10 Most Unexplored Places In India
India, our vast country has plenty to offer by way of topography (landscape, scenery, geography), history, climate and culture. While plenty of destinations within India are famous and popular for their own special features, there are still several other locations which are practically undiscovered, hardly explored, encountered or visited. Travelling down the popular route or to famous destinations may have their own advantages, but experimenting with the off-beat places or destinations has its own thrill ! So much to discover and unearth and with no crowds or unnecessary people intruding or pressurizing you to quickly do your thing.
Given below are a few such hidden gems/ locations…so stir up that explorer in you and have fun in these lesser known locales.
1 – Khajjar, Himachal Pradesh
This dreamy, beautiful, sleepy hill town near Dalhousie abounds with hills, lakes and meadows but yet is sadly underrated. Also famous as the ‘Mini Switzerland Of India, Khajjiar is known for its nine-hole golf-course which is nestled in the midst of lush greenery and a breathtaking landscape. The best entertainment at this hill-station is to walk around the lake or go for long walks in the thick pine forests. Besides soaking in the idyllic landscape of this destination, one can also indulge in some adventure sports like horse-riding, zorbing, paragliding, trekking and other similar activities. Enjoy the Khajjar Lake, Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary, Golden Devi Temple, Tibetan Handicrafts Centre or go spiritual with Khajji Nag Temple and bask in the glory of the beautiful Kailash view.
Best time to visit Khajjar : While Khajjar can be visited through the year, winters may be tougher to navigate due to heavy snowfall. So beat the heat with the cold temperatures here in the months of May and June. Summer does not always have to be unbearable.
How to reach Khajjar : Khajjiar is very well connected by road to all the important towns of Himachal Pradesh including Dalhousie, Shimla and Chamba. State-owned and private buses ply on the route. Alternatively, you can drive from these towns to Khajjiar.
AbhiBus offers bus services from Delhi to Dalhousie, Shimla, Chamba, Dharamshala and Jammu as well as from Chandigarh to Shimla, Dharamshala, Chamba and Jammu. Thereafter one can opt for taxis or cars to Khajjar.
2 – Sandakphu, Darjeeling
The term ‘Sandakphu’ means height of the poison plants. The name has been derived because of a specifically poisonous wolfsbane plant which grows naturally near the peak. Sandakphu, one of the most dangerous offbeat places in India, is the highest peak located at a staggering altitude of 11,929 ft. in Darjeeling district and north west of Darjeeling hill town. This destination is a complete delight for trekkers and is the summit or the highest point in Singalila range as well as in the state of West Bengal, India. The beautiful panoramic view is a thing you will rarely find in an otherwise friendly but constant hustle bustle of West Bengal. Four of the five highest peaks in the world, Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu can be seen from its summit. It also affords a pristine view of the entire Kanchenjunga Range. Tourists feel privileged to walk through the forests of flowering rhododendrons of numerous types, giant magnolias, spruce and wide range of amazing orchids. There are over 600 varieties of orchids in this area, the largest concentration in any single geographical area in the world and one can see them bloom in spring.
The trek route passes through the Singalila National Park and hence the trek journey is further complemented with a national park that has some of the most fascinating rare animals like Red Pandas and Pangolins and is also rich with a variety of birds.
Best time to visit : April, spring time, witnesses a temperature from 6 degree celsius to 12 degree celsius and is almost like a dream come true to experience something like this in India.
How to reach Sandakphu : If you are coming directly from NJP Railway Station or Bagdogra Airport, you will first need to come to Manebhanjan via Mirik. Manebhanjan is at a distance of little less than 100 kms from both NJP and Bagdogra and it takes about 4 hours to reach by car, so most tourists prefer to stay overnight at Mirik or Manebhanjan and then proceed for Sandakphu next morning.
From Darjeeling, Manebhanjan is only 1 hour 15 minutes, so there is no such issue of long driving hours and you can proceed directly to Sandakphu.
3 – Sirumalai, Tamil Nadu
This place is in a dense forest at an altitude of 1600 metres above sea level. Sirumalai, is the equivalent of ‘Small Hill’ and is located on the Eastern Ghats, which has many high hills. This place is located in Dindigul District of Tamil Nadu. There is exotic flora and a large species of animals within the forest. Sirumalai can be reached by travelling on a narrow road through the Ghats with 18 hair pin bends The view from the 18th hair pin bend is picturesque with the view of the Saathiyaar river basin, Dindigul city and the Dindigul Rock Fort.
