I have been traveling in India since childhood, and I still feel that there are a lot of places yet to be discovered. No matter how much I tried, there was always a place that I haven't ever heard of. I would eagerly listen to stories of the very few who have actually been to these places and would feel mesmerized by their experiences. One day I decided to pack my bags and travel across India in search of some of the most obscure and adventurous places.
The North east was the first on my agenda. This part of the country has some of the most beautiful terrains and I could spend a lifetime just exploring this part of the geography. The Keibul National Park and the Dzϋkou Valley were astounding! I had never been so close to nature in my entire life. The floating National park and the Keibul National park were one hell of an experience. From the North East I headed out to Sattal which was just out of the box. It was the complete package. It was close to nature, beautiful and had lots of adventure sports to offer. Camping at Sattal was extraordinary. My trip also took me to Agumbe and the Great Rann of Kutch which were one of the remotest places I have ever been to. I was amazed at the diversity of our country. Agumbe was phenomenal. Everything in Agumbe is always fresh, because of the climate. Greenery everywhere. The salt desert of Kutch on the other hand, is situated between a desert and the sea. I was amazed at how the even barrenness can take your breadth away.
Travelling to all these places, at one go, made me realize that there is so much to see in our country that we haven’t seen yet. Places so different from one another, yet belonging to the same country. I am looking forward to visit more obscure places in the near future, and I am pretty sure that India has a lot in store.
Sattal was surprisingly beautiful. It is basically a cluster of mysteriously interconnected seven fresh water lakes in the Nainital district of Kumaon region. Set at an altitude of 1,370 mts above sea level, Sattal amidst dense forests of oak and pine trees, is one of the very few unpolluted and unharmed biomes in India. Sattal has a lot of adventure sports to offer, starting from rock climbing and rappelling to boating and kayaking. Camping at Sattal was just awe-inspiring. Travelling in a larger group would be more fun. The place is a bit chilly during February, so make sure you carry warm clothes with yourself, you will need it.
Sunderbans, where the land meets the sea. Located at the tip of West Bengal lies a stretch of immensely thick, impregnable mangrove forest. The mangrove forest are a lot more fascinating than their pictures. To see it for the first time is a superb experience in itself. It is a UNESCO world heritage site forming the largest Tiger Reserve and National Park in India. Though the Sunderbans is home for more than 250 tigers, for me, going to the Sunderbans was less about seeing the tiger, and more about the learning the biodiversity of the area, preserving it for the coming generations, and respecting the lives and livelihoods of the local community. We were actually able to s-l-o-w down a bit, and enjoy those things that we never had the time for.
Dzϋkou Valley, the valley of eternal charm with emerald green hills, scattered by gentle crystalline streams, is positioned at an altitude of 2438 mts. If you are looking for a place, where you could be completely at peace with nature, Dzϋkou Valley is what you are looking for. You will feel like you are living in a dream. If you visit during the correct time of the year, i.e. from June to September, you will find the hills completely overlayed with flowers. The refreshing mountain breeze greets you in the morning to match the scenic sunrise.
The Western Ghats has one of the most scenic places to offer known as the Rainforests of Agumbe. Most of the episodes of the T.V serial Malgudi Days based on R.K Narayan’s novel, has been shot in Agumbe. It was fabulous to visit and experience the harmony of nature. Apart from the greenery that Agumbe has to offer, the sunset there, is prepossessing and delightful. It fills your heart with joy and takes you to another world. It rains a lot. It is the second wettest place in south and is also known as the Cherrapunji of South India. Good for me, because I like the rain. It offers a vast opportunity for trekkers making it one of the must visits in India.
If you love adventure and adventurous activities interest you, Kanchenjunga is the place for you. Climbing the world’s 3rd highest mountain will definitely interest you. Kanchenjunga which stands at an altitude of 8586 mts calls for technical expertise because the route to the peak is almost unknown. It was dangerous, but it was thrilling. Each expedition that we did, was altogether an entirely new experience. We experienced undiscovered dangers and unexpected pitfalls along with avalanches, falling rocks etc. Trekking at Kanchenjunga is definitely an Experience of a lifetime.
The Keibul National Park is located in Manipur. It is probably the world’s only ‘floating’ national park. It comprises of 40 sq. km. of wetland overgrown with 1.5 m. deep floating vegetation (called phumdi). This is the only natural park which refuges the dancing deer, which was thought to be an extinct species for a long time. Unfortunately we couldn’t see any. The best part of the Keibul National park was the trek through the forest walking through the phumdis. However, it is not entirely safe because they are not hard ground and some places might be just a few centimeters thick. But that just makes it even more exciting, doesn't it ?
I was in class 5 when I heard about The Rann of Kutch in my geography class for the first time. It was a great experience to see it for real. The little desert called the salt desert is a salt marsh located near the Great Rann of Kutch in Kutch district, Gujrat. The salt desert is something that you must see at least once in your lifetime. It is a harmony of salt and stones collected together and surrounded by the sea on one side and the desert on the other. It has a bizarre charm to it. It holds unexpected surprises, which will definitely humble your unquenchable traveller’s spirit.