CEO, executive, startup entrepreneur, homemaker – the lives may be diverse, but breaking away from routine is what brings us all together. With travel being the buzz word for millennials, the year couldn’t have gifted us with a better fortune than extended weekends to fuel that wanderlust. As the year of the dog ensures that every dog has his day, we help you bring quality to this abundant quantity of leisurely weekends.
Not one, not two, 2018 brings all of 16 long weekends! That’s about one every three weeks. Giving you a moment to let that sink in. Once the hallelujahs and party poppers have quietened down, scroll down for the #DSSCRecommends ready reckoner of the ideal vacation(s) for each month. Long weekends & short getaways, now isn’t that a match made in heaven.
N.B.: Now, now, we always look at the glass half full, and hence pack in the maximum possible long weekends for you. HR willing, you shall make it to each one of these. If not, make them have a read to stir the wanderlust in them!
Monday 22, Basant Panchami: Start off the year with adventure and take off this weekend for some winter sports. Pro skier or novice, we’ve picked the top destinations in the country to fulfil your snow-clad mountain dream, with a sprinkle of thrill. Plan your adrenaline getaway replete with powder snow, heli-skiing, and more, here.
Friday 26, Republic Day: Prefer hibernating to warmer climates during winter? Make way to the desert land of the country instead. Visit Jaipur in Rajasthan, and revel in this melting pot of culture and modernism with elephants, forts, polo clubs, laal maas, and much more.
If you’re all about celebrating the spirit of Republic Day, pencil in a visit to the capital on the cards. While you wrap up the defence forces’ show and splendid jhankis Friday morning itself, you have the entire three days to explore Delhi. Start off with relishing some ram laddoos and daulat ki chaat from the by-lanes of Chandni Chowk, go on to visit the multitude of monuments the city hosts, and round off your days with suppers that’ll stay with you for times to come! Get all the dirt on where to dine here.
Monday 12, Take leave + Tuesday 13, Maha Shivratri: Falling perfectly on the dates for the Goa Carnival, this weekend is a godsend. Book your tickets to the beach state pronto, and immerse yourself in the revelry under the rule of King Momo. Yes, you read that right, the Goa tourism authorities appoint an official King Momo who undertakes the main task of the carnival, “Kha, piye aani majja kar” – “Eat, drink, and make merry”. The Portuguese started this tradition centuries back, to be celebrated just before Lent, and since then it’s been four days of music, dance, float parades, an official ball, and endless merrymaking.
Thursday 1, Holika Dahan + Friday 2, Holi: With the festival of colours shining a rainbow over this four-day off, we suggest you celebrate it in all its glory. Head to Mathura and Vrindavan to experience Holi in its true form. From Phoolon Wali Holi to Lathmar Holi to Laddoo Wali Holi, the celebrations start almost a week before the main Holi procession takes place. Make sure to carry clothes you never want to see again – the Mathura Vrindavan Holi colours will render them to only serve as memorabilia of the most fun Holi you ever had.
Thursday 29, Mahavir Jayanti + Friday 30, Good Friday: With Holi packing in all that action, take off this once for a getaway in Maldives to put your heels up. Book a spa resort, sleep in, take ‘em leisurely swims, binge eat, and recharge like it’s no one’s business! The small island is ideal to be explored in a few days, while also allowing you time to destress at the spa.
Monday 30, Buddha Purnima + Tuesday 1, Labour Day: Get your dose of wildlife as you round off the first quarter of the year. Head to Madhya Pradesh to soak in the state’s rich reserves, and spot the likes of tigers, barasinghas, leopards, and over 300 species of birds. The Satpura National Park is a gold mine of catching a glimpse of these animals in their natural habitat, pair it with Bandhavgarh, Kanha, and Pench to truly experience the heart of India.
