The new year is just around the corner, and with it comes the opportunity to plan some exciting trips across India. The 2024 calendar has several long weekends that you can use to explore the diverse and beautiful destinations in the country. Whether you are looking for culture, nature, adventure, or relaxation, there is something for everyone in India. Here are some suggestions on how to make the most of your long weekends in 2024.
January: Celebrate the New Year and Festivals in Style
January has three long weekends that you can use to kickstart your travel plans. The first one is from December 30 to January 2, which is perfect for ringing in the new year in Goa, the party capital of India. You can enjoy the sun, sand, and sea, as well as the vibrant nightlife and music festivals that Goa is famous for. Alternatively, you can head to Agra to witness the majestic Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, or to Kaziranga National Park in Assam to spot the rare one-horned rhinos and other wildlife.
The second long weekend is from January 13 to January 16, which coincides with the festivals of Lohri, Makar Sankranti, and Pongal. You can celebrate these harvest festivals in different parts of India, such as Punjab, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. You can also visit Udaipur, the city of lakes, in Rajasthan, which offers a romantic and royal experience. Udaipur is known for its stunning palaces, temples, gardens, and museums, as well as its scenic views of the Aravalli hills and Lake Pichola.
The third long weekend is from January 26 to January 28, which marks the Republic Day of India. You can witness the grand parade and cultural performances in New Delhi, the capital city, or visit Varanasi, one of the oldest and holiest cities in India. Varanasi is a spiritual and cultural hub, where you can see the ghats, temples, ashrams, and markets along the banks of the Ganges river. You can also take a boat ride, attend the evening aarti, or explore the nearby Sarnath, where Buddha gave his first sermon.
March: Experience the Colors and Flavors of India
March has two long weekends that you can use to experience the colors and flavors of India. The first one is from March 8 to March 11, which falls on the occasion of Mahashivaratri, a festival dedicated to Lord Shiva. You can visit Jaisalmer, the golden city, in Rajasthan, which is famous for its sandstone fort, havelis, camel safaris, and desert camps. You can also visit Jodhpur, the blue city, which is known for its Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Bhawan Palace, and bazaars. You can also enjoy the local cuisine, such as dal baati churma, gatte ki sabzi, and mirchi vada.
The second long weekend is from March 23 to March 25, which coincides with the festival of Holi, the festival of colors. You can celebrate Holi in different ways in different places, such as Mathura and Vrindavan, where you can see the playful and devotional aspects of the festival, or Jaipur and Udaipur, where you can see the royal and cultural aspects of the festival. You can also visit Shantiniketan in West Bengal, where you can see the artistic and musical aspects of the festival, or Agra and Delhi, where you can see the historical and architectural aspects of the festival.
May: Escape the Heat and Enjoy the Hills
May has one long weekend that you can use to escape the heat and enjoy the hills. The long weekend is from May 23 to May 26, which is ideal for visiting Gulmarg or Spiti Valley. Gulmarg is a hill station in Jammu and Kashmir, which offers a pleasant weather, gondola rides, and delicious dishes. You can also enjoy the snow-covered peaks, meadows, and forests, as well as the activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and trekking. Spiti Valley is a cold desert in Himachal Pradesh, which offers a scenic and adventurous experience. You can see the stunning monasteries, lakes, and mountains, as well as the activities such as river rafting, camping, and biking.
June: Explore the Land of High Passes and Pristine Lakes
June has one long weekend that you can use to explore the land of high passes and pristine lakes. The long weekend is from June 15 to June 18, which is perfect for visiting Ladakh, a region in Jammu and Kashmir. Ladakh is a paradise for nature lovers and thrill seekers, as it has some of the most beautiful and challenging landscapes in the world. You can see the peaceful monasteries, the majestic mountain ranges, the pristine lakes, and the highest motorable roads. You can also enjoy the panoramic views, the local culture, and the activities such as trekking, biking, and rafting.
