvedic spa package and you can destress under expert guidance. Most resorts have packages for detox, rejuvenation and weight loss among others. Some of the best places include Kairali, Somatheertham, Kumarakom Lake Resort, Kalari Kovilakam, Kalari Rasayana Venad, Fragrant Nature Backwater & Ayurvedic Spa, Shin Shiva Ayurvedashram and Sitaram Ayurveda Centre. Do try the holistic Panchakarma treatment that rejuvenates the body and soul and includes key treatments Vamana (Emesis), Virechana (Purgation), Snehavasthi (Medicated Oil Enema), Kashayavasti (Medicated decoction enema) and Nasyam (Nasal Nasal Drops).

The pilgrim: Bodh Gaya

To end the year on a peaceful note and feel ‘zen’ like there is no better place than Bodh Gaya a village in Bihar. A renowned Buddhist site this is where Buddha found enlightenment. At the Mahabodhi temple you can literally walk in the footsteps of the Buddha. The Bodhi tree under which Buddha gained his enlightenment is a popular meditation place here. Do check out the other sights like The Great 80-foot Buddha Statue, Japanese Temple (Indosan Nipponji), Taiwanese Temple (World Chonghwa Buddhist Sangha), Thai Monastery as well as the Archaeological Museum  and Bodhgaya Multimedia Museum. Starting the year on a spiritual note is a great way to begin too.

The instagrammer: Shillong

The capital of Meghalaya, Shillong is the place to end the year if you love nature and the hills. Start at the scenic Shillong Peak, the highest point in the State 1965 metres above sea level that has panoramic views of the country side. And if you are a waterfall lover, Elephant Falls, Sweet Falls and Spread Eagle Falls are all scenic locales that will make your camera trigger happy. For more natural vistas check out the beautiful Lady Hydari Park and Ward’s Lake that has short garden walks and boating facilities. To understand the region’s tradition and ethnic tribal culture the Government Museum in the State Central Library complex and the Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures is a must.

This story first appeared in Airports Magazine Dec 2018 issue here:

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