We live on a beautiful planet that offers many stunning landscapes, tropical paradises, mist shrouded volcanoes and unbelievable beaches.Putting together annual list of the best places to travel is a process that takes several months. Raising a toast to the explorer within you, these Indian destinations need to be in your list for you to consider for your next vacation.
Water baby? Yep, this is the place for you. The Andaman Islands are an Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. These roughly 300 islands are known for their palm-lined, white-sand beaches, mangroves and tropical rainforests. The coral reefs that support marine life such as sharks and rays make for popular diving and snorkeling sites. You can also visit the Kala Pani – Cellular Jail which was used by the British to exile prisoners. You can take a ferry to Havelock Island and visit the pristine beaches and indulge in water sports. Also, you can visit Ross Island – the first island that took the brunt of the Tsunami and is home to deer, and different species of birds.
Best time to visit: May-September and December-February
Hear the hills calling. Leh is one of the most preferred holiday destinations, specially if you want to escape the heat. From Shanti Stupa to the highest motor-able pass in the world (Khardung-La), the Ladakh region has many marvels to offers. With natural hot water springs located at Chumathang to Pangong-Tso, that crosses the China border; you can visit old monasteries, cold deserts and moon lands. When the roads and passes open for public, the best, though slightly longer, way to reach Leh would be by road. The curvy roads cutting through snow-capped mountains is just the kind of road-trip that makes you want to pack your bags and leave the next morning.
Best time to visit: May-September
History, mystery, sand dunes and traditional tunes, Rajasthan encompasses it all. While you have the Jaipur (Pink City) that has the Hawa Mahal, traditional eateries and traditional cloth markets, you also have Jodhpur (Blue City) that has the majestic 15th century Mehrangarh Fort, which is now a museum. You can also visit other tourist destinations in the state like Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Nagaur, Barmer and Bikaner that take you back in time with its history and forts. Sam Sand Dunes are located 40 minutes away from Jaisalmer. The sun set and the musical evenings there will take your breath away.
Best time to visit: July-February
Maharashtra and Goa
Vineyard and Western Ghats… enough said! A deep rooted history, culture that is perfectly in sync with the evolving times, the state is a mix of modern and traditional towns. You can drive down from Mumbai to Nashik to visit the Sula Vineyard or head to the model town of Lavasa. While the green cover of Lonavala and Panvel will take your mind off the pollution in the city, a drive from Pune to Goa, as you cross the Western Ghats, will turn out to be one of the most beautiful rides you have ever been on. Khandala, Alibaug, Mahabaleshwar and Ellora Caves are only few of many marvels/destinations that this state holds.
Best time to visit: August-January
Puducherry or Pondicherry was a French colonial settlement in India until 1954, and is now a Union Territory town bounded by the southeastern Tamil Nadu state. Its French legacy is preserved in its French Quarter, with tree-lined streets, mustard-colored colonial villas and chic boutiques. The Tamil quarter, however, is an ideal place if you are looking for peaceful lodging. The food served is divided into two main cuisines – Chettinad and Colonial – which are absolutely delicious. Though a beach destination, its rich heritage and quaint French bakeries are the star attraction. Located half an hour away in Tamil Nadu is a small town of Auroville, where you can spend a day at the ashram, sign up for meditation or even enjoy delicious and healthy organic foods.
Best time to visit: October-March
Srinagar, the summer capital, is the best among the places to visit in Kashmir. Popular for its Shikara rides, floating gardens, and serene beauty, the city has been regarded as cash-cow of J & K. The city has enjoyed importance since historic times and rulers have forever been attempting to win the paradise city for themselves. At the moment, it is one of the most loved tourist places in the country.
Best time to visit: April-October
The only hill station in Madhya Pradesh, Pachmarhi is among the lesser known summer holiday destinations in India. In addition to sightseeing, trekking and leisure activities can be enjoyed here. The decently high hills, forest gorges, stunning waterfalls, prehistoric caves, and rock paintings at Pachmarhi attract a lot of tourists every year.
Best time to visit: April-June, July-September and November-March