Offbeat Destinations in India
Offbeat destinations - does it ring a bell? Though, some may relate it with tourism in a flash, it may still remain a bit unfamiliar to a lot of people! Well, that's the beauty of offbeat destinations. They remain little-known and by and large unexplored. Offbeat destinations are ideal for visitors who are bored and tired of traditional tourist destinations and looking for places that come with a lineament - 'something different
' written all over it! Offbeat destinations are (fortunately or unfortunately) unsung and are waiting to be discovered.
It is an irrefutable fact that India
is a land that presents variegated options for tourism. Be its sandy beaches, historic religious sites, exuberant rain forests, brumous hill stations, breathtaking waterfalls, stupendous mountain ranges, scorching deserts, noteworthy wildlife sanctuaries - you name it - the land has it all! India creates an ultimate allurement for the visitors from across the world for its diverse tourism background and the land extends eternal opportunities for travelers. India is the home of a lot of offbeat (unusually attractive) destinations that are ready and waiting to be explored.
Offbeat yet must-visit destinations in India are places that do not fit the bill of the most popular destinations, but still guarantee a remarkable experience to people who have a great desire for something - unique! Let's find out some of the top offbeat destinations in India (in no particular order).
Chopta - Unspoilt Picturesque Paradise
Image Source: Flickr Dirk Hartung
If you are looking for a hill station in Uttarakhand that is 'nothing like' a typical hotspot or a traditional hill station, then the name is Chopta. Located at an elevation of 2700 m (8858.27 ft) above sea level, in the district of Rudraprayag of the northern state of Uttarakhand, Chopta is one of the most exquisite, non commercialized and unspoiled hill stations in all of North India. The picturesque hill station is fenced by thick woodlands and extends breathtaking panorama of snow-covered Himalayan chains of mountains and exuberant greeneries.
The luxuriant nature spot is the home of a diverse range of flora and fauna, with a great deal of Pine trees, Rhododendron (Rhododendron ferrugineum) and Deodar trees (Himalayan cedar). What is more, Chopta is the starting point for trekking to the renowned Tungnath - the highest and one among the five Panch Kedar temples. The amazing hill station also offers jaw dropping views of the Ganesh parwat, Trishul, Chaukhamba, Bandar Poonch, Nanda Devi and many other Himalayan peaks. The hill station offers many other trekking options which include Chandrashilla, Kartikswami and Devariya Tal. Altogether, the Chopa hill station is an ideal getaway for trekkers, adventure seekers and a perfect address for a peaceful holiday with family and friends.
Best Time to Visit: April to June and September to November
Things to Do: Trekking, Snow skiing, Camping, Rock climbing, Rappelling and so on
Also Read: Tourism in Uttarakhand
Loktak Lake - The Floating Wonder
Image Source: Flickr Amitangshu Acharya
Located near the small town of Moirang in the beautiful state of Manipur, Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the North-Eastern India. The singular lake is known for the series of floating islands, widely called as 'Phumdis'. The lake offers vast opportunities for travelers to experience the placid and scenic surroundings and its various small hills and islets that are dotted with phumdis of unlike patterns. Among the various islands of Loktak Lake, Phubala and Sandra are the most significant ones that they offer a wide range of facilities for travelers. From the accommodation set atop the Sandra Island, the panorama of the lake-atmosphere will be nothing short of terrific!
Keibul Lamjao National Park, the only floating park in the world, is an integral part of the Loktak Lake. The lake is the home of a diverse range of flora, fauna, and avifauna and aqua fauna. Some of the most significant residents of the national park include endangered Manipur brow-antlered deer (Cervus eldi eldi) also known as sangai, large Indian civet (Viverra zibetha), checkered garter snake, endangered Python molurus, Python molurus, musk shrew, East Himalayan pied kingfisher, Indian white-breasted waterhen and so on. Boat trip is the best way to explore the park and visiting the park between 6 AM to 10 AM and 3:30 to 6:00 in the afternoon offers good chance of witnessing the endangered sangai deer that usually come out in herds to feed.
