Do you know your own country? When it comes to travelling, we all focus our attention to either capital cities or some foreign destinations. Don’t blame yourself; blame the tourism industry for only promoting developed cities or the travel packages that allure you to trade your patriotic feelings in exchange for an international getaway. The general comment goes, “who will travel across India if you can see a foreign beach at the same cost”. But here are some less-trodden paths, which are equally exciting as any one of your foreign tours.
The first being one of the highest lake in the world situated at an altitude of 17100 feet above the sea level, in the northern fringes of North Sikkim called the GuruDongmar Lake. It is regarded as one of the most scenic locations of the country surrounded by the snow-clad Himalayas of the East. It’s considered sacred because of a local legend that Guru Dongmar touched and sanctified the waters. So, despite the inhumanly temperatures, one part of the lake doesn’t freeze. Tourists are allowed to experience this heavenly lake for just an hour because of the laxity of oxygen at such elevation.
From the dangerous heights of the Himalayas, I take you to the epitome of safety and security in the small Maharashtrian village of Shani Shignapur. It is indeed, a small village located about 35 kilometers away from Ahmednagar. The village is known for the famous Shani mandir, the Hindu god for Saturn but more than that the queerness of this destination stands for the fact that none of the houses in the village have doors in their huts, or for that matter, no door frames to fix one. People here believe that the presence of god in their village protects them from all sorts of crime. Following the common belief, UCO bank opened a ‘lock-less’ branch in this village because of its near-zero crime rate.
From the queer beliefs in the village of Shani-Shignapur, lets go down south to the classical village of Mattur in Karnataka. It’s a village along the river Tunga and lies on the outskirts of the town Shimogga. The unique feature about this village is that it still uses the ancient language, the mother of all languages, Sanskrit for their day to day communication. This village also supports Gamaka art, which is an ancient art of story-telling and singing. The same qualities are shared by the village Hosahalli, which is situated across the river Tunga. This extraordinary village also has a Ram mandir, Someshwara and Lakshmikeshava mandir. It is a delight and time-travel experience for the city savvy generation.
Now, lets move towards the rugged valleys of the Himalayas. Khajjiar, also known as the ‘mini Switzerland of India’ is a hill-station in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. Khajjiar is on a small plateau with a small stream fed lake in the middle and is picturesquely set in midst of dense ‘deodar’ forests. From far, it seems like a small plateau with dense pine and deodar forests and a clump of reed along its fringes which adds on to its pastoral charm. The extraordinary feature of this place is the rarest combination of three ecosystems that thrive in this region, i.e. the lakes, the pastures and the forests. And therefore, it is named as the mini Switzerland of India because of its grandness in appearance much like its counterpart in Germany.
So now the next time you set to plan a travel sojourn, do try to go out and explore the unexplored India. It will be much more exciting and exotic than one of the foreign destinations.
Photo Courtesy – media.travelmanitoba.com