To a true traveller, his destination is not merely a location, it is rather an expression of his inner being. There is always something intimate if not personal between the two. The choice of the destination often speaks of the latent recreational inclinations of the individual. India brims with such varied destinations of leisure. You haven’t really travelled in India if its unconventional marvels are yet unknown to you. There’s something for every bent of mind. Categories there are many, options are in tonnes. But the places that stand out have been little known to the throngs.
Here is a list of places suited to different preferences.
For the Trailblazers – THE DOUBLE DECKER LIVING ROOT BRIDGE IN CHERRAPUNJEE
This is for the pioneers or explorers who love to discover and put things on the map. In the wettest place on earth, lies another gem, the Double Decker Root Bridge in Nongriat. Standing at a height of 2400 metres, the all-natural bridge is made of entwined roots of rubber trees by generations of khasi Tribe. The two bridges, one above the other, are one of their kind and oldest in the world. It is a downhill hike of 3000 steps from the village of Tyrna to Nongriat. The walk is pretty steep till the village of Nongthymmai, a welcome diversion where the longest living root bridge Ritymmem, waits to be brought to light. Heading back to the appointed course, prepare to be enthralled. You need to cross two very old and shaky iron suspension bridges across the gushing streams. Charge like a Rhino or tread carefully; the choice is yours. Of the bridge, not much can be said, it can only be witnessed. You are left in awe, marvelling at the skills of the Khasi and the animated subsistence of the bridges.
For adrenalizing treks- KHEER GANGA IN THE PARVATI VALLEY IN KULLU DISTRICT.
Trekking is an art. It is an understanding of the roads less travelled. The Kheerganga trek is one such trek that tests the skill and the will of a trekking enthusiast. The base is in the village of Barsaini, some 40 km away from the popular tourist spot Kasol. Here at the confluence of the rivers Parvati and Tosh starts a trek, ever so challenging and titillating. The climb is steep, wet and slippery and demands caution. Passing through beautiful waterfalls, lush green trees, a temple and small villages along with the constant gushing of the Parvati River at the backdrop, the Kheerganga is a utopian trail to be trudged upon. The view at the top is mesmerizing. You see all around you dense pine forest and the glorious Himalayan range. The water in natural hot sulphur spring is indeed white as milk hence the name. The dip in it therapeutic or refreshing or meditative, depending on your interpretation. Camp for the night or stay at the many huts to enjoy the rustic charm of your surroundings.
A luxurious relaxation hide away – THE KHYBER HIMALAYAN RESORT AND SPA, IN GULMARG
This is for the worn out and the weary, the people who are always on the go. Where time constraints and deadlines offer no respite, all you need is a hop into the plane and a quick getaway to de-stress and unwind. The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa is a blissful escape for people of this kind. Spread over seven acres, the resort brings forth a spectacular view of the snow covered Affarwat Peaks of the Pir Panjal mountain range. Contrasting against the white background are pine trees, lush and green, painting the oicture of your favorite mountain scene. The rooms are ethnically decorated in all their lavishness. Even the bathrooms provide the view outside through the glass panels for windows. You could get some intense massage therapy in the exclusive spa by the French brand L’occitane. The temperature regulated indoor pool within a glass façade gives a full view of the cold surroundings as you float ensconced in the warmth within the walls. If you feel a little active you could go for a trek or skiing. Not to mention the golf course nearby, for those who play golf, it is a must try.
For the history buffs – TRANQUEBAR NOW THARANGAMBADI IN TAMIL NADU.
Take a break from the text book locations in historical books and delve into the bygone tales of an era of a little Danish History. A colossal tower gate invites you in, right into a world of forts and museums, churches and carriage porches to temples and beaches. Buildings here represent the splendor of colonial architecture. Standing out, however, is the ancient Indian Shiva temple amidst the foreign structures. The Zion church is one of firsts in the history of the protestant church. Another one houses a mausoleum of Bartholomaus Ziegenberg, a missionary who translated old and new testaments into Tamil, just so you know. There is more to explore in these antiquated constructions. The flanking beach, also makes for a leisurely diversion. Take a walk along the singing waves or Tharangambadi or a boat ride to the isolated island in the Uppanar River for a quiet me-time or simply visualize and explore the life that once existed and add to your cache of historical voyages.
The deep sea experience at ANDAMAN ISLANDS
The entire cluster of islands that comprise of Andamans has something to offer in terms of marine flora and fauna. The pristine blue beaches with their ever changing hues are a visual delight. Start looking a little deeper and there is more than what appears on the surface. Snorkelling in the shallows gives a glimpse of the psychedelic life under the ocean. Dive deeper and deeper into one of the richest coral reef ecosystems staring right into your face. Almost every island boasts of a unique reef or fish sightings. It is a diver’s paradise no doubt. For those who cannot dive deep, Neil islands come to the rescue. The Laxmanpur 2 Bridge not only houses the renowned natural rock bridge but also boasts of 4000 varieties of corals and other underwater life. As the water recedes during low-tide,be prepared to witness colourful fish, wriggling eels, clams, magical colour changing corals right on the surface in the salty pools created by low-tide. All this, without the effort involved in snorkelling, diving or glass bottom boats. Thus, in the Andamans, the sea life is for everyone.
So pack your bags and put your travelling shoes on. India just got more bucket list worthy than before.