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Best Offbeat Destinations of India - Part I (Northern India)

The historical platter – Orchha
  • India

    India is the land of myriad tourism potential, with dazzling beaches, dramatic temples, exotic rain forests, colossal mountains, eternal deserts, lively cities, and the Indian peninsula creates an ultimate allure for the travelers across the globe. So vivid and diverse in culture, heritage and language, India is bestowed with an equally rich natural beauty that adds to its tranquility. The picturesque hill stations, the pristine beaches, the unique and halcyon pilgrim destinations and the vast deserts, historical buildings to gen-next dwelling structures and from snow capped mountains to the boat ride on the serene backwater yards and breathtaking hill stations, India is a land of endless opportunities for the explorers of peace and poise. If traditional destinations are less for you, www. has compiled a list of best of India travel offbeat destinations.

    North India:

    The haughty mountains, plunging valleys, gushing rivers and jittery wildlife make for enough actions to see North India to the top of the favorites. Historical monuments, desert life and royalty add to the charm of Rajasthan- The land of kinds. The Indo-Gangetic Plain and the Himalayas segregates the country from Tibet and Central Asia. North India also throws in generous amount of adventurous activities to keep the pace of your life thrilling. Mountain biking, mountaineering, paragliding, rafting, skiing, trekking are the exclusive sports of the region. Check out the best of North India travel offbeat destinations below.

    1. Roopkund Lake – The Mysterious lake of Skeleton:

    Roopkund Lake, better known as “Skeleton Lake,” is one of those dreadful secluded places, located in the most inhospitable regions of the Himalayan Mountains of Uttarakhand. This frightful area of Himalayan Mountains is known for its hundreds of corpses between 300-600 skeletons, which date back to the 15th century AD, was discovered accidentally lately. What would have killed these people and why were so many of them on such a grueling journey in the middle of nowhere? Did they die in ritualistic suicide or in an epidemic? According to the local folklore, the entourage earned the fury of the local deity, Latu. They were caught in a dreadful hailstorm and were thrown into the Roopkund Lake.

    2.  Khajjiar – The Mini Switzerland of India:

    Khajjiar, often called as India’s Switzerland, is a hill station in Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh. The hill station picturesquely set in the midst of magnificent ‘Deodar’ forests. The clump of reeds and the green meadow exaggeratedly called as a floating island adds charm to this place. A small plateau in its green turf of dense pine and Deodar forests along its fringes adds to the pastoral scenery. This place has the rarest combination of three eco system – lake, pasture and forest all in one place. Hence it is popularly called as Mini Switzerland of Himachal Pradesh.

    3. Experience the frosty Drass:

    You may have heard about Markha Valley, but very few people know about Drass. Drass, a charming valley bustling on the banks of Rivers, starts from the base of the Zoji La pass, is often called as ‘The Gateway to Ladakh’ and is situated in the Kargil District of Jammu and Kashmir. It has a wide-spread of extensive copse along the river. The valley is situated at an altitude of 10990 feet from the sea level and the mountain ridges ranges from 16000 feet to 21000 feet. This valley is famous as the “Second Coldest Colonized Place in Asia” by the virtue of sheer cold that cascades upon the valley along with the intense snowfalls during winters. The temperature can tumble as low as 60 degree Celsius below the freezing point. However, during spring and summer, the valley becomes very picturesque as the hillsides turn into lush green pastures with variety of vivid and vibrant wild flowers.

    4. Magnetic hill – The magical mountains of Ladakh:

    Can you ever imagine a vehicle moving on a steep up-hill with the ignition off? Sounds astonishing? Well, of all the majestic wonders the Himalaya has hoarded herself, one more wonder coming your way. The Magnetic Hill is located near Leh in Ladakh, at a height of 11,000 feet above sea level and is known to possess strong magnetic properties which have the strength to pull cars up-hill. In reality, it is just the optical illusion effect and there is no magnetic disturbance at all. This self-profound magnetic hill is one of the popular stop for domestic tourists to experience one of the natural’s most mysterious mystique.

