The season to be jolly is finally here and we can’t wait to binge on Christmas family movies and sweet treats! While Christmas always reminds us of mainstream Christmas Trees, plum cakes and Santa Claus, here are some of the unique ways to experience Christmas across the world! If you’re a solo traveller, don’t forget to mark your annual calendar for a unique memory to cherish for yourself, every December!
In Spain, Caga Tio is a hollowed log with a man-like figure. This must be fed with goodies like sweets and nuts. On Christmas eve, families put him on fire and beat him softly with a stick until he poops out all the goodies. The last thing to come out is a garlic bulb or an onion. While beating, families often sing a song to encourage the log. In Font de la Figuera, during the freezing cold Christmas season, it is a tradition to wear red underwear and celebrate with friends on the streets.
2. Slovakia :
In Slovakia, a special poppy seed filling pie is made and the head of the family tastes it before Christmas dinner. He then throws it up on the ceiling. The amount of pie that gets glued to the ceiling determines the rich crop yield that will grow next year.
3. Venezuela :
In Caracas, Venezuela, people mass- skate to churches on Christmas eve. No cars are allowed on the road. This is an age-old tradition of Venezuela where they make sure that the roads are cleared during the Christmas week. On December 24 children are told to tie one end of a string to their big- toe and to let loose the other longer end outside their bedroom windows. The next morning when people skate on the roads, they tug these strings.
4. Finland :
You should behave in sauna as you would in church,’ is a Finnish saying that people of Finland believe in. People visit sweatbox/saunas to strip off and relax before Christmas evening.
5. Norway :
Julebord is a Scandinavian feast or banquet during the Christmas season. It begins on 3 December and lasts throughout the month. Many julebords are characterized by large amounts of food and drink, both traditional and new, hot and cold dishes. There is often lively partying and the party can be an important social meeting place for colleagues.
Don’t we all love the winter season? A perfect hot cup of coffee by the fire or having some warm baked muffins while snuggling into your blanket, sounds like a perfect date with self.
While this is applicable for one category of people, here are we, the latter, who love to explore the beauty of Winters! From trekking in the snow of Kullu Manali to enjoying hot kachoris in the streets of Rajasthan, winter is an absolute paradise for wanderlusts.
As “Winter is coming” in India, here are a few shortlisted travel destinations for winter travelling, so read on and get ready to back your warmest sweaters!
In frame : Hidimba Devi Temple, Manali
Best time to Visit : October to February
Places to visit : Rohtang Pass, Mall road, Solang Valley, Jogini Waterfalls, Van Vihar, Hidimba Devi Temple, etc.
We’ve all added Manali to our bucket lists after watching Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, haven’t we?
Mesmerizing views across this hill station are sure to make you never want to return back home. Numerous trekking options in and around Manali, river rafting in river Beas, paragliding over the snow capped hills, resting your eyes on the beauty of the Rohtang pass, you sure don’t want to miss this one, this winter. Don’t forget the small eateries which provide free wi-fi as well as a great ambience to give you the best relaxing vibes you’ll ever need.
In frame : Calangute Beach, Goa
Best time to visit : Mid November – Mid February ( winter season )
Places to visit : Tito’s Street, Calangute Beach, Baga beach, Dudhsagar falls, Casino Cruise, The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Fort Aguada, etc.
There’s no “best” time to visit the party capital of India, GOA, but for the winter lovers, it’s time to start packing by November! What’s more serene than laying on the cool beach sand with a fantastic vibe of the city that never stops partying? Want a relaxing trip? Goa! Want an adventurous trip? Goa! Experience the beauty of coastal India in winters as you visit old forts, churches and monuments by sunrise, and take a stroll at the beaches with water splashing at your feet by sunset. Hippie shopping, going high yet carefree, jet skiing, many bucket List items are gonna get ticked here, this winter!
In frame : Udaipur City Palace
Best time to visit : September – March ( Peak winter : November – February )
Places to visit : Lake Pichola, City Palace, Sajjangarh Palace, Eklingji Temple, Haldighati, Jag Mandir Palace, Saheliyon-ki-Bari, Shilpgram, Ambrai Ghat, etc.
