Amongst the places to visit in India in March, Coorg is one destination that should be on the very top of your bucket list. Sometimes referred to as “the adventure capital of Karnataka”, this hill station is known to cater to all types of travellers, whether one wants to relax in the backyard of a coffee plantation or one is a serious trekker preparing to climb the Himalayas. With bustling rivers and paddy fields, Coorg makes for a wonderful destination to catch the first whiff of winters.

Things to do: Whitewater rafting on the waters of Barapole. Trekking in the Brahmagiri range till the Tadiandamol peak. Quad-biking and other adventure activities in Kakkabe. Pay a visit to the gentle giants at the Dubare Elephant Camp. Click some Instagram worthy photos of the milky-white Abbey Falls. Spot around 270 species of birds in Nagarhole National Park.

Food: Some local favourites are pandi curry, a spicy gravy with chunks of pork, and kadumbuttu, dumplings made out of steamed rice.

Weather: Average – 28 degrees Celsius. High – 34 degrees Celsius. Low – 22 degrees Celsius.

Average Expenditure Per Head (excluding flights): Rs. 11,000 for 5 days.

How to reach: Nearest domestic airport is in Mangalore (160km away). It could also be a good idea to take a flight till Bangalore, which is more easily accessible from all major airports, and then take an overnight bus or taxi till Coorg.

Marked by pristine beaches and the most sublime diving locations, Havelock deserves a lot more attention in a country where tourists automatically just think of Goa and Kerala when the term “beaches” is mentioned. And if you’re seriously looking for the best places to visit in March in India, these islands will most definitely satisfy your vacation urges. Just relax at the quaint cafes by the beaches and stare at the clearest moon at night.

Things to do: Scuba diving with turtles at Neal’s Cove Beach. Glass bottom boat tour where you can check out coral reefs and colourful fish underwater. Trekking on the Japanese Hill. Snorkel in the crystal clear waters of Elephant Beach.

Food: Get just about anything at the various food joints here, but seafood is a must try. Try the prawns and wood-fired pizzas at Rony’s.

Weather: Average – 26 degrees Celsius. High – 31 degrees Celsius. Low – 22 degrees Celsius.

Average Expenditure Per Head (excluding flights): Rs. 20,000 for 5 days.

How to reach: The only way you can reach Havelock is by air. Port Blair is the nearest airport (well-connected to all major locations) and you can take a ferry from there.

Shillong is a world apart. This capital of a tiny northeastern state is blessed with plenty of rain all year long, but late March is the time when the rain gods decide to take a foot back and relax. On the surface, it may look like a typical modern Indian town, but its soul lies in its colonial era architecture still prevalent in some sectors. Definitely one of the unique places to visit in India in March.

Things to do: Picnicking with friends on the Shillong Peak. River rafting on Barapani Lake, just 17km from Shillong. Angling catfishes and golden carps at Umiam Lake. Soak in spectacular views of the city from Shillong Peak situated 10km from Shillong. Unravel local culture and traditions at Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Culture.

Food: Since Meghalaya is home to the Mongoloid tribes as well, the cuisine is a bit different from the rest of the Seven Sisters with emphasis on spicy meat and fish curries.

Weather: Average – 18 degrees Celsius. High – 26 degrees Celsius. Low – 10 degrees Celsius.

Average Expenditure Per Head (excluding flights): Rs. 13,000 for 5 days.

How to reach: The nearest airport is in Umroi, which is 40km away from Shillong. There are regular flights here from Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Aizawl.

Haven’t you heard of the majestic tigers loitering freely in the Ranthambore National Park? Well, this is the same place I’m talking about. And no, it won’t be that hot here during Diwali even though it’s in Rajasthan. Since it’s located between the Aravallis and the Vindhyas, the weather during March is pleasant for humans and all the lovely animals here to come out and play. Ranthambore may not be one of the quintessential places to visit during Diwali in India, but trust me it’s worth it!

Things to do: Tiger spotting and safari rides in the Ranthambore National Park. Visit the commodious Ranthambore Fort and learn about the rich heritage of the Rajasthanis.

Food: You can go for the famous Rajasthani Thali at Chokhi Dani, or can relish the massive variety of sweets available at roadside dhabas.

