Arunachal Pradesh, the Land of The Dawn-lit Mountains.  Credit / Loren Sonowal
Arunachal Pradesh, the Land of The Dawn-lit Mountains. Credit / Loren Sonowal

Five Lesser-Known Places For A Year-End Holiday

Leave alone the popular destinations and head to one of these five crowd-free places

This year had only just begun, and already it is furiously approaching its end. Almost everyone is hurriedly packing for their annual year-end holiday travels, planned months, maybe two years, in advance. All tourist destinations operate at maximum capacity, with more visitors pouring in daily. To get away from the crowds and indulge in an actual holiday, head to any of these five destinations for an unforgettable experience, whether this break or the next.     

Damro, Arunachal Pradesh

In the Land of the Dawn-lit Mountains, Arunachal Pradesh, where the sun's rays first touch India, lies the village of Damro Boga Lasing. Rolling hills, endless meadows, and thick sub-tropical forests surround the village. Situated in the Mariyang circle of the Upper Siang district of the state, Damro is home to the Adi-Padam people, a sub-group of the Adi tribe. The hills around the village host the River Yamne, over which is built the longest suspension bridge of the state. Made with locally available materials such as bamboo and cane, the bridge is a blessing for the locals and a tourist's delight. 

Distance from Itanagar 336 km approximately by road.  

How to reach By air, Itanagar is connected to Kolkata, which is linked to the rest of the country.    

Aizawl, Mizoram

Go to Aizawl, the Home of The Highlanders, for its celebrations of festivals. The capital of Mizoram, a bustling city, at 1,132 metres above sea level, awards breathtaking views of the Mizo hills, rising over the Tlawng river valley on its west and the Tuirial river valley to its east. Aizawl is the locus of all government offices, the State Assembly House, and the Civil Secretariat. During February and March, the sowing festival Chapchar Kut is celebrated, while the harvest holiday, Pawl Kut, is indulged in during December. Another important event is the Mim Kut. It is an occasion to honour the departed souls and takes place in September, after the maize harvest.  

How to reach By air, Aizawl can be reached via Kolkata, which is connected to the rest of the country.    

Barrackpore, West Bengal

About 20 km from Kolkata, on the banks of the tempestuous River Hoogly, lies the colonial town of Barrackpore. It acquired its name in 1772 after being noted in history as the first station of the military troops of the British raj. It was also the country residence of the Viceroy of Bengal. A tour of the pre-independence monuments and memorials is a must when you visit. The most famous is the Parade Ground, which is the scene of two military mutinies. The first was in 1824, when the native troops refused to serve "across the black water" in the first Burmese War. And then, in 1857, when Mangal Pandey defied orders to use animal-fat-smeared bullets, thereby setting off the first War of Indian independence. Spend the evenings sitting on the banks of the beautiful River Hoogly, or get on the ferry to crossover to shop in the town of Srirampur.  

How to reach Kolkata is well connected by air, railways, and roads to the rest of the country.    

Tonk, Rajasthan

Renowned for its bevy of beauteous havelis, serene mosques, and British colonial structures, Tonk, near Jaipur, is a small but attractive town. Once reigned over by the Afghani pathans, it is said that the Nawab of Tonk, fond of literature, had a massive library of Arabic and Persian books. The architecture here is a blend of Islamic and Rajasthani styles, and Nawab Amir Khan founded the Tonk, which is seen today. Among the must-see sites here, there are three you should take notice of. First on the list is the Sunheri Kothi, on Najar Bagh Road. The interiors do proper justice to its name, especially the Sheesh Mahal with its exquisite samples of meena kari. Then there is the Hadi Rani Baori, a multi-storey stepwell, from the 12th century, about a two-hour drive from Tonk. The corridors of the stepwell, in the lower storeys have sculptures of Brahma, Ganesha, and Mahishasuramardini. Finally, the Bisalpur gravity dam on the River Banas. It supplies water to Jaipur, the districts of Sawai Madhopur, Ajmer, and Tonk. At the dam, you can indulge in water sports or enjoy spotting the more than 100 types of bird species found here. 

How to get there Sanganer airport, Jaipur, is 94 km from Tonk.

Mahuva, Bhavnagar, Gujarat

Known as the Kashmir of Saurashtra, Mahuva, on the coast of Gujarat, is hemmed in by the Arabian Sea. It is known to have a climate conducive to recovery from illnesses and, nowadays, the stress of urban living. The second largest onion trading centre in India, Mahuva is also famed for its clean Bhawani beach and rows of coconut palm trees. A trip here is only complete with shopping for a basket full of wood handicraft items. From Mahuva you could head further to Diu, approximately 110 km away by road.   

How to get there Mahuva is connected by air to Bhavnagar, which is well-linked to Ahmedabad, Mumbai, etc. 

The best time to visit all the above places is during winter and spring. 

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