Top Destinations to visit during August

31 August  |  Listicles

It is the month of August, and the monsoon is at its peak, with rain making its presence felt all over the country. One can see green carpets, gushing rivers, mesmerising foggy climate and experience cool weather and lush green environment at all the popular destinations, thus making August the perfect time to plan a trip. You can also take advantage of the off-season rates that hotels and home stay options offer, which helps you to trim your budget and save some cash.

  1. Kerala – Nature lover’s paradise during monsoon

Kerala is fortunately blessed with two rainy seasons. The first one begins around June and pauses briefly in the month of September, and the second one from mid-October till the mid of November. With temperatures ranging from 22°C to 28°C, the weather is extremely pleasant, especially in the high mountains of Munnar and Wayanad. Athirapally Falls is one of the largest waterfalls of Kerala and the monsoons provide it with abundant water that is thrilling to watch.

  1. Pondicherry – temperature lessens during monsoon to enjoy the lush green fields and hilly terrains

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Monsoon in Pondicherry begins by the end of June and continues through September, during which this beautiful city receives light to heavy rainfall. Rains transform the entire region into a luxurious carpet of grass, giving the landscape a complete makeover, making it an ideal time to visit Pondicherry. August is also the time for Sri Aurobindo’s birthday celebration adding to the flavour of this wonderful season.

  1. Cherapunji – Exciting monsoon trekking trips

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Cherapunji lies at a dizzying height of 4500 feet from sea level, full of foaming rivers and mist-laden mountains. During monsoon, one can experience the swirling clouds that are heavy with rain turning Cherapunji into a breath-taking location. Monsoon is the only season this place in Meghalaya experiences, and it is one of the wettest places on earth. Tourists can take in the beautiful sights during the day as rains are thoughtful enough to fall during late evenings and night.

  1. Rajasthan – rain splashed majestic palaces

If you are keen to check out the unexplored side of Rajasthan, plan a trip to this desert land during monsoon. This historical land does not experience torrential rains like we see in Maharashtra as the occasional heavy shower drenches the parched land intermittently. Few people travel to Rajasthan during monsoon, so if you want to avoid the holiday rush and crowds, block dates this August. The stone palaces get a fresh scrubbing, and the sand and dust is washed off, giving it a radiant look.

  1. Maharashtra – enjoy the cool

Maharashtra receives abundant rainfall during the months of June to September and brings a smile to the parched earth that has faced a hot summer. Hill stations like Mahabaleshwar, Matheran, Lonavala, MalshejGhat and Igatpuri are some of the most frequented tourist destinations during the month of August when rains are at its peak. Rains are instrumental in lowering temperatures dramatically with widespread greenery all around making Maharashtra one of the best places to enjoy the glory of monsoon.

What to expect from an Indian Wildlife Safari

31 August  |  Adventure & Travel

What to expect from an Indian Wildlife Safari

The very utterance of the word “Wildlife safari” is enough to send the adrenalin pumping in the true-blue lover of wildlife. Before embarking on one, it is extremely important to understand a few ground rules and follow them diligently. This will help you to enjoy the safari and experience the thrill of participating in one while you stay at Bandipur resorts.

Here are few ready tips to maximise enjoyment by minimising expectations:

  • Remember that a wildlife safari is not a zoowhere animals are kept in enclosures with their species’ name mentioned on it. An Indian wildlife safari does not carry any guarantees so don’t berate the guide because you were unable to spot an exotic animal in the wilderness. It may happen that you will spot a wild animal of your choice (most probably, a tiger) during your stay at Masinagudi resorts and the first wildlife safari, or it could take a couple more. However, be patient as a safari does not guarantee a tiger sighting since they do not follow a timetable like we city folk do.
  • While packing for the wildlife safari and a stay at resorts in Masinagudi or homestay in Masinagudi, apart from all the essentials, do not forget to grab your identity proof and remind your friends to do so too. The security at the entrance of a national park may insist on seeing an ID proof before letting you into the wild. Either way, it is better to carry an ID while travelling to avoid any kind of inconvenience.
  • Your driver or guide may sometimes go overboard with their dos and don’ts and although they may sound far-fetched to you, do not ignore them at any cost. In all circumstances, you should listen to your guide/driver as these instructions could save you from a potentially dangerous situation. In all probability, your guide is a local who has visited the jungle innumerable times and therefore know a lot about it than you do. You could be asked to keep your voice low or avoid any sudden movements so make sure you follow these instructions.
  • Rules are made for a specific purpose. While on an Indian Wildlife safari, follow the park rules without questioning them too much. They have been put in place to protect your life and safeguard the wildlife around you, so honour them. Getting down from the vehicle is not such a good idea unless you can run faster than the animals. Smoking inside the jungle and playing loud music is considered bad manners while staying at a jungle lodge. Do not pester your driver/guide to take an off-beat path since the Jeep/Bus are given a route, considering all safety guidelines. Period.

