Last Updated: October 7, 2019 Latika Sabharwal
Here are Best 20 Offbeat Holiday Destinations in India That You Must Explore in This Year 2019
Has this ever happened to you that you wanted to go somewhere but landed altogether at a different attraction? Well, it happens to me all the time. Whenever I plan to go for a holiday at some famous hill station or beach, I end up visiting somewhere else majorly because of the rush and crowd at these touristy places. But all these last minute changes excite me a lot. And this is exactly how I get a chance to see places that are oozing with history or offer an impeccable view of the nearby mountains that are eagerly waiting for an opportunity to be discovered. These may include a ghost town or a beautiful valley and sometimes fumbled settlements. So if you too have an urge to visit some offbeat attractions LIKE ME then here I have prepared a list of places that you must visit. Have a look.
1. Hampi – Karnataka
WOOHOO, this is the first word that you will instantly blabber after seeing the immensely beautiful and offbeat Hampi group of temples. Once a well laid out town, Hampi was the yesteryear capital of the Vijayanagara Empire—one of the greatest Hindu kingdoms in India’s history. And now it stands tall as a UNESCO world heritage site. Each and every corner of Hampi seeks attentions, and to see all of these make sure to store energy in your body and get your Trekking Shoes ready as the place demands long WALK. Even if you have an entire day at your disposal, it would be impossible to cover every nook and cranny of Hampi. For the stay, accommodation options are available in Hospet.
Attractions in Hampi: Virupaksha Temple, Elephant Stables,, Vittala Temple, Underground Shiva Temple, Zenana Enclosure, Nandi Statue, Sule Bazaar and Achyutaraya Temple, Hemakuta Hill, Queen’s Bath and Royal Centre.
Best time to visit: Winter (October to March)
2. Ziro Valley – Arunachal Pradesh
For all ‘THE’ daredevils, and the showoff swashbucklers, there’s no better place than the Ziro Valley to go for an offbeat holiday. And the reason why I specifically mention these fancy people is because to reach here you will have to trek approximately 4-5 hours from the nearest motorable road. It will be arduous but this offbeat attraction is worth all the effort, and its trails will definitely soothe your strained nerves. Just the perfect place to connect with nature, and know about the barely known Apatani Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh, Ziro valley is dreamland. And to seize the best view of the valley with layered rice fields and impossibly blue skies, make a point to visit Ziro Putu. Altogether a brilliant place to visit, to witness its pristine beauty it’s advised to take a local guide with you as, without them, you might face unwelcoming people.
Attractions in Ziro: 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.
Best time to visit Ziro Valley: Throughout the year
3. Majuli – Assam
Majuli – the “World’s Largest Freshwater Island.” Yes, India does have this kind of attractions too. Surely, many people don’t know about it. And that’s perhaps the reason why it found a place in my list of offbeat destination list. A heady mix of History and a whole lot of Nature, Majuli is one of the best offbeats places to visit in Assam. It is also one of the most important Satras established by Sankardeva and Madhavdev. To feel and witness the impeccable and out of the world landscapes of Majuli, do go for a cycling tour to see its bigger islands like Kamalabari, Auniati and Garamur. Going for a ferry ride to spot fishing boats stop along deserted islands that could very well qualify among the world’s best-kept secrets, with not even a hint of civilization. AND AND AND forgetting binoculars would be a sin as the birds that one can see here are hard to find anywhere else in India.
Attractions in Majuli: Dakhinpat Satra, Garamur Satra, Auniati Satra, Kamalabari Satra, Bengenaati Satra, Amriteshwar Temple, Garmur, Auniati Satra Museum, Auniati Satra Museum
Best time to visit: Monsoon (July to September)
4. Keibul Lamjao National Park
After reading Majuli, I am sure, you must be little shaken up as such beautiful place is already in India, and you probably didn’t about it. But if you knew then CLAPS for it. Now, let me tell you another unique phenomenon that one can see in India- Keibul Lamjao National Park, which is home to the Loktak Lake – the only FLOATING LAKE in the world. I am sure you must be thinking lake, how can a lake be floating? Well, your presumptions are rights, according to the travelers, the lake doesn’t float at all, but appears so because of the floating masses of phumdi (masses of vegetation, soil, and organic matter at various stages of decomposition) that are seen here in good number. As said earlier, the lake is a part of the Keibul Lamjao National Park, which is home to sangai, or the brow-antlered deer, one of the most endangered species of deer in the world.
