The 23 best places to go in India in 2023
In the heart of the Kashmir Valley, the gem of Srinagar—with its winding waterways and colourful houseboats—is equally alluring and challenging to plan a visit to. Yet the destination seems to be shifting gears, with the government greenlighting development projects that will benefit travellers.
Srinagar has some vibrant new openings: Karan Mahal, a swanky, intimate stay in the historic residence of Kashmir’s former rulers and amid nearly 60 acres of orchards and woods, launched last year, while Qayaam Gah, a stylish, Sufi-inspired nature retreat in the Zabarwan Hills, with unfettered bird’s-eye views of Dal Lake, opened this summer. Additionally, Indian Hotels Company Limited (also behind the Taj Hotels) will bring its affordable brand, Ginger Hotels, to Srinagar in the first half of 2023.
The capital is also about to get a boost in accessibility, with a spate of highways and tunnels planned to open in 2023 that will, among other connections, make it easier to drive from Kashmir—across breathtaking landscapes—to neighbouring Ladakh, even in winter. Other side trips that will be easier to reach, thanks to the new infrastructure: Sonamarg (which translates to “golden meadow”), a stunning hill station that is poised for substantial tourism development in the years to come, and Pahalgam, an idyllic getaway that has long drawn travellers to its pastoral charms. The latter will see, in early 2023, the opening of Shepherd’s Barn, a cottage stay by Ramneek Kaur (whose family owns the Bollywood-favorite Pahalgam Hotel), which will add rooms to an existing program of craft tours and local activities under the auspices of the Shepherd Crafts Cultural Centre. With so much change underfoot, there is no better time to experience the area— and before everyone else starts to do the same. —Saumya Ancheri
Go for: New trekking trails
Amid the heritage structures and urban strongholds of Odisha, Jeypore poses as a fine repository of all things natural. From caves hidden in the depths of forests to bold waterfalls, there’s ample to see and discover here. Thanks to the local administration’s efforts, one of its key areas—the Nakti Dangar hill of Jeypore’s Pangi forest reserve—will soon have a designated trail route for travellers. This means that you will now be able to navigate through the wild at a height of 1,400 mts. On the way, you can spot various endangered species such as the Jeypore Hill Gecko. The project is expected to be completed towards the end of 2023 and will present a resting stop at the top of the hill to complement the trail. The city also packs within it a host of cultural outposts. Think temples, palaces and the forts that let you in on the city’s past as a trading hotspot—all surrounded by the Eastern Ghats and blanketed in a cool breezy climate. RG
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