While to many a trip to India in itself can be a unique and rewarding experience that very few of your friends or family can relate too, yet once you arrive in this subcontinent you will soon realize you aren’t the only foreigner here. While seeing the Taj Mahal surrounded by crowds is to be expected (and definitely still worth it!) here are a few of India’s off the beaten path destinations so you can beat the crowds and experience true Indian culture.
Bordering Tibet, Buthan, and Nepal is Sikkim. This relatively small Indian state is home to a huge amount to see including the third biggest mountain in the world. If you want to experience the relaxing and natural wonder of the Himalayans without leaving India, Sikkim is the ideal place. Home to some of India’s best Tibetan Buddhist temples and monasteries, Sikkim is also a perfect place to explore this unique version of Buddhism. So whether you want to relax and soak in the world-class scenery, dine on delicious unique food, or test your bravery mountain climbing; Sikkim is an essential one of India’s off the beaten path destinations.
Located right in the middle of India’s most popular tourist destination, the historic state of Rajasthan; for unknown reasons Shekawati is often overlooked by tourists. This allows the savvy traveler to enjoy the tourist wealth of this region without the crowds of other nearby locations. Shekhawati is home to largest open-air art market and some of the most unique and beautifully painted havelis in the entire country. Many of Shekhawati villages were important 14th century trading routes and much of the architecture from this time reflects is past grandeur.
While most people go to southern India for the beaches, Talakad is a magnificent ancient desert city located south of Bangalore. There are said to be over thirty magnificent temples in the city, though most of them are now buried beneath the sand. Talakad is an important Hindu pilgrimage site and also the namesake of the infamous “Talakad Curse“ based on a series of infamous middle-ages royal suicides. So if you are more fascinated by history, religion, or a bit of the macabre; perhaps consider the off the beaten path city of Talakad instead of the busy beaches of Goa next time you are visiting southern India and expect a very unique travel experience.
So whether you find yourself in southern, eastern, or western India there is plenty to do both on and off the beaten track. I hope our suggestions will encourage to go further out of your comfort zone and from our experiences the further you get from tourists havens the more welcoming the locals becoming. So enjoy some big smiles, exceptional hospitality and the pleasure of experiencing genuine Indian culture by taking the road less traveled next time you visit the colorful and beautiful Indian subcontinent. Remember; don’t forget to pack your camera because you won’t want to miss anything this breathtaking country has to offer.