India is a fascinating country with an amazing blend of tradition, culture, natural beauty and spirituality. It’s a diverse land with many faces. The country’s bustling cities, vast deserts, majestic mountains, exotic rain forests, beautiful temples and dazzling beaches have attracted tourists from all over the world. However, in this vast country, there are a few marvelous places, which are not that famous as tourist destinations. If you visit these places, they can offer you a number of memorable experiences, and can make your holiday a truly pleasant and unforgettable one.
Here is the list of a few lesser-known travel destinations in India:
1. Spiti Valley:
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Situated in Himachal Pradesh, Spiti Valley is like a paradise. It is located at a height of 12,500 feet above the sea level. The valley is set amidst soaring snow-capped mountain peaks and alpine lands located at high-altitude. An ancient and beautiful monastery is also situated close to the valley.
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The biggest district in the state, Spiti possesses Tibetan Buddhism as its religion, perhaps because it shares a boundary with Tibet. Spiti Valley is home to the Tabo Monastery and Ki Monastery, which are a few of the world’s oldest monasteries. These monasteries are also favorites of Dalai Lama.
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Khajjiar, popularly known as the Mini Switzerland of India, is a small hill station located in Chamba District of the state Himachal Pradesh. Surrounded by wonderful ‘Deodar’ forests, the hill station has great scenic beauty. So, do not forget to take your camera along to click some spectacular pictures of the region’s pastoral scenery. What add to the charm of the place are the green meadow and bunch of reeds.
This offbeat travel spot has an unusual combination of three eco systems – forests, pastures and lakes. Khajjiar will definitely offer you a unique experience.
3. The Phugtal Monastery:
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Experience spirituality by visiting the Phugtal Monastery, a majestic cave monastery situated at a great height in steep mountains, in the Zanskar Valley. Such a location of the monastery has made it unique among the others. Mud and twigs is primarily the base of the monastery. Its origin dates back to the 12th century, and about 70 monks reside in it.
The decorations in the frescoes and ceiling of the monastery were done in the era of the Tabo Monastery and Alchi Monastery, which were built in the ancient times. The most remarkable feature of this place is the hollow portion in the rock above the monastery. Irrespective of the quantity of water drawn from this hollow, the water level in this portion never spills. The water in the hollow is said to have some healing powers.
4. Valley of Flowers
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If you are a lover of colorful flowers, this place would mesmerize you. The Himalayan ranges have many different flora and fauna, and they house diverse alpine flowers causing the region to have unparalleled natural beauty. The Garhwal Hills in the Himalayan ranges, in Uttaranchal, is home to the Valley of Flowers National Park.
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The park covers a region of 87.50 square kilometers, and comprises the rarest and most striking flowers found on Earth. A few of the numerous flowers you can find here are anemones, marigold, daisies, poppies, primulas and orchids. The region has many medical plants too like Podophyllum hexandrum, Fritillaria roylei, Polygonatum multiflorum, Aconitum violaceum, Picrorhiza kurrooa and Dactylorhiza hatagirea. The vast stretch of colorful and vibrant flowers here is sure to give you a startling experience.
5. Shani Shingnapur:
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Situated at a distance of 35 km from Ahmednagar in the state of Maharashtra, the village Shani Shingnapur has the renowned temple of Shani God. Shani is a Hindu God who is worshipped by Hindus with utmost devotion and reverence. The unique characteristic of this village is that no house in the village has doors or any doorframe, for safety. Even the schools and commercial buildings have no doors.
No crime occurs in the village, and the people living here believe that this is because of the blessing of Shani God. Owing to the zero crime rates in the village, the United Commercial (UCO) Bank has started its “lock less” branch here. This is the first time a bank has opened a branch that has no locks.
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The religious practice of snake worship in India dates back to the ancient times. The snake is considered a God in the Indian mythology, and is linked to Lord Shiva, a Hindu God. Shetpal village in the Sholapur district of the state of Maharashtra has a custom in which every home has a place for resting of live Cobras. In each home here, Cobras have a resting place in the home’s ceiling rafter. Sounds scary?
There is also a temple in the village, which has an idol of Lord Shiva and a seven-hooded cobra of copper over the idol. There have been no cases of bites by cobras in the village till date, despite live cobras roaming around the homes regularly. This is truly incredible.
So, do you think you know India? After visiting these places, perhaps you would say ‘no’. The more you think you have discovered this diverse country, the more it will surprise you by showing its different shades. If you are willing to visit some unconventional places in India, make sure you include the above offbeat travel destinations in your itinerary.