Last Updated: November 27, 2019 Nidhi Singh
Mountains are love and you have to agree with me. But most of the hill stations in India have now unfortunately become too commercial; crammed with tourists even in shoulder season; and not to forget too noisy to find peace anymore. This is why it was important for me to look for alternatives, and head out in search of offbeat holiday ideas in India. Surprisingly, there were many less-explored destinations in the Himlayas and quite a few in other parts of the country as well! The number is huuuuge (*in Donald Trump’s way)! So, I thought, I’ll list some of them for you who like me are in no mood of spending their summer vacation 2020 in a chaotic hill station in India. Note that some of the offbeat hill destinations in this blog are the ones that can only be reached by trekking, while others are easily accessible but may take longer than usual to reach. So, if you’re in for all this adventure on your summer holiday in 2020, you have landed on the right page!
1. Chatpal, Jammu & Kashmir
Ah, I’ve fallen in love with Chatpal from the time I saw its pictures. This offbeat destination in Jammu and Kashmir, is everything you and I would want on an unforgettable holiday experience. Chatpal hides itself away from all the popular tourist places in Kashmir, and is an epitome of the perpetual beauty of this Valley. Since the place has been mentioned in less travel blogs so far, it remains a hidden secret amongst the ones with serious wanderlust. Imagine spending your vacation by the side of the river of cool waters; you can bask on the lush meadows appreciating the surroundings that is filled with quietude. Chatpal is perfect for family trip or visiting with your partner.
How to Reach Chatpal?
This offbeat destination in Kashmir is in the Shangus district in Kashmir Valley and can be reached by road via Anantnag and Chitergul. One can hire a cab from Srinagar for Chatpal or till Chitergul. From Chitergul, one can hike to Chatpal to add some adventure in their trip.
Note: As most of the drivers are unaware of Chatpal, it is recommended to use Google Map navigation directions from Anantnag onwards.
Where to Stay in Chatpal?
There are some pretty cottages by Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Department that are ideal to book for a stay.
2. Askot, Uttarakhand
Askot defines what an offbeat destination is. This hill station in the East most region of Uttarakhand, close to the Indo-Nepal Border. Since fewer people know about Askot, you can have this place to all by yourself if you choose this offbeat escape in the Himalayas. The ones who know about this place, are aware of the beautiful wildlife sanctuary that is home to the rare Musk Deer sprawling here. Your visual treat in Askot will included lush Pine, Deodar, Rhododendron Forests, and the gurgling streams against the stunning backdrop of Chhiplakot and the Panchchuli Range with the Nepal Mountains.
How to Reach Askot?
If you take train till Kathgodam in Kumaon Region in Uttarakhand, then for Askot you have to hire a cab to take up a road journey of 234 km. The good news is, now there is flight connectivity between Dehradun and Pithoragarh. The recently opened airport in Pithoragarh is 52 km away from Askot. So if you want, you can either fly to Dehradun first and from there to Pithoragarh or you can take a bus to Dehradun from Delhi (in case you’re here), and then fly to Pithoragarh. Either way, it will save a lot of time and your energy as well.
Where to Stay?
There are PWD Rest Houses in Askot. In case you fail to get one of those booked, you can also stay in Pithoragarh which has a wide array of hotels.
3. Gurez Valley
Kashmir never ceases to surprise with its beauty, and one of the fine examples of it, is Gurez Valley. In fact, Gurez is one of the finest unexplored hill destinations in India with crystal clear streams that pave their way through velvety meadows; tall mountains that are often snow-clad; and lush greenery of alpine forest. One thing that is clearly unique in Gurez from any other offbeat hill stations in India, is the razor wire fencing, yes Gurez shares border with Pakistan, but unlike other border sharing destinations in the Valley, this one remains completely peaceful. It is a place where apart from soaking in the beauty of Kashmir and witnessing its authentic tribal culture, you can spend time introspecting. Gurez Valley is perfect for a solo trip or with people sharing the same love for culture and nature, and a lot of adventure.
How to Reach Gurez Valley?
The best way to reach Gurez Valley would be to hire a cab from Srinagar.
Where to Stay in Gurez Valley?
Since it is offbeat with probably one or two accommodations in the entire valley, you could also be invited by the locals to stay with them.
