gurez valley

Best of India Travel – 51 Offbeat Destinations

India is a land with great tourism potential. It’s a land with dazzling beaches, dramatic temples, exotic rain forests, colossal mountains, eternal deserts, lively cities, and the Indian peninsula creates an ultimate allure for the travelers across the globe. Vivid and diverse in culture, heritage and language, India is bestowed with rich natural beauty that adds to its tranquility.

The picturesque hill stations, the pristine beaches, the unique and halcyon pilgrim destinations, the vast deserts, historical buildings to contemporary structures and from snow capped mountains to boat rides on the serene backwater yards; India is a land of endless opportunities for explorers who want to explore best of India.

If traditional destinations don’t fancy you enough, we have compiled a list of best of India travel offbeat destinations for you.

NORTH INDIA

Haughty mountains, plunging valleys, gushing rivers and jittery wildlife make for enough action to put the northern part of India on top of your priority list for offbeat places in India. While historical monuments, desert life and royalty add to the charm of Rajasthan, the Indo-Gangetic Plains and the Himalayas segregate the country from Tibet and Central Asia.

North India also host amount of offbeat destinations for adventurous activities to add thrill to your life. Mountain biking, mountaineering, paragliding, rafting, skiing, trekking are few amongst the various activities you can undertake.

Here’s a short list of some of North India’s best off beat travel destinations:

 1. Roopkund Lake - The Mysterious lake of Skeleton:

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Image Source: Sanjeev Asher – Flickr

Roopkund Lake, better known as “Skeleton Lake,” is one of those dreadful secluded places, located in the most inhospitable regions of the Himalayan Mountains. This extremely frightening area of Himalayan Mountains is known for the hundreds of corpses between 300-600 skeletons, which date back to the 15th century AD.

[Discover more about Roopkund The Mystery Lake or Skeleton Lake]

What would have killed these people and why were so many of them on such a gruelling journey in the middle of nowhere? Did they die in ritualistic suicide or in an epidemic? According to the local folklore, the entourage earned the fury of the local deity, Latu. They were caught in a dreadful hailstorm and were thrown into the Roopkund Lake.

2.  Khajjiar - The Mini Switzerland of India:

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Image Credit: Ramnath Bhat – Flickr

Khajjiar, often called as India’s Switzerland, is a hill station in Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh. The hill station is picturesquely set in the midst of magnificent ‘Deodar’ forests. The clump of reeds and the green meadow add an exquisite charm to this place. A small plateau in its green turf of dense pine and Deodar forests along its fringes adds to the pastoral scenery.

This offbeat place in India has the rarest combination of three eco systems. The lakes, the pastures and the forests come together to make a visit to this place a unique experience. Hence, it is also popularly called theMini Switzerland of Himachal Pradesh.

 3. Experience the frosty Drass:

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Image Source: sandeepachetan.com travel photography – Flickr

You may have heard about Markha Valley, but very few people know about Drass. Drass, a charming valley bustling on riverbanks, starts from the base of the Zoji La pass. It is often referred to as ‘The Gateway to Ladakh’ and is situated in the Kargil District of Jammu and Kashmir. It has a wide-spread of extensive copse along the river. The valley is situated at an altitude of 10990 feet from sea level and the mountain ridges range from 16,000 to 21,000 feet.

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Image Source: ZeePack – Flickr

This offbeat destination  is famous as the “Second Coldest Colonized Place in Asia” by virtue of the sheer cold that cascades upon it along with the intense snowfalls during winters. The temperature can tumble as low as 60 degree Celsius below freezing point. However, during spring and summer, the valley becomes very picturesque as the hillsides turn into lush green pastures with variety of vivid and vibrant wild flowers.

4. Magnetic hill - The magical mountains of Ladakh:

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Image Source: Rohit Ganda – Flickr

Can you ever imagine a vehicle moving up a steep hill with the ignition off? Sounds astonishing? The Magnetic Hill is located near Leh in beautiful Ladakh, at a height of 11,000 feet above sea level and is known to possess strong magnetic properties which have the strength to pull cars up-hill.

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Image Source: Kiran SRK – Flickr

Magnetic hill is one of the famous offbeat destinations of India. In reality, it is just the optical illusion effect and there is no magnetic disturbance at all. This self-profound magnetic hill is one of the popular stops for domestic tourists to experience nature’s mysterious ways.

5Malana - The Little Greece of India:

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Source: Joachim Götz – Flickr

Malana is a tiny unique village with about 100 houses and is situated to the north-east of Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh. It is believed that one of the finest Charas or ” Malana Cream” is grown in this region. It is believed that Malana Cream is the most strongest and top-notch Charas till date.

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Image Source: hermesmarana – Flickr

This ancient solitary village in Malana is isolated from the rest of the world. The majestic peaks of Chandrakhani shadow the village and it is among the must visit offbeat places in India. They are considered to be one of the first democracies in the world and do not follow the Constitution of India. They follow an indigenous system and they believe they are independent and superior. Malana is also called as the “Little Greece in Himachal Pradesh” as the Malanis believe that they are the descendents of Alexander-The Great!