Best Time to Visit: November to March
Also Read: Tourism in Manipur
Shekhawati - Open Art Gallery of Rajasthan
If you are into history or architecture, or even an art buff, head straight to the Shekhawati historical region located in Rajasthan. Shekhawati is a place that is worth listing in your travel plan. Situated in the northeast part of Rajasthan, a lot of travelers leave out Shekhawati and opt for more renowned tourist attractions in the region. Nevertheless, this singular historical region is regarded as the largest open air art gallery in the world! Shekhawati's history is nothing short of enthralling. The region was established in the 18th century and governed by the Shekhawat Rajputs.
Several forts and palaces were constructed by Shekhawat rulers. Besides, the Shekhawat Rajputs introduced frescoes (durable method of painting on the wall by using watercolors on wet plaster) in their structures and are recognized for their painted havelis. The havelis (private mansions with architectural significance) are renowned for their frescos portraying a wide range of subjects. The paintings include depiction of religious figures, life of Lord Rama, life of Lord Krishna and several other images, extravagantly painted on the mansions in Shekhawati. Best Time to Visit:
October to MarchFestival:
Annual Shekhawati Festival in FebruaryAlso Read: Tourism in Rajasthan
Majuli - World's Largest Fresh Water Island
Celebrated as the 'World’s largest fresh water island
', this amazing river island located on the banks of the River Brahmaputra
is just 20 km away from the Cultural Capital of Assam - Jorhat. The awe-inspiring Majuli island
is easily accessible by ferry boats from the urban center of Jorhat. Majuli was actually shaped due to course alterations by the river Brahmaputra and its affluents, principally the Lohit.
Being a land that is saturated with water, Majuli is a lively entertainment spot with rich flora and fauna, having a lot of uncommon and threatened migratory birds that make it during the winter season. Some of the most popular birds of Majuli Island include greater adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius), Siberian crane also known as Siberian white crane/snow crane (Leucogeranus leucogeranus), lesser whistling duck (Dendrocygna javanica) and Pelicans.Hotspots for Bird Watching
- Northern Part of Majuli Island
- Southwest and Southeast Part of Majuli Island
Apart from rich flora and fauna and bird watching, some of the top tourist interests in Majuli include Vaishnava Satra, Paal Namm and various other festivals, Pottery making, Sunset, Mask making and so on.Best Time to Visit:
October, November, December, January, February, MarchAlso Read: Tourism in Assam
Gokarna - Hotspot of Unspoilt Beaches
Image Source: Flickr Roopesh Chander
Located in the Uttara Kannada district in the southern state of Karnataka, Gokarna is an established pilgrimage center that is clearly unappreciated for its plethora of beaches. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the beaches of Gokarna could become a tough competitor to the amazing beaches of Goa! The awe hits the visitors right from the drive up as the twisting itinerary that heads to Gokarna is absolutely terrific, with the Arabian Sea on one side and the never ending rocky mountain stretches and Western Ghats mountain ranges on the other.
Some of the must visit beaches of Gokarna include Gokarna beach also known as Indian beach, Om beach, Main beach, Paradise beack also known as Full moon beach, Kuddle beach and Nirvana beach. Gokarna is a one of the most singular destinations that can impress pilgrims and leisurely travelers alike!
Best Time to Visit:
January, February, March, October, November, DecemberThings to Do:
Parasailing, Trekking, Boat rides, Snorkelling and so onAlso Read: Tourism in Karnataka
Nubra Valley - Hidden Trasure of Leh
A mesmerizing valley situated to the north-east of Ladakh, Nubra Valley
is a land of celestial, dateless beauty, which more or less resembles a scenic painting and is certainly a miracle worth beholding. A high altitude desert region, Nubra Valley rests on the Silk route, approximately 140 km away from Leh. The Shyok River and Siachan River also known as Nubra River courses through the valley, extending it a spellbinding effect.
