In a secret garden

December 31, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 04:03 am IST

Tired of the loud parties and awful hangovers? Try a few offbeat activities instead

(Top) Loll in the tents or (below) dive deep into the sea

(Top) Loll in the tents or (below) dive deep into the sea

Want to get away from the maddening crowd and try something different this New Year’s? Here are a few options.


Add a French twist to your weekend with a trip to quaint Puducherry. The French Quarter, with its white-and-yellow painted buildings, and walls scattered with bougainvillea, makes for a picturesque walk. The Tamil Quarter is no less charming, with its tiled roofs and old wood-pillared verandahs. Pondy is also known for its exceptional food; the city is dotted with laid-back French cafés offering eclectic menus. For the truly peaceful soul, there’s also Auroville and the Aurobindo Ashram to explore. If you’re looking for some adventure, try scuba diving. Organisations such as Temple Adventures offer sessions and you can choose to explore one of the 20 different underwater sites, ranging from depths of 12m to 50m. They will also click pictures of you underwater with sea creatures, so that you have something to take home.

For details


Ever dreamt of falling asleep under the stars and waking up to the chirping of birds? This weekend is the time to do it. Welcome 2017 by ticking camping on your bucket list. Head to Tada, a little village tucked away in Andhra Pradesh, a mere two-hour drive from the bustle of Chennai. Exoticamp organises a New Year camping party at their Nature Camp in Tada. With technology taking over our lives, we have forgotten what it’s like to stop and smell the roses. Take this time to relax in the lap of Nature. A row of Swiss tents set against the backdrop of green fields and distant hills is bound to bring back peace of mind. You can also indulge in some bird-watching and cycling through the sleepy hamlets in the area. Inject a little adrenaline into your weekend by going kayaking in open waters. No prior experience is required to go kayaking and life vests are provided.

It is priced at Rs. 2,999 per person. For details


This one is for those of you who enjoy taking the road less travelled. We’ve all been to Kodaikanal, one too many times perhaps. So this time around, try its lesser-known neighbour Vattakanal, a scenic village tucked far away from the maddening crowds of the now-commercial hill station. It has been christened Little Israel by the locals, because of the rising number of Israeli tourists visiting it. Its rolling hills, deep meadows and tall trees will help you leave the noise of the city behind. If you are up for getting out of bed early and going for a trek, head to Dolphin’s Nose. It is a flat rock jutting out of a mountain, shaped like a dolphin’s nose, obviously. Set at an altitude of 6,600ft, Dolphin’s Nose gives you sweeping views of the valley below. Another place for Nature lovers is the Vattakanal Falls, tucked inside a forest — so far removed from the city, this place feels like a secret garden.

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