As luck would have, this weekend is not like the others. It’s set to spill into the next week, giving us the rare annual opportunity to travel and get out the crowded cities. What’s additionally special about this weekend, however, is it coincides with the 70th anniversary of India’s Independence. So, this year, celebrate patriotism a little differently - put your explorer hats on, venture out to and enjoy these popular weekend getaways across India.
1) Murud Janjira, Maharashtra: About 150km from Mumbai is the Murud-Janjira - pristine beaches, old ruins of forts rich in history, lush hills and dams – enough to keep occupied for the weekend. The Garambi Dam dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria will be in its prime in the monsoon, the majestic Janjira Fort and the Ahmedganj Palace, a palatial mansion offer much to explore.
2) Karshet, Maharashtra: Situated between Mumbai, and Alibaug is this lesser known, clean beach that offers a long sprawling view of the sea. While Alibaug is the popular spot, Karshet sees relatively less tourists. You can spend a day at Alibaug, engaging in the beach sport activities. Then, spend the last day at Karshet in solitude, enjoying the uninterrupted view of the sea.
3) Varkala, Kerala: Varkala is an ideal place to visit if a tourist wants to experience a spring day filled with fisheries, lighthouses, beaches, lakes and more. The sight of the never-ending ocean and the feel of fresh wind is hard to beat. Other attractions include a 2,000-year-old Vishnu temple known as the Janardhanaswamy Temple and Shivagiri Mutt Ashram.
4) Gokarna, Karnataka: Gokarna is a great place to escape to from the hectic schedule and feel relaxed over weekends. Sunbathing, playing volleyball and camping are some of the preferred activities that can be done during the stay.
5) Pondicherry, Tami Nadu: It is a popular destination if one wants to enjoy colonial era buildings, churches, temples and beaches. It is preferred by mainstream and offbeat travellers. Travelling by road is the best way to reach Pondicherry.
6) Bheemeshwari, Karnataka: Want to experience the adrenaline rush via different adventurous activities? Think Kayaking, river rafting, trekking and rope walking are the activities that can be done during the day. Fishing camps and wildlife sanctuary are other great attractions. A memorable night stay at jungle lodges surrounded by 200 species of exotic birds and animals is a sight to experience as well.
7) Hariharishwar-Velas, Maharashtra: Situated on the Konkan belt, Harihareshwar is a holy town and a good weekend getaways near Mumbai. Unaltered, it has a large clean beach coupled with soft sand to make walks along the coast enriching. Head to Velas, which is otherwise popular for its Turtle Festival. Though the festival doesn’t take place in this month, the quaint beach studded with wave-cut rocks and the ruins of Bankot Fort, will more than make up for it.
8) Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh: Located centrally to all the major Indian cities, one can simply fly to Gwalior and spend the extended weekend. Gwalior Fort is one of the largest and majestic forts in India along with Teli ka Mandir – a 300m high temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Close by is also the heritage site of Khajuraho. Visit to marvel at the unique architecture of the numerous temples of the ‘Garden of Dates’ as it was known then.
9) Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh: One is one of the most beautiful short trips from Delhi that you can undertake, its lush greenery, misty mountains and clouds descending on the hills makes it worth an early morning drive. If this is what you want for your weekend then head straight to Dalhousie and Khajjiar for a weekend among the mountains. The Pir Pinjal mountain range is as overwhelmingly gorgeous as that of the vast meadows. Think uninterrupted breeze and occasional drizzling rain with the view of the valley and vegetation.
10) Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh: If you’re in Delhi currently, and are looking for something more traditional, conservative and religious, what better than one of the holiest cities of the country? Varanasi is the holy city of the Hindus, with the sacred Ganga flowing here. This city is filled with numerous ancient temples, fort, etc but the main attraction here is the sight of thousands of pilgrims taking a dip in the River Ganga against the backdrop of ancient temples is a sight not to miss. Sure, the water may not be as appealing anymore, but, the faith and simplicity of your fellow citizens I bound to be overwhelming.
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