 6.  Paradise of Trekkers -  Sandakphu:

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Image Source: Bappaditya Dasgupta – Flickr

Located at an altitude of 3,636 metres, Sandakphu is the highest peak located in Darjeeling district in the eastern part of India.The name Sandakphu means ‘Height of the Poison Plant’ because of the poisonous aconite plants that grow near the peak. The patronizing peak of the Singalila Range, Sandakphu is the most audacious point of many trekking routes in the Darjeeling-Sikkim region.

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Image Source: Nicolas Mirguet – Flickr

Sandakphu exemplifies the wild elemental splendour of the snows and the vista from the mountain peak is worth all the adversity endured on the way. It can be rightly called the “Paradise of Trekkers” as one can see four of world’s five highest peaks- Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and Lhotse from this place.

7. The Spell-bound Spiti Valley

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Image Source: Animesh Singh – Flickr

Spiti Valley is located in Himachal Pradesh and is a paradise in itself! Situated at the altitude of 12,500 feet above sea level, it is surrounded with mountain ranges, high-altitude alpine lands, soaring peaks enveloped with snow and one of the oldest and most beautiful monasteries.

[Discover beautiful Spiti Valley with Spiti Safari tour]

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Image Source: Nikhil Mehta – Flickr

Spiti is the biggest district and shares the international boundary with Tibet.This place possesses the unique religion of Tibet – Tibetan Buddhism. Ki Monastery and Tabo Monastery, which are some of the oldest monasteries in the world and  favorites of the Dalai Lama, are located here in the Spiti Valley.

8. Believe it or not - Gravity Defying Palace:

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A man made wonder and a complete offbeat destination, the Gravity Defying Palace at Lucknow, capital of the eastern region of Uttar Pradesh, is known for its mystifying palace complex. This marvelous creation of 18th-century by the monarch Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula, is a blend of European and Arabic architecture. Bara Imambara’s superlative central arched hall is almost 50 meters long and about three stories high without any pillars or beams.

[ Visit the wonder of world Taj Mahal with Golden Triangle Tour]

The main hall was constructed exclusively with interlocking brick-work and is famous for its mysterious architecture of “Bhulbhulaiya- a dense maze”. This labyrinth is made of more than 1,000 narrow staircase passages meant to prevent any possible intruders. One can roam around the clandestine maze; preferably with an official guide. And alongside one can also explore the adjacent mosque and stunning gardens.

9. Serenity personified - The Phugtal Monastery:

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Image Source: Bob Witlox – Flickr

The Phuktal Monastery is a massive cave Monastery held high-up in the steep mountains. It is this demeanour which makes this Monastery unique amongst all others in the Zanskar Valley. The foundation of this monastery is primarily made of twigs and mud. It was found way back in the 12th century and is home to around 70 monks.

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Image Source: sandeepachetan.com travel photography – Flickr

The frescoes and ceiling decorations of the monastery connects to the same era of Alchi Monastery and Tabo Monastery – one of the oldest monasteries. The most attractive aspect is the hollow in the rock in the cave over the monastery. The level of the water in this hollow never spills regardless of any amount of water being drawn from it and is believed to have healing powers!

10. Artistically adorable – Andretta:

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Image Source: Aleksandr Zykov – Flickr

Some places in the world are made for inspiration. Kangra Valley, in the amazing milieu of the mighty Dhauladhar, the Milky Mountains, has been always known to attract artists. The “Kangra School of Miniature Painting” being just one remarkable exemplar.

What Kangra was to art some 200 years ago; Andretta, a tiny village 14 km south of Palampur, is to artists in the present century. Andretta, with its Italianate sounding name, is a quiet and sleepy village known as a hodgepodge of culture. It nuzzles amongst the undulating plains of Kangra Valley, with a wide panorama of hoary mountains.

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Image Source: supercake – Flickr

Andretta has attracted artists of many hues and was brought to fame by Ms. Norah Richards, the famous writer and dramatist whose writings exhibited deep sensibility to life and people around her. Other attractions include the Andretta Pottery and Crafts society which portray miniature paintings and pottery. Students can also enroll here to learn the art of pottery making.

11. Freak out on the Frozen River Trek:

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Image Source: Christophe Roudet – Flickr

Walking on the frozen river of Zanskar is an amazing experience for an adventure lover. Experiencing the thrilling walk on Chadar Trek in the windswept moorland of the Buddhist kingdom of Ladakh, where sub-zero temperatures fit. The frozen sheet is the only way out for Zanskaris during winter when all other ways are filled with heaps of snow.

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Image Source: Partha Chowdhury – Flickr

It is also famous for winter trekking for all those dauntless people. On the way back are the ancient monasteries of Karsha and Zangla which pledge to heighten your imminent mysteries of this Shangri-la, a land and culture frozen in time behind the parapets of the Zanskar Mountains, stiffed between the mighty Karakoram and the Great Himalayan ranges.

