India is not just a very rich and diverse country, but a beautiful land blessed with high mountains of Himalaya to the north, the Great Indian Thar desert in the west, series of hill ranges in its northeast and endless stretches of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal in its south. Then there are the salt marshes of Rann of Kutch, mangrove delta of the Sundarbans, and backwaters of Kerala that enhance its appeal. Add a mix of different ethnicity, traditions, cuisine, languages, and religion, and you get a land which is incredible in all aspects and that’s immensely popular among true-blue travellers!
Some Indian destinations that are already popular with travellers across the globe include Goa, Kerala, Himachal and Rajasthan that enjoy a steady arrival of tourists. However, we feel that there are several hidden gems of India that are waiting to be explored and don’t deserve to stay a secret any longer. This list unravels 10 not-so-popular, but incredible places that India has:
Check out the top 10 lesser-known Indian destinations that you must visit!
1. Nubra Valley, Jammu and Kashmir
Reaching the remote Nubra Valley is like an adventure of a lifetime. Driving down the dangerous high altitude roads and crossing the terrific Khardung La pass, you will arrive at a valley that is shaped by two beautiful rivers – Shyok and Nubra. Surrounded by high mountains, the valley is cut off from the world during the winters. In the summers, lush green vegetation coupled with blue rivers and clear skies resembles like a paradise.
2. Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
A secluded and remote land with a stunning landscape, Spiti Valley is a trekkers’ and photographers’ paradise. Perched at a height of 12,500 feet above sea level, Spiti Valley comprises of barren hills, green farms and awe-inspiring Buddhist monasteries and cluster of villages perched on the side of hills. See the gravity-defying Ki and Tabo monasteries, personal favourites of the Dalai Lama. Spiti is magical and always enchants travellers with its barren landscape and unknown mysteries.
3. Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh
India’s easternmost state, Arunachal Pradesh hides a surreal landscape known as Ziro Valley. Lush and abundant with water and wildlife, Ziro has an excellent climate all-round the year. This captivating land is home to Apatani tribe, one of the several protected tribes of India. Time seems to stand still in the valley that is often covered with mists hiding the rolling green farms, villages of bamboo huts and hills covered with thick forests.
4. Dhanushkodi, Tamil Nadu
Hidden away in southern India is a ghost town that was wiped away in the devastating cyclone of 1964 – Dhanushkodi, that reminds humankind about its conflicting relationship with nature. Remains of damaged buildings, churches and a depleted railway station still stand today as a reminder of one of the most devastating natural disasters in India. Virgin white sand beaches and azure waters of Palk Straits are its treasures along with the Dhanushkodi Rama Setu Point, a key Indian mythological landmark.
5. Ponmudi, Kerala
An enchanting hill station, Ponmudi is located in the Western Ghats of Kerala. Located at an altitude of 1100 metres from sea level, Ponmudi is covered with rolling green hills often covered by rains and mists. The picturesque Kallar River passes through these hills and culminates in the charming Meenmutty Falls that is enclosed by dense tropical forest with several species of plants and wildlife. A true birdwatchers’ and trekkers’ delight and certainly one of the best-kept secrets of India.
6. Sandakphu, West Bengal
The name Sandakphu means “Height of the Poison Plant” derived from the poisonous aconite plants that grow at this wonderful, off-beat hill station. Part of the Darjeeling district in West Bengal, Sandakphu is perched at an altitude of 11,941 feet. This majestic peak offers incredible views of four of the world’s tallest mountains including Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu and several lofty peaks of the Great Himalayan Range. Floating clouds, magical sunrises and sunsets, sudden rains, and unspoilt nature are its added treasures.
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7. Majuli, Assam
Majuli is a large island located in the middle of Brahmaputra River. This beautiful island is eroding at a rapid pace. However, it still supports precious flora and fauna and is a treasure bowl of culture and traditions of this region. Dark green forests, wetlands and rice farms with mud huts give it a very rustic and exotic look. Visit this beautiful island before it gets completely eroded by the fast currents of the River Brahmaputra.
8. Dzukou Valley, Nagaland
Lush green rolling hills covered in a carpet of moss and always filled with clouds and mists, Dzukou Valley is one of India’s most scenic hidden gems. Located at the border of the northeastern states of Nagaland and Manipur, this uninhabited valley is known for its seasonal flowers, flora and fauna. The legend behind the name “Dzukou” has an interesting tale. As per the local tribes, ‘Dzü-ko’ means ‘Soul-less and Dull’ as their ancestors failed to cultivate crops and settle in the valley due to unfavourable weather conditions.
9. Mawlynnong, Meghalaya
Mawlynnong is a small village in the northeastern state of Meghalaya, located along the India-Bangladesh border. It’s the gateway to the pristine Barak Valley. Mawlynnong is one of the cleanest villages in India and Asia. It’s also famous for the UNESCO World Heritage Site of The Living Root Bridges, a highly fascinating natural bridge over a river formed by connecting the roots of two massive rubber trees. Mawlynnong village is also known for its delicious local food and its society is based on matriarchy.
10. Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Tawang is a town located east of Bhutan in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh and is known for its 400-year-old Tawang Monastery, a key religious monastery for Buddhism and Tibetan culture. Once part of the Tibetan Kingdom, Tawang and it’s nearby town of Bomdila are among the most scenic hill towns of India. Some of the key things to do in Tawang includes visiting the Sela Pass, Nuranang Waterfalls, trekking to Gorichen Peak and visiting the local Tibetan markets.