If offbeat travel is your thing, then this is the list for you.

India is a land of many mysteries and charms. Each corner of the country is adorned with a destination that is unique in character and unmatched in style. For the hardcore traveller, here is a list of some of the most exotic and offbeat destinations that are hidden all across India. Be sure to make a visit to these destinations for an unusual and unforgettable experience.

  1. Khajjiar

    Khajjiar 1Image Credits: Flickr -Srinivasan G

    A hill station like no other, Khajjiar is tucked away in the comfort of Himachal Pradesh. Adorned with dense Deodar forests and dotted with hills, lakes and meadows, Khajjiar is often known as the ‘Switzerland of India’. Be it travel for leisure or adventure, this hill station is a treat for the senses. Paragliding, horseriding and trekking are added attractions in this land of sheer bliss.

    Best Time to Visit: February – April.

  2. Malana

    Malana 1Image Credits: Flickr-morisius cosmonaut

    Isolated and unpopulated, Malana is a quaint but stunning village in Himachal Pradesh. Protected by the majestic peaks of Chandrakhani and Deotibba, Malana is set on a plateau by the banks of a river of the same name. With an impressive altitude, the village has a character and identity of its own. Home to just about 100 cozy houses, this village is known for its Charas or ‘Malana Cream’. An interesting anecdote relating to Malana is that its occupants consider themselves to be descendants of Alexander the Great and are therefore, superior.

    Best Time to Visit: May – August.

  3. Sandakphu

    SandakphuImage Credits: Flickr- solarshakti

    Get adventurous with a trek to the highest peak in West Bengal, one of the most offbeat destinations in India. Translated to mean ‘Height of the Poison Plant’, Sandakphu is at an amazing elevation of about 3636m and nurtures some of the most poisonous aconite plants at its peak. However, when you have made it to its very top, you will be rewarded with stunning views of 4 of the highest peaks in the world – the Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu.

    Sandakphu 2Image Credits: Flickr-  Abhijit Kar Gupta

    Best Time to Visit: April – May.

  4. Kausani

    If relaxation and introspection are your idea of a perfect holiday, Kausani is a destination for you. Located on the edge of a ridge, this hill station has unmatched splendour and beauty. Blessed with panoramic views of various peaks of the Himalayan range, Kausani is set amidst dense pine forests and overlooks valleys on either side. Mahatma Gandhi often found peace and calmness in this remote corner of the world.

    Best Time to Visit: March – November.

  5. Khajuraho

    KhajurahoImage Credits: Flickr- Dennis Jarvis

    A land of exotic temples and architecture, Khajuraho is a mirror of India’s culture, history and heritage. Designated as one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, the town boasts of Nagara style of architecture – one known for its symbolism and erotic sculptural descriptions. Most of the temples were built during the reign of the Chandala Dynasty and a gamut of these religious structures have come together to form what is known as the Khajuraho Group of Monuments.

    Khajuraho 2Image Credits: Flickr- Liji Jinaraj

    Best Time to Visit: October – March.

  6. Kanatal

    A romantic and pretty hamlet, Kanatal is perched high up at 8500ft and is the definition of untampered beauty and serenity. Armed with excellent weather and inimitable hospitality, Kanatal offers spectacular views of snow-covered peaks and impenetrable forests. This town is famous for its terrace stays – a concept that has captured the imagination of tourists in a very big way.

    Best Time to Visit: April – September

  7. Nubra Valley

    Nubra ValleyImage Credits: Flickr- alex hanoko

    Magic has found form on land and is known to the world by the name of Nubra Valley. A valley that is formed by the confluence of the Shyok and Siachan Rivers is surrounded by the protective embrace of mountains and extensive expanses of beauty. Believed to be part of the Silk Route, this region also goes a long way back into history.

