What you expect: Reach your holiday place, soak up the serenity and discover something unique. What really happens: Finally manage to get there, get hurled into an overcrowded place, do the ‘been there, done that’.
Helping you unravel some unconventional travel options, we have listed out the lesser known but fascinating places in India. While some are easy, others might require work. Each though, makes for a riveting getaway.
Here is a list of some of the lesser known wonders of India:
1) The submerging and emerging wonder
Image Credit: Adarsh Antony – Flickr
Painting a rather unique and dreamy picture, the birth of the Rosary Church, Shettihalli, dates back to the 1860s and rests on the banks of Hemavathi River near Hassan. However, do not expect to catch a full glimpse of it every time you are here. The fascinating structure built by French Missioners, is said to submerge during the rains and emerge again once the water has receded. Echoing the splendour of Gothic architecture, it is only left with its skeleton today.
Image Credit: Abhijith B.Rao – Flickr
The destiny of the church changed when the government decided to build Gorur Dam that floods the Hemavathi Reservoir. As per the scheme, the villagers were relocated and the revered building was left behind. Standing the test of time and weathering the waters, it is evocative.
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2) Earliest trace of human life on the Indian subcontinent were found here
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If you are the sort who fancies history, then this is for you. The Cave Paintings at Bhimbetka is where you can get a glimpse of the earliest trace of human life on the Indian subcontinent. They depict animals, cultures, festivals and rituals of their time.
Image Credit: Stefan Krasowski – Flickr
What is remarkable is that you can catch sight of art traced back epochs ago from the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Chalcolithic periods along with Medieval Age. And they were actually paintings and not etchings being carved into stone. It is a mystery how most of the paint has remained intact throughout centuries. Discovered in 1957, there are around 15 caves that are open for public viewing.
3) Untouched cutting-edge canyons that make you dizzy as you look down
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Be one of the first few to witness the marvels of nature. Among the exotic places in India that have not been infringed upon, the Laitlum Canyons in the outskirts of Shillong, Meghalaya make for a stunning sight.
Image Credit: Samuel Sawian – Flickr
Very few are aware of it and you would have to ask around to get here. Unlike earlier when there were no roads leading to this place, now is a different story. Get mesmerised by the vast expanse of tall flush green grass swaying to the chilly breeze and feel the rush of blood through your veins as you look down upon cutting edges of the mountains thus making them appear as canyons. Be prepped up with snacks and water as there is just one shop in the vicinity. When finally at the spot, savour the serene atmosphere and take in the sights of green hills, valleys and little villages afar that stretch towards the land of Bangladesh.
This mesmerizing place is a must visit in your Meghalaya trip at this place you can feel the scenic beauty of this state of wonders.
4) A remote hamlet where sands seem to roll out into eternity
Most of us are aware of Rajasthan and its several gems like Jaipur and Udaipur. But how many of us actually know about the Khimsar Dunes Village, which embodies the very desert nature of the state. It resides about 15 minutes from the Khimsar Fort.
Only accessible by jeep, camel or horseback, this remote hamlet is where the sands seem to roll out into eternity. Resonating the beauty of the Thar Desert, you might come across a mini-lake that springs out of nowhere. But be warned, it might only be a mirage!
5) A temple where a vegetarian crocodile resides
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Ever heard of vegetarian crocodiles? The reptile in question goes by the name of Babiya and is a guardian of the Ananthapura Lake Temple. She is said to be around 150 years old.
Image Credit: Roshan Rao – Flickr
This place of worship can only be reached through a bridge and dates back to the 9th century. It is located right in the middle of the lake in the Kasargod District of Kerala. This is sacred place is said to be the natural abode of Ananthapadmanabha, the deity of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram.
6) The stunning falls in the tiny hamlet of Thoseghar
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Instead of heading to good old Lonavala and Khandala to catch sight of waterfalls, you can escape to Thoseghar Falls. It is located in the tiny hamlet of Thoseghar, 20 km from Satara City. When here, you can witness a series of plunging cascades. Adding to the charm of the place is the tranquil atmosphere that abounds the forested hilly environs. On the way to the place, you also come across multiple windmills.
Image Credit: Hasnain Ali – Flickr
However, on a cautionary note do not get too eager and venture too close to the falls or tread risky paths during heavy rains. Remember safety always comes first. There is also a picnic area that has been constructed to get a good view of the cascade.
