Offbeat places to visit on this long Holi weekend



Pic/Asif N Khan

Find Nemo
WHERE: Lakshadweep
Who needs a pool party when you can splash around in the pristine waters of Lakshadweep? And if the underwater world fascinates you, this marine camp at the picturesque Thinnakara Island, organised by the Bombay Natural History Society, is for you. The archipelago brims with about 600 species of fish, 78 species of coral and over 100 species of other marine invertebrates. With most snorkelling in waist-deep coral lagoons, you won't miss out on any fun if you don't know how to swim.
FROM: March 3 to 7 meeting point Agatti airport, Lakshadweep.
CALL: 22871202
COST: Rs 49,000 (includes stay, food, one snorkelling session per day; excludes flight/train tickets)

turtle festival

Attend a turtle festival
WHERE: Velas, Ratnagiri
Watch hundreds of baby Olive Ridley turtles take their first steps towards embracing the ocean at the annual Velas Turtle Festival. An initiative to conserve and raise awareness about the vulnerable species, it is organised by Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra and Kasav Mitra Mandal. The three-day trip includes homestay, simple Konkani food, and visits to Bankot fort and the 16th-century Harihareshwar temple as well.
FROM: March 2 to 4, 10.30 pm
MEETING POINT: Pritam Hotel, Dadar East.
CALL: 9819299164
COST: Rs 2,400 all inclusive

Welcome spring

Welcome spring
WHERE: Pushkar, Rajasthan
If you'd rather skip the wild Holi revelries of Vrindavan to mark the end of winter, opt for the easy vibe of the sandstone town of Pushkar, nestled in the Aravalli range. A pilgrim centre with ancient temples by the ghats of its famous lake, Pushkar offers a vivid landscape and views unlike any you would come across in a busy metro. While strolling by the Pushkar lake, take a detour to the many rose gardens in the vicinity. A three-day travel plan can comfortably pack in desert camping in Jaisalmer.
ON: Early March ideal
CALL: 9819470506
EMAIL: Hakunamatatatoursltd
COST: Rs 8,000 onwards

Explore the heart of India

Explore the heart of India
WHERE: The Satpura range, Madhya Pradesh
The dense deciduous forests in the Satpura range of Madhya Pradesh are said to be one of the best-kept natural secrets of India. Lesser-known than Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha reserves, the Satpura National Park is not just a wildlife lover's paradise. Its placid water bodies lend themselves perfectly to boat safaris and canoeing. Head to nearby Pachmarhi for its beautiful sunset points and waterfalls. A visit to the archaeological site of Bhimbetka rock shelters can also be packed in a three-day itinerary.
ON: Early March is ideal
AT: Resort Madhai by MP Tourism; Reni Pani Jungle Lodge and Pugdundee Safaris are some options.
COST: Rs 4,000 onwards per night

Live the quaint life

Live the quaint life
WHERE: Kumaon, Uttarakhand
If extending your long weekend by a few days is not too difficult, this eco-friendly retreat in the Himalayas will help you come back refreshed. The itinerary includes a stay in a century-old traditional stone house, visits to Mukteshwar, Ranikhet and a few hidden gems of the Kumaoni region, a Holi celebration in the Aerodeo ridge, all while living the mountain life and relishing Kumaoni meals.
FROM: February 27 to March 3
CALL: 8692055777
COST: Rs 16,999 plus tax (excludes transfers to Delhi and back)