Manta rays are elusive, fascinating creatures—and manta sightings (watching their graceful, languid dance) can be a surreal, enthralling experience. Adventure travel firm The Life Aquatic with Lacadives is offering a chance to go manta spotting off the Maldives coast (near the protected Bay of Hanifaru and Baa Atoll Maldives) aboard its 30m triple-deck luxury liner in August. The boat has nine cabins, a large saloon with bar and a sun deck with a jacuzzi.
The trip, from 14-21 August, includes 17 dives into the colourful coral reef, accompanied by experienced dive guides. The manta rays converge at the reef around this time, feasting on plankton while swimming in hypnotic spiral patterns (a phenomenon called “cyclone feeding”). The trip starts and ends at Malé International Airport. Shared accommodation is provided in an air-conditioned cabin, meals and snacks are included, and there’s a promised “barbecue dinner on a deserted island”.
Spotted: The monsoon is the time for manta sightings in the Maldives.
This trip is for “experienced” divers only, and costs Rs85,000 for double occupancy. A percentage of the proceeds go towards a whale shark research project along the Gujarat coast. Seats are limited, so book early.
For details, call Lacadives at 09892311024 or 09892583615.
Three is free
Now that the monsoon has set in well and truly, even oh-so-familiar places are blessed with a new power and vitality. Alibaug may be the backyard of Mumbai, but try this season to see the getaway in a whole new light. The Radisson Resort and Spa offers an incentive by way of its special monsoon package, as part of which you pay for two nights and get a third night free. Spread across 16 acres, with views of the Sahyadris on the one hand and Veshwi lake on the other, the property aspires to be your perfect extended weekend getaway. Depending on the accommodation you choose—from luxe rooms to private villas—the rates (valid till September) start from Rs20,999 for two nights for a couple, including breakfast and lunch or dinner. Also thrown in are complimentary use of the pool, discotheque, gym and library, besides a 10-minute foot massage at the Mandara Spa. Plus, of course, there’s the third night.Click here for details
The Rajasthan outpost
There’s something about forts and palaces that never ceases to cast a spell. Bhainsrorgarh may not be one of Rajasthan’s most spectacular forts, but the grandeur of the 18th century construction is unmistakable. Partially restored before it threw open its doors for guests in 2007, this outpost of the Mewari kingdom has just five rooms, but boasts of all the conveniences—plus spectacular views over the Chambal river and the surrounding rocky terrain, and the promise of a step back in time. Also assured: excellent service, chats with the family (which resides here), and plenty of things to do—river cruises, forest picnics and a trip to Mukund Dara National Park (all organized at extra cost). Bhainsrorgarh lies 235km north-east of Udaipur and 50km south of Kota; limousine pick-ups are arranged on request. Till September, the hotel has a two-night summer package for Rs14,000 plus taxes, inclusive of accommodation and all meals for a couple. Click here for details