The best places to go off the beaten track in India - Lost With Purpose

The best places to go off the beaten track in India – Lost With Purpose

Up to date in 2020: An inventory of my favourite off the overwhelmed monitor” locations and experiences in India, chosen after greater than a 12 months of journey across the nation. Take a look at these locations in the event you actually wish to dive deep and go off the overwhelmed monitor in India.

Reality: India is very large.

Although some individuals make it appear as if India is a rustic that may be “finished” in a matter of weeks, the reality is that exploring India would take lifetimes. After greater than a 12 months—and hopefully extra to come back at some point—I’ve solely coated a tiny fraction of this majestic nation.

With a lot to see and do, it’s onerous to determine the place to journey in India! Though many individuals keep on with the tried and examined locations—suppose the Golden Triangle, Goa, and the Hummus Path—there’s a lot extra to see in India past textbook vacationer sights.

Extra importantly, India turns into way more rewarding (and far much less stuffed with rip-off artists) while you go away the well-beaten path and immerse your self within the myriad experiences it provides.

Under are just a few of my favourite locations to go off the overwhelmed monitor in India, that can assist you journey past the hordes of sketchy tour touts, selfie squads, and stoned overseas hippies.

After almost one year of travel in India, there are some destinations we just can't get out of our minds! These are some of our favorite off the beaten track destinations in India, from South India to Northeast India, including a map of destinations for your trip planning!

Index

Kannur, Kerala (South India)

Fire kutti theyyam ritual in Kannur, Kerala

Theyyam in Kannur: an otherworldy expertise!

This dusty market city in northern Kerala does nothing to impress. However within the villages surrounding Kannur, an historical ritual takes place for a number of months a 12 months: Theyyam.

Theyyam is likely one of the most spectacular rituals I’ve seen in India. Mentioned to predate Hinduism, chosen males channel historical deities by way of costume and dance. As soon as a dancer’s (elaborate) full make-up and costume is full, he loses consciousness, and turns into one with the god.

It’s an otherworldly ritual—one you positively don’t wish to miss.

Learn extra: Theyyam, a dance of gods

A night of fiery Theyyam dance in Kannur, Kerala is one of many top off the beaten track sights in India.

Bijapur and Bidar, Karnataka (South India)

Best destinations off the beaten track in India - Ibrahim Rauza mausoleum through an archway in Bijapur, Karnataka - Lost With Purpose travel blog

The Ibrahim Rauza mosque and mausoleum in Bijapur.

Most vacationers bus it to Hampi or the Konkan coast, giving little or no thought to the remainder of Karnataka. However within the northeast nook of the state are two cities that historical past fiends are certain to drool over: Bijapur and Bidar.

Massive onion domes dot their skylines, Islamic historical past comes alive within the multitudes of madrasas, mosques, and shrines tucked away all through each cities. Neither are notably fashionable with overseas vacationers, and locals are glad to have a chat or a cup of chai. By far a few of my favourite locations in Karnataka.

Learn extra: 7 off the overwhelmed monitor locations in Karnataka

Exploring crumbling arches in Bijapur, an epic off the beaten track destination in Karnataka state, India.

Kalna, West Bengal (East India)

108 Shiva temple in Kalna, West Bengal, India

The beautiful 108 Shiv Mandir in Kalna is made up of two concentric circles of 108 tiny temples. How cool is that?

There’s one million causes to like West Bengal—I’m admittedly a bit biased as Kolkata is my favourite massive Indian metropolis and Bengali meals is to die for—however past stuffing your self stuffed with fish and rice, riverside terracotta temples are one draw to the japanese state.

Although scores of temples dot the riverside, not all are simply accessible not simple to search out. Nevertheless, Kalna is a picturesque temple city on the banks of the Hooghly—the decrease Ganga river—and it’s packed to the brim with examples of Bengal’s well-known terracotta structure. About two hours’ drive from Kolkata, the city hosts an enormous temple complicated. The complicated consists of one of many extra distinctive temples I’ve seen in India: the round 108 Shiva Temple.

If you wish to begin branching out into West Bengal, Kalna is an efficient place to begin.

Lalji terracotta Hindu Temple in Kalna, West Bengal, India

Hyderabad, Telangana (East India)

Best off the beaten track destinations in India - Char Minar during nightly traffic in the old city of Hyderabad - Lost With Purpose travel blog

The well-known Char Minar in Hyderabad’s previous metropolis.

Though most of Hyderabad’s famed royal historical past is now misplaced to the ages, town is a heaven for foodies and historical past aficionados alike.

A separate kingdom till 1948—Hyderabad’s Nawab was the richest man alive throughout its glory days—a stroll round its previous metropolis will take you previous crumbling haveli mansions, palaces transformed into authorities buildings, and what’s fairly probably the tastiest non-veg meals you may sink your tooth into in India.