As safari enthusiasts, we all have a special liking for the large cats like lions, tigers and leopards, thanks to their majestic personalities, but knowledgeable visitors will agree that there is more to a jungle than tigers. Keep a watch for other animals, flora and fauna and enjoy the fresh, unpolluted environment. You don’t want miss the deer or antelope hiding behind the bush, simply because you were too focused on sighting a tiger. Speak to your guide and ask him about his experiences. You may gain a lot of knowledge in the bargain which can be used during your next Indian Wildlife safari.

Book a vacation at a Discovery village resort of your choice and get up and close with wild animal in their natural habitat.

 

5 Things to do During a Picnic

23 August  |  Listicles

Picnics are the ultimate stage for leisure. You may be out with loved ones, or maybe it was the boss’s idea for a corporate day outing, but there is no doubt that you should always capitalise on this chance to relax, refresh and rejuvenate.

  1. Sing Songs

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It is not often that you get to be in the open air with a bunch of friends with the license to be a bit silly. Hum your favourite tunes or go all out with some group singing. Of course, don’t annoy the other groups around you. Antakshari is an age-old Indian tradition when it comes to fun gathering, and what can be a more fun setting than a picnic on a sunny day?

  1. Go Fishing

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A picnic is more fun if the catch is from the venue, in other words, give fishing a shot. Fishing is all about technique and knowledge of fish-behaviour as much as it is about patience. Whether you are using a basic pole or a cutting edge fishing rod, the simple joy of fishing is one of the oldest and most timeless of pleasures known to man. You can research some Bandipur resorts that offer fishing activities along with picnic spots for a truly authentic experience.

  1. Walk around the park and enjoy the nature

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Sometimes during a picnic, we tend to lounge around near the food and chat with friends until we realise it’s time to go. Channel the inner explorer when you go for a picnic. Step away from the group and observe the plants and trees around. Soak in the fresh air, the verdant lawns and gaze at the water bodies if there are any around. There aren’t too many sights more soothing than the gentle ripple of a lake or a pond.

  1. Play a Board Game

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Picnics are a time to unwind and forget your daily chores momentarily. It is also a great time to indulge in some simple pleasures and bond with your friends and family. Engage in some board games with the kids. Ludo and Monopoly are all-time favourites. You can even opt for more interactive games like Pictionary.

  1. Fly a Kite

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You may have memories of childhood warming your heart whenever you see a kite flying high in the sky. Picnics mean open spaces and provide the perfect venue to relive these memories. You can also teach the young ones a trick or two; they might appreciate this simple outdoor activity in the age of technology.

Even if you have never flown one before, it is never too late to start. Flying kites is all about control and knowing the wind currents. Basics include standing with your back to the breeze and pulling the line in when the wind slows to give it some resistance and height.

Nandi Hills Bangalore and resorts in Kanakapura Road are nice spots to get away with the family for a picnic. If you are looking to venture further, then a homestay in Masinagudi is a great cosy base to soak in some nature and enjoy some picnics and other activities. These are the precious moments that we live for. Make sure that your picnics are wholesome experiences with lots of fun activities.

What NOT to do While Travelling with Friends

23 August  |  Adventure & Travel

Group travel plans are the best, as these shared experiences cement lasting friendships. However, when you are travelling in a group, make sure there are certain things you don’t end up doing that will sour the experience for your mates.

Cancel at the Last Moment

A group trip is usually a meticulously planned affair, where balances are really tight when it comes to expenses and accommodation. When you back out at the last moment, you are leaving the friends who tagged along because of you in a spot.

A major repercussion of someone leaving last moment is the arrangements need to be adjusted and compensated amongst the remaining members. The least you can do if you back out is accept the fact that the money you spent on shared hotel rooms is a fair price to pay.

