Sick and tired of visiting the same old places for your vacation? Doing the same old cliched things at the very locations your grandparents, parents, cousins, neighbours and god-knows-who-else did when they went there for their vacations ? Well time for some education then my friends!
Here is a list of some new unheard-of, exotic locations spread across the map of India for a different fun filled vacation:
1. Great Wall of India
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Everyone has heard about the Great Wall of China, but not many know about the Great Wall of India! The Kumbhalgarh Fort is a Mewar fortress in the state of Rajasthan. It was the birthplace of the legendary king and warrior Maharana Pratap. The fort has a wall with a length of more than 38 kilometers, making it the second largest continuous wall in the world.
Only after one sees the wall in person do they realize the sheer brilliance, dedication and ingenuity of the people responsible for building the wall. On touring the fort one can only wonder about the bravery of the Rajputs who regularly fought for their motherland with all their might against the invading forces and succeeded in creating such masterpieces.
Best time to visit: The winter months of November February are ideal for a visit.
2. Ukhrul - Stronghold of the Nagas
The home of the mighty Tangkhul Nagas, Ukhrul is the highest hill station of Manipur, located just 83 kilometers away from Imphal. The landscape is made up of beautiful mountains and bewitchingly scenic views. The local population is popular for their soft and melodious songs, colorful traditional dresses and a peculiar land-lily called Siroi Lily. Far away from the hustle-bustle of cities, this small serene town is perfect for a well deserved peaceful break.
Activities: Witness the blooming of the Siroi Lily, an extremely rare land-lily that grows only in Ukhrul and nowhere else in the world, plan an excursion to the Khangkhui Lime caves and shop for some famous Nungbi pottery at the village of Nungbi Khullen.
Best time to visit: It is best to visit Ukhrul during the summer months of April June, as the weather is perfect and the Siroi Lily blooms during the same time.
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3. Thenmala - The Honey Hill
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Thenmala is a fairly famous tourist destination located in Kerala. It is a short drive away from Thiruvananthapuram and is the site of the first eco tourism project in India. Its natural beauty is so astounding that Thenmala is regularly featured in many Malayalam and Tamil movies.
Thenmala in the local dialect means ‘honey-hills’ and it is so called because the honey collected here is of very good quality and high medicinal value. If you are sick and tired of overcrowded and polluted metro cities then do visit this quaint little village at the foothills of the Western Ghats for a perfectly rejuvenating break.
Activities: Plan a visit to the famous Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary and have a look at the highly endangered Myristica Swamp, enjoy the wondrous sights of the Butterfly Safari and stroll through the Nakshatravanam gardens.
Best time to visit: The months of November to February are perfect to plan a visit to the honey-hill.
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4. Chaukhutia - The Four Way Point
Chaukhutia is a small yet charming town in the state of Uttarakhand. The name literally translates into ‘four-feet’ which in the town’s context means four directions. The 4 ways point towards 4 different cities. As beautiful as the town is, its history is all the more interesting. It used to be the capital of the Katyuri Kings during their reign. A splendid view of the valley of Dwarahat combined with the excellent weather make Chaukhutia perfect for tourists around the year.
Activities: Go out and explore the various temples and ruins around the area like the Kali temple, Vaishno Devi’s temple and Pandukholi or head out to the various water bodies for some leisurely fishing. After all Chaukhutia is not known as an angler’s paradise for nothing.
Best time to visit: It is best to beat the heat-wave that grips the rest of India and head to Chaukhutia during the months of March to June.
5. Barren Island
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
The Barren Island is probably the only confirmed active volcano in South Asia and is the most easterly island in the Andamans. Like its name, the island is devoid of human habitation and just has a few animals and rodents as its inhabitants. The most recent eruption was in the year 2010-11 and has resulted in a spike in the interest levels and buzz around Barren Island. The surrounding water are said to be one of the world’s best spots for scuba diving because of its clear visibility, basalt formations and topography of lava flows. It is truly an adventurer’s paradise!
Best time to visit: Barren Island is best visited during the months of February to May.
