A Smart Gateway to India…You’ll love it!
A Smart Gateway to India…You’ll love it!
Most romantic getaways in India

Most romantic getaways in India

From monuments that are a symbol of love and palaces that still evoke the grandeur of their regal past, to spectacular sunsets, verdant plantations, charming toy trains and canal cruises—India is a melange of romantic experiences that you really shouldn't miss out on. Venture out to the stunning Himalayan peaks of Shimla, try out thrilling adventure sports in the Andamans, slow down on a romantic cruise ride in Kerala's backwaters or stay in a houseboat on the glistening waters of Dal Lake— here is your guide to discovering India's most romantic destinations that guarantee an unforgettable time with your significant other on Valentine's Day, and make for a memorable romantic vacation as well.

1. Stay at a houseboat in Srinagar THINGS TO DO, SRINAGAR

Stay at a houseboat in Srinagar

Possibly the best place to lay your hat in Srinagar isn't a hotel but a houseboat on the Dal, or adjoining Nageen Lake. Houseboats come in various categories ranging from 'Deluxe,' to category 'D,' and can cost as much if not more than any luxury hotel in town. Conditions of individual houseboats can vary as can location - it's never a good idea to book one before you've actually seen what you're paying for. A smart thing to do is to check into a hotel for your first day and scout about looking for a good deal .

2. Make a day trip to the symbol of love, Taj Mahal SIGHTSEEING, AGRA

Make a day trip to the symbol of love, Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is considered by many, to possess architectural beauty unsurpassed by any other structure in the world. Constructed over a period of 22 years, employing twenty thousand workers, it was completed in 1648 C.E. and cost a whopping 32 million Rupees. Built entirely of white marble, it almost seems to glow in the moonlight, with the shimmering Jamuna river situated just across. The Muslim emperor Shah Jahan built this monument in the memory of his wife Mumtaz, whose grave is housed within the premises at the lower chamber. The grave of Shah Jahan was added to it later. The Taj stands tall and regal on a raised, square platform, forming an unequal octagon with its four truncated corners. The architecture uses the interlocking arabesque concept, where each element is singular in its entirety, but integrates seamlessly with the whole. The central dome spans 58 feet in diameter and soars to a height of 213 feet. It is flanked on four sides by smaller domed chambers, and four slender minarets rising to a lower height of 162.5 feet. The entire mausoleum is decorated with an inlaid design of flowers and calligraphy using precious gems like agate and jasper, and the main archways are carved with passages from the Holy Qur’an.

3. Book a romantic stay amidst the hills of Shimla HOLIDAY, SHIMLA

Book a romantic stay amidst the hills of Shimla

One of the preferred winter destinations in the country, mostly for its proximity to the larger cities and its good mix of entertainment, Shimla in Himachal Pradesh is another great place to get snowed in. Plan your trip some time after the third week of December for guaranteed snowfall. Getting there is easy, take a flight, train or bus from any of the neighbouring cities of Delhi and Chandigarh, or then just hire a taxi and do the seven-hour-long drive at your convenience. In accommodation, there are options aplenty. If you're looking to pamper yourself, stay at the Oberoi Cecil or the heritage Woodville Palace, or downsize your budget with umpteen number of mid-range and budget hotels dotting the town. There's lots to do here. Some of the major tourist spots include the Viceregal Lodge & Botanical Gardens, the Ridge which offers beautiful views of the hills, the Mall for a spot of shopping, cafes and restaurants, Chadwick Falls, Elysium Hill, the Dorje Drag Monastery, Christ Church & St. Michael's Cathedral, Jakhoo Temple, Sankat Mochan and Tara Devi. A perfect white getaway which is enchantingly beautiful and entertaining too.

4. Gaze at the sundown at Mount Abu’s Sunset Point SIGHTSEEING, MOUNT ABU

Gaze at the sundown at Mount Abu’s Sunset Point

One of the most well-known spots in Mount Abu, Sunset Point is located to the south-west of Nakki Lake. Best visited at dusk, this picturesque point commands magnificent views of the Aravali ranges. Thronged by travellers throughout the year, it is surrounded by numerous food stalls and souvenir shops. To get to Sunset Point, grab your camera and walk up the cobblestone pathways along the Nakki Lake for about a km. Those who do not wish to take a walk can also opt for pony rides.

