This valentines, has been a tad bit different from the very many valentines in the 3 decades I have spent on our lovely planet! We meet a several hundred people each day, with some we exchange hellos, some a quick glance, and many we pass by on our way to work. But this year, I met someone special, who has filled my heart with so much glee, that life seems so much more better! So much more serene and so much more meaningful. So this one goes out to that special someone, for making this Valentine’s the best ever!
A letter from me to him!
Has it really been but a few days since I know you? It is strange how the hearts can grow fonder, and the knees go weaker in love. Since the day you set foot in my life, there has not been a single minute that my heart and mind has not drifted into ever so fond dreams of us.
With Valentine’s around the corner, I keep thinking how lucky I am to have found you. As I pen down this letter, I cannot help but think that maybe not this, but maybe the next Valentine’s Day we will be man and wife! One look at me smiling will perhaps say it all!
And with that glee in my heart, I ask of you to embark with me on a journey that we will only cherish forever. While this is the best Valentine’s Day gift I can ask for, I also want for us to build fond memories letting behind the past. Imagine when we are old and grey, we can sit around a fire and still reminisce those romantic moments we spent together in the early days of our courting.
Before you get all worked up and cast aside this letter, I wanted to put forth a few of the very many places that I have shortlisted which I think are perfect way to celebrate us. Let me tell you all about it!!
The northern Indian state of Uttarakhand is a treasure trove of destinations that are perfect for lovers. The little I know of you makes me believe that you will love nature and enjoy being in the midst of it. And that is why I added Rishikesh to the list. With our love for nature and adventure, we will be able to go trekking, canoeing and white water rafting. My grandma once said a visit to Rishikesh can leave you dumbfound, a view of the fiery Ganga amidst a backdrop of mountains will remain etched in the minds forever!
My heart also is set on Munsiyari. Situated 7,200 feet above sea level, this is the place to watch the mighty Himalayas. Imagine standing there together and being mesmerised by the snow-capped peaks. The floating clouds will add to our romance and bring us closer!
Regular tourist destinations were never meant for me. I have always wanted to explore off-the-beaten-track destinations where the calm of nature is sure to fill us up. And so Auli comes next on my list for us to go. This town is ideal for skiing and the slopes, fringed with majestic oak trees, descend into coniferous forests that look as though they have stepped out a fairy tale. Your hands clasped in mine, my love for you is sure to reach sublime heights at this picturesque get away. Feeling your warmth against my skin, and steamy love making until our bodies are sore, all in the backdrop of snow clad mountains to heighten the excitement…. Well, I could not ask for more!!
Now for the next! Mahatma Gandhi described Kasauni as the Switzerland of India. Looking at all those gorgeous images on travel blogs, I am inclined to agree. The town sits on the ridge of the Himalayas and untouched by tourism. The natural beauty and salubrious climes are just what we need to spend time together. When you feel that my love is driving you crazy, we can head out to Nanda Devi, Trishul and Panchchuli which are just 350 km from Kasauni and renowned for their awe-inspiring natural beauty.
Jammu and Kashmir
While most lovers descend on the iconic Dal Lake in Jammu and Kashmir, I feel we need something special to celebrate our love. After all, it is not every day that I will have the pleasure of spending a few secluded and quiet moments with you. And, so I have zeroed in on Leh Ladakh. I did some research and found February is the ideal time to visit the erstwhile capital of Ladakh Kingdom, which is now a district in this northern Indian state. It is a place for adventure, romance and fun. The spellbinding lakes, such as Pangong, and the panoramic view of the mountain will surely be just what you imagined.
Drass, the Gateway to the Valley, is situated 10,990 feet above sea level. I cannot even begin to put into words the beauty of this town. It’s laid back lifestyle, snow capped peaks and lush greenery could be just what we need to spend romantic moments together once we embark on a new journey as man and wife.
The Northeast states of India, often called the Seven Sisters, are paradise found. I have been doing a lot of research on these amazing states and Meghalaya stands out among them. The beautiful topography will keep us enthralled and to be able to stay amidst untouched nature will surely be gifted to you someday soon! We also will have ample opportunities to explore natural cave formations that this state is renowned for. And once we return weary and tired, we can settle into each other’s arms and talk to our heart’s content into the wee hours of the morning! Or better still dim those lights and sink into an embrace that will freeze time for eternity. What that embrace will lead to, I do not need to spell out, do I? (Wink!)
In Meghalaya, there is a town called Cherrapunji. It is the second wettest place in the world, thanks to the amount of rainfall it receives. At least, with the rain and overcast skies, you will feel right at home! Located in Khasi Hills, Cherrapunji is a delight for the senses. It is teeming with cascading waterfalls, subtropical forests which are filled with exotic wildlife and legendary living bridges. I read somewhere that the locals have used live tree roots to make these bridges and it usually takes about 10 to 15 years to complete one bridge. The oldest living bridge in Cherrapunji is 500 years old!
Sikkim is a paradise for nature lovers like you and me. So, this should also be in my list of top 25 honeymoon destinations that people should visit together. Every bit of Sikkim is like a dream come true, with undulating mountains, quaint villages dotted with homey and inviting cottages and peaks that glisten like silver when the rays of the sun bounce off from the snow.