Not discussing the budget before travelling

The budget requires total transparency before you even start your journey. If you feel like you are being stretched a bit, be honest about it so plans can be adjusted or solutions can be found. Don’t end up requesting a flash loan between your 4th and 5thpina-colada on the third night of your vacation. Even your friends are working on a budget. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are the one with money, don’t drag your friends into awkward situations where they are playing catch up while you lap up the caviar. A group trip works best if everyone has decided on a certain budget.

Make one person do all the planning and research

Giving one person all the responsibility is not fair. At the end of the day, a shared experience needs to be planned in a similar fashion, with inputs and contributions from everyone. By taking that one good friend for granted, you are also reducing the scope of the travel as one person cannot design an itinerary that will please everyone.

Spending more time on your phone

There are certain rules that have been set since vacations became a thing. You stay away from the usual routine whether it is on the phone or on a computer. Think about a situation where your friends are waiting for you to join them but you show your interest somewhere else, not even in the same geography! Keep phone calls crisp, messaging to a minimum and dedicate Instagram time for maybe later.

Being fussy about food

You are not going to get mom’s alupaneer in Phuket. Stop whining about food when the rest are managing just fine. Culinary tantrums by one person can spoil the experience for the rest of the gang. If you have a restricted diet, you will always manage to find a way around it.

Go easy on the health inspector routine. Your friends are as aware of food hygiene as you are. Deal with food reservations by being graceful about it. Step back and let your friends enjoy the Thai green croc curry while you go look for a chicken sandwich.

Behaving cranky, moody and rude

A bad mood infects the group with the same. Your buddies (and you too!) have been looking forward to this trip forever. Do a bit of introspection if you feel you are unhappy about something. Don’t throw a tantrum or be too vocal about your disagreements. Take some time off alone with a walk on the beach. A bit of space can sort a lot of issues.

It is very important that group trips are not built on obligations. Just because you are travelling together does not mean you have to see each others’ faces all day. Diverge and converge accordingly. Think of the moment when the trip was planned those many months ago, and try to replicate the same excitement.

Enjoy some short trips before you embark on a long trip. Here are some recommendations. Go for a drive to nearby Nandi Hills Bangalore or spend time in a homestay in Masinagudi. There are many resorts in Kanakapura Road where you can chill with your buddies. Head over to Kabini and surrounding areas for some wild adventures where you can choose from resorts in Bandipur for a comfortable stay

Dos and Don’ts for travelling with colleagues

17 August  |  Listicles

Is travelling an integral part of your job profile and does this need you to team up with your colleagues and spend time away from home? You may share a great rapport with the team but travelling with office colleagues opens up a unique set of dynamics. You cannot exclude the fact that your primary aim of the trip is to finish a specific task that is official and not to enjoy yourself (well, a little bit of fun won’t harm). However, the key lies in being mindful of the boundaries between personal life and work and ensure you don’t lose sight of them. While travelling with coworkers, follow the below mentioned informal rules and you are assured of balancing work and life perfectly.

  1. Maintain Balance

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We often confuse a work trip for a holiday since our colleagues are friends whom we spend a major part of our day with. Make sure you avoid saying or doing anything on a trip, which you wouldn’t say or do back at the office. By maintaining professional boundaries, the relationship is further enhanced as mutual respect grows. Don’t get too personal and end up sharing or asking uncomfortable details or questions that would make your colleague squirm in his/her seat. Imagine how awkward it would become for both concerned individuals once you get back to the office. Surely an outdoor trip is the best time to get to know each other in a better manner, but overdoing it could ruin an otherwise perfect relationship.

  1. Together yet independent

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An official trip is the best time to know more about your work partners as the setting is informal and this helps to break the ice. Having said this, you should never hover around your colleagues continuously as this could get monotonous and boring after a while. It is important to give your colleagues space and probably grab some exclusive time for yourself when there is an opportunity. Eating, drinking, working and travelling together can get slightly tiresome so it is best to back off for a while and regroup later.

  1. Be a sport

While we all know that a working trip entails meetings, discussions, phone calls and conference calls with the family, don’t always be on the phone. Someone who is constantly stuck to the phone or other devices does come across as uninterested in socialising and that’s certainly not the kind of image you would want your coworkers to carry back home. Work is a preference but when a colleague notices you making an effort to make time for him or her, you earn a lot of brownie points for sure.

