The month that lies on the brink of summer and spring, March is one of those times in a year when a vacation is practically irresistible to score. With the winter just shedding its coat, misty mornings and a pleasant weather throughout the day are what makes for the ideal getaway. Here are a few places to visit in March in India where you can plan your retreat to prepare for the summers.
1. Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
One of the most beautiful and serene islands in the Andaman cluster, Havelock is a paradise for those looking for a serene escape. A popular honeymooners’ destination as well, one of the most talked about part of Havelock, is beach number 7, also known as the Radha Nagar Beach. Awarded in 2004 as the ‘Best Beach in Asia, by Time, the swimming elephants are the most popular attraction here. With temperature not hovering over 20 degrees and cool ocean breezes flowing throughout the day, the beautifully made villas and picturesque houses are the cherries on top.
2. Ooty, Tamil Nadu
If a lost world colonial charm is your idea of a dream vacation, look no farther than Ooty. Complete with a toy train ride to the quaint little hill station. All English everything, from the colonial style bijou fenced flower gardens, evergreen hills and the thatched roof churches of course. The sleepy hamlet has a memorable stupor, and a sense of timelessness, with lush botanical gardens, lakes, tea plantations and waterfalls. When here, don’t forget to check out popular spots like Tiger Hill, Ooty Lake and the Dodabetta Peak.
3. Ranthambore, Rajasthan
Although the appropriate travel time as suggested by frequents to Ranthambore is September to February, March is the month for wildlife buffs to visit the place. The most popular destination here is the Ranthambore National Park and the Ranthambore Fort. The Park, that started as a tiger preservation site for Project Tiger in 1973, has now become the biggest and most populated tiger reserve in the country. The onset of summer is when the forest is at its barest and tiger spotting is the easiest. Located within the park is the Ranthambore Fort, which is one of the six forts in Rajasthan to be a part of the World Heritage Sites. Home to the most elusive leopards and the fishing cat, the Ganesh Temple is thronged by thousands of pilgrims during the annual Ganesh Festival. For those who can’t make it to the festival, any Wednesday is perfect to witness the deity dressed in decadence and worshipped in finery by the locals.
A gem in the north east, Sikkim is the perfect place to visit in March in India for those looking forward to getting away from their harsh metropolitans. Ravangla, Sikkim’s only tea estate, is flanked by the Kunchendzonga peak, is one of the hidden treasures of the valley, as are the 200 species of orchids and rhododendrons. With easy to moderately difficult hikes, that can be easily traversed by children and older people alike, to the majestic Tsongmo Lake, and the rapid water sports in the Teesta and Rangeet river, Sikkim has something to offer to people from every walk of life. March is one the perfect months to visit the place for its breezy weather and slightly nippy air for those who want to experience Sikkim in its full glory.
5. Coorg, Karnataka
Coorg is often called an affluent hill station, nestled in the lap of luxury and raw natural beauty. During the period of March to May, the tea and spice plantations start blooming, and the valleys are filled with the fragrance, making Coorg not only a treat for your eyes, but also for all your senses. A paradise for beginners in trekking, Coorg also proves to be an elitist destination with 3 golf courses in Mercarra, Polibetta and Bitangla. Often referred to as the ‘Scotland of India’, Coorg calls for a place in your bucket list for its mesmerising natural beauty.
6. Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Tawang is usually thronged by travelers in pre- and post-monsoon and pre-winters, but for those who’d want to visit the place when it is less crowded and more soaked in slightly cold breezes, March-April is the time to be here. To get to Tawang, one has to go through the Sela Top Pass, which is covered in snow mostly throughout the year. One of the most enrapturing places to not miss when in Tawang, is the Tipi Orchid Sanctuary which blooms with hundreds of varieties of orchids all year round. The famous and much sought out Tibetan festival, Losar, is also held in the months of February-March here.
7. Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu
Kodaikanal is an exceptionally laid back hill station to visit in March in India in the lush Palani Hills of the Western Ghats. With a slight fog looming in mornings and evenings, it is a popular honeymooners’ destination and the sleepy traveler’s paradise. Nature walks in the overly green fields and cycling in the long stretched roads and brunches at viewpoints are some of the things you can do during your retreat here. Don’t miss the sparkling waterfalls when in Kodai.
8. Mount Abu , Rajasthan
The only cool and calm spot in the desert state of Rajasthan, Mount Abu is chiefly a pilgrimage cum family vacation place to visit in March in India. The Jain Temples of Delwara, that were built almost a thousand years ago, and about 80 other temples in the city make it a religious spot. The temple architecture of Delwara and the Nakki Lake is what attracts people from around the world as well. March to April is the ideal time to visit, since the summer festival attracts pilgrims from the country, making it impossible to leisurely enjoy the old world charm of the city.
