Incredible India, as the nation is fondly called possesses some dreamy sites that put a spell on you. Here is a list of the most surreal places in the country. Take off to the largest salt water desert, century-old living root bridges, the cleanest village in Asia and a lot more.
1. Rann of Kutch, Gujarat
Image Credit: anurag_agnihotri – Flickr
Reputed as the largest salt water desert in the world, Rann of Kutch in Gujarat makes for a surreal sight indeed. This is where you can get an unbridled view of the horizon yonder. Underwater during the rainy season, the intriguing place surfaces from the month of October.
2. Dudhsagar Falls, Goa
Image Credit: Pradeep BR – Flickr
With gushing cascades of water that appear like milk, this is how the falls derive their name as Dudhsagar (sea of milk). Plopped at the border of Karnataka and Goa, it spills in full force over four tiers. The greenery that abounds, further adds to the magic of this place.
3. Living Root Bridges, Meghalaya
Image Credit: Ashwin Kumar – Flickr
What seems to appear straight out of a fantasy movie, the Living Root Bridges have to be seen to be believed! Some of these roots are more than hundred feet long and are strong enough to carry the weight of fifty people at one time. Located in Meghalaya, they are part of the UNESCO Heritage.
4. Markha Valley, Ladakh
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Compelling you with its dreamy beauty, Markha Valley in Ladakh is famous for its trekking trail. The place acquires its name from the tributary of Zanskar that drifts between the Stok and Zanskar mountain ranges. It is here you can find the homogeneity of ruggedness and bounties.
5. Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand
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Feast your eyes on the carpet of meadows laced with stunning alpine flowers. Also a place where rare and endangered animals reside, The Valley of Flowers National Park is located in Uttarakhand. The trek to here is rewarding too.
[Check out complete guide to Valley of Flowers trek]
6. Golden Temple, Amritsar
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A shimmering vision, the Golden Temple resonates an aura of harmony and splendour. Dating back to the 16th century this place of worship is located in Amritsar. A Sikh Gurdwara, you have people from all religions thronging here.
7. Pangong Lake, Ladakh
Image Credit: Amit Rawat – Flickr
Transporting you to an ethereal place, the Pangong Lake is located in Ladakh. This is a place where unblemished azure waters are fringed by rugged mountains while cotton candy clouds float above. Feel the serenity and magic envelope you.
[Also check out some of the best hill stations of India]
8. Rosary Church, Shettihalli
Image Credit: Adarsh Antony – Flickr
Making for an eerie and surreal sight, the Rosary Church, Shettihalli is the one that submerges and emerges depending upon the water levels of the dam. More than two centuries old, this skeleton structure was once a full-fleshed place of worship before the ground that it stands on had to be abandoned due to the birth of the dam.
9. Laitlum Canyons, Meghalaya
Image Credit:Samuel Sawian – Flickr
Get to witness the divinity of nature as you make a visit to the verdant Laitlum Canyons in Meghalaya. Feel the chill as you stand close to the edge and witness the jagged descents. Get a bird’s eye view of the beauty that abounds along with its dewy hills, charming orchids, bamboo plants and the nebulous clouds.
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10. Mawlynnong Village, Meghalaya
Image Credit: Ashwin Kumar – Flickr
Want to know how the cleanest village in Asia looks like? Also known as ‘God’s own garden’, the Mawlynnong Village is located in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. Buried deep in natural beauty, the place comes alive during the monsoon with a myriad of lush foilage, waterfalls, small streams and orchids.
11. Phuktal Monastery, Zankar Valley
Image Credit: Michael Mellinger – Flickr
Dating back to the 12th century, the Phuktal Monastery makes for an arresting sight. One can’t help but be fascinated by its architecture. Built on the sharp edges, it is plonked on the rocky mountains of Zankar Valley. There are around 70 monks residing in this monastery.
12. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Image Credit: 1ieve – Flickr
Unlike any other place in India, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, is where you can head to for silver sands, glistening crystal waters, breath-taking corals and trees that seem to touch the sky. Feel like you have entered an enchanted time as you explore the treasures of the place.