Always be a good sport and volunteer for tasks. Do not wait until the last moment to reluctantly put your hand up as it would then become evident that you are being forced. Do take charge and responsibility of a few itinerary related tasks and help manage the logistics and travel schedule well in advance. Share responsibilities, look after your colleague when needed, and make the trip a positive experience for yourself and the team.

 

Young and broke travel enthusiasts: Here’s Fool-proof travel Advice for free

17 August  |  Adventure & Travel

The travel bug can hit almost everyone, young or old, male or female, the rich or the poor. Travel, whether it is local or international, apart from the enthusiasm, needs a decent amount of money, without which it is virtually impossible to explore your own country.

At Discovery Village we have spoken to a number of our young guests, and discovered that their trips are often sponsored by their parents or the companies they work for. While some seek pocket friendly options like a homestay in Masinagudi, others look out for team outing resorts near Bangalore. We, at discovery Village cater to both categories of travelers. Pick from our corporate outing resorts in Bangalore and choose a package which gives you access to a number of fun games and activities.

Here are a few hacks to help those who are monetarily dependent and want to put a travel plan together and realise their dream of exploring faraway lands:

Be curious:

We often spend a large portion of our childhood and teenage years doing nothing, except going to school, chatting online and indulging in binges (food and television included). Why not read books and scour the internet for language courses which can be used in later life? In our world where everything is virtual, why not travel virtually? Pick a place, learn its language (there are tons of free online language tutors), understand the people and in a few years, when you are financially independent, travel to the same place and connect to the place at a deeper level.

Work Part-time:

The World over, teenagers are encouraged to take up part-time jobs (except India, probably) and become independent at an early age. If you are 18 and above, squeeze in a couple of hours working part-time at the supermarket or the mall and earn enough to build a nest egg for future travel expeditions. If you are lucky, your employer may even organise a jaunt to Discovery Village, the best place for team outings in Bangalore.

Relatively Speaking

Meeting relatives and spending time with them isn’t exactly a teenager’s idea of a holiday but when you are short of funds and do not have access to money at will, it makes great sense to travel to places where you have your relatives and friends. This way your parents are more than willing to sponsor your trip (partly maybe), and you get to visit some of the coolest places you only dreamt of. The safety factor is high in such cases since you have someone to fall back on during emergencies and also explore the place on your own terms.

Keep an eye out for travelling opportunities

If you really love travelling but financial constraints do not give you the luxury of planning a trip, keep an ear to the ground and look around for opportunities. Think about travelling to a foreign land as an exchange student and you could learn a lot, giving you a different perspective to life’s problems. When we are young, we often get comfortable with all that is going on in our lives and lead a secure and sheltered life. Get out of your comfort zone. Enter travel contests, apply for scholarships or join social media groups of your liking and before you know, you could be applying for a visa or at least booking your flight tickets to a dream location in your country.

 

 

4 Travel Mistakes which Add Fun to Your Travel

09 August  |  Listicles

There are times where unexpected developments totally derail your meticulously planned trip. Whether it is a foreign adventure or a day trip to Nandi Hills Bangalore, the unexpected can add some pleasant surprises and memorable experiences that you will cherish for a long time.

  1. Travel Alone

So the friend just ditched you on the eve of the trip. Of course you are miffed, but you need to get over it. Travelling alone opens up the world even further, as now you do not have to cater to another set of likes and dislikes. Impromptu meals and detours are the order of the day. The best part about travelling alone is that you meet more people. What can be a better way of experiencing a new destination than by interacting with the locals and getting a window into their daily lives? Your planned group getaway to a homestay in Masinagudi can suddenly be a cultural expose to the lifestyles of the forest if you take the trip alone.

  1. Forget Itinerary

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The itinerary can be a curse while travelling, simply because it prioritises time over the un-quantifiable experiences of discovery and satisfaction. If you skip the itinerary, you also break the shackles of having to “tick off boxes” and can afford to get lost in the moment. Keep a mental note and do things for your heart and mood. You may have lost the list of activities for your corporate day outing. That can lead to more spontaneous and natural ice-breaking fun.

