WHY IT’S HOT: NEW FLIGHTS AND OLD ICONS COMBINE.
We say: Indian visas may still cost a fortune, but change is afoot as the first low-cost UK flights land in New Delhi (via Reykjavik) this December. The catch for UK travellers is an extended flight time – double that of most direct routes – but an Iceland stopover is hardly a bad trade-off.
The new flights arrive in time to mark 150 years since the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, the man who led India to independence. Pay a visit to Gandhi Smriti, the Delhi house where he was assassinated in 1948, and wander his old quarters, preserved just as they were at the time of his death. Meanwhile, the National Gandhi Museum offers the chance to explore his legacy, and that of his satyagraha philosophy of non-violent resistance, through some of the objects – shawl, watch, even one of the bullets that struck him – that defined his life.
But Gujarat is where Gandhi is best remembered. In Ahmedabad you can even live as he did, with a mindful stay at the Kochrab Ashram that Gandhi built in 1915 (livegandhiforawhile.com), or just wander the famous riverside Sabarmati Ashram that was his long-time home. Finish in his birth city of Porbandar, where a shrine to his life (Kirti Mandir) was built next door to his ancestral residence upon his final release from prison in 1944. A fascinating look at a crucial period of India’s past. Don’t miss: Pay a visit to the Gir Forest National Park to glimpse Gujarat’s other icon, the Asiatic lion. The west Indian state is the last remaining refuge of the endangered beasts, of which only a few hundred are left.