Often considered to be older than history, Varanasi is a spellbinding place of religion, colours, mythology and old world charms. Resting on the banks of the holy Ganga in Uttar Pradesh, the sunlight lights up the ancient architecture during the day and the night whispers a magical allure with aartis and diyas.
Image Credit: Nicolas Mirguet – Flickr
Among the 5 highest peaks in the world, Sandakphu makes for a dreamy location. Surreal natural beauty and spectacular views define this place. It is here one can spot around 600 myriad orchid-varieties and a remarkable diversity in nature which is not found anywhere else in the world.
15. Nubra Valley, Ladakh
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A high altitude cold desert, Nubra Valley etches divine scenery with a combination of stark steep slopes, river beds and fertile villages. This is where the mesmeric Shyok River encounters the Siachan River to form a beautiful large valley. Plopped in the north east of the Ladakh valley, a permit is required to get here.
16. Alleppey, Kerala
Image Credit: Mehul Antani – Flickr
A green gem of Kerala, Allepey has tourists thronging to it from all parts of the world. Famous for its backwaters, this is where you can bask in charming lagoons, swaying palm trees that flak canals, postcard perfect lakesides and a lot more.
[Click here to see list of 51 things to do in Kerala]
Image Credit: Vineet Radhakrishnan – Flickr
17. Thar Desert
Image Credit: Andrew Miller – Flickr
The world’s 9th largest subtropical desert, the Thar Desert makes for a magnificent sight. Watch uninhibited stretches of sand melt into the horizon. The diversity of fauna too is very abundant as compared to other deserts in the world.
Image Credit: menq.am – Flickr
On the banks of Gambhiri River and Berach, the stunning and historical Chittorgarh echoes the rich antiquity of Rajputs. It is a sight for sore eyes, especially for history and legend buffs. The place is famous for Chittorgarh Fort that is the largest of its kinds in India.
19. Loktak Lake, Manipur
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Ever wondered what a floating lake looks like? The Loktak Lake in Manipur is a surreal vision. It appears so because of the phumdis (mass of vegetations) on the water body that drift about.
20. Anthargange Caves, Kolar
Formed from volcanic rocks, the natural caves in Anthargange offer a unique sight and experience. The craggy hill range is around 1226 Meters (4021ft.) high and located in the Kolar district near Bangalore. It is also a favourite among adventure enthusiasts.
21. Gurez Valley, Himalayas
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Nestled in the high Himalayas, the deep Gurez Valley is resides along the ancient Silk Route. It is cosseted by snow-capped mountains and has the Neelum River meandering through it. It is also believed that Nehru and Indira Gandhi, accompanied by Sheikh Abdullah, are among the many who enjoyed trekking here.
22. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
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Considered as the lifeline of the ancient city Madurai, the Meenakshi Amman Temple is said to date back to the 17th Century. The architecture of this place of worship reflects the fine craftsmanship of that era and is an interesting blend of stone carvings infused with colour.
Image Credit: Prasanth N G – Flickr
23. Roopkund Lake, Uttarakhand
Image Credit: Atul Sunsunwal – Flickr
Enigmatic and spooky Roopkund Lake is also known as the Mystery Lake. High altitude in nature, it is located in Uttarakhand. Flanked by rock-strewn glaciers and snow clad mountains, this is the very place where several mysterious skeletons belonging to the 9th century were found.
24. Chand Baori, Rajasthan
Image Credit: Ramon – Flickr
Appearing as a highly complex and hypnotising structure, one can’t help but wonder what went down in the construction of the Chand Baori, Rajasthan. One of the prime attractions of the state, this step well is believed to belong to the 800 and 900 AD, under the reign of Nikumbha Dynasty.
25. Bhimtal Lake, Nainital
Image Credit: Nagesh Kamath – Flickr
A jewel of Nainital, the Bhimtal Lake is flanked by the stunning Kumaoun hills that are laced with clusters of green and cast their reflection on the water body. Adding to the charm is the island that is plonked right in the centre.
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