The top 10 off-beat wonders of India!

India, undoubtedly, is a land of wonders! There are many off-beat destinations which are unexplored, unknown and unspoken of! Many of them have made a mark on the world’s map owing to their unique perspective. They stand different when compared to cliche destinations and hence should be visited once for an enthralling and exciting experience.

Here I unravel a few unconventional travel options which might offer splendid joys if you are an inquisitive traveller. The journey to top 10 off-beat wonders starts here:

1. Muzhappilangad Beach in Kannur, Kerala, the longest drive-in beach in Asia

Imagine a long stretch of sandy land and blue waves hitting the black rocks while you drive on the sea shore. This visual experience becomes a reality when you reach Muzhappilangad Beach in Kannur. It’s the longest drive-in beach in Asia, where you can drive or bike along the 4 km pristine stretch. There are clusters of green trees on the other side which make the scene all the more appealing. To add more to its beauty is the amazing view of sunset.

How to reach

By air : Nearest airport is Kozhikode International Airport which is 100 km from Kannur

By rail: Nearest Railway Station is Kannur-15 km

By road: Kannur is 155 km south of Mangalore

2. Drass, the second coldest inhabited place in the world

drass.jpgIndia is home to the second coldest inhabited place in the world! Surprised? But yes, it is a true fact. Drass in Jammu and Kashmir enjoys the credit of being the second coldest inhabited place in the world! The temperature here dips to -50 degrees and the snow layer touches the height of 35ft. River Indus gets its water from this glacier.

By air: Nearest airport is Srinagar Airport (SXR) 98 km away

By train: Drass does not have any train station. Nearest option is Udhampur which is 176 km from Drass.

By road: The driving distance between Srinagar and Drass is 151 km

3. Nohkalikai Falls, Meghalaya, is the tallest plunge waterfall in India

Nohkalikai Falls, Meghalaya.jpg

You might have enjoyed the beauty of several cascading waterfalls but are you aware which one of them is the tallest plunge waterfall and in which part of India is it located?

It’s Nohkalikai Falls located near Cherrapunji, which is a 3-hour drive from Shillong, and is said to be the tallest waterfall plunge of India. The gushing water cascades from a height of 1115 feet (340 metres) from this waterfall.

How to reach:

By air: The nearest airport is Guwahati airport which is 128 kms from the site.

By road:  From Guwahati, it’s a 4-hour journey to Shillong, which is about 54 km distance to Cherrapunji. From Cherrapunji main town, it’s a 10 mins journey to the falls. One can also hire a taxi to reach the falls.

4. Mawlynnong Village in Meghalaya, the cleanest village in Asia

Mawlynnongvillage.jpg

At a time when Clean India campaign has made waves across the nation, not many of us might be aware that one of the north-eastern states houses the cleanest village in Asia.

You can visit Mawlynnong Village and can trust your eyes by looking at this “Cleanest village in Asia”. Tucked in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, this place is also known as ‘God’s Own Garden’. The credit of attaining such a high quotient of cleanliness goes to the local community which has made an honest attempt to maintain its pristine ambience. The narration of this place goes incomplete without mentioning about the Living Root Bridge, which is yet another wonder.

How to reach

By air: The nearest airport is Shillong Airport in Umroi, Meghalaya

By train: The nearest railway station is Guwahati (120 kms)

By road: Mawlynnong is 90 kms southwards of Shillong.

5. Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh, where the earliest rock paintings took shape

Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh.jpg

This is the place where a new era started! Bhimbetka marks the beginning of the South Asian Stone Age. Declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, it contains the earliest rock paintings. These are as old as 30,000 years old and are the first proof of human life in the Indian subcontinent.

How to reach

By air: The nearest airport is Bhopal airport which is 55-km from the site.

By train: Bhopal railway station. You can find taxi service easily.

By Road: You can reach Bhopal by road which is well-connected by road.

6. Lonar Crater Lake in Maharashtra created by meteor impact

Loktak Lake in Manipur.jpg

Many years back, the mysterious Lonar Crater Lake was created by a meteor impact. This is a saline soda lake which is one of the most interesting offbeat places to visit in India. Besides scientists, the Lonar Carter Lake also attracts numerous travellers. The lake is also surrounded by diversified flora and fauna, which make it a lot more exciting!

