Offbeat Travel Destinations in Incredible India

Surajtal, Himachal Pradesh, India

Surajtal, on the Manali-Ladakh highway, is an offbeat travel destination often ignored by travelers.

‘Incredible’ is a name given to India for a reason.  Think of a fairy tale fantasy, a dreamland scene or a heavenly abode; it’s a bet you will have no issues finding such offbeat places in India.  Beauty is in abundance in this country, whether it is in the people, places or the sceneries. There are a few places in India that appear surreal and their beauty is hard to even imagine. You have to see them to believe it.

Here is a list of some offbeat travel destinations in Incredible India that will sweep you off your feet and give your imagination a new horizon.

Laitlum Canyons, Meghalaya

Laitlum Canyons, Meghalaya, India

Laitlum Canyons, Meghalaya

One of the few offbeat travel places where nature is divine, the Laitlum canyons in Meghalaya has a surreal beauty with its dewy hills, bamboo plants, charming orchids and hazy clouds.  If you   have a hankering for panoramic views, mystical mists and nebulous fog, head to the Laitlum Canyons. Home to the abundance of natural beauty, Laitlum Canyons is sure to make you bow your head in the new found respect for nature and god’s choicest creations.

Distance from Shillong by road: 101 kms

Best time to visit: October to February

Things to know:

  • It is best to reach the place in the early hours of the morning if you want to stay here till long, as by late afternoon the place is covered by a blanket of dense fog
  • It is best to carry snacks and water along as you are not likely to get anything enroute.
  • The nearest village ‘Smit’ is 6 kms away.

Related: Living root bridges in Meghalaya

Sandakphu, West Bengal

Sandakphu in West Bengal

Sandakphu, West Bengal

Sandakphu is one of the five highest peaks of the world and is created by nature with patience and lots of artistry. It is hard to find such diversity in the natural beauty anywhere else in the world. If you like orchids, then this place is a must visit for you as here you find 600 odd and rare varieties of Orchids. Any time of the day or night, the beauty of Sandakphu is priceless and unparalleled.

Distance from Darjeeling by road- 83kms

Best time to visit- Anytime of the year

Things to know-

  • It is the highest peak of West Bengal.
  • The trek from Sandakphu to Phalut has the most amazing views and it is advisable to take a stopover at this point.
  • There is no water available on the route, so it is advisable to take plenty of water.

Majuli, Assam

majuli island in assam

Majuli Island, Assam

Unarguably one of the most surreal places in India, Majuli in the Assam state is the largest river island in the world. A UNESCO world heritage site, Majuli is connected only with boats from the small town of Jorhat and is still unknown to many tourists. Visit this offbeat travel destination during monsoon and witness the most picturesque and paradisiacal scenery on earth.

Distance from Guwahati by road: 349kms

Best time to visit: October to March

Things to know:

  • The locals are well versed in both Hindi and English languages, so talk to them, see the places they suggest and get the most out of your trip.
  • Majuli celebrates a number of tribal festivals in the month of October, January, and April, so if you are there during this time, make sure you see it.
  • Visit the Salmara and Samugari villages near Majuli and witness great craftsmanship of the villagers.
  • The best way to stay there is in the bamboo huts just like the village houses.

The Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat

The Great Rann of Kutch

The Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat

Wake up to the surreal beauty of the white salt desert as far as your eyes can see in the Rann of Kutch. Spread in the western district of Gujarat, the sprawling beautiful desert looks blissful in the full moon night and gives you a feeling of solace. Every year world famous Kutch festival is organized and tourists from all over the globe come to enjoy the colorful festival on the white sands of the great desert.

Distance from Ahmedabad by road: 272kms

Best time to visit: October to February

Things to know:

  • While in Kutch, don’t forget to visit the Kutchi villages to see the woven masterpieces by the villagers.
  • It is a well known place to buy patola silk, Guajarati ghagra cholis, bandhanis, embroided quilts and interesting handicraft décor items. The handicrafts of Kutch are famous across the world.
  • You can spot flamingos in a huge number as it is a breeding ground for them.

