Fun, leisure, some great pictures to hang in the house and a bag full of the fondest memories, family vacations have a special place in all of our hearts. It is the time we finally get together to reconnect with them, without the pressure of chasing deadlines or being burdened by responsibilities. And what’s better than a summer escape from the heat and pollution of the cities?
Thinking of a vacation with your family this summer but worried about the crowd? Don’t worry, we have a list of offbeat recommendations for you that will help you plan that vacation you have been longing for while being safe.
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Cardamom Hills can be your breath of fresh air from the polluted air and hustle-bustle of the city. Connect with your senses while getting lost in the enchanting aroma of the spices growing around. Nestled in the lush green of the Western Ghats, Cardamom Hills, spread across an area of 2800 square km, is also known for the production of tea, coffee, bamboo, pepper and teak.
Things to Do in Cardamom Hills
- Go farming – With the silence of the mountains and the serenity of nature, Cardamom Hills has everything you look for in a quaint vacation. Spend some quality time with your family witnessing what goes behind growing your favourite beverage. If you ask the farmers here, they will talk to you about nurturing the plantations with utmost passion. Pick a tip or two for that little garden you are planning to grow at your house while you are at it.
- Venture into the Wild – Close to Cardamom Hills lies Periyar Tiger Reserve, known for its rich flora and fauna. A safari across this tiger reserve will take you to greet the wildlife. You will be able to spot elephants, leopards and deers during your tour. To add to your excitement, there is also a boat cruise available here which takes to the habitats of water animals and birds. And if you wish to explore more wildlife, then you can head to Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary that protects a number of rare species including the Bengal tiger, Indian elephant, Nilgiri tahr, great Indian hornbill among others.
- The Cycling Trail – After exploring the rural and tribal life, don’t forget to take the mountain biking tour called ‘The Cardamom Hills Cycling Trail’. This trail takes you through thick evergreen forests along the mountain roads with astounding delightful cardamom woods and spice gardens.
Return back to homestay from your wildlife exploration and shop your heart out from the local market. Collect antiques and take home organic products crafted by the locals. All these places are extremely family-friendly and the activities conducted here are loved by kids! You can then spend a day heading to Munnar for an extended holiday.
Best time to visit Cardamom Hills
Summers are the best time to visit Cardamom Hills. Visit for a great summer retreat in the hot and humid months of April to July.
How to reach Cardamom Hills?
The nearest airport and railway station is Cochin. You can book a ride from Cochin to Cardamom Hills for a smooth journey. The distance between the two is 125 km and would take you approximately 4 hours by road.
However, to make the most out of it, we recommend you take a road trip from any major South Indian state. A cab ride from Bangalore to Cardamom Hills will take 10 hours, taking you through the many beauties of Southern India.
A city of history and poetry, Mandu is situated at an elevation of 2000 feet in the Malwa plateau. If you are a history and architecture enthusiast looking to dive deeper into the reflections of the past, then pack your bags to this unexplored city in the Dhar district of western Madhya Pradesh.
Every monument in Mandu will tell you the love story of the once glorious prince, Baz Bahadur and his wife, Rani Roopmati. Surrounded by the Vindhya ranges, the city has a different than the usual touristy vibe to it. The beauty of the intricate details of the main attraction, Jahaz Mahal will leave you spellbound. The magnificent wonder is a floating structure in water, the structure similar to that of a ship. Thus, the name Jahaz Mahal.
The Baz Bahadur Palace in Mandu is known for its Islamic architectural style. However, on a closer look, you will find designs inspired by the Rajasthani patterns. This intermixing of culture and style is something very common in Mandu. Shades of diversity are visible in the monuments and palaces of the city.
Shop for the royal antiques to bring back home. Visit the local market to find a variety of handwoven carpets and handicrafts.
Best Time to Visit Mandu
The weather is moderate throughout the year. The best time visit is in between the months of March-April and July to September.
How to reach Mandu?
The nearest railway station is Ratlam and the nearest airport is in Indore. You can hire a taxi from any of these places to reach Mandu safely. It is also just 531 km from Mumbai and can be a great road trip option to consider.
Tucked in a corner of Kerala, Vagamon is a cosy little town in the hills. 1100 metre above sea level Vagamon has been at the forefront of promoting eco-tourism.
The lush green mountains and the mellow weather of the place make it relaxing in many ways. The picturesque views and the dense pine valleys with an abundance of homestay options available will give you a sneak peek into the beauty of the place.
Vagamon is also known for its famous waterfalls and scenic landscapes. From trekking to paragliding to mountaineering – you never run out of options in Vagamon. An annual paragliding event is also held in Vagamon each year in the month of April.
Trek to the Mooppanpara canyon, a V-shaped canyon that serves as a viewing point for this hill town. Carry your best camera gear to capture this beauty in your lenses. The Ulipponi Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its diverse flora and fauna. You can spend some time at this sanctuary to enjoy being in the arms of nature. A boat ride on the lake located in the sanctuary will take you to the gardens of exotic flowers and orchids.
How to reach Vagamon?
The nearest railway station is Kuttikanam, situated at a distance of 22 km from Vagamon. The nearest airport is in Cochin. You can hire a car from Cochin to Vagamon which is at a distance of about 100 km, for a safe transfer. It is 566 km from Bangalore and 735 km from Chennai.
Best Time to Visit Vagamon
You can visit Vagamon all year round but summers are a pleasant time here. March to August are the best months to visit Vagamon.
Situated on the banks of River Godavari, Rajahmundry is best known as the cultural capital of Andhra Pradesh. This ancient town is said to have been established in the 11th century. You will find several ancient temples in the city. The intricate architecture of these structures is too enchanting to be missed. Rajahmundry is also said to be the birthplace of the first Telugu poet Nannayya.
Of the many temples situated in the city, Kotilingeshwara Temple attracts a lot of tourists and is said to be dated back to the 10th century. This temple is believed to be the place when Ravana offered his prayers to Lord Shiva. You will find bathing ghats and other small temples surrounded by the Kotilingeshwara temple, making it a place of cultural and religious importance. The second-largest Iskcon Temple is also here. Another famous temple, Draksharamam temple, devoted to Lord Shiva, is known for its architecture from the sculptural traditions of the Chalukyan and Chola dynasties
You can also visit the various museums of this place. The Rallabandi Subbarao Government established 50 years ago exhibits a wide collection of pottery items and rare coins. Aryabhatta Science and Technology Society houses some of the antique discoveries made in India and around the world. Taking a boat ride on the Godavari River and having the famous Hyderabadi Biryani must be on your to-do list. The temperature is moderate throughout the year, making your journey pleasant even in the summer months.
Best Time to visit Rajahmundry
The best time to visit Rajahmundry is between the months of February to October.
How to reach Rajahmundry?
Rajahmundry railway station is the nearest railway station and is well-connected by trains running from the major cities. The nearest airport is Hyderabad airport. You can book a cab from Hyderabad airport to Rajahmundry for a safe and hassle-free transfer.
Share this with your family members and plan your offbeat vacation soon! Do you have suggestions we missed? Let us know in the comments.
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