May 9, 2017 4 min to read
The Ultimate Summer Vacation Guide
Category : Guides
It’s no secret that Indian summers can get scorchingly hot. Here are the best trips you can take this season to escape the soaring temperatures.
Explore colonial architecture in Fontainhas, Goa
Goa is an all-season destination but if you are visiting the place in summer, its best to skip the smouldering beaches and head to Fontainhas in Panjim – a collection of heritage buildings with a charming blend of Indian and Portuguese architecture. Explore the maze-like alley flanked by multi-hued villas, chic art galleries and even quirky colonial relics like wishing wells. The walk can get quite tiring but fortunately the area is dotted with plenty of restaurants and cafes that serve authentic Goan delicacies like Fish Recheado, Bebinca and Xacuti.
Witness the surreal Thrissur Pooram celebration in Kerala
Every year, thousands of people visit Thrissur to watch this age-old tradition which was established in the late 18th century by the Maharaja of Cochin. The heady mix of exhilarating sounds and the riot of colours create a surreal atmosphere that you’ll remember long after you return home. Watch majestic elephants bedecked with gold caparisons march down the festival ground to the background of frenzied drumming and traditional music. The day ends with the spectacular display of parasols during the ‘Kudamattom’ ceremony.
Go on a roadtrip across Meghalaya
Meghalaya receives intermittent showers in May, before the arrival of the full blown monsoon in June. It’s the perfect time to roadtrip through this beautiful state as you don’t get stranded by the heavy downpour but still get to enjoy the vibrant greenery and mighty waterfalls. Head to Mawlynnong (Asia’s cleanest village) to experience the local life and culture, wander the markets of Shillong and stroll along the marvellous living root bridges near Cherrapunjee.
Follow the tiger trail in Kanha National Park
Tigers are elusive creatures. That’s why most visitors to the park usually head back home without catching a glimpse of these majestic beasts. However, the summer heat forces them to prowl around in search for water; thus dramatically increasing the chances of a sighting. The best place to spot the tiger is Baba-Thenga water hole at Mukki. Apart from the big cats, the park is home to an astonishing variety of flora, fauna and avifauna including silver-backed langurs, wild boar, paradise flycatchers, hornbills and blackbucks.
Hike through rhododendron forests of the Singalila
What makes the Singalila trek so special? For starters, its the only place from where you can see four of the highest peaks in the world (Mt. Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and Lhotse). Secondly, it passes through dense rhododendron forests, home to giant magnolias and more than six hundred varieties of number of orchids. In the early summer, this forest gets carpeted by a dense bloom of every imaginable colour rendering it the perfect time for a trek.
Take the toy train across the Nilgiri
Enjoy the stunning landscape featuring lush tea plantations, verdant meadows and jagged gorges as you lazily chug along in the century-old Nilgri Mountain Railway. It’s the perfect way to visit Tamil Nadu’s favourite hillstations – Ooty and Coonoor. Try to coincide your visit with the Ooty Summer Festival to witness some stunning summer blooms at the Botanical Gardens.
Go spelunking in Kutumsar Caves, Chhattisgarh
Trek through the thick sal and teak forests of Kangar Valley National Park and you will eventually arrive at Kailash and Kutumsar Caves – a 300 meter long underground cave system with splendid stalagmite and stalactite formations. Apart from the geographical formations, you can also spot a rare species of blind fish in the indoor pools within these caves. The Kangar Valley National Park is also a great birdwatching spot thanks to the presence of more than hundred species of birds, including rare ones like the orange-beaked Bastar Hill myna.
Learn pottery at Andretta, Himachal Pradesh
For more fifty years, this tiny hamlet has played host to some of the most creative minds in pottery, sculpting and theater. The highlight of the village is the Andretta Pottery school which offers short and long term courses in all aspects of pottery making. The stunning landscape of dense forests, gently gurgling streams and wild flower-strewn meadows offer plenty of design and creative inspirations. The walk-in sessions lasts around two hours and you get to take home the finished product as a souvenir. Do stock up on some cool blue-glazed pottery from the nearby shop. If you feel like taking a break from the potter wheel, there are plenty of temples (Baijnath temple, Brijeshwari temple, Jwalamukhi Mata temple) and monasteries (Tashijong Monastery, Sherabling Monastery and the Norbulingka Institute) in vicinity.
Visit the Mount Abu Summer Festival
Rajasthan can get scorching in the summer but temperature in Mount Abu remains moderate thanks to its location on the slopes of the Aravallis. Try to time your visit to coincide with the Mount Abu Summer Festival – a two day event featuring folk music, traditional dances, and a boat race on Nakki Lake. Sufi lovers can enjoy soul-stirring qawwali performance under the full moon during the Sham-e-Qawwali. The nearby white marble Dilawara Jain temples and wildlife sanctuary is also worth a visit.