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World Tourism Day: 5 offbeat travel destinations in India

A list of five vacation ideas that will take you off the beaten track in India and leave you with fabulous memories and experiences

At the top of Shinku La in Ladakh.
At the top of Shinku La in Ladakh. (Courtesy Rishad Saam Mehta)

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1. Take this shortcut if you're driving to Zanskar

Most tourists take the regular route to Zanskar but if you're seeking adventure and a test for your driving skills, try driving through the age-old walking tracks in the Zanskar range. What you'll experience along the way are gurgling streams, clean and cold Himalayan air with single-digit AQI, and no one around for miles. View the snowcapped peaks crowded like courtiers around the solitary, 5,320m high Gumbo Rangan, a mountain that’s considered sacred to the Buddhists of Zanskar. This is literally the middle of nowhere. Read more.

2. In Kudremukh, a homestay in the heart of the forest

Life in Mannapaapu Mane revolves around the courtyard.
Life in Mannapaapu Mane revolves around the courtyard. (Anita Rao Kashi)

Near Karnataka's Kudremukh National Park, a 200-year-old heritage home converted into a homestay is leading an experiment in letting nature take its course. At Mannapaapu Mane, a 200-year-old restored heritage house on the border of Kudremukh National Park, near Karkala in Karnataka, the forest pushes into the property, and makes it the perfect place to take in the sights and sounds of the monsoon. Read more.

3. How to explore Goa like a chef

(From left) Gaud Saraswat Brahmin meal; Bacalhau cremôso con gambas in Nostalgia, Goa.
(From left) Gaud Saraswat Brahmin meal; Bacalhau cremôso con gambas in Nostalgia, Goa. (Thomas Zacharias)

It may seem like there's nothing new to experience in Goa, but chef Thomas Zacharias takes us on a culinary journey, re-discovering the foods hidden from the average tourist. Through the prism of food, he shows us a side to Goa that most are oblivious to, one which might even be hidden from many locals. Read more.

4. Seek out a yogini in Odisha

You enter the first of the temples dedicated to the Chausath ‘yoginis’ in India through a circular, roofless structure.
You enter the first of the temples dedicated to the Chausath ‘yoginis’ in India through a circular, roofless structure. (Courtesy Tanushree Bhowmik)

Located in Hirapur, near Bhubaneswar, the Chausath Yogini temple has evaded the Bhubaneswar-Puri-Konark tourist route. The temple exemplifies the ancient feminist tradition of worship and is a short drive from Bhubaneswar. A perfect example of tantric architecture, this temple is like no other. There was no shikhara in sight, no flags flying off its pinnacle, not even the mandapam and ardhmandapam so characteristic of Kalinga temples. It is roofless because the yoginis are believed to be capable of flight. The low circular wall around the sanctum sanctorum has small niches, each with a black chlorite stone idol of a yogini astride her mount. Read more.

5. Chasing dholes in Pench National Park

Dholes are the only carnivores in India, besides the tiger, in the IUCN’s endangered category.
Dholes are the only carnivores in India, besides the tiger, in the IUCN’s endangered category. ( Courtesy Siddharth Khandelwal)

Dholes are dogs like no other—intelligent faces, pointed ears , bushy black-edged tails, looking like longer-legged foxes, or, rather, foxy foxes. It's hard to spot these endangered creatures, who hunt in packs and are known better for their whistling and shrieking in the forest. They are apex predators along with tigers and leopards, and spotting a pack can be just as thrilling. Read more.

Also read: 6 great monsoon drives

 

 

 

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