On a Holi high, Varanasi, India
Few festivals in the world match the vibrance, joy and undiluted fun that Holi, the harbinger of spring, offers. To many, it’s perhaps one reason to visit India again and again. The festival of colours has been celebrated since ancient times, and come March, the subcontinent – as well as pockets of expat communities globally – explodes in an exhilarating kaleidoscope of reds, blues, pinks, greens and yellows.
Nevertheless, some parts of India – especially up north – celebrate Holi with more festive gung-ho than others, and, as a thirsty traveller on the lookout for a colourful adventure, a destination in Uttar Pradesh is your best bet. We recommend Varanasi, one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities, and a mainstay on every wanderer’s calendar, considering its classical beauty and time-worn charm.
Pepper your Holi celebration – which includes singing folk songs, dancing with a multitude of crowds, and getting caked with colour in almost all shades of the rainbow– with peaceful interludes by the Ganges, where the many contrasts of Indian society, and the enigma of life and death unfold day and night.
The heritage Nadesar Palace, Varanasi, is a luxurious Taj property overlooking the Ganges. To book, call +91 542 666 0002.
Banyan Tree Resorts, Ras Al Khaimah
With cloudy skies and intermittent rains throwing life out of kilter, head to Banyan Tree Al Wadi or Banyan Tree Ras Al Khaimah Beach for a well-deserved boost of mid-week tranquility. Book a 24-hour stay in a villa and enjoy a host of complimentary offerings such as guided walks and archery lessons, as well as discounts on dining and spa treatments. From Dh1,900, Saturdays to Wednesdays. Visit www.banyantree.com.
Seychelles Island’s Carnaval International de Victoria
Missed the Brazilian carnival this year? There’s yet another you can attend – from April 22-24 – to tick off carnival magic from your bucket list. The fifth edition of the Seychelles Carnaval International de Victoria will attract people from the world over in its celebration of the island nation’s incredible diversity and culture. But if you’d like to stay in a quieter part of the capital, check out the stunning Four Seasons Resort at www.fourseasons.com/seychelles.
Travel book of the week
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day
The title is self-explanatory, and if you’re raring to go, bag this tome, pronto. Written by Matthew Kepnes, who runs the award-winning travel site Nomadic Matt, it’s packed with priceless nuggets of information that are bound to change the way you travel. Dh35 on Amazon.
Style on the go
Control connect Get your hands on this Wi-Fi controller to connect and manage all your devices over the Internet. It’s especially helpful when you’re travelling high and low and need a central connection to get myriad gadgets going. Price on request, Merlin
Skin deep By all means plan your summer getaway by the sea and sand, but don’t forget to get your hands on this moisturising Sol Elicriso sun cream. It’s enriched with helichrysum extract, vitamin E and olive oil, so you’ll be well protected. Dh89 for 200ml at leading stores
Get in the hood Ladies, fed up with pesky fellow travellers or over eager airline staff? Pick up this supercool Travel Pillow Chillout Grey. It comes with a bunch of stickers that do all the talking for you while you snooze in peace. Dh145 at Little Things in The Dubai Mall