4. Kemmangundi, Karnataka
We often ignore South India when it comes to hill stations or stick to popular hill stations like Ooty and Kodaikanal. What we forget is that India is diverse and it can never cease to surprise. Both Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats are home to some offbeat South Indian hill stations to explore that are perfect for summer holidays. Kemmangundi is one such destination, situated in Chikkamagaluru district in the state of Karnataka. Some odd 273 km from Bengaluru, Kemmangundi is a place where you get to forget all about the harsh realities of the world and unwind amidst the surreal landscape. There are waterfalls, mountain streams, and lush vegetation that contribute to the serenity of this place. There is a spectacular sunset view from the Raj Bhavan which you would love to have a sight of.
How to Reach Kemmangundi?
Kemmannugundi is 53 km from Chikkamagaluru and 17 km from Lingadahalli by road. National Highways, NH-206 or NH-48, connect Kemmangundi to Bangalore. There is another route via Mullayyanagiri and Attigundi, which is a scenic drive. If you are taking public transport, then you can catch a private bus from Lingadahalli.
Where to Stay in Kemmangundi?
The accommodation is available with the Horticulture Department Guest House/Raj Bhavan, which provides a number of cottages. There is also a Horticulture Department Guest House in Kallathi village, where the famous Kallathi waterfall is located.
5. Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is a repository of many surreal places, it is also one of those places in North India that has no dearth of offbeat destinations. Kalpa in the Kinnaur District in the upper realm of Himachal Pradesh is one such place that can turn any ordinary summer holiday into something magical. This town in the Sutlej River Valley boasts imposing Greater Himalayas just a stone’s throw away, an array of apple orchards, and dense pine forests. You can see the gurgling Sutlej River flowing below through deep gorges, ah, the view is going to make you go weak in the knees. There are a number of treks that you can enjoy around this town in Himachal Pradesh. Also you can visit the border village of Chitkul situated a short distance away from Kalpa.
How to Reach Kalpa?
Kalpa is well-connected by road and can be reached via Shimla or Manali. If you’re planning to take a bus from Delhi, there’s an ordinary state bus available till Reckong Peo. From Reckong Peo you can take another bus to Kalpa.
Where to Stay in Kalpa?
There are a number of hotels in Kalpa and Reckong Peo. The best stay experience would be to stay in upper Kalpa where the views are absolutely breathtaking.
6. Tungi, Maharashtra
While we are sucker for the beauty of Lonavla and Khandala, isn’t looking for an offbeat destination in Maharashtra always been exciting? Tungi caught my eyes, when a friend from North India posted her picture on Instagram. The green triangle hill in the picture behind her was something that won my heart. Tungi is situated some odd 85 km from Pune as a village on the foothills of Tungi Fort overlooking Tikona Fort and Lake Pavana. It won’t be incorrect to call it a perfect summer destination in West India if this year you’re focussing on an offbeat travel experience. An ideal thing to do in Tungi beside relaxing and rejuvenating yourself is trekking to Pavna Lake.
How to Reach Tungi?
An easy 85 km drive from Pune can lead to Tungi. As simple as that!
Where to Stay in Tungi?
Lake Pavna Resort by Club Mahindra.
7. Kurseong, West Bengal
Kurseong cannot be termed offbeat, to be honest. This place already has its mark on the tourism map but it is definitely a place a lot of people cannot imagine to exist in the state of West Bengal. Darjeeling is the best image that conjures up in our mind when we think about West Bengal, but there’s surprisingly way more than that in this eastern state. This hill station is situated some 30 km from Darjeeling. Unlike other offbeat summer destinations in this list, Kurseong can be crowded but its the sprawling tea estates, surreal sunset views, the background of Kanchanjunga and Ghoom Range, and pleasing weather that give enough reasons to visit.
How to Reach Kurseong?
Toy Train from Darjeeling is one of the ideal ways to reach Kurseong. You can also choose to drive from Darjeeling to this destination.
Where to Stay in Kurseong?
Like I said, this place also has its mark on tourism map, so you it wouldn’t be difficult to book a hotel in Kurseong of your choice.
