We can’t wait for 2020. New year, new resolutions, new ideas and a lot of travel. 2020 has 20 long weekends (yay!) and if you start planning from now, you’ll be ready for your mini vacations. Follow our long weekend guide for ideas:
January 1 (Wednesday; New Year)—January 2 (Thursday; Guru Gobind Jayanti, optional)—January 3 (Friday; take off)—January 4 (Saturday)—January 5 (Sunday)
Our recommendation: Start 2020 on a royal note. With friends and family, head to the land of the royals aka Rajasthan. Forts, palaces, extravagant meals, lakes, architecture and various yellow shades of the vast desert...a visit to Rajasthan is a dream come true. Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Udaipur: take your pick to start off the year royally. Maybe this architecture guide to Rajasthan will give you an idea.
January 30 (Thursday; Vasant Panchmi, optional)—January 31 (Friday, take off)—February 1 (Saturday)—Febraury 2 (Sunday)
Vasant Panchami marks the beginning of spring season in most parts of the country. While it is still cold to see tulips or head to the hills, why not spend the weekend exploring Haryana? It could be a wonderful nature getaway to learn the nuances of birdwatching at Sultanpur National Park and then head for a peaceful weekend at Morni Hills near Chandigarh. And don't be surprised if your newly-acquired bird watching skills come to use there too.
February 21 (Friday; Maha Shivratri, optional)—February 22 (Saturday)—February 23 (Sunday)
Varanasi is the place to be this weekend. Thousands of devotees throng to the Shiva temples in this holy city to see the extravagant marriage processions that take place. But you don't have to be part of the crowd, just enjoy the pulse of the city: eat at the various quaint cafes, enjoy boat rides on the Ganga, sit and enjoy the calm of the ghats among other things. Read our solo guide to Varanasi for tips.
March 7 (Saturday)—March 8 (Sunday)—March 9 (Monday; Holi)
The festival of colours! India's holi celebrations are something worth experiencing. But, we say, do it a little differently. Head to Shantiniketan in West Bengal for Basanta Utsav where the whole focus is on celebrating with flowers, dance and music. There's always Mathura and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh if you want to play with colours. See these beautiful Holi pictures at the city where it all started.
April 2 (Thursday; Ram Navami, optional)—April 3 (Friday; take off)—April 4 (Saturday)—April 5 (Sunday)
This Shillong this long weekend. The weather will be gorgeous making it perfect to sightsee without the sweat. From lakes to cathedrals, music cafes to museums, there's something for everybody. For the nature lovers, there's Umiam Lake, the Elephant Falls, and of course a visit to Mawsynram (the wettest place which has tough competition from Cherrapunjee) is a must. Tip: the 24-hour Shillong guide you need.
April 10 (Friday; Good Friday)—April 11 (Saturday)—April 12 (Sunday)
Why not enjoy a dose of heritage and culture by exploring one of India's unique Unesco Heritage Sites? Head south to Hampi, the ancient village compelx dotted with temples from the glorious Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi is great for both families and solo travellers and whichever way you decide to travel, these ruins are beautiful and can be explored in your own pace over three days. Tip: have you heard of this gem near Hampi?
May 1 (Friday; Labour Day, optional)—May 2 (Saturday)—May 3 (Sunday)
Our recommendation: head to Spiti Valley. By this time the snow would have melted, the temperature would be pleasant and there would be less tourists. Spend time at the various monasteries in Spiti or trek to the various lakes nearby. Oh and freshly-brewed coffee is the perfect accompaniment in the evenings after you've done your explorations for the day. Read about Tabo, a snapshot of India's Buddhist past.
May 7 (Thursday; Buddha Purnima, optional)—May 8 (Friday, take off)—May 9 (Saturday)—May 10 (Sunday)
We can never get enough of the hills, can we? After Spiti, keep the momentum going with a quick trip to Dharamsala. Home to the Dalai Lama, Dharamsala is quaint with monasteries aplenty and roads decorated with Tibetan prayer flags. A trek to Triund and a day spent exploring McLeodganj are must-do things. Read about everything you can do in Dharamsala here.
May 22 (Friday, take off)—May 23 (Saturday; Eid-Ul-Fitr)—May 24 (Sunday)
If a nawabi eid is on your mind, then a visit to Lucknow, the ‘City of Nawabs’, would be right up your alley. There's palpable excitement in the air during this time of the year. After a long month of fasting, locals indulge in delicious Awadhi delicacies and you can too. Dig in to the much-loved tunday kebab, nalli nihari and khameeri kulcha in the old city. We suggest Victoria street, Aminabad and Hazratganj for for an authentic Iftari experience. We tell you about the most Instagrammable places in Lucknow for a great social media feed!
June 20 (Saturday)—June 21 (Sunday)—June 22 (Monday; take off)—June 23 (Tuesday; Rath Yatra, optional)
There's no where else you'd rather be than Puri. The Rath Yatra, dedicated to the 'lord of the world' Jagannath, is a sight to behold. Thousands throng to the streets of the seaside town to see the massive raths or chariots move down the road. The air is full of excitement and after the frenzied celebrations, in the evening, spend time by the sea and eat fried delicacies from little shacks. Everything you need to know about a first-time visit to Puri's Rath Yatra is here.
