Pick a Theme

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Pick a Theme

Topped off with adventure, learning, and memories for life, vacations have always been fun. Now, with the whole idea of themed holidays, this family trip ascends to a whole new dimension.

“When I grow up, I want to be a little boy.”

Every time I read this simple statement by Joseph Heller, it starts to make more sense. Jogging nostalgic memories that defined most of my childhood.

Right from visiting family and friends and pre-planned vacation packages to taking that ever-so-Googled trip, it’s no understatement that everyone loves vacations. And theme-based holidays are just the beginning of what they can mean to your entire family. Which leaves no reason to limit your vacation to being exactly what the brochure says. As we’ve all learnt in our respective Geography textbooks India’s a mindbogglingly diverse country. With every state reflecting its culture, art, spirit, and character. And every reason to explore them on their most talked-about merit.

 

High on adventure

Not exactly something for Holmes and Watson, but an adventure-themed vacation is as exciting as can be. There’s bungee jumping, canopy gliding, parasailing, skiing, canoeing, rafting, cycling, fishing, camping. And this is just skimming the top of the barrel. Perfect for the Indian summer, Himachal Pradesh lives up to its reputation.

Go for river rafting in Himachal Pradesh
Go for river rafting in Himachal Pradesh

Frequented by many, this alluring state, literally, has mountains of adventure to offer. The usual adventure checklist includes rafting on the mighty Beas, paragliding over Solang Valley, cycling in Tirthan Valley, camping at Moon Lake, hiking around Hampta Pass and ‘zorbing’ don some hill. Take along your kids for that dose of adrenaline that no amount of gully cricket could offer.

How to go

Take a flight to Shimla from Delhi or Mumbai.

Where to stay

For adventure sports, you will have to travel to other places in the state that specialize in that particular activity. For example, Narkanda is an excellent place to learn skiing whereas Kangra and Beas near Kullu are great for river rafting. As these are popular places for adrenaline-seekers, you’ll find comfortable options to stay in each town.

 

Mountain literature

The magic of the Himalayas has challenged, molded and inspired many a genius. And the state of Uttarakhand is true to what the stories say about it. Home to one of India’s most reclusive literary masters and prolific authors, Ruskin bond spins words into ever so picturesque hillsides. It’s the clean mountain air that attracts boarding schools and bright ideas at the same time. From stories for children to themes more mature, Ruskin Bond’s trail is like a book-reading that’s truly outdoors.

Experience the magic of the Himalayas
Experience the magic of the Himalayas

From the verdant beauty of Mussoorie to the legend that is Gangotri, this land is as pure as it gets. Indian folklore and mythology come together as the pristine meet the present, weaving tales that span generations.

How to go

There is no direct air or rail connection to Mussoorie and you have to first get to Dehradun which is 32 km away. You can take a flight to Dehradun from Delhi or Mumbai.

Where to stay

Mussoorie is essentially a resort hill station with over 200 hotels. Besides these, there are a number of cottages and bungalows that can be hired and several hotels can even be found on the way to Mussoorie from Dehradun. However, it is best to book in advance in the summer as there is a large influx of people coming in.

 

Sun-tanned architecture

Famous for everything but the buildings, which are usually the last thing on your mind when the welcoming Arabian Sea invites you for a quick dip, Goa is an architectural paradise. Built in pure colonial passion from cobbled streets to its balcao (balcony), traditional Goan houses are a sight straight out of Portugal.

Goa is an architectural paradise
Goa is an architectural paradise

With beautiful churches, museums and colonial streets, Goan architecture are characterized by high roofs and wooden balustrades. Here, homes rest in tranquility as the coconut trees answer to the dancing sea breeze. Architecture blends with the locale to create a unique flavor one can only term as Goa. Add beaches, boat rides and waves of fun to this vacation, and your family is in for the best architectural cocktail ever.

How to go

Catch a flight to Goa from Mumbai or New Delhi.

Where to stay

From countless beach shacks to luxurious five-star resorts, Goa has it all. For budget options, Calangute, Baga, and Anjuna are good places to start.

 

Historically southern

Behold the craftsmanship of yore and the legendary kingdom of Vijaynagar in Hampi. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is set amidst a stunning landscape of precariously balanced rocks. There are legends to the origin of the powerhouse of the south. Tales of sultan and kings, of valor and vanity. Their thrilling narratives are more fun than any piece of fiction.

Behold the craftsmanship of yore and the legendary kingdom of Vijaynagar in Hampi.
Behold the craftsmanship of yore and the legendary kingdom of Vijaynagar in Hampi.

Karnataka, with beautiful beaches, jungles and centuries of history make for the apt history-themed vacation. Also, another favorite on the itinerary is Tipu Sultan’s Mysore, the five Shiva temples of Talakad and the very British-influenced Kodagu.

How to go

Take a flight to Bengaluru from New Delhi, Kolkata or Mumbai. Hampi is about 350 km from here.

Where to stay

Hampi has mostly backpacker-type accommodations. Hospet which is about 12 km from Hampi has better lodges for the entire family to stay.

 

Mirages of art

Fabled for palaces and well-planned cities, Rajasthan is one desert where art blooms in abundance. From the banjarans (nomad) who traverse through the barren landscape to the vividly colorful attire of the locals, this state is a festival for the visual senses. A hotspot on every tourist’s list, from Jaipur to Udaipur and camel rides to homes colored in elevating hues, Rajasthan exudes a mix of royalty and tribal art. A showcase of their aesthetic sense and the beauty of their embroidery are accentuated by the addition of cowbells, mirrors, and metal jewelry.

Rajasthan exudes a mix of royalty and tribal art
Rajasthan exudes a mix of royalty and tribal art

How to go

Take a flight to Jaipur from Mumbai or New Delhi or take a flight to Jodhpur or Udaipur from Mumbai or New Delhi. Within Rajasthan, all the major tourist centers are well-connected.

Where to stay

In Udaipur, The Oberoi Rajvilas, The Rambagh Palace and Choki Dhani Resort offer uniquely Rajasthani experiences while being five-star hotels. In Udaipur, Laka Palace Hotel and Devi Garh are heritage properties that offer a premium experience. Plus, there are many small and mid-sized hotels for those traveling on a budget.

Related Article: Budget Stamps on Your Passport.