From adventure of the planetary kind to a peaceful swim with turtles, we give you eight good ways to spend those extra 24 hours
Bunk on the beach
Sign up for a night by the waves, with campfires, rustic food and a memorable sunrise. About 120 km from the city is Marakanam with its pristine beach, clear skies and, if you are lucky, sightings of shooting stars and satellites. Sam Subramaniam and his two camping veterans set out from the city at 4.30 pm and return at 9.30 am the next day. The hours in between are filled with pleasurable moments in tents, playing beach volleyball or frisbee, flying fancy kites, visiting a lighthouse or just stargazing. At Rs 2,000 per head for a group of 15 to 20. Details: 9790000401
Can’t take the time off for the pampering at Palazzo Versace in Australia’s Gold Coast? Check into its newest property in Dubai instead. With Baroque-inspired furniture handpicked by Donatella Versace and Medusa and Greca motifs, the hotel has all the Italian artistry you need. The chandelier in the lobby, shaped by 3,000 kg of handblown Bohemian glass, is one such. Ask for the personalised butler. It’s just a ‘once in four years’ splurge, after all. Approx Rs 58,000. Details: palazzoversace.ae
Lunch in style
Everything needn’t be about doing something new. For some down time, head to The Park, to enjoy a special buffet lunch or dinner at 601. With a live jalebi counter, and specials like mutton rogan josh, murgh dum biryani and a dessert table starring the delicious baked Alaska, early birds are promised an extra something, too. The first 50 to walk in will be billed only Rs 601 (plus taxes), while the latecomers will have to shell out the regular fare, Rs 1,100 plus taxes. So set a reminder to be there on time, at 12 pm sharp. Details: 42676000
This May, Earth and Mars are headed for their closest encounter in a decade—in a phenomenon called opposition. And February 29 night to the wee hours of March 1 is the ideal window for stargazers to start following the celestial phenomenon, says Raghunandan Kumar of Planetary Society of India. Week after week, Mars will get closer and brighter. So head to your rooftops, with binoculars and telescopes in tow, and spot the non-twinkling object next to the moon—that’s Mars. Details: ournewplanets.info
If you’ve always wanted to fly a plane, here’s your chance. Frogo is inviting people to fly microlight planes under the assistance of a pilot, as part of its ‘Kiss The Clouds’ initiative. They will also shoot images and videos of your flight. The experience—at the Jakkur Airfield in Yelahanka, Bengaluru—has to be booked two days in advance, and is subject to availability. From 6 am onwards. Details: frogo.in
Raise a toast
Say cheers with a cocktail created with the day in mind. Arun Kumar, the mixologist at Chipstead, the bar at the Taj Coromandel, has crafted the ‘February 29’. To hit the magic number, he’s shaken together Citadelle Gin (which incorporates 19 ingredients, including Mexican orange peel), Pimm’s No 1 (with notes of five tropical fruits and spices, like pomegranate), along with muddled white grapes, cloves, cinnamon, lime and vanilla syrup. The pièce de résistance is a piece of ice, filled with white grapes, as the garnish. Rs 600. Details: 66002827
Swim with the turtles
How about making the best of our proximity to Sri Lanka, with a night at Owl and the Pussycat in Thalpe. Fans of the Edward Lear poem will love the island’s newest boutique hotel, owned by property developers Reita Gadkari and Shane Thantirimudalige. A short drive from Galle, it has 17 rooms outfitted with handmade pieces by artists, both local and from as far off as Argentina. Learn to fish with stilt fishermen or make a date with the turtles that live off shore. From approximately Rs 13,000.
Flights begin at Rs 7,125 onwards.
Leap of faith
If you are game for some adventure, contact Sunil Nanjappa of Houndcycles in Devanahalli, Bengaluru. A mountain biking expert, Nanjappa will help cyclists—from beginners to advanced—jump seven-18 feet up in the air on their MTBs, around Nandi Hills. You can get your own cycle or hire any of their super-sturdy KHS, Giant and Merida mountain bikes for Rs 1,000-Rs 5,000. Details: 09845057689.
And if you wish to club this thrill game with an outing to Pune, dial Ajay Padwal. The professional mountain biker will also help you fly your MTBs off an upramp and land safely. Rs 1,000-Rs 1,500 for a three-hour session.
At Pashan Hills. Details: 09823043393