Nature has an aura that can capture and melt hearts at the same time. India is blessed with
immense natural resources which vary from forests to deserts to grasslands, name it and one can
find it all in India. There are numerous off-beat destinations in the country which one can visit
for all sorts of pleasures. In this list we bring to you 30 such off-beat destinations you can visit
1 – Cola Beach, Goa
Cola Beach, or ‘Khola’ Beach is one of the lesser known beaches in Goa. Its pristine sands are relatively untouched by civilization and it is far from the hustle and bustle of the city. The beach has a freshwater lagoon connected to the sea. The beach lacks huts and shacks but one can find luxury tents made in Rajasthani style.
2 – Tungnath, Uttarakhand
Tungnath is the highest Shiva temple in the world and also the highest of the five Panch Kedar temples located in the Tungnath range in the Rudraprayag district in Uttrakhand. Tungnath temple is the highest Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. Tungnath is at the top of the ridge dividing the waters of the Mandakini River from those of the Alaknanda River . The temple lies about 2 km below the Chandrashila Peak.
3 – Harshil, Uttarakhand
On the banks of river Bhagirathi in the Kumaon hills of Uttarakhand lies the quaint town of Harsil. About 73km from Uttarkashi, Harsil is a nature lover’s paradise with lush green valley and meadows. The town is relatively unexplored and offers the real taste of Himalayan serenity and solitude. This lazy town is perfect for a short break from the clamor of city life. Harsil has many gorgeous looking temples within its vicinity which one can visit and one can also explore the dense deodar forests that cover most of the landscape around Harsil.
4 – Islands of Chilika
Chilika Lake is a brackish water lake spread over an area of 347 square miles in Odisha. It is the world’s second largest lagoon and is the winter home for over 160 species of migratory birds that fly from parts of as far as the Aral Sea and Lake Baikal. Chilika Lake was the first water body to be designated as a wetland of international importance in India under the Ramsar Convention. The islands on Chilika Lake are a major tourist attraction. Nalaban island is a 15 square km stretch of land in the lagoon which was declared a bird sanctuary under the Wildlife Protection Act in 1973. The Beacon Island is another famous island with a conical pillar to put a light on top, built by Mr. Snodgrass. Mangalajodi is a famous bird sanctuary for sighting migratory birds. There are countless small and big islands spread across the lagoon, that form homes for the migratory birds in the winter. The islands of Chilika are a spectacle in themselves.
5 – Sangla Valley
Sangla Valley in Kinnaur is picturesque town surrounded by lush alpine forests and high mountains. The Bapsa River flows through the valley and the valley remains closed in the winters owing to the heavy snowfall. The valley lies in the Greater Himalayas and experiences a cold climate most of the year. The 14 th century Lord Badri Nath Ji Temple, Great Himalaya Kamru Fort and Bearing Nag temple are some of the major attractions in the valley. The valley boasts some of the best apples in the world. The valley also has some of the most dangerous roadways in the wall, some roads have been on extremely steep slopes with cliffs hanging over them and others have streams flowing over them dur to the melting snow. The Sangla Valley offers some of the most beautiful mountain views in the world.
6 – Birthi Falls & Munsiyari
Munsayari is a charming hamlet in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. The snow clad mountains provide beautiful trek routes for enthusiasts of high altitude trekking. Munsiyari literalyA short trek from Munsiyari leads one to the exotic Birthi Falls. It is a beautiful waterfall that is at an altitude of more than 2,000 meters above mean sea level and is surrounded by the snow capped Kumaon Hills. Munsiyari is one of the latest entries in the list of beautiful hill stations in India. The place was restricted until recently due to its proximity to Nepal and China
7 – Spiti Valley
Spiti is a cold mountain desert valley in Himachal Prasdesh. The word Spiti means “middle land” that is the land between India and Tibet. The Spiti Valley is the research and cultural hub for Buddhists. The Key and Tabo Monastery(the oldest monastery in world) are two the most important monasteries in Spiti. The Spiti valley and the surrounding regions are some of the least populated regions in the entire country. The Rohtang Pass separates Spiti form the Kullu Valley,and the roads around the valley remain closed in the winters due to the heavy snowfall that is received in the region. Spiti Valley has some of the most picturesque cold desert landscapes and a sense of calm prevails in the region. The valley is connected to Lahul Valley by the Kunzum Pass. The best way to enjoy the landscape is on a bike ride from Manali in the summer months, clear blue skies and arid mountain slopes have enthralled bikers and nature enthusiasts alike.
