Don't, we repeat, don't let your boss catch you while reading this. This year offers 10 surprise opportunities, which if you can be creative with your leave plans, will gift you extra-long weekends that can double up as short holidays. But the trick here is to recognize those opportunities and put in those leave applications before your co-workers sniff them out. Here's a guide to those hidden holidays and the some ideal destinations to pack your bags to.
1) Republic Day weekend (26 – January 2017)
26 January falls on a Thursday this year. Apply for leave on Friday and hey presto, you have four full days left to yourself. Pack your bags and head to Thenmala. Enjoy the day at the eco-tourism center. Take a the guided tour to Idimuzhanganpara, in the Shendurney forest. If you make plans now, you can get the approvals from the Thenmala Eco-tourism Promotion Society for the trip.
2) Sivarathri weekend (24 February 2017)
This year, Sivarathri falls on a Friday. Take the weekend off and go on a two-day break to the neighboring Kanyakumari. Start early from Thiruvananthapuram, stop at the Thiruvithamcode church. It is believed that this ancient church was among the ones established by St Thomas. A short drive from the church will take you to Padmanabhapuram Palace. The kings of erstwhile Travancore ruled from here before they relocated to Thiruvananthapuram. After seeing the palace, head out to Kanyakumari just in time to see the sunset. Stay the night, watch the sunrise. Go to the Kanyakumari temple and the Vivekananda Rock. A trip to Vattakottai, built in the 18th century, will offer you a glimpse of the city’s glorious past. Stay the night at Kanyakumari, start early, drive to Chitharal Jain temples and head back home.
3) Easter/Vishu weekend (14 April 2017)
The summer sun is shining brightly. It is vacation time. Do you need more reasons to escape to the hills? Go on a trip to Pathanamthitta. Explore the forests around Gavi. Go on a coracle ride at Adavi. A trip to the elephant training camp will be an enlightening and unique experience for the kids.
4) May Day weekend (1 May, 2017)
May Day falls on Monday this year. Leave early on Friday and drive up to Ooty from Attappadi, go for a ride on the toy train at Ooty. And you really do not want us to tell you the pleasures that Ooty holds for you. Be sure to bring home the homemade chocolates.
5) Independence day weekend (15 August, 2017)
Log out of work on Friday. Drive up the Thamarassery Pass to Wayanad for the long weekend. A slice of history, verdant greens, endless options for a trek to the hills, forests, wildlife sanctuaries and ancient places of worship make Wayanad a treat during the Independence day weekend. And oh, don't forget to apply for leave on Monday.
6) Onam weekend (4 September, 2017)
Now, this is more than a weekend break if you are someone working in the government sector. The government offices will remain closed on Friday, September 1 for Id, Monday, September 4 is Thiruvonam and Wednesday, September 6, is Sree Narayana Guru Jayanti. If you have enough leaves to spare and a plan in place, you could get 13 days at a go if you club your holidays with Sreekrishna Jayanti holiday. Keep it for exploring the various pleasures Kannur has to offer. You will be surprised at the fun things you can do here.
Also read: Getting around Kannur
7) Sreekrishna Jayanti (12 September, 2017)
For those of you who do not work in the government sector, and have limited holidays, this is one more short break you can sneak in. Take a leave on Monday and you have four days to yourself. Head out to Kasaragod and explore these places.
8) Navarathri/Gandhi Jayanti weekend (29 September, 2017)
Mahanavami falls on Friday this year. And the Monday after that is Gandhi Jayanti. You get four days to be footloose – and that too without applying for any extra leaves. So why not take this chance to head to Palakkad? Go on a trek up to Dhoni waterfalls, enjoy the park and other facilities at Malampuzha, explore the scenery at Kava and take a nostalgic ride through the various shooting locales around Shornur-Ottapalam belt.
Also read: Getting around Palakkad
9) Diwali weekend (18 October 2017)
This year’s Diwali falls on a Wednesday. We know, it is towards the fag end of the year and you may be wondering how to squeeze in a couple of days more. But if you can, take off on Monday and Tuesday and hit the road. Or rather, the waters. Go on a cruise through the backwaters of Alappuzha and spend a quiet weekend at Kakkathuruthu.
Also read: Getting around Alappuzha
10) Christmas weekend
Think Christmas, think Fort Kochi. But, if you have done it already, head out to Varkala. There is something for everyone here. Go surfing in the seas, or just hit the beach and laze around. The options are endless.
Snapshots: Varkala during New Year
So, are you ready to go?