Love is in the air this month. Explore a beautiful place as a couple to feel your intimacy.
Silent Valley, Kerala
The name itself is charming and its location, Kerala, a quintessential destination for romance, so this one is a total winner. Though it's called a national park, there is not much wildlife spotting in Silent Valley -- you go there more for the peace and quiet, the birds and the stunning greenscape. Located in the Nilgiri Hills, the topography of this national park is like none other and resembles a rainforest. It is home to some unique flora and fauna, apart from 16 endangered bird species. Verdant and beautiful, Silent Valley is the perfect place to take long walks together, stopping to identify a bird, spotting a wildflower, listening to animal calls and just slowing down the pace of life.
Fly to Coimbatore and drive four and a half hours to reach Silent Valley; try Tree Top Resort (treetopresort.in)
Smell the coffee, quite literally, in this picturesque coffee plantation town in Coorg district. This southern hill station will delight you with the special lush greenery that only the Western Ghats can offer, as you walk through plantation country and wake up early to enjoy misty mountain views. Take your morning coffee outdoors and listen to birdsong, the quiet hum of butterflies and the rustling breeze among tall trees. There's nothing more romantic than stillness and that is on offer aplenty at Madikeri. When you want to venture out, there are lovely drives dotted with viewpoints looking over the valleys as well as gushing waterfalls -- perfect to explore together and take those 'couple selfies'!
Madikeri is about 145 km from Mangalore airport; you can choose a homestay from karnatakatourism.org/Homestay
Thengal Manor, Assam
Explore the Raj era at a tea plantation estate in Assam, as you discover the unexplored North East in the most romantic way possible. Stay in the heritage bungalows meant for plantation managers, sample the best teas and enjoy the local cuisine in the quiet, green environs of the vast gardens. There are plantation tours, fishing and cycling to heal your jaded nerves tormented by city life. This is a great place for walks and spending quiet evenings, playing chess or carrom together!
Half an hour from Jorhat airport; Heritage North East (heritagetourismindia.com)
There's something about a national park that binds you like nothing else will. Silently huddled in an open jeep, highly aware of every movement and sound, expecting the king of the jungle to emerge suddenly … the very atmosphere of a jungle is charged with a special kind of thrill. Add to that the early morning chill and watching the sun rise through a canopy of Dhonk trees, and Ranthambhore becomes a great spot to revive your romance. All the different zones of Ranthambhore National Park are beautiful, but if you are short on time, ask to visit Zone 3, perhaps the most beautiful part of the park.
You can drive seven and a half hours from Delhi or three and a half hours from Jaipur; stay at RTDC Jhoomar Baori (rajasthandirect.com/rtdc-hotel-castle-jhoomar-baori-sawai-madhopur)
A little house in the mountains, crisp clear skies, cool breeze, sunny days, endless cups of adrak chai and, when night falls, a real wood fire in front of which you can enjoy freshly made pakoras. Heaven? Quite right. In a little hamlet in Uttarakhand, an hour from touristy Nainital, is this lesser-known village where the only thing to do is luxuriate at the boutique hotel Two Chimneys, named after the chimneys in the old home. It has just 11 rooms, and February is off-season for the mountains so you might just be on your own! Potter about the gardens, terraces, lookout points of the hotel, eat home-cooked meals together and sit in the sun taking in the amazing mountain views. If it gets too quiet, drive down to Nainital or up to Mukteshwar.
It's about an hour from Kathgodam station; Two Chimneys (twochimneysgethia.com)
It's all of 7.6 km and everywhere you look you will see a new shade of blue -- hues you never knew existed in shades prettier than the other. Not many visit Lakshadweep now, thanks to recent rules leading to the shutting down of hotels that have made many of the islands inaccessible for tourists. So, when you visit Agatti, you are likely to be among a handful of people exploring the unexplored. Use the opportunity of being near the crystal clear waters to try out adventure sports such as snorkel-ling, deep sea diving or kayaking for a thrilling encounter with the Indian Ocean. In between, laze among the swaying palms, in a hammock with a book, while sipping tall cool drinks. Evenings are for stargazing or going for long romantic walks by the beautiful ocean.
You can fly or take the ship from Kochi. You will need an entry permit for Lakshadweep, which your hotel can arrange; Agatti Island Resort (agattiislandresorts.com)