12. Indulge in the glorious Gurez Valley:

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The Gurez valley is a beautiful grandeur in the mighty Kishenganga River of Himalayan regions near Srinagar in northern Jammu and Kashmir, India. The place is one of the most edgily guarded as the high-altitude Line of Control that separates India and Pakistan here. Thankful to the topography of Gurez, which is on the Indian side, was closed till 2007 for security reasons.

[Check out Top 10 interesting Himalayas facts]

Dawar is the central township which will be almost buried under the snow for half the year, is completely sealed off from the outer world with no electricity, telephone or plumbing. The Valley is beautifully enveloped by the snow capped mountains, has its own unique flora and fauna to its credits. Himalayan brown bear and the snow leopard are the best examples for its diverse wildlife.

13. Khajuraho - The Temple of love:

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Image Source: Dennis Jarvis – Flickr

The amalgamation of science, art of architecture and eroticism, Khajuraho is situated in India’s Tiger State- Madhya Pradesh. Khajuraho oozes out the passion in the culture, dance, music, eroticism and other creative arts portrayed on the walls and towers of the temple which date way back to 11th century.

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Image Source: Saad Akhtar – Flickr

This temple was built by the Chandela dynasty and is famous for its ‘Nagara’ style of architecture. The localities of the city believe that this temple was built to be the hub of tantric theology, which conveys that sex is an important part of human life and so is the attainment of “moksha”. Khajuraho is a small reticent village with not more than 3000 populace surrounded by the forestland and is a perfect example of the bold architectural statement which attracts tourists across the world.

14. Valley of Flowers, Uttaranchal:

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Image Source: Alosh Bennett – Flickr

The great Himalayan range is the house of most exotic fauna and flora and is a popular meadow for endemic alpine flowers and dazzling natural beauty. The Himalayan ranges of Garhwal hills of Uttaranchal dwell the most charming Valley of Flowers National park which features the rugged and Rocky Mountain wilds of Nanda Devi National Park.

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Image Source: Prashant Ram – Flickr

The park stretches over an area of 87.50 square kilometres and is the home to the rarest flowers ever found on Earth. Flowers such as orchids, poppies, primulas, marigold, daisies and anemones look exuberant and vivid. The medical plants such as Dactylorhiza hatagirea, Picrorhiza kurrooa, Aconitum violaceum, Polygonatum multiflorum, Fritillaria roylei and Podophyllum hexandrum are also found in abundance.

It is one of the best travel places in India [want to know why] and most startling experiences Mother Earth can offer  everyone who visits this place.

15. The historical platter - Orchha:

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Image Source: sabamonin – Flickr

Orchha is a town in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh, was in the year 1501 by Maharaja Rudra Pratap Singh. Orchha lies on the seasonal island on the bank of the Betwa River, 15 km from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. The fort, enclosed by a fortification wall, stands a huge palace-fort, is coupled with buildings belonging to different times, and most remarkable of which are the Raja Mahal and the Jahangir Mahal.

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Image Source: Dmitry Shakin – Flickr

The Ram Raja Temple is built on a quadrangle base and has an almost utterly plain exterior, reassured by foretelling windows and a line of fragile domes down the summit. Singularly beautiful specimen of Mughal architecture to be found here is the Jahangir Mahal. Another notable structure is an old temple from the 9th century called Chaturbhuj Temple, which is built on an enormous podium of stone.

WEST INDIA

The awe-inspiring festoon of highlands,the plains and the villages, provide the picturesque vista of the landscapes of West India. The most alluring experience of West India is for someone who has never seen dazzling sunsets and has only weaved dreams or drawn paintings thinking about the dusks and dawns.

The tribal lives of West India can get you to experience the edgy lifestyle existing centuries ago! It’s one of the best experiences India can offer. The Shetpal, Vadi, kila are few of the villages which can shower you with never-seen-before experiences.Temples, lakes, rivers, villages, valleys are some of the tranquil realm with the feeling of abundance and spiritual rejuvenation.

 16. Door-less Houses of Shani Shignapur:

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Image Source: womenpla.net

Shani Shignapur is a village located about 35 km from Ahmednagar of Maharashtra. This village is known for its popular temple of Shani, the epitome of Hindu god of the planet Saturn who is worshiped with supreme reverence and devotion. The uniqueness of this small village is that none of the houses in this village has doors or even a door frame, including the commercial buildings, schools etc for safety.

This is the best offbeat destination in India. The people here believe that it is the blessing of the god that no crime ever happens in this village. The first of its kind in the country, the United Commercial (UCO) Bank opened a ‘lock less’ branch in the village taking note of the near-zero crime rate in the region in January 2011.

17. Karni Mata Temple - Jai Mata Di:

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Image Source: Alexander Schimmeck – Flickr

Karni Mata temple is one of the popular and unusual holy shrines of India. This Temple is situated in the small town of Deshnok, in south of Bikaner, Rajasthan and is one of the famous offbeat destinations in India. During the 14th century it is believed that, Mata lived and performed many miracles during her life time and is an incarnation of Hindu goddess Durga.