Friday 15, Id Ul Fitr: Escape the June heat and head east to Sikkim. Snow-clad peaks, lush alpine forests, lakes – you name the terrain and the state has it for you. If you wish to trace the adventure track, go for the river rafting, paragliding, bungee jumping, and trekking. On the other hand, if you simply want to soak in the calm and the pleasant weather, the yak safaris, lakesides, monasteries, and the Singalila National Park work their charm on you.
Wednesday 15 , Independence Day + Friday 17, Parsi New Year + Wednesday 22, Eid ul Adha + Friday 24, Onam: With these festivals scattered across consecutive weeks, apply for leave for the working days in-between and you’re off to a 12-day holiday!
Take a vacation in Sri Lanka and get your leaves’ worth. Palaces, ancient citadels, Buddhist ruins, the country offers a rich potpourri of culture. Add to that wildlife safaris, white water rafting, snorkelling, and elephant sanctuaries, and you have a thriving land with more up it’s sleeve with each corner you turn. With the culinary landscape of Sri Lanka evolving everyday, it checks off all the points on our list of must-visits.
Monday 3, Janamashtmi: Heaven on earth beckons you this September. Make the most of the valley by enjoying the Shikara rides on Dal Lake, staying for a day at the houseboats, relishing Kashmiri delicacies like wazwan and packing their dry fruits for the whole year. Neither as crowded with tourists as peak summer nor so-cold-you-can’t-move as winters, it’s the best time for you to head north!
Thursday 13, Take leave + Friday 14, Ganesh Chaturthi: Take a break in Amritsar this weekend. Accompanying the Golden Temple, Wagah border, and Jallianwala Bagh is exemplary food. Go on a culinary trail with the langar at the Golden Temple, breakfast at Kanha Sweets, Makhan Fish and Chicken Corner, Giani’s Tea Stall, and Kesar Da Dhaba. The Punjabi city doubles up as your shot of culture and food all in one go.
Monday 1, Take leave + Tuesday 2, Gandhi Jayanti: Golden beaches, striking blue waters, scuba diving, corals – we know you’re already sold. Andaman beckons you this weekend, replete with its parasailing, swimming with elephants, volcanos, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, and more. If you’re seeking thrill yet that calm is essential to you, don’t think further and book your getaway now.
Friday 19, Dussehra: Visit Kolkata this Dussehra to celebrate Durga Pooja like it should be! Pandal hopping, Dhunachi dance, and endless sweets & meals will get you busy. Once the reverie of celebrations settles down, indulge in Kolkata’s quintessential rolls, puchkas, mishti doi, and sandesh. Don’t forget to drop by Flury’s and Tangra whilst there.
Monday 5, Dhanteras + Tuesday 6, Take leave + Wednesday 7, Diwali + Thursday 8, Dhanteras + Friday 9, Bhai Duj: Rann of Kutch is calling this November. If not celebrating the festival of lights at home, prep to head to the land of white sands. Nestled in Gujarat, this marsh land in Thar desert introduces you to creative artisans, painfully beautiful sunrises and sunsets, birdwatching, beaches, safaris, ruins of Dholavira, and more. If pristine locales untouched by the madness of mankind is on your mind, make a run to Rann of Kutch (#SorryNotSorry).
Monday 24, Take leave + Tuesday 25, Christmas: Get innovative this Christmas and visit the quaint town of Pondicherry. As you take in the French and Franco-Tamil architecture, you’ll find Christmas on every step of the way – be it decorations, sounds of carols being sung, Christmas cakes all over, and special suppers in honour of the festival. Take part in this muted yet fuzzy-in-the-heart merriment.
Auli, Uttarakhand; Image: joshimath.org
Stepwell in Jaipur; Image: ewallpapers.eu
Jama Masjid, Delhi; Image: mattbadenoch.com
Holi in Vrindavan; Image: tradonline.fr
Maldives; Image: paulreiffer.com
Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh; Image: natgeotraveller.in
Here’s hoping 2019 takes the cause of travel further ahead!