Every time someone so much as mentions Christmas or the New Year’s, a strange sensation mingled with anxiety and excitement erupts in the pit of the stomach. The thought of ending the last few days of an otherwise ordinary year with the figurative ‘bang’ becomes all-consuming and thus preparations to send the year off with a fond farewell is of prime importance. This year should be no different, right?
So let’s take a look at a few breath-taking destinations that I generally find myself at during this time of the year.
My personal favourite and perhaps one of the most underrated places to grace your To-Visit list, unless of course you are a Calcuttan. The churches, the bridges, the roads, the restaurants, the people, the choir, the lights, the intoxicating aroma of warm plum cakes, Kolkata during the Christmas week is a sight to behold and Park Street is where most of the action takes place. The crisp winter chill is also a welcome addition that Calcuttans love to soak themselves in.
Though not everyone would suggest visiting the city of lakes during New Year’s or Christmas Eve, trust me and do take the plunge that will find you in this dazzling part of India. The forts and palaces offer the perfect backdrop to dance away the last few hours of the year in a royal fashion while the numerous markets and events at the Fateh Sagar Lake, Jag Mandir Palace (to name a few) will keep you captivated. I took a trip to Udaipur last year, and the experience was worth every moment.
One of the most popular destinations in the recent decade, these exquisite islands never fail to disappoint. Far from the maddening crowds formed by city dwellers, the islands are sure to lift your spirits as well as rejuvenate you so that you dive into the new year, all calm and collected. The islands ensure that you remain busy throughout your visit and offer a variety of water activities for you to indulge in. Picture yourself lying in the sands of the tranquil beaches, surrounded by the pristine waters and trying out a local dish with the waves gently licking your feet. And yes, my friend, that is exactly what dreams are made of, but a dream that can just as easily turn into a reality this year.
Another unconventional place for you to spend the fag end of the year in, but do give this city of Gods a shot and give the crazy disco lights a miss for once. Immerse yourself in the offerings of this ancient city and behold the mesmerising sight of the evening ‘aarti’ that sees travellers and devotees from all over the world come together to pay their respects to the beings above. The sheer surrealness and the beauty of the river banks during this ritual are enough to fill you with awe, and will make Varanasi one of your favourite venues to be in the years to come.
A list of the places to be at during New Year’s and Christmas Eve without a mention of the fan favourite is indeed unfair. Goa has always been a popular destination for almost every age-group throughout the year and the last few days is no different. Goa’s nightlife, the midnight masses, the vibrant people, who tirelessly sing the merry Christmas carols and the food, (oh, the food) are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Goa’s offerings during this time of the year. So convince your parents, your friends’ parents, and set sail to this wonderful land to ring in the New Year.
And there you have it: five splendid places for you to explore and create memories in before welcoming a brand new year. Follow my suggestions, and you can have a trip that is not only unforgettable but also rejuvenating to the brim. Make sure you are done with your bookings at the earliest.