    Nubra Valley 2Image Credits:Flickr- shankii

    Best Time to Visit: June – October

  8. Gurez Valley

    gurezImage Credits: Thomas Cook

    Carved through the Himalayas and set along the banks of the stunning Kishenganga River, Gurez Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in India. Located right below the high altitude Line of Control, Gurez Valley is a fiercely protected land in the Indian territory. Surreal and serene, Gurez Valley has the most endearing sights of shepherds and fields.

    Best Time to Visit: May – September

  9. Tawang

    Tawang 2Image Credits: Doniv

    Popular as the birthplace of the Dalai Lama, Tawang is a picturesque hill town located in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. Overlooking a valley that is dominated by lush green sceneries and stunning panoramic landscapes, Tawang is also home to several revered monasteries. With religious attachments and a calming environment, this destination is a must visit for all travel enthusiasts.

    TawangImage Credits: Wikipedia

    Best Time to Visit: March – September

  10. Shani Shignapur

    A destination different from every other, Shani Shignapur is a quaint village in Maharashtra and is known for its most unusual characteristics. One the one hand, it is known for its temple of Shani, the Hindu God associated with the planet of Saturn. On the other, it is a village where none of the houses have a door! Believed to be protected by the Lords, the region is often acknowledged for its minimal crimes.

    Best Time to Visit: October – February

  11. Velas

    VelasImage Credits: Wikipedia

    Deep within the Ratnagiri District of Maharashtra, Velas is a village of the most enterprising population. The citizens of Velas have taken upon themselves the task of nurturing and protecting the turtles. The village even hosts an annual turtle festival, a one-of-its-kind event that is simply mesmerizing to witness. Get set to watch the life a turtle unfurl right before your very eyes, from the moment they step out of their egg shells!

    Velas 2Image credits: datravelography

    Best Time to Visit: December – March

    12. Devikulam

    A pretty hill station in Idukki district of Kerala, Devikulam is a land of untouched beauty and unmatched magnificence. Known to have been associated with the Ramyana, the town is home to the pristine Devikulam Lake where Goddess Sita is believed to have bathed. The waters are also known for their mineral composition and healing powers.

    Best Time to Visit: May – February.

  12. Drass

    DrassImage Credits: Wikipedia

    Beginning at the base of the Zoji La Pass and at an altitude of 10,990ft from the sea level, Drass is an unexplored destination of extreme weather and fascinating landscape. The valley houses exotic vegetation that grows in full splendour along calm riverbanks. You can watch the mirror image of towering peaks and dancing clouds in these pristine waters. Drass is notoriously known for its intense and unbearable winters – a season best avoided.

    Drass 2Image Credits: Photo Bucket- Vishwas M’s

    Best Time to Visit: May – September

  13. Ponmudi

    PonmudiImage Credits: Flickr- Thejas Panarkandy

    Mother Nature has been kind to Ponmudi, a destination that is nestled in the Western Ghats. Covered with dense forests, these mountains spread across to dominate a horizon that influence the rising and setting sun. Ponmudi is famous for its tea plantations and a deer park nearby – a haven for nature lovers. Be sure to attempt a hike up to the Agasthayakoodam, the highest peak in the region for a magnificent view of the valley below.

    Ponmudi 2Image Credits: Flickr- arwcheek

    Best Time to Visit: November – May.

  14. Vihigaon

    Adventure takes on a new and exciting form at Vihigaon, an unassuming town in the interiors of the state of Maharashtra. As part of the Western Ghats, the belt is home to some of the most beautiful natural waterfalls in India. Adventure sports like canyoneering, water rappelling, down climbing and river tracing have captured the imagination of adventure lovers worldwide!

    Best Time to Visit: May – August

  15. Pangong Lake

    Pangong LakeImage Credits: Flickr- _paVan_

    Untouched by the ugly hand of civilization, Pangong Lake is a fascinating sight amidst the tall Himalayan mountains. Flowing across a distance of 134kms, 60% of the Lake flows through Tibet. Despite its saline characteristic, these waters freeze during the winters and make for a clear calm surface during the summers. The lake has been made famous by the recent popular Bollywood flick, 3 Idiots.