Udaipur is a beautiful city in Rajasthan and is great to experience royalty, luxury and novel comfort on a budget! Beautiful architecture and lightings, this city is one of a kind. For all those who love heritage sites, this city will be a treat to the eyes. Don’t forget to have hot kachoris as your body soaks in the cold weather. Shop traditional Rajasthani items at Bada Bazaar and have a relaxing sunset view by the Fateh Sagar Lake. Pack your fanciest yet warmest clothes to visit Udaipur, this winter!
In frame : Alpather Lake
Best time to visit : October to February ( for winter & snow lovers )
March to June ( for a greener sight )
Places to visit/ things to do : Gulmarg Gondola, Alpather Lake, Ningle Nallah, children’s park, Strawberry valley, Seven springs, etc.
Heaven on earth, Kashmir is a must visit for every Indian. Experience the second longest and second-highest cable car in the world at the Gulmarg Gondola and don’t forget to trek across the scenic Alpather Lake. Skiing in the valleys of Gulmarg has been an ever loved activity for tourists and can never get boring for anyone! Although the peak season is from March to June when the weather is pleasant, it is an adventure to visit this place during the winters after the snowfall season in January/ February, to see thick layers of snow sheets everywhere. Get ready to have the best snow fight fun in Gulmarg, this winter!
In frame : Kodaikanal Pine Forest
Best time to visit : Throughout the year! ( Peak winter : November – February )
Places to visit : Bryant Park, Coaker’s walk, Kodaikanal Lake, Silver Cascade Falls, Pine Forest, etc.
Kodaikanal, known as the princess of hill stations is a winsome treat to the eyes. One of the most beautiful hill stations of South India, this one’s a scenic trip and you’re sure to get loads of amazing pictures captured, because literally, this has been the shooting spot for numerous bollywood films!
Cycle around the Kodaikanal Lake ( you get cycles for rent right there ) and visit the Pine Forest for an enchanting view of the trees. The cool breeze and the aroma of the pine trees makes it an exquisite experience. Relaxing, beautiful and wholesome, this one’s a must this winter!
In frame : Auli Artificial Lake
Best time to visit : December to February
Places to visit : Auli ropeway, Auli Artificial Lake, Gorson Bugyal, Chattrakund, Kwani Bugyal, Joshimath, Chenab Lake, Nanda Devi peak, etc.
India’s premier Ski resort destination is Auli, a small yet picture perfect town. A beautiful winter getaway, this place is a must visit for all the winter lovers during December as this place receives heavy snowfall, which is very hard to find in India. The slopes here that are as high as 9000 feet above sea level offer stunning views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks; like that of Nanda Devi, Kamet, Dunagiri and Mana Parvat. There are a number of attractions here at the hill station. The most famous one amongst tourists is the ropeway. Don’t forget to trek your way across the magnificent lakes, to the scenic Bugyals, this winter!
In frame : Thiruvalluvar Statue
Best time to visit : October – March ( mild winters )
Places to visit : Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Thiruvalluvar Statue, Our Lady of Ransom Church, Kanyakumari Beach, Mathoor Aqueduct, Triveni Sangam, Padmanabhapuram Palace, etc.
The southern tip of India, Kanyakumari, is the house to the Triveni Sangam, where the waters of the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal & Arabian Sea confluence. Miraculously, here you can see that the water of three seas does not mix, you can distinguish between the turquoise blue, deep blue, and sea green waters of the three seas, though the colors keep changing with the season and the day’s weather. Isn’t that so interesting and make you want to visit it even more?
The beautiful architecture of the temples, the scenic sunsets at the beaches, gives Kanyakumari a beautiful mix of spiritual as well as adventurous trips and cannot be missed this winter!
