It’s time to let GO! That’s right, you got it correct… It’s time to let go the insecurity, dependency and take India by the horns… It is time that women should travel solo in the country. Fact as it remains, most people cut a figure of India as an unsafe place for female travellers, which is partially true, BUT it can by no means slice off the other fact away that India is one exceptionally beautiful destination. AND further adding to the glory, apparently a lot of single female travellers have been coming forward and sharing their Indian travel stories, tips and tricks for a safe and hassle free journey around the country. Let’s face it, not all parts of India are unsafe, neither all men in India are eve-teasers. The trick is to research well before setting out for a trip in India and follow a few easy rules and VOILA! Everything’s coming up roses for you! So, if you are ready to LET GO, we have a list of some great destinations in India, which are notable for their beauty and are undoubtedly safe:
The charming city of Nainital in Uttarakhand attracts tourists with its sublime natural beauty and it being a quiet little haunt for piece of peace. Like other hill stations, Nainital is a popular tourist spot in India. Inhabited by the Kumaoni people, who are known for their warm smiles and helping nature makes this destination a safe place for single female traveller. Lake City, as it is popularly called, is a valley with a deep lake in the centre. It is in fact an excellent getaway for spending some time alone in sheer tranquility in the lap of Mother Nature. Since it is a small place, one doesn’t have much to see in the city except for few points that offer views of the distant hills and ranges. However, the outskirts of the city have a couple of other tourist attractions that one must visit. The city is stylish THANKS to the Tibetan Market, which sells latest clothing line at affordable prices, so you better keep your options open for shopping in Nainital. Other than the fashion factor, Tibetans should also be thanked for bringing one of the most soulful food items ‘MOMOS’ to the town… I mean there is nothing better than enjoying the cool air against you while you savour a plateful of Sonam’s Momos here.
Attractions: Snow View, Tiffin Top, China Peak, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Saattal, Lover’s Point, Himalaya Darshan, Ropeway (Cable Car), Nanda Devi Temple, Jama Masjid, Pangot, Corbett National Park, Cave Garden, Boat House Club
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Apparently, South India has been reckoned as a safer region for women travellers in India. If it is an overstatement… we don’t know. WHAT WE KNOW is that Mysore is one of the safest places for women travellers in India. The amicable gentry makes it easier for females to loiter around safely even after dusk (However, I would still insist on getting back to the hotel room before it gets dark). The City of Palaces as it is popularly called, Mysore takes one back to the times of the Chalukayas, Cholas and Hoysalas. In other words, the city is a delight for those who have this special thing for architecture. Mysore is also a hub of sandalwood, premium silk and incense, which means that you are going to have a gala time shopping here! Yoga and Ayurveda centres and the special flower market called Devraj Market adds to the grace of Mysore.
Attractions: Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hills, Government House, Rangacharlu, Jubilee Clock, Sri Chamundeswari Temple, Rail Museum, Indira Gandhi, Rashtriya Manav Sanghralaya, Mysore Zoo, Devraj Market, Karanji Lake and St. Philomena’s Cathedral
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Hill stations are the least unsafe places in India for the simple fact that they are small in size and thus everybody knows EVERYBODY here! So my dear ladies, you can be assured of a wonderful and a safe holiday in the hill stations in India. Topping the chart is Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Blessed with scenic beauty and soothing climate (in summer, whereas in winters one can expect snowfall) and friendly people, this hill station is perfect for solo female travellers. Shimla is replete with a lot of hotels and eateries and hence finding good accommodations and food is a cakewalk. The main attractions in the city include the Mall Road, the Ridge, Christ Church and Jakhu Temple, which remains crowded with tourist throughout the year; so even if you are visiting alone, you are in a way not alone. The toy train is one of the prime attractions of Shimla. Guides are available in the city; however, it is better to get information from the hotel staff in order to save money.
