NGT Rewind: Diwali Traditions Across India, Gujarat Road Trips and Chai Experiments in Darjeeling

The best of Nat Geo Traveller India from Oct 24-30. | By NGT Staff  
Dev Diwali, Varanasi
The ghats of Varanasi are lit up with diyas during Dev Diwali. Illustration: Surabhi Thakker

What’s New

RECORD-BREAKER: Travellers can now board the world’s longest non-stop flight from Delhi. Air India’s new flight route from the capital to San Francisco isn’t just record-breaking. It’s also quicker, and saves on fuel. More here.

NEW IN INDIA: Goa’s latest tour buses can travel on land and water, and they’re rolling out for travellers this November. The duck boats don’t look like much—they’re modelled on Vietnamese warcraft—but they’re perfect for riverside views of historic Panjim and lush Divar Island. It’s a fun way to see the sights, and the kids will love it too. More here.

WILDLIFE CENSUS: Bhutan recently became the world’s first country to conduct a nationwide census of the endangered snow leopard. The survey found a healthy number of the big cat in the Himalayan kingdom. More here.

Trip Ideas

STAY: Want a relaxing holiday in the company of the mighty Himalayas? This hill-station stay is the perfect refuge for travellers who want the crisp, romantic air of Mussoorie, but without the clamour. More here.

ROAD TRIP: Gujarat is studded with gorgeous, ancient stepwells, and most of the popular ones are close to Ahmedabad. We’ve got driving itineraries, beginning from a half-day trip. Ogle at the architectural marvels, shop for spices and fabric, and eat to your heart’s content with our guide. More here.

MIGHTY METÉORA: Want a taste of Greece beyond islands and beaches? Metéora offers great hiking trails layered with history. Follow a local guide through hidden routes that monks used to reach monasteries atop remote peaks. Give yourself over to panoramic views, beautiful frescoes, home-made wine, and an atmosphere of calm. More here.

Travel Reads

A DIFFERENT DIWALI: Diwali means setting the sky alight with fireworks for some; for others it is a time for contemplation, to find the light within. While believers around the world light diyas on Diwali, the festival of lights is celebrated differently across India. More on the country’s beautiful Diwali traditions here.

NOODLE GUIDE: Skip the pad thai the next time you’re in Bangkok. The city’s steaming street markets serve lesser-known but delicious dishes like wok-fried glass noodles, and fried crisp egg noodles drenched in coconut curry. Plus, there’s a restaurant with meat-free cooking classes so travellers can recreate the flavourful bowls at home. More here.

VIDEO: Polar bears are the cuddly beasts of the Arctic, and we have just the videos to prove it. Watch them romance in the snow and play football with a camera—and use our guide to see them in the wild this winter. More here.

EXPERIMENTS IN CHAI COUNTRY: A little over an hour’s drive from Darjeeling, Kurseong is a tea lover’s paradise. Home to the world’s first tea factory, the West Bengal hill station offers some truly quirky blends to travellers. Have tea fusion shots made with betel leaf, taste ginger pudding in tea sauce, and drink the season’s first flush blended with passion fruit. Sipped against lush views of the Himalayas, these cups of chai are some of life’s finest pleasures. More here.

NOSTALGIA TRIP: The quintessential American vacation is still a road trip. Follow a father and son as they retrace a 77-year-old journey across America, with a grandmother’s journal, a dad’s memories, and a stuffed bunny. More here.

TRAVEL HUMOUR: Travelling with kids isn’t easy, but as most parents will tell you, it is often well worth the anxiety and stress that precludes these journeys. One parent weighs in on why you shouldn’t think twice about seeing the world with the little ones. More here.

SPICE ODYSSEY: Can the Luso-Indian flavours of Goa’s cuisine be found in Portugal, once the state’s colonial masters? One writer finds out. More here.

LOVE ON THE ROAD: Should a trip become a test of love? According to one writer, sometimes travel is the best way to measure a relationship. More here.

THE HEART OF BALI: There’s a subtle balance between the real world and the intangible on the Indonesian island of Bali, home of ancient temples and myths. Delve into its rich culture and heritage here.

Psst. Want a weekly dose of travel inspiration in your inbox?