The natural elevation of Nubra valley is about 10,000 ft (3048 m) at the placid settlement of Hunder and 10,600 ft (3230 m) at Panamik village with atmospheric conditions ranging between 15-28 C during summer. Hunder village is the end point for holidaymakers and route on the far side extends to the Siachen Base Camp of Indian Army. A home to the double humped camels, Nubra Valley is a destination to explore if you’re looking to be becharmed by the marvels of the natural wealth of India. Best Time to Visit:
June, July, August, SeptemberThings to Do:
Double hump Bactarian Camel safariMust Visit Tourist Interests:
Diskit monastery, Samstanling monastery, Panamik hot springs, Hunder sand dunes and so onAlso Read: Tourism in Jammu & Kashmir
Gurudongmar Lake - Towering Fresh Water Lake
Image Source: Flickr Amol Hatwar
Located at an elevation of 5,210 m (17,100 ft), the Gurudongmar Lake also written as Gurudogmar Lake in Sikkim is one of the most towering fresh water lakes in the world. The second highest lake in the country (first being the Cholamu lake 18,000 ft), the Gurudongmar Lake is regarded as one of the most sacred lakes in India. The lake water is believed to have healing attributes and many visitors carry the sacred water with them on their way back. The lake is embraced by snow-covered ranges of mountains. The bewitching lake stays entirely frozen out in the wintertime.
The adventurous trek from Lachen to the Gurudongmar lake is a brilliant experience explorers. Visitors can seek permission from the Indian army to trek from Gurudongmar Lake to Tso Lhsmo Lake. The Gurudongmar Lake can be accessed by road from Lachen via Thangu. Just about the lake is a 'Sarva Dharma Sthal', and as the name hints, it’s a house of worship for people of all religious beliefs.
Best Time to Visit:
November to JuneAlso Read: Tourism in Sikkim
Malana - Solitary Beauty of Himachal Pradesh
A truly offbeat destination, Malana is located at an elevation of 3,029 m above sea level on the banks of the Malana River. Situated to the northeast of the Valley of the Gods - Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh, Malana is an ancient hamlet wholly isolated from the world! Untouched by forward-looking culture, Malana has its own singular lifestyle and social system that natives appreciate and follow their unique customs. Looked at as one of the first democracies in the globe, Malana has been the field of study of assorted documentary films which include ' Malana, A Lost Identity
' and 'Malana: Globalization of a Himalayan Village
Travelers are well-advised to pay attention and adopt the prescribed tracks and not to touch any of the natives, walls and houses in the village. In case, if it happens, tourists are asked to pay a penalty, as a compensation for the animal sacrifice that are performed in order to sanctify the object that has been touched or made impure according to the Malanis. Tourists are required to submit a duly signed 'letter of consent' expressing that anything that occurs in Malana shall be addressed by the local governing body and no other legal power can step in.
Best Time to Visit:
March to OctoberAlso Read: Tourism in Himachal Pradesh
Sandakphu - Promised Land of Adventurers
Image Source: Flickr Abhijit Kar Gupta
Located at an elevation of 11,941 ft (3,636 m), Sandakphu is the highest peak in the eastern state of West Bengal. Lying on the border of the Singalila National Park
(Darjeeling district) on the West Bengal-Nepal border, Sandakphu peak is the summit of the north-south running mountain ridge of Singalila Ridge. Everest, Makalu, Kangchenjunga and Lhotse - the four peaks among the five highest peaks in the globe can be witnessed from Sandakphu.
The word 'Sandakphu
' implies ‘Height of the Poison Plant
’ for the toxicant aconite floras that grow in abundance near the summit. Sandakphu can be accessed only by trekking which usually takes over 12 hours, but trekkers generally would like to make a stopover at the tiny villages en route. The trekking path takes the visitors through the Singalila National Park, where one can catch a glimpse of the famous Red Panda, Clouded Leopard, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Himalayan Newt, and Himalayan Black Bear and so on. This is the most preferred trekking routes in the Eastern Himalayas, for of the glorious panoramas of the Kanchenjunga and Mount Everest, along with the rare blooming of awe-inspiring Himalayan wildflowers scattering all over the landscape and a great bird watching probabilities.Best Time to Visit:
April to May and October to NovemberAlso Read: Tourism in West Bengal
Dhanushkodi - The Ghost Town
Image Source: Flickr Mike Prince
Often written as ‘Danushkodi’ in the local language, Dhanushkodi is an abandoned town which comprises of significant remains. Located at the southeast point of the Rameswaram Island
also known as Pamban Island, Dhanushkodi is just 29 km away from the neighboring country of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. During the year 1964, the region stomached major scathe in a withering cyclone that washed off the Dhanushkodi railway line and left the town deserted.