[Here is a list of 52 stunning hill stations in India]
7) See nothing but a sea of flowers
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For stretches, set your sights on nothing but a sea of blossoms.The Kaas Plateau located in Maharashtra, around 22 km from Satara city, there are around 850 different species of flowers here.
Image Credit: Travelling Slacker – Flickr
The place specially comes alive during the months of August and September. If you observe closely, you can spot several tiny wild flowers.
8) The cleanest village in Asia
Image Credit: Ashwin Kumar – Flickr
If you want to learn a thing or two about cleanliness and explore great sights along the way too, pay a visit Mawlynnong Village. It is touted as the “Cleanest village in Asia”. Tucked away in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, it is also called ‘God’s Own Garden’. The community over here has made an honest attempt to maintain the pristine ambience.
Monsoons cast a magic spell here as little cascades meander into the streams and the entire region is painted green. Apart from basking in the natural beauty, other delights from here include a visit to the famed Living Root Bridge and a chance to witness a balancing rock.
Also, check out all the famous tourist places of Shillong to explore the best out of your trip.
9) The tallest plunge waterfall in India
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To witness what is said to be the tallest waterfall plunge of India, witness the Nohkalikai Falls that cascades from a height of 1115 feet (340 metres). Located near Cherrapunji, a 3 hour-drive from Shillong and a fee of 10 rupees will take you here. Sometimes emerging from mist and a pack of clouds, the falls flanked by greenery, make for a surreal sight.
There is a morbid legend attached to this place. It is believed that a woman named KaLikai had remarried. Her husband however was jealous of his wife’s daughter from her first marriage. It so happens that he killed her daughter and cooked her flesh for a meal. The wife comes looking for her but the husband feigned ignorance and suggested eating something. After eating she found her daughter’s finger in the betel-nut basket. In a state of anguish, she jumped off the cliff. The fall is hence called “Fall of KaLikai” aka Nohkalikai.
10) The best of Goa, sans the chaos
Get to experience the sun, sand and sea of Goa, sans the madness and chaos. Ashvem Beach, located in North Goa, is a clean and peaceful retreat.
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The best part is that even during peak season, it does not get too overcrowded and the prices of the accommodations remain lesser than its counterparts. If you are keen on surfing, you can even burrow surfboards on this beach or join a yoga class that is available close by.
[Check out the amazing places to visit in Goa]
11) Find the reminiscences of Ahom Dynasty over here
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A 12 hour-drive from Guwahati, Sibsagar is where you can marvel at the reminiscences of the Ahom Dynasty. Delve into the history of Assam as you tour Rang Ghar and Kareng Ghar.
The royal palace of Kareng Ghar is a must-see for it is one of the most outstanding examples of Ahom architecture. The two-storied building of Rang Ghar was a sports-pavilion where the kings and nobles watched games like buffalo fights and other sports.
12) ‘Second coldest inhabited place in the world’
Do you want to know what ‘the second coldest inhabited place in the world’ feels and looks like? Drass is the answer to that question and the board welcoming travellers to Drass, states just that. It is also known as ‘The Gateway to Ladakh’. The winsome valley is situated in the Kargil District of Jammu and Kashmir and begins from the base of the Zoji La Pass.
No easy feat, the temperature here can dip as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius, covering the region with a blanket of snow. However, during the balmy months of spring and summer, the entire place comes alive with flush greens and vibrant flowers.
The best part though is that you can learn some valuable life lessons from the inhabitants here. Since long, they have been known to dauntlessly traverse the risky terrain through unfavourable weather conditions and snow storms to transport trader’s merchandises and help stranded travellers. Not as well-known as its neighbouring areas, Drass especially came into notice during 1999, when the Pakistani Army intruded into the Ladakh region.
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13) A pristine beach that has to be visited before commercialization takes over
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A hidden treasure of Maharashtra, we suggest that you visit Ganapatipule Beach before commercialization takes over. The ride on the way too is a delightful one. Apart from its beauty, the highlight here is the Ganapati temple located on the shore.
Image Credit: Siddhesh Sardesai – Flickr
When at this sandy treat, treat your eyes to 6 km of unbridled clean sand flanked by greens of the cliff on one side and blues of the Arabian Sea on the other. Some hotels have opened up for accommodation. Those looking for a bit of entertainment can enjoy camel rides as well as water sports.