July 31 (Friday; Bakri-Id)—August 1 (Saturday)—August 2 (Sunday)—August 3 (Monday; Rakshabandhan, optional)
This is a loooong weekend, perfect for a drive. TVF produced viral web-series Tripling has undoubtedly given us all sibling goals. This long weekend devote to a road trip with your sibling. We suggest a Konkan Coast drive. Start from Mumbai, then with your favourite person (yes, your sibling indeed) enjoy the Dapoli-Ratnagiri-Malvan route. Explore old forts and lighthouses, eat authentic Konkani meals, laze on the many beaches and just relax. After all, that's what you want to do on a getaway! Eat away to your heart's content when driving down the Konkan Coast.
August 8 (Saturday)—August 9 (Sunday)—August 10 (Monday; take off)—August 11 (Tuesday; Janamashtami, optional). [If you're lucky enough, ask for the whole week off as August 15 is on the following Saturday for an extremely long holiday]
Ladakh is calling your name! We are assuming you have taken the whole week off for an ultimate summer trip to Ladakh. Fly to Leh and take two days to acclimatise before getting an Enfield on hire and checking out popular haunts. Chill by the blue waters of Pangong Tso, go on a thrilling rafting experience on the Zanskar, even make plans for Nubra Valley. It will be trip you'll never forget. Find your favourite film shooting sites in Ladakh.
August 29 (Saturday)—August 30 (Sunday, Muharram)—August 31 (Monday; Onam, optional)
The harvest festival of Onam is celebrated with pomp and glamour in Kerala. See the famous boat race, learn to make the flower-rangoli or pookkalam and catch Kathakali performances. If you're in the mood to relax, book a houseboat in Alleppy and cruise down the back waters for a fun-filled getaway. And snack on banana chips, of course! Explore the roots of Kerala's unique cuisine.
October 2 (Friday; Gandhi Jayanti)—October 3 (Saturday)—October 4 (Sunday)
Why not make a short trip to Gujarat this Gandhi Jayanti? In fact, why not go a Gandhi trail in places like Porbandar and Sabarmati Ashram. Then, see some lions on the wild at Gir Forest or go on a shopping spree in Kutch. Also, a visit to Champaner-Pavagadh at this time is beautiful. Your photos will definitely be a hit on social media! Make a stop at the Statue of Unity.
October 24 (Saturday, Ashtami)—October 25 (Sunday, Navami)—October 26 (Monday, Dashami)
Kolkata beckons to you this weekend. The city, rather the whole of Bengal will be celebrating the Durga Puja festival which you should experience at least once in your lifetime. The city is lit up like a full-blown party, there's merry making, food and a lot of pandal hopping! Admire the various themed pandals and after the celebrations, stay back for the carnival on Red Road! See Durga Puja at a Bonedi Bari for a unique experience.
October 29 (Thursday; Milad un Nabi)—October 30 (Friday, take off)—November 1 (Saturday)—November 2 (Sunday)
Our tip: head to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Explore Port Blair (the light and sound show at Cellular Jail is a must) and then island hop to glory. For the more adventurious, go snorkelling or scuba diving and explore the marine life. The clear waters are the best in the country. If you've always wanted to scuba dive but didn't know how, here's your chance to enroll in a course!
November 14 (Saturday; Diwali)—November 15 (Sunday)—November 16 (Monday; Bhai Dooj, optional)
While Diwali is a time to celebrate with family, it's also a great time to visit the hills with your friends, family or solo. Binsar in Uttarakhand comes to mind. A lovely getaway for those craving a slow weekend, head to the Binsar National Park in the day before settling down with a book and coffee in the afternoon with a view of the mountains to die for. Brush up on your photography skills as well here.
November 28 (Saturday)—November 29 (Sunday)—November 30 (Monday; Guru Nanak Jayanti)
Amritsar is the place to be at this time. Pay your respect at the Golden Temple, eat langar, and just sit by the water tank for some peace. The flag exchange ceremony at nearby Attari border is a spectacle which will be an evening affair. In Amritsar, go on a food trail (you won't regret it), visit Jallianwala Bagh and maybe, stock up on phulkari suits? Your 24-hour Amritsar guide is right here.
December 25 (Friday; Christmas)—December 26 (Saturday)—December 27 (Sunday)
Goa is for everyone at this time but we suggest Puducherry. Visit this former French colony for a traditional Christmas. Go for mass at either the Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception or the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The city is bathed in bright and beautiful decorations keeping the Christmas spirit. And the food, oh, we can't stress enough how good it is! Food, beaches and chill: there's so much to do in Puducherry!
December 31 (Thursday; New Year’s Eve; optional)—January 1 (Friday; take off)—January 2 (Saturday)—January 3 (Sunday)
Ring in the New Year in the wild! Book your tickets for Jim Corbett National Park. Enjoy a safari and hope to catch a glimpse of a tiger in the wild (maybe a rhino too?), enjoy the quiet of the park and the stars in the clear Uttarakhand skies. Who needs a party? This is the best kind, wouldn't you agree? Safari and much more at India's oldest natinal park, just for you!