India, the second-most populous country, the seventh-largest country by land area, and the most populous democracy in the world is rightly called ‘Incredible India’. India is diverse in almost all aspects- starting from history, culture, cuisine, and faiths to lands, flora, and fauna. This makes India a unique travel destination and there are so many places to visit that it would literally take a few lifetimes to see them all! One can head to the mountains, enjoy a beach retreat, or cruise through the golden deserts. India has something to offer to every category of traveller. Apart from the regular travel destinations, there are many offbeat places perfect for a little vacation if you want to avoid the crowds and overly populated tourist destinations and explore the lesser-known towns and villages of India that are slowly making their way onto the travel map.
Here is a list of some offbeat (unusual) places in India for a perfect, quiet vacation.
Kafer is a beautiful Lepcha hamlet called Kafer Gaon in Lolegaon in West Bengal which is about 55kms from Kalimpong and 124kms from Siliguri situated at 5500ft above sea level. The Kafer Homestay is surrounded by lush green forests containing a variety of plants and trees. This small village offers a panoramic view of the snow-capped Mount Kanchenjunga and its sister peaks, making it a perfect place to view the sunrise with a cup of hot coffee in hand. Kafer Gaon is suitable for a quiet weekend getaway with friends or family which is ideal for getting away from the fast-paced city life and enjoying some calm, serene, and unspoiled nature. The fact that it is situated right in the lap of nature is truly mesmerizing making it an unforgettable experience!
Kafer Gaon is easily accessible via the nearest airport Bagdogra (IXB) and nearest railway station New Mal Jn. (NMZ) and New Jalpaiguri (NJP), which are well connected with the rest of India. Cars and taxis can be hired up to Kafer Village from Bagdogra airport, NJP, and Siliguri and it will take approximately 4-4.5 hrs to reach.
A remote village, hidden in the North-East Kullu range of Himachal Pradesh, Malana, can be the perfect holiday destination for many. The village is surrounded by lush, green trees and beautiful valleys making it perfect for nature lovers who love nature in its true, untouched sense. This tiny paradise of India is bordered by the Parvati valley, Kullu valley and peaks of Cahndrakhani and Deotibba, situated at a height of approximately 8,701ft above the sea level. The locals of Malana have a unique lifestyle and social structure. Right from their clothes, cuisine, language and rituals and festivals to the judiciary system they follow everything in Malana is truly one of a kind. Malana is also called ‘The Little Greece of India’ as the Malanis believe themselves to be the descendants of Alexander the Great. Malana is mainly known for its high quality charas or “Malana Cream” but this tiny place has a lot more to offer the tourists. It is perfect for those who have a curious mind for exploring new cultures and traditions.
Malana can be reached from the village Jari connected to Kullu valley which is an easy and picturesque trek of six hours (12km) to Malana. The nearest Airport is at Buntar which is 13 km away from Jari.
The Lakshadweep islands are situated off the coast of Kerala and are spread over 36 islands surrounded by 4,200 sq km of lagoon rich in marine wealth and scenic beauty, considered to be one of the most spectacular tropical island systems. ‘Lakshadweep’ literally translates to ‘a hundred thousand islands’ in Malayalam, however, this tiny Union Territory has 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged banks. Although there are numerous islands, only ten of them are inhabited- Agatti, Amini, Andrott, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Kiltan and Minicoy. Although the Andamans are a popular tourist destination, the Lakshadweep islands have nothing less to offer and are perfect vacation destinations if one wants to avoid the regular crowds of tourists. These islands are paradise for not only nature and beach lovers but also equally enjoyable for water sport enthusiasts owing to the kaleidoscopic and breathtaking underwater view. A few of the islands have full-service scuba facilities apart from kayaking, water skiing, yachting and wind surfing and snorkeling. The islands are endowed with beautiful coral reefs, sandy beaches, unpolluted and crystal clear water, abundant marine life, rich local culture and hospitable settings which are suitable for a relaxing holiday.
Lakshadweep Islands can be easily reached by ships and flights operated from Kochi apart from day tour cruise packages.
Landour is a small, sleepy cantonment town; about 33km from Dehradun, on the outskirts of Mussoorie, in Uttarakhand, at an altitude of 7500 feet, and can serve as a perfect weekend getaway. Although considered very much a part of Mussoorie and regarded as the ‘Tiara’ of the Queen of Hills, Landour surprisingly remains offbeat, peaceful, unexplored and untouched. This serene and tranquil town is surrounded by the Himalayan mountain ranges like the Garwhal Mountains, Swargarohini, Banderpooch, Yamunotri, Gangotri and Kedarnath thus providing an astounding view to the town and making one’s stay rejuvenating.
Being built by the British Indian Army, Landour has the reminiscent of the British Era and displays the magnificent colonial architecture and culture. The town boasts of a variety of trees like Oak, Deodar, Ash, Cedar, and Pine and has equally rich wildlife. Apart from enjoying the scenic beauty of this place, there are a couple of places to explore like the Laal Tibba (a sunrise and sunset point), the Kelloggs’ Church, and the Church of St. Paul. The Char Dukan area is a perfect spot for stopping for a quick bite and little shopping. One will undoubtedly have a relaxing break away from the city walking around Landour and taking in the scenic grandeur of the place. Landour can be reached by hiring taxis or cars from Mussoorie.
Located 65 km north of Jodhpur, Osian is an ancient, temple town, also known as the Khajuraho of Rajasthan. Osian is situated literally in the middle of the Thar Desert and hence is beautifully surrounded by golden sand dunes and offers a perfect opportunity to explore and discover the culture and harsh lifestyle of the nomads of the Thar. This village is most famous for its numerous Hindu and Jain temples, dating back to the 8th century AD, and the most well known of which are the Surya or Sun Temple, the Kali temple, Sachiya Mata Temple. The temples display mesmerizing grace, grandeur and beauty along with their majestic architecture. Desert Safari is a thrilling activity that is a must try for everyone visiting Rajasthan and will definitely make for some unforgettable memories! The camel ride will also let one explore the desert and its vegetation. Tourists can stay at Jodhpur and cover Osian in a day or they can choose to stay at resorts or heritage hotels in Osian itself. Osian is easily accessible by road from Jodhpur as Jodhpur has great connectivity to the rest of India by road, rail and air.