What is the biggest hurdle you face while planning a vacation? Surely, it isn’t the packing or the making of reservations but zeroing down on the destination. As soon as you begin, you realize that most of the popular tourist places have either been explored already, especially the domestic ones, or are overcrowded. Such places are not only chaotic and expensive but also the victims of excessive littering.

The third-largest country in Asia, India is home to some of the most scenic wonders of nature and yet, most travellers stick to the same old places. The reason behind this is a lack of awareness about the hidden treasures. If you want to skip a swarming destination full of tourist traps and added expenses, you can consider the below places.

Here are 6 lesser-known destinations in India which are the perfect substitutes for the much-frequented getaways:

 

Malana, Himachal Pradesh

A pristine hamlet in Himachal Pradesh, Malana is tucked away from civilization. This offbeat destination in India is one you must visit and it is for the following reasons. Malana is extremely beautiful snuggled amid snow-capped mountains; you will love to spend time here. Trekking in this scenic outdoors is truly unforgettable. The residents of Malana are said to be the descendants of Alexander the Great. They have their own unique administrative system which will be a great experience. Lastly, the cream of Malana is a big lure.

Best time to visit: March to June and September to October

How to reach: Malana can be reached by trekking or by buses and taxis. Get to Kullu by air or road and then make way to the hill town.

 

Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

Offbeat and truly beautiful, Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh is one of the must-visit places in North East India. The hill townhouses several monasteries and is popular as the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama. Visit the picturesque town for its incredible monasteries, waterfalls and snow-capped mountains. The culture, food and lifestyle of Tawang further add to the unforgettable memories of your vacation. Recharge your spiritual sense in this serene location. Go trekking, learn about Buddhist culture, and whatever you do discover peace in yourself.

Best time to visit: March to September

How to reach: Tawang is a minimum 4-hour drive from Tezpur in Assam. The city is the closest airport connected to most of the domestic airports in the country.

 

Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu

Located in the lap of the Nilgiri Hills, Kotagiri is a pleasant mountain getaway. Why it’s offbeat is it is relatively lesser-known and untouched. Walk amid the lush tea plantations or interact with workers plucking tea leaves in the early hours of the day. Plan out trekking expeditions, there are quite a many trails that take you to the heart of the mountains. Escape to the heart of nature. Spot waterfalls and free animals. Spending a weekend or a short vacation, the fresh mountain air rejuvenates your senses.

Best time to visit: Throughout the year

How to reach: Kotagiri has its own railway station. The nearest airport is Coimbatore International Airport.

 

Naukuchiatal, Uttarakhand

The lesser-known cousin of Nainital, Naukuchiatal is our next amazing offbeat destination in India. The nine-cornered lake is an equally beautiful hill retreat, if not more. The beautiful lake stretches for 1 kilometre. On its shores lies a scenic village. This is the place to go for pure natural bliss on the lake shores. Give Nainital a miss and settle in the serene town. Spend a relaxing vacation waking up at sunrise, boating, fishing and camping. Go for walks in the blessed environs, it is a place where you feel your weary soul healed.

Best time to visit: April to June, September to November. The hill town is best avoided in the season of heavy rainfall and winter because of excessive snow.

How to reach: The nearest well-connected town in Nainital, is an hour drive. The nearest airport is in Dehradun and the closest railway station is Ramnagar.

 

Shoja

Located in Himachal Pradesh 8500 Ft above sea level, Shoja is a place that one usually finds out about through word of mouth. A small village that offers the best that nature can give you (with tables and chairs made of tree trunks) is often ignored by the Kasol-loving crowd. A drive in the densely covered valley, snow-covered trees and a beautiful guesthouse with a small stream. Shoja is a perfect weekend retreat.

Best Time to visit: Shoja is pretty much open all through the year but the best time would be from March to November.

How to Reach: The Bhuntar airport in Kullu-Manali is the closest airbase to the village nearly 8 km away from Shoja. You can easily hire a cab from outside the airport to your destination. The Bhuntar airport is directly linked to many major cities like Delhi, Shimla, etc.

 

Mokokchung - Nagaland

Mokokchung is an ancient village belonging to Mokokchung District of the former Naga Hills of Nagaland. The word Mokokchung when literally translated means a group of people who left their motherland rather unwillingly. History has it that a group of Soyim people settled here after leaving Soyim despite the requests of other Soyim residents. Mokokchung Village is one of the largest villages of Nagaland and one of the major places where you can see the descendants and cultures of the tribe AoNaga. People who wish to explore North-east India, make plans to explore Mokokchung District. The ‘village’ is as large as a district as a whole and has become a quite popular tourist attraction over the years. This old village has several clans residing who speak in a singular dialect of Mongsen. It is a part of the most culturally rich and intellectual district of Nagaland.

Best Time to visit: Mokokchung Village enjoys a warm summer where temperatures range below 32 degrees Celsius and experience heavy rainfall between the months of June to September. Winter is a comfortable season to enjoy your vacation in Mokokchung Village, Nagaland.

How to Reach: There are options of local transport like taxis from the airport of Dimapur (194.6 km). There is no railway station in Mokokchung Village; however, you can take the rental cars from Dibrugarh Railway Junction and reach this village (207.2 km).


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