Little known spots have topped the ‘must-see’ lists of intrepid travellers, as we uncover stunning destinations that stand testimony to India’s natural beauty.
(1) 360 degree LETI, UTTARAKHAND
For those tired of vacations being spoiled by loud, pesky kids of fellow tourists, this place is perfect. Nestled high up in the Kumaon hills, it is almost too difficult for young kids to reach. Even for most able-bodied adults, an 8-hour car ride ending with one-and-a-half-hour uphill trek to reach the cottages is not easy. But the pay-out : Meals prepared by a former Tibetan monk, fine wine and blissful solitude. The 360 degrees mountain views aren’t too shabby either.
(2) TINCHULEY, WEST BENGAL
Located at the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, it is known as one of the hidden treasures of Darjeeling, or in other words, one of those places still safe from accumulated touristy junk. The residents of this rural village have turned this spot into an eco-urban village and the viewpoints it offers are unique.
(3) KOTTUR, KERALA
Two words —-JUMBO TREK. Lying in the laps of Agasthyakoodam hill in the Western Ghats, visitors to Kottur get to tour the forest perched on an elephant. You can also get into the water with the mahouts and give the pachyderms a bath, which will be an experience hard to forget. Just remember to scrub well.
(4) KALPA, HIMACHAL PRADESH
Famous for its apple orchards, Kalpa sure must be a place where doctors are all unemployed, The village, located at the base of the Kinnaur Kailash snow-capped ranges, guarantees a mind-blowing view. It is also known to have a few options for thrill-seekers.
(5) PELLING, SIKKIM
At the risk of sounding like an airline travel booklet, can you imagine the view of a virgin forest from your balcony ? This is the reality for the locals living in Pelling town. Of course, as tourist as it can get, Pelling has an abundance of options. If your visit coincides with the Khangchendzonga Festival, you also get the added bonus of being part of a local cultural experience.
(6) TALASARI BEACH, ODISHA
Referred to as one of the least-explored beaches in Odisha, Talasari Beach is the perfect spot for a picnic. If you don’t mind the red crabs scurrying all over the place. If you are thinking of posting selfies from that expensive beach vacation last year, this beach will give you a run for your money. The long stretch of white sandy beach is known for its picture-perfect sunrises and sunsets, and one has to cross the backwaters to get there, which itself is a nice, adventurous start to your trip.
(7) MANCHANBELE, KARNATAKA
The latest darling of the trekkers, visitors to Manchanbele can also spend their weekends camping and kayaking along the side of a dam. Though considered a good spot for amateur rough terrain bikers, there’s nothing really amateurish about the perils on this terrain. Trust us, we have bruised knees and elbows claiming otherwise.
(8) GAVI, KERALA
If you think building a tree-house is an idea straight out of a Hollywood movie —– you are wrong. Come to Gavi and find a tree-house of your own ! Previously, unexplored, we’re pretty sure the plastic covers and the litter are soon to follow.
(9) DHARCHULA, UTTARAKHAND
Keeping with hills and chills theme, Dharchula is perfect for those who like cold, crisp air of mountains. Besides, it is so close to Nepal that you can actually pretend that you are on an ‘international’ holiday. The quaint village is separated from the Johar Valley by the Panchchuli peaks.
(10) NIGHOJ, MAHARASHTRA
POTHOLES —— that’s what this destination is known for. But why escape the city to go see more potholes, you may ask. But these are natural. The river bed of Kukadi River is known to resemble an alien planet with all the open potholes and rough terrain. We wonder how soon before they shoot the next STAR WARS flick here.
(11) PHUKTAL MONASTERY, JAMMU & KASHMIR
Located in one of the most isolated valleys, this could be the perfect spot to experience what being detached from the rest of the world would feel like. This monastery does not just involve hours of trekking, but a lesson in patience too, for it is hidden in a cave on a hillside for you to discover.
(12) UNAKOTI, TRIPURA
We all knew Lord Shiva didn’t suffer fools. Apparently, he was not a big fan of tardiness either. On his way to Kashi with a group of other gods and goddesses, the Lord halted at Unakoti for the night. Next morning, Lord Shiva woke up really to leave, only to find that the other sleepy heads hadn’t woken up on time. Lord Shiva’s curse turned all of them into the stone images that adorn this site even today, making it a treasure trove of local legends and mythology.
(13) MEGHAMALAI, TAMIL NADU
This is a spot perfect for those who love to be surrounded by unhindered stretches of green untouched by the modern world …… or for as long as it lasts. Also known as High Wavys, this spot has been one of the least known parts of Madurai. These mountains are known for their exciting yet dangerous hiking trails.
(14) KAAS PLATEAU, MAHARASHTRA
It hosts hundreds of different species of flowers and has been declared a Biodiversity World Heritage Site by the UN.. Make sure when you visit the area, you enjoy the flora and fauna without harming them. As the saying goes : Shoot only photos: leave only footprints.