August 04, 2020
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Niche Treats

From film appreciation to photography, from paragliding to culinary trails...

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Niche Treats

Film Appreciation Weeks

Love films? What you’d love more, then, is to get under their skin. A four-week film appreciation course in Pune by the National Film Archive of India and the Film and Television Institute of India, will give you the feel to value a movie beyond its story. Watch Indian and world cinema landmarks with insightful lectures explaining the masters’ methods. Get into the nitty-gritty of narrative, shotmaking, editing—the ingredients of a classic. The highlight: meeting people who share your passion for movies. Imagine what that would do to your film collection. If you want to get really hands-on, try the videography or editing course.

Photography Holidays

If you have an eye for looking at the world from all the right angles, this could be a picture-perfect holiday. Sling that SLR camera round your neck and set off on a photography tour, where professional shutterbugs will enlighten both amateurs and pros in techniques, lighting, composition and more. The settings are naturally photogenic: think Rajasthan’s sandy expanses, Tamil Nadu’s lush slopes, the precarious perches of Ladakh. Some tours will take you into the heart of festivals—the Goa carnival, the Alappuzha snake boat race, or the Kambala buffalo race—so you can come back with a coffeetable-book-worthy album of your own.

Firefly Tours

It’s a near-cosmic spectacle: tens of thousands of tiny lights speckling the night sky in iridescent clouds. The earthly explanation: it’s mating season for fireflies. For three weeks every June, Purushwadi village, 220 km from Mumbai, becomes the site of this constellation on wings. The good news: you can witness it for yourself. Weekend firefly tours come with comfy tents, rural meals, field treks and even the occasional goat to milk.

Paragliding Holidays

Gaze down upon rolling green hills, watch the sunset from mid-air, feel the wind beneath your wings, as you float ever so gently on some rarefied air. That is what you get to do on a paragliding holiday. Head off to Kamshet, Manali, Billing, Nandi Hills or Bedni Bugyal; stay in scenic locations and break bread with fellow paragliders as you learn the basics of launching, turning and landing. How fast you learn depends on your own ability, aptitude and judgement: some gliders fly solo on their very first day of training. Otherwise, there are instructors to take you under their wing and hold your hand, even in thin air. So strap on your harness and grow a pair...of wings...that is.

Culinary Trails

Is great food the main course of your holiday plans? Why not make it the only ingredient? Pile your plate high with culinary tours around Delhi, in Rajasthan, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh. Sample the delicacies of the region and stock up on authentic recipes along the way. Munch on a mean meen curry, and learn how to make it too, right in the heart of Kerala. Bite into Hyderabadi kabab as you chew on the history of Nawabi cuisine. Sightseeing on a trip like this is a feast for the senses—see and hear the sights and sounds of local grocer dens, breathe in the aroma of traditional herbs and spices as you saunter in spice gardens, taste freshly plucked fruits and vegetables in the produce sections. With all this on the menu, the flavour of this holiday is bound to linger on.

Spiritual Tours

Pilgrimages are passe. Why walk the pilgrim’s path when there are spiritual tours. If you think some soup for the soul is in order, break away from the demands of everyday life and sign up for a week of meditation, yoga or Ayurvedic rejuvenation. If your threshold for achieving spiritual nirvana is higher, go hardcore with vipassana. Held in scenic, serene locations, spiritual vacations will calm the mind, turn it inwards, and awaken your inner senses. All that unpolluted air around you helps, of course.

Compiled by Arpita Basu

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