Looking for a few quiet days to celebrate the festive season? Experience India’s picturesque towns, rural hamlets and Himalayan villages, sail along mighty rivers and drive through stunning landscapes.
For the travel obsessed, there is a treasure trove of options. You can also gift experiences that create memories. Here's a list that ensures safe and remote locations combined with unique experiences that nudge you to travel mindfully.
Chanoud Garh, Pali, Rajasthan
Situated near Chanoud village in the heart of rural Rajasthan, the 300-year-old fort-palace has been exquisitely restored into a heritage property highlighting the taste of true Rajput hospitality. A quiet getaway to explore this region, Chanoud Garh leads you back to an era of enduring local traditions. It blends modernity with regal splendour and has been painstakingly restored to perfection. The food is an integral part of the entire experience and so every meal is an occasion adorned by menus that have been in the family for generations. Experiences that promise to bring Chanoud Garh’s rich legacy to life include jeep safaris, heritage walks, engaging with the locals, hikes, unspoilt rural villages, and culinary workshops.
Printed Tariff: INR 18,000++*
Operational Status: All year except May & June
Nearest Airport: Jodhpur - 125 Km
Chapslee, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
A short walk from Mall Road in Shimla, Chapslee is one of the oldest estates on Elysium Hill and among the first to have been converted into a Heritage hotel as early as 1973. Beyond the colonial charm that curates the timeless elegance of the days of the Raj, the many guided activities offered by Chapslee showcase the best of Shimla. Christmas time is particularly delightful as you are taken on trails through pine forests, offered picnics in the jungles, and set out on heritage walks. For those willing, you can even go on horse rides through lesser-known country roads surrounded by apple orchards. Special dinners in the stunning dining room are a festive high and, if luck turns in your favour you may enjoy the magic of a white Christmas.
Printed Tariff: INR 19,500++*
Operational Status: Closes after Christmas and reopens in March
Nearest Airport: Chandigarh (4 hours)
Assam Bengal Navigation Cruise
Uniquely explore eastern India as you sail down India’s greatest rivers – the Ganges and Brahmaputra in a boutique ship. ABN was the first to put Indian long-distance river cruises on the 'World River-Cruising'. There is something pleasingly vintage about the cruise ships of ABN. The mighty Brahmaputra river was previously deemed too wild to navigate until Assam Bengal Navigation embarked on their first maiden voyage. They offer four-to-ten nights filled with adventure, wildlife, village walks, visits to tea gardens or craft villages, exploring country towns in hand-pulled rickshaws, picnics and barbecues on shifting river islands and dance performances. Cruising on the Ganges is all about exploring small hamlets and temple towns in a little-known but culturally rich part of Eastern India. Your three-to-seven night itinerary will include the powerful temple town of Kalna, the historically rich plassey, the abundance of heritage in Murshidabad, Mughal ruins of Gaur and relics of colonial rule by the French, Dutch and the British.
Printed Tariff: Dancing Monks & Riverine Culture starts from INR 75,000++* per person for 3 nights and 4 days. Brahmaputra River City & Beyond cruises start from INR 66,400++* per person for 2 nights and 3 days.
Operational Status: Season specific. Currently, Brahmaputra cruises on for Jan, Feb, Mar. Next Cruise: 30th December and 2nd January.
Nearest Airport for the Brahmaputra Cruise: Guwahati
Nearest Airport for the Bengal Cruise: Kolkata
Vanghat, Corbett, Uttarakhand
A beacon of sustainable tourism in the modern time, Vanghat is one of the most remote wildlife lodges located on a secluded bank of the Western Ramganga River inside Corbett Tiger Reserve. The verdant landscape hosts nine spacious cottages that offer absolute privacy and comfort — each one dedicated to a different group of wildlife, named and painted accordingly to give them unique identities. The outdoor expanse and setting within the property mean that you can observe wildlife even from the property.
Printed Tariff: INR 6,499++*
Operational Status: October 1 to June 30
Nearest Airport: Delhi - 300 Km
Windermere Retreats, Kerala
The curated properties of Windermere - The Estate & The River House are the epitome of calm and serene and nestled in spectacular but diverse locations of Kerala. Set on the banks of the River Periyar, at the base of the Western Ghats, is the charming Windermere River House offering excellent experiences and thoughtful services. The loudest sound you will hear is the splash of water or the call of a bird. Find yourself a lovely spot to go fishing or laze with a book as you watch the river flow by. With a backdrop of tea gardens, lush hills and cardamom fields, Windermere Estate is famous for its unique ambience and charm. The property acts as a base for a spectacular day-long trek to the second largest peak in western ghats, the Meespulliamala. Windermere Estate is ideal for those looking for an idyllic mountain refuge far from the hustle of the city.
Printed Tariff: INR 11,000++* (Validity: Until January).
Operational Status: All year.
Nearest Airport: Kochi 110 Km
Printed Tariff: INR 30,000 (Buyout)
Operational Status: All year
Nearest Airport: Kochi Airport 40 km
More details here.