8. Yuksom, Sikkim
How about getting a better view of Kachenjunga? While Kurseong can trigger your interest in Kanchenjunga Peak, Yuksom in Sikkim can be the right place to make your dream come true to have an unforgettable view of the Himalayan Peak at close quarters. In North West Sikkim, Yuksom is a place that many trekkers are acquainted with but tourists in general hardly have a clue about. This destination in North East India, mark my words is ideal for offbeat tourism. Away from all the rush, Yuksom boasts not only unparalleled view of Kanchenjunga or Khanchendzonga Peak but a glimpse of rich flora and fauna as well. It is a perfect destination for adventure lovers with many treks including the Kanchenjunga Base Camp on offer in its vicinity.
How to Reach Yuksom?
If you decide to fly, Pakyong in Sikkim is the nearest airport which is around 124 km away. Hire a taxi here to Yuksom. For those wanting to reach by train, the nearest railhead is New Jalpaiguri at a distance of 150 km. One might not find direct taxis from NJP, and thus have to break the journey in two parts – NJP to Jorethang and Jorethang to Yuksom.
Where to Stay in Yuksom?
There are some hotels in Yuksom. Most of them are budget hotels where you can only expect basic amenities.
9. Dandeli, Karnataka
If you’re from Bengaluru, you must be rolling eyes right now. I get it, for you Dandeli can’t be an offbeat holiday place at all. But for the rest of the country, this place has not been making many rounds as a holiday destination, and thus, it had to be in the list. Let me surprise you with the fact that Dandeli is situated at a close proximity to Goa. So, where was it on a tourism map all along you ask? Well, the place is a favourite weekend destination for people of Bengaluru. Dandeli boasts dense foliage, meaning that it is a place with a potential of becoming hot favourite of nature lovers. One can enjoy staying in the camps here, relishing the quietude, good weather, and a sight of rich fauna along with white water rafting adventure.
How to Reach Dandeli?
Dandeli can be reached easily by road. There’s NH 34 and 46 that connect it with many destinations including Goa, which is at a distance of 104 km. Bengaluru is some 459 km away and easy to drive from there as well.
Where to Stay in Dandeli?
There are a number of camps and cottages that make for a great places to stay in Dandeli.
10. Haflong, Assam
How about travelling this summer to the only hill station in Assam? Yes, Haflong is the only hill resort in the North eastern state of Assam, and thus is quite a special place to be. Since it is lesser known and less frequented, Haflong flaunts its unperturbed natural beauty; there are lakes that you can visit and then there are natural trails for the best trekking experience. The rich flora and fauna is a given. The most interesting place to visit near it is Jatinga, which is known for mass bird suicide (although summer is not the time to witness this unique phenomenon. Thinking what that would be like? Well, you have plan your travel to this amazing place to visit to find out the reason.
How to Reach Haflong?
The most convenient way to reach Haflong would be to get to Guwahati (by flight or train), and then take a train to Haflong. One can also take a flight to Silchar, and from there board a train to Haflong. The train is route is absolutely stunning.
Where to Stay in Haflong?
There are few hotels and guesthouses in Haflong. You can check our website to find the hotel that best suits you.
11. Sanasar, Jammu & Kashmir
Have visited Patnitop and Vaishno Devi multiple times, and now you’re thinking there isn’t any serene hill stations in Jammu to explore. Sanasar, a hill station, some 20 km from Patnitop is a place that might change your opinion. This lesser known place in Jammu region will stun you with its beautiful meadows and lush forest. The best experience here is to trek on unknown trails and have a sneak peek at the lives of the locals. The serenity and hospitality will amaze you.
How to Reach Sanasar?
Take a cab from the popular hill station of Patnitop to get to Sanasar.
Where to Stay in Sanasar?
You can live in the wooden cabins on the meadow owned by the locals. There is also a large setup of wooden cabins by JKTDC.
12. Munsiyari, Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand doesn’t surprise you with its offbeat destinations because, at large we all have hardly explored this beautiful state in North India. It is indeed true that there is a lot that needs to discovered in Uttarakhand still. One amazing place however, you can explore this year in the state is Munsiyari. Getting pretty popular amongst the travel bloggers, this destination in Kumaon Hills is being liked for its rustic charm and the panoramic view of the Panchachuli Peaks amongst other Himalayan Peaks. The Khaliya Top or Khuliya Top is the major attraction in Munsiyari and you have to trek to get that surreal view we just discussed in the lines above.
How to Reach Munsiyari?
