To travel is to open your mind to new experiences. To travel solo is to get out of the comfort zone and explore your true self. To travel off the beaten track is to venture into the unknown and overcome all your fears. And, when all of this happens in India, it is synonymous with an unparalleled experience that’ll stay etched in your mind forever. India is the land of a million stories. It is a treasure box full of new experiences waiting to be probed. For solo travellers, this Asian peninsula can offer everything needed to satiate the wanderlust. If you’re planning to visit India all by yourself and travelling mainstream isn’t something that gives you a kick, these 10 offbeat spots are just for you.
1. Varkala Beach - Offbeat beauty of the south
Varkala is an unruffled and peaceful hamlet, located on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district in the state of Kerela. Some twenty odd years ago, this place was known as a meditating ground for swarms of sadhus (godmen). Once known as ‘Benares of the South’, today Varkala is an ideal spot for someone who travels to admire the beauty and history of a place. During the day, Varkala will have its sun-kissed beaches crowned by the cliff to offer. As the evening draws in, this place witnesses one of the most endearing sunsets in the country. The hamlet doesn’t sleep until late at night, so an amazing nightlife is in order. This lazy village is accessible via road, railways and air. The nearest airport is at Thiruvananthapuram. So, book a flight or take a car ride, this place is a must for the unconventional traveller in you.
2. Pushkar - Hippie capital of Western India
Pushkar is a small town bordering India’s mighty Thar Desert, in the north-western state of Rajasthan. It is known for the Pushkar Fair, which is held in November. An amalgam of spiritual rejuvenation and adventure is what this small place offers the best. Soak in the sun, ride camels, enjoy the folk music, chat with a sadhu and more; this place will unleash the real nomad in you.
3. Kausani - Uttrakhand's well-kept secret
Located at a 10-hour’s drive from the country’s capital in the state of Uttrakhand, Kausani has been untouched by the recent commercialisation. It is well-known for its picturesque grandeur and its stunning 300 km-wide panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks like Nanda Devi, Trishul, and Panchchuli. Perched at an altitude of 1890m above sea level, this beautiful Kumaon village will entice the nature lover in you. Book a homestay and enjoy the true zest of the Kumaon lifestyle while in Kausani. Rudhradhari Falls and Caves, Lakshmi Ashram, Sumitranandan Pant Gallery, and Tea Estates are some amazing attractions that you should visit here.
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4. Orchha - Laid-back and lovely
Caressed by the waters of Betwa River, Orchha is a historic town located in the Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh, India’s largest state. Bundela Rajput Chief, Rudra Pratap, founded the town in the 16th century. It seems to have stayed frozen in time and hasn’t aged a day ever since. The ancient monuments of this small town retain their original splendour even five centuries later today. Are you fascinated with the idea of travelling back in time? Well, Orchha will do it for you. Jahangir Mahal, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Metal Craft, Chhatris, Ram Raja Temple, and Raja Mahal are a few points of interest here.
5. Mawsynram - Raw and riveting
What do you think about travelling solo to the wettest place in India? Yes, Mawsynram is the one. This small village in East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya is an untouched, pristine option for a nature lover. This place is a paradise for solo travellers. Relish on a traditional Khasi Dish, Walk on the Root Bridges, Visit the Mawphlang Sacred Forest while on a solo jaunt to this serene North Eastern paradise.
6. Shoja - Himachal's untold
We know how Himachal Pradesh is famous for being an ultimate destination for solo travellers. Amidst all the commercialisation, the state has managed to keep a few secrets and Shoja is one of those. Located in the Seraj valley, it is a breathtakingly beautiful place. Here you can hike to nearby spots such as Raghupur Fort meadows, Serosler Lake, Waterfall and more. This small, hidden place has a hypnotic vibe that’ll definitely satiate your wanderlust.
7. Dhanushkodi - India's very own ghost town
Can there be anything more interesting than probing a real-life ghost town? Visit Dhanushkodi and find out for yourself. Located in the south-eastern tip of Pamban Island in the state of Tamil Nadu in India, this town was destroyed during the 1964 Rameswaram cyclone and remains uninhabited in the aftermath. Today, travel enthusiasts who like offbeat destinations and are intrigued by its history visit it.
8. Kalimpong - Breathtaking and beautiful
Resting at an elevation of 1250m, Kalimpong is a spectacular hill station in West Bengal in India. This town is famous for its breathtaking views, serene gardens, sumptuous Chinese food and local merchandise. Additionally, this lively bazaar town overlooks the roaring Teesta River and is lorded over by the summit of Khangchendzonga. A 4-day solo trip to this hill town can rejuvenate your senses. Places to see here are Deolo Hill, Kamilpong Cactus Nursery, Zong Dog Palri Fo Brang Gompa. It boasts Himalayan views, colonial-era architecture, Buddhist monasteries, and a fascinating nursery industry, all linked by some fine hikes.
9. Spiti Valley - Rouge yet rejuvenating
Spiti Valley is becoming quite popular amongst offbeat solo travellers in India. It is a desert mountain, which is being seen as an alternative to Leh and Ladakh, since the latter is being exploited at the hands of commercialisation. Drift from the tourist trails and explore the postcard village of Spiti on a solo trip. Tucked in the barren Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh, this valley is a world within a world as described by Rudyard Kipling. Here you can visit Buddhist monasteries that date back 1000 years, cross mountains in a makeshift pulley, take cooking classes with the locals. For women solo travellers, Spiti has been rated as one of the safest places in India.
10. Rann of Kutch - Mystical and marvelous
A seasonal salt marsh in the Thar Desert of India, Rann of Kutch is one of the largest salt deserts in the world. This place is believed to be one of the safest for female solo travellers in India. Irrespective of the gender, a solo traveller will find it enjoyable here, especially during the Rann Utsav. Dwell in this mystical side of Gujarat and you will not be disappointed with what the place has to offer.
You have the list – Get ready!
Now that you have this unbeatable list of offbeat places for solo travellers in India, all that you need to do is get your backpack out, book your tickets and just leave. Make sure you do your homework about these places in advance. For women who plan on going solo, I would suggest you book accommodation and transfers well in advance. Travel happy and safe. Plus, don’t forget to share your experiences with me.
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