Explore India this Independence Day weekend: Six destinations to visit
Properties like Visalam, Samode Haveli and Jehan Numa Palace are some of the destinations that tourists can go to explore Indian heritage and culture this Independence Day weekend
With a long Independence Day weekend coming up, you can make plans to explore India's history while enjoying some downtime. India is one of the largest melting pots for countless cultural ideas in the world, each with its own customs, traditions, language, and cuisine. Celebrate India's independence this year by travelling to one of these locations for a glimpse into some enchanting, ancient, and eclectic cultural and natural history while you pamper yourself, soak up traditional hospitality, and have an opulent vacation. Check in at these beautiful properties to savour the best of India:
Visalam, Kanadukathan, Tamil Nadu
Explore the 19th-century, native way of life with this exquisite 15-roomed heritage-boutique property in the Chettinad village of Kanadukathan, Karaikudi. Visalam is a 100-year-old property, a gift from a father to his eldest daughter - a rare occurrence in those times. A veritable museum, Visalam is one of the finest examples of a typical house from that era — Burmese teak woodwork and ornate ceilings, chandeliers from Europe and the Far East, Belgian glasswork, Italian marble, and beautiful handmade tiles, as well as a beautiful pool. The hotel lays testament to the travels, explorations and global design of the traditional Chettinad traders. The property serves as a perfect base to explore the Chettinad landscape of local traditions and the rich heritage of art. Hyperlocal experiences have been crafted within the property, including the fiery, nutritious and distinctive Chettinad cuisine cooked by the local villagers.
Samode Haveli, Jaipur
A visit to Rajasthan is incomplete without a taste of the popular Rajasthan royalty. What better way to experience this than to stay at one of the truest reflections of Rajputana hospitality located just within the old city of Jaipur? The 200-year-old Samode Haveli, with gorgeously intricate murals, is nearly hundreds of years old. With art and furnishings of colourful, flowing fabrics and elegant rooms spread across bougainvillea-fringed courtyards, terraces and alcoves, the Haveli is what fairytales are made of.
You can indulge in local Rajasthani cuisine as well. There is much to explore in the local cuisine for plant and meat lovers along with international cuisines. One can also opt for the morning guided walks around the old city curated by the hotel.
Jehan Numa Palace, Bhopal
The city of Bhopal presents the tourists with well-planned roads, elegant architecture (Taj-ul-Masjid and others), thoughtfully-laid greenery and water bodies, along with a legacy in enriching literature and art. Bhopal's history is evident on the streets, in their civic sense, their museums (Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum and Museum of Man) and their demeanour. After all, Bhopal was ruled by the powerful women of the royal family for over 400 years, and is popularly known as 'The Land of the Begums'.
The Begums' philosophies of preserving the environmental and cultural heritage are carried forward by the Jehan Numa Palace and the Jehan Numa Retreat in the city. The Palace, which stands at the foot of Shyamla Hills, offers visitors sweeping views of the city. Built by the last son of the Begum, General Obaidullah Khan in the early 19th century, the Palace beautifully captures the family's legacy and history of Bhopal and the royals' way of life. The local Bhopali cuisine with a treasure trove of dishes created using centuries-old recipes is served at the hotel along with modern cuisines. Heritage rooms open onto balconies with views of the pool, of the royal stables, and the racecourse — undeterred love for horses has been a significant legacy in the family.
Chittoor Kottaram, Kochi, Kerala
Earthy Kerala luxuries and elegance mark every inch of this 200-year-old King's abode, a royal mansion by the picturesque backwaters. Built by the Rajah of Cochin as a getaway from his routine and to pay homage to the family deity temple close by, Chittoor Kottaram is a destination waiting to be explored. Entering the single-key heritage palace with a mystical boat ride through the Kerala waters transports one to a fantastical bygone era. Carefully and meticulously restored by Lady Helen's Trust, this true-blooded legacy lies in an embrace of mystical gardens and the stunning backwaters with swaying palms and flowering creepers.
Airy, well-lit and aesthetically decorated, three bedrooms and living quarters are dotted with wooden windows, a beautiful verandah and a backyard to sit back and enjoy the most gorgeous greens and waters. The tourists can enjoy local dishes from an extensive menu that is carefully planned and personalised to suit tastes and dietary needs. Do keep a day to explore the UNESCO-protected town of Fort Kochi for its eclectic history and food. History lovers can also visit the Muziris archaeological museum for a dose of the latest findings on the community.
Fazlani Natures Nest, Lonavala, Maharashtra
Overlooking the majestic mountains of the Western Ghats and surrounded by dense green lands with a plethora of flora and fauna, the Fazlani Natures Nest resort offers a breath-taking display of lush green lawns beside azure lake waters in a tranquil hamlet called Takwe near Lonavala in Maharashtra. The visual delight is therapeutic. Conveniently located between Mumbai and Pune, the resort focuses on integrated healing treatments from recognised alternative healthcare principles. Every guest is provided with genuine and authentic therapies to align their lifestyle towards a balanced state of wellness.
Some of the therapies offered at Fazlani Natures Nest are unique, one-of-its-kind, and not readily available in the country. The resort offers unique experiences such as ‘Equine therapy’ - a powerful method of treatment that incorporates horses in a collaborative effort with incredible results to treat individuals with specific needs. You can also indulge in a hearty dining experience from a variety of international dishes and local delicacies while you immerse yourself in a holistic living sphere.
Mansion Haus, Goa
Mansion Haus is a heritage property-turned-boutique hotel. This 18th-century family residence restored by Kezya De Braganca is an ideal place to enjoy the magical transformation of this picturesque former Portuguese colony. Guests will be charmed by its timeless architecture, curated gastronomic journeys and luxurious stay at one of Goa's well-loved neighbourhoods, Anjuna. The former private mansion has been transformed into a luxury boutique hotel. It is proud of its characteristic Goan architecture and neo-classical decor, which gently strike a balance between hotel comforts and environmental concerns.
Every meal is guaranteed to be an adventure to remember as it is prepared using gourmet, organic, and local ingredients. The property is designed to be a quiet retreat for the discerning traveller, offering all the conveniences, solitude, and familiarity of a home while being rich in history, art, and culture.