Top 10 Unfairly Infamous Destinations of India

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Photo of Top 10 Unfairly Infamous Destinations of India 1/1 by Prateek Dham
Credits: Rishb Sharma

If you know the great Rakhi Sawant, you won't be unfamiliar with an even greater quote of hers - "Any publicity is good publicity." Well, the phrase has certainly withstood the test of time, albeit for mostly wrong reasons. There are several destinations in our beloved country that can fit into that quote comfortably, but they would definitely not like to be remembered as Rakhi Sawant would be.

All this rhetoric comes down to my elaborating on the fact that there are many a place in India that are infamous for the wrong reasons, and hence they aren't sometimes considered as vacation destinations by families, older holidaying couples and other people with similar concerns, thanks to their unflattering reputations. But it's completely unfair because these destinations also offer equally good, if not better, opportunities for everyone to have a wonderful (and safe) time during a vacation. Here are the top 10 unfairly infamous destinations of India:

Credits: Niyantha Shekar

Photo of Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Prateek Dham

This beautiful village in Himachal's Kullu district has earned a lot of infamy over the years thanks to the "firangs and hippies" having a good time here all around the year. But the fact that there's so much more to this place than just the above-mentioned is what is delightfully surprising and what the people deserve to know.

Reasons for notoriety: Hippies; firangs, mostly Israelis.

What it should be really known for: Sublime treks and treads, namely Sar Pass, Pin Parvati Pass, Kheerganga, and Yanker Pass. It's a haven for beginner as well as pro trekkers.

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Read more about Kasol.

Credits: Prateek Dham

Photo of Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Prateek Dham

One of the most gorgeous hill stations down south has somehow gotten its name synonymous to psychedelic mushrooms (more commonly called "shrooms"). They are locally grown around Kodaikanal, and that's what the youth comes to this place for.

Reasons for notoriety: Shrooms.

What it should be really known for: The beautiful manmade Kodaikanal lake, the sublime Silver Cascade Falls, and the state-of-the-art Kodaikanal Solar Observatory. It should be seen as a family hill station.

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Read more about Kodaikanal.

Credits: Prateek Dham

Photo of Pune, Maharashtra, India by Prateek Dham

The ancient fact of the matter was that Pune was originally supposed to be a peaceful alternative to the madness that is Mumbai; essentially a retirement home. But since a lot of colleges cropped up, Pune attained infamy for what the students got up to and the natives didn't like it one bit.

Reasons for notoriety: Parties, drugs, politically-motivated hooliganism.

What it should be really known for: Temples like Dagdu Sheth and Chaturshringi, historical sites Aga Khan Palace and Shaniwarwada Fort, and the cultural arts scene like at the Bal Gandharva Ranga Mandir. Pune boasts of a solid heritage.

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Read more about Pune.

Credits: Prateek Dham

Photo of Punjab, India by Prateek Dham

We've all seen (or are at least familiar with) Udta Punjab and how it portrayed the entire state of Punjab to be in. Speaking entirely on an apolitical perspective, Punjab is a heavenly destination for anyone who loves historical and religious significance in his journeys. This is the land of the great warriors and the confluence of the five rivers; not drugs.

Reasons for notoriety: Drugs

What it should be really known for: The Akal Takht (the throne of the timeless one) at Golden Temple in Amritsar, the memorial flame at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, the Mukteshwar Mahadev Temple near Pathankot, and the delicious food everywhere.

Credits: Prateek Dham

Photo of Banaras, Uttar Pradesh, India by Prateek Dham

While India is regarded as a spiritual destination, Benaras is THE spiritual capital of India. That makes it one of the most significant religious and spiritual centres of the world. And what is it infamous for? The thieves and the drugs. Sigh.

Reasons for notoriety: Banarasi thugs, drugs.

What it should be really known for: The hundreds of divine ghats where priests help the deceased enter paradise. It is also home to one of the best academic institutions of the country - the Benaras Hindu University.

