Written by Mandavi Jaiswal and published on 17 July 2021.
Are you looking for a family holiday beyond beaches and hill stations this summer season? We have curated a few experiences that you and your loved ones will fall in love with
With the summer vacation already upon us, it is time to get ready for the customary, annual trip. If you are making last-minute plans, why not try something different this year? Take your child on a themed holiday for loads of fun and memories. Here are some ideas:
India is known for its agriculture. Agritourism gives you an opportunity to experience from up close, how a farm works. It is also a way for you to connect with your roots, to take in the fresh air, to smell the grass and maybe some cow-dung too! Does your child really know how the soil smells when it's irrigated? Has your child ever plucked a fruit from a tree and eaten right there in the orchard? This is a chance for your child to see how our food grows and to experience the simple joys of life.
Most farm stays offer a complimentary tour of their farm. Make sure you avail that offer. Your child can see how a cow is milked or how a thatched roof is put up. She can pick eggs, chop the onions grown on the farm and make her own omelette. Your child can also participate in planting saplings.
Where: There are many farm stays all over India. Kerala has a plethora of options. You can enjoy in one of the spice plantations bordering national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. For a traditional farm set up, you can consider staying in one of the farm stays in Punjab. To see farm animals up close in action, there are some options in the Nilgiris.
Taking a camping holiday is a fantastic way to unwind from the hustle and bustle of the busy, big city life. Spending a night in the tent can leave you feeling a bit more alive. Sometimes all you need is a breath of fresh air. Add a warm fire, some freshly barbequed sweet potatoes, the soothing sounds of a flowing river and thousands of stars glittering in the pitch dark skies above. Sounds perfect, isn't it?
Also, planning a camping holiday does not necessarily mean that you invest in buying a tent. You can identify a safe camping site and pack all the essentials for the duration of your stay. There are also many professionally run drive-in campgrounds in India. So, all you have to do is pack your luggage and arrive at the camping ground. The rest will be taken care of by the campsite organisers. Make sure to leave your electronic tablets and laptops behind as camping will introduce your child to a whole new world of experiences.
Where: Almost all the hill stations in India has a camping ground. Munnar, Coorg, Nainital and Leh in Ladakh are the popular options. If you're looking for something unique, consider camping amidst the sand dunes of Jaisalmer or in the golden sands of Goa.
It could be anything from bungee jumping to rappelling, rafting or skiing. Or simpler more achievable ones like learning to ride a horse, swim in the river or parasailing with an instructor. If adventure is your calling, then maybe it's time to introduce your little ones into this amazing world too. Fortunately, there are plenty of quality themed resorts in India offering a wide range of adventures activities. Thrill rides, rock climbing, zorbing, archery, shooting, paintball and live entertainment are offered by most of these resorts. If you want to go easy, opt for water parks to help you beat the summer heat.
Where: You can plan for snorkelling or deep-sea diving in the Andamans. Your family can also go for sailing lessons in coastal cities like Mumbai and Chennai.
The humble good old cycle is making a comeback as our favourite pastime. Remember as a child when you would escape with your cycle to explore the world around you. Why not relive those days with your child this summer?
There are many tour operators that are bundling cycling trails as part of their over-all holiday package experience. Please remember to pack or rent the cycling gears like knee caps, helmets, elbow guards etc. It is advisable to rent a semi-automated cycle for children as the gear system makes it a less tedious and more enjoyable experience for the little ones.
Where: You could do a peddling expedition through the forts and temples in Rajasthan. You can take a trail through the Himalayas. You can also choose to do a coast to coast cycling tour throughout South India.
Food is an integral part of our culture, tradition and celebration. It's a culmination of all things good in life. Food holidays will help your child appreciate the hard work that goes into cooking food. Your child will also learn about making healthy food choices. Also, after the food holiday, don't be surprised if your child wastes food less.
You can plan a holiday around different culinary experiences. You can visit a vineyard, participate in wine sampling while children take a tour of the orchards where different varieties of grapes are cultivated and harvested. Similarly, a visit to a cheese or jam factory can just turn out to be your child's favourite spot.
Where: Your food holiday could be planned around the strawberry plucking season in Mahabaleshwar. You can experience the rich tea cultures in Assam. Eating at the langars in Chandigarh or Khau Gali in Indore can be quite an interesting experience, especially for the children. If you are passionate about cooking yourself, you will cherish the aromas and experience of handpicking authentic spices in Kerala.
While thousands of tourists have explored the beauty of popular Indian locations, there are lots of beautiful locations that haven't been explored yet. You can choose to explore one this holiday season and hone your child's photography skills. Your child could shoot the local population, the landscape, the lakes, the village life, street lights, windows, dusty roads or gulmohar trees! Just about anything that captures his fancy. Encourage him to do it with grace, with his own style and with passion. You will be surprised at the memories that your child creates. While having a DSLR camera would be an added advantage, you can't go too wrong with a smartphone either. Make sure you have enough free memory before you leave for your destination.
Where: A wildlife or heritage site may be a good place to start your or your child's journey as an amateur photographer.