    5. Malana – The Little Greece of India:

    Malana is a tiny unique village with about 100 houses which is situated to the north-east of Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh. It is believed that one of the finest Charas or ” Malana Cream” is grown in this region. It is believed that Malana Cream is the most strongest and top-notch Charas till date. This ancient solitary village in the Malana is isolated from the rest of the world. The majestic peaks of Chandrakhani shadow the village. They are considered to be one of the first democracies in the world and do not follow the Constitution of India. They follow an indigenous system and they believe they are independent and superior and the rest of the people are “untouchables”. Malana is also called as the “Little Greece in Himachal Pradesh” as the Malanis believe that they are the descendents of Alexander-The Great!

    6.  Paradise of Trekkers – Sandakpfu:

    Sandakfu is the highest peak located in Darjeeling district in the eastern part of India at an altitude of 3,636 m .The name Sandakfu means ‘Height of the Poison Plant’ because of the poisonous aconite plants that grow near the peak in abundance. The patronizing peak of the Singalila Range, Sandakphu is the most audacious point of many trekking routes in the Darjeeling-Sikkim region. Sandakfu exemplifies the wild elemental splendor of the snows and the vista from the mountain peak is worth all the adversity endured on the way. It can be rightly called the “Paradise of Trekkers” as one can see four of world’s five highest peaks Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and Lhotse from this place. Wanna know more about Best of India Travel ? keep reading!

    7. The Spell-bound Spiti Valley!

    The splendid  Spiti Valley is located in Himachal Pradesh is a true paradise in itself! Situated at the altitude of 12,500 feet above sea level, is surrounded with mountain ranges, high-altitude alpine lands, soaring peaks enveloped with snow and one of the oldest and most beautiful monasteries. Spiti is the biggest district encompassed with international boundary with Tibet. This place possesses the unique religion of Tibet – Tibetan Buddhism. Spiti Valley is the hub for the Buddhists along the grand snow clad mountains. Ki Monastery and Tabo Monastery are one of the oldest monasteries in the world and a favorite of the Dalai Lama.

    8. Believe it or not – Gravity Defying Palace:

    Here’s one of those man-made wonders you’ll find it hard to believe! Gravity Defying Palace at Lucknow, capital of the eastern region of Uttar Pradesh is known for its mystifying palace complex. This marvelous creation of 18th-century by the monarch Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula is a blend of European and Arabic architecture. Bara Imambara’s superlative central arched hall which stretches 50 meters long and about three stories high held up, astonishingly, without any pillars or beams. The main hall was constructed exclusively with interlocking brick-work and is famous for its mysterious architecture of “Bhulbhulaiya- a dense maze”. This labyrinth is solely made of more than 1,000 narrow staircase passages meant to prevent any possible intruders. One can roam around the clandestine maze, preferably with an official guide, and to explore the adjacent mosque and stunning gardens.

    9. Serenity personified – The Phuktal Monastery:

    The Phuktal Monastery appears to be the extensively massive cave Monastery held high-up in the steep mountains. It is this demeanor which makes this Monastery unique than any other monasteries of the Zanskar valley. The foundation of this monastery is primarily made of twigs and mud, was found way back in the 12th century and is home to around 70 monks.  The frescoes and ceiling decorations of the monastery connects to the same era of Alchi Monastery and Tabo Monastery – one of the oldest monasteries. The most attractive aspect is the hollow in the rock in the cave over the monastery. The level of the water in this hollow never spills regardless of any amount of water being drawn from it and is believed to have healing powers!


    10. Artistically adorable – Andretta:

    Some places in the world are made for inspiration and is simply a muse to one’s eyes. Kangra Valley, with its amazing milieu of the mighty Dhauladhar, the Milky Mountains, has forever been known to attract artists. The “Kangra School of Miniature Painting” being just one remarkable exemplar. What Kangra was to art some 200 years ago, Andretta, a tiny village 14 km south of Palampur, is to artist in the present century. Andretta, with its Italianate sounding name, is a quiet and sleepy village known as a hodgepodge of culture and nuzzling amongst the undulating plains of Kangra Valley, with a wide panorama of hoary mountains. Andretta has attracted artists of many hues and was brought to fame by Ms. Norah Richards, the famous writer and dramatis whose writings exhibited deep sensibility to life and people around her. Other attractions include the Andretta Pottery and Crafts society which portrays miniature paintings and pottery where students can enroll and learn the art of pottery making.

