Summer Love
Discover India|March - April 2021
The hazy, lazy days of summer are here. That means watching misty clouds descend from a Himalayan cottage, diving into the cerulean waters of the Indian Ocean, camping in the northeastern rainforests, and more. Be it a solo trip, an intimate getaway with your partner, a family vacation, or a fun break with your best buds, these 20 destinations will give you plenty of choices for every mood.
RASHIMA NAGPAL & SHRIMAYEE THAKUR

KODAIKANAL, Tamil Nadu

Perched at an altitude of 2,133 metres, Kodaikanal is known as the ‘Princess of Hill Stations’. It is one of the most popular summer destinations in South India and a favourite of families. Visit the Berijam Lake (requires a permit from the forest department) for its calm blue waters and forested shores. For activities like boating and fishing, head to Kodaikanal Lake, a star-shaped waterbody constructed in 1863. The Pine Forest and Pillar Rocks—a set of three 122-metre-high rocks looming over the surroundings—make for great photo ops.

GETTING THERE

Located around 134 km away, Madurai Airport is the closest airport to Kodaikanal. Daily flights from Chennai, Bangalore, Trichy, and Mumbai arrive here.

STAY

The Carlton offers comfortable rooms with a breathtaking view of the Kodaikanal Lake (starts from 10,250/USD141; carlton-kodaikanal.com).

KHAJJIAR, Himachal Pradesh

Known as ‘Mini Switzerland’, Khajjiar beckons with grassy meadows spread out as far as the eye can see, thick forests of deodar and pine, and clear blue skies. Its location in the foothills of the Dhauladhar range in the Western Himalayas offers opportunities for activities such as paragliding, horse riding, zorbing, and trekking. The tranquil Khajjiar Lake, surrounded by cedar trees, is perfect for a family outing. Don’t forget to visit the 12th-century Khajji Nag Temple, which is a fascinating blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture, and as its name suggests, dedicated to snakes.

GETTING THERE

Fly from Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi to Kangra Airport in Gaggal. From there, Khajjiar is a four-hour drive.

STAY

Located in nearby Dalhousie, JK Clarks Exotica offers luxurious rooms with balconies looking out to the snowy mountains of the Saach Pass (starts from 6,249/USD86; clarksinn.in).

SWARAJ DWEEP, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Pristine white beaches, swaying palm trees, and sparkling blue water—the Andamans are a dream come true for beach bums. Swaraj Dweep (previously called Havelock Island) is popular for its gorgeous beaches—Radhanagar Beach is counted among the best beaches in Asia, and Elephant Beach is a favoured spot for adventure sports. You can simply take in the view while relaxing on the shores, or explore the stunning coral reefs and aquatic life of the archipelago by scuba diving or snorkelling.

GETTING THERE

The closest international airport is in the capital city of Port Blair. From there, both government ferries and helicopters ply to Swaraj Dweep. The fastest way to reach is to take a private catamaran.

STAY

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andamans offers 54 villas on stilts under coconut and palm trees. The resort also offers forest treks and a variety of activities for kids (starts from 28,450/USD392; tajhotels.com).

MAHABALESHWAR, Maharashtra

The dense forests, meandering rivers, and waterfalls of Mahabaleshwar offer refuge from the heat. That’s why it was once a summer getaway for the British and remains a popular weekend destination for locals of Mumbai and Pune. Mahabaleshwar’s rugged terrain and stunning vistas appeal to visitors of all ages, making it a favoured family holiday spot. Visit Mapro Garden (mapro-garden.business. site) to sample ice cream made from the region’s famous strawberries, explore the 17th-century Pratapgad Fort and the 16th-century Mahabaleshwar Temple, or spend a day at Velocity Entertainmentz (velocityentertainmentz.com), a 10-acre amusement park. Elphinstone Point offers a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area, and you can catch the sunset from a boat on the Venna Lake.

GETTING THERE

Fly to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai. Mahabaleshwar is a six-hour drive from there.