  1. Miss Your Flight

Okay, this one is more of a silver lining, but eventually, you will get over the expenses. Missing a flight can end up in some really memorable transit. You are replacing a one hour shuttle with a ferry or a scenic cab ride, maybe a bus journey that will take you through some curious countryside stops. This probably applies if you are missing a short domestic flight. Don’t try it too often.

  1. Do not Plan

Get off the bed, pick up the backpack and throw in some extra shirts and inner wear. Yes, you are leaving town, and a minute ago this was not part of the plan. Call the boss, tell her you need a day off and step out of city limits. Unplanned trips remind us that we are free and independent beneath the chains of the daily routine. If you are doing this with friends, then it can be a more rewarding experience. Some good recommendations for impromptu Bangalore trips are resorts in Masinagudi and surrounding areas. Many resorts in Kanakapura Road also provide a perfect stage for those unplanned getaways.

A great journey is not a closed package, tied up with strings. The happiness you feel the most on a trip may not be that activity that you have been reading up on the net for ages, but something totally unwarranted and serendipitous. Take things as they come. Turn the miscalculations, the mistakes, and the forgotten items, into opportunities for beautiful moments.

Advantages of Travelling with Your Sibling

09 August  |  Family

Travelling with a sibling has a special joy altogether. It is also a great advantage to be on the road with someone who you know your little nuances inside-out and vice versa. Here are the top reasons why you should take a trip with your sibling.

You Know Each Other Closely

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Your sibling will probably not feed you something you are allergic to by mistake. This is just one specific scenario of many which are rooted in the fact that you know each other so well. Also despite all the sibling rivalry, there is always a huge sense of responsibility, especially for the older one towards younger siblings. No one backs each other up like siblings.

There will be no miscommunication regarding the activities you want to indulge in and if you need your space, siblings immediately know it. There is no awkward explanation regarding your choices.

You Don’t Need to Sugar Coat Anything

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A regular sibling relationship would have seen its fair share of fights and disagreements over the years. By now, you don’t need to be formal with each other. Travelling as adults, you can give transparent feedback to each other without worrying about the long term reaction.

Logistics are much easier, as you are family

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It is easier to deal with money when you are travelling with a sibling. Keeping track of spending and loans is more convenient as you already have an inherent understanding of each other. Shared accommodations are easier with a sibling, and there are times when you might have to make some compromises in travel, especially while backpacking. Siblings would be more comfortable sharing space.

Fixing those tickets and hotel rooms are easier as there is more understanding of each other’s budgets and related scenarios. Parents too would more likely encourage their children to travel together rather than with a bunch of people they are not familiar with.

Fall out? You are good the next day

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You are probably going to have a disagreement or two. But with siblings, this won’t end in a sulk marathon or a back biting session. That is because you know each other so well, that the reasons for disagreements are not surprising anymore. In fact, as sure as the tide you probably knew it was coming and glad it is out of the way.

A fall out with a regular person could lead to the perception of mistrust and hurt, these perceptions are rare amongst siblings for minor squabbles, and there is no space for over-thinking. The next day, or even a couple of hours later, a favourite cocktail or a bar of chocolate is more than enough to make amends.

An Enriching Experience

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Travelling with a sibling, most importantly, creates beautiful memories and strengthens the bond you share. As you grow older and your respective priorities take you on different paths in life, it is moments like these that you will cherish more and more. Take the time out now and enjoy a trip of a lifetime with a family member who is also a great friend. If you don’t have the time or resources to go on a long trip, plan a short one to Nandi Hills Bangalore or ahomestay in Masinagudi. Other recommendations include Bandipur resorts and other close-by resorts in Kanakpura road.

5 Tips to Help You Travel Better and Safer During Monsoons

03 August  |  Listicles

The monsoons are a resplendent time of the year, as India’s forests and riverine landscapes come alive. You also need to take extra care when travelling during this season, from your diet to your gear, to ensure that you experience it fully without the pains of illness or injury to “dampen” your experience.

  1. Select the Right Attire

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Travelling in the monsoon season will leave you to the vagaries of the elements. Indian monsoons are also very humid so if you are thinking of picking up a rain suit, skip it and opt for a poncho instead. The latter allows for more breathing and covers you from head to knees. There are two choices of footwear and bottoms. Keep the temperature in mind. For warmer climes, you are better off in shorts and sandals while long boots and thicker pants work for a colder climate. Go for more synthetic, easy-to-dry clothes. The last thing you need is a heavy wet garment that takes ages to dry off.

