Off the beaten path: Three India destinations for the intrepid traveler

Tourists flock to India for numerous reasons, such as to see its ancient temples, partake in its colorful festivals, and walk in its medieval towns. Travelers who want to see a deeper side of India, beyond the crowds at the Taj Mahal and the hustle and bustle of Calcutta, are in for a treat. India still has numerous pockets of pristine wilderness where travelers can go on an adventure and have an authentic Indian experience.

Bhimtal Lake

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Bhimtal Lake, situated in the center of the picturesque little town of Bhimtal in Uttarakhand, is the largest lake in the country’s only real lake district. Bhimtal Lake is shadowed by the surrounding lush mountains and the small island in the center of it is home to a large aquarium. Migratory trans-Himalayan birds stop and rest on the island during the winter, but the area boasts scenic views all year round. An ancient Shiva temple sits on the lake’s banks, and the town itself features prominently in the Indian epic, the “Mahabharata.” Travelers looking for something a little more exciting can try snorkeling, paragliding, rappelling, and trekking in the area.


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Lahaul, located in Himachal on the Indo-Tibetan border, is still mostly untouched by mass tourism. The valley of Lahaul is green and verdant while Spiti, its twin valley to the east, is mostly arid desert. Lahaul boasts snow-capped mountains and mountain passes and cool weather. Lakes, rivers, and streams dot the area, and visitors can drop into a number of Buddhist monasteries, including one that is a thousand years old. Lahaul is a nature trekker’s dream come true, with its numerous challenging nature and wildlife trails. Visitors can also ski or go on a yak safari to view the local flora and fauna.

Keibul Lamjao National Park

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Keibul Lamjao National Park in Manipur is the only floating park in the world. Comprising approximately 40 kilometers of wetland, the park is one large phumdi, an island made of organic matter in various stages of decay. The most prominent feature of the park is the Loktak Lake, which was once an official sanctuary for the endangered brow-antlered deer. Some other animals that can be spotted in the park are golden cats, bamboo rats, sambar deer, elephants, clouded leopards, and slow loris. For bird watches, rare birds such as the hooded crane and the Shaheen falcon can also be spotted here.

There are also facilities for water sports and boating, and the observation tower on Chingjao Hill affords visitors the best view of the park.
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