Credits: Prateek Dham

Photo of McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Prateek Dham

It's the first place most pseudo-hippies visit in the hopes of attaining liberation. That is the biggest hocus-pocus you'd ever hear coming out of anyone's mouth. And this has only resulted in defaming the place which is otherwise serves as the headquarters for the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Reasons for notoriety: Marijuana.

What it should be really known for: The divine monastery of Tsechockling Gompa, temples like the Kalachakra, the Tibetan Museum showcasing the struggles of the annexed country, the beautiful trek to Triund, and of course the holiness Dalai Lama.

Credits: Prateek Dham

Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Prateek Dham

"You know why we go to the Pushkar Fair, no? For the godly gaanja," is what a colleague nonchalantly told me once before visiting the renowned fair. Just like Benaras, Pushkar has also been associated with the blooming marijuana trade which shoos away many's plans to go to this "Tirth Raj" (King of the pilgrimage).

Reasons for notoriety: Hippies, Marijuana.

What it should be really known for: The most renowned (not the only one, contrary to beliefs) Brahma Temple in the world, the legendary Pushkar Fair which is the country's largest camel fair and is attended by over 2 lakh people every year in October.

Credits: Hermes Marana

Photo of Malana, Himachal Pradesh, India by Prateek Dham

You need not be a smoker yourself to have heard of the fable Malana Cream (or the "M-Cream"). It comes from a sublime isolated village situated on one side of the Parvati Valley. The village has attained international recognition for its ultra-high quality of Charas, a purer form of cannabis; and that's the worst part.

Reasons for notoriety: Malana Cream.

What it should be really known for: Its cultural peculiarity. The fact that the village has got its own autochthonous language, Kanashi (believed to be the dialect of the devils), and a unique social structure is what stem a thousand other myths about this place. It has to be seen to be believed.

Credits: Prateek Dham

Photo of Goa, India by Prateek Dham

Drugs, alcohol, nude beaches, prostitution in the guise of masseurs, and of course the rave parties. Even though it continues to see a surge of tourists from abroad, Goa has created limitless infamy in the perceptions of the Indian parent. They never let their children travel to this place without accompanying them.

Reasons for notoriety: Listed above.

What it should be really known for: Some of the best beaches in the world, like Anjuna, Palolem and Arambol. UNESCO-listed churches like Basillica of Bom Jesus. Pristine waterfalls and historical forts. There's so much to discover everywhere.

Credits: Prateek Dham

Photo of Delhi, India by Prateek Dham

Amidst all the things a great country's capital could have been known for, it's a shame that Delhi is perennially associated with women's safety issues. I'm not denying the theory completely, but it's definitely not as unsafe for the better sex as it is presumed to be. With PCR vans circulating the city through the night and Delhi Metro being operational till midnight, women can indeed go out in the night freely. On a measured index, there are 10 Indian cities more unsafe than Delhi.

Reasons for notoriety: Women's safety

What it should be really known for: The unparalleled historical and cultural heritage, thanks to the melange of many a great ruling kingdom. Courtesy of the very same reason, the city also treats its residents to fantastic culinary treats at every nook and corner. It's a connoisseur's paradise.

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Read more about Delhi.

Do you agree with my list, or have you got different ideas to share? Do write your experiences about the mentioned destinations. We'd love to hear you out!

2 Comment(s)
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bhai aur sab to thik h par Kodaikanal seriously.
Mon 02 11 19, 12:01 · Reply · Report
Agreed. But, we don't need to blame hippies for anything. They are the most sorted people I've ever met. It's about people what they are looking for . If they are looking for drugs, they will go with that mind set. If they are looking for adventure, they will go with that mind set. How am I saying this? Because I also travel a lot and have visited all the above mentioned places with completely different perspectives according to what my mind/body/soul wants. It's been publicized for all wrong reasons ,yes, but it's tourists who are to be blamed because they go with that fucking mindset and tell the whole world about it. You'll never find a hippie doing that on social media.
Mon 09 04 17, 01:13 · Reply · Report
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