I regret to say that in the past decade I havent really been around India. Yes, I have been to Goa and a few Indian metros, if someone can give me brownie points ! My last years trip to the Kumaon region has simulated me to explore India further. I wish to re-visit the same states with my family, but with a twist. Here are a few places on my wish list.....
1. Tracking the tigers on foot at Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh.
This is a newly opened national park in Madhya Pradesh is 1400 Sq.Km in area. The wildlife is diverse with tigers (supposedly 44 !), leopard, chital, nilgai, bison, wild boar, wild dog, fox, porcupine and black buck antelope and the park has an an excellent variety of birds. There are backwater boat safaris and elephant safaris for spotting game. This is also one of the few parks in India which permits walking safaris inside the park. Currently, the tourist numbers are low which makes games viewing exclusive. I think it could be the next big thing. Its easy access to Bhopal airport and the trip can be combined with the nearby Pachmarhi hillstation. The best place to stay is Forsyth Lodge. http://www.forsythlodge.com/
2. Stay in a Tree House at Wayanad, Kerala.
Wayanad is a verdant hill station is full of plantations, forests and wildlife. Most resorts and homestays here offer the unique experience of staying a treehouse. I personally think its Indias best "eco-retreat" . Wayanad is 100 km from Calicut (now Kozhikode). Its an excellent combo trip alongwith popular sibling Coorg. I have been wanting to stay in the treehouse at Tranquil Resort in Wayanad since quite sometime. It’s a homestay within a 400 acre private coffee and spices plantation, nestled within the remote and lush rainforests. http://tranquilresort.com/ . A value for money homestay option is Cheeral Green Homestay http://www.cheeralgreenhomestay.com/.
3. Get spiritual on the beaches of Gokarna, Karnataka
Gokarna lies on the southernmost border of Karnataka adjoining the state of Goa and is a sleepy village around a holy Ganesh temple, a pond and a beach. But it is also the gateway to some of the most untouched and beautiful beaches of India.The most famous and favoured among the beaches is Om Beach which gets its name from its unique shape in the form of the symbol Om. There is upmarket SwaSwara, which is owned by the CGH group http://www.swaswara.com/ . Otherwise, Om beach resort is very popular and gets the job done http://www.ombeachresort.com/.
4. Get trapped by the mountains in Sangla Valley, Kinnaur District, Himachal Pradesh.
Get surrounded by the mountains in Sangla Valley. Tucked away in the Eastern most Himachal Pradesh, bordering Garhwal and Tibet, lies Kinnaur. The Sangla river is the biggest tributary of Satluj and flows through Kinnaur carving the Sangla valley. Nearly 3,000 metres up and a short drive from Chitkul, the Sangla is last village on the old India-Tibet trade route. Its presents an enchanting experience where you see the confluence of Hindusim and Buddhism. This is not easy to get to - its four hours from Shimla but the views more than make up for it. I dont know many places to stay in Sangla as yet, but Kinner camp was interesting http://www.kinnercamps.com/. There should be plenty of village guest houses stays available.
5. Glamping in the Thar Desert, Rajasthan.
Luxury tented camps have become the hippest way of experiencing deserts. Mountains, deserts or jungles, the glamping culture has definetly taken off !! These camps are largely eco sensitive and built by local workers using local materials, the camps are a relatively guilt-free way to enjoy the tranquillity of the desert. As “glamping” culture is spreading across the world, many such camps have sprung up in Rajasthan, especially around Jaisalmer. The Manvar camp is an excellent value for money option. http://www.manvar.com/camp.htm but if you want to splurge its definetly the Serai http://www.the-serai.com/index.html.