Best time to visit Keibul Lamjao National Park: October to May
5. Choroa Islands – Goa
Hop, Skip, and jump away from the energetic, and zealous capital of Goa – Panjim stands its entire opposite calm, and peaceful Chorao Island, which is the largest amongst the 17 islands that the city features. Accessible only ferries. Chorao Island is predominantly known for Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary where you can expect to see lots of colorful kingfishers, eagles, cormorants, kites, woodpeckers, sandpipers, curlews, drongos and mynahs, to name just a few. The city has a handful of churches too. And further increasing the Goa laidback vibes are Portuguese homes.
Attractions in Choroa Islands: St. Jerome Chapel, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, St Bartholomew’s Church, and Chapel of Sacra Familia
Best time to visit Chorao Island: Mid November to Mid March
6. Chitkul – Himachal Pradesh
The crowning glory of Kinnaur – Chitkul is the last inhabited village on the Indo-Tibet border that has got a Himachal’s essence, Uttarakhand’s beauty, and devil’s own charm. 113 kilometers from Shimla, Chitkul is a doorway that opens to a vast, windy landscape of serene beauty. Isn’t it DREAMY! Overlooking the Nee-la range, Chitkul is known for Kagyupa temple, which houses a rare image of Shakyamuni Buddha with four directional kinds placed on every side.
Attractions in and around Chitkul: Kagyupa Temple, Rakcham, Kamru Fort, Baspa River
Best time to visit Chitkul: May to October
7. Askot – Uttarakhand
If there’s any place where I ever want to get lost and never come back then it has to be Askot. Amidst the pine and deodar forests at an altitude of 1106 meters lies the remote yet placid Askot, another offbeat holiday option in India. A silent heaven of Uttarakhand – Askot is primarily known for an unparallel view of the snow clad Himalaya that you can see from here. Going further Askot Sanctuary, which houses a good number of musk deer, is worth a visit too. And not to forget those carpets of Rhododendron and verdant valleys.
Attractions in Askot: Askot Sanctuary, Narayan Swami Ashram, Jauljibi.
Best time to Visit Askot: April to September
8. Dhanushkodi – Tamil Nadu
Well Well Well, now it’s time to experience something unique! Go deep down south to experience yet another promising and rarely explored Dhanushkodi, the Ghost Town on the south-eastern tip of Pamban Island in Tamil Nadu, India. The city has come on the traveler’s radar off lately mainly because of its proximity to the Rameshwaram; earlier in 1964 it was destroyed due to flood and approximately 800 people have believed to die here. As such there’s nothing exciting to see here but it’s the queer calmness that fascinates the explorers to visit here only during the day time. “DAY TIME! I am sure now you got to know why it’s called the GHOST town.
Attractions in Dhanushkodi: Dilapidated Church, Kamal Gaur beach, and Adam’s Bridge
Best time to visit Dhanushkodi: October to February
9. Dawki – Meghalaya
Surely and definitely, there’s nothing like Dawki anywhere else in India. Sandwiched between the hills of Meghalaya and plains of Bangladesh, Dawki is a small town but a busy one in the East Jaintia hills district. Apart from its geographical characteristics, what make Dawki stand apart, and a part of my offbeat attractions list is spellbinding Umngot River, which marks the natural separation between the Khasi and Jaintia valley. The undisputed gem of Northeast India, the Umngot river is so clear that one can see the lake bed, and stalk the movement of the marine life. Make a point to go for a boat ride on the Umngot river as its sea through water makes its look as if you’re flying on the river. Dawki is the NorthEast India that you’ve ever imagined.
Attractions in Dawki: Jaflong Zero Point
Best time to visit Dawki: October to February
10. Polo Monuments and Vijaynagar Forest – Gujarat
Found of long walks? Then embark on a trek to wild and suspicious temples of Polo located quite close to the Vijaynagar where one never knows what they might experience next. Might be a temple or an animal or maybe something else. It’s an offbeat attraction in Gujarat about which people are hardly aware of, so going here for an adventure, trekking or camping may be a good idea. Going by what legends said and stated, these iconic group of polo monuments were built by Pratiharas and later the Rathores as a hiding place from enemies, citizens, angry wives, and even from the sun. The temples are in a ruined condition but still make for some good clicks. Therefore, if you seek a refreshing weekend in Gujarat, Polo and Vijaynagar Forest is the place you should visit.
