TOP 10: Travel destinations for New Year's Eve
Travel and food writer, Anita Rao Kashi nurtures an enduring passion for new places and experiences and a deep affection for old haunts. She lists out the best travel destinations for this New Year's Eve.
It comes around every year without fail and there's a certain anticipation, excitement and bonhomie that surrounds New Year's Eve.
Topping that list has to be the partying, whether with friends or family. Luckily, the experience need not have to lapse into a monotonous routine due to the diversity that India can offer.
Here's a list of 10 places that are high on the party list this year.
Choose wisely, for it will be the place where you will also be making your resolutions too!
Image: The best travel destinations for New Year's Eve
This one endures on, year after year. The place has always been known for partying, and yet never gets cliched. Celebs swear by Goa, but Goa is the kind of place that has something for every kind of soul, every kind of mood.
If it's high-octane partying then the beaches of Anjuna, Calangute, Baga, Vagator and all the others, along with the shacks that line them, are for you. Case in point: Tito's.
On the other hand, if you want it toned down, then there are warm, cozy party places to choose, which can turn up the heat on occasion. For an entirely different backdrop, you can check out the ancient, heritage buildings in Old Goa.
Image: Tourists walk on the Anjuna beach in Goa
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters
The country's capital is unarguably also one of the hippest places that everyone likes to hang out and bring in the New Year.
Farmhouse parties are all the rage, and Delhi has plenty of them which throw themed, exclusive bashes. But if you can't get invited to one, then there are such elegant places as Lap and Hype which promise great music and atmosphere for the occasion. All across the outskirts of the city are resorts and sprawling restaurants which are also enticing.
Image: A retro-themed party in full swing at Hype in New Delhi
Photographs: Courtesy Hype
The city's infectious energy is a force to reckon with at any given time; on New Year's Eve it goes up several notches. The air is festive and celebratory all along Marine Drive, with the sea forming a lovely backdrop.
For a more evolved and rocking atmosphere, restaurants and lounge bars pull out all stops to give their patrons an evening to remember. Some of these include Blue Frog and China House.
Image: Marine Drive, Mumbai
Photographs: Aam422/Wikimedia Creative Commons
Less maddening than Goa, Kerala's beautiful, scenic beaches are ideal places to usher in the New Year.
With a plethora of big-ticket hotels and restaurants clustered around Kovalam near Trivandrum, that's the place for high-octane partying. Or the haunting backdrop of Chinese fishing nets in Kochi.
However, there are plenty more options like an intimate cruise on the backwaters of Alleppey on a houseboat, on the banks of the sprawling yet calm Vembanad lake at Kumarakom, amidst the hills and rolling plantations of Munnar or Wayanad or against the scenic backdrop of the Bekal fort.
Image: Chinese fishing nets in Kochi
Photographs: Anita Rao Kashi
There's a certain charm and comfort in partying away the night in the company of family or group of close friends. And what better way to do this in the serenity of lush green mountains and coffee estates.
Whether Chickmagalur or Coorg, there are plenty of home stays and estate bungalows where you can set the agenda. Tucked away in the middle of the plantations, many of the buildings have a history and charm that is just not available in the city. True, some of them might ask you to pipe it down, but the experience is certainly worth it.
Photographs: Anita Rao Kashi
MG Road, Bangalore
Times Square it isn't, but for some reason Bangalore's MG Road turns into a sea of enthusiastic youngsters who come together quite arbitrarily to usher in the New Year.
The cops try to keep the road clear of traffic, but there's no keeping down the energy. There's some wild screaming, hearty exchange of wishes and general bonhomie, but without any rowdiness and generally no boozing on street.
It's fun to see and encounter complete strangers wishing you like long lost friends, and difficult not to get right into the spirit of the occasion.
Image: MG Road, Bangalore
Photographs: Kalyan Neelamraju/Creative Commons
The snow slopes of Uttarakhand
Let the adrenaline kick in with the New Year celebrations with a bout of adventure. If trekking and river rafting are passe for you, try the handful of snow slopes in Uttarakhand for a truly white New Year party.
There are four distinct areas -- Auli, Dayara Bugyal, Munsiyari and Mundali -- that are known for snow-packed slopes ideal for skiing, and even pelting each other with snow balls.
Of them, Auli seems to be the better known for its skiing and there are quite a few places where you can get the party going.
Image: Auli, Uttarakhand
Photographs: Joginder Pathak/Wikimedia Creative Commons
Party like the royalty in the state of royals. Ever since tourism took off, Rajasthan knows a thing or two about throwing New Year parties that evoke the luxury and indulgence of the erstwhile Maharajas.
From the energy of Pink City Jaipur to the opulent lake palaces of Udaipur, from the evocative Blue-ness of Jodhpur to the plush desert camps of Jaisalmer, there's a lot to choose from. And no matter what or where you choose, it's bound to be a royal bash.
Image: Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur
Photographs: Courtesy: Tajhotels.com
Sleepy and charming, Pondicherry's unique French flavour that is injected into the native Tamil sensibilities is mesmerizing to say the least. And it is never going to compete against some of the bigger cities for hi-jinks parties, but therein lies its appeal.
Goubert Avenue or beach road turns into an impromptu party area and there's general camaraderie, with fireworks going off at the appropriate hour. A couple of big hotels lining the road turn up the charm quotient for the evening and let you party away. Further afield on ECR are secluded resorts which offer less noisier and more evolved climate for partying.
Photographs: Anita Rao Kashi
North East India
For an unusual New Year's Eve, choose from the many Northeastern states and get a dose of the something different.
Much of the region is still largely unknown and this is a good enough time to get a glimpse of the rich culture and heritage of the area -- whether it is tribal Nagaland, the Brahmaputra-fed Assam or the incredibly beautiful Arunachal Pradesh.
And contrary to popular thinking, irrespective of which state they are from, the people are fun-loving, warm and love to welcome guests.
Photographs: Wikimedia Creative Commons