Best Offbeat Getaways in Central India for Winters

It’s that time when the winter winds take over the drizzles and rushes of the monsoon. It's the season to enjoy the chilly mornings and the short but pleasant days. It's the season when nobody hates the sun and that's what makes winters fun. No summer heat to drain you, no heavy rains to soak you - only pleasant days that invite you out of the coziness of your bed, and into the nature which is at its best. So why would anyone miss an opportunity to participate in the offbeat activities that are most fun to do at this time of the year.

No reason is good enough to miss the places that turn magical during winters. If not for the whole week, book yourself to a winter getaway -- pick a weekend and get going! Gypsy Shack lists some offbeat getaways in Central India that celebrate with full glory the season of celebrations itself -- Winter!

#1 Bandhavgarh: Where many Richard Parkers walk wild! 

You may not have lived the ‘Life of Pi’ and sailed with Richard Parker on a boat, yet gazing at the Tigers at Bandhavgarh will intrigue your wild side. It is the home of National Geographic’s favourite tiger – Sita. Known to have the highest density of Tiger population, Bandhavgarh National Park safari will change your perspective about wild life. You must look out for the stripes all the time or keep your ears on the ready for the many sounds of the untamed here. You will find all your senses most alive and your heart pounding at every little movement or sound. It is a thrill of its own category. It is also the most bio-diverse hot spot with more than 100 species of birds apart from deers and leopards. As the darkness descends, the jungle wakes up to hunting. Imagine sleeping in a rest house in Bandhavgarh campus, gazing at the stars come down from your window and speculating on the active forest outside.

Image Courtesy: National Geographic 

OFFBEAT: Sign up for a wild-life photography workshop while at Bandhavgarh. Learning to capture the tigers on camera is way more thrilling than just watching them.

#2 Bhopal and its hidden thrills!


Image Courtesy: Jagpreet Pabla

While the City of Lake's lazy, this very quality makes it ideal for some thrills. Our favourite winter ritual in Bhopal is to take a ride on a bike 15 km away on a picturesque road to Kerwa Dam. The smell of roasted corn wafting through the country side and wet grass sprawled across livens up the season. The evenings give you the most breathtaking view of the lake. And here’s where you must sign up for Asia’s longest twin zip-line. Amid the hills and just above the lake, racing with a friend and fighting against the wind on an awe-inspiring zip-line, you will get the adrenaline rush you were so long thirsting for. 

But wait. There’s more. An adventure of a different kind awaits you at SamardhaKathotiya and Rukhad two very camping location near Bhopal. While jungle camping here, you may witness an interesting group concert played exclusively by the rain bugs and insects of all kinds outside your tent. You may want to wake up early to hear more compositions by a new set of artists – the birds. Tighten your laces as you head out for an adventure spree through numerous activities - Bird Watching, Hiking, Rock Climbing, Rappelling, Archery, Village Walks - each location has a lot to offer. Set off with your camera to these location which take you far away from the city onto the countryside. Away from the dust and bustle of cities, SamardhaKathotiya and Rukhad villages offers a secret love affair with the gorgeous nature.

OFFBEAT: Go for a village walk at Samardha village and you will get an opportunity to hike a little. This weekend thus would turn out to be great for your fitness too.

#3 Mhow and Indore have secret surprises!

While Indore abounds in waterfalls like Patal Pani, Tincha Fall, Sitlamata Falls and so on, it is hard to find a stream that is not crowded by tourists. Yet Bamniya Kund - about 38 km from Indore -  remains a weekend getaway in the true sense, for its untouched greenery and clean water. Stay at a highway motel or a rest house and you will hear the sounds of highways and the peace of the Badgonda village, as if playing a symphony. Visit this waterfall near Mhow early in the morning and feel the aggressive sounds of water all around you. Here’s where you do a cook-out barbeque with a bunch of friends. And if you have the skills, you may catch a crab or two for starters. The rocks near the stream under the overcast skies and a great company is all you would need to get away on a winter weekend. However, there’s one more secret place that you must check out while you are here. Only 12 km from Mhow is Jam Darwaza hidden away in the misty hills. You must climb on to this ancient door to have a spectacular view of the green mountains shielding the hammocks beneath.


Image courtesy: Bharat Baswani

OFFBEAT: Carry your camping equipment and pitch a tent near the stream at Bamniya water fall. It is an experience of a lifetime.


#4 Kick off with Rafting at Orchha

Orchha wears the quintessential Rajput pride. And despite that the word ‘orchha’ means hidden, the little town stands tall and fearless with its magnificent palaces and culture. And it is this dauntless spirit that compels travelers to go for some adventure here. Orchha, situated near Gwalior, is one of the rare hot spots for Rapid River rafting on Betwa River. The rafting kicks off at the charming Kanchana Ghat beginning with low rapids and finally reaching the peak of genuinely thick rapids as you advance. The aggression of Betwa can be clearly witnessed as your raft makes way culminating at Shiv Ghat. For those who have done rafting before, this is a great place to begin. But even the old-timers keep coming back to Betwa due to the sensuous beauty of the river and the ghats surrounding it.

Image Courtesy: orcha.wordpress/

And even after a kickass rafting session, if you still have the energy, go visit the majestic palaces that are a must-see while you are here. The Jehengir Mahal, Raj Mahal and Rai Parveen Mahal look undefeated by age or rust. Here’s your chance to listen to the most romantic and the most patriotic tales in history.       

OFFBEAT: Do check out the sound and light show in the evening at one of the palaces here. It’s a great way to unwind with your spouse or bond with your family.

#5 The mystical beauty that is Maheshwar

Image Courtesy:

It is where the sun shines on the praying faces near the banks of Narmada. Wake up around 5 am to capture this through your eyes, or if you have the talent, in your DLSR. It has the piety of Varanasi and the historical charm of The Red Fort. Maheshwar basks in the serenity of an era gone by, and yet has the power to stir your heart in just one sun ray.  Maheshwar Fort tells the glorious tales of Rani Ahilyabai who now sits in the form of a life-size portrait on the Rajgaddi. And while its heritage stories last in your minds, a walk into the village will get you up close and personal with the weavers of what is famously called the Maheshwari Sarees. Spend just half a day watching them using the ancient weaving machines and the charkha, and you will see why Swadesi would have triggered that patriotic emotion back in history. Temples like Kaleshwar, Rajarajeshwara, Vithaleshwara and Ahileshwar will charm you with their carved doorways and beautifully crafted balconies. The sun sets majestically over the river and the earthen lamps adorn the darkness of the nights. It’s a quiet little town tucked away from the corruptions of cities. If all the other getaways are for the body, Maheshwar is for your soul.  


Image Courtesy: Rajeev Anil Roark

OFFBEAT: Drive down 5 km away to Mandleshwar. Do a little boating and visit a huge rock in the middle of the river. Climb over it and get a selfie!

Don’t sleep away or rather hibernate this winter! Live a little more. Journey a lot! Come on, it’s Winter after all!


Article By: Mukti Masih


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