Travel is nothing but a memorable experience. I bring to you a handpicked list of offbeat travel experiences that you must indulge into atleast once in lifetime. Add these to your travel bucket and explore travel like never before. All of these have been personally enjoyed and explored by me or my fellow travel bloggers so I can vouch for their authenticity.
1. Watching A Unique Phenomena – The Sun And The Moon Together
See the sun setting and a full moon rising simultaneously but positioned opposite to each other in Sam desert, Jaisalmer on a full moon day. While it seems that the sun is being slowly eaten up by the desert, the full moon rises beautifully from the other side. Pause for a moment and let this Nature’s omnipresence sink in.
2. Had Enough Of Sea In Goa Then Head To A Fresh Water Lagoon
You have seen the sea in Goa. Now, explore a fresh water lagoon, exclusive and secluded. Just a small hike above the last beach of North Goa, Arambol, this place is a paradise for lovers.
3. Splash in Mandakini’s Waterfall
The sultry actress of yesteryears Mandakini bathed under a waterfall while singing ‘Ram teri Ganga malli ho gayi’ in a Raj Kapoor’s movie under this waterfall on your way to Gangotri. Since then this waterfall was christened as Mandakini’s waterfall. Set amidst breathtaking beauty this makes a great spot for selfies too.
4. Explore Mysterious Stories of Pahadi Wilson
Harshil, a small Army cantonment town on the way to Gangotri has enchanting stories of Pahadi Wilson who in the words of Rudyard Kipling, “He lived a life that would have been the envy of kings”. Frederick Wilson, originally from Britain not only transformed this small town into prosperous Apple farming centre but also married a pahadi and adapted to local lifestyle. Read about this mysterious raja in a book, The Raja of Harsil: The Legend of Frederick ‘Pahari’ Wilson by Robert Hutchinson before coming here to soak into the essence of Harshil.
5. Jump Into Hot Water Natural Spring
Gagnani, on the way to Gangotri, has hot water springs that are known to have therapeutic value. You can see a stream of hot water with steam rising upwards trickling down a mountain. This water then collects in what has been made into a small swimming pool. Take a dip in this and, all your skin disease and tiredness will simply evaporate.
6. From Nelang To Badrinath, The Offbeat Trek
If you are into hardcore adventure trekking then you can go to Badrinath from Nelang Valley near Harshil taking the NilaPaani route which is approximately 80 kilometres. Only experienced trekkers can undertake this journey. The untouched beauty of this route pays for the difficult trek.
7. Buy Chuli Ka Tel At Kasauli
Pick up Chuli ka Tel. It is massage oil made of wild apricot and is great for joint pains. You don’t find it easily anywhere else.
8. Picturesque Beauty At Maggie Point, Mussoorie
Maggie point of Mussourie is strategically placed on the highway as soon as you enter the beautiful colonial town. A few temporary shed stalls serve typical pahado wali maggi; basically maggi sprinkled with some secret spicing to make it even yummier. Clouds will pass by while you hold the hot bowl of maggi tightly in your cold hands. Get a picturesque view of the valley while enjoying steaming hot maggi.
9. Get Your Portrait Made At Sukhna Lake
Nothing better than to etch your romantic memory for posterity in old school style! At Sukhna lakes you have sketch artists sitting under tree shade and scribbling portraits of people. Get yourself one in a romantic pose. In the world full of digital photographs, a handmade portrait is truly memorable.
10. The Other Side Of Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh
Anyone who has visited Chandigarh will guide you to visit Sukhna Lake at evening. However, what they will not tell or won’t even know is that there is the other side of Sukhna Lake. Away from the regular hustle-bustle, this place known as the Garden of Silence has a huge monument of Gautam Buddha sitting in a meditative pose. The garden is aesthetically designed like an open air theatre with circular stairs, dim lights and a calm ambience. Local budding musicians and dancers are often seen practising in this creative space.
11. Authentic Chikankari Shopping in Chowk, Lucknow
If you wish to buy some authentic chikankari clothes and also want to take a peep on how this craft is processed then head towards chowk market. Dimly lit lanes, small shops, women stitching, old artisans stamping intricate designs, huge cauldrons for dying are some of the common scenes that you will come across here.
12. A Trip Down The Mythology At Varanasi
The best way to see all the temples on the bank of River Ganga in Varanasi is to take a boat ride. From the river, the city looks completely different. Get down at each bank, visit the temple, and listen to these amazing stories. For instance, at Manikarnika ghat pyres burn 24 X 7 throughout the year, unbelievable but true. This boat trip covers approximately 80 ghat and takes around 4-5 hours.