How to reach:

Air: Nearest Airport is Aurangabad which is 122 km from the site.

Rail : Nearest Railhead is Malkapur on the Mumbai-Bhusawal line, or Jalna 90 km.

Road: Lonar is well connected by regular bus service from Malkapur, Khamgaon, Aurangabad, Ajanta, Buldhana, Jalgaon & Mumbai in Maharashtra.

7. Borra Caves in Andhra Pradesh making yet another natural wonder in India

Borra Caves.jpgBorra Caves in Andhra Pradesh are yet another wonder in Incredible India! They date back to over million years. Discovered by Willian King George in 1807, these caves originated from river Gosthani owing to its continuous flow over the limestone terrain. The presence of mercury, sodium vapour and halogen illuminates the Borra Caves. Situated at a height of nearly 4265 feet above sea level and around 95 kms away from Vishakhapatnam, these caves are the biggest in India considering the geographical area they are spread on.

How to reach

By air: The nearest international airport is Visakhapatnam Airport, 76 km (47.2 mi) from Borra caves and 12 km from the Visakhapatnam city center.

By road: You can reach Vishakapatnam which is 90 km away from the site

By train: The train journey is over a distance of 100 km (62.1 mi) from the Vishkapatanam railway station. It takes about 5 hrs to the railway station near the caves called the Borra Guhalu Railway station’.

8. Loktak Lake in Manipur, the only floating lake in the world!

Loktak Lake in Manipur.jpg

Another incredible fact in Incredible India! The country is home to the one and only floating lake existing in the world. Besides, Loktak Lake is also the largest freshwater lake in northeast India. It got its name as the floating lake due to the large number of phumdis present on the surface. Phumdis are heterogeneous mass of organic matter that have solidified over the years. This ancient lake also has the only floating park in the world.

How to reach

By air: The closest airport to Phumdi, Loktak Lake is Imphal Tulihal Airport

By rail: The closest junction to Phumdi, Loktak Lake is Dimapur railway station

By road: Phumdi, Loktak Lake is easily accessible by using Manipur State Road Transport Corporation and some private bus services from all major towns of Manipur and surrounding areas.

9. Gurudongmar Lake in Sikkim is one of the highest lakes in the world!

Gurudongmar Lake in SikkimSituated at a height of 17,000 feet above sea level, the Gurudongmar Lake enjoys the credit of being one of the highest lakes in the world. Throughout the year, the lake water looks milky. And the view of water merging with mist is quite stunning here.

The Gurudongmar Lake also enjoys religious significance and is considered sacred by the Hindus and Buddhists as well. During winters, the entire lake freezes except one side which people believe is blessed by Guru Padmasambhava.

How to reach

By air: The nearest airport is Bagdogra near Siliguri, which is at a distance of 124 km from Gangtok

By road: It is a 7-8 hour journey from Gangtok through lush greenery and waterfalls as one reaches the Lachen village, which is the base for the trip to Gurudongmar.

By Train: The nearest railhead is New Jalpaiguri which is well-connected to most of the major cities in India.

10 Barren Island in the Andamans is the only active volcano in South Asia!

Barren Island in the Andamans (1).jpg

The Andaman & Nicobar islands in the East houses the little Barren island, which is home to South Asia’s only active volcano. It is basically composed of the volcano and its debris.

The volcano’s last eruption was reported on July 19, 2009 and till date, it continues to exhale clouds of ash. This island was uninhabited a few years back, however, many wild goats have secretly made it their home. You will be surprised to see them going down to the sea to drink salt water.

How to reach

The only way to reach Barren Island is by Ship. A passenger ship with a capacity of 75 pax goes to Barren Island from Phoenix Bay Jetty, Port Blair every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of the week. It starts from Port Blair at 09.00 pm and comes back next day 11.00 am.

Tickets are issued from Inter Island Ticketing Counter between 1400 hrs. to 1500 hrs. on the day of sailing.

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