January has two long weekends! The 22nd of the month is a Monday and it also happens to be Basant Panchami, a restricted holiday in Indian offices. It is great chance to watch the Rann Utsav in Kutch, Rajasthan. The colourful festival is a four-month long event where folklore, music and culture is celebrated.
The second extended weekend in January starts with Indian Republic Day. 26th is a Friday followed by a weekend of holiday bliss. Jaipur will be hosting Jaipur Literature Festival at that time, so if you are an ardent book lover, you know where to head. The Bhil tribe in Madhya Pradesh will host Baneshwar fair from the 27th to 31st. The fair is quite a celebration of their folk culture, with traditional songs, play performances, dances, acrobatic stunts and carnival rides!
On February 13 (Tuesday) India will celebrate Maha Shivratri and if you take a leave on Monday, you could enjoy a lovely long weekend from the 10th through the 13th! The best place to go would be a hill station or even a beach. Ooty’s weather is usually great during that time, not too hot or chilly. If you are more of a beach person, try Diu for its beautiful beaches and delicious seafood.
February 16th would be a holiday in the North Eastern part of India on the occasion of Losar, the day Tibetan Buddhists celebrate New Year. If you are from that part of the country, you must try to attend the World Sacred Spirit Festival in Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur. The two-day fest celebrates folk music from across the country with dance and ritual theatre.
March is the beginning of summer in many parts of India and is the best time to head North for a pleasant holiday. March 2 is a holiday because it’s Holi! You can trek through Uttarakhand or Himachal and explore places like Chamba and Hamirpur. Or you could attend the Chapchar Kut festival in Mizoram. It signifies the burning and subsequent cultivation of bamboo and women perform a folk dance called chewar while the men beat drums.
March 20 to April 1 is also a long holiday with Mahavir Jayanti and Good Friday one after another and it’s a good time to visit Goa. Goa has beautiful beaches, but in March you could see Goans participate in Shigmo festival or Shigmotsav, a Goan version of Holi with vibrant parades, dance, music and lots of more festivity!
On April 30 Indians celebrate Buddha Purnima and May 1 is labour day. A great time to get out of your hectic routine and escape to serenity. How does staying in an eco-resort in the middle of a forest sound to you? Jim Corbett National Park has quite a few eco-friendly resorts that are made for hideouts.
June 15 marks Id Ul Fitr and it’s a holiday in most parts of India. Since it is also the time monsoon arrives, it’s best to take a break and head to a place where it won’t be pouring all day. The best idea would be to choose a cozy Airbnb and turn the holiday into a staycation.
On August 15, Independence Day in India, you could travel to Kerala’s Anamudi Shola National Park near Munnar. River Pamba flows through the park and there are many waterfalls that will take your breath away. If you are in the mood for some exciting adventure, this trip is a must.
People in Kerala could head to the North East during the 24th extended holiday for Onam. Shillong is a great place to stay for a few days and there are lovely hotels on the banks of Umiam lake, a man-made lake constructed in the early 1960s.
Since most of the North East is unexplored, it is a great idea to take a trip to that part of India on the September 3 extended weekend. Lachen in Sikkim is a valley village between the majestic Himalayan ranges and sparsely populated. It’s a great place to trek and experience a completely different culture.
September 13 marks Ganesh Chaturthi and a lot of people will travel home to celebrate the festival. But, if you are not among that crowd, you could stay at a 19th-century restored palace and enjoy some luxury.
The October 2 weekend would be a great time to tour Madhya Pradesh. A state with beautiful Buddhist monuments and ancient relics, Madhya Pradesh will take your breath away. Sanchi Stupa, Morena temples and many more sites are a must-visit!
November is Dhanteras and Diwali month and if you can take a leave on the 6th, you can go on a vacation from the 5th to the 9th! Since the Northern part of India will be too cold for comfort it’s best to head South. Wayanad is great during November and the lush green carpeted place will definitely help you to rejuvenate.
Christmas in 2018 falls on a Tuesday and if you take leave on Monday, you are all set for a holiday from the 22nd to the 25th! Karnataka has some hidden gems and beautiful locations that shouldn’t be missed and the weather during that time will be perfect to enjoy the beaches and mountain ranges.