NGT Rewind: Indian Predators to Travel For, Junagadh Guide, and Jaipur’s Secret Tunnels

The best of Nat Geo Traveller India from Nov 28-Dec 3. | By NGT Staff  
A leopard and its kill. Photo: Dhritiman Mukherjee
A leopard and its kill. Photo: Dhritiman Mukherjee

What’s New

GO NOW FOR BENGAL’S POUSH MELA Want a crash course in Bengali culture? Start planning for the Poush Mela in Shantiniketan this December. There’ll be Baul singers, theatre performances, handicraft stalls, and delicious “pithe”, a Bengali winter favourite of rice dumplings stuffed with jaggery, coconut, and khoya. More here.

GO NOW FOR KERALA’S THEYYAM At the end of December every year, Kerala’s sleepy village of Kanathoor welcomes gods, demons and forest spirits into its midst in a theyyam festival. Watch the riveting performances—a blend of dance, storytelling, and theatre—in temple courtyards, lit only by flickering lamplight. Goosebumps guaranteed. More here.

COMEDY VIDEO There’s plenty we love about trains: rolling views, quick friendships, that weird-but-good tomato soup. But there’s some not-so-pleasant stuff too, like trying to use the bathroom while the train chugs along. A new video from stand-up comedian Naveen Richard perfectly sums up the often gross equations passengers have with trains on the Indian Railways. Watch it here.

Trip Ideas

TRANQUEBAR GUIDE Love Pondicherry? Visit the colonial seaside town of Tranquebar Danish ruins, ocean views, and ancient churches. Winter is the best time to go. More here.

10 INDIAN SPECIES THAT WON’T GO DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT India is home to some fascinating wildlife species. Many are threatened, but thanks to the efforts of conservations groups around the country, they are making a comeback. This is celebration of the animals (and humans) that have fought back. Plus, where to see them in the wild. More here.

JUNAGADH GUIDE Love the Taj Mahal? Wait until you see Junagadh’s quirky version. It’s called the Mahabat Maqbara, and is just one of the many grand structures in this Gujarati town. There are also craftily designed forts and stone-carved edicts dating to the time of Emperor Ashoka—plus winter brings the best weather. More here.

PREDATORS TO TRAVEL FOR IN INDIA India is home to a great many predators, and they’re all mesmerising to watch. On your next holiday, train your lenses on the Asiatic lions of Gujarat, scan the waters of the Chambal River in MP for crocs, or crane your neck up to spot leopards on the treetops of Karnataka’s Kabini reserve. As this story testifies, the photo ops are amazing. More here.

RAJAJI NATIONAL PARK GUIDE Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand is home to herds of elephants that can be seen mucking about its watering holes. Winter’s a lovely time of year to visit them: views are misty, the weather is sublime, and migratory birds descend in large numbers until February. More here.

JAIPUR’S SECRET TUNNELS Jaipur’s forts and palaces have colourful pasts—of extravagant rajas, beautiful queens, and bitter battles. But there are stories and secrets underneath the city, too. Like the underground tunnels that connect the famous Amer and Jaigarh Forts. More here.

HOW TO EMBRACE THE INDIAN WINTER Winter’s here—and it’s got lots to offer. Curl up with a book and mountain views in Arunachal Pradesh, ski down snowy slopes in Auli and Narkanda, or plan a wildlife holiday in West Bengal. More here.

BENGALURU ON BICYCLE Ghee roast dosas, gorgeous rock sculptures, and a temple dedicated to a fabled heap of ragi (finger millet) are just some of our favourite stops on this Bengaluru cycle trail. More here.

WATERFALL GUIDE IN KARNATAKA The Western Ghats are filled with invigorating nature getaways that are only a few hours from Bengaluru. On your next weekend getaway, swap the sound of traffic for the roar of a waterfall. You can drive to some, others require a short walk, and a few breathtaking beauties are tucked away in the jungle. Don’t forget the sandwiches! More here.

Travel Reads

SOUTH AFRICA’S BLACK MAMBAS South Africa’s Balule Nature Reserve is home to the Big Five of an African wildlife safari: the lion, elephant, leopard, rhino, and African buffalo. Part of the reason this park has an abundance of wildlife is the Black Mambas, the world’s only majority female anti-poaching unit. They protect the animals without guns or bullets—though they may be unarmed, they are powerful. More here.

THRILLERS ON WHEELS Dimly lit corridors, and the metallic rattle of the wheels on the track—trains are rife with potential for adventure, as these gripping crime novels testify. Our list of gripping crime novels are best devoured on a train journey, preferably under the light of a torch. More here.

COLD COMFORT IN NORTH INDIA Winter can be brutal in north India, and even the most hardy Dilliwalas can succumb to its chills. But, as one traveller learned while visiting the Himalayas, there’s an inexplicable joy in rushing headlong into the cold. More here.

NAT GEO CONTEST WINNER Hiking with the family in Sikkim was a lesson in mountain magic for Mitul Sarkar, the winner of this year’s Nat Geo Traveller India Travel Writing Contest. More here on her story of navigating the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary with her 70-year-old parents, husband and teenage son.

WHY RUNNING IS LIKE REAL-LIFE FACEBOOK Running is more than exercise. It’s a way to see the world, make new connections, and as this long-distance runner discovered, weirdly like Facebook. More here.

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