Learn extra: The place and what to eat within the Previous Metropolis of Hyderabad, India

A view of the buzzing market around Hyderabad, India's old city from the top of the Charminar monument.

Bundi, Rajasthan (West India)

View of blue houses from the palace in Bundi, Rajasthan, India

“Brahmin blue” homes, minus the effort

Positive, Bundi may be one of many extra “touristy” locations on this checklist… however in comparison with different vacationer spots in Rajasthan—suppose Jaipur, Udaipur, and so on.—Bundi sees hardly any vacationers.

And therein lies the nippiness. You’ll be able to weave your manner by way of tightly winding alleys, have chats with type Rajasthani individuals who aren’t simply out to promote you one thing, and revel in a quiet palace stuffed with a number of the most spectacular frescoes I noticed in Rajasthan. You’ll really be capable of take pleasure in them, because you received’t have two thousand individuals urgent up in opposition to you to share the views (I’m taking a look at you, Udaipur).

Don’t be afraid to make the trek as much as Taragarh fort for epic views over town… however do be cautious of the quite a few monkeys lurking on the prime. Protip: convey a stick. An enormous one.

Fresco paintings on the ceiling of a palace in Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Palitana, Gujarat (West India)

Our favorite off the beaten track destinations in India - Sunrise over Jain temple tops in Palitana, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Dawn over the 1,000+ Jain temples of Palitana.

Palitana is house to one among Jainism’s holiest of pilgrimage websites, and becoming a member of throngs of religious Jains on a part of their pilgrimage remains to be one of many highlights of my time in India.

There’s nothing fairly like zig-zagging your manner up a mountain earlier than the morning time with lots of of pilgrims, then watching the solar slowly rise over a mountaintop coated with greater than a thousand temples… actually!

Learn extra: 1% of a Jain pilgrimage in Palitana

Temple doors opening to sunrise over the Jain temples of Palitana, Gujarat state, India. The perfect off the beaten track destination for your India trip!

Rani Ki Vav, Gujarat (West India)

Our favorite off the beaten path destinations in India - Rani ki vav stepwell in Patan, Gujarat - Lost With Purpose travel blog

The insanely nicely preserved inside of Rani Ki Vav.

Rajasthan is known for its stepwells—broad wells constructed so individuals might extra simply entry water—however I discovered the stepwells of Gujarat much more spectacular. It helped that they’ve far much less Instagrammers posing on their stairways.

Rani Ki Vav, exterior of Patan city, is the nicely to finish all wells. Regardless of being 900 years previous, the stepwell is in wonderful situation; it was misplaced underneath a overlaying of sand for lots of of years. For sure one of the crucial spectacular artistic endeavors and structure I noticed in India.

On the lookout for extra stepwells? Take a look at Sid the Wanderer’s article on Adajal stepwell in Ahmedabad.

Carved details in Rani Ki Vav stepwell, one of India's most beautiful stepwells in Patan, Gujarat state.

Diu, Gujarat (West India)

Best off the beaten path destinations in India - Colorful haveli on the streets of Diu island - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Vivid havelis on the slim streets of Diu.

I’d be chill with mentioning each place I visited in Gujarat, from Laxmi Villas in Baroda to the Patola workshop in Patan. However Diu was one thing particular.

The small island, technically administered from Delhi, was a Portuguese colony. Portuguese identify plates grasp on homes the place Indian and Portuguese types intermingle seamlessly. And in contrast to the island’s extra well-known beachy and colonial cousin Goa, only a few vacationers make it to Diu.

Orderly streets, recent sea breeze, and a wholesome splash of shade—what extra do you have to calm down and recharge after extra hectic travels on the mainland? The truth that beer is tax-free helps, too 😉

Blue skies over a Portuguese church on Diu island, India. A great off the beaten track destination in India if you're looking for a bit of comfortable rest and relaxation, and the perfect Goa alternative.

Gangotri, Uttarakhand (North India)

Gomukh glacier, start of the Ganges/Ganga river in Uttarakhand, India

On the way in which to Gomukh glacier, begin of the Ganga (Ganges) river in Uttarakhand.

Everyone knows in regards to the well-known Ganges River—referred to as Ganga in India—however the place does the Ganges really start?

A number of tributaries feed in to what in the end turns into the Ganga, however there’s one particular supply that folks imagine is the beginning of the life-giving river: the Bhagirathi river. Trickling out from the bottom of Gomukh glacier in Uttarakhand’s mountains, the icy chilly water is crystal clear and clear sufficient to drink. All through the years, scientists and sailors alike have been fascinated by the water from this supply. Sailors favored it as a result of it was drinkable for months after assortment on the supply, whereas scientists are intrigued by its seemingly antibacterial properties.