The nearest railway station is in Kathgodam, which is 278 km away. From Kathgodam, you have to hire a taxi to Munsiyari. You can choose to stop for a day at Pithoragarh as well. If it is convenient, one can fly from Dehradun to Pithoragarh, and then hire a taxi or take a local bus for Munsiyari.
Where to Stay in Munsiyari?
There are some budget accommodations and guesthouses to stay in Munsiyari. Most of them are in the market area. One can also choose to stay in Sarmoli, a village at a short distance away from Munsiyari where homestays are available, in case you are interested in observing the local lifestyle.
13. Rajgundha, Himachal Pradesh
Anyone who enjoys a good trek in the Himalayas would fall for Rajgundha in Himachal Pradesh. This secluded village, nestled amidst thick forest and encircled by lofty mountains give you reason why to visit here during your summer break. A vacation here is like a direct conversation between you and nature. In this paradisiacal destination, you enjoy camping and star gazing at its best. Rajgundha is a destination for nature and adventure lovers, a place where you’s like to return over and over again.
How to Reach Rajgundha?
The trek for Rajgundha begins from Baragaon, which is a short distance away from Barot, another beautiful offbeat place in Himachal Pradesh. Barot is around 55 km from Bir. There are cars available for Baragaon from Bir. From Baragaon, a trek of about 6 km takes one to Rajgundha.
Where to Stay in Rajgundha?
There are fewer options to stay in Rajgundha, amongst which is Zostel. You can also choose to camp here. It will be a great experience.
14. Nathuakhan, Uttarakhand
When you’d reach Nathuakhan, you’ll be like where were you all these years unaware of such a surreal place existing at such a close proximity to Nainital and Mukteshwar. Yes, Nathuakhan can do this to you. At a short distance away from the popular holiday destination of Mukteshwar, this offbeat destination in Uttarakhand is like a breath of fresh air you were craving for. Adorned with fruit orchards, thick forest, rustic village houses, a number of homestays, and a quiet stream called Sufi, Nathuakhan in my perspective should top the chart of the guide to offbeat hill destinations in India. The slow pace, tranquil environ, and beautiful surroundings in Nathuakhan will let you live your ideal summer holiday dream.
How to Reach Nathuakhan?
If you’re travelling by train, then you can get down at Kathgodam and take a taxi directly to Nathuakhan.
Where to Stay in Nathuakhan?
There are a number of homestays in Nathuakhan for that authentic staying experience.
15. Raithal, Uttarakhand
You’ll love Raithal, if you are someone who enjoys eco-tourism and sustainable tourism. This remote village in Uttarakhand is situated in the Garhwal region and has some houses that are 400-500 years old. Raithal makes for the base of the famed Dayara Bugyal Trek but more than that it is place to take a peek inside the lifestyle of the simple Garhwali people. Some of the ancient buildings in Raithal have been converted to homestays, thus giving you that authentic feeling of being the part of the hills. Apart from the trek to Dayara Bugyal, one can also enjoy biking riding around Raithal sighting some ancient stone building and Garhwali hospitality.
How to Reach Raithal?
Dehradun is the nearest air and rail head from Raithal. Taxis are available from Dehradun to Raithal which around 210 km away.
Where to Stay in Raithal?
There are few homestays coming up in Raithal where you can choose to stay. The Goat Village, a short distance away from Raithal is a good option if sustainable tourism is what you care about. Also there is government owned Tourist Rest House which is available for booking.
16. Nelliyampathy, Kerala
It might be the first time for many of us to have heard of Nelliyampathy in Kerala, but the people in and around Coimbatore have a fair idea of what we have been missing all through. Some odd 102 km from Coimbatore, Nelliyampathy can conveniently be an alternative for Munnar and Wayanad for a summer trip. The place boasts sprawling tea and coffee estates along with fruit orchards and cardamom plantation. Not only this, reaching Nelliyampathy is an experience in itself with waterfalls and other scenic views keeping you company. This offbeat destination in Kerala also boasts colonial houses that doubles the beauty of the place, however, there is only one drawback, and that you cannot stay overnight in Nelliyampathy. But then, a day-trip here is worth your time, and is in fact enough to witness all its unparalleled beauty.
How to Reach Nelliyampathy?
The place is located around 102 km from Coimbatore. The nearest KSRTC bus stand is at Palakkad and the National highway NH7 and NH47 from Bangalore via Hosur, then via the Coimbatore bypass onto Palakkad leads to Nelliyampathy.