Sirumalai in Tamil Nadu is so beautiful and calm. That is also by the way, how you would describe the people of this unexplored region. The flora and fauna of this place is perfect for all nature-lovers and considers nature to be the perfect companion! The entire locale is green and lush and the climate is cool / warm. Most of the area is used for cultivation of plantain (banana) which is famous all over Tamil Nadu and foreign countries for its special taste. The forest reserve here is all that you need to add the nature factor in your off-beat journey. The waterfalls in the vicinity are just an added bonus. Along with the Sirumalai Forest reserve, one can enjoy the Kumbakarai Falls, Palamedu falls and Courtallam falls (All are situated in the vicinity of Sirumalai)
Best time to visit Sirumalai : June is the best time to visit this place. Although, it is slightly hot but it is almost the onset of monsoons and the views are truly spectacular.
How to reach Sirumalai : The total straight line distance between Dindigul and Sirumalai is 18 Km. This is a straight line distance and so most of the time the actual travel distance between Dindigul and Sirumalai may be higher or vary due to curvature of the road. So if you travel at a consistent speed of 50 Km per hour you can reach Sirumalai in 0.37 hours. Your Sirumalai travel time may vary depending upon the vehicle you use.
4 – Ziro
This off-beat place in the North-East is one of those places which boasts of agreeable climate throughout the year. The zig-zag rice-fields, vast lush green land, snaking rivulets and rustic habitats make Ziro Valley nothing short of a dreamland. There are various shades to Ziro- greens of wildlife around, calming greys of the sky and the warm hues of the colorful people here. It’s music, great people, local food and no connectivity is all you need for an exciting journey and some self-exploration. Another most attractive feature of Ziro Valley other than its natural beauty is learning about the lifestyle of the popular Apatani tribe, whose members are mostly seen with facial tattoos and nose plugs. Ziro Valley is also popular for its music festival, but there is a lot more to see in Ziro apart from this. It is incredibly safe to walk around the town or valley or go biking by yourself. One can enjoy some other attractions like the Hija, Hari, Bamin, Dutta, Ziro Putu, Tarin Fish Farm, Talley Valley, Tapyo Salt, Dolo Mando or Shiva Lingam at Kardo Forest along with several others.
Best time to visit Ziro : Throughout the year, but September pulls in the crowd as the Ziro festival takes place during this time.
How to reach Ziro : Ziro is around 115 km from the state capital Itanagar and takes approx 3 and a half hours via the improved Hoj-Potin road along NH229 and 150 km via the Assam route.
5 – Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Situated at an altitude of over 1600 meters above sea level, the riverside retreat of Tirthan is an adventure-centric getaway blessed with a wealth of nature’s treasures. This is one of those unexplored places which has something on offer for everyone. This quiet valley is ideal for trekking, fishing, wildlife watching, and discovering under-explored hill villages. Located in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, Tirthan Valley derives its name from the Tirthan river, which winds its way through it. The pristine river originates from the icy cold glacial springs of Hanskund, a snow-capped peak in the verdant Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP). Choose what you wish to do while you’re here and indulge accordingly. Also, there’s the option of doing absolutely nothing and chilling in the pine-studded landscape of Tirthan Valley!
Best time to visit Tirthan Valley : March-June, October-November. For those who wish to do trout fishing in the River Tirthan, the warmer time of the year is preferable.
How to reach Tirthan Valley : The most suitable way to reach Tirthan Valley, if you are coming from a central location like Delhi, is to plan a road trip. Otherwise, you can also catch a train to the nearest railway stations (Ambala/Kiratpur) and then catch a bus or book a taxi to reach the location.
The nearest airport to Tirthan Valley is Bhuntar, located at a distance of around 48 km from the location. You can board a bus or take a taxi from these railway stations to reach the valley.
The HPTDC has regular bus services from neighbouring states like Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. To travel to Tirthan Valley, you can take a bus till Aut which is just 26 km from your destination. Cabs are easily available from there on till the town. Other options are Jalori Pass (27 km) and Shoja (22 km). AbhiBus too has an inventory of buses that ply the route from Delhi to Aut.
6 – Kannur Beach
We know that beaches are always a hit with tourists. But, Kannur is almost an untouched beach destination and is quite a beautiful one. Kannur Beach is a group of five beaches on the western side of Kannur city in Kerala province of India. Kannur draws visitors not only for its pristine beaches but also for its historical monuments, religious centers, natural beauty and many more. Moreover, the hill stations along with the backwaters and rivers have enhanced the natural beauty of this place. It does not come as a surprise, that Kannur even has an university, considering it is a part of Kerala. The place is also rich with various temples and you can find a lot of local cuisines that will keep you asking for more.
