10 Places to Go This January if You are Not a Winter Person
Most travel-lovers wish to be exploring a new land and begin their New Year with a bash. And what could be better than gifting yourself a vacation on New Year? Then obviously the question comes, what are the best places to visit in January in India? Some days back, I was having a random conversation with some groups of people, friends and strangers, regarding where they wish to spend their New Year. And what I found was that while many were inclined towards exploring the snow wonderlands of India and enjoy the extreme winters particularly in the north, a lot more people wished to visit some warmer places to avoid the discomfort!
Well of course, not all of us are ideal winter lovers. And also, January is wrongly thought to be only a winter month. There are a lot of places in India that can be best explored during this time. For those who fret the harsh winters, here is a comprehensive list of ten ideal places to go this January. Hillstations, beaches or historical and archaeological wonders, here is what you need to plan for your January trip.
1. Saputara, Gujarat
This picturesque hill station with charming waterfalls, lake, gardens, luxury hotels, pools surrounded by a wealth of bio diversity should find place in your bucket list this January. With temperatures ranging between 8˚C to 28˚C, the climate is never extreme in this region during January, giving way for a pleasant getaway. Saputara also offers a number of adventure sports like paragliding, bungee jumping, boating and more. Sightseeing options are great too. Visit the dense deciduous forest of Purna Sanctuary, spread over an area of 160 square kilometres. Spot rare species of plants, elephants, sloth bear and wild bulls in Purna. To spot tigers, leopards, antelope, rusty spotted cat, giant squirrel and reptiles, visit Vansada National Park, a private forest of Maharaja of Vansada. Another major site of attraction is Artist’s Village where you can buy local Warli paintings and tribal craft, is a one-of-a-kind experience to study the culture and art of the region.
Experience the little Portugal existent in India in this small coastal town of Diu in the first month of the New Year and find enough reasons to celebrate forever. Amazing forts, churches, temples, exhilarating sea beaches, Diu has everything to give you a cherishable holidaying experience of a lifetime. Though it is a popular tourist destination, it is a comparatively lesser crowded throughout the year and makes way for a perfect getaway. Known as the “Isle of Calm”, the architecture, food and the culture of Diu all reflect a distinct Portuguese influence. In the midst of a pleasant weather with temperatures ranging between 21˚C to 28˚C, lay back on the sands, hit the waters and relish sumptuous sea food in abundance of varieties.
3. Udaipur, Rajasthan
Surrounded with palaces and lake – The Venice of India is a perfect destination in January. There are lots of places to see in Udaipur. The fabulous City Palace by the side of Pichola Lake is a major attraction – Tripolia Gate, Suraj Gokhada – hanging porch, Sheesh Mahal, Mor Chowk, Cheeni Gallery present a memorable experience. The Lake Palace in the middle of the lake is now a heritage hotel. Bharatiya Lok Kala Museum exhibits a rare collection. Replete with beautiful gardens, fountains and marble statues, ‘Saheliyon ki Bari’ was a residing place of the queens and another popular spot. Other places to visit are Pratap Memorial at the top of the Moti Magri or Pearl Hill, Fateh Sagar Lake, Nehru Park and Craft Village. Nearby destinations include Eklingji Temple (22 km) – built in 734 A.D, Nath Dwara (48 km), Rafoosamand Lake (66 km), Jaisamand Lake (68 km), Kumbhalgarh Fort (84 km), Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and Ranakpur (90 km).
4. Kochi, Kerala
Previously known as Cochin, Kochi offers an experience of an intriguing amalgamation of Chinese, Arabian, Portuguese and British Indian culture. Go exploring the various colonies and get up close with the historical past that still remains exuding the medieval essence. The century-old giant Chinese fishing nets are a major attraction while Fort Kochi built by the British Raj, Cherai beach, a 400-year-old Jewish Synagogue and the Jew Town, Saint Francis Church, Santa Cruz Basilica, Saint Mary Church, Mattancheri Palace are all crafted gems onto this exotic place on the Malabar coast. You may also visit Ernakulum, which was the capital of historical state of Kochi in the past. The Shiva Temple of Ernakulum observes a huge festival in January that is celebrated throughout a week. A number of various Keralite cultural functions are also organized in the festival. Another major attraction of Ernakulum is Kathakali Dance form. During September-April, numerous institutions organize Kathakali dance shows at various places of Ernakulum. Learn more about the history and culture of Kochi by paying a visit to Kochi Museum and Hill Palace Museum. In January, temperature in this coastal area is around 27˚C.
5. Chikmagalur, Karnataka
Visit India’s first coffee plantation site and now one of the most significant coffee producing centres of India this January and see your heart melt at its picturesque frames. Stretching through the terrain of Baba Budan hills (1829 metres), Chikmagalur is replete with nature’s bounty surrounded by hills, valley and a beautiful river. There are also a number of exciting places for sightseeing. Enjoy the heavenly sights of coffee gardens, cardamom plantations, orchid house and sunrise at Kemmanagundi (48 km), explore the rural life and culture at Mable village (12 km), slip into the fascinating nature galore at Kudremukh (90km) and have an adventurous ride through Kudremukh National Park that is home to tigers, leopards, bison and macau birds. If you are looking for more wildlife adventure, then head off to Bhadra Tiger Reserve, 38 km from Chikmagalur to spot tigers, elephants, wild boars, bisons, deers, sloth bear, leopards, reptiles and various species of birds. Temperatures range between 33˚ C to 21˚C in January.