Weather: Average – 25 degrees Celsius. High – 33 degrees Celsius. Low – 20 degrees Celsius.

Average Expenditure Per Head (excluding flights): Rs. 15,000 for 5 days.

How to reach: The nearest airport is in Sanganer, but since it isn’t directly connected to all major destinations, it’s better to take a train till Sawai Madhopur Railway Station, which is just 10km away from the park.

Kodaikanal might have started enjoying a great tourist influx in the last decade, but it was always supposed to be a quiet settlement around the large Kodai lake. And this is what makes it so gorgeous even during the times it’s filled with people. Made infamous by the notorious “shroom” peddling, Kodaikanal is otherwise full of endless treks and interesting natural locations, making it one of the best places to visit in March in India.

Things to do: Trekking till the Green Valley View (locally known as Suicide Point). Picnicking on the Pillar Rocks, located 8km away from the Kodaikanal city. Chilling at the Bear Shola Falls.

Food: The food served here is generally western, thanks to the plethora of cafes open in the area. You can always go for the local delicacies available at the several tiny restaurants in the main market.

Weather: Average – 27 degrees Celsius. High – 36 degrees Celsius. Low – 20 degrees Celsius.

Average Expenditure Per Head (excluding flights): Rs. 9,000 for 5 days.

How to reach: You can take a flight till Coimbatore and then hire a taxi, which takes 5 hours to reach this hill station.

Sigh. Who doesn’t wish to go to Leh! It’s a sublime world beyond the mundane we live in every day. With an exceptionally hospitable population welcoming tourists from all over into their monasteries and stupas, there are not many places to visit during Diwali in India that can provide the same serenity as Leh can. Since the district is located at an altitude of more than 11,000 feet, it needs some acclimatisation beforehand.

Things to do: Monastery hopping, namely Thikse and Spituk. Walking along the gorgeous Pangong Lake. Praying at Gurudwara Pathar Sahib.

Food: You should try tingmo (pronounced “teemo”) since it’s a filling local staple, which is a delicious steamed bread served with veg/non-veg stew.

Weather: Average – 0 degrees Celsius. High – 6 degrees Celsius. Low – -6 degrees Celsius.

Average Expenditure Per Head (excluding flights): Rs. 23,000 for 5 days.

How to reach: There are flights available to Leh from all the major airports.

If you think that South India only has coffee plantations, then wait till you’ve seen the sprawling trimmed tea-plantations at Munnar. This sleepy hill station is so beautiful that most of your day will be spent in the clouds since they float at relatively low heights here. Munnar is one of the best places to visit in India in March.

Things to do: Visit the world famous tea gardens of Munnar.Photograph the majestic waterfalls surrounded by the Western Ghats. Go trout fishing within the tea estates. Learn how to make tea in a process plant. Spot the rare mountain goats in the Rajamala hills around Munnar.

Food: Try the Kerala-style Malabar Parotta, with beef and fish preparations.

Weather: Average – 26 degrees Celsius. High – 35 degrees Celsius. Low – 19 degrees Celsius.

Average Expenditure Per Head (excluding flights): Rs. 15,000 for 5 days.

How to reach: The nearest airport is in Cochin, 110km away, and is well-connected to all domestic flights. You can hire a taxi from there.

Mathura and the surrounding areas hold a folkloric and mythological importance to Indians. And, these folktales are immortalized in numerous temples and structures around Mathura. But, the main reason to visit Mathura in March should be the week-long Holi festivities. People from all around the world come to participate in the song and dance of colours.

Things to do: Pay tribute to Lord Krishna at his birthplace,Krishna Janma Bhoomi Mandir. Stroll on the ghats of Yamuna and observe the local life that revolves around its holy waters. Visit the spiritual town of Vrindavan, 15km from Mathura. Witness the unique Daoji ka hurang where women tear men’s clothes and beat them with it. It takes place the day after Holiin Baldeo, 22km from Mathura.

Food: Savour the local flavours of Mathura peda, dubki wale aloo, kachori jalebi and of course the quintessential bhang.

Weather: Average – 28 degrees Celsius. High – 33 degrees Celsius. Low – 15 degrees Celsius.

