This Holi, wanderlust grips the weekend travelers

March 7th, 2012 - 3:17 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) For many people in Delhi, this Holi will not be a riot of colors but a quiet getaway, far from the maddening crowds of the city.

Traditionally, Holi is a two day festival when on first day, a bonfire is lit to commemorate the victory of good over evil and the second day, called ‘phaag’, is when people spray each other with colored water and gulal.

However, since the holiday comes on a Thursday this year, many will be using an extended weekend for planning outings.

“I will be heading to the mountains. A four day break is hard to come by and I plan to make best use of this time,” claimed Suraj Mehta, 24.

The BPO employee is heading to Dharamshala, in Himachal Pradesh, with his office friends.

According to Mohit Gupta, Chief Business Officer, MakeMyTrip.com, the trend of heading out on extended weekends is not new but people now plan for more distant locations now.

“Long weekend holidays have traditionally been associated with travel to short-haul destinations. People would usually travel to locations within driving distance and check themselves into a hotel without proper planning. Nowadays, we see a trend of people opting for travel to long-haul destinations,” he said.

Gupta said that MakeMyTrip also provides customised options for weekend travelers on extended weekends.

“We offer a wide array of affordable holiday packages to exotic destinations. ‘Affordability & Accessibility’ have triggered the shift to people opting for long-haul travel more frequently,” he told IANS.

He also acknowledged that the urban travelers are now getting more comfortable with multi-destination holidays and plan their outings “well in advance.”

Shahnawaz Khan, a travel advisor for travel operator, Shanti Travels, agrees that the trend of getting out on weekends is picking up in a big way.

“At Shanti Travels, we are getting a lot of queries for extended weekend getaways. Most of people opt for Rajasthan and Agra, but we also get adventurous travelers who plan for Ladakh or tiger reserves on extended weekends,” Khan told IANS.

Vikas Shukla agrees. The 28-year-old “full time adventure freak and part time banker” is planning a bike tour to Ladakh for Holi.

“For me, celebration means being with friends and heading out of home. This time, we are heading for ladakh and we aim to cover the stretch with as few stops as possible,” Shukla told IANS.

But for others, Holi still remains a festival to be celebrated, even if they are away from home.

Aarti Sinha, 27, is a housewife. Originally from Vrindavan, she has persuaded her husband for a trip to Mathura.

“The ‘Braj ki Holi’ is quite an experience in itself. We are going to Dauji, in Mathura for Holi where they fill the temple with Palash flowers which color the water saffron. Then the people play Holi with that water. Afterwards, we shall go to Agra,” Sinha said.

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