13. Neelkanth and Sheshnag Mountain Photography
These two are the mountains just behind Badrinath temple. If you look closely Neelkanth Mountain resembles the linga of Shiva while Shesnaag Mountain resembles the fangs of a huge snake. Early in the morning with the first rays of the sun follow the light from darkness to sunrises through your lens and see the mountain changing colour from black to white to golden.
14. Study Vedanta and Understand All About Hinduism
Shivananda Ashram in Rishikesh organizes a two month course in their Vedanta Forest Academy that touches upon Hindu scriptures like Upanishads and Vedanta. If you are keen to understand the basics of Hinduism or have some unanswered questions about life then you must try this. The course is conducted in typical Gurukul style. It is a holistic experience where you also get to explore Rishikesh.
15. Authentic Tribal Experience In Mumbai
In Mumbai you can have a peek into tribal lifestyle along with tribal food and a tour. Named as Tribal Lunch tourists are taken to the small villages inside Sanjay Gandhi National Park where they can experience the Tribal lifestyle along with food. An offbeat experience!
Experience Shared by Supriyo Bose
16. Dharavi Slum Tour
After so many books written and movies made on Dharavi, Asia’s biggest slum it is only natural for curious tourists to connect reel with real. Dharavi slum tour is no regular experience. It is not every day that you visit the lanes where crime and entrepreneurship co-exist. Famous for a lot of interesting things, Dharavi slum tour is an eye-opener into real world.
17. One Of Its Kind, Cactus Garden In Panchkula
The only one of its kind, Cactus Garden in Panchkula, Chandigarh is a great visit for kids and adults alike. Spread over 7acres it is home to more than 2500 species of cactus with some species that really amazes you like this 15 feet tall cactus. You get a lot of knowledge about this lesser known plant and learn to appreciate it.
18. Tanga Ride To Explore Old Lucknow
The best way to explore old Lucknow with haveli’s and forts is to be on a tanga ride. A royal cart pulled by horses with old tangawallah’s who have interesting stories to tell is a hot with kids. Economically priced it is an experience one must try when in Lucknow
19. World’s Largest Flower In Kerala
Amorphophallus titanium, popularly nicknamed as corpse flower is the world’s largest flower that blooms once in 9 years in Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary in north Wayanad in Kerala. It is two-meter long and smells like rotten flesh and blooms only for 48 hours. A rare phenomenon that can’t be missed! It just bloomed so add it to your travel bucket list for next time.
20.Only Luv-Kush Temple In The World, Pakistan
This is the only temple in the world dedicated to Luv – Son of Ram. Interestingly this is not in India but in Lahore, Pakistan. If Mythology was to be believed then Lahore was named after Lava (read son of Rama, Luv) who found this city. There is a beautiful historic and heritage temple in Lahore Fort dedicated to Luv though in an extremely deplorable condition.
Experience Shared by Supriyo Bose ( loves to travel and explore the offbeat)
21. Visit Camel Institute In Bikaner
This research institute dedicated for camels is a great place to know all about this desert animal. A camel museum, a camel milk parlour, a camel ride, a guided camel tour to explain all about camel breeding are some of the interesting activities conducted here. Kids and animal enthusiasts will love it here.
22. Chandrataal Lake in Spiti
The lake changes colours throughout the day with the position of the sun. Except for a campsite which is active for a few months every year, there’s no one who in habits the place except maybe some Nomadic gaddi shepherds passing through.
Experience Credit- Rishabh Shukla
23. Disputed Indo-China Border
I went to the disputed Indo-China border in the remotest part of the world – Changthang, Ladakh in harsh winters when even locals don’t stay up that time. Staying with Army men, Chang Pas (Tibetan nomads) and experiencing the real-life tense border situation on the last villages of India, Demchok and Chumur, was something that people like us never get to experience. That was one heck of a journey.
Expereince Shared by Archana Singh ( Hardcore traveller. Calls herself gypsy)
24. Rat Temple In Deshnok, Bikaner
This is a unique temple and experience. You enter the temple and there are thousands of rats (as huge as cats) roaming around. Watch your feet or they have the audacity to crawl over them. Interestingly, you will not find even a single rat outside the temple courtyard. You are supposedly lucky if you spot a white rat which is quite difficult to. Though, I later found that luck can be managed by paying a few extra bucks to the guide.
25. Musical Pillars of Hampi
This is a unique experience for people who love history and architecture. The pillars of Vithala temple in Hampi though made of hard rock without any hollow inside produce music when tapped with fingers. It is no regular music but proper acoustics. It makes you proud to think that Indian architecture was so advanced.
Experience shared by Swati Sam
Have a offbeat travel experience that you want to add on to this list. Please list it in the comments below.