Let me begin with the everlasting love for my country, I take immense pride in saying “I love India” and I mean it from the bottom of my heart. I’ve always loved travelling around in India since the time I started travelling, I never really dreamt of seeing that Eiffel Tower in Paris or of walking down the streets of London, all I dreamt of was to travel around India and show people the eternal beauty of my country. I am an ardent traveller and my passion for travelling makes me explore the hidden gems and exotic destinations in every nook and corner. When I start talking about the hidden gems the list goes on and my journey to explore is always onwards and upwards. So today, I would like to talk about all the Hidden Gems of India which I have travelled to as yet. I am sure there are many more but, to begin with, I have picked my top 10 most favourite places in India which have given me the best travel experiences and I want you to explore them and feel the vibe and aliveness I felt in each of these 10 places. Here we go!
- First up is the Karnataka road trip where you drive- from Bangalore to Shimoga then you go to Sirsi then to the mesmerizing Jog Falls. Continue on then you should travel to Yana, the Black Mountain of India and while you are on your road trip from Yana you should visit Gokarna, one of the most amazing beaches you will ever find. From Gokarna, you should go to Dandeli and then from Dandeli to the ever-famous Goa. From Goa, you finally head to Pune. You should do this trip during February so that from Pune you can go to Bhigwan where you can see the flamingos, a fascinating place for birdwatchers and wildlife photographers, when you are at Bhigwan do not forget to have the delicious kadak fish fry of Chilapi. I completed this whole trip in February 2018, this incredible trip took almost 20 to 25 days of intense travelling, but the time spent alongside the beautiful beaches and the road trip experiences never made my journey tiring, it was completely worth it.
- The second place on the list, Simlipal forest Orissa, is the 7th largest National park in India. Simlipal forest is endowed with two beautiful waterfalls Joranda and Barehipani fall which is again one of the largest waterfalls in India. The sound of water hitting the rocks feels like Chicken soup for the soul. If you are already in Bhubaneswar which is close to Orissa, there is a place called Daringbadi, the only hill station in the eastern state. Situated at a height of 915 m (3000 ft), the place is largely gifted with natural bounties that include pine groves, coffee gardens and beautiful verdant valleys. Daringbadi is often tagged as the Kashmir of Odisha, as we can witness snowfall.
- Lonar crater Lake in Buldhana of Maharashtra is a 50,000 years old lake with a lot of mysterious stories about its history and origin. It is said that Meteors or broken pieces of celestial bodies such as asteroids and comets entered the Earth’s atmosphere. Even though it was a mere chip of the moon, the impact of the 384,403-kilometre travel from the moon to the earth, left a dent that was 1.8-kilometre wide and 150-metre deep. This near-perfect oval lake is one of the world’s only two natural craters that is formed. The jungle took over, and a perennial stream transformed the crater into a tranquil, emerald-green natural lake that has interesting animals and unique backdrops. If you look at Lonar Lake, it might look like just another lake but with many enthralling facts. The water of the lake is both alkaline and saline in nature, which is the rarest phenomenon making it a unique lake not only in India but also in the entire world.
- We all know about Pondicherry and most of us have surely visited to celebrate the bachelorette parties of our friends, Not too far, 78 km ride from the French town of Pondicherry, is Pichavaram to Tambaram .the largest mangrove and you can also take a Boat Ride around the mangroves which is so scenic, I would not be able to explain it in words. The Pichavaram forest not only offers waterscape and backwater cruises but also another very rare sight. The mangrove forest trees are permanently rooted in a few feet of water. And the interesting fact about this place is there are more than 400 water routes available for boating!!
- Off to one of the 7 sisters, Majuli, – in Assam it has the world’s largest river island and it’s on the bank of the Brahmaputra river. In 2016 it became the first island to be made a district in India. It had an area of 880 square kilometres at the beginning of the 20th century. To reach Majuli, you will first have to reach Jorhat. From Jorhat, which is just 20 km from Majuli, you will have to travel on a ferry. The ride itself is a fun experience with water all around. Jorhat has its own airport with daily flights from Kolkata and Shillong. While you are already in Assam there is a small town called Haflong, the only hill station of Assam and is known as White Ant Hillock – this place has 2 lakh species of the flowering plant. You can reach Haflong from Shillong via National Highway 627 in 5 hrs. and the distance is close to 242.8 Km.
- Latpanchar. – It is called the bird watchers paradise as it is the highest part of Mahananda wildlife sanctuary’s average altitude of about 4200 feet. Latpanchar is known for its picturesque view which includes Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world. From New Jalpaiguri located in Siliguri, West Bengal. It is about 44 kilometres and it takes around two hrs. by road to reach Latpancharis. There are about 250 species of birds available in the area including the Rufous Necked Hornbill. Bird enthusiasts from all over India and abroad, fly down to Latpanchar for a glimpse of some rare avifauna.
- Moving lower to the South of India, Lambasingi- is situated in Andhra Pradesh. It is located at a distance of 100 km from the famous tourist spot and port city Visakhapatnam. Lambasingi is about a hundred meters above sea level and this remarkable place has bagged the title of ‘Kashmir of Andhra Pradesh’ due to a bit of snowfall every year. Moreover, the place is abounding with a variety of wildlife, flora, and fauna with pepper and coffee plantations. You might be wondering what is so special about this place, looking at high temperatures and sunny days in Andhra Pradesh it would be really bliss to witness snowfall.
- Shani shingnapur- this is one of the weirdest villages I could visit, and I would also request you all to visit this village. It is situated in Maharashtra and they have the lowest crime rate. We can’t think of our house without doors, but this village is one village where houses have no doors. A one-of-a-kind village in India and probably the world, Shani Shingnapur is famous for the fact that no house here has any doors. Residents of the village feel little need for security, thanks to their belief in special protection from the Hindu deity Shani, whose famous temple is located here.
- Drass – this is situated in Jammu and Kashmir is known as the gateway to Ladakh. The height of this place is 10800 feet and it is 140 kilometres away from Srinagar and the temperature falls to as low as -23 degree Celsius. It is noted as the second coldest inhabited place in the world.
- The last but definitely equally interesting is Halebidu located in the Hassan district of Karnataka – If you are a person who loves history and architecture, you will love this place as this place has many historical temples. Halebidu was the regal capital of the Hoysala Empire. It has many temples and Jain monuments and the most remarkable temples known for Hoysala architecture are the Hoysaleshwara and Kedareshwara temples. The city got the name “Halebidu” because” it was damaged and deserted into “old capital” after being ransacked and looted twice by forces of the Delhi Sultanate in the 14th-century. From Halebidu I have travelled to one of the pilgrimage destinations, the statue of Gommateshwara Bahubali at Shravanabelagola. If you are in Bangalore you can plan for a one-day trip to this place by bus or car.
I know you must be thinking that there are many more places in India that need to be explored and I am excited to explore and I can’t wait to share my travel experiences with you all. Travelling gives me peace, travelling gives me happiness, happiness keeps me sane. I love to travel to offbeat destinations in India, so if you have any suggestions please write to me and let’s explore the unexplored. Reading about all these places you might undoubtedly feel Why am I travelling to the same states, I have travelled to 17 states and 3 union territories of India but I have spent most of my time travelling in states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal as I was working in these cities for quite a long time, during this span I had the luxury to travel far and wide in all these states when I had my off days at work. Recently I have travelled to Rajasthan and Punjab. I have tons of stories to tell you, experiences, especially the food and the crazy adventures on the trip, I would share all of them with you in the upcoming blogs.