NEW DELHI: As we turn a whole new year, it's time to go back to doing more of what we missed the most in 2020 -- travelling. With the vaccine rollout managing to uplift spirits of all, the year brings along many opportunities for people who are looking forward to travel again. And, while you set sight on the big dream vacation in 2021, MakeMyTrip shares a curated list of mini-vacations on long weekends that will keep you going as you juggle between work obligations, home responsibilities and leisure through the year.
Republic Day - January 23 - 26 (Saturday to Tuesday; take an off on Monday)
Hit the road or take to the skies to kick-off the year with a mini-vacation between January 23-26. Spend the first long-weekend of 2021 experiencing cascading waterfalls, serene lakes and flowing rivulets of Ooty's landscape. Enveloped by leafy aromatic tea estates, the Emerald Dam and Lake make for picture perfect spot for a fuchsia-coloured sunset, while the quaint lull of the Avalanche Lake, freckled by magnolias and rhododendrons will send you into a trance! If that's not all, the stunning Pykara Falls and the enchanting views from the Doddabetta Peak will surely enliven your mood and will set the tone for your travel experiences for the rest of the year.
Basant Panchmi - February 13 - 16 (Saturday to Tuesday; take an off on Monday)
If you are looking to escape the winter chill and finding ways to soak in some extra Vitamin-D (or let's say, Vitamin-sea), Puducherry should be your go-to destination this year. Other than its French architecture, cuisine, beaches, and stunning countryside views, some surfing lessons can also be in the offing. And if you are just looking for some laid-back leisure, Chunnambar Backwater, known for its tree-top accommodation and its Plage Paradiso beach -- where you can catch a glimpse of dolphins frolicking in the sea, can be on your list.
Eid Ul Fitr - May 13 - 16 (Thursday to Sunday; take an off on Friday)
Take some time off the city and enjoy the serenity atop Kausani. Completely detached from the country noise, Kausani is an escape from the urban chaos. You can trek through world-renowned trails such as Base Kausani trek, Adi Kailash trek, and Bageshwar- Sunderdhunga trek which pass through oak and pine forests where the smell of ripened fruits wafting through will fascinate you. Don't forget to visit Rudrahari Falls, an enthralling combination of splashing cascades and ancient caves that makes it the ideal place for a picnic spot!
Mahanavami, Dussehra, and Eid-e-Milad - October 14 - 19 (Saturday to Monday; take an off on Monday)
Make the most of your Dussehra long-weekend and head to the Land of Kings, Rajasthan! The very thought of Rajasthan spells majesty and magnificence. With its royal palaces and renowned royalty, it is one of the grandest states in India and October onwards the land becomes one of the must-visit places. Visit the beautiful city of Udaipur and you will be wooed by its regal charm and stunning attractions. From the serene Lake Pichola and historical Sajjan Garh (Monsoon Palace) to the lively bazaars of the city, Udaipur is all things exciting. Next up, head to Mount Abu and tick this only-hill-station-of-Rajasthan off your bucket list as you step into the ever-so-beautiful Dilwara Temples.
Diwali - November 5 - 7 (Friday to Sunday; take an extra day off on Monday)
Looking for a soothing vacation next to turquoise seas and golden sands? Andaman is your go-to destination then. Early November is a good time to visit the islands as you can avoid the busy travel days that the destination sees as the winter holiday season approaches. Go snorkeling at North Bay or Elephant Beach and explore the underwater world with scuba diving at Havelock Island! When you've had your fill of water sports, explore the limestone caves at Baratang Island and witness the Light & Sound Show at Cellular Jail.
Christmas - December 24 - 26 (Friday to Sunday)
As you say goodbye to the year there is no better place to do so than in Kerala. Visiting this scenic destination during this time is a delight because the weather is blissful. Sunny days, balmy afternoons, secluded beaches, luxury retreats, and the quaintest of homestays. It is a great place to detox as well! Sip a hot cup of farm-fresh tea in Munnar, step into the wild at Thekkady, hop on a boat to explore the serene backwaters of Alleppey, or indulge in some beach fun at Kovalam, Kerala, rightly known as God's Own Country is as enchanting as it gets! Oh, and December is the perfect time to visit this stunning state as the climes are cooler and the spirit is all festive!