Every tourist, Indian or otherwise, is given the same list of holiday destinations. A road trip to Ladakh, the beaches of Tamil Nadu, Vishwanath temple in Varanasi or our favorite Taj Mahal; most of these places have lost their novelty. They are unquestioningly the best places to visit in India, but now more and more tourists prefer to go offbeat. Everybody wants to retreat from the world in a peaceful place untouched by commercial tourism.
India is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with hidden blossoms no one knows about. So if you are a tourist in India looking for an offbeat holiday destination this season, here are some top picks for you-
This peaceful hamlet is located around 50 kms northwest of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. Varkala is great for backpackers looking for an offbeat holiday destination. The town boasts of cliffs as high as 15 m that adjoin the Arabian Sea.
Varkala has numerous pristine beaches such as Chilakoor beach, Kappil Beach, Edava beach, etc. Tourists can enjoy a plethora of water sports such as parasailing, banana-boat ride, and jet skiing, on these beaches. Papanasam beach is one of the most popular beaches in Kerala. It is said that the waters have medicinal properties and so are visited by many for a holy dip.
Other holy attractions of Varkala are the Janardhanaswamy temple, St. Sebastian Church, and the Kaduvayil Juma Masjid. The famous Arattu Festival is held from 12th to 21st March at the Janardhanaswamy temple, and is a beautiful display of Kerala’s local culture.
Varkala is 40 km away from the Thiruvananthapuram Airport. And one can also reach through buses and trains from nearby cities.
Talasari Beach, Odisha
Talasari is a small hidden beach in Baleswar, Odisha, around 10 km from Digha. The place is completely untouched by tourist crowds and holidayers, and perfect for a tranquil getaway. This tiny town has an extremely pleasant weather, a peaceful atmosphere and super-friendly locals.
The Talasari beach is a virgin beach lush with coconut trees, cashew trees, sand dunes and tranquil sea waves. This beach is resplendent with fish, and hence is a fisherman’s paradise. Talasari beach is the last beach in Odisha towards the north. It is famous for two things- the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and the pristine backwaters. If you are looking for some peace and solitude, do visit this beach. Talasari beach is 180 km from the nearest airport and 36 kms from the nearest railway station. One can also reach by bus or using local transport.
Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
This place is the best holiday destination for adventure lovers. Spiti Valley is still a relatively new tourist destination, and untouched by commercialism. Located 1250 ft above sea level, this valley is one of the coldest places in the country, and one of the prettiest.
During monsoon months there is continuous rainfall and landslides everywhere. And during winter months the roads are completely blocked by snow. So the best time to visit Spiti Valley is during the summer months, when the temperature is fairly pleasant.
Spiti Valley offers tons of activities for adventure lovers, such as trekking, biking, and yak safari. It is famous for its trekking trails ranging from easy to extremely challenging. Spiti Valley is famous for the beautiful crescent-shaped Chandratal Lake, which is flocked by lots of Hindu devotees who associate it with the Mahabharata. Other attractions of Spiti Valley include Tabo Monastery, Dhankar Monastery, the Trilokinath Temple, and the Suraj-Tal lake. The markets in nearby local villages don’t have much in the name of souvenirs for tourists, but are great for shopping. One can also enjoy the Pauri festival held at the Trilokinath Temple if they visit in the month of August. One can easily reach this place via Manali or via Shimla, by bus or a personal car/SUV.
Kaas Plateau, Maharashtra
Kaas plateau is located at an altitude of 1200m above sea-level, amidst the Western Ghats. This beautiful plateau is 25 km away from the Satara district of Maharashtra, and is a part of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. Kaas plateau is biodiversity hotspot made of volcanic rocks, especially known for its beautiful endlessly stretching flower meadows. It has more than 850 species of flowers that only grow in this area. The best time to see these flowers in full bloom is during the monsoon months. Kaas plateau is in close vicinity of the Western Ghats, due to which weather is pleasant all year round.
The plateau is also famous for the Kaas Lake, a beautiful lake surrounded by dense forests all around. It is in the vicinity of Vajrai Waterfall, one of the highest waterfalls in India.
One can easily reach Kaas plateau via Satara or via Panchgani by local buses and trains. It is a nature-lover’s paradise, and one of the best offbeat retreats in the country.
Patan is an ancient fortified city in Gujarat located on the banks of the Saraswati River. This place has a lot of ancient Rajput history associated with it. The city is a cultural bonanza with a bustling marketplace, beautiful architecture and temples over a thousand years old.
Patan was the capital city of Gujarat for more than 650 years, hence it has a lot of historical value. It is a spiritual city with a plethora of temples devoted to Hindu Gods, Jain temples and mosques. One of the biggest tourist attractions of Patan is the Rani Ka Vav which recently became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rani Ka vav is a beautifully constructed step well which was the primary water-storage system for locals in ancient times. It is intricately carved with images of Lord Vishnu and his various forms. Other attractions of Patan are the Sahastralinga Talav (an ancient artificial storage tank), and more than a hundred beautiful temples.
