Fashion designer Bibhu Mohapatra shares his favorite holiday travel destinations, from his home state of Orissa in the east to Goa in the west.
Orissa: “The season actually starts in October with Durga Puja, which honors the goddess Durga, and Diwali, the festival of lights (the date depends on the Hindu calendar). On Hindu holidays, my mom would make a traditional Orissan dish called pitha, steamed crêpes made of rice and stuffed with anything except meat—grated caramelized coconut; chopped vegetables and spices. There is a local chain of restaurants called Dalma known for its pithas.
“Between Christmas and New Year’s, we stay at the Mayfair Hotel (Chakratirtha Rd.; 91-67/5222-7800; doubles from $160), on the beach in Puri, one of the four major religious spots in India. As a ritual, we go to the Jagannath Temple (Sri Nahar, Puri; 91-67/5222-3002) and Konark Sun Temple (Konark; 91-67/5823-6821).”
Mumbai: “At the Taj Mahal Palace hotel (doubles from $459), I beg to get a room in the Palace wing. I eat at Trishna (dinner for two $75), a seafood restaurant just behind the hotel, and Mahesh Lunch Home (8B Cawasji Patel St.; 91-22/2287-0938; dinner for two $75), a hole-in-the-wall where they get their fish from coastal villages daily. The crab meat cooked with garlic and butter on freshly baked naan or roti is heaven, though I’d probably die of a heart attack if I ate it every day.”
Goa: “Christmas is the best time to be in Goa. One year we rented an old stone house in the beach town of Morjim. We woke up Christmas morning to church bells ringing and walked around the village, and then went to the Convent & Church of St. Francis of Assisi (just off Old Goa Rd.) for the service.” —Sarah Khan