At a time when the holiday bells are tolling, the perfect way to rediscover yourself is to take a vacation to explorethe unexplored places in India. This festive season, travel the lengths and breadths of our country and find joy in the offbeat corners of it. We’ve put together for you the absolute must-see offbeat places in India which are offbeat and travelogues often skip because of the obscure nature of these locales. After all, Columbus wouldn’t be Columbus if he’d stuck to taking the same journey again and again, right?

1. Kurnool, Seemandhra: Historically yours
History, locales and sunny climes punched into a single place. Who wouldn’t want that for an offbeat vacation? Kurnool is home to a number of temples such as the Peta Anjanyeswami temple, the Venugopalaswami temple, the new Shirdi Sai Baba Temple. Other offbeat tourist attractions are the Belum caves, Birla mandir, Oravakallu Rock Garden, Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary and the Tomb of Abdul Wahab. When to visit: November- February, as the summers tend to get very hot and the monsoons are quite wet. The cooler months are a better time to lose yourself in this pretty little unexplored place in Seemandhra.

2. Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh: Explore The Unexplored
A lesser known offbeat place in the crown of the North-East, Ziro is one of those places which boasts of agreeable climate throughout the year. Observe the beautiful green patches and rice fields, feel at home with the Apa Tani tribe and let your camera stretch its legs. All this and more. Enjoy! Best time to visit: Throughout the year. The weather is pleasant and soothing for an offbeat holiday.

3. Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh: Monastery hopping
Situated at a height of about 3048 meters above sea level, Tawang is a beautiful yet offbeat hill town that houses several monasteries. It is also popular as the birth place of the Dalai Lama. The best time to visit this picturesque offbeat place is in the months of March to September, as the summers are cool, while winters are often snow-clad. When to visit Tawang: March to September. The summers are cool and pleasant, but the winters can get bitterly cold. The spring is the best time to see the valley in all its shiny glory.

4. Majuli, Assam: Water Water everywhere!
Famous as the “World’s largest fresh water island”, this idyllic river island on the River Brahmaputra is located 20 kilometers away from the city of Jorhat. Referred to as the cultural capital of Assam, Majuli is a beautiful and unexplored place resplendent with several festivals throughout the year. A must visit offbeat place t travel. Ideal season to visit Majuli: Majuli is probably most beautiful during the monsoon, when the river is swollen and beautiful. October-March is a nice time to visit, with the cool climate makes a trip to Majuli absolutely worthwhile.

5. Manas National Park, Assam: Unity in Diversity
Manas National Park is one of the UNESCO Natural World Heritage sites in Assam. It boasts of an Elephant Reserve, a Tiger Reserve and a biodiversity reserve. Neat and clean, well kept and not crowded like a Mumbai local during peak hours, this tends to a be a great choice for a peaceful holiday place. The best time to visit Manas National Park are from October to April.

6. Champaner – Pavagadh, Gujarat: Wrapped in history
This is one of those UNESCO World Heritage Sites that will blow your mind away with its historical appeal. It is said that the Pavagadh hills are nothing but a chunk of the Himalayas carried over by Hanuman during Ramayana. A town with historical ruins set in the lap of the Pavagadh hills, this is a surefire offbeat place to visit. October to February are the best months to visit Champaner Pavagadh. The Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is open all year and is a delight to visit for its Hindu and Islamic styles of design.

7. Patan, Gujarat: Old world charm
One of the newest addtitions to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, Patan has sprung to popularity in traveler circuits because of its Rani ka Vav. Surrounded by huge walls and a very old world charm, this former capital of medieval Gujarat will make for a lovely offbeat holiday place to travel to. The weather of Patan is at its most favorable during the months of October to March.

8. Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh Mini Switzerland of India
Paharon ki Mallika, Famous as the “Mini Switzerland of India”, Khajjiar is a beautiful, sleepy hill town near Dalhousie that’s replete with hills, lakes and meadows, a la Bollywood Ghost Movies. Visitors, apart of reveling in the quiet mystery of this glorious, yet underrated hill town, can also partake of various adventure sports like paragliding, horse-riding, trekking and the like. Khajjiar can be easily visited throughout the year. However, during the cold months, roads are often sealed off due to heavy snowfall. This may end up being a trip spoiler. However, if you’re an adventurous traveler, carry heavy woollens

9. Shojha, Himachal Pradesh: The beauty of simplicity
Shojha is a lovely hill village in the lap of the Himalayas, complete with several temples made out of wood and ample photographic opportunities. Gently undulating slopes and the green shade all about makes Shojha a dream holiday place, pristine, untouched and pure. Though Shojha experiences moderate climate throughout the year, the best months to visit are April to June. The natural beauty of the village is at its peak during these months. The autumn months make the Dhauladhar and Himalayas a feast for the eyes from Shojha.

Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh: An unsung song of mystery
This is one of those unexplored places which has something on offer for everyone. Adventure sports, trout fishing, exploration of an under-explored hill town, all punched into one lovely combination called Tirthan Valley. Take your pick on what you wish to do while you’re here and visit accordingly. Oh! Also, there’s the option of doing absolutely nothing and chilling in the pine-studded landscape of Tirthan Valley! Ideal weather to visit Tirthan Valley: March-June, October-November. For those who wish to do trout fishing in the River Tirthan, the warmer time of the year are preferable.

A post graduate in Journalism from Banaras Hindu University, food, travel and writing for pleasure keep her going. Besides being a closet chef and a bookworm; scribbling and Nature give her all the inspiration she needs. Follow her on Twitter at @peevi.

By Pallavi Siddhanta

Tags: Travel, offbeat, destinations, travelers