Attractions in Polo Monuments and Vijaynagar Forest: Sarneshwar temple, Lakha Dera Jain temple and Shiv Shakti Mandir
Best time to visit Polo Monuments and Vijaynagar Forest: October to February
11. Sangla – Himachal Pradesh
Do you remember how we used to draw scenery in our KG Classes? Chattering river cutting and running through hills capped by peaks, and lush landscapes dotted with tiny houses – Well this beauty scenery can be the best words picture of Sangla. Breathtaking it is, and not for a single movement one would want to take their eyes off that beautiful scenery. At an altitude of 2,700 meters in the remote Kinnaur district, Sangla overlooks the eye-popping Baspa Valley. The best place to visit in Sangla has to be its Sangla Valley that is dotted with several apple orchards and cattle. Further, you can also visit Kamru Fort and Bering Nag Temple. To catch the best of Sangla Valley, you can enjoy camping here. Also, Sangla is a gateway to numerous treks and hikes like Kinnaur-Kailash Circuit, Rupin Pass trek and Sangla-Kanda trek.
Attractions in Sangla: Sangla Valley, Kamru Fort, Bering Nag temple, Sangla Meadow, Buddhist Monastery, Batseri Village, Chitkul Village.
Best time to visit Sangla: April to June & September to December
12. Mangalajodi – Orissa
“Shusssh” – this is one word that you might listen in a row when on a trip to our next offbeat destination on the list. A tinsel hamlet on the bank of the Chilika Lake in Odisha, Mangalajodi is known for the fact that it is Asia’s Largest Brackish Lagoon that seizes the attention of approximately 100 bird species from across the world. When it comes to going for bird watching here, you need to hire a boat, which will take you on a journey to innumerable narrow canals, and swamps. Winter is the best season to see some of the rarest bird species like Northern Pintail, Glossy Ibis, Yellow Bittern, Grey-headed Lapwing, and Northern Shoveler. If bird watching is something that doesn’t excite you then let me tell you another secret about Mangalajodi. According to locals, there’s a tree in Mangalajodi that is believed to be haunted and a prophesy that it will kill 21 people. Interesting! Isn’t it?
Best time to visit Mangalajodi: November to January
13. Kheerganga – Himachal Pradesh
This place gives me chills! Google about it, peep into the images, and you will feel the same way. Kheerganga or Kheer Ganga is a small village in the lap of Himalaya that owes its name to milky white Parvati river that flows here. The only way to approach Kheer Ganga is to trek; there are two trails from Barshaini. One is via the village Kalga and the second is through Shiva Temple. It would be good to take the Shiva temple route as through this you can see some interesting sights like Rudra Naag Waterfall and lots of interesting rock formations. It also offers a variety of flora on the way to Kheerganga and one can even trek towards Pin Parvati pass from this area. To soothe your nerves, relax for a while at the natural hot water spring – Parvati Kund.
Best time to visit Kheerganga: February to May
14. Cachar – Assam
Cachar of Assam is one of the best offbeat sightseeing places in Northeast India. Far Far Far from the maddening crowd, the district stand unique owing to its unique tribal population, vivacious landscapes, and a variety of the attractions. The main district of Cachar is Silchar, where one can see attractions like Kachari Fort, Kancha Kanti Kali Temple, and Bhubaneswar temple. You can also expand your horizons and visit other attractions around Cachar like Jatinga, Haflong, Maibang, Umrangso and Panimoor.
Attractions in Cachar: Maibong, Hajo, Khaspur, Jatinga, Umrangshu, Sri Kancha Kanti Devi Temple
15. Markha Valley- Ladakh
Wedged between Stok Kangri range to the north and the Zanskar peaks to the south, Markha Valley is a rewarding escape in Ladakh. Before beginning with my introduction of Markha Valley let me give you a short warning – visiting here is not meant for faint hearted people. Yes, to reach this majestically rugged valley, one need to trek for days through some of the highest passes, forest, Buddhist villages, and rocky canyons, and that’s probably the most fun part of the Markha Valley.
16. Mainpat – Chattisgarh
When it comes to going for a tour to Buddhist monastery, surely North and Northeast India would be the first places that will pop your mind. But hardly anybody knows that they are seen in Central India and that too in Chattisgarh. Isn’t it interesting? Mini Tibet and Shimla of Surguja as locals call it, Mainpat is where one can find some intriguing bunch of monasteries. The main attraction here is the Thakpo Shedupling Monastery, which is adorned with exquisite wall murals and contains old thangkas. Mainpat is blessed with nature’s bounty as well. The hilly hamlet is surrounded by waterfall and fishing point.