Average Expenditure Per Head (excluding flights): Approximately, Rs. 5,000 per day for two people.

How to reach: The nearest airport, Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi is 160km from Mathura. Mathura Junction has good railway connectivity to all major Indian cities.

Have you heard of Bastar? Probably not. Located in the state of Chhattisgarh, Bastar is a land of mystic and mysteries. Visit this little-explored part of India to encounter ant-eating humans, naked tribal people, colourful tribal markets, time-warped villages and India’s own Niagara Falls.

Things to do: Take a boat-trip up close to Chitrakoot Falls, India’s Niagara Falls. Spot the only blind fish in the world in Kutumsar Caves. Explore the virgin jungles on the Dholkal trek. Visit the time-forgotten mudbrick Adivasi villages. Meet different tribes in the weekly haats, local markets where tribes converge to sell and buy goods.

Food: Sample the red ant chutney followed by red ant pickle and juice. Chug tribal liquor such as tadi (palm wine), mahua (floral liquor) and salfi (rice beer).

Weather: Average – 26 degrees Celsius. High – 35 degrees Celsius. Low – 19 degrees Celsius.

Average Expenditure Per Head (excluding flights): Approximately, Rs. 5,000 per day for two people.

How to reach: Jagdalpur is the headquarters of Bastar district. The nearest airport, Swami Vivekananda Airport in Raipur is 300km from Jagdalpur. Jagdalpur has good railway connectivity to all major Indian cities.

Arribada, a Spanish term that defines a mass nesting behaviour unique to the olive ridley and the Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. In March, thousands of olive ridley turtles converge on the beaches of Odisha to lay eggs, a rarest of rare wildlife phenomenon. Odisha is also home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the char dhams, acity of temples and a feel-good bird sanctuary.

Things to do: Don’t believe your eyes at the site of thousands of olive ridley turtles nesting on Rushikulya Beach. Check off one of the char dhams by visiting Jagannath Temple in Puri. Discover the ingenuity of Konark Sun Temple, a UNESCO Heritage Site. Say goodbye to the last of the migratory birds at Mangalajodi Bird Sanctuary. Spend some time exploring medieval temples of Bhubaneswar.

Food: Chhena Poda (burnt cheese dessert), mustard fish, aloo dum dahibara andDhenkanal bara (savoury fritters) are must-try dishes of Odisha.

Weather: Average – 24 degrees Celsius. High – 37 degrees Celsius. Low – 21 degrees Celsius.

Average Expenditure Per Head (excluding flights): Approximately, Rs. 5,000 per day for two people.

How to reach: Bhubaneswar is the best place to start your Odisha trip. Its Biju Patnaik International Airport and railway station are well connected to all major cities of India. You can hire a taxi to visit other tourist attractions mentioned.

You’ve surely visited the valleys of the North but have you ever wondered about Araku Valley? This secret valley is hiding rolling green and gold fields, flooded rice terraces right out of postcards, picturesque hills guarding aromatic coffee plantations, captivating tribal dances, limestone caves, surreal waterfalls and a WiFi village. Get there before it is discovered by the masses.

Things to do: Hop aboard Vizag-Araku Eastern Ghat Express for the most scenic journey of your life. Go deep into the Borra Caves. Stroll amidst the aroma of coffee and spices in Anantagiri Coffee Plantations. Visit the Tribal Museum to learn about local culture. Catch a dhimsa performance, a traditional dance. Wet your feet in the numerous waterfalls of Araku Valley.

Food: Some local delicacies hard to find elsewhere are ragi dosa, upma dosa, paratha kurma, malpua and few other local sweets.

Weather: Average – 27 degrees Celsius. High – 33 degrees Celsius. Low – 18 degrees Celsius.

Average Expenditure Per Head (excluding flights): Approximately, Rs. 5,000 per day for two people.

How to reach: Visakhapatnam is the nearest airport, 107km from Araku Valley. You can hire private taxis from the airport to Araku Valley. But, the best way to get here is by the Vizag-Araku Eastern Ghat Express.

Are you inspired to travel to any of these destinations? Or do you have your own list of best places to visit in March? Share your thoughts on the best places to visit during Diwali in India and let’s have a nice discussion!

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