Discover Unseen Spots of India for Enriching Experiences Beyond Tourist Trails

Discover Unseen Spots of India for Enriching Experiences Beyond Tourist Trails

Discover Unseen Spots of India for Enriching Experiences Beyond Tourist Trails

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There are some extraordinary immersive experiences that reveal the unseen sides of India, promoting sustainable travel and enriching cultural interactions.

21 May 2024

By Ishika Kumar

India is a land of diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Beyond the typical tourist attractions, it offers unique, eco-friendly experiences that allow travellers to connect deeply with nature and local communities. Here are some extraordinary immersive experiences that reveal the unseen sides of India, promoting sustainable travel and enriching cultural interactions.

Hiking to an Ancient Lava Stream

Location: Habitat Institute Activity Centre, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

When you think of the Andamans, images of pristine blue waters and sandy beaches come to mind. But this archipelago has more to offer. On Havelock Island, embark on a guided trek through its secluded rainforests led by the Habitat Institute Activity Centre team, including award-winning naturalist Anurag Karekar. This hike reveals the island’s unique flora and fauna and culminates at a natural freshwater pool formed by ancient volcanic rocks. The team ensures safety with pre-set rappelling ropes for tricky paths, making the trek accessible and enjoyable.

Travel: Reach Havelock Island via ferry from Port Blair. Stay at Seashells Resort and enjoy activities by the Habitat Institute (https://seashellhotels.net/activities/). The ideal visit period is October to March.

Windsurfing at Sea

Location: Quest Academy, Ramanathapuram

In the southern coastal town of Ramanathapuram, Quest Academy provides an array of non-motorised water sports like kayaking, windsurfing and snorkelling. Jehan Driver founded the academy, which focuses on sustainable adventure tourism, integrating community outreach through its Ocean Ambassadors Foundation. Programs include beach clean-ups and “trash for cash” initiatives, fostering environmental awareness among local children.

Travel: Ramanathapuram is a 2.5-hour drive from Madurai Airport. Stay in eco-friendly cottages at the academy. Visit between October and March for the best conditions (https://www.quest-asia.com/).

Tea Tasting at the Himalayan Foothills

Location: The Lodge at Wah, Palampur

The Lodge at Wah offers a historical tea-tasting experience in the serene hills of Himachal Pradesh. Hosts Surya and Upasana Todi Prakash guide you through the tea-making process from shrub to cup. Engage in a detailed tour of the tea gardens and sample various tea brews. Pair this with authentic Himachali cuisine, like the traditional Kangri dham.

Travel: Palampur is accessible from Kangra Airport or a 10-hour drive from Delhi. Stay at the eco-friendly homestay on the estate. Best visited between September-November and March-April (https://www.thelodgeatwah.com/).

Learning Pottery Without a Potter’s Wheel

Location: Enchanting Majuli, Majuli

Majuli, the world’s largest river island, offers a unique pottery-making experience. Julie Kagti of Curtain Call Adventures introduces visitors to ancient pottery techniques used by local craftsmen without a potter’s wheel. This tradition thrives despite the island’s remoteness, demonstrating resilience and innovation. Additionally, learn about the Mishing community’s exquisite handloom weaving.

Travel: Accessible via ferries from Jorhat, Assam. Stay at Enchanting Majuli or Jyoti’s Homestay. Visit during the dry season from October to February (https://curtaincalladventures.com/).

Learning Permaculture

Location: TIEEDI Forest Garden, Darjeeling

At TIEEDI, immerse yourself in permaculture and sustainable living. This regenerative earth school offers courses on natural farming and zero-waste living. Founded by Utsow Pradhan, TIEEDI emphasises eco-conscious travel, where guests learn about sustainable practices and enjoy the serene natural surroundings.

Travel: An hour’s drive from Darjeeling. Stay in eco-friendly accommodations like earth dwellings and garden rooms. Visit from March to June for the best experience (https://tieedi.in/).

Visiting a Unique Museum

Location: Hundarman Museum, Kargil

The Hundarman Museum in Kargil is a treasure trove of history, showcasing artefacts from four wars and two countries. It offers insights into the Purigpa tribe’s life, the village’s architecture and its connection to the 1971 war. Experience the local culture with traditional meals prepared by the museum’s host, Iliyas.

Travel: Reach Hundarman via a scenic drive from Leh. Stay at local homestays or the Black Sheep B&B in Kargil. Best visited between May and October (https://rootsladakh.com/).

Stargazing at a Village and Monastery

Location: Cosmohub, Phyang

Phyang village near Leh offers a unique stargazing experience at Cosmohub, adjacent to a 700-year-old monastery. Local women trained in astronomy lead tours under the Himalayan dark sky. This project also highlights local crafts and cuisine, promoting community involvement and sustainable tourism.

Travel: Book tours from June to September. Stay at Astrostay or accommodations in Leh (https://www.astrostays.com/cosmohub/).

Foraging in the Desert

Location: Kaner Retreat, Hapusar

Kaner Retreat in the Thar Desert offers a botanical-inspired escape. Participate in foraging tours, discovering local famine foods and unique dessert cuisine. Experience cheese tasting with camel milk products and savour modern Marwari meals. The retreat, founded by Sapna Bhatia, emphasises sustainable living amidst the desert landscape.

Travel: Accessible from Jodhpur by road. Visit from October to March for a cooler climate. Enjoy guided nature walks, wellness sessions and desert safaris (https://www.kanerretreat.com/).

These immersive experiences across India not only offer adventure and relaxation but also promote sustainable tourism, connecting travellers with the land and its people in meaningful ways. Rediscover India through these unique journeys that enrich the mind and soul.