Those who are bitten by the travel bug are always in search of new places that hold some uniqueness. Small towns are of interest to many and India is blessed with countless towns with unique vibes and cultures.
If you are seeking something different from the famous tourist trails, India has many offbeat destinations to offer. These are the less explored offbeat places in India that are perfect for a weekend getaway with your friends. Some of them are hidden in the hills, and some of them have cosied next to beaches. Here are 12 offbeat destinations in India that are difefrent from our Delhi, Punei, Calcutta or Bangalore.
Chettinad is known for its cuisine, 19th-century mansions, and temples. The natives of the town called Chettiars were traders and bankers. This is well reflected in the architecture of the mansions. The materials were sourced from East Asian countries and Europe. The chandeliers and crockery were brought from Burma and Indonesia. The marble which contributes to the floors of most rooms were from Italy, and the wall-to-wall mirrors came from Belgium.
The tales of the town says that the smooth texture of the walls of these mansions are made from a paste made of egg whites. Interesting thing is, many of these old mansions are now beautifully converted into tourist bungalows were we can go and experience the old world charm. But, the mansions aren't the only thing that grabs your attention.The temples that were built during the ruling of Chola dynasties are also as beautiful as the mansions. If you wish to shop, do not miss the traditionally woven Chettinadu cotton sarees. Temple jewellery of Chettinadu makes great collection.
Patan is an ancient city founded in 745 AD by the Chavda Kingdom. It is a fortified town next to a River Saraswati. Historians believe that it was the 10th largest in the world in 1000 AD. The stepwells are a major tourist attraction here. If you are a fashionista, do not skip your chance to get to know patola sarees. There are only two families that make patola sarees, and they are a work of art. One saree takes up to six months to make as they require great precision.
This small town is situated about 10,000 ft above the sea level which contributes to the cool weather. The town is known for Tawang monastery. It is the largest Buddhist monastery in India. The town is inhabited by Monpa people of Tibet. Historically the town was part of Tibet, and the life in town is still heavily influenced by that. Even though you will have to go through the formalities of acquiring an Inner Line Permit from the government, the view is worth it. You are guaranteed to do a lot of steep hill journey and see untouched rainforests.
If you have been to Goa and Puri and is looking for something less crowded, Talasari beach is your answer. The name comes from the palm trees that grow in abundance on the shore and the sea waves that rhythmically laps against the shore. It is one of the less explored beaches of India. Hence, it is not crowded and is peaceful and clean. The backwaters next to the sea also offer a relaxing experience. The ambience at sunrise and sunset makes the visit worthwhile.
If you are up for exploring the largest and longest caves that are open to the public in the Indian subcontinent, head to Belum caves in Andhra Pradesh. Looking at the natural formations on the interiors of these caves can be a magical experience. Some of the paths on the caves even have limited ventilation and fresh water. However, the natural formations are the biggest attraction. An arch-like formation with stalactites in the shape of a lion's head and stalactite formation that looks like a banyan tree are quite famous.
Visakhapatnam is one of the popular cities in India. But, about 111 km west of the city lies a hill station inhabited by several tribes. Araku Valley is one of the least explored offbeat destinations in India. The valley is in the Eastern Ghats and is known for the coffee plantations. The tribals in the valley excel at cultivating and processing coffee. The organic coffee of the valley is quite popular in many foreign countries.
You don’t have to take a long trip to Andamans or Lakshadweep to spend some peaceful evenings on an Island. St. Mary’s Islands aka Coconut Island is off the coast of Udupi, Karnataka. They are a set of four small islands formed of columnar basaltic lava. The rock formation in the hexagonal shape is one of its kind in India. The locals believe that it was Vasco da Gama who named the islands. There is a regular ferry service from Malpe fishing harbour to the islands. You can also peek into the shipbuilding yard near the harbour. Despite being close to Udupi, it is one of the offbeat destinations in India.
Once a kingdom, Bundi is popular for its temple and their architecture today. Due to the number of temples, the town is called 'Chhoti Kashi' which translates to 'Little Varanasi'. The town is surrounded by hills and is circled by a wall. The town has a lot of forts, palaces, and stepwells too. There are over 50 stepwells in the town. Some of them are not maintained well though. But, in Rajasthan, ruins also have their charm.
Khajjiar is known as the Switzerland of India. This hill station is situated over 1900 meters above the sea level. It is a picture-perfect town with impressive views of fauna and scenic rivers. The town has seen a bunch of rulers including Rajput, Mughal and Sikh. The major attraction is the golden shrine dedicated to the mother goddess. Even though the town received snowfall occasionally during the months of January and February, it can be visited throughout the year. The weather is always chilly and makes up for a perfect vacation.
Majuli is a small island in river Brahmaputra. It is a perfect getaway for nature lovers and bird watchers. Majuli is known for its flora and fauna. A lot of rare migratory birds arrive at this island during the winter season. Some of the birds seen here are Siberian crane and Whistling teal. The town also has many festivals to its credit which are celebrated colourfully. The island is home to 144 villages. It is also a pollution free area that has been nominated to be added to UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites.
This is a hill station located in the Khasi hills of Meghalaya. The village is known for its cleanliness. The town won the title of the ‘cleanest village’ in Asia 17 years ago. Bins and baskets made of bamboos are kept in many places to ensure there is no littering around. This beautiful village is colourful as it has many varieties of flowering plants and trees. A typical Khasi hut is made of bamboo, and the village still follows the tradition. Do not skip a walk to the living root bridges. These bridges are made of twisting together the roots of rubber trees.
Mandu is one of the offbeat places in India. This is another fortress town of India that is famous for its architecture. It even has a mosque which is among the finest examples of Pashtun architecture. Jain temples from the 14th century are major tourist attractions. The Baz Bahadur's Palace which is known as Roopmati’s pavilion is another popular site. This town situated near river Narmada is about 2 hours away from Indore.