Not that we need an excuse to pack our bags, but, it is National Tourism Day. Now, Tuscany, Normandy or the Berlin Wall and the Louvre might be on your bucket list, and we would be thrilled to visit these places as well, why not take a closer look home? From the mountains of Leh-Ladakh to the beaches of Goa and Kerala, our country offers a variety when it comes to terrain, language, culture and food. Here are offbeat destinations to explore.
Tirthan, Himachal Pradesh
Himachal has a lot more to offer beyond Shimla and Manali. Head to Tirthan Valley, with lush greenery and snow-capped mountains. There are several multi-day treks to explore or you could choose a single-day hike. Also, Tirthan is situated right in the middle of the Great Himalayan National Park, which is spread across three valleys. Tirthan is close to both Shimla and Manali. So, take a pick and make a trip of it!
Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh
Known for its natural beauty and hills, Ziro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is home to the Apatani tribe. Head to Pine Grove with some snacks and a book for some quiet time or visit the Kile Pakho ridge, where you can view different landscapes at once-- the lush Ziro plateau on one side and the snow-clad Himalayas on the other. Don't miss visiting the Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.
The white sands of Rann of Kachchh definitely have a mystique about them. While here, you could visit Vijay Vilas Palace, Aaina Mahal, Kutch Museum and several other cultural sites. Make sure to plan an evening with some downtime to enjoy the desert in the moonlight. Then there's the Fossil Park, where you'll find sea fossils.
Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
If you are a beach bum, look no further than Havelock Island or Swaraj Dweep. There are several activities you could do like snorkelling, scuba diving or kayaking through the mangrove forest. Or you could just sip on a cocktail and lie in the sun. or then, visit Barren Island to see India's only active volcano.
Yes, yes, Mussoorie isn't exactly offbeat. But you could still choose to do offbeat things, like a trek at Nag Tibba. Another trek you could go for, near Mussoorie, is, Benog Tibba, a trek that could take 12 hours to and fro.
Halebid is a town in Hassan district, Karnataka. It is a historical site, where you will find remains of the Hoysala Dynasty, which ruled the region for 150 years. Belur and Shravanabelagola are close by, where you'll find beautiful Jain monuments. Or, if is an adventure that you seek, head to Chandragiri Hills, a little over an hour away, for a trek.