    11. Freak out on the Frozen River Trek:

    Walking on the frozen river of Zanskar is an amazing experience for adventure lover. Experiencing the thrilling walk on Chadar Trek  in the windswept moorland of the Buddhist kingdom of Ladakh, where subzero temperatures chill the blood in the veins, it is definitely only for people who are very firm and fit. The frozen sheet is the only way out for Zanskaris during winter when all other ways would be filled with heaps of snow. It is also famous for winter trekking for all those dauntless people and are organized with trained local Zanskari potters and the well-experienced guides. Amid the esoteric nature, on the way back are the ancient monastic of Karsha and Zangla which pledges to heighten your imminent into the mysteries of this Shangri-la, a land and culture frozen in time behind the parapets of the Zanskar Mountains, stiffed between the mighty Karakoram and the Great Himalayan ranges.

    12. Indulge in the glorious Gurez Valley:

    The Gurez valley is a beautiful grandeur in the mighty Kishenganga River of Himalayan regions near Srinagar in northern Jammu and Kashmir, India. The place is one of the most edgily guarded as the high-altitude Line of Control that separates India and Pakistan here. Thankful to the topography of Gurez, which is on the Indian side, was closed till 2007 for security reasons. Dawar is the central township which will be almost buried under the snow for half the year, is completely sealed off from the outer world with no electricity, telephone or plumbing. The Valley is beautifully enveloped by the snow capped mountains, has its own unique flora and fauna to its credits. Himalayan brown bear and the snow leopard are the best examples for its diverse wildlife.

    13. Khajuraho – The Temple of love:

    Khajuraho – the amalgamation of science, art of architecture and eroticism. Situated in the India’s Tiger State- Madya Pradesh, Khajuraho oozes out the passion, cultural, dance, music, eroticism and other creative arts portrayed on the walls and towers of the temple which dates way back to 11th century. This temple was built by the Chandela dynasty and is famous for its ‘Nagara’ style of architecture. The localities of the city believe that this temple was built to be the hub of tantric theology, which conveys that sex is an important part of human life and attainment of “moksha”. Khajuraho is one of the small reticent villages with not more than 3000 populace surrounded by the forestland, is a perfect exemplar for the bold architectural statement which attracts tourists across the world.

    14. Valley of Flowers, Uttaranchal:

    The great Himalayan range is the house of most exotic fauna and flora and is a popular meadow for endemic alpine flowers and dazzling natural beauty. The Himalayan ranges of Garhwal hills of Uttaranchal dwells the most charming Valley of Flowers National park which attributes the rugged and Rocky Mountain wilds of Nanda Devi National Park. The park stretches over an area of 87.50 km² and is the home for the rarest flowers ever found on Earth. Flowers such as orchids, poppies, primulas, marigold, daisies and anemones look exuberant and vivid. The medical plants such as Dactylorhiza hatagirea, Picrorhiza kurrooa, Aconitum violaceum, Polygonatum multiflorum, Fritillaria roylei and Podophyllum hexandrum are also found in abundance. It is one of the best travel places in India and most startling experiences Mother Earth can offer for everybody who visits this place!

    15. The historical platter – Orchha:

    Orchha is a town in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh, was in the year 1501 by Maharaja Rudra Pratap Singh. Orchha lies on the seasonal island on the bank of the Betwa River, 15 km from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. The fort, enclosed by a fortification wall, stands a huge palace-fort, is coupled with buildings belonging to different times, and most remarkable of which are the Raja Mahal and the Jahangir Mahal. The Ram Raja Temple is built on a quadrangle base and has an almost utterly plain exterior, reassured by foretelling windows and a line of fragile domes down the summit. Singularly beautiful specimen of Mughal architecture to be found here is the Jahangir Mahal. Another notable structure is an old temple from the 9th century called Chaturbhuj Temple, which is built on an enormous podium of stone.

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