‘If sipping hot coffee in a cosy corner of your home with layers of clothes is not appealing you, then it’s time to start planning vacation during christmas.’
With the drop in temperature, winter is already at the door and is going to stay. If you are one of them who love being in sun then fly away, somewhere sunny like Port Blair, somewhere hot like Jaipur, or somewhere with beautiful beaches like Goa. So leave the layers at home, grab the sunscreen and fly or drive right on down to some of the warmest places in India and breathe in the heat and light and colour.
The pink city beckons tourists with a magnificent display of its royal heritage in its impressive forts and grand palaces. Known for its warm hospitality and with a plethora of handicrafts to shop for, Jaipur is an ideal destination to visit during winter. Tourists can enjoy watching and participating in various festivals that Jaipur hosts during this season.
Located at the old city in Jaipur, the palace gives a glimpse of the royal family of Jaipur. The complex has a rare combination of the finest blends of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. In its museum you will be able to see the royal costumes, old Indian weapons and an art gallery that has a well preserved painted ceiling on which the original semi-precious stones still retain their lustre.
Originally constructed to provide adequate vantage position behind stone carved mesh like screens to the palace women for watching the royal processions passing through the bazaar, the palace of winds is the most remarkably designed monument in Jaipur. It now has a museum and the collections include paintings, coins, handicrafts and sculptures. When you are in the building, you can see the streets below without being seen. This beautiful palace is located next to the City Palace.
Hawa Mahal has a museum and the collections
include paintings, coins, handicrafts and sculptures.
Located at a distance of 11 km from Jaipur, on Delhi-Jaipur Highway, the fort is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of India. Set amidst the hills and overlooking the Maota Lake, the dazzling beauty of this palace attracted many film-makers. From Mughal-e-Azam, to Veer to Bol Bacchan, many films and songs have used this fort as their backdrop. Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh Fort, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Jalmahal, Jantar Mantar and Birla Planetarium are some other tourist places to visit in Jaipur.
Jaipur offers a wide range of handicrafts produced in the centers in and around the city. The local ‘Kundan’, style jewellery, the exotic blue pottery, the batik painting, block printed textiles of Sanganer and Bagru, tie & dye fabrics, Mojari- (the local shoe), sandal wood carving items, beautiful stone carvings, etc are some of the items that one should purchase here. For Jaipuri jutti visit Ramganj Bazar. For tie and dye textiles visit Kishanpol Bazar. For lac bangles and other products, visit Tripolia Bazar. For block printing, hand-made paper and blue pottery, visit Sanganer village.
A perfect beach destination, Goa is known for its palm-fringed beaches, rich cultural heritage and untiring festive mood. With its ancient churches and chapels, sun-soaked beaches and colourful bazaars, Goa displays a quaint mix of the East and the West.
Be it the beaches or sumptuous food, Goa has plenty to offer for everyone!
The white sandy Candolim beach offers various water-sports activities, such as parasailing, water-skiing, wind surfing and above all fishing in a peaceful and quiet environment. Aguada Fort, built by the Portuguese in 1912, is the greatest attraction of Candolim Beach.
Churches of Old Goa
There are many forts and churches in Old Goa that are worth to visit. Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church is one of the first church to be built in Goa, in 1541. Portuguese built the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in 1661. Basilica of Bom Jesus is Goa’s most famous Jesuit church, and the first minor basilica in India.
Located in the Bicholim town of North Goa, Arvalem Caves or the ‘Pandava Caves’ are ancient rock cut caves, dating back to the 6th century. Harvalem Waterfalls, around 9 km from Bicholim, North Goa, is also located at Arvalem. With water falling headlong from a height of 70 meters, it provides a breathtaking view.
Spice plantation in Goa provides tourists an opportunity to experience rural Goa. Some popular spice farms like Savoi Plantation, Pascol Spice village and Sahakari Spice farm are the major attractions.
Where to shop
For huge assortment of goods, visit Wednesday market at Anjuna Beach and Friday Market at Mapusa (the most happening beach of Goa), Ingo’s Saturday Night Market in Arpora and Baga Saturday night market. Cashew nuts are available all across Goa. Live bands are a regular feature of these night markets.
Goa Carnival is an eagerly awaited festival of Goa which is usually held for 3 to 4 days. During the days and nights of the Goa Carnival, the streets come alive with colours, lively processions, floats, the strumming of guitars, graceful dances and of non-stop festivity.
Best time to visit: December is the most happening month of the year when the sun, sand and sea seem to get more spectacular. So, for Christmas and New Year, visit this party capital of India.
Port Blair, Andaman Islands
Surrounded by attractive lush forest and rugged coastline, Port Blair is an amazing tourist destination. The city experiences mild winters and the temperature generally ranges between 15 degree Celsius and 34 degree Celcius. It’s also a good time to see exotic and rare bird species on Chiriya Tapu, a biological park, 25 kms from Port Blair.
Places to Visit
Located at Port Blair, today this National Memorial is a place of pilgrimage and draws everyone down memory lane to the years of freedom struggle. The jail, completed in the year 1906 acquired the name ‘Cellular’ because it was entirely made up of individual cells for solitary confinement. The Sound and Light show in the Cellular Jail narrates the saga of the Indian freedom struggle.
The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park at Wandoor is at a distance of 29 Kms from Port Blair. Made-up of open sea, creeks and 15 small and large islands, it is one of the best marine parks. Viewing of rare corals and underwater marine life through glass bottom boats, SCUBA diving and Snorkelling are a lifetime experience for anyone.
Do not miss:
- Ross island is less than a square kilometere and is a popular tourist spot with remnants of the British era. It has many old British building in ruins.
- Corbyn’s Cove, situated near Port Blair, attracts tourists for its soft sandy beach with coconut palms. It is an ideal spot for swimming, scuba diving and boating and also for watching the sunset.
- Enjoy the unique sea walking experience, Sea Link Adventure’s Sea Walk is located on the North Bay Island.
Words: Mia Gandhi