When you want to experience India's vibrant heritage, these places should be among your top choices.
A sleepy hamlet in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, Santiniketan is known for its association with Rabindranath Tagore, who first outlined the vision for the famous Visva-Bharati University and established it here. You must visit the Uttarayan complex, Tagore's home, and RabindraBhavana, the museum that houses original letters and documents, including a replica of the great man's Nobel Prize medal.
Now is the perfect time to travel to one of the most beautiful places you will ever visit, before it gets too cold in the higher reaches of the Eastern Himalayas. Located amid the tall and impressive mountains is Namchi, a scenic town that affords 360-degree views of snow-capped mountains. This is where the NamchiMahotsav is celebrated each year in October.
Billed as the world's largest literary event-you'll be forgiven for calling it a carnival-it puts Jaipur firmly on the culture map of India. Over 50,000 people attend the Jaipur Literature Festival every year, from ages five to 95, for the unique opportunity to hear, meet and interact with their most beloved writers. If you lean more towards current affairs and analysis than literature, this is still a good place to be-a range of hot-button topics of the world are discussed by the best minds during the fest.
You may have seen and loved Warli paintings but few would have heard of Valvande, the small village in Maharashtra where the indigenous Warli tribe create this delicate craft. About 120 km from Mumbai, this is a slice of pastoral bliss, a journey back in time, to explore and discover a way of life lost and forgotten.
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
It's the unofficial cultural capital of the country, hence a must on this list. With its many bookshops, dance and arts festivals, and a general reading and music-loving citizenry, the city is an obvious choice for people with a love for culture.
The capital of Bastar district, Jagdalpur is the green heart of Chhattisgarh's tribal belt and also the centre of arts and crafts in the state. This is where you can buy bell metal, wrought iron and other famous Bastar crafts directly from artisans. It's also here that you can witness, and take part in, the unique BastarDussehra that is celebrated over 75 days! The BastarDussehra has nothing to do with Lord Rama or Ravana. It is, instead, an ode to the goddess Danteshwari, the revered deity of the erstwhile royals and Bastar's tribes. Starting in August and lasting till the end of October, the last 10 days are the most magical with celebrations reaching a feverish pitch across the district, and at its height at the Danteshwari Temple in Jagdalpur. Started over 600 years ago by the then royal family, this is a glimpse into the life of the tribal community.
Getting there: Fly to Raipur and drive about 285 km to get there.