India is a vast country with diverse geography, culture, and communities that provide amazing moments and experiences for travelers. India’s well-established tourism destinations regularly feature on several glossy magazines where the majestic Taj Mahal continues to enchant visitors, while Goa remains the ultimate hippy resort. The fabled hill-stations of India attract millions of visitors seeking peace and spiritual awareness, while the backwaters and misty rolling hills of Kerala remain the preferred luxury destination for visitors. Then, we have the princely state of Rajasthan, a paradise for culture seekers and history revelers.
The popular destinations of India are enjoying ever-increasing popularity among tourists arriving into the country. However, India has several off-beat destinations that are lesser known and are still free from the clutches of touristy commercialization. Travel down the off-beaten paths and explore the offbeat destinations of India. Some destinations are recommended by friends at HolidayMe (EN|AR) and I completely agree with their choices!
Check out some of the amazing lesser known destinations of India!
Nubra Valley: Drive down the treacherous high altitude roads, cross the dangerous Khardung La Pass, one of the highest motor-able passes in the world, and finally arrive at Nubra Valley. This beautiful valley is surrounded by high mountains and shaped by two beautiful rivers – Shyok and Nubra, and also has a stretch of white sand desert. Once a part of the centuries old Silk Route, it’s now the last northernmost frontier of India. This beautiful region is also known for its double-humped Bactrian camel.
Gurez Valley: Closed till 2007 on the orders of the Indian Government, Gurez is one of the hidden gems of this beautiful country. Located close to the Line of Control in Kashmir, Gurez Valley is the epitome of heaven on earth. Its central township, Dawar, is cut-off from the world for almost half the year due to snowfall. The region has unique flora and fauna and is home to rare wildlife including the likes of Himalayan brown bear and snow leopard. The beautiful Kishenganga River flows through the valley making it even more surreal.
Spiti Valley: Spiti Valley is a photographers’ and trekkers’ delight. Located at an altitude of 12,500 feet above sea level, this stunning valley is surrounded by barren hills, green farms and stunning terraced Buddhist monasteries and cluster villages. Even clouds playfully roam, creating shadows over the dramatic land. See the stunning Ki and Tabo monasteries, a uniquely peaceful place. Blue skies with floating white clouds over stunning landscapes like these is a dream for photographers.
Ziro Valley: In the northeastern corner lies the Ziro Valley in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. This beautiful green valley is blessed with wonderful climate all-round the year. The land to Apatani tribe, this beautiful valley is blessed with rolling green farms, bamboo huts and misty hills covered with deep forests. The valley is a delight for photographers. If you are visiting this valley, also consider to the other parts of northeast like Sikkim, Gangtok and more. There is a lot to do in Northeast and this part of India still remains untouched as compared to the other destinations in India. Sikkim tourism and the experiences offered here need to be at the top of your bucket list.
Dhanushkodi: Dhanushkodi is a ghost town that had suffered extensive damage in the cyclone of 1964. Today, the remains of its past is visible in its desolate and depleted buildings strewn around beautiful white sand beaches and azure waters of Palk Straits. Visit the Dhanushkodi Rama Setu Point and the Pamban Railway Station that suffered one of the worst train disasters in Indian history.
Little Rann of Kutch: Part of the Great Rann of Kutch, this interesting landscape is also home to the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary. This vast saline desert is filled with thorny shrubs, salt marshlands and lakes that attracts migratory birds. On full moon night, the vast white coloured desert provides a unique mirage of a being a serene bluish desert in the moonlight. The dry and harsh climate makes it one of the most difficult places to live in India.
Kila Raipur: Kila Raipur is a famous village located in the Ludhiana district of Punjab and is renowned for its annual Kila Raipur Sports Festival. Known as Rural Olympics of Punjab, it was started by philanthropist Inder Singh Grewal in the year 1933. Today, Kila Raipur attracts thousands of locals and foreigners alike in the month of February to witness the unique rural competitions and other cultural events.
Ponmudi: Ponmudi is a beautiful hill station located in the Indian state of Kerala. It lies at an altitude of 1100 metres above the sea level and is part of Western Ghats. Blessed with rolling green hills that are often covered in fog and mists and beautiful meadows make it one of the most off-beat and beautiful hill retreats in India. The beautiful hills of Ponmudi is also a birdwatchers and trekkers delight. Beautiful Kallar River, Meenmutty Falls and dense forests are also an added lure for visitors.
Sandakphu: Located in the Darjeeling district in the Indian state of West Bengal, Sandakphu lies at an altitude of 11,941 feet above the sea level and means, Height of the Poison Plant’ because of the poisonous aconite plants that grow near the peak. However, this peak near the India – Nepal border also offers views of some of the highest peaks in the world, including Everest, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu.
Majuli: Majuli is a large island located in the Brahmaputra River in the Indian state of Assam. This beautiful island is a treasure of culture and precious flora and fauna. This precious island is steadily getting eroded but has enough charms to enthral travellers. Dark green forests of wetlands coupled with mud huts of thatched roofs and green paddy farms add a very exotic look to this offbeat destination.