There is something about those hastily-packed bags and no-itinerary trips. Impromptu travel plans are the best for Republic Day trips. That said, 2018 is bringing you its first long weekend, starting January 26 on Friday this week. In other words, you have still got time to make those last-minute bookings and kickstart your travel graph of the year.
Here is some help if you haven’t finalised a destination yet.
Corbett National Park
Why not spend the Republic Day listening to the tales of leopard-encounter, chasing wildly-coloured birds and seeking the striped carnivore in the jungles of Uttarakhand? Wilderness-lovers, head to Jim Corbett National Park in Ramgarh over the upcoming weekend and spend your time tasting the quietude and thrill of the jungle.
Sign up for a jeep or elephant safari early in the morning or in the evening to catch a glimpse of Asiatic elephants, deer, Himalayan black bears, and Indian grey mongoose. The park boasts of over 500 species of birds including cattle egret, darter, grey heron, and cormorants, fish owls, scops owls, nightjars, hornbills, babblers, robins, Indian Alpine Swifts. Flora lovers, look out for sal, khair, and bamboo. Republic Day is all about knowing your country better and what better to indulge with nature.
And when you are done with that, head to the lively town of Nainital located only 4 hours away from the park to check out the Republic Day celebrations. Go woollen-shopping, Kumaoni food-binging, and trekking, if the wild side needs more adventure.
Where to stay: V Resorts Kotabagh
V Recommend: Treat yourself with the unique experience of mud pit dinner by the river bed. Don’t forget to ask your servers for some local delicacies.
Distance from Delhi: 271.3 km via NH9
Spend your weekend soaking in the sun, taking surf lessons or reading a book by the bright blue waters of Varkala. What sets the coastal town of Kerala apart from other popular cities like Alleppey, Munnar or Cochin is that it does not, in fact, attract a large number of tourists on Republic Day. This makes it ideal for backpackers or for those in need of some quiet time.
At Varkala, its easier to get lost in exploring its quaint cafes, talking to fellow travellers, or spending the evenings watching the sunset from the cliff top while enjoying a glass of cold coffee. Local sightseeing sights include Anjengo Fort, Muthalapuzhi Lake, and Janardana Swami Temple for your Republic Day trip.
Where to stay: V Resorts Bohemian Masala Varkala
V Recommend: Unwind with an ayurvedic body massage at the resort and give those muscles a treat.
Distance from Cochin: 160.0 km via NH 66
For all those long hours of working and spending sleepless nights, give yourself a treat over this long weekend. Stomp on grapes, taste some fine wine, take a vineyard tour. A leisurely walk by the beautiful Vaitarna Lake isn’t a bad idea either. Nashik is located only an hour and a half away from Mumbai.
From caves to fortresses, temples to shrines, there is so much on offer for Nashik-visitors even for the patriotic sense of Republic Day. When in Nashik, explore Ankai Fort for a dose of history, or the architectural marvel called Malegaon Fort, or pay obeisance at Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple. If the adventurous side needs a kick, explore the Everest of Maharashtra, the Kalsubai range in the Western Ghats.
Where to stay: V Resorts Soma Vine Village Nashik
V Recommend: Take a refreshing vineyard tour in the beautiful wineries of Nashik and spend your afternoons stomping on the grapes, tasting wine.
Distance from Mumbai: 167.3 km via NH160
It just snowed in Mashobra If you need any more reason to travel to Mashobra, it is a quiet town located in the Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh and offers a perfect getaway to those looking to escape the maddening crowd and noise of the city. Go on long nature walks, take a birding tour at Reserve Forest Sanctuary, or just stay at the resort feeling the verdant quietness around.
Adventure-lovers, Mashobra won’t disappoint you either. Love trekking? Head for Shali Tibba. Love rafting? Head for Tattapani Stream. Love biking?
Get lost in the serpentine roads of the hill station.
And if you get bored, the gorgeous town of Shimla is only 40 minutes away.
Where to stay: V Resorts Mashobra Greens
V Recommend: Have a picnic lunch in the apple orchards, plan it on Republic Day, talking to your loved ones about things relevant or irrelevant.
Distance from Delhi: 353.2 km via NH 44 and NH5
Spend your Republic Day admiring the misty peaks of Lonavala, or trekking up a fort or a cave, or maybe picnicking by a lake in the Maharashtra town known for its scenic beauty. And when you want to call it a day, doze off gazing at the clear starry sky of Lonavala.
A perfect getaway from Mumbai, Lonavala has Karla Caves, Lohagarh Fort, and Kune Falls on offer, among other things. A trekking expedition up to Korigard Fort or spotting 150 species of resident and 37 species of migratory birds at Karnala Bird Sanctuary are some other activities Lonavala may engage you in.
Not in a mood to step out? Just stay at the resort, sip your morning tea taking in the quietness of the place, or lounging around with your favourite book, doing nothing.
Where to stay: V Resorts Lonavala
V Recommend: Make it up to your loved ones for all those times you skipped meals with them over a poolside candle-light dinner.
Distance from Mumbai: 88.5 km via Bengaluru – Mumbai Highway /Mumbai Highway /Mumbai – Pandharpur Road/Mumbai – Pune Highway
Another offbeat destination, Purulia is also known as Manbhum City in the state of West Bengal. When in Purulia, take in the quietness of Murardi Lake looking at the mighty mountain surroundings; explore Rakab Forest, known to be the hunting place of Kashipur; or picnic at Surulia as the Republic Day special.
Or just unwind at the resort, go on long nature walks and feel the breeze of freedom on Republic Day, try some adventure sports. There is a village called Chorida Village that is home to several award-winning Chou dancers and mask-makers (picture above). Chou is a local dance form inspired by folk, tribal, and martial art forms. The area is perfect for those looking to immerse themselves in local tribal traditions and culture.
Where to stay: V Resorts Sonkupi Banjara Camp Purulia
V Recommend: Take a village tour around the resort and take a peek into the tribal culture of the region.
Distance from Kolkata: 250.5 km via NH314 and SH 2