When it comes to shoes, go for more grip. Larger lugs are better if you are going to negotiate some muddy terrain. The problem with most regular shoes is that the lugs in the soles get filled up quickly when the ground is soft with slush or mud. This then creates a flat surface which does not allow for any grip, and you will be sliding along embarrassingly like a cow on a skating rink.

  1. Umbrella and a Raincoat

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You will probably not want to walk around town in a plastic poncho all the time during the rains. It is always good to invest in a large umbrella; wide enough to make sure it protects your upper body from the rains. A rain coat is also another good buy as it allows you mobility, especially in crowded places.

  1. Relish well-cooked Food

Monsoon season is the season of life. Life also includes microbes which thrive in warm and humid conditions. Never leave food out in the open for too long and skip the raw salad if you are suspicious about the cleaning process. Freshly cooked food is the safest bet for the monsoons. Spices are good as they preserve meats and vegetables. Avoid eating in places where hygiene is not a priority; such places are usually easy to spot. When on the road when choosing a Dhaba, you can always snoop around a kitchen before ordering your meal there.

  1. Carry a First-aid Box

Keeping a bunch of medicines and first-aid supplies handy is very important when travelling during the monsoons. A bad tummy or a slight fever is something to be expected once in a while so quick medication helps. While engaging in monsoon treks and similar physical activities, cuts and bruises happen. A First-aid kit is especially useful if you are adventuring beyond the nearest towns or villages, away from medical facilities.Extra tips for a good monsoon experience would include special storage for your expensive electronic gear, from phones to lenses. Also, keep an eye on the weather reports, as the monsoon brings about severe conditions like landslides and floods which are not to be messed with. Carry insect repellent.

Relish the beauty of the monsoons with respect. Pay heed to the warning signs and always be on the safe side when it comes to physical safety and health.

Keep Yourself Fit Even During the Monsoon Season

03 August  |  Miscellaneous

The monsoon is here and you need to keep your outdoors fitness regime going on. However, mud and slush do not provide the best setting for a good workout. Here are some tips to keep you fit during the rainy season. With minimal space and an indoor setting, these activities are ideal exercises.

Hit the Treadmill

The Treadmill may not be able to replicate the trail runs and jogging track sessions that you are used to, but it is a very convenient and consistent way to get your walks and runs done, no matter what the weather. Treadmills also allow for different levels of inclination and speeds, so you can mix it up a bit and try to mirror a regular outdoor run. A good 20-minute sprint at around 10 kilometres per hour will help you burn close to 200 calories.

Swiss Ball

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A light elastic ball between 14 and 34 inches in diameter, a Swiss Ball is a common feature in a gym or an aerobic studio. Swiss Ball exercises help in improving posture and balance and include many exercises that strengthen your back muscles and address back pain. Considered one of the best core workout accessories, Swiss Balls can be used anywhere and do not require a large space.

Dance Aerobics

Whether it is from a series of videos or during a full-fledged class, the joy of Dance Aerobics is that it blurs the line between fun and exercise. From samba to Bollywood, you can learn moves that help build core strength and burn lots of calories. You can also show off some of those mean steps at the next party.

Try Yoga

Yoga is eternal. Nothing is as harmonious to your body as the movements that you learn in Yoga. From basic asanas to breathing exercises, this ancient set of fitness rituals helps promote not only physical but emotional and mental well-being as well. All you need is some space to yourself and a mat, and Yoga can be the perfect monsoon past time.

Skipping

We probably have tried this as kids. Skipping is very simple and that is the wonderful part about this exercise. From leg strength to toning your core, Skipping sessions can get intense. And don’t forget the calories burnt. Skipping is a great monsoon activity as it can be performed in the house and barely takes space.

In addition, the rainy seasons provide a different charm altogether if you step out. Punctuate your regime with some relaxed sessions. Encourage a corporate day outing amongst your peers or take the family to cosy up in one of the resorts in Kanakapura Road for a weekend. There are many verdant paradises blooming in the wet season. Choose a homestay in Masinagudi or browse a list of Bandipur resorts. If you have just a few hours, catch some monsoon mist in Nandi Hills Bangalore.

The monsoon weather is a season of life and rejuvenation. Make sure this is happening in your life too with the right exercises and a getaway once in a while.