Where to Stay in Nelliyampathy?
Unfortunately, we couldn’t come across any authentic source that suggests there are accommodations in Nelliyampathy. The place is ideal for a day trip and one has to return by 5 pm from here.
17. Peerumedu, Kerala
Would you like to go beyond Munnar in Kerala? Good, because there is so much more than Munnar or Wayanad in this state in South India. And one such beauty is Peerumedu or Peermade. About 40 km from Kumily in Idukki district, Peermade is where nature overwhelms you. We’re talking about gorgeous waterfalls, open grassland, and lush forests that make this place quite a thing to draw your attention. You can enjoy a perfect vacation with your partner or friends and family in Peerumedu relishing cycling, trekking, and even horse riding apart from basking amidst the unexploited nature. Catching the sight of a surreal sight of sun rising or setting is definitely an experience you’d remember from this summer holiday in Kerala.
How to Reach Peermade?
The nearest railway station is at Kottayam which is 75 km away and the nearest aiport is situated at Kochi which 120 km from Peerumedu. Hiring a cab from these two destinations would be the easiest way to reach Peermade.
Where to Stay in Peerumedu?
There are a number of budget, mid-range, and luxury resorts available in Peermade and in its closeby areas.
18. Lambasingi, Andhra Pradesh
If you have forgotten about where you have heard this name before, let me remind you that Lambasinghi was in news some time ago as a place in South India where it snowed once during the winter. In summers though, Lambasingi or Lammasingi can become a perfect place to find respite from the scorching sun. One can enjoy the salubrious weather here along with varied shades of green. The serene surroundings also will take away your mind from all the hustle in your life, and shall give you enough time to introspect while relishing the unperturbed beauty of nature.
How to Reach Lambasingi?
Lambasingi is well-connected through road and direct buses for the town are available from Visakhapatnam, Narsipatnam, Chintapalle and some more cities.
Where to Stay in Lambasinghi?
There are few hotels and guesthouses in Lambasingi that you choose from according to your budget.
19. Barot, Himachal Pradesh
While we spoke of Rajgundha in Point #13, I thought, it’ll be unfair to not add Barot which was the primary destination that further led me to Rajgundha. I heard of Barot from a friend who saw my pictures of Bir Billing on social media. She suggested I should not miss out on Barot Valley if I was planning to stay in Bir a bit longer. Unfortunately, I had only a weekend to explore Bir, but Barot got stuck in my head ever since. Boasting unspoilt landscape, Barot is one of the best kept secrets of travellers just like Rajgundha. This sleepy destination at first sight might remind you of Kasol or Mcleodganj but once you’ll start to explore, you’d realize that the place has a different vibe altogether. The pretty Uhl River, the lesser frequented flower-strewn trails, and almost zero commercialization make this place a great alternative destination for a popular hill station in Himachal Pradesh.
How to Reach Barot?
Barot sits around 55 km from Bir, and can be easily reached by a taxi from Pathankot as well as Bir, Palampur, Mandi etc.
Where to Stay in Barot?
Barot has some budget accommodation along with few homestays.
20. Lachung, Sikkim
The whole North Sikkim is a lesser frequented destination, and you can never go wrong choosing it for your summer adventure. One of the most beautiful places to explore in North Sikkim, is Lachung Village. In summers, Lachung can be an ideal destination for that offbeat adventurous holiday. The mountain views are so surreal from any of the hotel’s windows. You can also visit the famed Gurudongmar Lake from Lachung, which I believe is the major attraction. Apart from that in summers, Lachung is a nice destination to ease off for some time and watch the blooming of several wild flowers.
How to Reach Lachung?
Lachung is around 102 km from Gangtok. One can hire a taxi from Gangtok to reach this destination.
Where to Stay in Lachung?
There are a number of hotels available in Lachung, so accommodation is not an issue.
Wow all this writing is making me plan a trip right away! I hope when you read this blog, you feel the same way about planning your summer holiday too. For planning a trip to one of these destinations, you can take help of Tour My India that specialises in offbeat tours. Contact us through email or call on +91-9212553106 and let us plan the best summer holiday in India for you.
Also, please let me know if you liked this blog in the comments below.
Published: 10 Apr, 2019