The ghost town is often associated with the Hindu scripture of Ramayana and devotees generally take holy dip in the ocean in Dhanushkodi before completing the Rameswaram pilgrimage. Also, Dhanushkodi is regarded as a consecrated meeting of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. It is important to mention that visitors and pilgrims reach Dhanushkodi either on foot along the coast on the dunes or in landrovers and other vehicles of local fishermen. As the sea is shallow at Dhanushkodi, travelers can take a walk into Bay of Bengal and see the colorful fishes, corals, star fishes and sea cucumber (holothurian) and so on. Note:
Advisable to visit during the day and come back to Rameswaram before sunsetBest Time to Visit:
Throughout the yearAlso Read: Tourism in Tamil Nadu
Papi Hills - Picturesque Gorge of Andhra Pradesh
Image Source: Flickr harikrish.h
Situated at the border meeting of East Godavari and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh and Khammam district in Telangana, Papi Hills is a perfect illustration of uninfluenced natural beauty! Popularly called as Papi Kondalu in the local language of Telugu, Papi Hills is regarded as the 'Kashmir of the South India
' for its beautiful surroundings that is endowed with a waterfall.
Visitors can enter the scenic location from Rajahmundry or from Kunavaram. Papi Hills is all about astounding boat rides amidst untouched nature. Boat trips to Papi Hills are regularly operated from Polavaram, Bhadrachalam and Kunavaram. The spellbinding hills embrace woodland where each settlement on the banks of the Godavari River has some sort of attractions and peculiarities. Tourists can book boat rides through online by visiting the official website of Andhra Pradesh Tourism.Best Time to Visit:
Throughout the yearAlso Read: Tourism in Andhra Pradesh
Naukuchiatal - Lake of Nine Corners
Image Source: Flickr sandeepachetan
A modest hill station located in Uttarakhand, Naukuchiatal
is located at an altitude of 4,002.62 ft above sea level. The deepest lake in the region, Naukuchiatal is fenced by verdures and is an ideal spot for a great summer retreat. The scenic lake is 53.34 deep and stretches for about 980 m. The Naukuchiatal Lake is a certainly a natural therapist in affording peace and quiet, far away from pollution and hot atmospheric conditions.
The hill station is best kept off in the time of year of heavy rainfall and winter because of undue snowfall. A small Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Brahma is seen and people perform Parikrama or Pradakshina of the lake to get his blessings. Some of the must visit places of interest nearby the Naukuchiatal Lake include Mukteshwar, Sat Tal, Hanuman Temple, Nainital,
Ranikhet, Bhim Tal, Haldwani and so on. Altogether, Naukuchiatal is all about panoramas of green fields, blanket of wildflowers and tuneful songs of birds!Best Time to Visit:
March to June and September to NovemberAlso Read: Tourism in Uttarakhand
Lonar - World's Third Largest Crater
Located on the fringes of Loanar Town in Buldhana District of Maharashtra
, Lonar is the prehistorical place of a meteoroid which rammed on earth about 50,000 years ago and created a massive crater. Although the world has seen several craters, Lonar is the only salt water lake formed in basaltic rock in the globe, tagging it an important spot for research projects. It is remarked that there are no living beings found in the lake and even trees whose roots enter the lake water perish.
Today, as a typical unsung destination, Lonar has so much to offer in tourist point of view that the site is munificently gifted with lush flora and a wide range of fauna. Lonar is the home to a number of Chinkara, Gazelles, Tailor Birds, Magpies, Black Droungos, Green Bee Eaters and a variety of migratory birds as well. A Hindu temple dedicated to Kamalja Devi is also found near the lake. A tourist resort operated by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation is available close to the site. Best Time to Visit:
October to MarchAlso Read: Tourism in Maharashtra
Khajjiar - The Mini Switzerland
Image Source: Flickr Srinivasan G
A quiet little hill station located in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh is an amazing, enchanting destination that makes a perfect pleasure trip. Far away from the bustling cities and towns, this serene hill station has a minuscule lake in the heart of the town, on which is a floating land mass. Flowed by slim watercourses, this modest lake lies in the middle of the magnanimous tract of land of Khajjiar.