In frame : Rann of Katch
Best time to visit : October – March
Places to visit : Rann of Katch, Dholavira, Gandhidham, Mandvi, Bhuj
One of the most out of the box experiences is visiting the salt marshes of Kutch, aka, the great Rann of Kutch. Do not miss the kutch festivals where hundreds of local artisans bring out the best culture of Gujarat and make it an exquisite experience for shopping, fun and memories! Winters make it very comfortable to enjoy and have a complete soaking experience of traditional Gujarati culture and food here. Empty your tummies, pack on the best traditional outfits, to visit the beautiful Kutch this winter!
Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashami, is a major Hindu festival that marks the end of Navratri.This festive week is celebrated in various forms, with varied names, across the country! Each celebration has its own unique beautiful aspect and is sure to make every curious traveller fall in love with the glorious cultures of India! Here are a few remarkable ways for every traveller to explore the Dussehra week, this year!
Mysore Dasara festival:
In Karnataka, Dasara is observed as the State festival – Nadahabba, because the celebration of the festival is steered by the Royal Family of Mysore. During Dasara, the entire City is gaily decorated and illuminated. The Palace and other important buildings are illuminated. Cultural programmes by famous artists are arranged in the Palace along with Sports, Wrestling, Poet’s meet, Food Festival, Film Festival witnessed by a large number of people. The Jambu Savari or the Elephant procession is one of the most prominent events of this festival. During this procession, 12 trained elephants adorned with colourful attire are taken around the streets. Performances like traditional dances, musicals, and displays of swordsmanship can be witnessed throughout the procession – indeed a sight to behold. As it travels through the city streets, it spreads zeal and joy throughout the city.
2. Durga puja in Kolkata:
Durga Puja in Kolkata is the grandest of all festivals celebrated in the capital city in honour of Goddess Durga during the period of Navaratri. While the festival of Durga Pujo is without a doubt celebrated across the world, in Kolkata, the vigour with which it is celebrated is second to none.This grand social event of Durga Puja showcases the beautiful culture of the Bengalis in India. It is celebrated for 10 days, starting from the sixth day until the ninth day, the Pandals with grand idols of Goddess Durga are open for visitors. The tenth day, also known as Dashami marks the Visarjan (immersion in water) of the idol with grand celebrations and processions. Women, especially married women initiate the procession by first applying red sindoor or vermillion powder on the Goddess and then to each other. Food is a major feature of the Kolkata Durga Puja festival and Kolkata is reputed to be a foodie’s paradise. Kolkata Durga Puja special themed Bhog meals that have a little of everything.
3. Kulasekarapattinam dasara in Tamil nadu:
Thisis a different way of celebrating Dussehra in Tamil Nadu state of India. The festival is celebrated for 10 days around the Mutharamman Temple, which is a hotspot of music, dance and drama and showcases an amazing range of vibrant costumes. An exclusive aspect of this festival is a trance dance in which people swing in unique costumes on the lively beats of thara thappattam.
This gives travellers a different outlook of the festival and is a one of a kind experience.
4. Ravan dahan in North India (mainly Uttar Pradesh):
There are many places in Uttar Pradesh state of India where Dussehra is celebrated by setting the statue of Ravana on fire by Lord Rama. It depicts the victory of good over evil. At cities like Varanasi, Lucknow and Kanpur, Ram Leela is performed on a grand level at prime locations of the city. Actors in the attire of Lord Ram, Lakshman and Hanuman perform the epic saga using audio visual devices and the audience is thrilled to see them while assassinating the idols of Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Meghnath.
This is a very interesting sight for tourists and gives goosebumps, taking every traveller down to its Indian mythological roots.
5. Kullu dussehra:
This is one of the much-awaited festivals not only for Indians but for people outside the country too.
The centre of this festival is the Dhalpur Maidan. The festival starts with the pooja of Lord Raghunath. Then all the deities across the town are carried on a rath by the Worshipper’s to the Maidan. On the 5th or 6th day of Dussehra celebration, a gathering of all the village devtas takes place. On the last day, a huge bonfire is lit in which a lamb, a rooster, a fish, a crab and a buffalo are sacrificed.
The Kullu Dussehra celebration is different from Dussehra celebrations anywhere else and thus is to be a must witnessed event by every avid traveller!