Hemis is a village situated in Ladakh, about 40 km south east of Leh town. This scenic village hosts the colourful Hemis Festival in the month of June to honor Guru Padamasambhava. The Hemis Monastery is the main attraction of the place, and it has been claimed to have existed since the 11 th century. The monastery was re-established by King Sengge Namgyal in 1672. The monastery also holds an esoteric Masked Dance during the festival which is one of the most mystifying events. Hemis is best visited in the spring and summer months. The village has a population of only 313 people and 24 households as of the 2011 census.
9 – Aarku Valley
Aarku valley is located in the Vishakhatapnam district of Andhra Pradesh. The valley is one the most scenic valleys in the Eastern Ghats and is inhabited by many tribes. The Anantagiri and Sunkarimetta Reserved Forest are part of Araku Valley, and are very rich in biodiversity. This valley is surrounded by mountains like Galikonda, Raktakonda, Sunkarimetta and Chitamogondi the coffee grown in Araku valley by the tribal farmers under organic practices attained recognition as “Araku coffee”.
10 – Chidiya Tapu & Rutland Island
Chidiya Tapu is a tranquil village and an ideal place for bird watching. The area is covered with mangroves and forests where one can find exotic and rare migratory birds, along with a variety of orchids. It is situated about 25 kilometers from Port Blair. Rutland Island belongs to the Rutland Archipelago and is located across the Macpherson Strait from South Andaman Island. It is separated from Little Andaman by the Duncan Passage, and from North Clinque Island by Manner Strait. There are 6 villages in the Rutland Island and according to the 2011 census. The place offers and ideal location for open water divers and some of the most prominent tourist spots in Rutland Island include Jahaji Beach, Bada Balu, Manner Strait, Photo Nallah and Dani Nallah.
11 – Pangi Valley
Pangi Valley in the upper reaches of Chamba District is a beautiful and remote region between the Middle and the Greater Himalayas. The Valley remains inaccessible due to heavy snow fall. During late summer and fall, it can be accessed through several passes which provide a challenge to serious trekkers & travellers. The Sach Pass connects the Pangi Valley with the Chamba Valley, and the pass remains closed for most of the year owing to the heavy snowfall. The People inhabiting Pangi are called the ‘Pangwals’ and practically all the people live in small and isolated villages. The elevation in the region varies from 7,000 feet (2,100 m) to 11,000 feet.
12 – Zanskar
Zanskar falls in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a cold desert region marked by arid mountain slopes and snow capped peaks. The Zanskar Range separates Zanskar from Ladakh. This scenic valley covers an area of 7000 square kilometers and the upper slopes which receive more precipitation and where it consists of alpine and tundra species, but the most impressive parts are the meadows covered with edelweiss. Zanskar offers tranquil trek routes and a pleasant stay for all nature lovers. The Zanskar River flows through Zanskar taking a north easterly direction till it merges with the Indus River. The main sights in Zanskar are the timeless monasteries, notably at Karsha, Stongdey, Sani and Phuktal, the latter only accessible on foot.
13 – Dzükou Valley
The Dzükou Valley is situated at 2438 meters above sea level, behind the Japfu range in Nagaland. Usually between the months of June and September, the entire valley is covered with a blanket of exotic looking wild flowers. The Dzükou Valley is one of the most ideal places for trekking and nature aficionados. The Dzükou Valley is just 30 km away from Kohima, the capital city of Nagaland. The swirling stream that rushes down the valley in Dzükou freezes during extreme winter. The valley is surrounded by hills, natural caves & rocks and is ideal for camping. Despite the difficult terrain and non-availability of basic amenities, Dzükou is one of the most frequented trekking holiday spot in the entire North East India. Its emerald green rolling hills interlinked with gentle flowing streams have captivated the trekker’s fancy since time immemorial.
14 – Valley Of Flowers
Valley of flowers is the epitome of the miracles adorned by Mother Nature. It lies in the interiors of Garhwal Himalayas. Words like backpacker’s paradise and photographer’s delight prove to be powerless in front of the abode of beautiful and picturesque aura it offers to the visitors. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is an important part of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve that and welcomes visitors during the peak months between June to September with an astonishing range of beautiful flowers of varying colors and shapes. This serene location lets visitors enjoy the presence of some rare species such as red fox, blue sheep and many others. One can enjoy the floral pastures and captivating mountains along with running streams while visiting this mesmerized place.