Attractions in Mainpat: Ramgarh caves, Dipadih, Rakasganda, Gurughasi Das National Park, Semarsot Sanctuary
Best time to visit Mainpat: October to February
17. Dzukou Valley – Nagaland
“Green, Green, how I love you, Green.” a translated version of a famous line written by the Spanish poet Garcia Lorca.
But as much as I love greenery, I want to luxuriate in flowers as well. My love for these two elements of nature brought me to the next destination of my OFFBEAT list – Dzukou Valley. Well, I am not sure what a God’s abode would look like but that’s for sure it can’t be better than the Dzukou Valley. But this view comes with a price. No No, it doesn’t mean a crore cheque but an Inner Line Permit that one needs to take from Nagaland House found in major cities like New Delhi, Guwahati, Shillong or Kolkata. Also, one need to trek; there are two points from where you can start the expedition – Viswema and the other is Jakhama Village. Located at an altitude of more than 2000 meters, the valley is surrounded by Japfu hilly ranges, which makes it an ideal holiday place for trekking, and camping.
Attractions around Dzukou Valley: Intaki Wildlife Sanctuary, Kaziranga National Park
Best time to visit: October to May
18. Papikondalu – Andhra Pradesh
A little off the Hyderabad’s software colonies stands the beautiful, and chilling Papikondalu. Set amidst majestic hills, serenading waters, and non-commercial tribal populace, the place remains thronged with tourists throughout the year. Along with the hill, there are some good places to visit like Perantalapalli, Gandi Pochamma Temple and Pattiseema. To reach here, you need to take a boat, which is easily available from Rajahmundry, Pattisam, Polavaram, Kunavaram, and Sriram Giri.
Attractions in Papikondalu: Papikondalu Hills, Gandi Pochamma Temple, Jammalapuram Temple, Perantapalli Village
Best time to visit Papikondalu: October to January
19. Kuldhara – Rajasthan
After many picturesque, and breathtaking places, it’s now time to visit something wacky, and scary. 15 kilometer from Jaisalmer lays the next destination of our list – Kuldhara, a tiny town with an eerie silence, crumbling walls, deserted streets, and abandoned homes. And not to forget some of the inexplicable occurrences and some with mystical histories. This town might look scary but is worth a visit. As per the legends, Kuldhara was once a prosperous town with the bustling settlement of Paliwal Brahmins. It is believed that the villagers abandoned the village overnight along with the inhabitants of 83 nearby villages. Till date, no one knows where they disappeared. Do meet the gatekeeper of the Kuldhara to know the history of the place, and PARANORMAL activities.
Attractions around Kuldhara: Jaisalmer Fort, Jain Temples, Patwaon-Ki-Haveli
Best time to visit Kuldhara: Throughout the year
20. Cherrapunji – Meghalaya
Despite being the wettest place on the earth, people are hardly aware of Cherrapunji. And that’s perhaps the reason why I have mentioned it on my blog. Pretty-as-a-picture sights, Cherrapunji is deep into the wilds of Meghalaya, and most likely under the scanner of a perennial rain cloud, amid the gazillion sparkling droplets that continuously soak the earth. It is also known for its ‘LIVING BRIDGES,’ a root of trees are grown into large bridges. Missing out your shield jacket at home would be a problem as it rains like cats and dogs.
Attractions around Cherrapunji: Double Decker Living Root Bridge, Nohkalikai Falls, Mawsmai Cave, Mawkdok Dympep Valley, Seven Sisters Falls
Best time to visit Cherrapunji: Monsoon
Here you go, finally, my list of offbeat attractions has come to an end. If you also knew about some other offbeat attractions that is worth our attention then do let us know by commenting below. If you like this blog, then do share it on twitter, skype, and google plus. Also, if you think we can help you plan a holiday in India, then you can give us a call at +91-9212553106/07 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will find a good number of tour packages at Tour My India and that too at pocket-friendly prices.
Published: 17 Jan, 2017
From New Delhi, Latika is a travel writer who loves to share her expedition experiences with other travel junkies. She devote her time in exploring beaches and trekking to off beat destinations. Her leisure time would include reading a book at any given beautiful sea or river side. She is one of those who do what they love and love what they do.