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Image Source: S. N. Johnson-Roehr (JR) – Flickr

The inimitable fact about this temple is that rats are considered to supremely auspicious and are taken special care to safeguard them as they believe that these rats are the children of the Goddess Karni Mata and are holy.

[Wanna visit this amazing temple check out our Rajasthan tour packages]

Out of all of the thousands of rats in the temple, sighting white rats are meant to be specifically holy as they are believed to be Karni Mata and her own sons.

18. The Levitating Stone at Shivapur - Dave Ja Vu’!!

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Levitating Stone

Source: http://www.indiaghumonow.blogspot.com

Shivapur is a small place in Pune in Maharashtra which is famous for its levitating stone. According to the popular belief, Qamar Ali is a famous Sufi Saint and is renowned for its magical powers. 800 years ago a gymnasium existed on the place where the shrine now stands. Two huge stones were used by the wrestlers to exercise. Qamar Ali was always targeted by the other boys as he was not interested in all these.

Hazrat Qamar Ali Darvesh then proclaimed that only his name power can lift the stone and then declared that the large rock could be raised with just eleven finger tips touching it but only if his name was loudly called. Similarly the smaller rock could be raised by using nine finger tips. From that day onwards the stones could be raised in the same manner only by applying that formula!

19. Vociferous Vihigaon - Waterfall rappelling in Vihigaon falls:

Waterfall Rappelling

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Source: http://www.picstopin.com

Rappelling over 120 feet of garrulous waterfall is one of those experiences every adventurous mind longs for! Canyoneering is one of those sports which has become famous all over the world. The Western Ghats have many waterfalls and flowing rivulets which are best suited for water rappelling. Vihigaon falls in Kasara Mumbai is one such nature’s gift to mankind.

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It’s a one-of-its kind of adventure that includes rappelling, down-climbing and river tracing in the midst of thick forest.  It’s the best way to overcome Acrophobia – The Fear for Heights! To experience the thrill of suspension at the height of about 100 ft and rappelling along side of water is one of the most incredible adventure experiences.

[Also check out 15 places for weekend trip near Mumbai]

20. Super deadly combination of food and ambiance - The New Lucky Restaurant in Ahmedabad:

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New Lucky Restaurant India

Source: http://www.vagabondish.com/

There must be only a few fervent things that you imagine doing. Here is one such thing you wouldn’t have even thought of! Yes… We are now talking about The New Lucky Restaurant in Ahmedabad, a tea stall outside a centuries-old Muslim cemetery.

The graves are situated between tables and often topped with candles, and resemble green-painted concrete coffins. Business is brisk at the restaurant where the graves are scattered randomly. The graves are said to belong to a 16th century Sufi saint and the owner says that the graves are the lucky mascot for them.

21. The Utterly Charming tribe - The Vadi tribe, Gujarat:

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Image Source: Lian Chang – Flickr

India is a land of mysteries and myths and will continue to be so! The Vadi tribe from Gujarat is the best example for this. The Vadi tribes are the professional snake charmers whose tradition of snake charming dates way back to 10th century. One can see children as young as two sitting near a poisonous cobra and show no signs of fear or cringe when facing a deadly snake.

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Image Source: Amin Buskan – Flickr

Official on-board training for these children begins at the age of two, and will be taught the ancient ways of snake charming until they are ready to take up their roles in the community. The children are taught how one can take away a snake from its natural habitat for a maximum of seven months and anymore will be a sheer disrespectful to the snake.

 22. Shetpal - Strolling land of Snakes:

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Image Source: PARSHOTAM LAL TANDON – Flickr

Of all the ancient practices and traditions of India, Snake worship is a prevalent religious practice. The snake, one of the gods of the Indian mythology, is associated with the lingam-the symbol of lord Siva. Shetpal, Sholapur district of Maharastra has a frightful custom where each house has a resting place for live Cobras in the rafters of their ceilings.

The village also adores a temple with a seven-hooded cobra made of copper over the Lord Shiva’s idol. No cases of cobra bites have been recorded in the village till date, in spite of kive cobras moving around the houses daily. It really is,incredible.

23. The Lonely Land of Gujrat - Little Rann of Kutch:

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Image Source: Anurag Agnihotri – Flickr

Little Rann of Kutch is a unique place on earth with endless opportunity to explore. With numerous places to visit one can experience something they have never experienced before! The desolate, blindingly white land of Little Rann is nature at its harshest and most convincing. It is also home to India’s last refuge population of Khur – Asiatic wild ass and for it is for the conservation of Khur, that this has been declared as the “Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary”.

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Image Source: Roshan Panjwani – Flickr

The wildlife sanctuary of Little Rann of Kutch is a wide-spread saline desert and has arid grasslands, rocky and thorn scrubs and lakes and marshes to add its rich biodiversity. Water birds like cranes, ducks, pelicans, flamingoes and land birds like sand grouse, frankolins and the Indian bustards are found in abundance here at the Rann of Kutch which make it one of the offbeat  destinations in India.