#LiveLikeALocal Let our network of handpicked, verified local experts make sure that you get the real taste of the place you are visiting. Get to know the people who are hosting you, taste their food, celebrate their festivals, get to know about the latest hot spots and more.
India is one of the richest countries in terms of culture and of course, FOOD! Here are the most popular and mouth watering dishes from across the country which you gotta add on your food travel bucket List right away!
Even international tourists do not miss visiting these super famous eateries!
Paranthe wali gali, Delhi:
The paranthas at Gali Paranthe Wali are a mix of the traditional Punjabi paratha and the Bedmi poori (deep-fried stuffed Indian bread), which is cooked not on the Tawa but deep-fried in a kadhai.. It is served with spicy potato sabzi or curry and tamarind-banana chutney. You just cannot miss this one when in Delhi!
2. MTR, Bangalore:
Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, known more popularly as MTR, was established in 1924 and is one of Bangalore’s oldest and most well known restaurants. It serves one of the best Dosas and Idlis in Bangalore along with a generous amount of chutney and ghee!
Not even a fitness freak can resist this one!
3. Deena chat bhandar, Varanasi:
Varanasi is a paradise for North Indian food lovers. When it comes to street food, Deena Chat Bhandar tops every must-go-to list. You’ll get to savour a myriad of chaats here, but its most famous offering is the tamatar chaat. It has two outlets, both situated in Varanasi’s food hotspots – Dashashwamedh Ghat and Chowk. Deena Chat Bhandar has been wowing people for 5 decades and things haven’t changed a bit.
4. Dastarkhwan, Lucknow:
The Mughal’s Dastarkhwan in Hazratganj is the right place to sample authentic Mughlai fare from Awadh. From lip-smacking galawat kebab and mutton rogan josh to chicken biryani and shami kabab, this restaurant is a carnivore’s delight. A hub for Mughlai food lovers, the restaurant is frequently listed as one of the best places for Mughlai cuisine in Lucknow. You can enjoy a wide array of non-vegetarian dishes at a pocket-friendly rate.
You’re guaranteed to walk out with a wide smile and satisfied stomach.
5. masala chowk, Jaipur:
Jaipur Masala Chowk is an open-air food court in Ram Niwas Garden to enjoy the local flavors of Jaipur! Masala means spice and chowk means public square or an open area. The word hints at a place with a variety of shops and kiosks serving street food.
Must try : Pyaaz Kachori, Kulfi Falooda, Dal Baati Churma, Aloo Cholle Tikki, etc.
6. Ashok vada pao stall, Mumbai:
The vada pav is iconic to Mumbai, and Ashok Vada Pav at Prabhadevi has time and again been declared as the best in the city. This place has been serving vada pav for over two decades now and is truly the favourite of every Mumbaikar. India takes pride in Vada Pav as a street food, and as a tourist, you just cannot miss this one!
7. Joshi dahi bada house, Indore:
If you are in Indore, not seeing Joshi Ji swirling Dahi vada would be a big miss. The local people love Joshi Ji who is the owner of this eatery, for throwing Dahi vada in the air and catching it like a pro! Joshi Ji is one talented man! It’s something that every foodie should definitely try at least once. Eat this flying Dahi Vada, bite on the lip-smacking bhutte ka kees, sip Kadak Chai, and get lost in the amazing taste and conversations with the numerous foodies who visit this place everyday!
8. Dindigul thalappakatti, Chennai:
The Thalappakatti Biriyani Hotel’s roots can be traced all the way back to 1957. The Rs 200-crore biriyani brand now has 40 branches across the world and is cooking up other plans of expansion. Dindigul Thalappakatti Biriyani’s core offering is the Mutton Biryani, chicken and minced meat biryani. Varieties like Chicken 65 Biryani, Paneer Biryani and Mushroom Biryani,among other options, are also available. The menu also has barbecues and other South Indian delicacies like Mutton Sukka and Karandi Omelette.
No non veg foodie traveller can miss this!
