While you are young and before you go over the hill into old age, it is imperative that one makes use of their strength, stamina and agility to reach these prime destinations that would prove a task for the elderly as most come hand in hand with a rough drive. For most youngsters these days, travelling is their forte, as it helps them discover the beauty that is laden across this country as well as the part of exploring themselves. Thankfully, this very country bears such geographical diversity, that is has enough to satisfy the desire of any traveler.
Home to 1.2 Billion people, this rising superpower is home to one the best scenic destinations around the globe. From snowcapped mountains, to pristine beaches, to lagoons, to the desert and hill stations, India displays a variety of holiday getaways that have lured tourists not only from India but from all parts of the globe such that The World Travel & Tourism Council calculated that India generates 6.6 trillion rupees a year only from Tourism. While most Indians desire to go abroad, visiting these locations is certain to match the beauty of the overseas destinations and doing so obviously burns a smaller hole in your pocket.
1. Pangong Lake, Ladakh
Situated at the Himalayas at a height of 4,350m above sea level, this endorheic immaculate Pangong Lake has been a tourist attraction for years. A five hour bumpy drive on a mountain road from Leh will reach you to this pristine water body. The lake is frozen during the winters despite consisting of saline water and is accessible to tourist between May and September. The ride to Pangong Lake itself is an experience by itself, lined with picturesque scenery and tea vendors. If you are willing to sacrifice luxury for beauty, then Pangong Lake is a place you have got to visit.
2. The Andaman Islands
From the Mountains to the Islands, Andaman surely tops the list as one of the best island getaways across the World. The rich marine culture complimented with the white sand beaches and crystal clear waters has got people flocking to it from all over the World. Apart from its diverse flora and fauna, its main attraction is the water sports, mainly scuba diving. This dive is exhilarating in many ways as it brings you one with the marine life. The coral reef exploration has always been the primary attraction of this island and continues to be so till today. The cost from travel to food to stay is relatively expensive, and that being the only drawback, this ‘lonely island’ is another place you have got to experience.
3. Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat
We now move to the north-west of India which is void of mountains and water bodies. The Rann Of Kutch is a spectacle by itself. Situated in the Thar Desert, this is the largest salt desert in the world with its expanse of 7,505.22 square kilometers. Since the temperature is extreme here, soaring over 50 degrees C in summers and -0 Degree C during winters, the government organizes a 3-month festival between Decembers to March called the Rann Utsav. At this festival, tourists are given the authentic taste of the culture, cuisine and the undying hospitality of the locals.
4. Indian Ghost Town Of Bhangarh, Rajasthan
We are putting this in the list of places to visit before 40 because clearly we do not want you to have a heart attack while visiting this town, one which is is known as the scariest place in India. The place was initially famous only for its historical ruins, but now is generating tourism on the basis of its poltergeist activity. Many across the globe have trotted to this location to experience the chill this place has to offer (It’s actually hot as hell). The Government has even banned tourist from entering after sunset till dawn and those trespassers are punishable by law, because amongst the ruins lies a dark force that even the locals fear to meddle with.
5. Roopkund Trek, Himalayas
For those into grueling picturesque treks, Roopkund is bliss. Layered 5,029 meters above sea level on the Himalayan ranges, this trek is heavenly as it encircled by ranges, waterfalls, hot springs and glaciers. The area is predominantly uninhabited and apart from the base there is no shelter or food. On a clear night sky, nothing beats its camping experience. The paths are inaccessible during winters and its best you avoid it during the rainy season as this range is no stranger to flash floods.
6. Nanda Devi
It is the second highest mountain in India and highest in the state of Uttarakhand. While the trek is only for the serious or professional trekkers because of the dangers posed at that altitude, the Nanda Devi National Park is one you cannot afford to miss out on. The park was declared as a World Heritage site by the UNESCO.
7. Lonar Sarovar, Maharashtra
Formed by an impact caused by a meteor, the crater shaped lake expands a little more than a kilometer. Surrounding the lake are pre-eminent Hindu architectural temples that date back a few centuries. The Daitya Sudan temple, Kamalja Devi Temple, Vishnumandir, Wagh Mahadev, Mora Mahadev and Munglyacha Mandir temples are found inside the diameter of this crater. A lone visit to this site will give you a taste of ancient India.
