Another long weekend is upon us, travellers! Choose between discovering the lush tea gardens and quaint hill stations of the Nilgiris, checking into a gorgeous boutique hotel in the hills of Uttarakhand, walking through Gwalior’s historic forts and ramparts, and losing yourself in the endless salt pans of Bhuj.
“Start the journey at Udhagamandalam (Ooty), the most popular destination of the Nilgiris, and immortalised in Indian cinema. Though the lake and the low hills skirting the town promise tranquility, Ooty is hit by a barrage of tourists during summer. Stay at the town’s outer fringes to experience the relaxing ambience that the hills promise. The town can be a repertoire of hill station clichés, but should not be missed. Ooty needs at least two whole days to explore.” –Supriya Sehgal
Read more here.
Appeared in the October 2013 issue as “Sullivan’s Nilgiris”.
The Master’s Bedroom is cosily furnished with a high four-poster bed, plush sofas, and a little private garden, perfect for morning yoga. Photo courtesy Te Aroha
“The rooms don’t have televisions at Te Aroha, a boutique hotel in Dhanachuli in Uttarakhand’s Kumaon district. But that’s hardly a problem: Draw back the curtains and a grand drama unfolds. Clouds slide into the valley, tree branches sway in the breeze, and birds swoop past. On clear mornings, the snow-capped peaks of Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot, and Trishul glisten in the sunshine.” –Neha Dara
Appeared in the June 2015 issue as “Welcome Vistas”.
The massive Gwalior Fort holds not only numerous monuments, palaces, and temples, but also the Scindia School. Photo: Hemis/Indiapicture
“Gwalior brings your school lessons alive. The memory of epic battles, musical geniuses, and brave dynasties is woven into the city’s fabric, presenting an opportunity to get acquainted with north India’s tumultous history. With its great shopping potential—Chanderi and Maheshwari saris, lacquerware, metalcraft, and hand-woven carpets—Gwalior has much to offer tourists. Of course, the roads are crowded and mostly narrow. Of course, the searing heat of summer can be hard to cope with, especially since most of its attractions—palaces, temples, the fort, tombs, and bazaars—are outdoors. But it is worth braving all that to see history come alive as you wander through Gwalior and its surroundings.” –Aruna Chandaraju
Appeared in the August 2013 issue as “Living History”.
During the monsoon the salty marsh of the White Rann is several feet under water. The seawater dries in winter leaving behind the distinctive white carpet. Photo: Omrita Nandi
“The road shimmered as though covered with water, optical illusions perplexing my mind even in winter. A plateau-like hill ran along the road on the right, topped by a fort wall that was broken in parts. A short while later, the 18th-century Bhujia Fort came into view, standing on a high ridge just outside city limits. The fort has been militarily significant for years and even now it is controlled by the Indian army. Civilian entry is only permitted on Nag Panchami, when devotees converge at the temple inside, which is dedicated to Bhujanga Naga. The ramparts of the fort that had escaped destruction in the earthquake, continued for nearly a kilometre before suddenly falling away and opening up a panoramic view of the city. There appeared to be no vestiges of the disaster; instead, only a bustling, sprawling city greeted us.” –Anita Rao Kashi
Appeared in the September 2014 issue as “Across The Salt Desert”.
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