Many international tourists think of India as having only a few things to do like visiting the magnificent Taj Mahal or sunbathing at the beaches of Goa. Some people might limit their trip to the golden tourist triangle of Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan. This is because only these places are well known and popularized by the media.
But let me assure you that India is so much more than that. It is a huge nation with a diverse landscape and has many absolute treasures that must be visited on your India tour. India flaunts the majestic Himalayas in the north, evergreen rain forests in the east, arid deserts in the west and stunning beaches in the south.
Here are the top 7 spots in India that you should go to instead of visiting the overcrowded hot-spots like Taj Mahal and Goa.
1. Shillong, Meghalaya
Meghalaya literally means the ‘abode of clouds’. You would feel as if you are floating in the clouds in this heavenly state of India. There is no dearth of amazing places to visit in this state and its capital, Shillong, takes the top spot.
This hill station is popular with locals for its amazing nature treats like the Nohkalikai waterfalls, Umiam Lake and Rhino Heritage Museum.
Another interesting thing about Meghalaya is that it is also home to one of the rare societies in India where females are given higher status than males in the family.
2. Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim
This lake in Sikkim is also called as Changu or Tsongmo Lake and is a short drive from Gangtok, Sikkim’s capital. The drive to this lake in itself is a thrilling experience as you pass through winding roads through magnificent mountains all the way to reach it.
But the 2-hour journey is worth the adventure as you get to enjoy seeing beautiful blossoms golden poppies, blue poppies, primulas and more wildflowers. If you are not impressed with the flower power already, you would still fall for the exquisite beauty of the lake itself. The flowers are of course seasonal, so factor in that in your travel plans.
3. Binsar, Uttarakhand
Imagine being able to meditate in the midst of nature and beauty all around, Binsar is one such peaceful spot. This hidden gem of Uttarakhand is a treasure for wildlife enthusiasts, bird-watchers and nature lovers. Himalayan Monals and Musk deer are famous here.
There is also a famous temple of Shiva here called ‘Bineswar Mahadev temple’ that is popular with devotees and tourists from around the world for its amazing architecture.
4. Lonavla, Maharastra
Don’t stop at Goa, go ahead and go on to Mumbai and Pune. The drive from Mumbai to Pune is full of treats for a nature lover. The lush greenery enthralls you throughout the road trip and you need to make a definite stop at Lonavla, a gorgeous hill station in the area.
Check out the impressive Buddhist shrines at Karla caves and Bhaja caves. Also, a trek to the top of Lohagad fort is a must for adventure seekers. The mind-blowing Tikona fort trek will transport you to a magical land if you do it during monsoon season.
5. Coorg, Karnataka
Coorg, also called as Madikeri, is the coffee pot of Karnataka. It is also known as the Scotland of India for good reason. It has the impressive Kabini river flowing through it and is home to the amazing Nagarhole National Park.
Abbi Falls, Talakaveri, Kushalnagar monastery, elephant sanctuaries, Raja’s seat and many more attractions would easily fill out a 3-day-itinerary. But beyond all the chaos, if you want to truly relax and rejuvenate in nature and enjoy great coffee, Coorg is the spot for you.
6. Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu
Palaces, forts, temples, monumental statues and the meeting point of two seas and an ocean. Do I need to say more to describe this truly unique spot in India?
Kanyakumari is home to the majestic 133-feet tall Thiruvalluvar statue and Vivekananda Rock Memorial. Catching a glorious sunrise here is a thing to do. This town is at the southern-most tip of India and the point where Bay of Bengal, Arabian sea and the Indian ocean meet.
7. Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu
This island in Tamil Nadu is connected to the mainland by a engineering marvel called the Pamban bridge. It was designed by a German engineer and opens to allow ferries through.
This 2-kilometer bridge is the first sea bridge in India and is more than a whopping 100 years old! Dare to do the train journey? 😉 Do not worry, it is constantly being updated to keep in par with the highest safety standards. It was repaired after it took a hit in a major cyclone in 1960’s.
Rameswaram is also home to stunning beaches and impressive temples. Ramanathasamy temple and Villoondi Theertham Beach are the most famous things to do here.