9. Shillong, Meghalaya
Shillong continues to be the cultural and educational hotspot of the north-east, and is also quite popular among researchers. With what can be called as raw life pulsating through Meghalaya’s capital, Shillong is the best place to visit in March in India, when the clear blue skies form the perfect backdrop of the Khasi Hills that flank the city on its east. Be it shopping on the Bara Bazar and the Police Bazar, or long walks among the pine trees and waterfalls or an enriching visit to the Don Bosco Museum, a vacation in Shillong in itself is very complete experience.
10. Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh
Vrindavan, an abode of one of the most loved Hindu deities, Krishna. The most popular celebrations that start about 40 days before the Indian festival of Holi, attracts quite the crowd from around the country and the world. In the temple cities of Vrindavan and Mathura, and especially in the ISKCON temples, the festival is celebrated not with colors,( as is the tradition) but with flower petals. The town is decorate beautifully and is lit up during the night, with every temple and house up in the celebrations.
11. Munnar, Kerala
At a height of 6000 feet, you can be assured about tranquility and a safe distance away from the doldrums of city life in Munnar. Situated at the confluence of Nallathanni, Kundaly and Madharupuzha rivers, the weather all around the year is just perfect to go for an exhilarating trek or a laid back elephant ride, or even boating. Tea and spice plantations dot the landscape and the tea museum here is an absolute must visit for all travelers to Munnar. The aromas of this tiny town will faintly remain in your mind for the months to come.
12. Hampi, Karnataka
A World Heritage Site, Hampi is a place where you can lose yourself amongst the bewitching ruins or be mesmerised by the vagaries of nature. The forlorn ruins of Hampi make you spellbound the minute you cast your eyes on it. Millions of years of volcanic activity and erosion have resulted in such a forlorn landscape. It is a major pit stop for the travellers. The Hampi Bazaar is a travellers’ ghetto with the village crammed with shops and restaurants. It is possible to see the main sites in a day or two, however, plan on lingering for a while.
13. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Varanasi, the world’s oldest continually habited city, can turn out to be one of your favourite stops. Also known as “Kashi” or “Benaras”, it is regarded as one of Hinduism’s seven holy cities. People come here from all around the globe to the ghats lining the River Ganga to wash away a lifetime of sins or cremate their loved ones. Varanasi is a magical place, but definitely not for the faint-hearted. A walk along the ghats or a boat ride in the river will create some wonderful memories. Brace yourself for one of the most blindingly colourful and unrelentingly chaotic city, which is the beating heart of the Hindu universe.
14. Jaipur, Rajasthan
The Pink City, Jaipur is one of the most colourful, royal and majestic cities in India. It is a gateway to India’s most flamboyant state. At the city’s heart is located the City Palace, Jantar Mantar, the royal observatory, and the honeycomb Hawa Mahal. The food of Jaipur attracts tourists from all over the world, with its bazaars adding to the appeal. This place boasts of modernity while maintaining the traditional values. A major reason for visiting Jaipur in March is the famous “Elephant Festival”, which is held on the day of Holi, and features Elephant polo and Elephant dance. It has a unique feel to it which can only be experienced once you are there.
15. Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
Khajuraho, known around the world for its majestic temples adorned with sensual and exotic carvings, boasts of the finest temple art in the world. These temples are superb examples of Indo-Aryan architecture and attract a large number of tourists. Out of the original 85 temples, 20 have survived the ravages of time. The Western Group of temples boasts of some stunning artwork. Khajuraho has also been accorded the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be aware that missing out on Khajuraho means missing out on some of the most beautiful temples in India.
16. Kaziranga National Park, Assam
One of the most picturesque wildlife parks in India, Kaziranga is the natural habitat of the one-horned rhinoceros. It houses more than two-thirds of the world’s total number of rhinos. It is a well sustained ecological park where you can spot swamp dear, sloth bears, Bengal foxes and plenty of bird life. A must-do thing here is the elephant safari to look for rhinoceros hiding in the expansive grasslands. In March, the wildlife is at its most visible, making it a good time to visit Kaziranga.
If you are looking for a vacation at the beach, Lakshadweep is the place to be. One of the union territories of India, it is a group of small islands, located off the coast on the Arabian Sea. The charm of Lakshadweep lies in its remoteness, far away from the human interference. Each individual island is equally beautiful and mystical, with some offering water sports and the others the charm of relaxation. A permit is required to visit Lakshadweep, which is also one of the reasons this place has existed from time immemorial, with little influence from the outside world.
18. Bangalore, Karnataka
The hub of India’s booming IT industry, Bangalore is a city that has been blessed with a progressive dining, drinking and shopping scene. It acts as a great base for people venturing out across Southern India. In recent times, though this city has seen maddening development, coupled with traffic congestion, it has also managed to retain its greens and its colonial heritage. Known as the “Garden City”, it has many gardens and parks, apart from numerous places of interest for the tourists. While in Bangalore, don’t miss out on visiting the Nandi Hills.