Nestled in the land of orange groves, coffee estates and spice plantations, Yercaud is a small hill station atop the Shevaroy Hills in Tamil Nadu. The perfect weekend getaway for the city dwellers, Yercaud is endowed with nature’s bounty including beautiful lakes, sprawling gardens, stunning waterfalls and historical landmarks. If a nature retreat is what you’ve been looking for, this hill station is a peaceful spot to unwind. Trekking is one of the most popular activities here. With the Shevaroy Range offering a breathtaking view of Salem and the surrounding areas, a trip to Yercaud is like reconnecting with nature. The best time to visit is between October and June. An annual summer festival is held here in may with a week-long flower exhibition.
An old chapter from Mewar’s history, Kumbhalgarh is an architectural wonder. The fort is known for having the world’s second longest wall. Built by Rana Kumbha, the 15th-century fort that once stood unconquered owing to its impenetrable walls, Kumbhalgarh is both historically and architecturally significant. Apart from its gardens and palaces, there are also other fascinating structures within the premises like Kumbha Mahal, Jain temples, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Bada Mahal, etc. The Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary— an abode of a large variety of migratory birds like spoonbills, flamingoes, cormorants, etc and exotic wildlife like panthers, sloth bears and wild boars—attract tourists to experience life in the wild. The Ranakpur Jain temples are also nearby. A three-day annual festival is organised by the Rajasthan tourism department here with a range of interesting activities in the line up.
The seat of the Mughal rulers for ages, this is a treasure trove yet to be explored properly
The best time to visit this city is from October to March. Ever come across the cliché about multiple doors opening when one closes? In the case of Agra, that belief may seem a far cry considering the deluge of tourists after the Taj Mahal reopened post the lockdown. But seek, and ye shall find that the dusty villages going about their business are bastions of carpet-making and community tourism. It’s in Agra that a whole food movement is thriving all by itself. Dal moth, bedmi and petha aren’t just mithai you bring back from Agra, but are the core of an emergent gastronomic aesthetic thanks to iconic eateries such as Pushpak, Panchhi and Gopaldas.
Once a Portuguese colony, today it is home to white sand beaches and historical forts
The best time to visit Diu is during the winters. Best known for its pristine beaches, the coastal town provides an ecstatic and relaxing atmosphere to tourists who wish to explore its lesser-known beaches like Nagoa Jallandhar and Ghogla. Running through the island is its centuries-old architecture that reflects the Portuguese legacy in the territory. Standing the test of time is the Diu Fort built to safeguard the port city from the Mughal invaders. Famous for its seafood—fish, prawns, and crabs—the island is also an abode to native fishing communities. Vanakbara is one of the fishing localities that enjoys a rustic charm with a tint of colour and action. For a small fee, the fisherman at the Gangoli village port will let you hop on their ride and accompany them on their fishing expeditions
Replete with tradition, this erstwhile capital of the Cholas is deeply rooted in religion and spirituality. A six-hour drive from Chennai, and nestled in Thanjavur district, this charming temple town is believed to be the land where Lord Brahma revived life on earth. Known for its carved Panchaloha idols, silk products, brass and metal wares, it is the colourful Gopurams scattered through the cityscape that capture your attention. The ancient city is also renowned for its temples, exquisite pillars, intricate drawings on walls, and the mythological tales associated with it. As the rivers Cauvery and Arasalar flow past the city, Kumbakonam continues to guard its spiritual essence. Do not forget to pay a visit to the Adi Kumbeswarar Temple, a fine example of the rich Chola legacy and architecture.
The army theme park fills you in on all that goes into the making of a jawaan. That we should be more grateful for the great outdoors is evident as one drives up to the Delta 105 camp in Manesar near Gurugram. Comfortable tents with attached toilets, unruffled environs styled as the replica of a cantonment core area with a jawaans’ mess, a gymkhana and a sarva dharma sthal—all contribute towards crafting a near-authentic experience. Activities such as paintball and trench-crawling are alright but it’s the guided war-zone experience—where the soft-spoken but stern-wherever-needed guides take you through the nitty-gritty of a battlefield, explaining how bunkers function, showing paraphernalia such as jerry cans, radios and jawaans’ quarters in both peace and wartime— that completes the whole army experience. Book your tickets at Rs1,100 per head.