Everybody needs a reason to pack their bags and take off somewhere. The solace one receives from the monotony or strain of everyday life always prompts restless souls to venture a path our imagination and mind cannot co-relate and as Chuck Thompson would put it, “No place is ever as bad as they tell you it’s going to be.” Venturing into a new land could be an exhilarating experience, one that leaves goosebumps and the feeling of butterflies in our tummy, and the fact that we have no idea what to expect to receive in return for the effort put into getting there is even more rousing. Travelling in fact is about creating new memories; rather that reliving repeated ones and one place that has a lot to offer for tourist around the world is India. For some reason, unexplainable, I have left out the more commercial places, places that even tourist who haven’t ventured the land would have heard of, that are famous worldwide, although, what I have included are places that would relate to someone who truly wants a break rather than just sight-see, someone who really wants to drift into themselves deeper and the place making that a possibility. While you’re on this soul-searching trip you could even dive into the cuisines mentioned below or the festivals this country celebrates if time and fate make it possible. These are several reasons why you need to travel to India this year and every year.
1. Kasol, Himachal Pradesh
A destination that will make any foreigner feel at home, Kasol is situated on the Parvati valley and surprisingly predominantly consists of the Israeli community, such that it is now tagged as the “Little Israel” of India. Based at the foothills of the Himalayas, the view from this lavish land is unrivalled and complimented to a greater measure by the hot springs that offers trekkers a tranquil break and soothe from the cold winds that come this way. With the availability of shops, ATMs and other basic necessities, Kasol tops one of the go-to places list in North India for travelers wishing to have an unblemished encounter with nature as well as the convenience of having basic necessities at one’s beckon.
A small town situated near Bolpur, Santiniketan is the humble-tranquil abode of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The site was gifted to the Tagore family by the family of Lord Satyendra Prasanno Sinha in 1862 and was later renamed by Rabindranath’s father as Santiniketan. This small stretch of land nestles a natural bird sanctuary and a deer park as well as a school and university which was founded by Tagore. This placid land, which is also an ocean of literature, lures tourist from across the world to view the abode and setting which inspired the great works of Tagore.
3. Radhanagar Beach, Andaman & Nicobar Islands
This pristine beach located on the Havelock Island is a must go for any traveler simply because of its non-commercialized aura and immaculate setting at sunrise and sunset. Despite is unparalleled beauty, the beach doesn’t have many takers through the year and if your motto is to connect with nature, then this stretch, void of plenty of tourists should help you do just that.
4. Mount Abu
Away from the scorching heat of the engulfing desert plains, Mount Abu is bliss for tourists who are making their first visit to the country. Perched on the Aravalli range, 4,003 ft. above sea level, this hill station possesses pre-eminent Hindu and Jain temples that date back to the 11th and 13th centuries like the Adhar Devi Temple and the Dilwara Temples which comprises of white marble that overlook the Nakki lake and thus making it a sight to behold. Although the weather is most favorable during the winters, it is quite bearable during the summers as compared to the neighboring plains with the temperature soaring up to 36 degree C.
5. Kerala Backwaters
A labyrinth system connecting rivers, canals and inlets, the Kerala backwaters runs parallel to the Arabian Sea and stretches through almost half of the state. Being the primary reason why tourist flock to this southern state, the backwaters is best experienced on the boathouses which offer tourists a few hours of the surreal tranquility of nature. One can stay for days or a few hours on this boat and a private chef is at every beck and call for those travelling on it.
A prime honeymoon destination, Manali sits on the Kullu Valley at 6,726 ft. above sea level and is a seasoned sought-after summer destination for Indians and foreigners alike. Engulfed by mountain ranges, this idyllic destination emanates an aura through the year that instills calm into almost everyone that visits it.
7. Food Stalls In Kolkata
World renowned chefs including Antony Bourdain have made a trip here and their sole reason was to gorge on the lip smacking delights the Kolkata food stalls have to offer. From Kababs, to brain fry, to rotis to rolls to chats, you name it and these stalls have it. A lone walk though these bustling streets and one will get the sense that they are passing through the epitome of India cuisine and fast food, and to make things better, the price range between these food items is fairly reasonable or in other words “Dirt cheap.”
If your desire is to amalgamate spirituality with nature, then Sikkim is the place to be. Considering this state lies on the Himalayan range and bordered by Nepal and China on either sides, Sikkim offers tourist peerless views and the essence of Buddhism that scents the air makes Sikkim a place where one can resort to soul searching.
9. Chandni Chowk, New Delhi
If you desiderate North Indian cuisine and fast food, this is the place to be to satiate your palate. With possibly the cheapest place to get quality food across the country, people visiting Delhi or making a transit to another place via it, make it a commandment to traverse these streets and guzzle on the enticing platter each food stall leaves on display. For those travelling for the first time to the country, this would be one meal that wouldn’t easily be forgotten.