15 – Ziro Valley
The home of Ziro Music Festival this quaint valley town is full of little surprises and joy. It is famous for the alpine vegetation and gentle slopes covered with paddy fields. Ziro is a perfect spot for a chilled vacation, one can get a taste of rural life here and revel in the cold weather that prevails most of the year. Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary covers 337 sq. km. of land and it is one of the leading attractions of Ziro. The sanctuary is home to various endangered species. The beautiful forests that enjoy a much less human intervention have a wide range of flora and fauna. Silver fir trees, orchids, stunning ranges of bamboo and ferns are some of the trees found here.
16 – Majuli Island
Majuli in Assam is the largest river island in the world and it is also the first island district of the country. The island is formed by the Brahmaputra in the south and the Kherkutia Xuti, an anabranch of the Brahmaputra, joined by the Subansiri River in the north. Majuli island is accessible by ferries from the city of Jorhat. The island lies 300 kilometers to the east of Guwahati. It was formed due to course changes by the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries,
mainly the Lohit River.
17 – Varkala
Varkala in Kerala is the only place where the Arabian Sea meets land with straight faced red laterite cliffs. It is one of the most popular backpacker destinations, where one can laze around while the sun rises and sets sleepily. Varkala is also famous for the 2000 years old Janardana Swami Temple which is also called Dakshin Kashi (Banaras of the South). The tmple is located near the Papanasam beach, which is believed to hold Holy Water that washes away all the sins. The beach offers various water-sports and parasailing to tourists. This awe-inspiring beach is one of a kind in India and deserves a visit.
18 – Nohkalikai Falls
Nohkalikai Falls is the highest plunge waterfall in India. With an astounding height is 1115 feet,it is the highest waterfall in India located in the state of Meghalaya near Cherrapunji. It is also one of the most picturesque water falls in the country. The Nohkalikai Falls are surrounded by dense and lush green forests. It is fed by the rainwater collected on the summit of comparatively small plateau. Below the falls there is a plunge pool that has formed with unusual green colored water. The word Nohkalikai in Khasi language means “Jump of Ka Likai” and is linked to a legend about local women Likai who jumped off the cliff next to the falls.
19 – Kaas Plateau
Kaas Plateau is located near Satara. The plateau turns into a Flower Bed during the Monsoon season. The plateau has more than 150 species of flowers, shrubs and grasses. The orchids bloom here for a period of 3–4 weeks during this season. Kaas plateau is a World Natural Heritage site and to control possible damage by tourists, the number of visitors to the plateau has been restricted to 3,000 per day. The Kaas Plateau was formed by volcanic activities and is covered by a thin layer of soil as a result much vegetation does not thrive in the region. Taking leisurely strolls through the flower beds is a very gratifying experience.
20 – Tawang
The smallest of the 16 districts in Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang is one of the most scenic places in the entire state. The Tawang Monastery situated here belongs to the Gelugpa sect and is the largest Buddhist monastery in India. It is a major tourist attraction bordered by Tibet in the North, Bhutan in the South-West and Sela ranges separate West Kameng district in the East. Elevations range between 6,000 to 22,000 feet (6,700 m), and inhabitants are found at lower altitude, where they enjoy a cool temperate climate. Tawang is both historically and naturally endowed. It is located at a distance of 183 km from Bomdila and is situated at an altitude of 3500 metres above sea level. The natural beauty and solitude of Gudpi and Chong-Chugmi ranges, Tawang Chu River and Tawang valley are extremely mesmerizing.
21 – Hogenakkal Falls
One of the most picturesque waterfalls of India, Hogenakkal Falls on the Kaveri River is situated in the Dharmapuri district in Tamil Nadu. It is located at a distance of 180km form Bengaluru and is known for the scenic natural beauty, boat rides & medicinal baths Hogenakkal Falls are also called the Nigara falls of India. The sheer size of the falls is intimidating and the visitors are greeted by the tranquil sight of white water rushing through the falls. The best season to visit is soon after the monsoons, when the river is in full spite. Boating is allowed in the dry winters.
