Home Bangalore Let there be light

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    From glittering stars and fluorescent fish, these travel experiences
    will dispel the darkness

    Having been declared by the United Nations as the Year of Light, 2015 is when you should pack your bags for an illuminating adventure. Skip the City of Lights and the Northern Lights in favour of an open-air surprise in Namibia or a glowing experience, Down Under. We pick out
    holidays across the globe, designed to dazzle. By Aakanksha Devi

    Mapped out
    As majestic as Berlin is, for 10 days in October, it transforms into a magical city as all the landmarks and historical monuments such as Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Cathedral and the radio tower become 3D canvases. Apart from 3D video mapping, depicting all sorts of scenes, on the architecture from sunset to midnight, art instillations across the city make it a swirl of colour and
    creativity. Ditch the walking tours in favour of Lightseeing tours, which show you the
    lit up wonders for free. October 9 –18.
    Tickets to Berlin start at `50,000. Details: 0105Getaway1b
    festival-of-lights.de

     

     

     

    Counting stars
    The NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia is a fine place to see wildlife. But come night, the reserve turns into an abyss of darkness. It is said to be the darkest place on earth. Part of the International Dark Sky Reserves – a  spot of land that has exceptional quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment – its natural darkness allows you to look at the skies in a way you never imagined. You could find yourself trying to spot storms on Jupiter, make a wish on a shooting star or analysing the constellations (like Centaurus) through
    powerful telescopes. Throw in some romance at the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge ($450 upwards a person) where you can lie in bed in your luxury cottage and count the Southern Hemisphere stars through their sky-lit roofs, or terrace rooms. If you like the darkness though, make sure you carry a mask, as in this zero pollution zone, the full moon shines as bright as the sun. The surrounding mountains and dunes keep the skies almost always clear and long winter nights provide the perfect black canvas for a majestic glow. Airfare to the Windhoek Airport about 20 minutes away begins at `90,000. Details: andbeyond.com or namibrand.com

     

    Enter the galaxy
    If you ticked white water rafting off your
    bucket list, say hello to black water rafting. At New Zealand’s Waitomo Caves, the first blackwater rafting course will see you choosing from the Black Abyss, Black Labyrinth and The Black Odyssey, in the mysterious Ruakuri Caves. And when there, the Waitomo Glow worm Caves await to dazzle you with the brilliance of the Arachnocampa luminosa, better known as the glow worm. This species, discovered by Mauris over 150 years ago, is unique to New Zealand and radiates luminescent light. The glow worm grotto has a serene ambience with ceilings and walls lined with the shimmering blue and green fairy lights – a truly magical experience. Flights start at `87,000. Details: waitomo.com

     

    0105Getaway2cGlitter balls dark
    A quick trip to the seas off Honshu in Japan will give you a light show you’ll never forget. And you’ll owe it to the millions of firefly squid swimming the waters. Like little glitter balls, the seven centimetre watasenia scintillans, or sparkling enope, come to the waters of north-central Honshu’s Toyama Bay, to start a light party. Multiplying from millions to many more as it is the spawning season, until the end of May, you can watch as the waters turn into a radiating cobalt blue as they are photophores or light-producing organs that flash and pulsate in patterns of brilliant blue. Boat trips to see the squid run March to May, at around 3 am from the Namerikawa’s Hotaruika (firefly squid) Museum. Airfare to Tokyo begins at `35,000. Details: en.japantravel.com

     

    0105Getaway5cSunshine party land
    Wish there were more hours in the day? Then shoot off to Norway. The Midnight Sun is a natural phenomenon that sees the sun stay above the horizon even at midnight, until August 26. A hike up Mount Ronvikfjellet will show you the archipelago in the shining glory, while a cable car ride in Narvik lingers over the majestic fjords. But our personal favourite is a picnic on the flats of the Plateau of Finnmarksvidda, giving you a birdseye view of the Arctic Circle –breathtaking and mystical, the visual of the sun shining at midnight is enough to get you energised for all night parties in town. Glacier walks and dog sledging in Svalbard, also make for fun experiences under the midnight sun. Airfare to Oslo starts at `70,000 on makemytrip.com

     

     

     

     

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