24. Ponder into the panorama of Pangong Lake:

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Image Source: Amit Rawat – Flickr

Pangong Lake is a beautiful lake situated at an altitude of 4350 meters. The chilling water and the clear sky, surrounded by the mountain ridges coved with snow looks picturesque! The water in Pangong Lake is the brackish; hence it makes the highest situated lake with salt water.

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Image Source: ashokboghani – Flcikr

Pangong means extensive concavity and is 134 kilometer long, but it is only 5 kilometers wide at the widest points is a must visit if you want to discover best of India. More than 60% of the lake is spread over to Tibet. The topography is not just a tourist’s paradise but a geologist’s sphere of influence too but surely no fun for the army in the frozen temperature to take care of the tactical landscape.

25.  Never seen before – The Rural Olympics at Kila Raipur:

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Image Source: T Frey – Flickr

In 1933, philanthropist Inder Singh Grewal visualized an annual recreational meet for farmers of Kila and other farmers in the vicinity to get together and test their corporal endurance. This gave birth to the Kila’s undisputed “Rural Olympics” which make it one of the offbeat places in India. The Rural Olympics of Kila of Raipur each year in the month of February.

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Image Source: T Frey – Flickr

Raipur becomes the destination for hundreds of sports buffs, including foreigners. People pour in to watch special breeds of bullocks, camels, dogs, mules and other animals competing in cutthroat competitions. Display of horse racing, tent pegging and even “Gatka” are held in high spirits. Other attractions of these Rural Olympics are Punjabi folklore and cultural festivities and in the process, the event almost transforms into an artistic ensemble.

26. The twinkling twin - Tale of Umri:

Mohammadpur Umri, a unique hamlet near the Air Force base at Bamrauli, near Allahabad and has a twinkling tale to flaunt. The total population of this tiny village is nearly 900. And interestingly there are almost sixty pairs of twins here.  Going by scientific knowledge, even two pairs in a population of 600 is considered high.

The identical twin birth rate in this village is 300 times the national average population and probably the highest in the world. The most fascinating trivia about Umri is that this village is even believed to possess a paor of twin cows and buffaloes. Even the hens here lay eggs with double yolks!

27. The Haunted city of Bhangarh:

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Source: Shahnawaz Sid – Flickr

One of the India’s spookiest and the haunted ruins lies in Bhangarh, Alwar district in the state of Rajasthan. The town of Bhangarh whose haunted status is attracting scores of tourists these days, lies beneath the Sariska forest in Rajasthan. The lost city is open only during the hours of daylight and is strictly prohibited after sunset.

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Image Source:  A Frequent Traveller – Flickr

The Archeological Survey of India doesn’t have an official office here though government regulations state that every historical site must have an office of the ASI. The myth has it that due to the curse of Guru Bala Nath, the whole town was vacated over night. The Guru Bala Nath forbidden blight devastated the whole town. The tomb of Guru Bala Nath is still found amongst the ruins. This is definitely not for the faint hearted and is one of the scariest places in India.

EAST INDIA

West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Orissa comprise the Eastern Part of India.The intrinsically beautiful states of Assam and Orissa enhances it cultural and linguistic characteristics with its magnetic and mystical locales, cultural heritage, religious traditions, monuments and monasteries.

The Cherrapunji, wettest place on the world is out-of-the abode of natural as well as synthetic beauty; welcomes you to the inherently beautiful East Indian States. The virgin contiguous Seven Sister States – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim are truly one of the best India travel experiences.

28. Soak in with the nature at the Living Root Bridges - Cherrapunji:

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Image Source: t.saldanha – Flickr

Situated at the north eastern part of India, Cherrapunji is blessed to be the wettest part of the world, where bridges are not built but grown! It’s Mother Earth’s gift to mankind.  The Indian Rubber Tree is grown in abundance. These trees produce secondary roots from higher up its trunks and contentedly stretch to the top of huge boulders along the riverside.

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Image Source: Ashwin Kumar – Flickr

These root bridges, as old as 500 years are so strong that they can easily resist fifty people at once! As these trees are alive and growing they become stronger by every passing day. Believe it or not, this place houses a double Decker bridge, one of its kind in the world, where two bridges are sacked one over the other and are called “Umshiang double Decker bridge Root Bridge.”.

29. Experience the Dazzling Dzongu:

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Dzongu, one of those strikingly beautiful places of northern part of Sikkim. Not far away from Mangan, the place looks sterilized and is a hamlet in the Himalayas of Sikkim. 70 kilometres away from Gangtok in North Sikkim is Dzongu which is solely reserved for the Lepchas, the original inhabitants of Sikkim.

[Trek on the tough terrain of Sikkim with Sikkim Dzongri Trek]

The Lepchas Communities in Dzongu are totally isolated from the outside world with their own traditional practice and beliefs. The Seven Sisters waterfall near Dzongu, where one can witness seven waterfalls pouring down the cliffs along the captivating vista is a mesmerizing moment. Dzongu is enveloped with panoramic views of Mt. Khangchendzonga and is chiefly rich in flora and fauna.

