Dussehra and Diwali are the two major festivals in India, celebrated predominantly by the Hindus.
First Dussehra comes and then Diwali. School holidays are longer for the Dussehra time vis-a-vis Diwali.
Between these two festivals, the festivity mood and gaiety kicks in. It is a time when Indian Hindu families and others actively meet each other.
All this is largely helped by the fact that majority of schools in India declare their week-long holidays for Dussehra.
Many a lasting memories are made during these times. As these are family occasions, following are the few ideas to explore and use for travelling together as a family.
Desert Safari Tour
May seem initially to be more appropriate for the young ones or the romancing ones. But it is possible for the whole family to enjoy together. Camel safari for the young ones and the jeep safari for the elderly ones, exploring the wonderful sand dunes of Rajasthan together.
Adding spice to the whole event is the wonderful traditional Rajasthani song and dance routine, accompanied by a gala dinner.
Furthermore, the adventurous have the option to participate in a camel race as well. Jaisalmer is particularly famous and well organised for such activities.
The potential of families bonding with each other within the precincts of a wildlife national Park is immense. Away from the hectic schedule of the city life, this nature tour makes the family members focus on each other, understand each other and deepen their relationship. And why not? Such splendid isolation amongst spectacular surroundings have a magical healing touch. It is a joy to see the young ones scream and shout with delight whenever they spot an animal or bird in the wild.
Wildlife safaris have the potential to make the adults behave as child in tandem with their accompanying children. The experience of jointly spotting a rhinoceros or a sunbathing hippopotamus or a watering hole being paid a visit by a tiger or the sight of galloping deers pursued hotly by panting wild dogs is to be experienced.
There are dozens of national parks in India from to choose from. Migratory birds, especially the Siberian cranes frequent Bharatpur national Park. Kanha National Park is the easiest place to spot the Tiger and Barasingha (deers with antlers). For Bengal tigers, Irrawaddy dolphins, lush mangroves and rare birds visit Jim Corbett National Park.
Our recommendation is to choose to stay in a camp instead of the surrounding resorts and hotels. Remember to carry your first aid box and leave your firearms and alcohol back at home
To educate the young ones in history, geography, customs, cultural rituals and many other things is the responsibility of the adults. This can be easily accomplished on a cultural tour of some part of India.
After all, India is in abundance with countless heritage buildings and sites. Visiting these forts and palaces and buildings and monuments exposes the young ones to the glorious Indian achievements of past, as well as reintroduces and brushes up the knowledge of the elders.
Cultural Tours can be combined with the pilgrimage tours. Again, India has a plentiful supply of places of great significance to the pilgrims of all faiths.
The fact is that like any other destination in the world, but more so here in India, religion and statecraft have wielded great influence and as a consequence, have been responsible for some magnificent pieces of work, both in stone and in verse. A brilliant educational opportunity for all the family members.
Pilgrimage tours and religious vacation
It is possible to make the trip engaging and enjoyable for the kids while you immerse yourself into the peace and calm of the pilgrimage. Just pick a pilgrimage spot that can offer everything to everybody.
For instance, Varanasi. The kids will enjoy the boat ride, the burning ghats, the archaeological Museum, the local fairs, the local markets.
You can in the meanwhile, visit the various temples, ashrams, discourses and pay a quick visit to Sarnath for the Buddhist stupas and to Bhelpur for the Digamber Jain temple.
Haridwar and Rishikesh can be also considered. Rishikesh offers river rafting, beach activities, bungee jumping and boating. A walk in the surrounding forests of Rishikesh with ancient trees is mesmerising.
Another destination is Amritsar. Golden Temple in Amritsar is a sight to behold. The serenity and the peaceful atmosphere of this stunning temple is inspiring. The practice of devotees cleaning the floors vigourously and in humility is uplifting. You can make your kids participate in this community work, including the kitchen thus giving them an experience of the Seva Bhao or service to the mankind.
