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Sunday, December 3, 2023

4 best places in India that you can visit this long weekend

Easter long weekend is just around the corner, and a quick getaway sounds perfect. Travel has opened up, new boutique hotels are welcoming guests, and frankly, you’re tired of seeing everyone else’s vacation pictures (#blessed, #takemeback #dayslikethese #vitaminsea). It is possible, however, that you have not had the time to plan a vacation in advance. A four-day holiday calls for a break closer to home so you’re not exhausted from travelling. Still, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

Here’s our list of the 4 best places to visit this Easter weekend.

1. From Mumbai, visit Fernandeswadi, Uran

You can take a speedboat to Alibaug or head out to Pavna, but we recommend taking the road less traveled. There is a two-hour drive from Mumbai to Fernandeswadi, a three-bedroom homestay set amidst a coconut grove right by the sea, run by writer Jharna Thakkar and Rohan Fernandes. If you decide to accept the mission, you will be able to relax and unwind. There is no television in the rooms; meals are seasonal and local, with ingredients sourced from the organic farm; and swimming in the pool and the sea is encouraged.

Getting here: Fernandeswadi is a one-and-a-half hour drive from Mumbai. Alternatively, take a ferry from Bhauccha Dhakka to Mora (they leave every 45 minutes), from where it’s a 20-minute auto ride away.

2. From Delhi, visit Atali Ganga, Rishikesh

The Atali Ganga, India’s first Activotel, is a 22-cottage property set on a hillside overlooking the Ganga and surrounded by Reserved Forest. It’s managed by the same people behind the award-winning Aquaterra Adventures, so you can pick from a variety of activities that are sure to get your adrenaline pumping (all those Zoom calls make Jack a dull boy). All of these activities are directed by the team’s Activity Officers, including white water rafting, kayaking, trekking, mountain biking, inflatable kayaking, and a world-class High Ropes course (Altitude @Atali). In addition, you can choose to dial it down with yoga on the lawn, meditation, astronomy and cozy nights around the campfire.

Getting here: A four or five-hour drive from Delhi, you can cut short travel time by taking a 25-minute flight from Delhi to Dehradun. It’s a little over an hour’s drive from the airport.

3. From Jaipur, visit Six Senses Fort Barwara

It’s a no-brainer to take a wellness break at the gorgeous Six Senses Fort Barwara. Located on the majestic Aravallis, this property offers a spectacular view of Chauth Mata temple. Featuring two original palaces and two restored temples, the walled fort’s highlight is a 30,000sqft spa and fitness centre, which offers a number of signature treatments and massages that promise to restore both body and mind. Although it’s on every Bollywood celebrity’s radar, it’s large enough with 48 suites, so it won’t be fully booked in a hurry.

Getting here: Six Senses Fort Barwara is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Jaipur International Airport and 30 minutes by car from Sawai Madhopur train station and Ranthambore National Park. Flying time from Delhi to Jaipur is 40 minutes.

4. From Chennai, visit Andaman Sanctuary, Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The math is simple. Four cottages. Two acres. A forest. A quiet beach. 30 minutes from Port Blair airport. Wandoor village, on the South Andaman Island, is the ideal place to get away from it all for a few days. There are white sand beaches to explore, azure waters to snorkel in, and secret coves and lagoons to discover. There are lazy breakfasts and simple home-cooked lunches to eat, fresh-brewed coffee to savour, and Technicolor sunsets to be witnessed. Viraj, the Sanctuary manager, can help you better understand this ecosystem, which is as fragile as it is beautiful. Also available is the opportunity to kayak with a marine biologist, as well as a visit to the Andaman Nicobar Environment Team (ANET) center which promotes ecological research and is dedicated to the preservation of biodiversity. Now, let me say it like All Saints: Let’s go to the beach.

Getting here: From Chennai, take a flight to Port Blair, and then drive 30 minutes to Andaman Sanctuary.

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