22 – Gurudongmar Lake, Sikkim
Where the Middle Himalayas disappear and the expansive cold desert of the Greater Himalayas take over, as one travels northwards in Sikkim a beautiful glacier fed lake lies perched amidst the harsh terrain. This is one of the world’s highest lakes and is called Gurudongmar Lake. This picturesque lake which should freeze completely at least in the harsh winters of the Himalayas has a small part which has not frozen for centuries. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava the founder of Tibetan Buddhism also known as Guru Rinpoche after whom the lake was named visited the lake in the 8th century. The lake remained frozen most of the year with no possibility of providing for drinking water needs, the people of the area appealed to Guru Padmasambhva to help them. The guru agreed to help them and placed his hands on a small part of the lake area which stopped freezing even during winters thus facilitating a source of drinking water to the people. Since then the lake has been considered sacred and devotees carry this sacred water in containers.
23. Chitrakoot Fall
The Chitrakoot Falls are located in the Bastar district of Chattisgarh on the Indravati River. It has been nicknamed ‘The Small Niagara Falls’ because of the horse-shoe shape. The weather in the region is pleasant most of the year except in the summers due to the absence of vegetation. Chitrakoot falls look stunning during the twilight hours, and one can hire boats to venture into the misty sprays the falls create.
24. Great Lakes of Kashmir
The Great Lakes of The Paradise on Earth, Kashmir are some of the most sought after trekking destinations among nature and adventure lovers. The da- long trek is best experienced between the months of July and September when the flowers are in full blossom. It is considered to be one of the best monsoon trek routes in India. The beautiful Great Lakes of Kashmir are a vivacious escape from the commotion of daily life in the cities.
25. Gurez Valley
A pristine valley in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Gurez Valley is surrounded by snow clad mountains and extensive green pastures. The Gurez Valley falls along a section of the ancient Silk Route, and just near the current line of control between India and Pakistan. The “Habba Khatoon” mountain is the main attraction of the valley, named after the famous Kashmiri poetess. As the sun rises, one can see peaks in different hues as the sun rays pass through the mountains.
A quaint little town about 8 kilometers from Munnar in the Idduki district of Kerala is an under- appreciated hill station which is isolated and full of natural beauty. With lakes, waterfalls, and tea gardens the hill station is a hidden jewel for nature enthusiasts. As soon as one reaches Devikulam one feels like strolling lazily on the streets of the town. Boating and angling in the lakes around the town is an experience that one should not pass up on.
27. Butterfly Beach – Goa
The Butterfly beach in Goa is one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.The beach is inaccessible to vehicles because the route that one takes is through brooks and steep climbs. It is one of the most peaceful and serene of all the beaches and it is one of the best places to unwind and relax. This veiled paradise is not known to many people and has retained its natural tranquility making it a mesmerizing spot where one can enjoy the pristine white sands and translucent waters.
The Grand Canyon of India, Gandhikota is a village on the banks of river Pennar in the Kalpa district of Andhra Pradesh. The river has cut out an impressive gorge in the Erramala Hills which resembles the Grand Canyon in Colorado. There are many attractions in and near the village that appeal to the visitors, the most extraordinary being the ancient, glorious Gandikota fort that sits royally on top of the gorge. Apart from the unmatched beauty of the gorge, the mystical charm of this fort makes a visit to this village all the more exciting for history lovers and adventure enthusiasts.
29. Yumthang Valley
A picturesque alpine valley in the North district of Sikkim, Yumthang encapsulates the beauty of the Himalayas in its truest sense. The alpine vegetation and Rhododendron covered valley is best visited in spring when the flowers are in full bloom, at par with the Valley of Flowers in Uttrakhand and Nubra Valley in Ladakh, Yumthang is a place one can laze around and have a great vacation at. It is considered as one of the most scenic and beautiful places in the entire state. It captures the hearts of every visitor with is beauty and the humility of the Sikkimese people living in the valley. This place though last in this list should be first in the travel lists of every nature aficionado.
Located in the Chikmagalur district of Karnataka, the Kudremukh mountain range is a part of the Western Ghats. The region Kudremukh is a popular hill station, with rolling grasslands and dense forests. It is a biodiversity hotspot and the Kudremukh National Park is the second largest protected region in the Westen Ghats. The humid climate and rich vegetation support a large variety of flora and fauna. Kudremukh is an enchanting place with scenic natural landscapes and makes a great place for a leisure vacation or an adventure trip.
This list is a mere fraction of the whole, as there are so many places that one can visit to get closer to nature. We hope you liked our list, and have already decided which of the 30 places you are visiting in the coming days. Do let us know what you think of the compilation and of places that you might think are underrated and offbeatt destinations.