Located about 2,000 m above sea level, the picturesque hill station is smothered by lush meadows and dense woodlands. The tract of land and the lake are believed to be sacred to Khajjinag (after whom the spot is named). Altogether, Khakkiar is all about a unique combination of three different ecosystems, that is, forest, pasture and lake. Besides, Khajjiar extends a lot of trekking opportunities to the visitors. Some of the must visit places of interest in Khajjiar include Dauladhar mountains, Khajjinag temple and so on.Best Time to Visit:
March to OctoberNote:
Khajjiar is a part of the Kalatop Khajjiar SanctuaryAlso Read: Tourism in Himachal Pradesh
Drass - The Gateway to Ladakh
Image Source: Flickr sandeepachetan
Situated just about 60 km away from Kargil, 270 km from Leh and 140 km from Srinagar in Jammu & Kashmir, Drass, resting at a mean altitude of 10,761.2 ft, is home to the Dard line of descent. The beautiful town is the second most coldest inhabited region on the globe, where the mercury level goes down to minus 50 degrees in winters. Drass offers a terrific view of the famous Tolloling Range and Tiger hill also known as Point 4660 and play a significant role of being a base to several trekking paths.
The most audacious Suru Valley trekking, which usually takes 72 hours, transiting many notches, scenic highland hamlets and flower spread fields, is taken up from the Drass town. Some of the must visit places of interest in Drass include Kargil War Memorial, Brigade War Valley, Mushko Valley, Zoji La, Sando Top and so on. Snowfalls during wintertimes lower the temperature of Drass town to as low as minus 40 degrees.Best Time to Visit:
May to SeptemberAlso Read: Tourism in Jammu & Kashmir
Chikhaldara - Epic Hill Station!
Referred in the Sanskrit epic of ancient India, the Mahabharata, Chikhaldara is the very place where Bhimasena defeated the nefarious Kichaka (the army commander of Matsya) and threw away his lifeless body into the valley. Located at an altitude of 3,898 ft (1,188 m) above sea level, Chikhaldara, also known as 'Bhim Kund
' in the local language, is the only hill station in the Vidarbha region. Besides, the hill station has got yet another fame that Chikhaldara is the only area in all of Maharashtra where coffee plantation is done. The exclusive hill station is also famous for its wildlife that Chikhaldara is the home of panthers, wild dogs, wild boar, sambar and so on.
Chikhaldara is endued with mysterious vales covered with fog most of the year and imperial trees. With the richness of scenic beauty, rare wildlife, spellbinding waterfalls and a tranquil lake, Chikhaldara is a perfect summer retreat. It is important to mention that the illustrious Melghat Tiger Reserve (Project Tiger) in Amravati District is just 86.5 km away from the Chikhaldara hill station (via MH SH 204 and MH SH 203). Some of the other places of interest nearby Chikhaldara include Popular tourist attractions around are Chikhaldara Wildlife Sanctuary, Wan Sanctuary, Gavilgad Fort, Shakkar Lake and so on. Best Time to Visit:
October to JuneAlso Read: Tourism in Maharashtra
Roopkund Lake - The Skeleton Lake of India
Popularly known as the 'Mystery Lake
', Roopkund Lake is a high elevation icy lake located in Uttarakhand. Roopkund Lake occupied the headlines of newspapers when a number of human skeletons were discovered at the lake. The lake is located in a spot that is deserted and is situated in the Himalayas at an elevation of about 16,499 ft (5,029 m ). The Roopkund Lake is encompassed by snow-covered mountain ranges and glaciers making it an ideal trekking address. As a matter of fact, Roopkund Lake is one of the liveliest trekking spots in the Himalayas.
Trekking to the lake is a breathtaking experience that trekkers have to pass through dense Himalayan Forests, meadow lands in Ali Bugyal and Bedni bugyals and then the rough terrains, affording a never before trekking experience. With good fortune with the weather condition, one can finish the trek between 5 to 6 days. Roopkund Trek is regarded among the preferred trek routes in the country. Best Time to Visit:
May-June and September-OctoberAlso Read: Tourism in Uttarakhand
Chembra Peak - Unsung Landmark of Wayanad
If you are an adorer of solacing natural beauty and if you have a passion for adventure, then Chembra Peak in Wayanad, will be an ideal spot for you! The highest in Wayanad, the Chembra Peak is located about 6,900 ft (2,100 m) above sea level. Chembra is situated close to the town of Meppady and is just 8 km away from the town of Kalpetta. Chembra is a division of the Wayanad hill ranges in Western Ghats mountain ranges, abutting Vellarimala of Kozhikode territorial dominion in
and the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu.