8. Krem Mawmluh & Krem Ri Blai, Meghalaya
If cave exploration is your forte, then the caves of Meghalaya are ones that you cannot afford to pass. It contains one of the longest and deepest caves in the world and its intricate network will get you lost if you are without assistance. To get a feel of the real thing for beginners, experts advise people to try out the Krem Mawmluh & Krem Ri Blai caves. From waist deep water, to rock fossil formation to stalagmite formations, these dark-dense-aired caves will give you an experience you will never forget. It generally costs 1500 rupees, along with the required equipment, for your pass to wade through these historical caves.
The capital of the Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh is filled with extensive beauty. The ride from New Delhi gets all road junkies from all over the world threading it because of its eccentric landscapes and scenery. Being the second largest district in India, it is overflowing with heritage sites, from the palace to the temples, scenic ranges, waterfalls, glaciers and mind numbing lakes that will coax you to stop and stare. Everything from food to stay to transport is relatively cheap, making it to one of the best locations for travelers around the globe.
10. Key Monastery
This calm tranquil destination is located by the bank of the Spiti River, 4,166 m above sea level. This Tibetian Buddhist monastery is the training ground for the Lamas. The serenity of this place is one to look forward to.
11. Coral Reef, Lakshadweep
Located on the west coast of India, this archipelago has been a tourist attraction since 1974. Thankfully the land could not be utilized by industries and hence its chief source of income is tourism. Apart from its scenic beauty that has captivated tourists for decades, the water sports such as snorkeling, canoeing, wind-surfing, water-skiing, and scuba diving through the coral reefs are the main attractions. Alcohol is strictly prohibited and tourists are restricted to certain islands only.
12. Hoggenakal Falls
Tagged “The Niagara” of India, these falls are a part of the Kaveri River that traverses through Karnataka into Tamil Nadu. The falls are at its best just after the monsoons but it is recommended to visit the site some other time to skip the hordes of admirers. Boating is available only during the dry season.
13. Nohkalikai Falls, Cherrapungi
This is the tallest waterfall in India with a height of 340-meters. It is located in one of the wettest inhabitants in the world and the water collected at the summit makes the Nohkalikai falls. This lush green site receives rain almost through the year and any planned visit should be done with adequate equipment to suit the weather.
14. Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh
This hill station is situated on a small plateau in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. This plateau is the pinnacle of scenic beauty as it is located by a lake, surrounded by dense forests and circled by snow- capped mountains that can be seen on the horizon. This little plateau, because of its scenery has been christened as “Mini Switzerland.” There are several cottages that are open to tourists in the area and a few private hotels have recently been established. Apart from horse riding, laying your legs back with a glass of wine while sitting in this unparalleled scenic spot is the best thing to do.
15. Matheran, Maharashtra
This is the smallest hill station in India and is the perfect weekend get-away for city dwellers. Located just 90kms from Mumbai, this two hour drive will get you to the best spot to witness a sunset and sunrise in Maharashtra. Being a hill station, this is the perfect spot during the summers to escape the scorching heat that people face in the city.
16. Gavi, Kerala
For those intrigued by wildlife, Gavi is a place you would not want to miss. It is situated in the heart of Ranni reserve forest and is rich in flora and fauna. The climate, unlike most parts of Kerala, is pleasant and carrying cotton clothing as well as trekking equipment is a must. From treks to camping to safaris, this place will give you all in one shot.
17. Tea Plantations Of Munnar
If the aroma of tea entices you, then Munnar is equivalent to heaven. Lying in the district of Iddukki, Kerala, this place is wrapped with breathtaking tea plantations that instill peace within you at first sight. There are tons of hotels and lodges and its best you drive around, pick your spot and reside.
18. Osian, Rajasthan
This is one of the oldest towns in Indian history. Osian is an oasis in the Thar Desert and tourists who have a keen eye for architecture cannot afford to miss this. It holds some of the oldest Brahmanical and Jain temples dating back to the 8th century and going through the heat and dry climate is worth the sight.