Assam has its tea estates, but that is not where I want to take you. I am thinking of Majuli, which is located on the banks of the Brahmaputra River, and boasts of spectacular natural beauty. It is just what we need to feed our romantic spirits. Don’t you agree with me?
Arunachal Pradesh is home to Tawang where we can take in some Tibetan culture. It also boasts of having the largest Buddhist monastery in India, the Tawang Monastery. The rhythmic chanting of the monks will soothe our minds and prepare us for this unique holiday that I have planned for us.
The small town of Tabo in Himachal Pradesh sits on the banks of Spiti River. There is a Buddhist monastery in the town that was established in 996 CE. Tabo is at an elevation of 10,004 feet, so we will definitely need a few days to acclimatise to the altitude. Imagine those days! Just you, me and the hypnotising warmth of the fire. Now doesn’t that sound romantic and just perfect for us?
Udaipur in Rajasthan offers an insight into the lives of the kings and queens that used to rule this region in the days gone by. The majestic palaces and the bustling marketplaces are still reminiscent of the days of the royalties. The opulence is visible all around and can be amazing experience.
How I wish you were besides me when I was browsing through the images of Jaisalmer. You would have immediately wanted to pack your bags and head out there to enjoy the life of a nomad, albeit temporarily. We could go desert camping and live in luxurious tents, go quad biking on the sand dunes and then relax around a campfire in the night to the melodious tunes of the local singers and artistes.
Imagine being able to live on a houseboat in the middle of a river? Well, that is exactly what I want to offer you this Valentine’s Day by planning a trip to Tarkali. Located along the banks of Karli River, we can use it as a base to go on a romantic river cruise and then cool our passion with a scuba diving or snorkelling session.
How can anyone spend a romantic day like Valentine’s Day without visiting Khajurao? Some valentine’s day of our lives, I would love for us to leave the kids home and set out on a romantic getaway to rekindle our romance. The 22 temples with intricate carvings are a paean to love, life, joy and ultimate bliss. It artistically displays the union between human and God and the results are amazing. A true ode to love!
While I have search north, south, east and west east for idyllic locales that can make our Valentine’s Day complete, I cannot dismiss the Rann of Kutch. Located in the interiors of Thar Desert, bordering Pakistan, Rann of Kutch is a salt marsh that still can sustain wildlife, like the great Indian bustard, wild ass and many desert species. Of course, there is the mysterious dancing light phenomenon that occurs here. The locals call it Chir Batti or ghost lights. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to spend our Valentine’s here? We also can pick up some spectacular handicraft, especially embroidered clothes with inlays of mirrors and beads, made by the local womenfolk of the area.
Now Kerela needs no introduction to you does it? But do humour me with a trip to this beautiful place that has been aptly named God’s Own Country for its amazing natural beauty. While I haven’t been to many places in Kerela, Kumarakom pulls the strings of my heart, for its virgin backwaters that is said to offer an insight into rural life of this beautiful state. This could be the perfect destination to discover ourselves and spend time in total solitude. I am sure you will agree.
I thought Yercaud would also be an ideal destination for us some day as it boasts of miles of plantations, verdant forests and shimmering lakes. I know you will adore this destination and never want to return home!
Let’s spend some time in lush greenery and tranquility. That is what Araku Valley promises along with the ancient Borra Caves in the Ananthagiri Hills. The caves have amazing stalagmites and stalactites. This will be a holiday we can enjoy as a family. The kids would love the excitement of exploring and finding their way through those many caves, hand in hand with us.
I don’t why, but I am positive you will love Coorg. It is fondly called the Switzerland of the South. Waking up to the aroma of coffee from its numerous coffee estates, its unique cuisine and opportunities for rafting and spotting wildlife sounds extremely romantic and tempting. I even have a resort in mind that I am sure you will love. A quaint Lil’ place tucked away in the midst of a coffee plantation, a holiday that will leave us asking for more!
While I can go on about romantic destinations, my heart says you will love wildlife and parks. Not to forget our two young boys! That is why I have added a special section in my letter to tell you about national parks where we can spend many honeymoon and Valentine’s Days that are yet to come, and of course birthdays and anniversaries.
Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand is ideal for spotting big cats. So should we go on a safari deep into the Park and try our luck? I know the three men of my life will be thrilled to spy a lion or tiger, but this will also help me hone my camera skills as I go berserk clicking photographs of the flora and fauna that this Park boasts of.
Did you know that Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh was the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book? The sprawling meadows, bamboo forests and plunging ravines are home to the majestic tiger, the national animal of India.
If you desire to see Asian rhinos, we should head to Kaziranga in Assam. The tall grasslands provide ideal habitat for rhinos. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is also home to elephants, swamp deer and wild water buffaloes. Pelicans, herons and migratory storks are some of the other treats that await us!
Deep in the Western Ghats, in Kerala, is the amazing Chinnar National Park, yet another place you need no brief about. The hills, meadows, cliffs and rocks form micro-ecosystems that have a variety of wildlife. Right from butterflies and langurs to grizzled giant squirrels and leopards, you will find them all here. When we are not trying to spot the wildlife, we can spend romantic moments around a campfire or go hiking together.
With these choices, my love, I have come to the end of my letter. I hope you choose destinations that you think would be ideal for our many honeymoons, and Valentine’s days that are yet to unfold. But before I end my letter with all my love, I have to ask you something again! Will you be my Valentine?