From Lakshadweep To Gandikota, Here Are 8 Gorgeous Offbeat Destinations That You Must Visit In India

unexplored destinations
Photo Courtesy: Robbie Shone (left), Suman Mukherjee (right)

We may fancy the idea of having gelato by the Amalfi coast, enjoying an island getaway in the pristine white sand beaches of the Maldives or sipping champagne on top of the Eiffel Tower. But there are so many places to explore in India itself. Our country is a melting pot of rich history, diverse cultures, heritage sights, breathtaking landscapes and historic spots that have stood the test of time. I’m not referring to the well-trodden paths of the Taj Mahal and Qutub Minar, Rajasthan’s exquisite palaces, the beaches of Goa or the world-famous temples. No doubt they’re a must-visit but beyond these lie a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Let’s embark on a journey to unveil some of India’s untapped and offbeat destinations that promise to offer a unique and immersive experience. From dark sky reserves to hidden caves and frozen waterfalls, India’s less-visited locales are a testament to the country’s remarkable diversity and allure, promising unforgettable adventures for intrepid travellers.

Jawai (Rajasthan) 


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Udaipur and Jaipur have their own charm and beauty, but just a few hours away from these popular tourist attractions lies Jawai in the Pali district of Rajasthan. Known for its leopards, Jawai is the perfect spot for safari enthusiasts and there are many lodges that will take care of your stay and safaris (Sujan Jawai Camp is a good recommendation). It is common to spot leopards simply basking on the village roads as there is no fencing here. There have been no cases of attacks; humans and leopards coexist peacefully here. Another must-visit attraction is the Jawai Bandh, a dam against the backdrop of the rugged hills and Jawai River. You’ll also spot some crocodiles here. What’s more? Learn about the local Rabari tribe, go on a village safari with the locals or enjoy breathtaking sunsets from viewpoints. 

Gandikota (Andhra Pradesh) 

This offbeat destination has natural wonders and architectural sites immersed in history waiting to be explored. At the heart of Gandikota is the Pennar River flowing between the hills, whose structure has been given its alternate name The Grand Canyon of India. You can actually climb on the rocks and sit there to catch the captivating sunset.

Hanle Dark Sky Reserve (Ladakh) 

Ladakh is a frequented spot for its mesmerising lakes, landscapes and valleys. Now, there’s one more reason to visit the destination. It is now home to the first Dark Sky Reserve. A dark sky reserve is an area where light pollution is monitored. So what you’ll get is total darkness with clear skies which makes sky observation a memorable experience. Hello, starry nights! Located within the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary in Eastern Ladakh, Dark Sky Reserve in Hanle Village is spread across an area of 1,073 square kilometres. It is adjacent to the Indian Astronomical Observatory, which is the second-highest optical telescope in the world, positioned at an elevation of 4,500 meters.

Wari Chora & Krem Chympe (Meghalaya)


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It’s hard to choose the best spots in Meghalaya because everything looks picture-perfect there. It is home to the cleanest river in Asia but there’s not all. There are some hidden caves and canyons that are definitely worth visiting if you plan a trip to this Northeast state. Wari Chora is an unexplored canyon in the forests of South Garo Hills with the Rongdik River flowing in between two tall gorges. You can go on a canoe ride here to take in the captivating surroundings. Krem Chympe, on the other hand, is a hidden cave and the fifth longest cave in India with its entrance dotted with limestones, emerald green vegetation and a turquoise pool. The cave leads to the breathtaking Chympe waterfalls.

Maravanthe Beach (Karnataka) 

A nine-hour drive from Bengaluru will lead you to this spectacular highway. Maravanthe is a uniquely positioned beach in Coastal Karnataka with the Arabian Sea on one side and the Souparnika River on the other. A highway separated by sea and river on each side is hard to find elsewhere and is said to be the only one in India, which deserves a spot on your travel bucket list.

Sandakphu (West Bengal)

A trekker’s paradise, Sandakphu is one of the highest peaks in West Bengal and lies on the border of India and Nepal. This mesmerising spot offers the view of clouds below eye level and an uninterrupted view of the world’s highest peaks–Everest (highest, 8,848 m), Kanchenjunga (third highest, 8,586 m), Lhotse (fourth highest, 8,516m) and Makalu (fifth highest, 8,463 m). The sight of Kanchenjunga along with its other smaller peaks is a special sight as their congregation creates a form that resembles the head, face, upper body and feet of Lord Buddha, which is why it is also called the Sleeping Buddha.

Drung Waterfall, Gulmarg (Kashmir)


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Gandola rides and skiing are popular activities in Gulmarg. But have you witnessed the beauty of frozen waterfalls? Best to visit during January-February, Drung Waterfall freeze due to the below-freezing temperatures in Kashmir winters and is a breathtaking sight. Other unexplored attractions in Kashmir include Tulian Lake which is the hidden gem of Pahalgam, and the beautiful Chatpal village which is nestled in a valley where you can enjoy the scenery as well as learn about the local Gujjar community.

Kadmat Island (Lakshadweep)

The Union Territory of Lakshadweep is a rather untapped destination but hey, that just makes for crystal clear environs. While Bangaram Atoll is a very popular tourist attraction in the archipelago (as it’s the only island that permits alcohol), Kadmat Island is a relatively less crowded spot and is a peaceful getaway for those looking for privacy. With its varying shades of blue waters, the coral island is no less than the Maldives or Bali. In fact, Kadmat Beach is one of the 12 Blue Flag beaches in India. Water babies can explore the vibrant marine life through deep-sea diving and snorkelling. Fresh catches in local flavours are some of the culinary offerings here.

- Lifestyle Editor


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