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TOP 12: India's most romantic destinations

Last updated on: February 1, 2013 19:31 IST

TOP 12: India's most romantic destinations

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Aditi Bose

Where will you head this Valentine's Day? Aditi Bose has these suggestions

Everyone associates romance with the backwaters of Kerela, the hills of Shimla, Manali, Ooty and Coorg, the seas of Goa and Lakshwadeep or the cities of Jaipur and Udaipur. So I'm letting those be. Here are my top 10 in alphabetical order.

1. Agra

Agra is enchanting and more so if you are with your loved one viewing the Taj Mahal on a full moon night. And while you are there don't miss the beautiful marble worked tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, the imposing Agra Fort and a few stolen moments at the Mehtab or the Anguri Bagh.

Although Agra offers innumerable accommodation options, if you want romance then the place for you is the Oberoi Amarvilas. Its structure, inspired by Mughal architecture, together with the landscaped lawns and fountains create love.

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Photographs: Seema Pant/Rediff.com

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2. Aizawl

Aizawl, pristine and beautiful, is located amidst the Lushai Hills near the Burma border. The hamlets, the glorious churches, the bamboo woods all spell of magic.

Some of the popular tourist attractions here are the Vantawng Water falls (137 km away) surrounded by forests, the Palak Lake -- one of the most beautiful lakes of the world, the Pukzing Cave etc.

Not to miss is the shopping for traditional costumes at the main shopping centre called Bora Bazaar.

If you are planning to pack your picnic baskets and spend the morning with your sweetheart amidst the twittering of the birds and the serene calmness of the hills then go to Bung located 15 km away from the main town. 

The two best places to stay here are the Hotel Regency (and especially he well-cooked food at its restaurant Magnoila) and David's Hotel Clover.

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Image: Aizawl
Photographs: RoguesLovesMX518/Wikimedia Creative Commons

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3. Bandhavgarh

With an area of over 105 sq km the Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the most well-known national parks of India especially for the high possibility of spotting the wild cat in this jungle.

The nearest railhead is Umaria, 32 km away. One can also reach the national park via Jabalpur which lies 190 km away. If you are planning to travel by air, however, the nearest airport is Khajurao which is over 270 km (a drive of 6 hours) away from Bandhavgarh.

One of the best hideouts that this jungle has to offer is the Taj property called Mahua Kothi. It has 12 cottages where you can unwind at the pool, indulge in massages and enjoy the adventures of a jungle safari.

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Photographs: Courtesy Taj Safaris

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4. Gokarna

If you want peace of mind and peace of soul then head to Gokarna -- a 12-hour/overnight journey by bus from Bangalore.

Other than being a pilgrimage spot, it also has secluded (they get more remote as you head south) beaches that offer scenic views.

The four beaches of this town are -- Kudlee, Om, Half Moon and the Paradise beach.

To experience the perfect romantic ambience stay at the SwaSwara. Not only will the serenity of the place, the green hills and the walks through the woods fill you with peace, you can also try your hand at the canvas painting for your loved one or just hold hands as you take a walk through their organic vegetable garden.

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Image: Gokarna
Photographs: Happyshopper/Creative Commons

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5. Jaisalmer

The city is rightly referred to as one straight out of Arabian Nights -- romantic and sensuous.

The ancient fort set amidst the sand dunes gives a spectacular view of the city. Not only is the inside of the fort alive with temples and shops, as Satyajit Ray had said in his movie Sonar Kella, it turns a mesmerizing golden as the sun sets in the sky.

While you are in Jaisalmer, bring the fairy tale back into your lives and experience a camel safari, camp under the stars in the desert sand or just watch the sky turn orange as the sun sets over the dunes.

For experiencing the epitome of luxury, stay at the Serai Desert Camp and Spa or the Suryagarh (located 15 km away from the city). It's expensive but will leave you spell-bound.

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Image: Camels are silhouetted against the setting sun over the Thar Desert at Jaisalmer
Photographs: Vijay Mathur / Reuters

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6. Khajuraho

Khajuraho is synonymous with erotic architecture. It is a unique and a perfect place to visit with your loved one on Valentine's Day. Of the original 85 temples, today only 22 remain.

