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Goa, Kochi, or Pondi – which beach town are you escaping to this winter?

I hate winters. I might be dying to watch winter come to King’s Landing, but IRL, as soon as the calendar hits November, my mind starts dreading the oncoming chilly days. Spending the better part of your life in east India means you grow up loathing the northern winds. Even a decade of battling Delhi winter couldn’t change that. I hate having to do the whole summer to winter wardrobe overhaul, putting away the comfy dresses and slip-ons and pulling out the boots and jackets. Layering – another name for piling on tonnes of clothes till you look like a bear – is just unbearable. All my vacation plans are always to the beach. I’ll never understand couples who plan honeymoons in Switzerland. Who wants to pay to travel and feel cold? Not me! I flaunt my beach vacay tan like a victory badge, proof of having had a swell time by the sea! Nothing beats staying at a bright, sunny home and soaking in the tropical warmth. And better still if it’s a port town, with bits of colonial history strewn all over. You probably already know which places I am talking about. Goa, Kochi and Pondicherry are always the top three of my ‘escape the winter’ travel list.

GORGEOUS GOA!

I’m always Goa-ready. That’s the first destination that comes up while planning trips, especially during winter. It’s probably the sunniest place in December. New Year in Goa is legendary, but if you are a sucker for quiet, relaxing trips, Goa is ideal for that too. The Portuguese influence all over just adds to the whole old world charm here. I usually select a home or villa not too close to the busy beaches, to stay conveniently away from the mad rush, but not too far from it. Goa has so many such options, each more beautiful and spacious than the other.

Look at this Grecian looking complex in Bambolim. It immediately reminds you of Santorini! The blue and white is just breathtaking. You can spend hours standing on the huge balcony, staring into the distance at farmlands and backwaters. The homes here are so spacious, even the biggest of groups will not feel cramped up.

The Grecian vibes flow throughout the home, with Monaco-inspired wallpaper on the ceiling and blue-white contrasting walls. Big windows and balcony means you never feel shut in, the warm Goan weather will drive every cold memory of winter out of your mind.  

Bambolim is quite close to Panaji, so the main areas of Goa are easily accessible. The Bambolim beach is one of the quieter ones, where you can enjoy water sports and savour amazing food with your peeps. Nothing like the feeling of warm sand and seawater against your skin in peak winters! The thought itself lures me to Goa, every single time.

Goa is also one of my favourite spots to hit when I want to take a break from my crazy friends, and spend some time with myself. I read, write, put on some music and improvise moves. Parra, one of the quieter localities in North Goa, is a favourite among artists. If you want to experience Goan life all by yourself, or with your partner, this is where you go. All you need is a quiet, cozy home surrounded by greenery, and your winter break is sorted.

This OYO Home in Parra is the ideal space to be lost in your own world. You’ll be greeted by the morning sunshine streaming through the big balcony windows. Watch the breeze sway the palm leaves while lunching in the balcony, or read a book in the mood-lit living room in the evening. My favourite way to take a break from the busy city life, frankly.   

PRETTY PONDICHERRY

Sometimes I think I am a bit too partial to Goa. I’ve been there enough times already. Although nothing matches the Goan charm, Pondicherry is my next favourite when it comes to planning winter breaks. There’s something in the air of this union territory – fresh, warm and welcoming. It not only looks and feels very different from Goa, it’s also the closest you get to France without having to brave cold Paris in December! Walking into White Town will transport you straight to France. Even the roads are named in French here.

It’s a vibrant beach town, and the love for colours reflect in the homes you find here, too. When you are in Pondicherry, you do not want to live in a drab home, trust me. A bright and beautiful home is a must if you have to enjoy the Pondi life fully.

Whether you take a walk down the Promenade, watch the waves crash at Rocky beach, or make a day’s trip to Auroville, you’ll always want an equally charming home to return to at the end of the day.

COZY KOCHI

When I am looking to go far, far away from Delhi winter, this is where I head to. The fusion of tropical and colonial vibes of Kochi is to die for. While Goa is clearly Portuguese, and Pondi is French, Kochi is a mix of so many colonial influences that you’ll lose count. Chinese fishing nets, Portuguese houses, Dutch, Jewish and British legacy – you’ll find it all here. It’s a crime not to watch a Kathakali performance here, or buy some spices from the spice market. You’ll love the laid-back vibes of Fort Kochi and the cozy cafes. And the homes are a reflection of the warm tropics, too.

Imagine living in a home with fruity wallpapers on the ceiling and brightly lit spaces. You don’t need to curl up in blankets here, or drink hot coffee to keep you warm. Sunshine is a given, unlike north India in winter. Just the coziness of the home and coconut water will cheer you up. No wonder December is the best time to visit Kochi.

Winter never gets here, and for me, that’s the best part of being in Kochi, or Pondi, or Goa. You can walk around in cotton tees and chappals, pack light since no jackets and coats are required. The leisurely feel is palpable in all these places, and it just takes off the pressure of always dressing according to the weather. The thought of not having to struggle out of the blanket every morning, or wear socks all the time, is enough for me to plan a trip to either Kochi, Goa or Pondi every winter. What’s your motivation?  

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