With the holidays around the corner many of you must be planning a relaxing vacation to help you unwind. At times like these, we ask you to observe two minutes’ silence for those people who have children. Schools across the country will be starting their winter vacations shortly and this means the tranquility of your otherwise peaceful home will soon be shattered.
The best way to use up all that restless energy is to take the kids out for a vacation which delivers the best of both worlds – a chance to relax for Mummy and Daddy, as well as a chance for the kids to have a blast and even learn something in the process.
Luckily for parents, there are several child-friendly vacation spots across the country which promise to do exactly that.
Jaisalmer: Adventure is in the Air
What can’t you do in Jaisalmer? Feeling outdoorsy? Book a tent at any of the local dessert camps and then take your kids stargazing. Want to soak up history? Take a tour of Jaisalmer Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the biggest fully preserved fortified cities in the world. It was built in 1156 AD by Rawal Jaisal – take a tour listen as the guide enthrals you with tales of Rajput valour.
Insider Tip: Book a dune bashing trip and camel safari. Many tour operators have packages that include a day of camel and cart rides, dune bashing (of course), as well as a bonfire-side cultural programme.
Aurangabad: Learning Comes to Life
While it isn’t your typical family vacation destination, Aurangabad is a great place to take the kids. Considering that why will have studied (or will study) about the caves of Ajanta and Ellora in textbooks, the UNESCO World Heritage Sites will bring history alive for them. Once you’re done exploring the caves, head to Siddharth Garden and Zoo for some wonderful open spaces, exotic animals and even a toy train ride that’s sure to make their day.
Insider tip: While the tourist stores outside the caves sell all sorts of trinkets, we recommend the books on folk tales to introduce the kids to India’s rich culture.
Tarkarli: Fun in the Water
One of Maharashtra’s best kept secrets, Tarkali beach is famous for its pristine sands and clear waters, as well as its distinction of being home to the state’s only scuba diving training centre. Besides water sports, the beach is also a great place to go dolphin watching. The place is slowly coming to prominence as a major tourist destination, so get there before it’s teeming with people.
Insider tip: Tarkarli village is just 8km south of Malvan, so head there to try out some of the amazing Malwani cuisine that is the hallmark of the region.
Gulmarg: Have a White Christmas
Often referred to as the centre for winter sports in India, Gulmarg is one of Asia’s best ski destinations. The town sits at the base of the Pirpanjal mountain range, but don’t let that stop you from dreaming about scaling some peaks – the Gulmarg Gondola is one of the highest in the world, with two stages and a total ascent of nearly 4,000m. Winter sports such as skiing, tobogganing and snowboarding take place on the slopes of Mount Apharwat, which is the second stage of the Gondola lift.
Insider Tip: Watch Bobby with the kids at night and then take them to visit ‘Bobby Hut’ the next morning, where a scene for the movie was shot.
Mahabaleshwar: Harvest Happiness
Few fruits have managed to capture children’s imaginations as strawberries have. And in Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, they’ll even get a chance to pick the fruit straight off the plant and eat it fresh. Apart from the strawberry-picking, there’s plenty of other things to do, including boating on Venna lake, horse riding, larking around at the famous Echo Point. But don’t even think about skipping the strawberry-picking – it isn’t often that kids figure out lunch for you!
Insider tip: Be sure to visit Mapro Gardens for plenty of fun activities for the kids, as well as a chance to eat some very fresh strawberries at the superb eatery.
Like this article? Also read: Take a Fruit-Picking Holiday Across India
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