The summer is already here; the time for family reunion. No doubt, most of us must be already having dinner-table discussions about where they will be going for this summer vacation. The most talked options are like Goa, Ooty, Simla, etc. and I bet, most of us have already been to these places. No fun in doing the same fun again. Let me share a few least known Indian places for tourism that you can explore this time. Do not get me wrong when I say unexplored places; by all means these places have a lot more to offer and just because these are off-beat places and less talked, travel agents skip these sort of places in their packages. Be a Columbus this time and dare to explore something new.
Champaner – This is the first destination I would like to talk about. The Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is one among other 32 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, located in Gujarat’s Panchmahal District.This place was built by Sultan Mahmud Begada is historically and culturally a very significant place. If you are there, do not miss the 11 heritage monuments it includes. You will be fascinated by the 16th century’s tombs, mosques, gateways, fortresses, helical walls, temples, and greenery. Check the gallery section for pictures.
Nearby places are – Vadodara, Anand, Udaipur, Ahmedabad
Khajjiar – Also known as mini Switzerland of India, this place is a sleepy hill town close to Dalhousie. The place is known for its hills, lakes, meadows and if you are looking for paragliding, trekking, and horse-riding experiences, Khajjiar is the best option. The colds are not the best time to be here as because of snow, roads are sealed. Let me add, movies like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and The Blue Umbrella were shot here. Khajjiar lake, Khajji Nag Temple, Nine Hole Golf course, Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary, are other main attractions of this place.
Nearby places are – Mcleodganj, Dalhousie, Manali, Chamba
Spiti Valley – Now this a delight for its visitors; a place known for ancient Lamaist Buddhist monasteries. Both Lahaul and Spiti are surrounded by sky-kissing mountains. This is a place for strong heart people only who love trekking and hiking. Trust me, your visit to this place will be of no use if you miss Ki/Key and the Dhankar Monastery. The main attractions of this place are – Kunzum Pass, Key Monastery, Tabo Monastery, Suraj Tal Lake, Dhankar Lake, Pin Valley National Park, Shahsur Monastery, Kardang Monastery, Tayul Monastery, Kibber, Baralacha pass, Gandhola Monastery, Trilokinath Temple, Tangyud Monastery, Kungri Monastery, and Yak Safaris.
Nearby places are – Kaza, Manali, Manikaran, Kasol.
Valley of Flowers – This is another one among other 32 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, discovered by Mountaineer Frank S. Smith (1931). Not many of us know that Lord Hanuman brought Sanjivani to the ailing Lakshmana from the valley of flowers. The Valley of Flowers visiting hours are from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and you need permission from Forest Department checkpoint near Ghangaria. The best time to visit this place is beginning of June until the end of September. A few places that you cannot afford to miss are – Valley of Flowers National Park, Fauna and Flora (600 species of Flora and more than 520 species of fauna), Sri Hemkund Sahib, and last, but not the least, Nanda Devi National Park.
Nearby places are – Auli, Joshimath, Kedarnath, Badrinath,
Bhimtal – A town of Nainital district of Uttarakhand; this place is for its awesome weather and Bhimtal Lake. If you want to feel the spell of nature and if you think the forest of oaks, pines and shrubs fascinate you much; this place is for you then. Before you pack, do not miss to take your jacket with you; you will get a lot of chances for fishing and boating. The other attractions of the town you should not miss – Lord Shiva’s Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple, Hanuman Garhi, Victoria Dam, Aquarium of Bhimtal island, Karkotaka Temple, Nal Damyanti, Hidimba Parvat, Folk Culture Museum and of course, Mall road of Nainital.
Nearby places are – Nainital, Almora, Ranikhet, Mukteshwar.
Lavasa – Have you ever seen a planned hill city? How can you see one because Lavasa is first ever planned hill city (private). If you are looking for a place where you can allow your sense to relax and where you can enjoy a blend of infrastructure and beauty; this is the place you should try. The place is in Pune, Maharashtra and as it is in the development phase, so better take your own car (though you can always hire one). Spread across seven hills with a lakefront, this place will mesmerize you.
Nearby places are – Khandala, Lonavala, Kolad, Pune.
Shillong – Allow me to introduce you with “Scotland of India,” Shillong. The place is known for the countless waterfalls, the mountain peaks, lakes that are crystal clear, golf courses to die for, museums and the zoo. If you enjoy the rain, this is a place for you. This place is also known as the music capital of India, as this place has given countless musicians and this is the reason behind the music events that keep happening throughout the year. Do not miss places are – Elephant Falls, Mawlynnong, Umiam Lake, Don Bosco Museum, Shillong Peak, Lady Hydari Park, Mawsynram, Ward’s Lake, Mawphlang, David Scott Trail, Sweet Falls, Spread Eagle Falls, Jakerm, Meghalaya State Museum, Diengiei Peak, Sohpetbneng, and Motphran.
Nearby places are – Cherrapunjee, Jowai, Mawsynram, Nongpoh.
Pahalgam – Give yourself a treat. I assure you that the moment you arrive here, you will be wonder-struck by the sumptuousness of this place. You cannot name an adventure that you cannot take part in – be it trekking, fishing, golf course, greenery; this place is full of everything and I am sure, one visit to this place will give you a lifetime experience to remember. If you are here, do not miss to check places like – Aru Valley, Betaab Valley, Kolahoi glacier, Lidder River, Mamaleshwara Temple, Panchtarni, Chandanwari, Tulian Lake, Lolab valley, and White River Rafting.
Nearby places are – Srinagar, Sonamarg, Amarnath, and Dachigam National Park.
Bir and Billing – Should you looking for a place for paragliding, and trekking; Bir is the destination you must check. Do you know this place is famous for holding World Paragliding Championship every year. Do not confuse Bir Billing as they are two different sites; Bir is known as a landing site and Billing is the take-off site for paragliding experts. Besides, other places like Deer Park, Tea Factory, Sherab Ling Monastery, Chokling Monastery, Dharmalaya Institute, and Bir Road.
Nearby places are – Manali, Kullu, Kasol and Mcleodganj.
Rohtang Pass – If you are traveling through Leh-Manali Highway, Rohtang Pass could be a beautiful halt; a place that serves as the gateway to Lahaul and Spiti. In addition to Lahaul and Spiti, this place also serves as the gateway to Pangi and the valley of Leh. This pass is accessible only between May and November. During your stay you can enjoy the beautiful sights of glaciers, peaks, Lahaul Valley and the Chandra River. The breathtaking view of two peaks of Geypan is worth watching from Rohtang. Here you can enjoy snow scooters and paragliding.
Nearby places are – Nehru Kund, Vashist hot water springs and temples and Hadima Temple