30. Explore the enticing Caves of Meghalaya:

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Exploring the caves of Meghalaya triggers a sense of enthusiasm and thrill one cannot savor unless if they make their way through the dark, murky interiors. These many seem frightening, but they can be a lot of fun. The numerous natural caves all over Meghalaya are a kind of lure for tourists.

Few of the caves in this vicinity have been listed amongst the longest and deepest in the world. These caves are found in the East Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and the South Garo Hills. For all the resolute and courageous chaps out there, give vent to the explorer in you.

31. Discovering the Thalon cave:

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The Thalon cave is one of the historical sites of Manipur, Tamenglong district, around 185 kilometers from the state capital city. The cave is 910 meters above the sea level. The experience of moving into dark long caves can be frightening especially when it is situated above the sea level.

Thalon is house to many such caves which while exploring turn out to be some of the most exciting cave exploration experiences. The then Maharaja of Manipur, Budhachandra visited Thalon Cave in the year 1946. As a part of Manipur tourism festival, Thalon cave expeditions are held for three weeks with participants sprint up from different parts of the country.

32. Hide-and-Seek Beach of Orissa:

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Image Source: Subhashish Panigrahi – Flickr

Watching the sea vanish right in front of your eyes and then its return is truly an unusual site. With every low tide, the sea water recedes to approximately 5 kms and hits the surf of the shore back during high tides is the captivating sight at the Chandipur Beach at Orissa.

The hide and seek of water is amusing and the vine sand dunes sway on a melodious musical note to add to its seductive beauty. The other attractions in the vicinity are Remuna, Panchalingeswar, Aradi and Chandaneswar.

33. Towering heights of Tawang Monastery:

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Image Source: Giridhar Appaji Nag Y – Flickr

Tawang Monastery in Arunachal Pradesh is the biggest Buddhist monastery [Check out India's Best Monasteries] in the world outside Lhasa, Tibet. It was founded near the small town of the same name in the northwestern part of Arunachal Pradesh state by Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso in 1680-1681, in accordance with the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama.

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Image Source: rajkumar1220 – Flickr

The monastery belongs to the Gelugpa School and has a religious connection with Drepung Monastery in Lhasa. The monastery is 3 stories high and is also known in Tibetan as Galden Namgey Lhatse, which translates to ‘Celestial Paradise in a Clear Night.’ The library of the monastery has valuable old scriptures, nearly  400-year-old, numbering 850 bundles of old books and other manuscripts, both handwritten and printed, many of them in gold.

34. Majuli - The abode of nature’s anonymity:

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Image Source: Rocky Barua – Flickr

Assam is known as the gateway towards the north east region of India. The famous river Brahmaputra [Brahmaputra - A Thrilling Experience] which has its origin in Tibet flows through the place. Majuli, an island in the middle of the Brahmaputra, India’s most tempestuous river, is 2880 Kilometer long from its source to its destination in the Bay of Bengal. It is the largest fresh Water mid-river deltaic island in Asia.

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Image Source: rajkumar1220 – Flickr

The scenic beauty is spectacular and awe-inspiring! It is a visible living tradition of the relationship between humans and nature relationship which has evolved over centuries. Many Vaishnava monasteries are present here. Unique combinations of the art forms like drama, art, music and literature can be seen here.

35. Perching on the floating lake of Loktak:

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Image Source: indiawaterportal.org – Flickr

Manipur is the humble abode of the Loktak Lake which is the largest freshwater lake in the country. This lake is also called the Floating Lake in the world due to the floating phumdis. Phumids are heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matters which decompose at various stages on it.

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Image Source: Hemam Bishwajeet – Flickr

This ancient lake plays a vital role in the economy of Manipur. It serves as a source of water for hydro power generation, irrigation and drinking water supply. The lake is also a spring of livelihood for the rural fishermen who live in the vicinity and on the phumdis, also known as “phumshongs”.

36. Experience the Mesmerizing Champhai:

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Image Source: rajkumar1220 – Flickr

Mizoram is a must see if you want to explore best of India. It is a beautiful state with vivid tribal tradition, orchids and vibrant butterflies. Champhai’s splendid panorama of Myanmar hills covers an area of 3,185.83 sq km.  The history of the tiny state of Champhai, starts with Champhai and ends with Champhai.

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Image Source: rajkumar1220 – Flickr

The salubrious climate and picturesque vista attracts tourists across the world. “The Rice bowl of Mizoram” is located towars the base of the town is strikingly beautiful. A sequence of green hills encircles the rice fields, which adds to the charisma to the place. Visiting this place should be on your list of things to do in India.

37. Mawlynnong - Cleanness is next to godliness:

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Image Source: Ashwin Kumar – Flickr

Nestled in the pristine east Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, the populaces of this picturesque village of Meghalaya have learnt to live in harmony with Mother Nature and might very well become a paradigm for the metropolitan folk to follow.  Mawlynnong has been honored as “The Cleanest Village in Asia”. [Plan your Meghalaya tour]

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Image Source: Ashwin Kumar – Flickr

As the village passes by, one will be amazed by the clean well maintained black tarmac and the spotless front-yards and sidewalks of the cane stilt houses. The modish bamboo dustbins, pits for organic and inorganic wastes, maintaining public toilets, ban on usage of polythene and smoking are few maneuvering one can learn from them.

