The evenings are shorter, colder and your favourite hoodie just doesn’t cut it anymore. Winters, especially in the north, are not for the faint-hearted. Even a cup of tea does little to protect you from teeth-chattering windy days, and for those with a travel bug, winters also mean layering up if you’re out and about. But why head north? If you’d like to beat the winter blues in good ol’ travelling style, here are a few destinations that might just be the thing for you.
Gokarna: Beaches Beyond Goa
What has big blue seas, expansive golden beaches, towering palm trees, adrenaline-fuelled water sports and a chilled-out vibe? If you're thinking of Goa, you won't be wrong. But here is another destination just as fun, albeit less crowded. An unconventional yet memorable seaside experience awaits the beach lover in you in Gokarna. For those who like their vacation slow and breezy, look no further. It’s the perfect way to beat the winter blues.
Pondicherry: The French Connection
Pondy may be a coastal town, but there is a lot more to it than just seaside shenanigans. Here, every nook and corner is a gentle reminder of the bygone French colonial era. Add to that some expansive beaches with water sports to go along, gorgeous cathedral and churches, the spiritual vibe of Auroville, the bustling markets, some lip-smacking international cuisines and you’ve got yourself a vacation to remember for a long time.
Lakshadweep: White and Blue Heaven
An archipelago consisting of 36 islands, 300 km off the coast of Kerala, Lakshadweep, India’s smallest union territory, is dazzling. Think sun-kissed beaches, white sandy shores, beautiful coral reefs, crystal-clear lagoons, and deep blue sea as far as the eye can see. Lakshadweep is all chill, minus the winter. If you are someone who loves mixing a little water with your adventures then this season offers a pleasing weather window that is conducive to water sports such as scuba diving, snorkelling, and surfing.
Rann of Kutch: The White Desert
From the white sandy beaches to the great white salt desert. For the offbeat traveller in you, The Great Rann of Kutch beckons. A barren but stunningly beautiful expanse of cracked earth seasoned with salt, that turns into a makeshift tented city during the colourful Rann Utsav, a carnival of music, dance, arts, heritage, and all things magical. There isn’t a more colourful way to spend your vacation warm, with warm-hearted people.
Kerala: Go on a Backwater Cruise
Running parallel to the coast of Arabian Sea, Kerala’s scenic and pristine backwater region is one of the most popular international destinations and something you should visit at least once. It is an intertwined network of waterways of nearly a thousand kilometres comprising lakes, lagoons, and canals with nature in its purest form running alongside. And negotiating though it on a slow-paced houseboat is the best way to experience it. Camera or a book, pick according to your preference. Sunscreen is mandatory!
Hampi: Our Rich Heritage
Once the capital of the Vijayanagar empire, Hampi is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, comprising architectural ruins neighboured by exquisite rock and boulder formations, and temples of religious and historical importance. If you love rock-climbing, you are in for an experience. And if not, there are plenty of gorgeous natural vistas to keep you company. Sunsets, in particular, are breathtaking.
Ooty: Visit the Queen of Hills
If you don't want the bone-freezing chill but do want the mountains, Ooty is the place you need to be in this winter. Surrounded by the beautiful Nilgiri mountains, Ooty, the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’ is part of the exquisite Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. And it has a bit of everything for everybody. Picturesque lakes, beautiful gardens, expansive meadows, coffee and tea plantations, rumbling waterfalls, historical toy train ride, some quick treks, well-preserved national parks, and plenty of good places to eat. Take your pick.