Planning a holiday is not that simple anymore. People have moved beyond traditional destinations to exploring less treaded locales and offbeat activity oriented places. Gone are the days of visiting just famous monuments and taking pictures. Travelers prefer the experiential route through activities, exploration and adventure. India offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to all. From the pristine north and the glorious west to the mystical east and the sublime south – this vast and magnificent country offers the new age traveler all kinds of out of the box and enriching experiences.
Here are few of the offbeat places that are gaining preference as destinations in India:
This popular destination in northern Karnataka is a small town located about 353kms from Bangalore on the banks of river Tungabhadra and is recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Hampi boasts of a large number of ruins, temples and other monuments with intricate carvings on stone sculptures. This beautiful destination is a dream visit for the history buffs. Explore its rustic terrains, palm groves plantations and fields as well as the local bazaars and markets. For the more adventurous travellers one can take a boat ride and indulge in some cliff jumping with the locals.
This quaint village in the Sumerpur Tehsil of Pali district of Rajasthan is in between Jodhpur andAjmer. Jawai Bandh is known for its Jawai Dam built by Maharaja Umaid Singh of Jodhpur. Apart from the dam this little place is known for its Jawai dam crocodile sanctuary and Kamleshji Leopard sanctuary. One can see a number of migratory birds such as the Sarus crane comb duck; spot bill duck demoiselle crane geese etc. In the winter you can see the crocodiles bask in the sun on the dam shores. One can also spot panthers, Hyena, bears, jackals, wolf, Nilgai and Chinkara. Travelers can embark on various camps, safaris, Jeep rides etc. and enjoy open air dining experiences.
This little explored rugged state of northeast India is supposedly the wettest place on earth. The name literally translates to “the abode of clouds” in Sanskrit. It is also known as the Scotland of the East. Meghalaya is full of mountainous stretches, valleys and highland plateaus. For the wildlife lovers you can visit the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries of Balpahakram National Park, Nokrek National Park SijuBird sanctuary and Nongkhyllem sanctuary that are filled with the magnificent Elephants, leopards, Tigers, rare golden cat, Indian Bison and the rare Peacock Pheasant. Nokrek is also been listed in the UNESCO as a Bio Reserve with least disturbed forest tracks. The more orthodox can visit like Shillong Cathedral in Shillong, Ward Lake that has an arched bridge over it other places in Shillong include Elephant Falls, Bishop Falls and Beadon Falls, . Post Shillong you can head to Cherrapunji that experiences rainfall throughout the year. You can visit the Mawsmai Falls, Renghtiam Falls and the Tura Peak which is located in the Garo Hills that boast of a wonderful landscape of Lofty Hills against a low lying plains and Brahmaputra river. For the Adventurous ones you can do a numerous activities such as Trekking along the Living Root Bridge, Kyllang Rock, David Scott Trail, Sohpet-bneng, Cherrapunjee to Pynursula or Krang to Pynursula. River Canoeing at Sohra.
Lahaul and Spiti:
The Lahual and Spiti District is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Though the land is barren and bereft of vegetation, it offers stunning landscape views of the Himalayan range with snow clad peaks. The destination is heavily influenced by Buddhism, and you can visit the very popular monasteries such as Tabo Monastery and Kye Monastery, Dhankar Monastery and the Kardang Monastery. There is also an important wildlife park in Lahal Spiti named Pin Valley National Park.Pin Valley National Park contains a variety of rare animals such as woolly hare, Tibetan gazelle and snow Leopardbex, Himalayan Brown Bear, Musk Deer, and Himalayan Blue Sheep. For trekkers, the Spiti Valley is a paradise, offering challenging treks to explore the new heights of the Himalayas. Some of the popular trekking routes in the area include Kaza-Langza-Hikim-Komic-Kaza, Kaza-Ki-Kibber-Gete-Kaza, Kaza-Losar-Kunzum La and Kaza-Tabo-Sumdo-Nako. Skiing is another popular adventure sports you can try and finally the most exciting adventure activity of all is the Yak safari where you get to ride the Yak and see the flora and fauna of this district.
Havelock- Andaman Islands
Havelock Island is the largest of a chain of islands that are a part of the Indian union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The island is situated 41 km northeast from the capital city Port Blair.Havelock is a picturesque natural paradise with beautiful white sandy beaches, rich coral reefs and lush green forest. This exotic island, fringed with a green canopy of the rain-fed forests, beckons everyone to come and enjoy the fun and frolic in the gorgeous azure sea.
Scuba Diving is one of the most sought out activities to be done in Havelock Island. The abundance of marine life around Havelock provides a rich variety of diverse diving sites. Havelock also offers an incredible opportunity for snorkelers. One can go snorkeling at Elephant Beach and watch the elephants swim as well as well as glide along the coral shelf and experience are the strange and striking coral formations. At Havelock Island you can also take the Elephant tour. The spectacle of elephants walking in the forest and bathing and swimming in the nearby sea is a special attraction.
Also, Havelock is surrounded by bright green lagoons, tropical evergreen forests and in some stretches mangrove swamps lining the shores. You can see the White-headed mynas or the woodpecker with a white-barred black mantle as well as red crown, fulvous-breasted woodpeckers that are prevalent to the island. The olive-backed sunbird and Andaman swallow are other prevalent birds on the islands - truly a birdwatcher's paradise.
(This article is contributed to TravelScapes by Louis D'souza, Executive Director, Tamarind Global. Louis has an experience of 24 years in the tourism industry. He is part of the core team which in 2006 founded Tamarind Tours, and now rebranded as Tamarind Global. His role involves the growth of Tamarind Global as an organization, and the Tours division as a focused vertical.
Tamarind Global began as an inbound destination management company in the year of 2006. In the span of 10 years, this award winning company now has 4 distinct verticals- Tours, Weddings, Events, and Corporate Services and a growth rate of over 400%.)