STAY

Located close to the popular attractions, Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa is the perfect base to explore the hill station (starts from 16,200/ USD222; marriott.com).

PACHMARHI, Madhya Pradesh

Also known as ‘Satpura ki Rani’ (Queen of Satpura), Pachmarhi is located in the Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh. It is the only hill station and the highest point in the state, and is known for its majestic waterfalls: Rajat Prapat, Bee, Apsara, Duchess. The hill station gets its name from the five (pach) ancient caves (marhi) in the region that are said to have housed the Pandavas of Mahabharata during their exile. The Pachmarhi Wildlife Sanctuary is listed as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and it adjoins the Satpura National Park (satpura-national-park.com), a prime location to spot Royal Bengal tigers, leopards, and birds. The hill station also houses remnants of the British era: Christ Church, an ode to 19th-century European architecture, is built entirely out of sandstone. Trek up to Dhoopgarh, the highest point in the Satpura range, to catch a beautiful sunrise.

GETTING THERE

The closest airport is the Raja Bhoj International Airport in Bhopal, 208 km away, and it is connected to major Indian cities. From Bhopal, Pachmarhi is around five hours by road.

STAY

The Summer House offers a choice of 29 well-appointed rooms (starts from 5,000/USD69; amhotelkollection.com).

HAMPI, Karnataka

Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dotted with the remnants of structures that date back to the 14th-century Vijayanagara Empire. Admire the ruins of opulent palaces, temples, and massive fortifications, where the architecture is a combination of several South Indian styles, such as Deccani, Chalukya, Hoysala, and Dravida. Most of the prominent ruins are located in two areas—the Royal Centre has palaces, baths, pavillions, stables, and temples for ceremonial use, while the Sacred Centre is set along the banks of the Tungabhadra River and encompasses the Virupaksha Temple and Hampi Bazaar area. A solo trip to this awe-inspiring region is incomplete without trying your hands at bouldering; Hanumanahalli is one of the popular climbing spots.

GETTING THERE

Fly to Kempegowda International airport in Bengaluru. From there, take a flight to Bellary Airport, 60 km away from Hampi.

STAY

Soak in royal luxury at Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace, built to emulate Vijayanagari grandeur (starts from 25,000/USD343; evolveback.com).

VARKALA, Kerala

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM DISCOVER INDIAView All

“Culturally, I'm fairly Indian.”

Rebekah Blank does not remember life before India, for a good reason—she was barely a toddler when her family left the US. The co-founder of Fabcafe (the dining arm of FabIndia) and Atmosphere Kombucha talks about growing up in Mussoorie, living in Delhi, and her love for the outdoors and healthy eating.

3 mins read
Discover India
March - April 2021

Summer Love

The hazy, lazy days of summer are here. That means watching misty clouds descend from a Himalayan cottage, diving into the cerulean waters of the Indian Ocean, camping in the northeastern rainforests, and more. Be it a solo trip, an intimate getaway with your partner, a family vacation, or a fun break with your best buds, these 20 destinations will give you plenty of choices for every mood.

10+ mins read
Discover India
March - April 2021

Cabin in the Woods

Home to several rare and endangered species, the virgin forests of Madhya Pradesh’s Satpura National Park offer lessons in sustainability and change your perception of wildlife safaris for the better.

6 mins read
Discover India
March - April 2021

Joy in a Tea Cup

Nestled in prime tea country at the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, Balipara in Assam invites you to experience the laid-black plantation life and unique conservation efforts.

6 mins read
Discover India
March - April 2021

River of Dreams

Leave the hustle of the city behind and embrace the slow life on a riverbank. On the outskirts of Rishikesh, The Glasshouse on the Ganges serves up a unique recipe of well-being.

3 mins read
Discover India
March - April 2021

Offbeat Adventures

After many failed plans of touring India, it was work that finally brought Italian couple Giorgio and Martina (@inviaggiocoltubo) to the country. The duo’s adventures in the lanes of Old Delhi, the city of Agra, and the wilderness of Jim Corbett National Park won the hearts of their ever-growing Instagram followers. And now, they can’t wait to return and explore some more.

