Now only a few days to Christmas, our winter holidays are sure not the same as past years but the pandemic agitation as well as the quarantine fatigue has resulted in a pent-up desire to travel, making winter holidays our last chance to make up for all the lost holidays in 2020. Agree, that’s a lot of pressure on a holiday season but India is pure bliss during the winters – the freezing cold mountains, the pleasant beaches, the misty valleys of South India – how do you even resist these!
While some of you may still be paranoid about stepping out for a holiday this year, but what if I gave you some offbeat winter adventure suggestions that are absolutely safe even in 2020? Would you still be home watching Netflix and chase deadlines day in and day out? Well, here are a few recommendations to help you make up your mind –
1. Rent an igloo in Manali
A childhood dream for most, igloo in Manali is quite a real thing now! You can rent an igloo on a twin sharing basis for INR 5,000 per night! But that’s not it! If you shell out more, you can enjoy skiing, tube sliding, and sledge sliding. So this winter you can ditch your concrete cage and opt for an igloo and also ski, sledge, and slide for the extra Christmas-sy feel! Oh, don’t forget bonfires at night!
2. Move over hotels, you can now rent an entire island
The weary, nerve-shaken, and over-worked city folks can now rent an entire island in Kerala for INR 12,000. This is perhaps a place where you can take your mask off and not worry because nobody is watching and nobody is even there! Therefore, the next time you want to disconnect from the rest of the world, this may just be your safe haven. Vinni’s Farm in Munroe Island in Kerala stands in the middle of a private island where social distancing takes on a new meaning! You can have a huge farmhouse all by yourself, have a romantic getaway with your loved one or even just a small friends reunion.
3. Live in a treehouse
You are never too old to live in a tree house! Situated in the middle of a jungle, Jungle Beats Resorts is a perfect destination for winter holidays in Kerala. There is an amazing restaurant, ayurvedic spa and lots of nature to breathe in lungs full of fresh air. And the best part is, you can have an entire tree house to yourself and avoid outside contact completely. The price for a double sharing room starts from INR 6,300 excluding taxes.
4. Explore the haunted Kiradu Temples of Rajasthan
Believed to have been built between the 11th-12th centuries by the Chalukya Kings, the temples of Kiradu are closed after sunset due to a curse that haunts these premises even today. The locals believe people turn into stones and never return if they are anywhere close to the temples after the sun goes down. Although there is no scientific evidence that the temples of Kiradu are haunted or cursed in any way, it’s these stories and legends that have instilled fear and no one dares to enter the temple after sunset even today. But would you?
5. Enjoy the phytoplankton season in Gokarna
It’s finally the phytoplankton season in Gokarna. You can either sit on a hilltop to admire the glowing waters or head to Paradise Beach at night for a better view of the phytoplanktons glowing under the night sky. You will find many folks from Bangalore chilling in Gokarna over the weekends.
6. Go mountain biking on the Silk Route
Cyclists can explore the little hamlet located along the Silk Route in Sikkim. The route that once connected Sikkim to Bhutan and China for trade is a hidden gem with a lot to offer to tourists who have never been to this side of the country. The route is dotted with remote villages that afford picture-perfect views of the valley below to satiate our senses. Along the way, visitors are blessed with panoramic views of the mighty Himalayas that quietly keep you company while the lush greenery and crystal clear streams delightfully assault your senses.
7. Spot a leopard in Bera, Rajasthan
There are only a few places in the world where sighting a leopard is a near certainty. At first glance, when you look at the surrounding hills it does not look anything like a wild sanctuary, leave alone a habitat of leopards. However, as you spend more time observing the towering hills, you will be told by your guide that the leopards have made these hillocks their home and one can typically sit on the opposite hill to spot them as well as photograph them. The leopards sleep in the hillocks during the day and go out to hunt at night. Early mornings and late evenings are the best time to spot these majestic creatures of nature. The other interesting thing about Bera, Rajasthan is the peaceful co-existence of man and the wild for many decades now.
8. Trek to Grahan Village in Himachal
If you are on the lookout for lesser-known destinations in Himachal Pradesh for safety concerns, then Grahan should be on your list. This little hamlet is situated at an altitude of 7,700 feet above sea level with only 50 houses adorning its beautiful valleys. Hiking is the only option to explore or even reach this town. But fret not, the trek is pretty doable even for a rookie hiker. Along the way, you will pass through tall pine trees, cross the beautiful Parvati River on foot, and have the company of bees and birds singing along. So go make the most of the last few days of 2020!