If you are looking for a thrilling and memorable way to spend the festive season, why not explore some of the offbeat destinations in India? From snow-clad mountains to white salt deserts, from serene backwaters to vibrant cultural festivals, India has a lot to offer for those who want to experience something different and unique. Here are some of the best offbeat places to visit in India during Christmas and New Year.
Chatpal, Kashmir: A Winter Wonderland
Chatpal is a quaint town in south Kashmir, about 90 km from Srinagar, that remains covered with snow in December. The town is surrounded by pine trees, wildflowers, and majestic mountains, offering a stunning view of nature. Chatpal is ideal for those who want to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing holiday, away from the crowds and commercialisation. You can indulge in nature walks, sip some local Kashmiri chai, or go on treks to explore the scenic valleys. Chatpal is also a great place to witness the beauty of snowfall, which adds a magical touch to the landscape.
Rann of Kutch, Gujarat: A Desert Delight
Rann of Kutch is the largest salt desert in the world, located in Gujarat. The desert is a mesmerising sight, with its white salty crust stretching for miles. The best time to visit Rann of Kutch is between November and February, when the annual Rann Utsav takes place. This is a cultural extravaganza that showcases the artistic and ethnic heritage of Kutch. You can enjoy various activities like night desert safaris, camping under the stars, folk music and dance, handicrafts, and cuisine. Rann of Kutch is also home to a rich biodiversity, with 13 species of lark and the rare flamingos.
Dawki, Meghalaya: A Crystal Clear Paradise
Dawki is a small town in Meghalaya, situated on the border of India and Bangladesh. The town is famous for the Umngot River, also known as the Dawki River, which is one of the clearest rivers in the world. The river has a transparent quality, allowing you to see the bottom and the fish swimming in it. You can take a boat ride on the river and feel like you are floating in the air. Dawki is also a beautiful place to enjoy the greenery and the hills of Meghalaya. You can visit the nearby Mawlynnong Village, which is known as the cleanest village in Asia, and admire the living root bridges and the balancing rock.
Gokarna, Karnataka: A Beach Bliss
Gokarna is a coastal town in Karnataka, often considered as a quieter and cheaper alternative to Goa. Gokarna has some of the most pristine and secluded beaches in India, such as Om Beach, Half Moon Beach, and Paradise Beach. You can relax on the sandy shores, swim in the Arabian Sea, or try some water sports like surfing and snorkelling. Gokarna is also a hub for party lovers, especially during New Year, when the town hosts some of the most happening rave parties. You can mingle with the international crowd, enjoy the music and the drinks, and welcome the new year with a bang.
Lolegaon, West Bengal: A Hill Station with a View
Lolegaon is a charming hill station in West Bengal, located in the Kalimpong district. The hill station offers a clear and breathtaking view of the Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world. You can also visit the Heritage Forest, which is a dense forest of oak and cypress trees, and walk on the 180-meter hanging bridge that connects the forest. Lolegaon is a perfect place to enjoy the winter chill and the snowfall, if you are lucky. You can also visit the nearby attractions like Lava, Rishop, and Rishyap, which are equally scenic and serene.
Khonoma, Nagaland: A Green Village with a History
Khonoma is a village in Nagaland, belonging to the Angami Naga tribe. The village is known as the first green village in India, as it has banned hunting and deforestation in its surrounding jungles. The village is also known for its history of resistance against the British colonial rule, and its unique terrace farming techniques. You can visit Khonoma to learn about the culture and lifestyle of the Naga people, and to appreciate their efforts in conserving their natural resources. You can also witness the rich flora and fauna of the village, and spot some rare and endangered species like the blyth’s tragopan.
Chuka Beach, Uttar Pradesh: A Hidden Gem in the Forest
Chuka Beach is a hidden gem in Uttar Pradesh, located in the Mahof Forest Range between the Sharda Sagar Dam and the Sharda Canal. The beach is a part of the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, and offers a tranquil and scenic escape from the city life. You can enjoy the view of the water, the sand, and the forest, and spot some of the wildlife that inhabits the area. You can also visit the treehouse that is built on the beach, and get a panoramic view of the surroundings. Chuka Beach is a place where you can experience the best of both worlds, the forest and the beach.