14) The longest drive-in beach in Asia
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The longest drive-in beach in Asia, Muzhappilangad Beach in Kannur is where you can surrender to unique pleasures. Drive or bike along the 4 km pristine stretch of sandy land. The sight of blue waves hitting the black rocks and clusters of green trees on the other side makes for an appealing visual experience.
Image Credit: Binu K S
The sunset too brings in its own charm. Around 7 km from Thalassery railway station, you can try your hand at the various adventure and water sports available here. Also, dig into the famous Malabar cuisine that is served in all the eateries in the vicinity.
15) The mystic monastery that lies on the edge of steep mountains
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Seamlessly blending in with its magnificent surroundings, the Phuktal Monastery is built on the edge of the steep mountains in Zanskar Valley and is by far the most spectacularly situated Gompa. Built in the 12th century, around 70 monks reside at this place.
Image Credit: Bob Witlox – Flickr
The peaceful abode is particularly known for the Cave above it. The monastery claims to owe its illustrious legacy of scholars and teachers to this cave. Also, there is a mystical hollow in the rock inside the cave from which water never reduces to spill from it. It is said to have healing powers.
16) A whole new world in the darkness of this cave discovered
People are aware of the thrills that the rocky landscape of Anthargange, (at a height of 1226m (4021ft.) in Kolar district brings along when it comes to trekking. But few know about the spelunking options. And by that we mean the experience of caving in this fascinating setting.
This involves getting in and searching your way out, exploring the routes, managing to squeeze your way into lean fissures and discovering a whole new world in the darkness of this abyss.
17) A hidden village where divine beauty lures you
People from a certain circle might come here for some specific reasons, but we recommend this place purely for its beauty and breath-taking sights. Located in the Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh, Malana lies at a height of 3029 m (9,938 ft). Breathe in the crisp mountain air and take in the divinity of the green sights.
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There is a village here that is secluded and considered as the oldest democracy in the world. You can also opt for a Manala Village trek to further explore the enigmas of this place.
Also check these adventurous activities of Kullu:
- Paragliding in the refreshing nature of Kullu
- Rafting in the splashing water of Kullu.
- Camping in the scenic nights of Kullu.
18) A lesser known island which showcases the remains of Portuguese era
Image Credit: Prashant Dobhal – Flickr
One of the islands that ring the famous Devbagh Island, Anjudeep lends a unique appeal. It was titled after Anji Devi goddess who is worshipped here. Apart from soaking in the calm environs, you can view the many remains of the Portuguese era.
It is believed that this place was used as a haven by the Christians and Hindus of the mainland when the coastal kingdoms of Bednore and Soonda got invaded by Tipu Sultan.
19) A paradise for backpackers, nature lovers and trekkers
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A paradise for backpackers, nature lovers and trekkers alike, Tosh is a village that lies in the enchanted Parvati Valley, Himachal Pradesh situated at a height of 7874 ft above sea-level. To enter the village, one has to walk over a wooden bridge. This is a place where you can lap up the pleasant weather along with picturesque views of the valley and unblemished hills.
It lies on a slope of a mountain overlooking a river and a waterfall. The added advantage of this locale is the accommodations that come at a cheap and reasonable price. There are several food joints, pizza corner, tea stalls and restaurants here. Psychedelic and trance parties too are held deep in the woods.
20) Get a glimpse of different centuries at this UNESCO Heritage site
Get transported into a historic era as you amble through the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park in Panchmahal district, Gujarat. A UNESCO heritage site, it is studded with forts and bastions that begin at the hills of Pavagadh, and lengthen into the city of Champaner.
Image Credit: Fr. Gaurav Shroff – Flickr
Get a glimpse of different centuries as you get to see the remains of the state’s capital in the 16th century along with structures and step-wells dating back to the 8th – 14th century.
21) Visit an enchanting artist’s village
If you want to be inspired by art, head to Andretta in Himachal Pradesh. An artists’ colony, this was established in the 1920s, when Norah Richards, an Irish theatre artiste and environmentalist shifted to this spellbinding region from Lahore.
And when you look around the green and pristine landscape along the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas that serves as the background, it forms the perfect backdrop for a captivating painting. The attractions here include Andretta Pottery and Craft Society, Norah Richard’s House, Norah Richard’s Centre for the Arts and Sir Sobha Singh Art Gallery.