19. Alleypey, Kerala
Also known as Allapuzha, this district of Kerala is the oldest planned city of the state. Referred to as the “Venice of the East” by Lord Curzon, this picturesque district is one of the most travelled in South India because of its beaches, lagoons, canals, and rich heritage. Being just 65Kms and an hour drive from the city of Kochi, Alleypey is famous for its boathouses that drift through the backwaters. The ride connects Kumarakom and Cochin to the North and Quilon to the South and is relatively expensive but it is worth a try. It would roughly cost a group of 5, eight thousand rupees for an half a day journey with fresh sea food fixed by a private chef. The stillness of the water, the tranquility in the air and the diversity in fauna will coax you to return to “God’s Own Country” many a time.
Located on a valley on the western side of the Aravalli range, Ranakpur is a secluded site, 165kms from the city of Jodhpur. Away from the bustle of the city, Ranakpur is a perfect weekend getaway for those intrigued by historical temples. The main attraction is the spectacular marble Jain temple that is at the heart of the valley. The temple was set up by a business man in the 15th century and ever since has allured tourist with its majesty.
21. Valley Of Flowers, Uttarakhand
Located on the western Himalayas, the Valley of flowers is one of the most captivating sights across India and the globe. The valley is wrapped by endemic flora and fauna and is at its best after the monsoon season. The climate is an average of 19 Degree C barring the winter season. Tourists can reach the spot following a 17Km trek from Joshimath in Garwal. There are convenient roads from Dehradun to this spot. In season, this Valley is equivalent to a heavenly bliss with its encompassing green pastures and multicolored hill slopes emanated by its diverse flora.
22. Malana, Himachal Pradesh
This ancient Indian village located on one side of Parvati valley is one of the finest holiday getaways solely because of its isolation from civilization and modernization. It was almost an unknown town until the documentary ‘Malana: Globalization of a Himalayan Village’ popularized it to the tourists. Despite the steep rise in inflow of tourist, Manala has sustained its lifestyle and socio-culture. The villagers refrain from any physical touch with tourists and a simple Namaste is how they will greet the non-locals. Tourists who reside in this little village are one with nature and the mountains, which is complimented by quaint lifestyle of the locals is primarily the essence of this beautiful town. There are various treks from this spot and the cost of residing in this village is reasonable.
23. Kasol, Himachal Pradesh
If you have been to Manala, then your next stop should be Kasol, which is also a stay on the Parvati valley. Setting foot in Kasol might leave you puzzled as to whether you are still in India as most of the place is occupied by the Israeli community. Shops have foreign clothing, there is a foreign exchange and an ATM. Kasol is the base trek of the Himalayas and you will find a lot of trekking clubs residing by this locality to start their venture into the mountains. Again, the price here too is reasonable and the view of the Himalayan range is unparalleled.
Dwelling in the Kodagu district, Coorg is nicknamed “Little Scotland.” The lush green pastures, tea and coffee estates complimented by its diverse wildlife, make Coorg one of the top hill-stations in India to visit. At a height of 3500meters above sea level, the climate is pleasant through-out the year. There are numerous local guides in the area that will take you to the must-see spots, although doing it yourself will only add to the experience. Finding lodging isn’t a painstaking task and the price is reasonable. If you need to be rejuvenated, the beauty and tranquility of the place will do just that, and the best part is that it is only a 5-hour drive from the city of Bangalore.
25. Arambol, Goa
Away from the commercialism that has infested the beaches of Goa stands Arambol. An hour drive from Dabolim airport, this fine destination which is also a fishing village has attracted tourist because of the fact that it away from the bustle of visitors. Its pristine beach is only made better by the fresh water lake that joins the sea. Certain spots of this lake have exhilarating hot spots that work perfectly for a relaxing holiday. There are no major hotels surrounding this beach but smaller guest houses and shacks are available. The beauty of this place is brought to light after dark when one can hear the peculiar tunes of gypsy fusion, which makes this location a stand out as most of the other beaches in Goa belt out electronic music through the night.