Travel: Four winter getaways for those who wish to end 2017 with a bang
India has a plethora of destinations that come alive during winter. We invite four trip curators to recommend places for those who wish to end the year with a bang
TO IMMERSE YOURSELF IN CULTURE: COORG
When it comes to hill stations in the south, Coorg is often overshadowed by the more popular Ooty and Munnar. But, it offers a mix of experiences you would find hard to come by elsewhere.
Sanchit Gupta, co-founder of Unpland, says, "One of the biggest highlights of the region is Kushalnagar, which, after Dharamshala, is home to the second-largest Tibetan settlement in India. It houses beautiful monasteries, and the people are lovely. You can even try authentic Tibetan food here."
He adds that it is a must to try the home-made wines and pandi (pork) dishes that are unique to Coorg. "The best way to experience the place is to find accommodation at one of the many homestays in the area. This way, you get to meet locals and understand their culture."
Getting There: Fly to Mangalore or Bengaluru, then either take a bus or drive to Coorg
TO HAVE THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME: THE NORTHEAST
"Winter is a good time to explore the northeast," begins Sudeepta Sanyal, co-founder of The Blueberry Trails, adding, "Land in Guwahati, and start your trip by exploring Assam. The state is home to two national parks - Kaziranga and Nameri - both of which are home to fascinating creatures like one-horned rhinos, swamp deer, tigers and flying squirrels. Head here for
a safari in the morning."
Your next stop, she suggests, should be Meghalaya. "There are plenty of walking trails around Shillong. If you want to do something more adventurous, head to Krem Mawmluh in Cherrapunjee for a spot of caving," she adds.
Sanyal recommends keeping aside at least a week for a trip to these two states. "However, if you have more time and are comfortable in even colder climes, you could extend your trip to include Arunachal Pradesh."
Getting There: Fly to Guwahati in Assam, and make your way from there
TO LEARN ART: PANCHGANI
Panchgani may not seem as exotic as the other destinations that have made it to this page, but it's an art lover's delight. Meghana Biwalkar, founder of The Travel of Art, recommends making a trip to indulge in traditional art forms and, of course, fresh strawberries.
"The non-profit Devrai Art Village hosts tribal craftsmen who work with materials like iron, brass, wood, stone and bamboo. Though most specialise in an art form called Rock Dhokra (in pic, above), some are also involved in Warli painting. You can learn these crafts from them by signing up for a workshop," she says.
GettingâÂÂThere : There are regular bus services from Mumbai to Panchgani, you could also drive down
TO LIVE IN THE LAP OF NATURE: TIRTHAN VALLEY
Looming oaks and pines, crisp mountain air, abundant apple orchards and waters clear as crystal - these are some of the things that await you in Tirthan Valley in Himachal Pradesh, which Jungle Lore co-founder Kaustubh Upadhye recommends.
"This is the perfect holiday for anyone looking to disconnect for a bit. When in the region, you can go on a trek through the snow, explore Chehni Kothi, a 1,500-year-old stone castle built by the then king of Kullu, or even venture into the Great Himalayan National Park, where you can spot rare species like snow leopards, and blue sheep," says Upadhye.
As far as accommodation goes, there are cosy B&Bs strewn across the valley. Upadhye shares that the roads are motorable, so you don't have to worry about having to walk for miles to get to your destination.
Getting There: Fly to New Delhi, then take a bus or drive down from there
A walk through Mohammed Ali Road's Khau Galli