Robert Louis Stevenson, the Scottish author famed for books we’ve all read when we were kids, like Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, once said, “We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.” With Friendship Day 2017 coming this Sunday, August 6, we think the best way to celebrate the immortal bond is with a road trip. The weather is pleasant and cool and there are plenty of public holidays to utilize this month. So come this weekend or any of the long weekends in August 2017, gather up your friends and take any of these popular trips.
Chapora Fort, Goa
A Goa trip is pretty much mandatory for any group of friends, and it never gets old no matter how many times you head to the beach state. Even in the monsoon, Goa’s beaches, churches, hills and towns are worth exploring. Watch or walk along the beaches as it rains or explore the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa, like the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park. Get drenched under Dudhsagar Falls and visit the Savoi-Verem spice plantations. And don’t forget to hit Tito’s, Mambo’s or any of Goa’s other famous bars with your friends for a night out.
Tosh village, Parvati Valley
If you and your gang prefer fresh mountain air and funny cigarettes over beaches and booze, head to Parvati Valley instead. The valley, located south of the more famous Manali and Kullu Valley, is also pretty popular as a hipster paradise. You can watch the Parvati River roar through the town of Kasol and eat the Israeli cuisine, experience the hot water springs of Manikaran, hike to the villages of Chalal, Rashol and Tosh, or complete the famous Kheerganga trek from Bharsheni. For those who stay in Delhi, Chandigarh or nearby places, Parvati Valley is pretty accessible for a three- to four-day stay.
For those staying in Kerala, Bangalore and other nearby places, the scenic little hill station of Munnar makes for a calm and relaxing getaway with friends. The silence of the hills is a welcome change from the sounds of the city, and there are plenty of things to do here. Stay in a tree house in the midst of Munnar’s sprawling tea gardens, go trekking to Echo Point and Top Station, visit the nearby Thekkady wildlife sanctuary or go cycling down the winding tea estate roads of Munnar with your gang. The Lakkam, Attukal and Thoovanam waterfalls will also be in full force right now, and you can go rock climbing and rappelling as well.
Pondicherry is India’s own little piece of France, with its colorful French style buildings and clean beaches. You can go on a trip to Pondicherry for the cheap drinks and beaches, or for some rest and relaxation. Pondicherry is, after all, world-renowned for being home to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. But there is so much else to do here too! You can go a bicycle tour of the town, discover the underwater treasures lying in Pondicherry’s famed dive spots or visit Paradise Beach island.
Campsite in Dharamsala
From the coastal town of Pondicherry, we move to the city of Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh. Home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile, what makes Dharamsala so incredible is its Tibetan culture. The Buddhist temple of Tsuglagkhang, built in the image of the Jokhang temple in Lhasa, is an important symbol of the region’s culture. The Norbulingka Institute offers an in-depth look into the Tibetan art forms, and the Men-Tsee-Khang institute is also worth a visit if you want to know more about the culture. You can also take the Triund trek or Kareri Lake trek with friends, or visit Kangra valley, Lahesh caves, Kangra fort and the Galu temple.
Whitewater rafting in Rishikesh
Rishikesh is called the land of god and also the adventure capital of India, and that says all that you need to know about this city by the banks of the Ganga River. Its famous white water rapids typically become too unruly in the monsoon, but you may still find some river rafting stretches still open. There are 13 big rapids along the river from Kaudiyala to Lakshman Jhula. You can also go bungee jumping from Jumping Heights, Mohanchatti or go on the Flying Fox ride in Shivpuri. Go cliff jumping in Brahmapuri or take the Kunjapuri, Neelkanth Mahadev or Waterfall treks with friends.