LISTING Plan a perfect Valentine’s Day getaway with S. VENKATRAMAN, who gives you his top five picks
Escape to this isolated beach paradise, a ferry ride away from Port Blair. Wake up to the sound of waves slowly crashing on the shore and a Bay of Bengal that resembles a giant placid lake. The tropical paradise is perfect for those who love pristine beaches. Wander hand in hand and discover gorgeous flora and fauna. Get an adrenaline high on scuba diving or snorkelling, in clear blue waters filled with coral and marine life. Later that night, watching the ocean shimmer in the moonlight from your shack as you snuggle up together makes a perfect end to the day.
Havelock has plenty of cottages and beach resorts at various price points lined up along the ocean. Check out www.havelock.co.in
Done the beaches and backwater cruises to death? Try Wayanad for that touch of wildness. It has tribal heritage, tea gardens, waterfalls, pre-historic caves and wildlife — take your pick. There’s even a heart-shaped lake halfway to the ascent to Chembra Peak, which makes a great spot for that perfect proposal. Pamper yourselves with Ayurvedic massages or frolic under a waterfall to make your own Bollywood moments. History buffs can check out the prehistoric cave drawings in the foothills of Edakkal.
It’s well connected by road from Bangalore, Mysore and Kozhikode. Get the details and more from www.keralatourism.org
We are sure you don’t need us to recommend Goa for romance, but just in case you thought it was jaded, think again. It remains evergreen and can be rediscovered many times over. But this time, forget the beaches. Hire a car or motorcycle and escape into the green interiors of the picture-perfect state. Drink a pint in a small village pub, discover a quaint church atop a little hill, or just pack a picnic that you can enjoy quietly near the Mandovi. Ponda has plantations where you can wrap up a spice walk with a delicious, authentic Goan lunch.
Check out www.goa-tourism.com
This monsoon forest area in Chikmagalur district is perfect for adventurous, nature-loving couples. Encourage each other up the challenging Kudremukh Peak and then lie back, soaking in the enchanting views of rolling grassland and lush green meadows. The accommodation is basic and includes tents, cottages or homestays on the foothills of the mountains. Take a tour of one of the numerous coffee plantations and follow it up with an authentic Malnad lunch.
Get in tune with nature and with each other. Check out www.mustseeindia.com/Kudremukh
Sipping a hot cup of chai together as you drink in breathtaking views in perfect silence and harmony — we really can’t think of a better way to spend time with your significant other. An overnight train from Delhi to Kathgodam (one of the cleanest railways stations in India) takes you to the heart of Kumaon. You can either head to the famous hill-station of Nainital or take the longer drive to Kausani or Chaukori. For all its clichés, Nainital can’t fail to woo you. Walk down Mall Road and grab some hot gulab jamuns from a roadside stall, pick the perfect lakeside bench for your book and snooze, or take a lazy boat ride on the lake.
There are plenty of hotels for all budgets on Mall Road. Check out www.kmvn.gov.in