Indian Decade

A ‘Real’ Indian Holiday

While many Indians head overseas on holiday, some are finding adventure closer to home.

While the peak tourist season for visiting India is in the comfortably cool months of November through February, the summer months are when Indians head out. And the numbers of travelers seems to be rising rapidly, with some reports saying India will have 20.5 million outbound tourists annually by 2015.

The foreign holiday market has in recent years been growing at a double-digit pace, even during the global recession. Indeed, foreign holiday preparations seem almost ubiquitous for many city dwellers, with the upwardly mobile heading off in droves to popular South-east Asian destinations and on fancy European vacations to escape the overpowering heat of our summer months.

But, even as many people I know explore Turkey, Spain and the Maldives this year, it's trips within India that are becoming the ‘must-do’expeditionsfor many of  us. For example, hopping on a motorbike or into a huge SUV and driving to Leh Ladakh, the trans-Himalayan region of Jammu & Kashmir, has become a challenging journey by which many travelers measure themselves. It’s not surprising—the destination offers incredible spartan beauty with its jagged mountains, placid lakes and Buddhist monasteries.

A couple I know just came back from this unforgettable journey and said the trip wasn't really about seeing thestunning topography unique to the Ladakh region, but moreabout discovering yourself as you travel through snow-cleared mountain passes and narrow cliff-drop roads. Another couple, in their mid-forties, drove to Leh on their motorbikes from Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, and said the experience was almost cosmic.

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Well, if that isn't going places, I don't know what is.