Backwaters, fish and fresh coconut, if that’s what you’ve known Kerala for, this season get an extremely different sight of this South Indian state. In its northeastern region lies Wayanad, set amidst the Western Ghats at altitudes ranging from 2,300 to 6,900 feet. Expect an abundance of flora and fauna in the form of a lush green rainforest, a serene lake, enthralling waterfalls and an expansive wildlife sanctuary that is home to elephants and tigers.
Where to stay: Vythiri Resort, a jungle getaway that has been built under a large canopy of tropical rainforest. With a full-fledged spa and rooms that range from duplex cottages to tree houses, this eco-friendly resort is the perfect balance of luxury and rudimentary.
Getting there: Fly to Calicut International Airport at Kozhikode, a 61-km drive from Wayanad.
What to wear: Living in a jungle comes with one simple rule — cover up. It’s also an opportunity to rock the safari trend. Pick cargo-style jog pants, chinos in earthy colours, and long-sleeved T-shirts.
Stark grey rocky mountains, bluer than blue skies and crystal clear lakes, the beauty of Leh is known to leave every visitor spellbound. At an altitude of 11,500 feet, Leh is one of the most sought-after destinations in India — not just by Indians but also foreigners. The old town, dotted with stupas and mud-brick houses in true Tibetan architecture, is set against the backdrop of the 17th century Leh Palace, which was modelled on the Potala Palace in Lhasa. High above you can see a multitude of colourful prayer flags fluttering in the wind to ensure every wish reaches its destination.
Where to stay: The Grand Dragon Ladakh is one of the finest hotels that you can find in this region. Decorated magnificently with paintings by Gulam Mustafa, the first modern artist from Ladakh, the hotel is luxuriously appointed with central heating and uninterrupted views of snow-capped mountains.
Getting there: Fly to Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport from major cities in India. For those looking for some adventure, drive from Srinagar (415 km) or Manali (482 km).
What to wear: Even in the month of July, the temperature at Leh can fall as low as 13-degree Celsius. Warm puffer jackets, sweatshirts, jeans, sunglasses, cap, and a comfortable pair of walking shoes are things that you will need.
Often labelled as unsafe, northeast India has remained out of most travellers’ lists for decades. Now more accessible, it is one of the few regions where natural beauty exists in its original form. At a time when most hill stations have succumbed to commercialisation, the little town of Shillong continues to offer quaint untouched experiences. Trendy eateries stand beside with an Art Deco style chapel, giving you a blend of modern Khasi lifestyle juxtaposed against the Western influences left behind by the British. Walk through misty green meadows where herds of sheep are brought out to pasture, or spend time at markets where local women clad in ethnic tunics sell fresh produce. Don’t forget to take a day trip to Cherrapunji (54 km), the wettest place on the planet.
Where to stay: Built in the 1920s by Raja Bir Bikram, Royal Heritage Tripura Castle is home to the world’s second-longest continuing royal line. While the main castle serves as the Shillong home of the royal family for Tripura, the annexe has been carefully redesigned to offer you an experience of living in a palace.
Getting there: The nearest airport is Guwahati, 103 km from Shillong.
What to wear: Northeast India is known for its innate sense of fashion. Nail the season’s biggest street-style trend with sporty pieces. Think jog pants, trainers, a number logo T-shirt, and a backpack to carry daily essentials.
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