6. Deep Caving in Meghalaya
If you are one of those who can’t stop watching movies like The Descent or Sanctum, then boy do we have a treat for you. It is quite unfortunate that many people are not aware about the unlimited caving possibilities in the state of Meghalaya. In fact the Krem Liat Prah in Jaintia Hills is the longest natural cave in India with a length of more than 25 kilometers! And this number keeps on growing as more and more caves are being connected to it.
Other caves in the Khasi and Garo Hills also have a variety of caving options. The caves in Meghalaya have stunning formations in different shapes and colors that add to the fun of exploration.
Best time to visit: The caves of Meghalaya are best explored during the months of December to March when rainfall is scarce.
7. Tso Moriri Lake - Ladakh's Hidden Gem
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons *(Not Pangong Lake)
The Tso Moriri or Lake Moriri is the largest high altitude lake in India, standing at an altitude of 14,836 feet! The lake is around 240 kilometers away from Leh and has good connectivity by road. The people who have driven to Tso Moriri claim this patch of the road to be the most mesmerizing drive in Ladakh. The drive maybe long, but is worth every meter, when you finally reach the lake. You may have to pinch yourself to make yourself believe you aren’t in paradise; such is the beauty of the lake.
The water is absolutely clear and refreshingly cool and the landscape acts as the perfect backdrop for your vacation album! While here you can also pay a visit to the Korzok Monastery which is located on the banks of the lake.
Best time to visit: The Lake is best visited during the months of May to September to see it in its full glory.
NOTE: Foreign Visitors are not permitted to go beyond Man-Merak Villages and thus need to follow an indirect, longer route to reach the lake.
8. Askot - Land of 80 Forts
Located at an altitude of 1,106 metres, Askot is a small Himalayan town in the state of Uttarakhand. The whole area looks as if straight out of a fairytale with its huge forest tracts, beautiful waterfalls and a spectacular valley. The name Askot came from the word ‘Assi Kot’ which translates into 80 forts that stood here hundreds of years back. One can still find the ruins of some of the forts while exploring the area.
Activities: Plan a visit to the Askot Sanctuary, set up to protect the musk deer and its habitat. Apart from the flora and fauna in the sanctuary one can catch quite a few sights of famous peaks and breathtaking views. Also a short distance away lies Jauljibi, the meeting point of the Gori and Kali Ganga. There also also various trekking and skiing opportunities close to Askot.
Best time to visit: The months of July September are the best period to head off to Askot.
9. Murud Janjira - The Indomitable Fort
The Murud Janjira Fort is considered to be the mightiest marine fort in Indian history. The indomitable fort remained invincible until it became a part of India after Independence from the British. Repeated attempts by the British, Portuguese and Marathas at invading the fort bore no fruit and they had to turn back disheartened.
The fort is especially famous for its 3 gigantic cannons that were a terror in the surrounding seas for their extremely long range. At the peak of its might, the fort had an astounding 572 cannons guarding all of its sides!
Best time to visit: The fort is best visited during the months of November to February.
10. Bylakuppe - A Tibetan Retreat
Image Source: Natesh Ramasamy/Flickr
Though the first place that comes in your mind when one mentions Tibetans in India is McLeod Ganj, not many people are aware that some of the biggest Tibetan settlements in India are in Karnataka. Lodged between Mysore city and Coorg, Bylakuppe is one such town. You feel as if you have been teleported to a different country altogether when you catch a sight of the monasteries, tiled roof houses and Tibetan people all around. The town has aura of peace and tranquility that is immediately felt.
Activities: Offer your prayers at the Namdroling monastery or Golden Temple, Bylakuppe’s most famous monastery. Check out some other Sera monasteries, have some authentic Tibetan cuisine and chat with the friendly locals. One can also go and visit the largest lake in Mysore district Ingalakere.
Best time to visit: The months of February to April and May to November are the best time to visit Bylakuppe.
So don't just follow the herd! Be different, take the less trodden path and who knows what secrets await you at the end of your journey?
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Cover Image Source: Wikimedia Commons