    Pangong Lake 2Image Credits: Flickr- Fulvio Spada

    Best Time to Visit: April – September.

  16. Kila Raipur

    Kila RaipurImage Credits: khel trishna

    The sport enthusiasts have a rural destination in India – one that hosts an annual festival of physical strength and valour. Located in Ludhiana district of Punjab, Kila Raipur is home to an energized and enthusiastic population that actively participates in the local Kila Raipur Sports Festival, also known as the Rural Olympics. Festivities in the form of local dances and music can also be thoroughly enjoyed by participants and onlookers alike.

    Best Time to Visit: February.

  17. Halebidu

    HalebiduImage Credits: Wikipedia

    Referred to as the regal capital of Hoysala Empire in the 12th century, Halebidu is a land of architectural divinity. Dotted with several shrines and temples, the region was ransacked on two occasions by Malik Kafur on account of its richness and wealth. The Hoysaleshwara Temple is the most noted and celebrated structure that was built as a dedication to King Vishnuvardhana, a ruler of the same empire.

    Halebidu 2Image Credits: Wikipedia

    Best Time to Visit: October – April.

  18. Araku Valley

    Araku ValleyImage Credits: Flickr- cishore

    An offering nestled in the Eastern Ghats, Araku Valley in the Vishkhapatnam District of Andhra Pradesh gives form to an artist’s imagination. Celebrated for its pleasant weather, extensive coffee plantations, quaint valleys and gentle hillocks, Araku Valley has all the ingredients of the perfect holiday destination.
    Best Time to Visit: October – January.

  19. Kuldhara

    KuldharaImage Credits: Flickr- Mirza Asad Baig

    Kuldhara is a land like none other. Unlike most destinations that boast of scenic landscapes or adventurous outings, Kuldhara is known having been abandoned by its locals. Legend has it that a powerful minister desired to marry a village girl much against her will. In order to save her honour and right, the villagers left behind their home and village and disappeared into thin air. They are also said to have put a curse on the village that the land would be barren for all time to come.

    Best Time to Visit: June – February.

  20. Mawsynram

    The wettest place in India is a land that boasts of the very best Nature has to offer. Mawsynram is located in the cozy confines of Meghalaya where rainfall has created magic. Lush green vegetation, softly sloping hills and a hospitable population make for a divine trip. A massive formation of stalagmite is a local attraction – one that resembles the Shivling.

    Best Time to Visit: September – November.

  21. Roopkund Skeleton Lake

    Roopkund Skeleton LakeImage Credits: Flickr- Utsav Verma

    Another unusual destination located in the Himalayas is the Roopkund Lake. A point in the popular route for trekkers and hikers, the Roopkund Lake is also often referred to as the ‘Skeleton Lake’ and has in it base hundreds of corpses of both humans and horses. These remains date back to the 15th century and have a number of stories validating their presence. This eerie destination makes for an experience unlike any other.

    Best Time to Visit: May – June, September – October.

  22. Ziro

    ZiroImage Credits: jharnas garden

    Blessed with pleasant climate all year round, Ziro is decorated with hills, green rice fields and a horizon of dancing clouds. Home to the Apa Tani Tribe, Ziro is the perfect destination to get some captivating clicks. Get a feel of the local lifestyle and culture in this off beat destination of stunning serenity and calmness.

    Best Time to Visit: All year round.

  23. Varkala

    Varkala 1Image Credits: Flickr- Vineet Radhakrishnan

    If Kerala is God’s country, then Varkala in this state is the very land of the Lord. Blessed with clean beaches, hills, shrines and lighthouses, Varkala has all the makings of a desired destination. Adventure sports like paragliding and parasailing are added attractions for the fun lovers!

    Varkaka 2Image Credits: Flickr- Koshy Koshy

    Best Time to Visit: September –April.

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