 38.  Bathe in the Beauty of River cruise, Sunderban:

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Image Source: Big Eyed Sol – Flickr

The largest littoral mangrove belt in the world of Sundarbans, stretches from 80 km into the Bangladeshi and Indian vicinity from the coastline. The Sunderbans have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The Indian Territory forest is called Sundarbans National Park.

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Image Source: Partha Sarathi Sahana – Flickr

They aren’t just mangrove quagmire but also cover the last remaining stands of the majestic jungles flowing through the grandiose Ganga. Sundarban wildlife Sanctuary takes pride in inhabiting 400 Royal Bengal tigers and about 30,000 spotted deer in the area. The forest is called ‘Sunderban’ due to the prosperous growth of Sundari trees.

 39. Authentically Ethnic Orissa:

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Image Source: rajkumar1220 – Flickr

“Adivasis” are the so called tribes comprising the indigenous population of Orissa belongs to three linguistic clans, namely – Dravidion, Indo-Aryan and Austric. Adivasis- which literary means “Original Inhabitants”, comprise almost of 24% of the total population of Orissa.

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Image Source: rajkumar1220 – Flickr

The eastern hilly Ghats of Orissa is habitat for most of the tribal population, retaining their traditions and customs in the midst of the deep forests. The sixty two diverse ethnicities preserve and guard their individual distinct traditions from centuries.

SOUTH INDIA

In a sun kissed, blissful abode South India needs no introduction. This is possibly the most ancient of all lands, and the heart of native India and its values. This land is blessed with some of the supreme gifts, and it shares them munificently with one and all.

South India is a place of ancient complex region which is precipitous in intellectual thought and age old mores. Mathur, Talakad, Lepakshi of South India, are endowed with brilliant opportunity to explore the rich cultural heritage and astonishing architecture.

40. Snorkel your way out with Rajan, the Snorkeling Elephant:

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Image Source: Mark Shann – Flickr

Rajan, popularly called the Snorkeling Rajan of Andaman & Nicobar Islands is completely out of the norm! Can you ever imagine, an Elephant can swim and snorkel too? Yes… The daily ritual of Rajan [Swim with Rajan in Andaman] of Andaman & Nicobar Islands is just to plunge in and hit the surf along the beach side. The 59 year old mascot uses his trunk as a snorkel and finds his way out to the deep sea bed and enjoys every moment of perching amidst the waves.

41. The Classical village of Karnataka - Mathur:

Mathur, a charming village on the banks of river Tunga, on the outskirts of Shimoga town is definitely unique in its own ways. The small village is known for the usage of the ancient language Sanskrit for day-to-day communication.

Sanskrit, the language of Gods, is the regional language of this tiny village and is also known for its support to nourish Gamaka art, which is a exclusive form of singing and storytelling in Karnataka. Rama Mandira, Someshwara temple and Lakshmikeshava temple are the other attractions of this out of the ordinary village. Karnataka is also home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in India.

Check out 45 most beautiful places around Bangalore.

42Sand dune stories of Talakad:

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Image Source: Ashwin Kumar – Flickr

A historical site with fascinating mythology associated with it is Talakad, located in the Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka on the banks of river Kaveri. Talakad was once brimming with 30 temples that are today buried under sand. Among the temples, the Pathaleshwara, Maruleshwara, Arkeshwara, Vaidyanatheshwara and Mallikarjuna temples, the five Lingams are believed to represent the five faces of Shiva. In honour of these five Shiva temples, a fair is held once every 12 years called “Panchalinga Darshana”. This was last held in 2009.

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Image Source: Abhijeet Rane – Flickr

The place is also associated with a legendary curse by a widow, who was a faithful devotee of Lord. From that time on, it is believed, the once fertile land of Talakad is covered in sand, and the River Kaveri at that specific spot suddenly develops a whirlpool. And till now, the Mysore rulers have problems with producing heirs to the throne.

Also check out some of the famous weekend getaways near Bangalore.

43. The Visa God of India – Chilkur Balaji, Hyderabad:

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Are you planning to move out of country but worried about your Visa interview? Not to worry, the Visa god will surely bless you with some good luck! Chilkur Balaji Temple popularly known as Visa Balaji Temple or Visa God is an ancient Hindu temple of Lord Balaji near Hyderabad, India.

It is one of the oldest temples in the Telangana region built about half a millennium ago. It is said that even if you’re not religious, just spending a few minutes in the temple can fetch you visa, if you are looking for one!

[Also check  out these 15 best resorts in Hyderabad]

44. The Magnificent Floating Pillar of Lepakshi:

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Image Source: Premnath Thirumalaisamy – Flickr

Lepakshi is a small town in the Ananthpur district of Andra Pradesh which is a very important historical and archaeological site. Lepakshi, a famous temple, dedicated to Lord Veerabhadra, the fiery incarnation of Lord Shiva, is famous for its architecture and painting.

