8 reasons to not be at home this Diwali
For the adventure junkie
Bhote Koshi, Nepal
If you have a longish break, and don’t mind crossing borders and boundaries, here’s a gem of a retreat in Nepal. Less than three hours away from Kathmandu on the Arniko (Kathmandu/Lhasa) Highway and within 12 km of the Tibet Border and the famous Friendship Bridge, this bungee jumping site is one of the most sought-after in this part of the world. Situated right above the Bhote Koshi River, the jump, at 160m, was designed by one of New Zealand’s leading bungee consultants, and is one of the most popular bungee jumping sites in the
Rappelling at Tak Mak Tok, Raigad
Once used as a point to punish Shivaji Maharaj’s enemies, the Tak Mak Tok, today, is a popular site among adventurists willing to test their rappelling skills. The point offers a breathtaking view of the Sahyadri hills, and its dropping crevasses and over-folding edges going down 1,200 feet, present a challenging task for adventurists.
For the culture-crazy
Ajanta and Ellora
Located in Aurangabad district, Ajanta caves consist of 300 rock-cut caves which date way back into the 2nd century BC. Check out the paintings and sculptures within the caves which includes Buddhist iconography and depictions of the Jataka tales. The nearby site of Ellora consists of 34 rock-cut caves with Hindu, Jain and Buddhist motifs. Both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Head to the land famous for its abundance of rice, coconuts, cashew nuts and Alphonso mangoes. The coastal region boasts of a Marine Biological Research Station. Also, check out the Thiba Palace where the exiled Burmese ruler — King Thebaw and his family — resided in India, and which was immortalised in Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace. There are several beaches to unwind; there’s also Jaigad, a 17th century fort and the Nivali waterfall. Don’t miss the 40-year-old Shafaee Jama Masjid in Kondivare village, which is inspired by the Taj Mahal and boasts of stunning architecture.
For the foodie
This Diwali, if you crave for a calm escape, Dahanu is your calling. Its clean beach and chickoo orchards make for a perfect backdrop to unwind and celebrate a quiet Diwali. Also, foodies have much to look forward to as Dahanu is the hub for all kinds of chickoo products. The star fruit is present in crispy chickoo chips, chickoo halwa for the traveller with a sweet tooth as well as sweet-sour chickoo pickles and refreshing chickoo shakes. Head to the Save Farm, a 35-acre farm where you can spot rare species of plants, savour farm-fresh vegetables and even enjoy a rappelling session.
The Union Territory of Daman boasts of awe-inspiring churches and picturesque beaches. It’s also a great place to savour fresh, local seafood and unwind over some beer. Savour seafood and chicken preparations, and take part in water sports for a head rush. Its popular beaches are Devka, Pargola and Jampore.
For the wildlife buff
Tadoba National Park
Spread over 625.4 square kilometres, Tadoba Andhari Reserve is the largest forest reserve in Maharashtra, and is known widely for its jungle safari trips. It is home to around 65 Bengal tigers and the Marsh Crocodile. Tadoba National Park is also home to 74 species of butterflies.
Pench National Park
Situated in Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh as well as the north-eastern tip of Maharashtra, Pench National Park is a popular tiger safari spot in the country. It is also the forest that inspired Rudyard Kipling’s most famous work, The Jungle Book. The park is a haven for birdwatchers, as one can spot over 170 species of birds, including several migratory ones. Sightings of animals including chital, sambhar, nilgai, jackal, leopards and barking deer are common.
Compiled by Soma Das and Hassan M Kamal