The year that shall not be named is finally over. And though 2021 is not free of the previous year’s problems (coronavirus is still here), there are better prospects to look forward to, like the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in India. There are some other things too, like you are allowed to travel within Indian borders considering you take all the necessary precautions to safeguard yourself (and others).
Since travel around the globe is a faraway dream and that Euro trip you have been saving for is on hold because of the multiple new coronavirus strains (in addition to the OG Corona), India is the best option for you right now, if you are a traveller. And why not? The country holds several popular tourist destinations and some offbeat gems too that are worth exploring. Not to mention the delectable cuisines each state has to offer.
For the travel-craving heart, venturing beyond the destined paths and discovering fascinating places is everything, and India has all of that to offer and so much more. So, even though you cannot travel abroad right now, you can make 2021 about exploring the homeland. With stunning expanse of lush greenery, gorgeous valleys, pristine beaches, a lot lies at your disposal in India, if you have a face mask and sanitiser on hand. India, in 2021, should be on your travel bucket list.
EXPLORING THE HOMELAND
Apart from the fact that exploring the homeland would safeguard you from the risk of travelling abroad right now as the pandemic hovers above our heads, India has several hidden gems that you must explore. Additionally, due to health concerns, the travel regulations are constantly changing. Therefore, it is best to explore India right now. This is the time to visit all those remote or popular destinations you have only heard of or read about – like the Gurez Valley in Kashmir or Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, and so much more – but gave up on them for that trip abroad.
ENDLESS HIKES AND TREKS
India is an ideal destination if you are always searching for thrilling yet scenic trekking and hiking opportunities. Best part? You can perfectly socially-distance yourself from the crowd while you are on your excursions in stunning valleys or majestic mountains. Be it the mighty Himalayas or the untouched valleys of Northeastern states or the scenic landscapes of the South, there are plenty of options here for the adventure-hungry soul.
The pandemic intensified the importance of taking road trips over train or air journeys. After all, travelling in personal vehicles or rented cars is far safer than travelling with several strangers. The sheer size of the country lends innumerable options for travellers for road trips like a short trip with family, a long trip with your gang, off-roading across difficult terrains or epic journeys across multiple states. There are some well-travelled routes that one can start with, like the popular Manali-Leh journey or the surreal trip from Ahmedabad to Kutch.
India is a cultural melting pot of delectable and innumerable cuisines. Each dish holds the power to leave you satisfied and licking your fingers, but still wanting for more. Any place that you will travel to in the country will have its popular dish with its rich history and unforgettable taste. From the fiery Chettinad chicken and Galouti kebabs to Rogan Josh and Kadam saag to homegrown coffee and Hyderabadi biryani to Phuchka and Macha Ghanta, India holds the most incomparable traditional food experiences, and 2021 might just be the best time to explore it.
EXPLORING THE LOCAL CULTURE AND THE RICH HISTORY
Every corner of this country is a testimony to its rich history and vibrant culture. Magnificent architectural wonders like the Taj Mahal, Hawa Mahal, Monuments in Hampi and Mahabaleshwar and many more, continuously mesmerise travellers. Therefore, this is the time to embrace the rich ethos of the places you are willing to travel to. Immersive trips that help you understand a place’s history and cultural gems should be on your bucket list. You can do this by staying at a place for a considerable amount of time and educating yourself about the several avenues of sustainable and local tourism.
There is no dearth of adventure in India. Name any adventure sport, and you’ll find a minimum of two locations in the country wherein you can best experience the adrenaline rush. So if you are an adrenaline junkie, forget that backpacking trip across the Grand Canyon or the Alps, and consider Spiti Valley, Zanskar Valley, Bir Billing, Andaman Islands, Rishikesh, Chadar trek or the Seven Sisters Trek, to name a few. From trekking to paragliding to bungee jumping and white-water rafting, you will have a lot to explore here.
India is home to several protected forest zones, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries that are popular tourist spots for thrill-seekers and those enamoured by flora and fauna. There is a huge forested area in every state where you can chance upon a once-in-a-lifetime experience of spotting wild animals in their natural habitat. From Hemis National Park to Ranthambore National Park and Sariska Tiger Reserve to Jim Corbett National Park and Nagarhole National Park, several places allow tourists. You can also embark on various activities such as jeep safaris, bird-watching, animal spotting, hiking and nature treks.
The Indian coastline is home to numerous beautiful and astounding beaches. To discover the serenity of the sea, one can explore innumerable options starting from the popular ones like Goa, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Kerala, Gokarna, and then also visit the innumerable virgin beaches here. And then, there’s Lakshadweep too.
This year, let travel be all about India. Keep the passport in the drawer a while longer.