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Monday, May 13, 2019

Explore these Offbeat Destinations in India

Nirona, Kutch - an offbeat cultural gem to explore in India

India is a fascinating country. With a vast land area, it’s no wonder that India is teeming with various tourist destinations. There are popular tourist attractions in India such as Taj Mahal in Agra, Varanasi and Goa in Southwest India, and more. However, there are also places in India that are waiting to be discovered.

Here are some of these off the beaten track places that one could explore in India:

Chopta, Uttarakhand

Beautiful Himalayan Landscape of Uttarakhand

Chopta is a very scenic hill station located in Uttarakhand State. The area is often dubbed as the “mini-Switzerland of India” because it is covered with evergreen meadows and abundant forests. Chopta serves as a base or starting point for treks to the popular Tungnath temple, one of the world’s highest Shiva temples. This temple offers a remarkable 360-degree view of beautiful Himalayan vistas.

Rani Ki Vav, Gujarat

Rani Ki Vav - Magnificent heritage of Gujarat

West India is known for its stepwells - these were extensive wells or ponds constructed ages ago to provide easy access to water, especially during droughts. One of the grandest stepwells is Rani Ki Vav or Ran-ki Vav (Queen’s stepwell) located in the state of Gujarat. This crown jewel situated outside of Patan Town is, without a doubt, a magnificent work of art and architecture in India.

Majuli Island, Assam

Tea gardens and working women - Mishing Tribal village, Panbari, Kaziranga, Assam

Majuli Island, the world’s largest river island, is surrounded by the mighty Brahmaputra River. However, this river island has been shrinking over the past few years due to climate change and other factors. Nonetheless, this island is rich in its natural beauty and cultural attractions. One can take a bicycle to explore this island, do bird watching, and visit countless satras (Hindu monasteries) scattered everywhere on the island. Each of these satras are famous for a specific art form or celebration.

Kodagu, Karnataka

What a view! Even the mutt stares on! - Kodagu, Karnataka

Kodagu (also known as Coorg) is a tranquil district located in the southern state of Karnataka. The area has a fascinating rainforest landscape, misty hills, and vast areas of tea and coffee plantations. One can also enjoy visiting Abbi Falls or partake in the annual Puthari Festival in November.

Kannur, Kerala

Offbeat beaches of Kerala

This offbeat town in Kerala is known for its number of beaches, hills, temples and monuments. Among its beaches are Muzhappilangad Drive-in Beach, the only drive-in beach in Kerala and Payyambalam Beach which has a continuing coastline of a few kilometres. Situated also in Kannur is St. Angelo’s Fort, a significant historical monument and a tourist attraction in India. Kannur is also known for an ancient ritual form of worship called Theyyam.

Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh

Beach line view from atop Kailashgiri, Vizag

Araku Valley is a small and peaceful hill station in Andhra Pradesh. The beauty of this hill station is captivating and is considered a hidden gem because only a small number of travellers are aware of its immaculate beauty. Because of the valley’s impressive weather, it has become a perfect place for coffee plantation. Apart from this, Araku Valley has several attractive places like Borra Cave, which is home to different shapes of stalagmites, and a tribal museum, which gives a perception into the tribal life.

Rann of Kutch, Gujarat

A winter morning sunrise from the White Rann Salt Desert

Unlike the rest of the places featured above, the Rann of Kutch is a salty marshland located in Gujarat in India and some parts on the southern tip of Pakistan. This area has been described as a white desert, isolated and barren. Nevertheless, Rann of Kutch is home to a lot of wildlife. Migratory and terrestrial birds like cranes, pelicans, flamingos, francolins, great indian bustards and hourbara bustards can be seen living in this area. Rann of Kutch is also home to India’s last population of Indian wild ass or commonly called Khur, or Gundkhur. A wildlife sanctuary has been established in the area - the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary.

If you are planning to explore India soon, why not try out these off the beaten track places and get ready for a real adventure!

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