Here’s the thing about visiting India: if you only go to the top 10 tourist places as most people do, you’re missing out on a lot. There are many unusual and offbeat places to visit in India that aren’t frequented by everyone else, and which make for memorable travel experiences. If you want to experience something unique when you visit India, these are the 10 recommended offbeat places to visit in India.
1) Chambal Valley
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One of India’s most popular tourist destinations is also one of its lesser-known places. The Chambal Valley, located near Gwalior, is a fantastic, offbeat place to visit in India. Visitors can enjoy a sightseeing trip on either a boat or jeep safari and can stop at multiple temples throughout their journey through the valley. You can even take part in local festivities if you choose to!
2) Backwaters of Kerala
One of our top picks for offbeat places, Kerala is known for its stunning backwaters, which can be enjoyed on a sunset cruise or houseboat tour. The natural mangrove forests surrounding these backwaters are home to thousands of aquatic birds—so we’d recommend traveling there during the migration season (roughly between October and April). Plus, backwater wildlife is also rich with otters, fish eagles, and kingfishers.
It’s easy to get around using simple bamboo boats that give you time to truly relax while enjoying authentic local cuisine. Besides, who doesn’t want a boat ride? Well, okay — maybe elephants do … they get their own special boat rides through certain parts of Kerala!
It is a city and a municipality of the district with an area of 1318 km. It is situated at an altitude of 7200 feet (2200 m) above sea level. It has about 2000 tea gardens and produces more than 70% of India’s tea output. There are many ethnic groups like Nepali, Lepcha, Bhutia, Kami, Meche, Sherpa, and Gurung who live here, and thus it is also known as the ‘City of Temples’. The most attractive thing about Darjeeling is its natural environment which includes beautiful lakes and gardens.
The Himalayan views from points around the town are spectacular. The town itself has many fine examples of Victorian architecture; do not miss Chowrasta Market or Gandhi square with Victoria memorial in its center.
4) Bishnupur Sessa
There is no doubt that one of the best ways to experience India is through its food. Every region has a specialty, and many have several culinary specialties. It’s easy to find your favorite dish once you know what town or city you are going to, but some places have a few hidden gems that make it worth traveling around for a bit before hitting your destination.
Bishnupur Sessa (formerly spelled Bishnupur) is one such place. It’s only about 30 minutes from Kolkata, so if you are passing through or plan on spending time there for any reason, be sure not to miss out on its unique cuisine.
5) Kangra Valley
Kangra Valley is one of those offbeat places that you should add to your itinerary if you are planning a trip through North India. This hidden beauty is located near Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, and is equally popular for its hill stations and Buddhist monasteries as it is for its rich handicrafts.
The picturesque Kangra valley has been described as one of ‘the most beautiful valleys of Northern Himalayas’ and also as ‘one of…the last unexplored corners’ by many enthusiasts. There are many monasteries, including Palampur, Kulu, and Baijnath, some dating back to the 14th century AD.
6) Goa beaches
The state of Goalies along India’s western coast is known for its beautiful, palm-lined beaches and relaxed atmosphere. The landscape is stunningly scenic: it’s common to spot local fishermen plucking freshly caught fish out of nearby waters. If you want offbeat sightseeing, take a trip to Anjuna, which is home to a vibrant art community and an annual music festival that draws visitors from all over.
Located at the tip of peninsular India, Kanyakumari is known for its hilly topography and its beautiful beaches. As a matter of fact, it has three adjoining beaches namely: Kanniyakumari Beach, Thiruvalluvar Beach, and Eraviputhoor Beach. The confluence of the sea with mountains makes it a scenic location. Famed for being an important pilgrim center as well as a tourist spot, several religious establishments like temples exist here.
To keep oneself occupied during holidays, one can indulge in several adventure sports like trekking or water-skiing on the sea. Nearby are other places worth visiting like Mananchira Square, Vivekananda Rock Memorial, etc.
8) Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan)
Keoladeo National Park is also referred to as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Keoladeo Ghana, or Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary. It is home to over 400 species of birds, including one-horned rhinoceros.
It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. Being an open water body, it attracts many migratory birds from all across Asia and it is one of the most important birding sites of India. Besides offering sanctuary for many wildlife species, its area also comprises educational and recreational activities such as boating facilities for tourists and trekking trails for visiting students.
The best time for bird watching at Keoladeo National Park is from October to February (winter season). More than 300 wetland species can be found here during migration.
9) Himachal Pradesh’s Villages
Most of Himachal Pradesh is sparsely populated due to its rugged topography, high elevations, and poor soil quality. Over 50% of villages have a population density of fewer than five persons per square kilometer (13/sq mi), and 72% are under 100. The average village population is under 500 people.
Out of HP’s nearly 3,000 villages, only 163 have a population exceeding 1,000. The state capital, Shimla is considered an offbeat place visited by tourists who are looking for an alternative to mainstream destinations like Delhi and Agra.
Jaisalmer is a city in northwestern India, near Pakistan. It’s known for its Jaisalmer Fort, which was built around 1156. People usually associate it with camel safaris. If you’re lucky enough to visit Jaisalmer between late October and February, you might also catch an annual Camel Festival parade! Other interesting attractions include Camel and Bull Racing and a spice market featuring local specialties like cardamom and fennel seeds.