February, with its lack of sunlight and chilly temperatures, can
be bleak. What better option is there than to escape to somewhere
vibrant, rich in culture, and - most importantly - warm?
The winter sun getaway is no new concept, but travellers to
India in February will find that the subcontinent is at its
blossoming best during this month. With ruins and ancient palaces
to explore, coastlines to trawl and cities to march through, your
holiday can be as relaxed or as action-packed as you like.
Rajathan is an ideal destination
for February travellers © f9photos/iStock/Thinkstock
Undoubtedly one of the finest places to begin your February
escape is Rajasthan. The subcontinent's northwestern, desert state
is surprisingly chilly during December and January, when mist rolls
in and nighttime temperatures plunge. By February, however, things
are starting to warm up - though Rajasthan's famous summertime heat
will have yet to hit its high point.
Jodhpur's Mehrangarh Fort is one
extraordinary Rajasthan sight © Meinzahn/iStock/Thinkstock
Travellers around the world associate Rajasthan with the
jewelled splendour of its kings, and of the treasures they left
Udaipur, catch glimpses of grand palaces reflecting off of
shimmering Lake Pichola. In
Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, landmarks like the sprawling
Amber Fort and the marvellously ornate Hawa Mathal captivate
Jodhpur, known as the Blue City for its many cerulean-hued
structures, is dominated by the striking Mehrangarh Fort.
Another Rajasthani draw is the
World Sufi Spirit Festival © David Horsman/World Sufi Spirit
Visitors heading to Rajasthan in February will be greeted with a
fantastic surprise: the
World Sufi Spirit Festival, an annual event that combines
spiritualism with local culture, music, dance, and other
performances. Held in Nagaur and Jodhpur from 9-12 February and
13-15 February 2015, respectively, the open-air, nighttime events
are lit by thousands of candles, and offer an experience that's
unlike any other.
South India is at its best in
February © vladj55/iStock/Thinkstock
Where to go next? If you're visiting India in February, turn
your sights to the south. Long before the monsoons come, and before
oppressive summertime weather sets in, the southern states are
balmy and sultry: offering sun,
Ayurvedic retreats, and farms full of exotic crops like
cardamom, coffee, and coconuts.
Kerala is known for its many wellness resorts, which aim to
detach visitors from their hectic lifestyles. Neighbouring Tamil
Nadu, meanwhile, offers a wealth of temples, ruins, and other
landmarks for travellers interested in culture and history.
For a winter sun getaway, it's
hard to do better than the Maldives © Martin Valigursky/Hemera/Thinkstock
And for those seeking a truly tropical, memorable winter sun
getaway, there's nowhere quite as luxurious and restorative as
the Maldives. You already know you'll be in for white sand
beaches, azure waters, and high-end resorts that feel far away from
the stress of home. But visitors to the Maldives can also indulge
in luxury yoga classes, deserted island hopping, speedboat rides,
and other aquatic sports. Beyond the marine frolicking, there are
also cultural sights aplenty - from the National Museum, which
contains a wide collection of local artefacts, to the island
chain's ancient mosques and lively marketplaces.
February at home promises a dreary stretch of gloomy weather,
but in India there's no shortage of places to go and incredible
sights to see. Now's the time to plan your next idyllic winter sun
retreat - before daylight savings sets in.