22) Get a whiff of lost grandeur as you come to this town
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Get a whiff of lost grandeur as you pay a visit to Orchha Town located in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh. Banked beside the Betwa River, it stands on a huge palace-fort. Inside the boundary are structures belonging to different eras.
Image credit: Arian Zwegers – Flickr
The most noted ones are Jahangir Mahal, reflecting the splendour of Mughul architecture, Chaturbhuj Temple belonging to the 9th century and Ram Raja Temple that is simple yet stunning.
23) A valley that echoes the magical beauty of Kashmir
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Echoing the magical beauty of Kashmir, Gurez Valley lies near Srinagar in northern part of the state. Closed till 2007 for security reasons, the place has recently opened up. The visual appeal of this place lies in its snow-capped mountains, rare flora and fauna. The animals that you could catch sight are the Himalayan brown bear and the snow leopard.
You can get to Gurez Valley from Bandipura on road via your own vehicle, provided you have proper know-how of this mountainous drive. As an alternative, a shared taxi should suffice. Do note that Dawar, the central township remains buried in snow for half a year and is cut off from the outside world.
24) Unravel unknown mountain villages and medieval monasteries
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Not as popular as Spiti and Ladakh, Lahaul is more lush and developed. On a bus journey from Leh to Manali, take a stop at its capital Keylong.
Book your amazing holiday package to Leh Ladakh Now!
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Take in the sights of rugged and untouched landscapes. Set off on an adventure as you discover some unfamiliar mountain villages and medieval monasteries. In this dream-like place, you also get to witness fascinating Buddhist art and culture.
[Also, check out the Leh Ladakh Bike Trip]
Checkout Thrillophilia Ladakh Bike Trip Reviews Here!
25) A city known for its collection of vintage cars
A rather versatile city in Gujrat, Gondal makes for an interesting place to visit. Do not be surprised if you spot Vintage Ford and Buick taxis on your way from Rajkot to this place.
The ruling family of Gondal were known to be huge car enthusiasts and their vast collection of automobiles is on display in the museum located in the palace premises. There is even a replica of the Big Ben, below which some of the mouth-watering bhajiyas are available but only at a certain time of the day. Another place worth visiting here is the seventeenth century Darbargadh that allegedly costs Nine Lakhs Rupees, earning the label ‘Navlakha Palace’.
26) Loktak- The wonderful floating Lake
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Witness the marvellous Loktak Lake and be awed by its beauty. It is said to be the largest freshwater lake in the north-east region of India. It covers a stretch of approximately 286 Sq. Km and is situated at an elevation of 768.5 M.
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One of its unique characteristics is that a variety of bodies like plants, soil and other organic matter are seen floating on its surface in different forms of putrefaction. The lake is popularly known as the Floating Lake and the floating matter is known as Phumdis.
There are marshy swamps in the shallow area of the lake. The water from the Loktak Lake is also utilised for irrigation, hydropower generation and drinking water.
27) Chand Baori – A stepwell dedicated to joy and happiness
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Chand Baori is an antiquated step well and a renowned piece of architecture in Rajasthan. It was built during 800 AD – 900 AD by King Chanda of the Chauhan Dynasty. Also, the rooms and a pavilion for the royals, built close to the Baori are highly admirable.
Image Source: Tim Hughes – Flickr
The Chand baori was dedicated to Hashat Mata, the Goddess of joy and happiness. It was a blessing for the parched land of Rajasthan, as it was constructed to preserve water. In olden days, the locals gathered at the Baori to beat the heat, as the water at the base of the well is cooler.
The place is so attractive that it has been used as a location in both Bollywood and Hollywood film like The Fall, Bhool Bhulaiyaa , The Dark Knight Rises and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
28) The Lonar Crater Lake – A lake by a meteor
Image Source: DraconianRain – Flickr
Captivating explorers for years, the Lonar Lake in Maharashtra has become one of the most beloved tourist destinations. According to the beliefs this lake was formed by a meteor that hit the planet earth several years ago.
Image Source: DraconianRain – Flickr
The exceptional feature of this lake is that the water here has both saline as well as alkaline properties. As per the research they relate this uniqueness to the melange of the soil that is present and the constituents of the meteor.
The lake is constantly subjected to research by ecologists, geologists, naturalists and even astronomers.