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Image Source: Premnath Thirumalaisamy – Flickr

The beautiful frescos of Ramayana and Mahabharatha depicted on the ceilings of the temple in Lepakshi style of painting are utterly exclusive and stunning. The carving on the pillars looks extremely splendid and one single pillar is believed to have been holding the entire architecture of Lepakshi temple all on itself.

45. Snake Boat Race in the god’s own country - Alappuzha, Kerala:

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Image Source: Ronald Tagra – Flickr

Kerala, the god’s own country, is famous for various cultural and traditional practices. One such custom is the “Snake Boat Race”. The Vallam Kali held in the Punnamada Lake near Alappuzha, Kerala, India. Chundan Vallam kali literally means Snake boat play/game, is one of the popular events of the competition.

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Image Source: Ronald Tagra – Flickr

The 100–120 foot long canoes that are made of a wood locally called “Aanjili thadi” carrying 90- 110 rowers, move like snakes through the channels. The Chundan Vallam also has the record as “the biggest water vessel used for sports purpose.”

 46. The Esteem Ethipothala Falls of Andhra Pradesh:

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Image Source: Abhinaba Basu – Flickr

Ethipothala Falls a tributary of the River Krishna, situated on the Chandravanka River at an altitude of 70 feet high river cascade. The gushing water fall is a combination of three rivulets namely Chandravanka Vagu, Nakkala Vagu and Tummala Vagu. “ETITAPOSTHAL” meaning Ethi or Yathi in Sanskrit which means the monks or the sages and Thapothal in Sankrit meaning penance.

Ethipothala in Telugu Language means “lift and pour”. So people even presume that “Ethipothala Falls” are part of Lift Irrigation Scheme” Ranganatha and Dattatreya temples are other attractions in the vicinity. There is a crocodile breeding centre in the lagoon formed by the falls.

47. Experience the Serene aura of Auroville:

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Image Source: Ashwin Kumar – Flickr

Auroville, the City of Dawn, is an “experimental” township in Viluppuram district in the state of Tamil Nadu, near Pondicherry in South India. This beautiful city was originated in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa, also known as “The Mother” and designed by architect Roger Anger.

“Auroville is a place which is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries must be able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human harmony.

48. The romantic lake of Chembra:

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Image Source: Chandru – Flickr

Chembra Peak is the highest peak in Wayanad, at 6,900 ft above sea level. Chembra is located near the town of Meppady and is a part of the Wayanad hill ranges in Western Ghats, adjacent to the Nilgiri Hills in Tamilnadu and Vellarimala in Kozhikode district in Kerala.

One of the tourist attractions on the top of the hill is a heart shaped lake. The lake is believed to have never desiccated. The picturesque vista from the top of the hill covers whole of Wayanad and parts of Malappuram, Kozhikkode and Nilgiri districts.

49. Uniquely Baptized Bhadrapura:

Visit to Bhadrapura village of Bidadi district, outskirts of Bangalore will be one of those amazing experiences you’ll ever have! If you visit Bhadrapura village and ask for coffee, you won’t get a drink. If you ask them if they know English, the complete village will say yes. And the village even boasts to have a High Court. Coffee, English, High Court are the names of the people residing in this village.

One can also find Congress and Janata here! Unlike urbanites , who opt for fancy names just to be unusual, the Hakki-Pikki nomad community, get their inspiration from their routine life – from objects around them, the places they visit, film actors, food etc. Names such as British, Mantri, Glucose, Bus, Train, Gramophone, Military, Hotel, Jailor, Dollar, Cycle Rani, Elizabeth Rani and Mayura are popular and they speak a mixture of 14 languages.

50. Palolem - The blue and bullion beach of Goa:

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Image Source:  Dan Searle – Flickr

Goa is a place for the most enticing beaches in the world.  Palolem is a white sand beach facing a blue bay between two cliffs. It looks marvellously adorable with the dense foliage and jutting coconut trees. A ferry can take you to the fishing beach of Palolem and is mostly patronized for all the beach lovers who would love to soak up in the sun-drenched shores.

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Image Source: Vaibhav San – Flickr

A dolphin spotting trip in a boat is one of the fascinating attractions of Palolem. The place has the special advantage of being exclusively Indian and patently international at the same time.

[Also check 10 best tourist places in Goa]

51. Astounding Araku Valley:

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Image Source: Raj

Araku Valley, a hill station and a village in Visakhapatnam district in the state of Andhra Pradesh, uncovers astonishing scenery with thick forests surrounded all over. Araku is popular for its world famous plantation of coffee. The place attracts people with pleasing weather, hillocks and valleys.

The natural beauty of this valley comes alive with its rich vista. The area of the valley is roughly 36 square kilometres and the altitude is between 600 and 900 meters above sea level. One of the other magnetism of this canyon is a Tribal Museum which portrays tribal handicrafts and lifestyle.

How may of these 51 offbeat destinations  in India you been to? Do you have any suggestions which can be included in the list?

 

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