Outlook Traveller|May 2020
When you’re done living it up in all the Bagas, Calangutes, Titos and Mambos of Goa, a quiet escape is just a short drive away. enter: South Goa. If beaches are your thing, you’re in paradise here. Butterfly Beach, as the name suggests, is a haven for spotting butterflies, crabs and dolphins. you can even take a boat or a canoe to explore this hidden oasis in your own style. Hidden away from the crowds of palolem and Agonda, Cola Beach is an elusive wonder where the water is the perfect amount of still to swim in and watch the hues of the sun set over. walk to Blue Lagoon, where a palm tree-encrusted freshwater stream meets the beach. yes, this is what paradise looks like. Just south of Madgaon is Benaulim Beach and this is where all the sea-foodies need to unite. The vibrant culture is juxtaposed with peace and tranquillity as you sit around spotting dolphins and crocodiles. Make sure you do any parasailing or jet skiing before you eat till you can no longer move. when you’re done soaking in the sun, head to Assolna to explore the gorgeous portuguese architecture of some colonial-era palaces, and don’t forget to shop for some trinkets to wear later.
Fish fofos: Traditionally made from cod, these cheesy fish rolls have been adapted and made with boneless fish, shrimp and prawns
- Dolphin spotting
Agra, Jaipur and New Delhi form a convenient road-tripping triangle around Alwar—one of the 16 mahajanapadas, and an underrated collage of Rajputana. If you don’t want to venture into the state’s interiors, Alwar is the microcosm that has it all. Start with an early morning visit to Moosi Maharani ki Chhatri—a cenotaph overlooking a reservoir, ghats and medieval-era homes. Lift the small boulder inside the main building, and wash your face with the cool groundwater below. Locals believe it wards off the evil eye. Next, head to the City palace and Museum next door. Done in baby blue and white, its collection houses rare Rajput and Mughal weapons, religious and literary relics, miniature paintings and more. Alwar’s forts are intriguing—there’s the small hilltop Bala Quila (currently under restoration), the scenic drive up to which is painted in green, white and brown, and the more expansive Bhangarh fort. The latter’s supposedly haunted, so you can’t visit after sunset. Coffee at the windy Siliserh Lake, which stretches all around a singular viewpoint, and strolls inside the impeccably landscaped Company Bagh, perfectly bookend this trip. post the historical circuit, book a safari into Sariska National park (1 hour away). Its grasslands and dry forests turn blazing orange during sunrise and sunset. Drive through groves of dhok and along natural pools to spot tigers, nilgai, boar, crocodiles and hyenas. If cruising in from Alwar, opt for the park’s Sariska gate to dabble in astronomy at the Stargate Observatory. for a more secluded experience, head to the Tehla Gate, and glamp under the stars at Sariska Astroport.
Special thali from Prem Pavitra Bhojnalaya. It features dal-baati-churma, roti, papad, and spicy gatte ki sabzi. Paired best with stuffed chillies and kulfi
- Walking tours
- Sunrise safari
The breathtaking low hills, rolling teak and sandalwood forests, roaring waterfalls, and miles of aromatic spice and coffee plantations, Kodagu is a getaway for those in the mood to awaken their senses, and coincidentally, also the largest coffee producer in India. Nick-named the ‘Scotland of India’, this gorgeous town, dotted with villages and hamlets is a rediscovery of the self. Known for its torrential waterfalls, it offers natural wonders as the Lakshmana Tirtha River tumbles in the Iruppu falls, and the Kaveri River snakes through spice plantations and coffee estates, down green plains and off rocky cliffs into the Abbey falls, awaiting anyone willing to make the short hike up. Better known as Coorg, it is also home to the Nagarhole National park, which hosts over 270 species of birds and animals, and dense forests. Head over to the Nisargadhama river-island to take in elephant sightings and treetop bamboo cottages. If you’re in it for the caffeine kick, a variety of coffee plantations offer tours of their facilities, sometimes through pepper and cardamom fields to present the most scenic views for your coffee tasting. with one of the highest rates of rainfall in the country, Coorg is also a great destination for trekking, angling, whitewater rafting, and other adventure sports.
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