March arrives with a new season, new hope and new ideas. Since the exam seasons are around the corner, touristy places will be less crowded in March, making it an ideal time to travel around and explore.Weather is generally pleasant in Northern and Southern part of the country with the cold giving way to warmer weather. If you love snow then heading out north would be an ideal time for an adventure in the Himalayas. Let’s take a look at the best places to explore in March: (btw do check out best places to visit in India in February and January here.)
1. Rishikesh, Uttarakhand – Relax, Replenish and Revive at the International Yoga Festival
Are you a fitness freak who wants to explore the spiritual side of India? If yes, pack your bags and head to Rishikesh to take part in the International Yoga Festival. Conducted yearly at the birthplace of yoga, IYF provides an excellent platform to learn yoga from world-class Yoga teachers practising multiple styles of yoga around the world. Not a yoga fanatic? Worry not, there are also classes in meditation, mudras, Sanskrit chanting, reiki, Indian philosophy and much more. Do not forget to register for the event well ahead of time here.
2. Cochin (Kochi) – Explore “Queen of the Arabian Sea”
Spread over a series of islands and crisscrossed by the sea and backwaters, Cochin is a perfect blend of the old world charm and the modern amenities. Whether you are a nature lover or a history enthusiast, there are plenty of places to explore in Cochin. The list of must visit places includes Fort Kochi, Jew Town, Cherai Beach, Marine Drive, Hill Palace, Santa Cruz Basilica, Bolgatty Palace, Mattancherry Palace and Athirapally Falls. If you are an art lover, do not miss the Kochi Muziris Biennale which is an international exhibition of contemporary art held every two years from December to March.
3. Ooty – Honeymooners paradise
Located in the Western Ghats zone at an altitude of 2240 meters, Ooty is one of the most popular hill stations of South India. The evergreen tea gardens, lofty mountains, dense forest, sprawling grasslands and amazing weather makes it an ideal getaway for honeymooners and families seeking respite from the summer. The must visit attractions here are: Ooty botanical gardens, Tea factory, Doddabetta peak, Avalanche lake, Government rose gardens, Pykara lake, Ooty lake Emerald lake and Madumalai National Park.
4. Jodhpur – Experience something new at the Flamenco & Gypsy Festival
If you think Rajasthani folk music & Spanish folk music, Flamenco has nothing in common, you are absolutely wrong. Attend the “Jodhpur Flamenco and Gypsy festival” to celebrate the gypsy culture of Spain and Rajasthan in a highly eccentric and artsy form. The prime highlight of the 3-day festival is the electrifying performances given by several renowned Spanish Flamencos who team up with colourful folklores of Rajasthan with the prime motive of promoting folk culture and its music; quintessentially gypsy styled.
5. Darjeeling – Breathtakingly beautiful
Crowned by the majestic Himalayas and surrounded by emerald-green tea plantations with a stunning view of mount Kanchenjunga, Darjeeling is the definitive Indian hill station and is arguably West Bengal’s premier attraction. If you are a nature lover or an adventure freak, you’ll find plenty of activities here. Nature lovers can explore the wonderful tea gardens, Tinchuley Village, Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary, Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Rangit Valley Ropeway, and Lloyd Botanical Gardens.
The adventurous can arrange a trek to Singalila Ridge or hire a mountain bike for a guided ride around the hilltops or go for an action packed white water river rafting in the gushing waters of the Teesta and Rangeet rivers. Apart from these attractions do not forget to have a cup of the famous Darjeeling tea and a joy ride in the historic toy train.
6. Meghalaya – Spot the Red Panda at Nokrek National Park
From fantastic treks to lush jungles, natural caves and much more, there is so much to do and experience in the north-eastern state of Meghalaya. Added to UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve list in 2009, the Nokrek National Park in Meghalaya is among the last remaining homes of the red panda. You can explore the national park and spot other animals like Asian elephants, tigers, eight species of cats including the marbled cat, the rare stump-tailed macaque, the pig-tailed macaque, Hoolock Gibbons and seven species of primates. The must visit places here are Simsang River game reserve, The Nokrek Peak, Rongbang Dare Waterfalls, Garo Hills, limestone Siju Caves, and the glistening waters of Napak Lake and the Simsang game reserve.
7. Delhi – Explore the capital city of India
Delhi is one of the best places to visit in March in India as the weather is perfect for exploring the architectural and cultural heritage of the city. The festival of Holi would be just another reason to visit Delhi during this time as joyous spirit pervades the streets and the capital city is filled with a festive mood. The list of must visit places would include The Red Fort, India Gate, Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple, Raj Ghat, Safdarjung’s Tomb, Nizamuddin Dargah and Humayun Tomb. If you love culture art and music then do not forget to check out these festivals held in Delhi during March- World Cultural Festival, The Coalition and Delhi Jazz Festival.
8. Hampi, Karnataka – Explore the amazing city
Take a break from your busy life and head to Hampi to discover the ruins of the past. A UNESCO world heritage site, Hampi is a small village situated on the banks of river Tungabhadra in Karnataka. If you’re history buffs you will love this place for the historic monuments, palaces, ancient temples and stunning architectural pieces. Adventure enthusiasts and rock climbers can get an altogether different climbing experience in its rocky landscape and primitive ruins.
9. Bir & Billing, Himachal Pradesh – Adventure Calling!
Has paragliding been on your bucket list for long? If so, get ready to check it off and pack your bags to Bir, a small village located in Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh. Bir has emerged as one of the best places in the world for paragliding and it hosts the World Paragliding Championship every year. Cool weather, wonderful sceneries of nature mixed with spiritual environment makes Bir an ideal paragliding destination. If you’re not into paragliding then there are a number of other adventure sports offered in Bir like trekking, camping, mountaineering, mountain biking etc.
10. Jaipur, Rajasthan – The Elephant Festival
The Elephant Festival is a unique event held annually in Jaipur, the capital of the north Indian state of Rajasthan. Every year, on the occasion of Holi, Elephant, is worshipped and even decorated with saddle clothes and heavy jewellery. Make a point to attend the procession during which you can see the bedecked elephants, camels, horses, folk dancers and with full of music programs. Elephant polo, Elephant race, and the tug-of-war between Elephant and 19 men and women are the main highlights of the event.
Overwhelmed with the options? Well, you still have time to decide and choose your ideal destination.