6. Tarkarli Beach, Maharashtra
While the winters see a throbbing crowd in Goa, you may find some relief in the midst of this serene beach haven at Tarkarli, Maharashtra. At the confluence of the Karli river and the Arabian Sea, the clean beach of Tarkarli with crystal clear blue and turquoise waters will spice up your romance with nature. Surrounded with beautiful coconut trees, Tarkarli is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Konkan coast. The weather in January is very pleasant and the minimum temperature around this time of the year in Tarkarli is 21˚ C. Packed in all sorts of water sports, including snorkelling and kayaking, you will forget all worries with the first taste of this amazing concoction. You can also visit Ganapatipule, Ratnagiri, Malvan and Sindhudurg Fort from Tarkarli. Resorts, guest houses and budget hotels are available in Tarkarli.
7. Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu
The southern tip of the Indian Peninsula in the state of Tamil Nadu is visited by tourists and travellers across the globe throughout the year. But in January, Kanyakumari adds on a magical charm. The captivating blend of undulating hills and cliffs, the confluence of the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean creating a majestic seascape, the beauty of the coastal area fringed with coconut trees and paddy fields, Kanyakumari seems like a more vibrant picture in January with temperatures ranging between 23˚C to 32˚C. Enjoy the bewitching sunrise and sunset over the ocean, seek divinity in the holy Kanyakumari Amman Temple and Our Lady of Ransom Church, pay tribute to Swami Vivekananda at Vivekananda Rock and the iconic poet Thiruvalluvar; walk through the lanes inhaling the fresh aroma of numerous variety of spices and buy them at surprising prices in spice markets; taste the mouthwatering local delicacies; and get a beautiful glimpse of the regional art and culture. Also visit other nearby attractions such as the Dravidian architecture in Suchindram, the influence of Chinese pagoda-style architecture in the Nagaraja Temple in Nagercoil, the beautiful Thiruparappu Falls, Udaigiri Fort and Padmanabhapuram.
8. Chiplun, Maharashtra
This less crowded serene destination, located in Ratnagiri district of the state of Maharashtra, is perfect for travellers who are looking for a quiet respite. Situated on the banks of Vashishti river by NH-17, the scenic beauty of Chiplun will steal your heart at first sight. With temperatures ranging from maximum 33˚ C to minimum 20˚ C, the climatic conditions of Chiplun in January is quite pleasant. Go boating, enjoy the green valley, the blue Arabian Sea or simply relax sitting back in some luxury hotel – Chiplun is perfect for a relaxing trip. Other places of attraction near Chiplun is Guhagar beach, Veldur village (62km) – the confluence of Vashishti river and the sea, Davol, Harney port, Murud beach, Dapoli and Khed.
9. Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
Now known as Mamallapuram, this is one of the significant heritage sites of south India. While the summers are very hot and the two monsoon seasons records heavy rainfall, January is the best time to visit with temperatures ranging between 30˚C and 23˚C. Mahabalipuram is the city of seven pagodas and it has a number of mythological and historical significances. With extraordinary nine monolithic rock carvings and ten cave temples carved out of hills, Shore Temple named after the Pandavas from the epic, The Mahabharata, all created during the reign of the Pallavas dating back to the 8th century, Mahabalipuram is a wonderland. Explore the edifices, time travel through the glorious history of India, visit Tiger Cave (5km), Crocodile Bank (14km), Covelong village and beach (20km) and the exhilarating open-air Mamallapuram Dance Festival – be assured to have a distinct holidaying experience in Mamallapuram this January.
10. Bijapur, Karnataka
This historical city exudes a distinct charm during this time of the year with the added flavours of the pleasant climate. Bijapur was founded by the Chalukyas in the 10th century which went under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate in the 13th century. The city was conquered by Adil Shah and during the rule of Muhammad Adil Shah (1557-80 AD), the 7th emperor of the Adilshahi dynasty, Bijapur flourished the most. Preserving the architectural wonders since the 10th century, Bijapur is yet untouched by modern architectures unlike other cities. Get awe-struck by the craftsmanship of Gol Gumbaz (the mausoleum of Sultan Mohammad Adil Shah) – the second biggest dome of the world, Ibrahim Rauza, Jami Masjid, Asar-e-Sharif, Malik-e-Maidan, Bara Kaman, Upli Buruj and the famous Bijapur Fort.
So, where are you heading to this January? Here are some more suggestions –Camel Festival in Bikaner, Rajasthan; Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan where a cultural festival will be organized in January; the Rann Utsav in Rann of Kutch, Gujarat – the festival will continue till February; Dance Festival in Modhera Sun Temple, Gujarat held in January or visit Mumbai during the last week of January to catch the nine-day festival of Kala Ghoda.