Apart from Kannur beach, Tellicherry Fort, Rajarajeshwara Temple, Vismayam, Muthappan Temple, Parassinikadavu State Park etc are some of the other places to enjoy and admire.
Best time to visit : October to June is a suitable time to check out Kannur but December is the best time to visit this place. Although this is that time of the year when everyone lets their hair down and parties, bringing the year to an exciting end….. one can choose to be different and end the year in peace and tranquility, adding to your list of wonderful memories over the last year. Kannur encourages and gives you time to introspect.
How to reach : By Air- Calicut International Airport 118 Km in the south and Mangalore International Airport 152 Km in Karnataka state are nearest airports to reach Kannur.
By Ship : The nearest sea port to reach Kannur is Mangalore in Karnataka state. Azhikkal Port in Kannur is for developing coastal shipping by the Govt. of India under National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP).
By Rail : Kannur Railway Station 3 km is the nearest railhead to reach the destination. Also, Kannur is well connected from all major cities in India like Mangalore, Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, Coimbatore, etc. It’s a major station of Southern Railways.
By Road : Kannur has various private and KSRTC buses running inside and outside the Kannur district. Kannur is on NH 66 (formerly National Highway 17), which is between Kozhikode and Mangalore. This place is also connected by bus to other major cities like Kochi, Madras, Kozhikode, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Coimbatore, Mangalore, and Madurai. Abhibus offers bus services from Ernakulam, Chennai, Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Mangalore, Coimbatore, Bengaluru to Kannur.
7 – Chopta, Uttarakhand
Chopta is one of the most unexplored places in India. This is a small region of meadows and evergreen forest area which is a part of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary located in Uttarakhand state, India and is a base for trekking to Tungnath, third temple of Panch Kedar, which lies 3.5 kilometres away. This little village with its beautiful hill slopes and picturesque green cover offers you a perfect break from your mundane, hectic urban life and has a little something for everybody’s relaxation. It is an unspoiled natural destination lying in the lap of the Uttarakhand Himalayas and offers views of the imposing Himalayan range. Chopta village is surrounded by forests of pine, deodar and rhododendron and is rich in flora and fauna, including rare species of birds and musk deer. Be it a long, relaxing stroll in the lush green meadows or a simple picnic with your family or a thrill-seeking plan with adventure sports, Chopta is the perfect destination to unwind. The Chopta – Tungnath – Chandrashila trek is a famous destinations for trekkers. This region has many treks and trails cutting through jungles and grasslands. Because of an abundance of birds, Chopta is also becoming popular among birdwatchers.
Some other activities that can be enjoyed in Chopta are camping, trekking, yoga, survival activity, skiing, rock craft, rock climbing, rappelling and photography.
Best time to visit : You can enjoy the beauty of this place from March to June when the little hill animals come out of hibernation and plants blossom in spring but its mesmerizing beauty surfaces from September to December.
How to reach : By air – The Jolly Grant Airport, which lies in the city of Dehradun, is the closest air link from Chopta. After arrival at the airport, you can hire a cab to cover a distance of around 226 km and reach the hill station of Chopta.
By rail : Rishikesh lies at a distance of around 200 km from Chopta. It’s, therefore, the nearest rail way station. There are regular express trains running to the town from different tourist destinations of the country. You can first catch a train to Rishikesh and then cover the remaining distance by road.
By road : No matter where you are in the state of Uttarakhand, you’ll find regular bus services to the town of Chopta. A good road network connects the town with the key tourist places in the state and outside of it. Chopta remains well connected by road to popular cities in the state including Rishikesh, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Gaurikund and Pauri among others. You can book bus tickets online at www.abhibus.com from Delhi to Rishikesh.
8 – Bhedaghat, Madhya Pradesh
Bhedaghat, a well-known tourist spot, is a small village about 25kms from Jabalpur city in the state of Madhya Pradesh, in Central India.
Here, the Narmada river passes through marble rocks which offers one a chance to view and enjoy the spell-binding beauty of natural rock formations. These tall mountains, are known to magically change shapes as you sail along the river. The calm Narmada throws in a beautiful surprise as she descends a massive 98 ft. creating the spectacular Dhuandhar falls. While nature flaunts its beauty, the magnificent Chaunsath Yogini Temple, dedicated to the goddess Durga, will take you back in time with its inimitable artistry. The beautiful sights of Bhedaghat will delight you and leave you asking for more. Besidses boating, tourists have many other activities to look out for…. photography, rope-way ride, ancient temples visit, scenic view of water fall and shopping. It is open for visitors in all seasons but boating remains closed in the monsoon season i.e. from July to September.