August: Experience the Monsoon Magic and Festive Spirit
August has two long weekends that you can use to experience the monsoon magic and festive spirit. The first one is from August 15 to August 19, which falls on the occasion of Independence Day and Raksha Bandhan. You can visit Kochi in Kerala, which offers a blend of history, culture, and nature. You can see the colonial buildings, the Chinese fishing nets, the Jewish synagogue, and the Dutch palace. You can also enjoy the emerald coast, the backwaters, the spice plantations, and the wildlife sanctuaries. You can also visit Lakshadweep, a group of islands in the Arabian Sea, which offers a tropical and secluded getaway. You can see the coral reefs, the lagoons, the beaches, and the marine life. You can also enjoy the water sports, the island hopping, and the local cuisine.
The second long weekend is from August 24 to August 27, which coincides with the festivals of Janmashtami and Onam. You can celebrate Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna, in Dwarka, Gujarat, which is believed to be his ancient kingdom. You can see the Dwarkadhish Temple, the Gomti Ghat, the Bet Dwarka, and the Nageshwar Jyotirlinga. You can also enjoy the cultural programs, the bhajans, and the dahi handi. You can celebrate Onam, the harvest festival of Kerala, in Alleppey, which is known as the Venice of the East. You can see the snake boat races, the flower carpets, the elephant processions, and the folk dances. You can also enjoy the delicious sadya, the banana chips, and the payasam.
September: Witness the Cultural Diversity and Natural Beauty
September has two long weekends that you can use to witness the cultural diversity and natural beauty. The first one is from September 5 to September 8, which falls on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival dedicated to Lord Ganesha. You can visit Pune in Maharashtra, which is one of the best places to see the grandeur and devotion of the festival. You can see the pandals, the idols, the processions, and the immersion. You can also visit the Aga Khan Palace, the Shaniwar Wada, the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, and the Sinhagad Fort. You can also enjoy the local delicacies, such as modak, puran poli, and misal pav.
The second long weekend is from September 14 to September 16, which is ideal for visiting an offbeat destination, such as Ziro in Arunachal Pradesh. Ziro is a picturesque valley, which is home to the Apatani tribe. You can see the paddy fields, the bamboo groves, the pine forests, and the fish farms. You can also enjoy the local cuisine, the sightseeing, the trekking, and the nature trails. You can also attend the Ziro Music Festival, which is a four-day event that showcases the best of indie music from India and abroad.
October: Enjoy the Festive Season and the Autumn Colors
October has one long weekend that you can use to enjoy the festive season and the autumn colors. The long weekend is from October 11 to October 13, which coincides with the festival of Dussehra, which celebrates the victory of good over evil. You can visit Kolkata in West Bengal, which is the best place to see the pomp and splendor of Durga Puja, a festival dedicated to Goddess Durga. You can see the pandals, the idols, the rituals, and the immersion. You can also visit the Victoria Memorial, the Howrah Bridge, the Indian Museum, and the Dakshineswar Kali Temple. You can also enjoy the Bengali cuisine, such as rosogolla, sandesh, and macher jhol.
November: Explore the Wildlife and the Heritage
November has two long weekends that you can use to explore the wildlife and the heritage. The first one is from November 1 to November 4, which falls on the occasion of Diwali, the festival of lights. You can visit Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Rajasthan, which is one of the best places to see the migratory birds at the beginning of winter. You can see the Siberian cranes, the pelicans, the storks, and the ducks. You can also visit the Lohagarh Fort, the Deeg Palace, and the Keoladeo Temple.
December: Long Weekends
December 23 to December 26
December 30 to January 2, 2025
The last month of the year has two long weekends, and you can make the most of them by visiting some of the most beautiful destinations in India. You can choose to celebrate Christmas and New Year in Goa, which is famous for its beaches, parties, churches, and seafood. You can also head to Pondicherry, which offers a blend of French and Tamil culture, heritage buildings, serene beaches, and delicious cuisine. If you are looking for a snowy escape, you can visit Manali, which is a popular hill station in Himachal Pradesh, known for its scenic views, adventure activities, and hot springs. Another option is to explore the wildlife and natural beauty of Jim Corbett National Park, which is home to tigers, elephants, leopards, and many other animals and birds.
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your long weekends in 2024 and enjoy the best of India. Happy travelling!