Attractions: Viceregal Lodge, Town Hall, Jakhu Temple, Gaiety Museum, Christ Church, State Museum, Kali Bari Temple, Himalayan Bird Park and Kufri
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Yes, you read it right! Are you worried about how you will be breathdown neck if you are a single woman visiting the temples at Khajuraho? Well, honestly Khajuraho is one of the best places for solo female travellers in India. Yes, we can’t always avoid the usual touts that run after tourists here, but then again a polite NO can work the trick here as well and believe me once you get rid of these petty people, you are in for a superb time at Khajuraho! Reconginzed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the temple of Khajuraho is definitely something that you should see in your lifetime. Other than the temple complex, Khajuraho has very little to explore; there are two lakes that can be visited and one can even enjoy boating here. I would suggest visiting Khajuraho during winter months as the weather in summer is intolerable.
Attractions: Lakshmana Temple, Kandariya Mahadev Temple, Old Village, Lakshmi Temple, Matangeshwar Mahadev Temple, Parshwanath Temple, Lord Mahavira Temple and Adinath Temple
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In a matchless setting, Udaipur beams like a fairyland and you are guaranteed to give your heart to this city once you visit here. Udaipur is one of those cities in Rajasthan that is clearly safe for women; moreover highly hospitable. People are friendly and that is why one has the ease of roaming freely in the city; of course you will be approached by many travel agents and guides (Can’t do much about them, unfortunately) but your polite NO can easily brush them off. Since, the city is called one of the most romantic honeymoon places in India, you might find yourself on the lonelier side as most tourists here are newly-weds and couples. BUT what the heck right! You chose this destination for the sake of its exotic architecture and lively culture AND that is why your travel story will be having a different edge to it.
Attractions: Lake Palace, City Palace, Lake Pichola, Ahar Museum, Sajjan Garh/ Monsoon Palace, Bagore ki Haveli, Sunset Point & Machla Magra, Fateh Sagar Lake, Jagdish Temple, Saheliyo ki Bari and Jag Mandir
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AND why can’t you go to a national park alone?? Since there are no travel rules, you have all the rights to go to any place you want and that definitely includes wildlife reserves. Kaziranga National Park in Assam, which is known for conserving the rare species of one-horned rhinos, is a great place to see in India. It is in fact quiet a scenic place with sprawling savannah grasslands, deciduous forests, wetlands and chars of river islands formed by constantly changing course of Brahmaputra. Along with the one-horned rhinos, Kaziranga is home to sizeable species of birds and animals. The best way to explore the park is by taking rides although jeep safari is also not a bad idea. Spotting wildlife keeps one engaged for hours in the national park. Also, if photography is something that you like, this UNESCO tagged World Heritage Site in India is an ideal place.
Attractions: One-horned Rhino, Leopard, Fishing Cat, Large Indian Civet, Small Indian Civet, Sambar, Barking deer, Hog deer, Gaur, Hog Badger, Hoolock Gibbon, Capped Langur, Assamese Macaque, Rhesus Macaque, Sloth Bear, Gangetic Dolphin and Otter
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Impeccable in all senses, Varanasi is not a city, it is a breathtaking experience. I know it must have conjured up an image of an unbridled crowd that is mostly seen thronging the Ganga Ghats and the oddly dressed Sadhus smoking up grass but trust me there is much more to Varanasi! The divinity cannot be snatched from the city; the evening Ganga Aarti will reconnect you with your spiritual self and the morning boat ride in the pious river will provide once in a lifetime experience. Since, Varanasi is crazily crowded, we cannot call it a very safe place for women; however, if you have learned some of the Indian ways as to when to keep quiet and when to speak, when to smile and when to say NO, then you will have a wonderful time here. Discreet dressing and not giving an ear to touts is the key to a great holiday in Varanasi.
Attractions: Vishwanath Temple, Assi Ghat, Dashwamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Ramnagar Fort and Museum, Gyan Kupor Well, Tulsi Manas Temple, New Vishwanath Temple, Durga Temple, Bharat Mata Temple
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Looking for an adventure? Rishikesh is the answer! Reckoned to be one of the best places for river rafting in India, this small town on the foothills of the Himalaya in Uttarakhand is worth giving a chance. Not only rafting but the opportunity for a bunch of adventure activities like fox-flying, bungee jumping and cliff jumping makes the place ever so enthralling. If adventure is not your idea of having fun, you might like to try yoga, which has a large number of centers here. Camping along the free flowing emerald Ganga brings yet another THUMBS UP for this place; it will be better to take along some of your girlies to Rishikesh if female travelling is the motive. This way, you will be able to enjoy team activity like rafting without being interrupted by others. Like Varanasi, Ganga Aarti in Rishikesh in the evening time is worth witnessing, when the entire atmosphere starts to get divine and filled with spirituality.