But the stupendous carvings to the point of almost being lyrical will leave you enthralled. Also, don't forget to visit the Crafts Emporium to pick up iron or brass sculptures in various sensual poses.

Khajuraho has an airport and is well connected with the cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Varanasi.

The best accommodations here are the Hotel Chandela of the Taj, the Lalit: Temple View or the Raddison, Jass Hotel.

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Image: Khajuraho
Photographs: Aryan Akwarya/Creative Commons

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7. Kovalam

Barely over 30 km away from Thiruvananthapuram lies Kovalam. Its beaches are clean, the waters unhurried and the scenery of coconut groves soothing.

Kovalam will calm you and fill you with love. Kovalam has three beaches Lighthouse Beach, Hawah Beach and Samudra Beach. Couples can either while away their time sunbathing or by participating in various water activities.

If budget is not a constraint then stay either at the Leela, the Taj or at the Karikkathi Beach House and surrender yourself to the walks by the sea as the waters ripple with slivers of the silvery moonlight or simply relax in the spas and enjoy exotic seafood.

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Image: Kovalam
Photographs: Kerala Tourism/Creative Commons

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8. Mt. Abu

About 182 km from Udaipur, situated at a height of 1219 metres above sea level, is the only hill station in North Western India -- Mt. Abu. Set amidst lush greenery, the Dilwara Temple with its beautiful marble work is the most popular tourist attraction of this hill station. Not to forget the innumerable waterfalls and lakes that this hill retreat boasts of.

Mt Abu also has a wildlife sanctuary that is home to rich fauna. With its year-long cool and pleasant climate is continues to be one of the most romantic destination of India.

The best accommodations of this hill town are the Cama Rajputana Club Resort, palanpur palace and the Hotel Hilltone.

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Image: Mt. Abu
Photographs: Faiyaz Hawawala/Creative Commons
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9. Ranthambore

Spend this day of love in the jungles of Ranthambore. This jungle boasts of the highest probability to spot the great wild cat. And the landscape, besides being rocky, dry, grassy is dominated by Ranthambore Fort of the 10th century. It's almost in ruins but fascinating to hold hands and explore.

Increase your feeling of romance by staying at one of the ten luxury tents of Amam-i-Khas located very near to the national park. But be ready to burn a steep hole in your pocket for they are quite expensive.

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Image: Ranthambore
Photographs: Courtesy Aman resorts

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10. Sula Vineyards

Wine spells romance. And if you can spend a whole day amidst the vineyards and tasting some gorgeous wines then that's the cherry on the cake. Just 180 km away from Mumbai lies the Sula vineyards. So go spend the 14th there and if love embraces you a little too hard then just stay on.

Beyond at Sula Vineyards is the perfect getaway for all the love struck couples. Surrounded by misty hills and the air heavy with the fragrance of the heavenly fruit, the resort with its lake view rooms creates the perfect ambience for the occasion. And if you really do want to venture out of the cosy confines of the room then go kayaking in the nearby Gangapur lake.

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Image: Sula Vineyards
Photographs: DhanashriP26/Creative Commons

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11. Varkhala

Waves crashing upon the rocky cliff, steps leading to the azure blue waters and the salty air can be very peaceful and soothing. Varkala beach, 60 km from Thiruvananthapuram is a wonderful and still secluded beaches of India. Added to the sea are the soothing sight of the palm trees and stretches of quaint shops and warmly lit beach shacks with exotic seafood.

To stay, the place to be is the Villa Jacaranda. But do book in advance because they have only four rooms with the best one being the one on the top floor with a breathtaking view of the sea.

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Image: Varkhala
Photographs: Jynxzero/Creative Commons

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12. Wayanad

Hidden amidst the hills, this rainforest still has some of the oldest tribes.  Visit Wayanad to experience history, wilderness and culture altogether. Some of the popular attractions are the Banasura Sagar Dam, the Edakkal Caves and the Chembra Peak. To reach, the nearest airport is Kozhikode. 

The most sensuous getaway here is the Vythiri Resort with its five tree houses. It is accessible either by climbing wooden steps or by using a crane lift. It is easy to fall in love here as one stares into the fresh greenery of the jungles from 70 feet above. And during your stay enjoy your treks, bird watching and a visit to the nearby spice garden.

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Image: Wayanad
Photographs: Vinayaraj/Creative Commons

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