Chembra Peak can be reached only by trekking from Meppady. The district tourism promotion council (DTPC) offers tourist guides and trekking gears for hire. Trekkers should get prior permission from the Meppady forest office to climb up to Chembra Peak. A picturesque heart shaped lake en route to the Chembra peak is one of the finest attractions seen during the trek. The lake can be found midway to the peak. Usually, the trek to the peak takes 180 minutes, and visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of entire Wayanad and divisions of Malappuram, Nilgiri districts (Tamil Nadu) and Kozhikkode.
Best Time to Visit: Throughout the yearAlso Read: Tourism in Kerala
Palolem Beach - The Unspoiled Beauty of Goa
Image Source: Flickr Valeria Bolotova
Palolem is one among the most adorable beaches in Goa. This is a natural beach walled by towering forelands on both sides. The outcome is terrific - a serene, idyllic ocean with a gently inclining bed that grants the visitors to take the air more than 300 ft out from the beach. Located approximately 40 km from Margao, Palolem Beach is mostly unspoilt and is occupied by regional fishermen and by travelers.
Both sides of the Palolem beach feature a lot of rocks protruding into the ocean. The depth of the ocean increases step by step, being shallowest at the northerly end, making it safe and secure for amateur. As Palolem is a quiet little town, the region can be easily explored by walk! Besides, motor bikes, cycles, auto rickshaws and taxis are available for rent. Best Time to Visit:
Throughout the year
Also Read: Tourism in Goa
Tharangambadi - Place of the Singing Waves
Once known as Tranquebar, Tharangambadi is a yet to be explored, a beautiful coastal town located in Nagapattinam district in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Just 13.4 km away from the southern port city of Karaikal, Tharangambai is a historic town with so much of Danish connection. The quiet little coastal town was first discovered and established as a trading post by Danish during the year 1620. The region was under the dominance of Danish for about 225 years and finally the British East India Company acquired it during 1845.
Tharangambadi is an unspoiled town, positioned against the ocean, and with the sluggish round of its singing waves with voluminous Danish history in the backdrop. The history of the town, primarily linked to the Danish settlement and colonial period is displayed in a Danish Museum here. The museum exhibits Danish manuscripts, decorated terracotta objects, weaponries and so on. Besides, the major tourist attraction of the town is the majestic Danish Fort called as Fort Dansborg. The antique fort exposes the uniqueness of the Danish style of architecture that is really difficult to witness anywhere in the southern India. The town also houses several churches as many Christian missionaries were settled in the Danish-town!
Best Time to Visit:
Throughout the yearAlso Read: Tourism in Tamil Nadu
Mawsynram - The Wettest Place on Earth
A calm settlement located in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya is reportedly the wettest place on Earth! Yup, with a yearly rainfall of 467.4 in (11,872 millimeters), Mawsynram features a subtropical upland climatic conditions with an inordinately showery and extended monsoon period. Roaring waterfalls, day-and-night rain and surroundings carpeted with verdure are some of the common geographical boasts of Mawsynram. The serene village is endued with amazing flora and fauna, and visitors will be welcomed with unforeseen pouring throughout the year!
The unique Mawjymbuin Cave in Mawsynram is one among the unique caves in the country.
The cave is known for its stalagmites - a formation of rock that develops from the lower horizontal surface of a cave due to the collection of materials posited on the lower surface from the drippings of the ceiling. The cave houses a couple of speleothems that resembles Shivalinga. Visiting Mawsynram is itself a thrilling experience for anyone, desiring to visit an offbeat destination. Without doubt, Mawsynram is one of the greatest monsoon treats that is not affordable to miss.Best Time to Visit:
September to NovemberAlso Read: Tourism in Meghalaya