Attractions: Swarg Niwas Temple, Shri Trayanbakshwar Temple, Swarg Ashram, Lakshman Jhula, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Asharam, Neelkantha Mahadev Temple, Neergarh Waterfall.
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Hampi will simply change your mind set about India, as this small village destination has so much to impart to its urban counterparts! Hospitable, friendly and culturally wealthy people are what you are likely to encounter here and BELIEVE YOU ME when I say that Hampi will change all your perspectives about travelling solo in India. Once you are here, you will realize that the forlorn ruins of the Vijayanagara Kingdom are actually not a gloomy sight. Resonating majesty and the creative bend of mind, the relics of Hampi will incite an urge in you to go back to the history chapters that you once missed out on reading while you were in school. Situated near Hospet in Karnataka, Hampi is yet another place that has been recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you are a backpacker type of person, you are surely going to love this place as it offers cheap accommodation, gives you the chance to meet with people from different countries and apparently makes you feel free without the fear of safety.
Attractions: Vittala Temple, Virupaksha Temple, Zenana Enclosure, Sule Bazaar and Achyutaraya Temple, Nandi Statue, Elephant Stables, Hemakuta Hill, Underground Shiva Temple, Queen’s Bath and Royal Centre
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This is what everyone wants, a BIG slice of pure serenity. A well maintained Union Territory that often resembles one of the French cities, Puducherry in South India has its own charm: nicely-cobbled roads, lined with yellow colonial-style houses and clean air. Since the place was under French rule for a long time, you can see the influence on food, culture and language of the people here. Puducherry is a quiet little place with amiable people and friendly environment and is ideally the best place for solo women travellers. What more! It is a great place for shopping, trying some delectable French cuisine, taking a stroll on the beautiful beachside and getting cheap beer!
Attractions: Sri Aurobindo Asharam, Churches, Puducherry Museum, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Notre Dame des Anges, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Botanical Garden, Sacred Heart Basilica,Goubert Ave/Beach Road
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North East is just WOW and Sikkim is simply WOWEST! This part of India is blessed with pristine beauty and if you are a woman traveller who has set out in search of immaculate splendor in India then Sikkim is the right place for you! The sky-kissing mountains, gorgeous valleys, rhododendron-strewn trails, patches of rice terraces and the graceful Buddhist monasteries make up most of Sikkim. However, hospitality and rich tradition can by no means be ignored as it has helped in giving Sikkim a unique identity. An all female tour would be ideal (Only a suggestion though), which can actually boost the travelling fun of exploring something as wonderful as Sikkim!
Attractions: Rumtek Gompa, Samdruptse, Norbugang Park, Ganesh Tok, Khecheopalri Lake, Guru Padmasambhava Statue, Rabdentse, Pelling, Hot Water Springs, Dubdi Gompa, Sakyamuni Complex, Old Rumtek Gompa, Tsomgo Lake, Namchi, Yamthang Valley, Golden Stupa, Yuksom, Ravangla
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What do you mean by OH I really want to go to Ladakh? DUHHH! Like there is someone who doesn’t want to! Beautiful Ladakh is a fantasy of all and in this bid why should boys have all the fun?! We are brave, confident and independent women and we have self-learnt how to travel alone in India and thus, we deserve to trudge to this absolutely rewarding destination ALL BY OURSELF! For the love of landscape, culture and hospitality, Ladakh has been on the list of every traveller. The Ladakhis are modest people, mostly cash poor but rich at heart. You can apparently go live with a family at their modest home or a tent and they will treat you like a family member. If we talk about nature, the landscape is impeccable and feel of standing amidst it is truly out of the world! The magnificent Buddhist Monasteries of the Gompas have contributed immensely to the rich history and culture of Ladakh; sometimes when one is standing on the door of a monastery a thought of amazement crosses one’s mind as to how such marvelous structures can be created despite the odds of climate and limitation of resources.
