Tag Archives: Offbeat travel

Offbeat Tours in India
Offbeat Tours in India

Offbeat Tours in India

While travelling to India most people already have their must-visits ilke Agra, Delhi and Jaipur (the golden triangle), the beaches of Goa, the backwaters in Kerala, or even the romantic  Udaipur and the bustle of Mumbai. But India is so vast (I describe it like Europe, each state can actually be a country) that you can find places which are not yet a part of the tourist trail, and I hope they never are. So here is a list of our favourite offbeat routes

Lahual Spiti – the lesser known Himalayas

Everyone knows of Leh and Ladakh and the British summer capital Shimla, but the Himalayas have some wonderful lesser explored regions which are a must to visit at least once. The region of Lahaul – Spiti is a part of northeast Himachal, the roads and infrastructure are not the best and that means that travelling here is a little hard but the views and locale ensure that a 8 hour drive passes in the blink of a eye.

Himachal – Offbeat Route

Delhi/Chandigarh – Shimla – Thanedar/Kotgarh – Sangla – Kalpa – Tabo – Kaza- Kullu (Manikaran) – Chandigarh/Delhi

Start your trip in Delhi and head first to Shimla (yes a touristic start!). Shimla has expanded and grown into not such a pretty hill station, but still has an old world charm about it. The next stop would be Kotgarh, a small quaint village around 2 hours north of Shimla,

The next stop, Sangla, is what I call heaven on earth. A gushing noisy river with the Himalayan mountains surrounding you on all sides, as you sit in apple orchards and watch the world go by. The next few destinations are a part of the snow desert and with terrain similar to that of the famous Leh and Ladakh. The road journeys are long and open only from July – September, but the effort is completely worth it with striking monasteries and perfect blue skies along the way. You should end your trip in the hippie region of Tosh or Parvarti Valley, with Bob Marley posters, peace signs and the vices that go along with it.

Stay and Travel Find the perfect blend of home stays, guesthouses and some fantastic boutique hotels. See the other side of Shimla by staying at either Sunnymead or Aira Holme Stay and experience hospitality like never before. Then head to the lovely home in Kotgarh (Seetalvan homestay) where you can see range after range of mountains while sitting in a veranda sipping a cup of chai. The Banjara camps in Sangla are just brilliant and you can try Ecosphere in Kaza and Tabo. In Tosh you should get there without a plan and find the place you like most.

In terms of travel it would be best to hire a chauffeur driven car for the entire trip, but you could also take local buses if you are on a tight budget.

Best time to travel Number of days needed Ideal for
July to September 15-18 days Couples | Families | Friends

Rishikesh and the Kumaon region – Spirituality, the Mountains and a Tiger National Park

Uttarakhand is known as the land of gods. The fresh air, snowy winter, larger than life mountains, the small villages and simpler people make this a great destination. Known for its adventurous side with River Rafting, Trekking, Skiing, Camping, Rock Climbing, Rappelling, Uttaranchal also has some unbeliavble boutique hotels with just the right amount of luxury. Combine a trip to the Jim Corbett National park with the Kumaon hills and the touristy Rishikesh  for the full experience.

Uttarakhand – Offbeat Route

Delh/Dehradun – Rishikesh -Jim Corbett – Nainital/Nagar – Itmenaan – Kathgodam – Delhi

Start your trip in Delhi and head first to Rishikesh (yet another touristic start). Rishikesh hit stardom when the Beatles spent a few months there with their spiritual guru, and ever since you’ve had lots of yogashala’s and courses for tourists wanting that calming and spiritual experience. That aside, it’s a nice small town on the banks of the mighty Ganga (where you can river raft), with great places to eat.

The next stop would be Jim Corbett National Park. A dense forest with the chance to spot a tiger in the wild, it’s exactly like Ruskin Bond describes it in his books. if you are not fortunate enough to spot the elusive tiger, you will definitely see a host of other wildlife. From here you could make your way into the Kumaon Hills and the beautiful hill station of Nainital, and then to a lovely property called Itmenaan tucked away in the mountains.

As you make your way back down to Delhi via Kathgodam, you can add a few more places to your itenerary like Munsiyari, or Ramgarh if you have time. One thing we can promise is that not too many people would have already travelled this route.

Stay and Travel Again you can combine guesthouses or home stays with boutique hotels. In Rishikesh you can find a place in your budget, though we recommend staying at Seventh Heaven Inn  or Glass House on the Ganges for a more luxurious experience. In Jim Corbett you must stay in the Dhikala forest lodge. The stay is simply out of this world, you cannot beat the experience of living in the middle of a forest. Once in Kumaon you have a range of boutique hotels which you should stay in like White Peaks, The Retreat, and Itmenaan Lodge. We can go on with options, but  if you just let us know the number of days you have available, we can plan the trip for you.

In terms of travel it would be best to hire a chauffeur driven car for the entire trip.

Best time to travel Number of days needed Ideal For
February to June 12-15 days Couples | Families | Friends

 


5 offbeat travel destinations in India
5 offbeat travel destinations in India

India as a travel destination has a variety of experiences to offer but at times, you just want to skip the crowds, do away with the popular places and venture into the unknown. Here are five such unexplored, virgin towns/regions that are slowly making their way onto the travel map,in simpler words some of our favorite offbeat travel destinations to recommend.
Chambal

Chambal is about an hours’ drive from Agra and the town was made famous by the ‘Bandit Queen’ Phoolan Devi. Once infested with bandits and goons it is now quite safe for travellers. If you love the wild, this place is a must visit. Visit the National Chambal Sactuary, home to a number of endangered species as well as the Ganges river Dolphin, Gharial crocodile, and a number of other animals and migatory birds. Spend a day or two at this untouched city, and stay at the Chambal Safari Lodge on your way to or from Agra.

Wayanad

Wayanad is a district in North Kerala. The lush green landscape, majestic hills and valleys and the splendour of the many waterfalls captivate the senses. Clean and pristine, it is a perfect getaway from the busy city life. The quiet intimacy with nature makes it perfect for honeymooners.  From Mumbai, fly to Calicut which is the closest airport. From Cochin, you can either fly or take a train. Stay here in the tropical rainforest property of Vythiri Resort.

Hampi

The city of boulders may not seem offbeat for a few travelers but is not on the most visited list either. This UNESCO world heritage site is in the southern state of Karnataka; accessible from Mumbai, Bangalore and Goa. One of the top backpacker destinations, Hampi is a mesmerizing town of ruins.  Go cycling into the sunset or visit one of the many temples or simply curl up with your favourite book and enjoy the calm and fresh air. You can easily spend two or even three days here and you will definitely leave Hampi, desperate to return!

Thanedhar

The mountains beckon!  In the state of Himachal Pradesh against the backdrop of the mighty Himalayas, lies nestled the town of Thanedhar. Wake up to an enthralling view of the mountains and valley of vividly-coloured apple trees below. The apple trees change colour each season; a feast to the eyes.  You can go for walks, hikes or simply laze around in the beauty that surrounds you. You can drive from Shimla to Thanedhar  and continue onwards to Sojha or Kasauli and be amazed in the bliss of pure nature. Stay here at the Banjara Retreat and enjoy fabulous views from your room itself

Pali

If you’re looking for leopards, opt for the The Kumbalgarh National Park in Rajasthan over Ranthambhore. You may spot some crocodiles in the bargain. Located right between Jodhpur and Udaipur it is really easy to reach and has a lovely luxury property you can consider for your stay (Jawai Leopard camp).

If you’d like to plan a trip to any of these places you can get in touch with us at thinkingindia@stage2.indiasomeday.com

By Sneha Francis