3 mins read
Discover India
March - April 2021

a Home for Heritage

It is not often that eclectic ancient artefacts of a region fi nd their home in a structure that is equally impressive in its historic and creative value. This is what makes the Kerala Folklore Museum in Kochi fascinating.

5 mins read
Discover India
March - April 2021

A Passage to India

The High Commissioner of Malta in India, H.E. Reuben Gauci, speaks about his understated arrival in the country during the pandemic and takes us on a journey through its lesser-known marvels, in a tête-à-tête with SUSH CLAYS.

3 mins read
Discover India
March - April 2021

24 Hours in MUMBAI

It takes a while to imbibe the charm and chaos of Mumbai. The city’s cutting-edge art, unique gastronomical offerings, scenic sunrises, and signature sundowners warrant multiple visits. But here’s how you can make the most of a day-long stopover.

3 mins read
Discover India
March - April 2021

Not Just An Average Holiday

jüSTa Mukteshwar Retreat & Spa sweeps you off your feet with its charming decor, uninterrupted views of the Himalayas, and personalised wellness services.

4 mins read
Discover India
March - April 2021
RELATED STORIES

The Cosmic Chaos of India

Just like the cosmos, when you see India for the first time everything seems chaotic and yet every Indian person finds his/ her own order in that hustle which all goes in tandem. Pavan Rajurkar a freelance illustrator based out of Mumbai, capture this Indianness perfectly in his artworks for many different brands and studios. Some of his recent illustrations have been displayed here.

2 mins read
Creative Gaga
Issue 49

Doctor of Happiness: An Art Essay

SUKRITI VADHERA KOHLI is the founder of Doctor of Happiness, helping young people with depression and other mental conditions through her art and online platform. Here she speaks with VANESSA PATEL about what inspired her to open up this forum, and what a difference art can make to our well-being.

9 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
March 2020

Dynamic Mumbai

Meet with clients amid the city’s kaleidoscopic sights and sounds.

3 mins read
Global Traveler
March 2020

Discover The Remnants Of Empires And The Seeds Of Independence In Mumbai

Discover the remnants of empires and the seeds of independence in India’s most populous city.

3 mins read
Business Traveler
December 2018/January 2019

Building A Sporting Nation

Marathons are changing the shape of the nation. We ask the brains behind the Delhi and Mumbai Half Marathons, how exactly.

2 mins read
FHM India
October 2018

An Expat Learns the Key to Authentic Indian Cooking

Cooking lessons at home in Mumbai.

8 mins read
Saveur
April 2016

The 12 Best Rooftop Bars Around The World

The world looks different when viewed from these stunning rooftop destinations.

7 mins read
Business Traveler
October 2015

क्या वाकई केरल ने लौटाई एक लाख रेमडेसिविर ?

कोरोना वायरस से निपटने के लिए अपनी प्रबंधन क्षमता को लेकर तारीफें बटोर चुकी केरल सरकार ने इस्तेमाल में नहीं लाई गईं रेमडेसिविर की एक लाख डोज केंद्र सरकार को वापस लौटा दी है। सूत्रों ने बुधवार को यह जानकारी दी। हालांकि आधिकारिक रूप से पूछे जाने पर राज्य के मुख्य सचिव विश्वास मेहता ने ऐसी किसी जानकारी से अभिज्ञता जताई।

1 min read
Haribhoomi Delhi
May 13, 2021

Parts UNKNOWN

North Kerala often gets overshadowed by its popular southern sibling. And that’s actually a blessing in disguise.

10 mins read
Outlook Traveller
May 2021

Kerala seeks PM's help over oxygen crisis

Kerala has approached Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his help to overcome the looming medical oxygen shortage crisis in the state ensuring adequate supply.

2 mins read
Gulf Today
May 12, 2021