The closing ceremony at India Pakistan Wagah border shall cheer your kids considerably for its extreme theatrics.
As human beings, our relationship with water is very intimate. So let's head for the beach to reaffirm this relationship. With family, of course.
Beaches offer something to everybody. In India, each beach has a special feel and vibe to it.
For instance, beaches of Kerala is where you go for relaxation. The famous beaches and Kerala are Varkala, Kollam and Kovalam.
In mood for adventure and fun? Then head for Goa. Calangute and Anjuna beaches of Goa are now world-famous for the fun and adventure they offer.
Want a little more? Then consider beaches of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It is Marina beach and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, whereas in Karnataka, it could be Malpe. At these beaches you can indulge in paragliding and parasailing, along with tingling your taste buds with the local beach delicacies. Families will enjoy the chilled out atmosphere at these locations.
Of course, the biggest daddy of beach holidays is the tour of Andman and Nicobar Islands. The adventurous will simply love it. These islands have much to offer for all the family members. The sedentary ones can opt to just chill out watching the waves or find bargains in colourful sarongs, corals and seashell jewellery, buoy lampshades or furniture made of driftwood.
The adventurous can go camping and trekking to mount Harriet and back from Kalapathar.
Of course, the primary reason to visit Andman and Nicobar Islands is to swim in its pristine waters. Here you can also try out the activities of surfing, water skiing, kayaking, snorkelling and scuba-diving.
A little more about the two festivals of Dussehra and Diwali:
Dussehra is the festival to celebrate the triumph of the good over the evil. Diwali is the festival to celebrate the homecoming.
The Hindu calendar commences from Diwali. Both Dussehra and Diwali, including Holi as well, are of great significance to the practitioners of magic and astrological rituals in India.
Dussehra can be the time when you can spend with the family and everyday visit local neighbourhood theatre that has been set up specially for this particular week, to witness and enjoy the tale of Ramayana, culminating in the burning of huge refugees of Ravana. Wherever it is well organised, it is a sight to behold.
The times preceding Diwali sees the gambling mood come in. In city like Delhi, the traffic crawls all throughout the day as people are rushing from one part to another, carrying gifts for everybody concerned, especially to the people who have been helpful in business.
These are wonderful times for the government employees who can ask for gifts of very exotic nature.
In many cases, the gambling tables are specially set so as somebody deliberately loses to an influential official. This, of course, cannot be labelled as bribe!
Consider staying at a homestay or a bed and breakfast in India during these times, so as you could be a part of the family only, plus special invitees Pooja on the evening of Diwali day. Ask for our recommendations.
Custom is that evening of Diwali is exclusively reserved for one's own family and for one's own office. Owners of business first visit their office along with the whole family in tow, to pray at the office premises. This then is followed up by the prayers at the home.
Few days around Diwali see a lot of fireworks being burned by the joyous children and their parents.
So how can you construct your festival tour in Indian?
The good season for India journey starts in the month of October. It is cooler times. You could consider flying in Delhi a few days prior to Dussehra, stay with an Indian family, visit the local neighbourhood theatre to absorb in the tale of Ramayana and then after Dussehra want to explore other parts of India, such as the mountains or Rajasthan or the National Parks or a pilgrimage.
After few weeks Diwali comes. Ensure you areback in Delhi or in some major town of India (North India is recommended) with the same Indian family that you had stayed before with. As you would have become great friends with the family, they will consider you as a part of their own family and will gladly make you participate in their Diwali Pooja and customs. This is a ringside view of one of the celebrated Indian traditional customs and rituals and the religiosity associated with it.
Caution: Diwali time is sweet time. Beware, you may be forced to gorge upon mind-boggling varieties of Indian desert delicacies. Don't weigh yourself during these days. :-)
We can easily put in place a customised India tour packages which takes care of all these things, including a Indian homestay experience during these festival times. All of this, within a budget that shall be acceptable to you. Or just do a Golden triangle tour India package