Love is in the air, and couples can't seem to have enough of each other. If there was ever a time of the year to pop the question, it is now.
Whoa!!! Hold your horses before you do that though. You want to be sure the answer will be a resounding yes. The mood, the setting, the moment - all have to be just right. Agony aunts will advise a candlelight dinner with a ring at the bottom of a glass of the finest wine in town - it may work if Cupid is really hard at work. But how about changing the script a bit? Take the lady - or the man (who says it is only a man's job to take the lead?) - to a locale where the senses can feel all that is beautiful and wonderful in this world. And that is when you should whisper - or shout - how you want your future together. And if you don't get a yes even then, take your money back. And find a new partner.
Here are seven places in India where I have felt the most romantic - with a few additional tips from others thrown in. You know where to head to if wedding bells are what you want to hear:
1. While driving on the highway
For me, freedom is driving on the highway. The steering wheel makes me feel in control of my life. It feels liberating. Go on a long drive. Allow the wind to hit your face. Just when you feel both of you are the happiest you can be, say it out loud. For Arushi Arora, the highway represents finding a good travelling companion who promises a lifetime of such road trips.
Warning: Don't step on the gas recklessly when you hear the answer.
2. Ladakh: At the top of the world - literally, and figuratively
Unless you are an extreme adventure seeker and can climb high peaks, Ladakh is one of the highest place where mere mortals can travel to. And at most places, it will just be the two of you surrounded by nature at its wondrous best. The celestial world will be rooting for you when you ask for her - or his - hand. The answer will then truly make you feel at the top of the world. As Lorraine Linstead adds, "Ladakh can be a life changing trip. What comes after will be a lifetime of ups and downs, just like the mountains - so it is symbolic."
Warning: Get acclimatised to the high altitude before you go for it.
3. At any of the historical wonders of India
India is home to some of the most underrated historical man-made wonders on this planet. Other than the Taj Mahal, most have not received their due. When I stand at locations like the caves at Ajanta and Ellora, or the temples of Khajuraho and Hampi, I get the goose bumps: How on earth did artisans manage such workmanship with the most rudimentary of technologies? The magic words Astha Mittal wants to hear at the ruins of Hampi: "Will you please let me be ruined for life my love!" Meghnaa Siingh is happy with "any historical ruin in Delhi...a baoli (stepwell) and moonlight can make for such a romantic night."
Warning: Public display of affection is not appreciated in these places - keep the kisses away. For now!!
4. Go to a beach. Surf. Dive deep. Say it under water.
For a long time, beaches in India for me meant the crowded ones at Goa and Mumbai. Till I discovered many more pristine ones along the coastline running for thousands of miles. Say it here. Nanki Kaur sums it up aptly: "I would like to be proposed in the Andamans Islands. Maybe while we are deep sea diving; it would be so peaceful and quiet amidst the corals. That would be the best way to feel each other's presence. Totally pure."
Warning: If water is not for you, play it safe and stay beachside.
5. Udaipur - or anywhere in Rajasthan
Agra may boast the ultimate symbol of love, but romantics would rather head to Rajasthan - there is something about the region. According to Vidhi Rastogi: "It is Udaipur and only Udaipur!!! My hubby did not propose to me there, but it's such a romantic place...the Pichola lake, the picturesque hotels, the moonlight dancing on the lake, an ancient temple as the backdrop!!" A client of Philippa Kaye, a travel consultant, proposed to his lady on a private pontoon on Lake Pichola followed by fireworks around the entire lake after she agreed.
Warning: Avoid the summers in Rajasthan.
6. In the wild. With raindrops falling on your head.
Nita Verma's idea of the best spot to propose is in the wild, close to nature, the sounds of the jungle providing the background score... with dewdrops falling from the leaves, or raindrops from skies above. Who can disagree? Nothing more needs to be said.
Warning: You will be hard-pressed to find a forest where you are allowed to be by yourself without a guard or a guide.
7. The Northeast of India
This is one region that is less explored, innocence hangs in the air, lives are simple, and people are happy. Isn't that how all relationships are when they start? There are countless spots where you could say it with twinkling eyes. Upasana Chandan Sharma points one out: "Smit village in Meghalaya. The landscape is straight out of Wuthering Heights; I would almost feel like a Catherine if anyone ever proposed to me in such a location."
Warning: You will not find luxury suites to pamper each other. But the world around will feel like one if you hear a yes.