Whether it’s a spa, a yoga holiday, a destination where you can’t get any network, or a voluntary break from your gadgets, it helps to occasionally get off the grid. One of the most popular ways to recharge your batteries (and test yourself) is vipassana – multi-day trips where you’re plunged into absolute silence, with no communication at all, digital or in person. Or you could head to one of our national parks, where you’re cut off from the outside world for a few hours while spotting wildlife. Many hotels now also have tech-free zones that force you to disconnect from your gadgets, if only for a few hours.
This is, undoubtedly, one of our favourite types of holidays. With India’s wide variety of regional cuisines and dishes, pretty much any destination you head to will have gastronomic delights. Most cities have tour companies that organise food walks, such as Oota Walks in Bengaluru. Or you can just follow your nose and make your own trail; here are our guides to Aurangabad’s delectable street foods, Bengaluru’s military restaurants, Bengal’s famous sweets and Chennai’s best messes. A food trail with a twist that your kids will love, is a fruit-picking holiday across India’s orchards – here’s where you can go.
Volunteer holidays are perfect for when you want to enrich your heart and your mind. You can travel to untrammelled destinations, often set in beautiful landscapes, and pitch in community activities such as building schools or conserving Nature or setting up local radio stations. Ecosphere lets you work with villages in the gorgeous Spiti Valley, building greenhouses and developing alternative energy sources (as our Web Editor Neha Sumitran learned). You could also sign up with People’s Power Collective that works on community radio development programs throughout rural India. If you’d like to work with kids, sign up with the Avalokitesvara Trust to work in Ladakh’s remote villages.
There’s a lot to choose from if you’d like to burn some calories while taking in the views. Explore India’s beautiful marine life in the Andamans, Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, or catch some waves on a thrilling surfing trip, like our Features Writer Fabiola Monteiro did in Varkala. If you’re more of a landlubber, you can leisurely pedal your way through the backwaters of Kerala or past Rajasthan’s forts. Or breathe in lungfuls of clean air as you make your way up India’s hills and mountains. And the best part about these holidays? For once, you won’t come back chubbier after a vacation!
If your holiday personality is to approach new cultures like a sponge, pick a learning holiday. India has tons of great places that teach you fun skills in beautiful settings. You can get schooled in diving in the Andamans or get behind a potter’s wheel in Himachal Pradesh. For a detailed list, click here.