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29) The hanging pillar of the Lepakshi temple
Image Source: Natesh Ramasamy – Flickr
The ancient Lepakshi Temple of stone was built in the 16th century and is located on the rocky mount of Kurmasailam in Andhra Pradesh. This fantastic piece of architecture was built by Virupanna and Veeranna, two brothers who served the Vijayanagar Kings.
The temple stands strong supported by 70 pillars, and is popularly known for its one hanging pillar or column. This pillar is looked upon as a tribute to the mastermind builders who built temples during that era.
Image Source: Premnath Thirumalaisamy – Flickr
The pillar has been noticeably dislocated from its original position. It is said that it were the British engineers who had tried to meddle with the architecture, because of their curiosity to understand the fundamentals of this masterpiece.
30) Sea Meets the River – Maravanthe Beach NH-17
Explore the serenity of the Maravanthe beach, a peaceful and mesmeric and tourist destination. This beach is in close proximity of the national highway NH-17 in Karnataka.
Witness a blend of nature’s miracles and man’s creations, a stretch of the national highway passes through Maravanthe and has the Arabian Sea on one side and the Souparnika River on the other.
Apart from savouring the beauty of the landscape one can also indulge in a variety of watersports, boat rides and enjoy the delectable seafood and coastal cuisine.
31) Yaganti- The growing statue of Nandi
Witness the unusual phenomenon of the growing Nandi idol, which is based at the Umamaheswara temple in Yaganti. It is located in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh.
According to the surveyors it was acknowledged and declared that the statue does grow by an inch every 20 years. Further research concluded that the rock from which the Nandi has been sculpted has some properties that make it grow. It has been attracting innumerable tourists and devotees every year.
31) Nalanda University, Bihar
Established in 5th century BC, the Nalanda University is popular for being the oldest university in the world. Built in the Kushana architectural style, the charisma of this antiquated structure allures several explorers.
The Nalanda University comprises of a college of fine arts, a library that is an abode to a large collection of around nine million volumes and over 300 apartments.
It also has magnificent monasteries, hostels and classrooms. There are approximately one thousand teachers and ten thousand students in its portals.
33) Grand Canyon of India – Savour the treat for your eyes at Gandikota
Gandikota, a small village in the Kadapa district is located on the banks of the Pennar River. It is a tiny paradise on earth blessed with mesmerising vistas.
There is a magnificent fort here which was built in the 13th century and right behind the fort is something more hypnotizing. It is the sight of the breathtaking Gandikota Gorge or the Grand Canyon of India.
Admire the shimmering Pennar River that bejeweled the landscape. This place is recommended to all the travelers and explorers, it is a hub for photographers and picnic-goers.
34) Sanchi Stupa- In the name of Lord Buddha
Visit the Great Stupa at Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh and be awestruck by its beauty. Situated in close proximity to the National Highway NH-86, it is easily accessible to travellers.
It is famous for being the oldest stone and brick architecture in India. Built over the remains of Lord Gautam Buddha, this place is a major tourist attraction, especially for the Buddhist community.
Built together by Emperor Ashoka and his wife Devi in 3rd century BC, the Sanchi Stupa is blessed with a historical significance. The Stupa displays Buddha’s teachings that enlighten the visitors.
35) Chandipur beach: The Hide and Seek Beach in Orissa
Mother Nature has wonderful ways to astonish us with her marvels. Various spell binding phenomenon have been witnessed around us. The Chandipur beach is also bestowed with one such unique feature that allures innumerable tourists.
This beach is famously known as the ‘Hide and Seek beach’. Imagine you are jumping on the waves and having fun and frolic at the sea and after a while the sea just vanishes. Did we just read that the sea vanished?
The water in this sea at the Chandipur beach draws back for about a stretch of 1-5 KM during low tides and appears again during the high tides. Visit this place at leisure to admire the miracle of nature and also relax amidst its serene vistas.
36) The only active volcano in India, the Barren Island, is present in Andaman Islands
India has the most delightful assortment of places, yet there are uncountable wonderful locations unexplored and unknown to people. Being one amongst many, the tour packages of Andaman Nicobar Islands presents you with the opportunity to devour beauty of one such wonder cradled in its lap, the Barren Island. Abode to the only active volcano in India and in South Asia, it holds the reputation as a famous scuba diving site with inquisitive topographic locations formed by the lava and coral gardens rapidly spreading across the island. Apart from it, one can also enjoy crystal clear visibility and solitude in its soothing ambiance.
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