Living Root Bridge, Meghalaya

Living Root bridge, Meghalaya, India

Living Root Bridge, Meghalaya

You will never be able to appreciate the man made bridges after you see the living root bridges in Meghalaya. With roots as long as hundred feet, the bridges thus made are strong enough to support 50 people at a time on it. What appears to be scary to even look at, you will see small kids in Meghalaya walking over these living root bridges like a cakewalk. This place is under the UNESCO world heritage site listings.

Distance from Cherrapunji by road: 82kms

Best time to visit: Any time of the year

Things to know:

  • The living root bridges are made of Ficus elastica tree.
  • These live root bridges are still growing in length and strength.
  • Root bridges are found in Mawlynnong too, which also is the cleanest village in Asia. It is only 82kms from Cherrapunji, so ensure a visit to the picturesque village that has a 100% literacy rate as well.

Phutkal Monastery, Zanskar Valley

Phuktal Monastery, Zanskar Valley, India

Phuktal Monastery, Zanskar Valley

You might mistake it as a honeycomb if you look at it from a distance. With a history that dates back to the 12th century, the Phutkal monastery boasts of an intriguing architecture and surreal surroundings. The simplicity and charm of this place is infectious. The entire monastery is built on the sharp edges of a giant mountain and is home to around 70 monks.

Distance from Srinagar by Road: 192kms + a day long trek to the monastery

Best time to visit: April to August

Things to know:

  • Please don’t expect fancy hotels or guest houses anywhere near the monastery. The basic and humble accommodation of the monastery is your only place to stay.
  • Unless you carry food hampers with you, the food provided by the monks is your only way to curb hunger.
  • The opening hours of the monastery is from morning 6:00am to evening 4:00pm.
  • It is one of the holiest places for Tibetan Buddhist monks and strict discipline is followed at the monastery.

 Alleppey, Kerala

Alleppey, Kerala, India

Alleppey, Kerala

Not necessarily an offbeat travel destination but being home to the best backwaters in the world, Alleppey is a gem of the Kerala state of India. It mesmerizes you with its charming lagoons, flak canals, swaying beautiful palm trees and postcard perfect lakeside views. Alleppey treats you with tranquility and peace through its untouched simplicity.

Distance from Cochin by road: 53kms

Best time to visit: September to February

Things to know:

  • The backwaters witnesses over 2000 houseboats.
  • The houseboats travel in the lagoons only till 5 pm and further docks and stay at a place for the night.
  • 38 rivers and 5 lakes linked by huge canals to form a chain of lagoons along the Arabian Sea in India.
  • It is advisable to take a walk in the villages next to the backwaters and see the simple but disciplined life of the locals.

Chand Baori, Rajasthan

Chand Baori, Rajasthan

Chand Baori, Rajasthan

Chand Baori situated in the village of Abhaneri in the state of Rajasthan is considered to be the deepest well in the world. However, it looks nothing like a well; instead it offers a majestic view of ancient architectural marvel. Chand Baori was constructed to provide a dependable water source to the village and neighboring areas under the rule of Nikumbha Dynasty. Built over 1000 years ago, the well was a dependable source of water for the area for centuries and now when modern ways of water delivery has come into existence, it is no longer used. But this doesn’t diminish its importance.

Distance from Jaipur by road: 90 kms

Best time to visit: November to February

Things to know:

  • The well has 3500 steps and consists of 13 storeys and signifies the geometrical brilliance existing in the 9th
  • India gave birth to the concept of step wells.
  • The well not only served as a water source for the people of that era but also as an entertainment center.
  • The well is surrounded by steps from 3 sides and a performance stage and pavilion on the 4th It also has a palace of the king and queen to rest.
  • The temperature in the lower steps of the well is 5 to 6 degrees cooler.

India is one of those few places on the planet where you get nature’s choicest places in abundance. Right from the highest peak to the largest river island, best of crowded and secluded beaches to the most picturesque waterfalls. Every season in India marks for the best travel time and every travel makes for an unforgettable memory. India in every way is a traveler’s paradise. The soul of India resides in the offbeat travel destinations. In your next travel try to walk on that offbeat path.

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