Patan is a great offbeat holiday destination if you are a history lover. One can easily reach Patan via Gandhinagar or Ahmedabad through bus or personal transport.
Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh
This beautiful valley is a nature-lover’s paradise, located 3km from the Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh. Whether you are looking for adventure or just some peace, Tirthan Valley has something for everyone. It is surrounded by beautiful snow-capped peaks, and has a pleasant weather all year round. The nearby villages are quaint and brimming with local culture.
Tirthan Valley offers a wide range of adventure sports such as rock climbing, river crossing and trekking. The Tirthan River is extremely popular for trout fishing and is a fisherman’s paradise. Another well-known tourist attraction is the Great Himalayan National Park which is resplendent in diverse flora and fauna. Along the Tirthan River one will come across a number of hidden waterfalls untouched by civilisation and commercialism. The best time to visit this place is during spring or summer season when the flora is in full bloom.
Other attractions of this place are Chetni Kothi (a beautiful 1500-year-old castle), the pristine Parashar lake, and an abundance of local temples. The best way to reach Tirthan Valley is by road, but one can also reach by train.
The Shivasamudram falls are great for a peaceful weekend getaway in Nature’s bounty. These falls are the second largest waterfalls in the country and sixteenth largest in the world. Shivasamudram falls are located in the Mandya district of Karnataka, about 120 kms from Bangalore and 8 kms from Mysore. The Kaveri river splits into two branches and forms two waterfalls namely Gaganachukki and Bharachukki. These two waterfalls comprise the Shivasamudram falls. Tourists flock to Gaganachukki due to the mesmerising view of the falls during the early hours of the day. The Bharachukki, on the other hand, are popular because one can go to the bottom of the falls by a rocky trail that leads down to it. Bharachukki waterfall ends near an area of shallow water where tourists can swim.
Shivasamudram falls are also famous for the Hydro Power Station that was built here in 1902, a first of its kind in Asia. Other popular tourist attractions in the vicinity are the Ranganathaswamy temple, and the Bheemeshwari Wildlife Sanctuary.
The best time to visit Shivasamudram falls is in the monsoon months of July and August. One can reach these falls easily via Bangalore or via Mysore.
Bhandardara is a quaint little hill station amidst the Sahyadri range in Maharashtra. The hill station is popular for is beautiful waterfalls, especially the umbrella falls which look like an umbrella. Bhandardara is around 115 km from Mumbai, and is well connected by road to other parts of the country. The nearest railway station is in Igatpuri which is 42 km away from Bhandardara. The best time to visit Bhandardara is during the months of June to March, when the weather is pleasant.
Other attractions of this hill station are the Wilson dam (the largest earthen dam of the country), Randha waterfalls, and Arthur Lake. One can also get a breathtaking view of the Kalsubai peak, the largest peak of the Sahyadri ranges. Many trekkers flock to this mountain peak, as it is quite a challenge for even the most experienced. It is one of the best offbeat destinations in the country, so do give it a visit once.
If you are seeking escape from the bustling city-life and pollution, this is the place to be. Naukuchiatal is a small lake village famous for the Naukuchiatal lake which has nine corners. It is believed that if one can see all nine corners of this lake with both feet on the ground, he will achieve nirvana.
Naukuchiatal is a peaceful hamlet with beautiful Hindu temples, an abundance of freshwater lakes, and small hills all around. The village is located around 30 kms from Nainital. So if you are planning to go to Nainital, do visit Naukuchiatal.
Naukuchiatal doesn’t have much for adventurers, apart from some small treks and fishing. But the tranquility amidst so much flora and fauna is an amazing thing to experience. The best part is that not many tourists are familiar with Naukuchiatal, so it will never be too crowded. Summers are pleasant and winters bring snowfall, so except for monsoons it is always a good time to visit.
Sandhan Valley, Maharashtra
Sandhan Valley is another gem in the Sahyadri mountain range of Maharashtra. This place is also called the Valley of shadows because sometimes the canyon becomes so narrow that sunlight is almost completely blocked.
Sandhan Valley is a trekker’s paradise because of the rocky climb down the 50 ft. deep Valley. The rock formations on the canyon are a beautiful sight to behold. It is a reason why Sandhan Valley is also called the Grand Canyon of Maharashtra.
Sandhan Valley is also close to the beautiful Bhandardara village in Maharashtra, so you get the best of both worlds. One of the biggest attractions is the reverse waterfall, a waterfall whose waters flow upwards instead of downwards. This unusual phenomenon is due to the strong winds that deviate the flow of water, and make this waterfall a mesmerising sight. Apart from this, plunge pools and pretty creeks dot the entire valley. It is a great offbeat destination owing to its novelty and how tourists have yet to discover this place for holidaying. Sandhan Valley can easily be reached from Mumbai (180 kms) and is well connected by road to other parts of the country.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your family, pack your backpacks and set out on that long-overdue holiday!