‘We travel not to escape life but to not let life escape us!’
There are times when our everyday reality becomes too boring for us to handle and we just want to leave everything behind and travel, go on a vacation, relax, view sights that are spectacular, unwind! Here is a list of 6 offbeat and exotic destinations in India which will entice the wanderer in you to simply pack and leave!
1. Binsar at Almora
Binsar is situated in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. It is one the most scenic yet offbeat wild life sanctuaries. Situated on the Jhandi Dhar hills at a height of 2412 mtrs it is an ideal destination for nature lovers, adventure lovers, wildlife photographers offering panoramic views of Himalayan valley, villages of Kumaon and Almora.
The main attraction is the spectacular view of Himalayas from Zero point and the wild life sanctuary which boasts of 200 species of birds and different animals. The climate ranges from temperate in summer to sub artic in winters when it snows.
The best time to visit Binsar is during summers and in the month of October and November but don’t forget to carry your woollen clothing whenever you visit Binsar!
2. Zanskar River
Zanskar River is tributary of the Indus River situated near Zanskar region of Ladakh situated in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This region remains inaccessible during winters as the temperatures fall below -30 or -35 degrees. Because of the low temperatures a layer of ice is formed over the river which is referred as ‘Chadar’ by locals which means a sheet of cloth. The river turns into a beautiful crystal which reflects sunlight and moonlight. Chadar trek is regular trail used by Zanskaris in winter to reach for emergency supplies. The weather conditions are extreme and demand physical fitness. The trail needs to be completed trekking through snowy boulders and rocks. In summer the river is ideal for rafting and trekking.
3. Tunganath, Uttarkhand
One of the simple yet adventurous Himalayan treks, the Chopta trek starts at the base camp of Haridvar and ends at the Chandrashila peak passing through various breath-taking Himalayan sights.
The major attractions of this trek are the Tungnath Temple and the Chandrashila peak which provides a spectacular view of the Himalayan valleys. Tunganath in the state of Uttarkhand is one of the oldest temples of Lord Shiva. It is one of the tallest situated shrines, said to be almost 1000 years old.
The best time to visit this unexplored destination is between March to May. The weather is pleasant and the view of snow clad mountains is a scenic sight.
4. Hogenakkal Falls
The Hogenakkal Falls are known as the Niagara of India situated on the Kaveri River located in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu. When the River Kaveri enters the Tamil Nadu border after winding its way through the state of Karnataka, it descends down the lofty landscape forming the Hogenakkal Waterfalls. The two Kannada words ‘Hoge’ means ‘Smoke’ and ‘Kal’ means ‘Rocks’ which forms the name Hogenakal meaning smoky rock. They are also famously called as Marikottayam by the people of Tamil Nadu. The oldest form of Carbonatite rocks in the world are found near the waterfall.
The falls has about 14 channels with drops varying from 15 to 65 ft. The sound created by the waterfall is similar to thunder. The waterfall can be reached through a boat ride and has no other means of transport. Coracle riding is one of the main attractions here which is allowed during the monsoon and winter season. Boating is usually suspended during heavy monsoons. The best time to visit Hogenakkal Falls is from July to October.
5. Key Gompa Monastery
Key Gompa Monastery is over 1000 year old and one of the biggest centre of Buddhist learning. It is an old training centre for Lamas in Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh
It was founded by Dromton, a famous disciple of teacher Atisha in the 11th century, and used to house about 350 lamas at once though the number of inmates has reduced.
The monastery is famous for its Pasada style architecture. The monastery is known for its ancient murals, rare thangkas and ancient weapons. The route to the monastery is beautiful and has a scenic view of the valley. Also the monastery is situated in a very picturesque location filled with snow-capped mountains and glaciers.
The best time for visiting Key Monastery is during summer, from May to October. From October end, Rohtang Pass remains closed due to snow fall.
6. Lonar lake
Lonar Lake is situated in the Buldhana district of Maharashtra near Aurangabad. It is the only Hyper-velocity impact crater in a basaltic rock. Lonar is named after the demon, Lonasura, and is ringed by fascinating temples. The crater was formed fifty-two thousand years ago, when a meteor crashed into the earth at an estimated speed of 90,000kmph, weighing 2 million tonnes. It gouged a hole that was 1.8km wide and 150m deep. The hole was later filled with water and surrounded by forests and temples.
The lake plagues a mystery for the scientists as to why it is both saline and alkaline in nature, why does it support micro-organisms and why compasses stop working in some parts of the lake.
The lake is a treat for bird watchers because of the frequent visits by migratory birds and local flora and fauna. Also the surrounding temples have legends of their own and have beautiful scriptures.
Lonar is an enigma in itself involving science, mystery, adventure and nature!
India definitely has amazing exotic destinations to fulfil the hunger in every traveller!