A new year is about new possibilities, new adventures, and new experiences. The Sodha Travel team has been busy researching THE places to experience in 2014 under our umbrella. Not only do we feel fortunate to specialize in three destinations on the "hot list" for this year - India, Nepal, and Bhutan - but we also enjoy discovering the newest, boldest, and most enriching travel experiences for our clients. Over the next few weeks, we will be posting our suggestions of what to experience in five destinations: India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Dubai.
Let's start with my beloved India. As one of our clients wrote this morning, "India has so many options! I think I will be second guessing everything until we actually get there." The country offers so many possible itineraries and activities, but here are our suggestions for places to visit in India in 2014:
Rajasthan - Jawai Leopard Camp: Jawai Leopard Camp beautifully blends comfort and conservation. Kuntil Baruwa, from our Delhi DMC office, visited the camp and was most impressed: “If you want.. to experience an India that is fast vanishing, Jawai is the place to be and it can be easily incorporated in a Rajasthan itinerary between Jodhpur and Udaipur. Jawai is the home of Monarch and Zara, Rajasthan’s most adorable Leopard couple. Hanging on to the back of a 4WD Jeep on a bumpy dusty road, sometime in the month of November, I followed Monarch in the scrub as he moved as smooth as silk, laughed at the sight of Monarch trying to woo Zara and miserably failing, and was thrilled to see their cub Prince on a kill, maybe 15 feet away from our jeep whilst we drank our single malt whisky. And if you happen to be there on a full-moon night like me, the Jawai Dam with its shimmering silvery water looks stunning. Perfect place ...”
Pondicherry: La Villa is a 19th century host house opening in March 2014. Refined while keeping the spirit of its colonial past, the property features six suites, a swimming pool, and a restaurant. The exclusive villa has a distinctive feel with bold colors and is within walking distance to La Maison Rose restaurant - a favorite in Pondicherry.
The Ultimate Traveling Camp (TUTC): Considered India’s first mobile luxury camp, TUTC takes discerning travelers to exceptional destinations from Ladakh in the Himalayas to Nagaland in the Northeast. We recommend a combined tour of Ladakh and Kashmir, since both the TUTC camps at Thiksey and Srinagar run concurrently and there is a flight from Leh to Srinagar every Wednesday. We also love that the camps can be customized for groups and special occasions.
ABN Raj Mahal: ABN Raj Mahal is the latest offering from Assam Bengal Navigation. The 22-cabin vessel has been designed with extra-shallow draught, triple engines and low air draught to cruise between Patna and Varanasi and vice-versa. These 7-night cruises will operate in August and September 2014.
Mumbai by Dawn: Every year, millions of people come to Mumbai in search of a better future and leave a permanent imprint on its culture. The eclecticism and the industrious nature of its people is what contributes to the culture of this city.Visit the Sassoon Docks, where you see the bustling city of Mumbai rise and shine. Get a glimpse into the underbelly of the city and gain insights into what makes this magnificent city tick. From seeing hundreds of newspaper vendors sort out newspapers of seven different languages and experiencing a fish auction with 20 tons of fish to seeing an ‘only green’ herb market sprawled across a popular bridge, Mumbai by Dawn truly defines the mercurial character of Mumbai. The best time to walk the docks is between 5 – 8am.