Five hidden treasures

You may have been to popular destination like Nainital and Goa, but a day trip to their ‘quaint’ neighbours can be a great way to break the routine. 
Here’s a list :  
Dharamkot, Himachal Pradesh (near McLeodganj)

Barely 2 km from McLeodganj, this hamlet is every trekker’s dream destination.  Commercialisation hasn’t yet sullied the slopes of Dharamkot, as compared to Dharamsala.  Quaint cafes sell piping-hot noodle preparations and cups of tea, while basic cottages are the places to stay.  Trekking to vantage points to catch unmatched views of Kangra Valley or treading the steady climb to Triund, a nearby destination to admire the snow-capped Himalayan peaks, are two popular activities.  Nearest airport : Gaggal ; Railway station: Pathankot.  The best way, though, is to travel by bus till McLeodganj and take a rickshaw from there. 
Sattal, Uttarakhand (near Nainital)

A cluster of seven freshwater lakes offers ample picturesque settings for travellers to go on a selfie spree. Close to 500 species of migratory birds entice bird lovers and photography enthusiasts alike.  Just 22 km from the popular hill station Nainital, Sattal or Sat Tal is at its pristine best post monsoon.  A butterfly museum, orchards, a mission estate and Methodist ashram are other places to visit.  Camps, run by locals, are great stay options.  Nearest airport : Pant Nagar ; Railway station : Kathgodam
Orchha, Madhya Pradesh (near Jhansi and Khajuraho)

While tourists stop at Jhansi and Khajuraho to admire its historical marvels, they can drive on to visit this equally brilliant destination on the banks of the Betwa River.  Apart from the many palaces and temples in this town, you can admire ancient monuments on the river bank through a river safari.  Light and sound shows In English every evening, rafting facilities through the day and Bundelkhand cuisine at the state resorts and guest houses are some of the attractions.  Most travellers usually do the Gwalior, Shivpuri, Orchha and Khajuraho stretch.  Nearest airport : Gwalior ; Railway station : Jhansi. 
Barnawapara, Chhattisgarh (near Raipur)

This wildlife sanctuary entices tourists from across the globe because it boasts of a large number of spotted cats, wild bears and deer, in a relatively small area as compared to other sanctuaries.  Though it has a handful of tigers, its rich floral landscape and bird population makes it quite popular.  Unlike the other sanctuaries, you can drive around in your own vehicle at Barnawapara.  Nearest airport : Raipur ; Railway station : Mahasamund.  November to February is usually the best time to visit. 
Amboli, Maharashtra ( near Goa)

While everyone heads to the beaches of Goa after arriving at Dabolim Airport, some head to the relatively unexplored Amboli, a hill station on the Maharashtra border.  A two-hour drive, this destination is known for its pleasant weather throughout the year and heavy rainfall.  Amboli Waterfalls and Nangarta Falls in the vicinity, sunset point, temples and the Kavelshet Point, offering amazing views of the valley, are must-visits.  The place has decent accommodations and dining options.  Nearest airport : Dabolim ; Railway station : Sawantwadi.

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