10. Ananda in the Himalayas, Uttarakhand
For those wanting to be pampered like a baby in a setting that is paradise, then this rejuvenation center is a must go. Engulfed by the Himalayas on one side and the gushing waters of the Ganges on the other, this rejuvenation center offers Ayurveda and Aromatherapy along with contemporary spa treatments to ensure that one comes out feeling exuberant to face the world post these few days of bliss. With beauty at every nook and corner of this resort, this place has yoga pavilions, open air terraces, hydrotherapy facilities and landscaped gardens to intensify this already wondrous stretch of land. This location can be reached by any form of transport and is about 260kms from the capital New Delhi.
11. Sandakphu, West Bengal
Scaling to the summit of the highest peak in West Bengal and one will have a view no other spot in the world can give you, a view of four of the five highest peaks in the world, Everest, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu. The best time to trek is in the summers or after the monsoons if you want to experience the full bloom, as the temperature drops to even -15 °C during winters.
12. Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan
Blast to the past to the times of the rulers and kings with a visit to this pre-eminent and largest fort in Rajasthan. Sprawled in all its grandeur at a height of 180m above sea level, the Chittorgarh Fort has stood the test of time and lived up as an inspiration for numerous writers despite being severely marauded three times between the 15th and 16th centuries. Situated on the bank of the Berach River, this quintessential ancient structure has been named a world heritage site by the UNESCO in 2013.
Though now a festival celebrated around the world and popularly known as “The festival of colors,” Holi is a spring festival of love that was originally celebrated only by the Hindus. The festival is initiated by the Holika bonfire which signifies the victory over good and evil and the next days is followed by fun and games primarily that of smearing a myriad of colors on each other and water fights. The festival drink is Bhang, in which its chief ingredient is cannabis leaves.
14. The Om Ashram
The largest man made symbol of Om, apart from this magnificent structure that sprawls over 250-acres the Om ashram offers the desired cathartic most people require. The intricate carvings followed by the quietude only disturbed by the soothing chants of the priests is what makes this place a break from the hustle and bustle every city offers.
15. Agatti Island
This 5.6 km stretch of breathtaking beauty is located on the archipelago of the Lakshadweep islands and the presence of tourist is scarce making it a favorable destination if you want to spend a vacation in solitude and tranquility. The only drawback is that one needs permission to enter this island and it is only granted if the person has a confirmed stay at the only two hotels that have been set up on it. The quietude and sound of the waves lashing against the pristine white sand beaches is worth every second and make a picture perfect moment.
16. The South Indian Breakfast
Breakfast is surely the most important meal by all and while most foreign countries prefer their first meal with cakes, cereals or tarts complimented with a black coffee or cappuccino, Indians thrive to make a gala festive vibe about their first meal. From the delectable lengthy dosas, to the crunchy donut-looking Vadas and healthy-mouth-watering Idlis served with a sambar and coconut chutney, the south Indian breakfast is fit for a king, because when it comes to food especially, Indians love living king-size. The addition of a hot coffee to one’s spicy palate makes one reminisce the taste of the meal all over again.
17. Parmarth Niketan- Yoga Center, Rishikesh
Spread across 8-acres on the lap of the lush Himalayas is this leading Yoga center in the spiritual town of Rishikesh. The center is equipped with 1000 rooms for students wishing to learn the art and is also open to visitors inquisitive of the proceedings or interested in taking part. Placed on the bank of the river Ganges, the aura of spirituality fills every dew drop that settles on this peaceful land.
18. Belum Caves, Andhra Pradesh
Formed by black limestone, these caves are the longest in the Indian subcontinent and the second largest in the same. A natural wonder, this labyrinth is formed by stalagmite and stalactite formations and the constant flow of water which have resulted in the length of the caves over a vast period of time. Though the cave stretches over 3kms, only a kilometer and a half is permissible to tourist viewing.
19. Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh
Nestled on a plateau in the Chamba district, this popularly known as the “Mini Switzerland” is one of the few places that has three ecosystems in a single locality. Engulfing this serene plateau is a river, forests and green meadows and on the horizon one can see the picturesque mountain ranges that make this one of a kind destination and possibly the only of its kind across the globe.
20. Valley of Flowers National Park
The very sight of this natural wonder would prove to be a cathartic from the noise and dirt of the cities. The valley of flowers compromises a vast meadow on the West Himalaya of endemic alpine flora and some endangered animal species as well. A world heritage site since 2004, this colorful sprawling land is the icing on the cake for any traveler wishing to visit this vast-diverse country.