5. Discover the regal splendour of Udaipur SIGHTSEEING, UDAIPUR

Discover the regal splendour of Udaipur

Take a walk to any place in this picturesque city and you will spot historic structures which ooze regal splendour. Home to the most intricately designed palaces, havelis, buzzing streets, and beautiful lakes, the city of Udaipur is also called the ‘Venice of the East’ and ‘City of Lakes’. To accommodate the large influx of travellers each year, the city is well-equipped with a wide variety of hotels and lodging options that suit every pocket, bazaars that are popular for their handicrafts and restaurants that offer lip-smacking Rajasthani dishes. If you’re going by road then the drive takes no more than four hours making it possible to make a hectic day trip. Make sure you include Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar Lake, City Palace, Jag Mandir and Udaipur Ghat in your Udaipur itinerary.

6. Pamper yourself at Goa's Sereno Spa with a couple’s spa package THINGS TO DO, GOA

Pamper yourself at Goa's Sereno Spa with a couple’s spa package

Sereno spa promises a transformational experience, integrating age-old Indian therapeutic techniques and the contemporary spa treatments like aromatherapy. Amongst the wide range of spa packages, ‘The Marine Experience’ and ‘Mithun—Couple’s Spa Experience’ are the most popular. This award-winning wellness centre is a serene sanctuary for the senses, set in the lush seafront gardens of South Goa. Spreading over 36,000 square-feet the spa has a well-equipped fitness centre (complimentary use to all the guests). Making a reservation in advance is strongly recommended.

7. Sip a cup of tea at Munnar’s charming plantations SIGHTSEEING, MUNNAR

Sip a cup of tea at Munnar’s charming plantations

Pluck tea leaves while you explore Munnar's dense tea plantations; prance about in gurgling brooks while hiking on cloud-covered slopes; or wander through the hill town's winding lanes—Munnar is an idyllic escape into the natural wonders of God's own country, Kerala. Perched at the confluence of three mountain streams—Madhurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly—the charming hill town lies about 130 km east of Kochi and 100 km north of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thekkady. A haven for bird-watchers, photographers and wildlife-enthusiasts, the Eravikulam National Park is just a short drive away from the hill town. Thrill-seekers can go hiking to the highest peak in the Western Ghats in India—Anamudi—located about 13 km away from Munnar. At an altitude of 1600 m, Munnar is a delight for adventure-enthusiasts, honeymooners and families.

8. Take a canal cruise in Kollam’s backwaters BEACHES, KOLLAM

Take a canal cruise in Kollam’s backwaters

Kollam, sandwiched between the Ashtamudi Lake and the Arabian Sea, is an ideal base to explore the southern backwaters. The second largest lake in Kerala, Ashtamudi is named after its eight channels. The backwaters here are considerably less crowded than Alappuzha, but equally picturesque. The District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) organises houseboat and canal tours through the lake and Munroe Island. The canal cruise, conducted on a country canoe, is an excellent way to observe village activities such as coir making, toddy tapping, prawn and fish farming, and 'kettuvallam' (rice-boat) construction, from close quarters.

9. Go scuba-diving at Havelock Island SIGHTSEEING, ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS

Go scuba-diving at Havelock Island

Havelock Island at the Andamans is the most popular spot for scuba diving. Home to one of the richest coral reef ecosystem in the world, the waters here are pristine, and teeming with diverse marine life. There are two diving operators on Havelock—Barefoot Scuba and Dive India—which provide wannabe divers with training and all the requisite equipment. Both the operators are PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certified dive centres.

10. Take a ride on Darjeeling’s iconic toy train THINGS TO DO, DARJEELING

Take a ride on Darjeeling’s iconic toy train

Beginning in Siliguri at the foot of the mighty Himalayas, the little, blue and red Darjeeling Himalayan steam railway climbs over two thousand metres into the mountains, peaking at Ghum and finally reaching Darjeeling at 2,200 metres above sea level.

11. Explore the wonders of Tawang THINGS TO DO, DARJEELING

Explore the wonders of Tawang

Tucked away at the north-western edge of Arunachal Pradesh near the Bhutanese and Tibetan border, Tawang is a heady brew of scenic beauty, Buddhist heritage and a vibrant culture. Reaching a height of 22000 ft, this is one of the first regions of the Indian Himalayas to receive snowfall in the month of December every year, and is amongst the less crowded hill stations in the country (Indian visitors require a special Inner Line Permit to enter, while foreigners need a Restricted Area Permit). The town lies perched at the top of a mountain and is circled by peaks and a river gorge. The crowning glory is the citadel-like Tawang Monastery, built in the mid-17th century, and considered to be one of the largest in the world.

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