Attractions: Leh Palace, Pangong Lake, Lake Tsomoriri, Nubra Valley, Zanskar Valley, Markha Valley, Lamayuru Monastery, Hemis Monastery, Tso Kar, Alchi Monastery, Shey Monastery, Phutkal Monastery, Diskit Monastery, Hemis National Park, Stok Palace, Wanla Gompa, Likir Monastery, Sham Valley, Thiksey Gompa, Phyang Monastery, Rizong Monastery, Sar-Zung Temple, Khardung La, Namgyal Stupa
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Have you prepared a list of places in India that you would want to see before getting married or before you turn 40? No? Well it’s time that you should! AND even if you have… Did you add Ziro Valley to it?? No again? Well it is time that you definitely should! One of the most picturesque places in India, Ziro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh has to be visited once in a lifetime. A picture perfect place with lush greenery, careening rice-fields and snaking rivulets and rustic habitats, the valley is nothing short of a dreamland. One has the opportunity to learn about the culture and tradition of the popular Apatani Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. The most attractive feature of Ziro Valley other than its natural beauty is the lifestyle of this tribe, whose members are mostly seen with facial tattoos and nose plugs. It is advised to take a local guide with you as without them, you might face unwelcoming people. Ziro Valley is altogether an exceptional experience and what better way to get the feel of it than to travel here alone and see it for your self!
Attractions: Hong, Hija, Hari, Bamin, Dutta, Ziro Putu, Tarin Fish Farm, Talley Valley, Tapyo Salt, Dolo Mando, Kile Pakho, Dilopolyang Maniipolyang, Shiva Lingam at Kardo Forest
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Munnar gives you the notion that you have landed in one of those surreal places in Alice in Wonderland. The green undulating hills that are covered with tea plantations are seriously breathtaking! Tranquil, pristine and gorgeous is how one can best describe Munnar. Go a few miles away from the main city and you will actually feel that you have fallen through the Rabbit Hole (the one from which Alice falls down into another world) into a place that is no less than a dream land. The rustic charm will make you forget about the bustling life of the cities, SHEER PEACE you asked for sheer peace you shall get here! Munnar is also a great place to go trekking, hiking and cycling and the best part is that you can enjoy all these activities without being interrupted by touts or eve-teasers. Kerala is one of the safest places for female travellers in India and heartwarming welcome, pleasant smiles and helpful people are a textbook case here.
Attractions: Mattupetty, Pallivasal, Tea Museum
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Well, Rajasthan changes our notion about villages in India, far from scenario of eve-teasing and unsafe environ for females; ; most of the villages in the state warmly welcome tourists. According to many female travellers who have set out alone to rural Rajasthan, the villagers not only passed pleasant smiles but also invited them to their houses to tell them about their culture and tradition. Thus, Rajasthan can be a great place for women travellers who might want to learn about the rural lifestyle of India. Also, Desert National Park in Rajasthan has come up as one of the top places to visit in India for solo female traveller. An exemplary of the Thar ecosystem, Desert National Park has won accolades from wildlife aficionados from all over the world. The park is the home to animals like blackbuck, chinkara, wolf, Indian fox, desert fox, hare, desert cat and a number of birds as well. So, ladies if rustic environs and lifestyle intrigues you, Rajasthan can be an ideal destination for you AND if you are thinking what else to add to the already fabulous tour,;Desert National Park is the perfect destination to be in your list of places to visit in Rajasthan.
Attractions: Churu, Barmer, Dausa, Dundlod, Nathadwara, Shekhawati
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There are quite a lot of destinations in India that you as a solo female traveller should visit and PINKY SWEAR, I will discuss them in my next blog. Honestly, tourism in India is improving and all we need to do is to wait patiently before we can visit any part of the country without being concerned about safety issues. Till then, make sure to at least visit these places in India for a life changing experience. Be Safe and have a Happy Journey!