9. Hot stimulating cafe, Darjeeling (momos):
Darjeeling takes pride in this tiny, cozy place called Hot Stimulating Cafe, for serving one of the best Momos in town! Super popular amongst tourists, it’s a small place serving mainly vegetarian delicacies and also famous homemade root beer, served in bamboo glass. This is offered only to tourists and not to the localites. Thukpa is a must try here as well!
There, we just gave you 9 reasons to travel if you are a food lover. Even if you are not, make sure to include such local hot spots on your next trip to your favorite locations. Locals can give you the best recommendations and this will make you feel like a local #TravelLikeaLocal
There are a few reasons why you should make sure you travel annually at least once. Preferably a solo trip, else with a group where you can manage some alone time without disrespecting them.
So what is your reason to go for your annual soul-searching solo trip?
Take your pick and plan your next travel according to your wish to either try a new activity like scuba, surfing, coffee painting, cooking or just opt for a healing walk in the hills and unwind your mind. You can check out our network of local guides to give your next vacation a purpose.
Is your morning incomplete without the perfect cup of coffee? Doesn’t everything seem so dull until you get the first aroma of coffee to start your day? Are you a travel addict + coffee addict? The answer to all these questions is here! Don’t be depresso, have an espresso! As you travel the world, do not forget to explore the different flavours of the world as well. Here are the best coffees to try across the world which have a distinct yet refreshing taste!
PERIODS! A nightmare for all ladies, especially for those who love to travel! Cramps, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, bloating, headache, back pain, heavy bleeding and whatnot! Periods are a total package to deal with and no woman wants to experience this on her lovely ME time trips. Unfortunately, not always things go as planned and your vagina chooses to surprise you. So here are a few things to keep in mind when travelling in and around your menstruation period.
Menstrual Cups :
Menstrual Cups, being one of the most sustainable options, are a small and portable item you always gotta carry in your bag. Easy to insert, clean up, and re-insert, this is a life saver while travelling!
You can of course always go for tampons or pads, whatever is the most convenient for you, because your comfort comes first, especially on your leisure vacay time!
Over the counter medications like Ibuprofen, dicyclomine; anti-inflammatory tablets are a blessing during periods to fight those spasms away. While travelling, stomach cramps and pain can cause a huge amount of discomfort and pain killers can be a good option, if used in limits.
You can also consider investing in a good quality hot water bag which stays hot for a long time. These are very effective in relieving abdominal pain. For travel purposes, electric hot water bags are preferable as you can just charge them up anywhere you find a point!
3. Herbal Tea :
It is a great idea to always carry a few herbal tea bags with you while travelling. You can just stop at any nearby eatery and arrange for some hot water, just dip in your tea bags, and wallah, there you go with an instantly soothing cramp reliever! Also, remember to avoid unhealthy, oily food. Choose dry fruits or dark chocolate as a snack instead.
Recommended teas for periods : Chamomile Tea, Ginger and Lime Tea, Raspberry Leaf Tea, etc.
4. Wet wipes and hand sanitizer :
To avoid all the messy hassle while travelling on your periods, wet wipes are a great option for cleaning up instantly. It saves you when you just can’t find a washroom in a foreign town! Just keep a few wet wipes handy and don’t forget to maintain the hygiene with some hand sanitizer!
5. Extra pair of panties!
Don’t forget to pack a few extra panties for any sort of emergencies! Your bleeding can be unpredictable and hence, packing a few extra essentials won’t hurt. Ensure they’re soft, loose and comfortable! Fancy and uncomfortable underwear is the last thing you need to bear on your painful days. Choose comfortable pants as well to come your tummy at ease.
I had always dreamt of travelling solo to far fetched places to experience how that adrenaline rush really feels like. After getting into the corporate world, I would hear stories of my coworkers’ travels and how the trip transformed them. Ever since, travelling to unknown land became the first and most desired item on my bucket list. However, I always knew that things to do from my bucket list would involve a lot of explanation and confidence building all way as I hail from a very conservative family and have friends who are more skeptical to travel.
Times later, I learn about women only travel community—WanderingJane, who they are and how they successfully cater to various needs of female travelers. Their concept further fueled my desire to travel. Moving fast forward, I was excited to travel but then had this fear of managing it all by myself.
