Fantasy Fortnight: Where will New York travel writer Sarah Khan be travelling after lockdown
"Three months in lockdown in New York has given me plenty of time to daydream about my first trips when it's safe to venture out again—Boston to visit my parents and sister, then San Diego to visit my brother and his family.
But as soon as I'm ready to traverse oceans again, I'll be plotting my return to India, a country I try to spend a few months in every year —at least when there isn't a paralyzing global pandemic unfolding.
In fact, my last flight prior to lockdown was a return from Mumbai, my second favorite city in the world after New York.
But as much as I love that thrilling metropolis, my two-week dream jaunt would see me crisscrossing familiar swaths of South India as well as one of my favorite islands in pursuit of some of my greatest hits of past travels.
I'd start, of course, in Hyderabad, the city my parents hail from and the one place I've returned to almost every year of my nomadic life. I spend most of my time there catching up with family (I'm particularly excited to meet my cousins' new pandemic arrival), shopping and eating dosas at home.
I usually like to take it easy when I'm there, but now that I'm longing for adventure even in the most familiar places (as evidenced by my miles-long socially distant walks to far corners of Manhattan), I'll be sure to return some of the city's most iconic landmarks: the Charminar monument at the heart of Old City; the lively bangle markets of Lad Bazaar; the gorgeous 18th-century Chowmahalla Palace, where I've toured the museum galleries during the day and attended weddings and qawwali concerts in the evenings; the sprawling Golconda Fort; the alluring Taj Falaknuma Palace, one of the most stunning hotels I've visited; and the atmospheric domed mausoleums of the Qutub Shahi Tombs.
From Hyderabad, I'd board a short flight to the Vidyanagar airport in Karnataka, to revisit the temples of the ancient Vijayanagar Empire in Hampi, magnificently preserved and set amid a dramatic boulder-strewn moonscape.
After three days there, I'll be ready to lounge on a beach for the rest of my trip. It won't be an easy jaunt to get to some of the best beaches I've ever seen—the journey requires flying from Vidyanagar to Bengaluru to Port Blair, and then taking a 90-minute Makruzz ferry to Havelock Island.
But the Andaman Islands are worth the trouble. I'd return to one of the most peaceful places I've ever stayed - Jalakara, an idyllic seven-room hideaway set deep in the jungle - and spend my days lounging at Radhanagar Beach or Kalapathar Beach, kayaking through the mangroves and hiking through lush rain forests, and zipping around the island in search of fresh prawns and coconut water.
Photo credit: top photo of Sarah Khan was taken by Nishat Fatima. Photo of Hyderabad by Shubham Rath. Photo of Andaman Islands by Deepak Kumar.