Today I am excited to introduce my next guest travel blogger, Subhadrika, of the Trekkers of the East. She is sharing her 5 top picks for off-beat less discovered India destinations.
When you think of India, few places come to mind, such as Agra’s Taj Mahal, Mumbai and New Delhi. But there are many more wonderful places one can visit on short and long holidays. India being a diverse country has a place for every type of vacationer – spiritual soul searchers, wildlife enthusiasts, desert lovers and those inclined towards knowing more about the culture of the place. Thus, these are my top 5 unconventional picks for vacationing in India.
McCluskiegunj is a very special place which is hardly remembered today but was a flourishing Anglo-Indian hub years ago. This settlement lies 40 miles northwest of the capital of Chattisgarh, Jharkhand. It was founded and established by the Colonization Society of 1933, specifically by Earnest Timothy McCluskie. It was home to more than 400 Anglo-Indian families, though now only a handful remains in this settlement. There are hardly any modern hotels in the area. Thus tourists mostly spend their time in lodges and guest houses run by the families living here. Places to visit include the original plaque and the fountain head, which are now being protected and preserved in memory of the commemoration of this place in 1934 by Earnest Timothy McCluskie, and the complex of the Mosque and the Temple on the same grounds. You can also take a leisurely stroll around the place and engage in conversation with the people and witness first hand the life of a rural Indian.
One of the most beautiful places in Jammu and Kashmir, which managed to escape urbanisation and flaunts its scenic beauty, is Hemis. Places to visit include the Hemis Gompa and the Hemis National Park, which is home to the snow leopard. The best time to visit this place is from May to June, while winter months should be avoided as temperatures drop down to -30 degrees. There are also no hotels and lodges in Hemis. So visitors should find a place to stay at Leh and then take a ride to the city of Hemis. It is advised to make a day trip to this part and cover both Gompa and National Park and return to Leh by the end of the day.
Halebid in Karnataka is a city famous for its ruins of Hoysala architecture and number of temples upholding the Jain culture. Some of the must see temples include the Hoysaleswara Temple, Belur Temple, Shantaleswara Temple and Kedareswara Temple.
October to February is the best period to visit Halebid. A trip during Mahashivratri and Diwali celebrations can be an equally enchanting experience in Halebid. Accommodation wise, the Hoysala Village resort is the best option. More details about it can be found here.
Bhandardara is one of those off-beat weekend getaways from Mumbai that will help relax your mind and senses after experiencing the hustle and bustle of the city. June to March are the best times to visit the place. In fact, paying a visit during the monsoon season can be extra fun. For sightseeing in Bhandardara visit the serene Arthur Lake, the forests of the Sahyadri hills, the Umbrella Falls situated near the Wilson Dam and the ancient Agastya Rishi Ashram on the banks of the Pravara.
If you are energetically inclined, hike up the Mount Kalsubai, Mahrashtra’s highest peak at 1646m, where you will find the 400-year-old Ratangad Fort. This is where the Maratha warrior Shivaji rested on his laurels. The entire region is a wildlife sanctuary and forests shelter a host of jungle birds and mammals. There are plenty of hotels available nearby; however, one needs to book early and avoid peak tourist times.
Chopta is a perfect place for unwinding your senses and relaxation of the mind, body and soul after a hectic week in the city. You can take part in some adventure sports, trek or just open a picnic basket in the beautiful meadows. The best time to visit is from March to June. The rugged terrain and weather, which can be quite a nuisance at times discourage travelers to opt for off- season traveling in these parts. There are several hotels to spend the night in. Alternately, you can stop in Uttarakhand and opt for a day trip to Chopta. Further, there are many camps and treks that are organised. You might book into one of them and explore the place closely with local guides and make new friends!
About Subhadrika: I am a Journalism student from India currently residing in Manchester. I love to travel. Technically I spend all my money on traveling and a good camera. I am quite inquisitive by nature – I like to dig into unknown or hidden perspectives about places and travel destinations, and bring them out to the audiences. Apart from books, travel and photography I love soft toys and chatting.