So here it is, brand new 2017! Where will we go this year, what will we see? Well, Outlook Traveller is here, as ever, with great travel ideas for the new year. We've got 20, in fact, and over the next few days we'll be letting you in on all the great experiences you can have this year. So read on, and start planning your trips. From all of us at Outlook Traveller, have a happy, healthy and travel-filled 2017! Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this list.
GO MELLOW YELLOW IN JEJURI
It’s a town bathed in turmeric. Jejuri in Maharashtra is home to a thousand shades of yellow, smeared across clothes, walls, temples, streets and idols at every nook and cranny. The town is the main pilgrimage centre to the god Khandoba, worshipped here as a form of Shiva. Haldi is offered to him because of the myth that the Hindu god once appeared here as a turmeric plant. While the place is always glowing in gold, the tradition is at its peak during the Bhandara Festival (turmeric festival), and Jejuri must be visited then. For six days during the Hindu month of Agrahayana, which begins on 22 November and ends on 21 December, festivities are underway. Jejuri is a smooth 40km drive from Pune.
TRAVEL LIKE ROYALTY
Journeying in state through the countryside, in a mobile palace that takes you to beautiful places... This royal rail procession is a blue train with 21 carriages, called the Deccan Odyssey. An interior to match the royal palaces of the maharajas of Maharashtra, there’s a choice of six journeys of 7N/8D which take one across different parts of the Deccan. On terra firma, you encounter World Heritage Sites, vineyards, palatial residences, wildlife parks, beaches and backwaters. On board, savour royal cuisine in the fine-dining car or get a massage at the spa. Approx â‚¹4 lakh per cabin per journey; deccan-odyssey-india.com.
CHIKMAGALUR COFFEE TRAIL
If curling up with a book and a warm cup of joe is your idea of a perfect vacation, head straight to the heart of Indian coffee country: Chikmagalur. Known for its hills and forests, several homestays now offer a cosy, luxurious stay amidst coffee plantations. Take a guided tour of these plantations for an immersive experience of the source of your favourite beverage. Chikmagalur is 250km from Bengaluru. Stay at the heritage Coffee Bean homestay (â‚¹2,250 per person; coffeebeanhomestay.com) or Bean Zone Homestay(â‚¹2,000; beanzone.in).
LISTEN TO THE NIGHT
Mehrauli Archaeological Park, Delhi, is where ancients lie in peace, or so we hope. And the night springs some surprises here. Nestled among the trees are tombs of some who fought and some who prayed. Walk around with the young Asif Khan Dehlvi, founder of Delhi Karavan, and be regaled with eerie tales. The Mehrauli resident conducts a night walk through this park, which goes past the Tomb of Ghiyas ud din Balban (1200—1287), the Jamali Kamali Mosque (1528-29), the Tomb of Maulana Jamali Kamali (1535), Quli Khan’s Tomb, Gandhak ki Baoli, Rajon ki Baoli, a stepwell and Madhi Masjid. Dehlvi prefers a small group of 25 and can arrange the walk on demand, depending on the number of people. â‚¹300 per person; see facebook.com/DelhiKaravan.
SPELUNKING IN VIETNAM
Go where few have gone before–into the world’s largest cave. Hang Son ÄoÃ²ng, or ‘mountain river cave’, in Vietnam’s Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, is not only the largest cave in the world at 200m wide, 150m high and 9km long, it also has its own jungle, river and unique climate. The cave still hasn’t been explored by many, but that perhaps is because it’s a difficult cave to traverse and requires a high degree of fitness. Vietnamese tour operator, Oxalis Adventure Tours, is the only one authorised to bring tourists to the cave. They offer a 5D/4N expedition in 2017 starting at $3,000 per person. See oxalis.com.vn/tour/son-doong cave-expedition.