Best time to visit : September to March is the best time to visit Jabalpur. Rains are also beautiful here, so tourists also flock here during August and September. But summers should be avoided as temperature can reach as high as 45 degree Celsius.
How to reach : By Air – Bhedaghat is just 25kms from Jabalpur city center. It can be reached by surface travel from Jabalpur and can be visited any time. In rainy season, boating remains closed for approx. 03 months.
By rail : Jabalpur Railway Station is the closest one to Bhedaghat. All the trains stop here because Jabalpur is a major railway station. Taxis will drop you to Bhedaghat.
By road : Bhedaghat is easily accessible by roadways also. State-run buses are available from the city of Jabalpur. Government buses and shared autorickshaws are also available from Jabalpur to take you to Bhedaghat. The other method to reach Bhedaghat is by taking a motorboat from the jetty at Panchvati Ghat (Rs. 30 per head) and its a 50 minutes ride along the river Narmada.
9 – Kaas Plateau, Maharashtra
The Kaas Plateau, also known as the Kaas Pathar or Kas Sadas, is a plateau situated 25 kilometres west from Satara city in Maharashtra, India. The plateau is situated at an altitude of 1200 metres and is approximately 10 square kilometers in area. This picture perfect locale is known for various types of seasonal wild flowers which bloom and numerous species of endemic butterflies annually in the months of August and September. Kaas has more than 850 different species of flowering plants which include orchids, shrubs such as the Karvy, and carnivorous plants such as Drosera Indica. These high hill plateaus and grasslands turns into a ‘valley of flowers’ during monsoon season, particularly from August to early October. The orchids bloom here for a period of 3–4 weeks during this season. Kaas plateau is a World Natural Heritage site. To control possible damage by tourists, the number of visitors to the plateau has been restricted to 3,000 per day.
Best time to visit : Kaas Plateau should be visited after the rains till October end. Many people visit Kaas during the rains. However, the flowers bloom only in late August to September.
How to reach : There are two ways to reach Kaas. One the more direct way from Satara and another from Tapola via the link road connecting Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani to Kas Pathar. Kaas lake is on the south of the Kaas Plateau and is surrounded by dense forest. It lies between Sajjangad fort and the Kanher Dam. Koyna project is around 30 km towards the south of Kaas Lake. Vajrai Waterfall is also near from Kaas which is one of India’s highest waterfalls.
If you are coming from Pune or Mumbai, the best way to reach is to drive down, either in your car or with a group in a bus. If you coming from Satara, you can even hire an auto-rickshaw to come to Kaas. Drive down the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and NH4 upto Satara. Ask for directions for Kaas Road. The distance is about 22 km from Satara and the drive up to the valley is quite picturesque. One can opt to book their bus tickets from Pune and Mumbai to Satara, online at www.abhibus.com.
10 – Phuktal Monastery (Phugtal Monastery), Jammu & Kashmir
Zanskar valley, in the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir, is probably the most isolated valley in India and Phuktal is amongst the most remote places in Zanskar. Imagine a monastery built like a honeycomb. The Phuktal Monastery in Ladakh is a cliff-side monastery, built in the 12th century and it houses about 70 Buddhist monks. The foundation of the entire thing is merely built with clay and twigs. The monastery is built right under a cave entrance on the cliff. The earliest inhabitants of the cave were the 16 legendary followers of Buddha, whose images can still be found on the cave walls. ). The monastery today houses a main temple, prayer rooms, a library with rare sacred texts, apartments and living quarters, teaching facilities, a kitchen, and of course, the original cave and the sacred spring, which is protected. The Phuktal monastery is the epitome of monks living high up in the mountains, detached from the rest of the world ! It is one of the only Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh that can still be reached only by foot. Supplies to the monastery are brought on horses, donkeys, and mules in the warmer months, and in the frozen winters, they are transported through the frozen Zanskar River. A few hours of drive from Padum, the biggest town in Zanskar, brought us to the “end of the road”. After this, a compulsory walk of several hours (5 for the locals, we took a little less than 8 hours) through high mountain passes of the Greater Himalayas lead to the Phuktal monastery.
Best time to visit : Just like other attractions in Ladakh, the peak time to visit the Portugal monastery in Ladakh is between July to September.
How to reach : The only way to reach this monastery is trekking on the Padum-Manali route which starts from the Purney Bridge and is around 7 kilometers long.
Picture Credits: Holidify.Com, Adventures365.In, Upasana Sridharan – Trekearth, Anirban Mahapatra – Global Landscapes Forum, Parinde.Com, Kerala Tourism, Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board, Tripadvisor, Adventures365.In, Famous Places In India