I was doubtful if I will be able to manage travelling solo for the first time and that too to an international destination. Thankfully I met our local host at airport itself and her synergy was contagious. I had the time of my life on the trip and now have memories that I can always look back on, to remind myself about the good times. The majestic view of the mountain peak and pathways, fun bicycle rides through paddy fields, first time underwater aquatic life experience with scuba diving, mesmerizing sunrise and sunsets view at beach, late night walks and some life changing conversations with fellow travelers on empty roads.
Being a first-time traveler, I had many apprehensions about almost everything. The moment the journey started, all of them began to fade away and the only thing that stayed permanent was my smile. All 5 days and 6 nights were so well planned. There were no linguistic barriers as most people understood English and for rest, our wing-woman, our local host was approachable. Never for once did I feel being stranded in an unknown territory. From booking adventure trails and local theater shows to taxi rides, all was done and included in our initial expenses. Bali proved more economical and less place hunter experience.
I got a good blend of solo me-time to introspect and energy punch while taking a hands-on experience with scuba diving, trekking on volcano sites, learning to surf by the beach and other activities. These activities also developed sense of team building and leadership skills in me. Our ice breaker sessions with fellow travelers ended up connecting me with them in a way that we are soul sisters now! Fortunately, I not only got a chance to bond with people from India but also with people from Brazil. Learning and practicing yoga with the group was not only good fun, but was also a self-esteem and confidence building experience.
Amidst all the talking, one thing got missed out. I packed 3 Cameras—a polaroid, KTM and DSLR. Not to forget my own hand phone. Despite photo storage on so many devices, I still had crisis to store memories. To capture the true beauty of Bali and the memories of my first trip, all day photography proved less. Even though I am not much of a foodie, but the local delicacies did interest and activate my taste buds a lot.
After this journey came to an end, I felt more empowered and I could feel people around me were looking up to me. Re-living experiences from my maiden trip make me yearn for another solo trip already. I can’t wait to make more memories with WanderingJane !
In the end, we only regret chances we did not take, so forget everything and travel solo for once. Take your own leap of faith!
Leh- Ladakh makes to all travelers’ bucket list and certainly is one of the most fascinating destinations in the world.
Ladakh is not just a destination, its an experience in itself. The magnificence of the mountains, harshness of the roads less travelled, glory of the blue skies, brilliance of the changing landscapes and the mood swings of the weather makes you wanting more. So much so, that almost every corner of the place just ensures that you fall in love with it. This picturesque romance demands making a trip to Leh-Ladakh an annual affair.
Below are a few of the things you will relate to post this trip, that is sure to transform you into a brand new self.
Humility The stark beauty of Ladakh and the forces of nature from the limitless horizon will leave you feeling forever humble. You will appreciate how happiness comes from simple emotions.
Passion “Journey is more important than the destination.” Well, travelling across Ladakh will make you feel this, quite literally. You will understand that life is better when you bring passion into everything you do.
Courage Battling through inhospitable terrain, unpredictable weather and arduous roads will certainly toughen you up and prepare you to stand strong against all odds.
Respect Gorgeous lands, beautiful flowers, ice walls, purity of the mountains, cloudless blue skies and the nature running wild will fill your heart with admiration. Interacting with the locals will make you realize how they find peace and happiness in minimalism.
You will respect people, the nature and of-course yourself more than ever.
Gratitude A lake with 50 shades of blue, mountains with so many colours, the miracles of the magnetic hill and a cold desert, the pure magic of the confluence of rivers and the simplicity of the locals will make you more thankful and content.
Adaptability You will come across travelers from all over the world, intermingling with so many people from different cultures and experiences will make you more receptive to other’s ideas. Living in basics and in unconventional places will make you easy-going and will open your mind.
Self belief & Renewal Lastly and most importantly the moments you breathe in this paradise will stay with you forever. The aura of Ladakh and the energies around are bound to make you feel rejuvenated and restored.
Don’t wait, book your tickets, your metamorphosis awaits!