14. Ex-Clay-M with Joy at a Pottery Workshop
WHERE: Clayfingers Pottery, Thrissur, Kerala
WHAT: There’s something utterly hypnotic about working with clay, a fact borne out at the sheer number of people working with it at artists’ residency Clayfingers Pottery. It conducts day-long sessions for newbies, encouraging them to understand the medium, its elasticity and limits, allowing them to create freeform pieces before getting into coiling or on the wheel. Clayfingers is also a working studio, producing a range of handcrafted, functional ceramics for hotels and homes across the country.
A brief tour of the various stations and life stages of clay is also in order, leaving you with a new appreciation of that mug on your desk.
FOR WHOM: Solo travellers
GETTING THERE: It’s an hour’s drive from Kochi (74km), a major city that’s connected by road, flight and train.
WHERE: Jaipur, Rajasthan
WHAT: Jaipur is famous for its crafts and delicious snacks. We recommend an intensive schedule of alternating between eating and shopping for maximum benefit. Start with jewellery in exquisite designs and vintage styles at Amrapali. Anokhi has ethnic clothing and home linen in traditional motifs and block-prints with contemporary silhouettes. Kripal Kumbh is run by the second generation of a family famous for their range of blue pottery. Rajasthali, the government-approved crafts emporium is your one-stop shop for traditional tie-and-dye fabrics and jewellery.
FOR WHOM: Groups of girls
GETTING THERE: Jaipur is well connected by train, flight and road.
WHERE: Ahilya Fort, Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh
WHAT: This heritage resort is steeped in royalty, spirituality and beauty. Part public garden and part hotel, Ahilya Fort has no room service or TV, letting you soak in all of your surroundings. Meals are by the pool, in the shaded courtyard or along the fort’s ramparts, featuring dishes from the royal kitchens, made with fresh produce from the resort’s organic garden. Step out to the riverside ghats, reminiscent of Varanasi, gape at Ahilya Bai Holkar’s cenotaph, take a boat ride with Champagne, and learn more about the queen for whom the fort is named, said to be the best ruler in the area.
FOR WHOM: Solo travellers looking for quiet getaways
GETTING THERE: It’s 96km away from Indore, a city connected by flights and trains.
17. Beach Babies, Unite!
WHERE: Bhogwe Beach, Vengurla, Maharashtra
WHAT: You know that feeling when you see a crowded beach and you want the shark from Jaws to get them all? You’ll never experience it at Bhogwe Beach. This remote, sandy silver piece of paradise lets you lounge, swim, parasail, snorkel and more, in peace and quiet. The possibility of beautiful backwaterss and dolphin-sighting makes Bhogwe the complete beachy package.
FOR WHOM: Solo travellers and groups of girls alike
GETTING THERE: Drive up from Panjim (101km). The nearest airport is in Dabolim, Goa (123km) and the nearest railhead is Kudal Railway Station (30km).