Whether or not you wish to sip from the beginning of one of many world’s holiest rivers, or just take pleasure in a surprising however manageable mountain trek, you’d be onerous pressed to discover a extra appropriate journey in your travels in India.

Learn extra: Trekking to the beginning of the Ganges River

Female traveler trekking to the start of the Ganges (Ganga) river from Gangotri, Uttarakhand, India

Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh (North India)

Top off the beaten track destinations in India - A colorful temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Bursts of shade in Ayodhya.

Thought of the birthplace of Ram, and seared into historical past by the destruction of the Babri Masjid, Ayodhya holds a particular place in UP politics and Hindu nationalists’ hearts. Most vacationers skip Ayodhya in favor of its well-known neighbor Varanasi, however I loved Ayodhya way more.

Not solely is it the birthplace of Ram, it’s additionally the birthplace of a number of Jain holy males. As soon as a part of the Mughal Empire, the slim aspect streets of Ayodhya are a feast for the eyes, overflowing with temples, shrines, and complex latticework.

The ghats aren’t as spectacular as these alongside the river in Varanasi, however the calm and pleasant individuals greater than make up for it. It’s additionally nice to stroll round with out faux babas harassing you for images and blessings each few meters.

Need extra India inspiration? These are the 3 most beautiful states in India, in response to The World in My Pocket.

Loktak Lake, Manipur (Northeast India)

Our favorite off the beaten path destinations in India - Pastel pink sunrise over Loktak Lake in Manipur - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Pastel sunrises over Loktak Lake.

I struggled to slim down my favourite locations in Northeast India—all the things involves thoughts! However by way of the indecisiveness, Loktak Lake shortly rises to the highest.

Spending some peaceable days on the shore of Loktak Lake is a should for anybody wandering to the northeast. You’ll be able to sit and watch fishermen and -women navigate between the floating islands of crops—referred to as phumdi—of their picket boats. Learn a guide to the sound of buzzing dragonflies and recent fruit falling from the bushes. Admire the seemingly limitless number of flowers rising across the peninsula jutting into the lake.

The lake can be house to the world’s solely floating nationwide park: Keibul Lamjao.

Learn extra: Why you have to go to Loktak Lake

Sunrise over Loktak Lake, a peaceful offbeat destination in Manipur state, Northeast India.

Majuli, Assam (Northeast India)

Top off the beaten track destinations in India - A fisherman and boat in Majuli - Lost With Purpose travel blog

One in all many fishing boats (and fishermen!) discovered on Majuli.

Reality: I really like Majuli. I’ve been there a number of instances—it was my secure house after a complicated breakup on the highway—and I’m constructive I’ll be again once more at some point.

Majuli island, set amongst the flowing waters of the Brahmaputra river in Assam state, was as soon as the world’s largest river island. Sadly, it’s quickly eroding because of elevated floods from local weather change and different exterior components.

Regardless of its disappearance, the island remains to be wealthy in each tradition and nature. Its completely flat and luxurious community of filth paths are excellent for bicycles, and you may simply whereas away the times visiting the quite a few satras (Hindu monasteries) scattered throughout the island. Every satra makes a speciality of an artwork type—comparable to masks making or dance—so that you don’t have to fret about becoming bored.

Learn extra: Majuli, India’s disappearing island

A traditional hand painted mask at one of the many Vaishnavite satras, Hindu monasteries, on Majuli river island in Assam, Northeast India.

Mechuka, Arunachal Pradesh (Northeast India)

Top off the beaten path destinations in India - Mountain vistas in Mechuka, Arunachal Pradesh - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Regardless of the place you look in Mechuka, you’ll be greeted by views like this!

Mechuka was my ultimate cease in Arunachal Pradesh, and a extra becoming finish to my Arunachal journey couldn’t exist.

The Tibetan city is ready in an idyllic inexperienced valley on the base of the mountains dividing China and India. There are breathtaking views in actually each path, and loads of strolling paths moving into no matter path fits your fancy.

I by no means had plans in Mechuka. As an alternative, day by day I merely picked a path and saved on strolling by way of hill and dale till I used to be too drained to proceed… and the mountains by no means dissatisfied.

Learn extra: The final word information to backpacking Arunachal Pradesh

Running through the epic vistas of Mechuka, a mountain town in Arunachal Pradesh, Northeast India. One of the most beautiful and off the beaten track destinations we've visited to date!

Map of off the overwhelmed monitor locations in India

Satisfied to move out your door as soon as extra? Use this map to plan your off the overwhelmed monitor Indian journey! Click on on the map to view an interactive Google Map in a brand new window.

Did I miss something? Do you might have a favourite off the overwhelmed path vacation spot in India? Inform me within the feedback!

Feeling the love for India? Yo—me, too. Right here’s why I fell in love with India.

The most effective locations to go off the overwhelmed monitor in India – Misplaced With Function

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