Long weekends are the best chance we have of taking those much-needed breaks from work. Not only does some vacation time amidst nature recharge our batteries, it makes us more efficient as proved by scientists. To that effect, such long weekends are a blessing and should be capitalized on. 2016 was not a great year in this regard as major festivals and events like Diwali, Gandhi Jayanti, Christmas all fell on weekends giving us hardly any chance to convert short weekends into long ones. However, 2017 looks quite generous in this regard. (ALSO SEE 10 countries to visit in 2017) Here is the complete list of long weekends in 2017 using which you can plan your vacations for the year.
Thu, 26 Jan: Republic Day
Consider taking an off on Friday, 27 Jan making it a 4-day weekend. January is a great month to visit winter destinations like Auli, Gulmarg and Jaisalmer. Dubai shopping festival is on from 26 Dec 2016 to 28 Jan 2017 so you can consider a trip abroad too.
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Fri, 24 Feb: Mahashivratri
This 3-day weekend is great for a short winter vacation to beautiful locales like Andaman and Nicobar islands for scuba dicing, Goa for its colorful carnival (Feb 25 to Feb 28) or Agra to visit the Taj Mahal and witness the amazing Taj Mahotsav (February 18 to February 27).
Mon, 13 Mar: Holi
If you take the preceding Saturday and Sunday off, you can convert this into a 3-day weekend and visit some amazing places like Mathura to witness its Holi celebrations, Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu or Gangtok in Sikkim.
Tue, 28 Mar: Gudi Padva
Take an off on Monday, the 27th which means you will get a 4-day weekend to take a long pre-summer weekend trip. You can go river rafting in Rishikesh or go sight-seeing in Darjeeling. Sri Lanka’s beaches and wildlife are also great during this time.
Tue, 4 Apr: Ram Navami
Take an off on Monday, the 3rd and use the 4-day weekend for a trip to some of the best summer destinations of India. Consider Manali for its breathtaking beauty with still some snow around, or Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir for its colorful tulips. International destinations like Cappadocia can be good for hot-air ballooning during this time.
Thu, 13 Apr: Vaisakhi and Fri, 14 Apr: Dr Ambedkar Jayanti/ Good Friday
The Easter weekend is a good time for you to take a 4-day trip without spending any of your leaves. You can consider visiting the beautiful Golden temple in Amritsar where you can also witness Baisakhi on April 14. Mahabaleshwar hosts Mapro Strawberry Festival on Easter weekend. Bikers would love to be part of the Phuket for the Phuket Bike Week (1116 Apr) in Thailand.
Mon, 1 May: May Day
This 3-day weekend is great for a visit to the beautiful hill station of Mashobra in Himachal Pradesh to get some respite from the scorching heat. Wildlife enthusiasts can visit the Tadoba National Park in Maharashtra as this is the best time to spot tigers here.
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Mon, 26 Jun: Ramzan Eid
This is another 3-day weekend around the time monsoon will be setting in. Consider Munnar in Kerala for its greenery or the Western Ghats in Maharashtra for their breathtaking views and lovely treks. Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh is also quite pleasant at this time.
Mon, 14 Aug: Janmashtami ; Tue, 15 Aug: Independence Day ; Thu, 17 Aug: Parsi New Year
This can be your longest weekend of the year (along with the Diwali one) if you take leaves on Wednesday, the 16th and Friday, the 18th. You get 9 days to make a long trip to spectacular destinations like Ladakh in Kashmir which is open for road trips during this time, and the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand which blooms during this time. You may also consider Austria for the Salzburg Festival (21 Jul30 Aug).
Fri, 25 Aug: Ganesh Chaturthi
Use the 3-day Ganpati weekend to visit Pune for Ganesh Chaturthi or Agumbe in Karnataka for its splendid monsoon. Bali is a good beach spot for this time.
Mon, 2 Oct: Gandhi Jayanti
Use this 3-day weekend for a trip to Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India where the weather is extremely pleasant. It is also a great time for a wildlife safari at the Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh. If you want to go international, you can try Munich for the Oktoberfest (16 Sep3 Oct) or Bhutan for the Thimphu Tshechu festival (30 Sep2 Oct).
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Mon, 16 Oct: Dhanteras ; Tue, 17 Oct: Naraka Chaturdashi ; Wed, 18 Oct: Diwali ; Thu, 19 Oct: Balipratipada ; Fri, 20 Oct: Bhaiduj
The Diwali weekend this year gives you another opportunity for a 9-day trip. October is a great time to visit Goa as the season is not underway and it is not very crowded. Gangtok in Sikkim provides clear views of the Kanchenjunga. Himachal Pradesh is full of amazing backpacking destinations where the cold doesn’t set in before November and the weather is quite pleasant.
Fri, 1 Dec: Eid-e-Milad
Use this 3-day weekend to take a trip to Nagaland for the Hornbill Festival or the Great Rann of Kutch for the Rann Utsav. Skiing in Gulmarg or Auli is also an option worth considering.
Mon, 25 Dec: Christmas
Christmas beings in the last long weekend of 2017. You can consider the beautiful and serene Pondicherry down south of the snow-clad Manali up in the north. Goa is always great during this time, though crowded. The Alleppey backwaters can be quite astonishing too.
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