Alternative holiday ideas in India!

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Alternative holiday ideas in India!

When you think of India as a travel destination, there are only few names that show up, year after year. It’s about time we move over the proverbial Golden Triangle (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur), the backwaters of Kerala, hill stations of Manali & Shimla, the beaches of Goa and the Bollywood tour of Mumbai. The reason being India is much more than these five shinning stars! Beyond the well-known are some lesser known treasures that are still uncharted and thus have an air of secrecy about them! However, these hot spots may not appease the general public but will certainly attract the fancy free wanderlust and individuals with insatiable appetite for alternative holidaying.

Come on in, and prepare yourself to go deep inside the country. Let your bare feet re-connect with Mother India. Let the fascinating sights and sounds captivate you. Let your heart open up to the unopened alleys and avenues. Maybe, you could explore one of these options or include all of them in your next annual holiday to India.


The landscape of the Zanskar valley in Ladakh is so surreal that for once you pinch yourself to understand whether you’re there or just imagining things. The mountain desert is that beautiful. It is there you can relish the virgin air, take pleasure in the silence of the wilderness and wonder about nature’s grandeur. Besides, your mind opens to a whole new world of people living in such harsh conditions that you feel blessed about your own life. Eventually, when your trek is done, you come down as a changed person, rejuvenated definitely, but humbled too.


Imagine 10 solid days of utter silence and without having to communicate with anyone. In such isolation, the only sound you would probably hear is your heartbeat and the pulse running throughout your body! This is Vipassana, a residential 10-day course and an ancient technique of meditation that helped Buddha reach enlightenment. Vipassana has centers in almost all the continents but India branches, especially the principal center at Igatpuri; Maharashtra is so popular that bookings are made 2-3 months in advance!


During the three-day extravaganza, the barren desert of Thar comes alive with the display of bright colored costumes, fun atmosphere, and cheerful people from all over the world. Desert Festival is a reflection of the vibrancy of the state and showcases local attractions like handicrafts, folk songs, dance, camel rides, processions and interesting competitions against the backdrop of fireworks exhibits and illuminated forts! The Festival is held every year in February and organized by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation.


India is a country with a rock-solid history carved in stones. Those exquisite carvings are a witness to India’s past glory and a reflection of our brilliance in the department of arts and crafts. On a deeper level, those impressions are a beautiful narration of life and love! India is home to innumerable such places and there are few that have been stamped as World Heritage Sites. The temples of Khajuraho, Group of Monuments in Mahabalipuram and Hampi, Ajanta & and Ellora Caves in Aurangabad, and The Sun Temple in Konark among many others are indeed a dream trip for art lovers!


The tiny Himalayan kingdom, known for its virgin beauty and warm hospitality, has a flourishing tourism and to further boost the prospect, Govt. of Sikkim has recently introduced a new concept called Village Tourism. So, if you opt for this unusual fete, you would be basically staying with village families, eating meals cooked by them, getting yourself entertained by folk dances and songs, touring the countryside, and maybe, even learn how to grow vegetables! What better way to know a place and learn about a new culture than through its people.

Do you know of such hidden treasures or unconventional holiday ideas in India?

By |December 30th, 2011|INDIA, TRAVEL|7 Comments


  1. VIWA December 31, 2011 at 8:42 am - Reply

    @ TheGoodWife – Yes, Desert Festival looks like an interesting idea. Very different from the usual city tours.

    @ Anita – Oh yes…Toy Train, the crown of Darjeeling. Thanks for reminding me. 🙂

    @ Gym Exercise – Thank you for visiting by. I’ll keep posting more.

  2. anita December 31, 2011 at 3:05 am - Reply

    Beautiful article….
    And…and…and, while visiting the north-eastern part of India, don’t forget to enjoy the ride on the World Heritage – TOY TRAIN of Darjeeling.

  3. TheGoodWife December 30, 2011 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Haven’t traveled much in India. My wandering are just restricted to the metros. But want to visit Jaisalmer,and especially during the Desert Festival. I have heard so much about the fun and frolic of the three day treat.

  4. VIWA December 30, 2011 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    Hi Deena,

    Thank you for liking what I wrote. I’ve been to Shillong and Andamans, and both are b’ful places. Someday I want to go to Arunachal Pradesh, I’ve heard so much about the place. But it is a long, long days of flight and train and bus and boat journey!

  5. VIWA December 30, 2011 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    Thanks Ivy.

    Yes, I’ve been to Ladakh. Infact I trekked to Ladakh.:) Did the Darcha to Padum route of 8 days! It was one of the most thrilling and challenging ‘project’ I have ever undertaken. Never did imagine I could walk 8-10 hours for 8 days on those treacherous mountain roads. It’s there I realized the significance of your mental wellness and your will power. Just being physically fit isn’t enough. When I was writing the bit on Zanskar valley, I got transported to the enchanting mountain desert and re-lived the entire experience again.

  6. Ivy December 30, 2011 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    Loved it! Discovered some more treasures of India today.

    I’ve been to Ladakh but I flew, so I missed the landscape you described but I got an idea about what you’re talking about. Darcha to Padum trek is one of the most sought after but it is supposed to be quite a walk. Have you been to Ladakh? There’s another route that’s quite popular, it’s the Valley of flowers in Uttaranchal. I’ve heard about the Portugese part of Goa being quite a place to visit.

  7. deena_the_diva December 30, 2011 at 4:42 pm - Reply


    I enjoyed reading your article. Nicely put! There are many hidden treasures in India, but as you said ‘there’s an air of secrecy about them’…so even I am not aware of all of them. I heard Arunachal Pradesh is mesmerising, and so is Amboli ghat where Madhuri Dixit went for her honeymoon. There are others like Kaziranga National park, Kashmir valley, Andamans, Shillong. Can’t remember anything more. 🙂

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