Why travel to foreign countries, when you have fantastic places to see in IndiaBack

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 “India is the cradle of the human race, the birth place of human speech, the mother of history, the great grandmother of legend and the great grandmother of tradition”, Mark Twain quoted in his book named ‘Following the Equator’. India is a must see destination in the world, every traveller should visit this country once in their life time. The Incredible India, with 3.288 million km sq. and 1.2 billion people, hides the best for the most daring vacationers and ensnares the trippers with her celestial music, mesmerising scenic beauty, vibrant colours, innocent faces, seducing mountain peaks, charm of serene beaches, lovely lakes, lush green forests, unexplored valleys and long roads. She hides much more to enslave the traveller for the rest of his/her travel life. By road, it would take more than three days to travel from south to the north of the country.  India, the land of diversity, is famous for its multi-faceted cuisine, culture, art forms, land mass, touristic spots and the list goes on. India has not only the mesmerising miscellany but it has parallels to all awesome scenic panoramas of the world. If America has Grand Canyon India has Gandikotta. If England has Stonehenge India has its own Stonehenge in Manipur and Manipal. Whatever may be the wonders that the countries of the world put forward, fabulous India has its parallel. This is a probe into some of the equalling vistas of the world with India’s own. The alternatives may not be as pleasing as the original one but some of them are better than the original ones.


Gandikotta, India’s Grand Canyon 

Gandikotta, India.

 Grand canyon national park, USA  Picture courtesy: travelaarporg 

Most of the travellers must  have heard about the great Grand canyon of USA, but only few travellers know that India has its own Grand Canyon, it is known as Gandikotta, is a must see destination in Andhra Pradesh. Gandikotta is located in Jammalamadugu, Andhra Pradesh. This place is absolutely stunning with the red granite rock formations, deep valleys, the layered and precariously placed rocks. And the Pennar River that resembles the Colorado River makes it the real Indian Grand Canyon. This place offers the best trekking destination for the tourists and thrill seekers. The surrounding areas of Gandikotta have centuries old forts, temples and other historical monuments that offer a great treat for the travellers. 

 

Kambhalgrah, The great wall of India 

Kambhalgrah, India. Picture courtesy: static2tripotocom


Millions of travellers visit the Great Wall of China, the wonderful man made marvel, but only a very few know about the 36 Kilometres lengthy ‘Great wall of India’. This wall is the part of Kambhalgrah fort, located in the Westerly range of Aravalli Hills in the Rajsamand District, Rajasthan, India and is just 80km away from Udaipur. Kambhalgrah is a must see destination in Rajasthan. The fort was made by Rana Kumbha during the 15th century but it always remained under shadow of the Great Wall of China.  The place is perfect for the weekend breakouts because it is blessed with temples and wildlife. There are 360 ancient temples of both Hindu and Jain temples within the wall and the wall is supported by 30 foot high boulder shaped buttresses. The archaeological survey of India has restored 15Km of the wall and the site has made it into the list of UNESCO’s ‘World Heritage Site’. If the travellers are lucky enough, they can have a glimpse of some of the endangered animal species such as Tigers and leopards because the wall runs through the Kambhalgrah wildlife sanctuary, which is rich in flora and fauna.  This place is ideal for family tours, solo travellers and for those who would like to walk through the ancient walls recollecting about the medieval fantasies. 


Bhimbetka, the Lascaux of India 

Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh, India. Picture courtesy:indiaheritagewalkcom

Lascaux, France. Picture courtesy: historiasztukicom


Bhimbetka, the graffiti of the South Asian Stone Age, is a complex cave shelter with cave paintings, is  a must see destination in Madhya Pradesh. The Indian Lascaux, Bhimbetka is located 9 Km from Obedullaganj city in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh. The Bhimbetka has more than 700 caves covered with the depiction of animals such as horses, elephants, tigers, monkey’s, bulls and it also includes the detailed hunting scenes.  The place is a brilliant treat for the archaeological tourists.  The cave paintings have a striking resemblance to Kakadu National park paintings, Australia, cave paintings of Bushmen in the Kalahari Desert and the Lascaux caves of France. Travellers flocks in numbers to study and see the 12000 to 30000 year old art created by the ancient artists, and the site has been listed in the UNESCO ‘World Heritage Sites’.  So next time when you visit India, remember you may not have to visit France to satisfy your desire for cave paintings, unless you are a serious cave art researcher. 


Byse Karnataka, India’s Stonehenge 

Stonehenge, Karnataka, India. Picture courtesy: traveller-informationblogspotin

Stonehenge, England.Picture courtesy:i.livesciencecom


     India is a mystery, the more you explore the more mysterious it becomes; it is same in the case of Indian Stonehenge. The first thing, that pope up in the mind, while looking at the Megalithic stones of Byse, is nothing but the Stone Hinge of England. The site was discovered by a group of researchers from the Mumbai based TIFR and Manipal University. There are about 26 Megalithic structures located in the Byse village of Karnataka state, aligned in the same style of the famous Stonehenge of England. The Stonehenge is believed to be used for the astronomical observations, and it dates back to 1000 BC.  The stones have a height of 3.6m; width of 1.6m and 25 cm in thickness.  The shape and the arrangements of the stones this Stonehenge really matches the Stonehenge in England. This vivid reminder of India’s unknown past is not really crowded with the tourists as most of the travellers are unaware of the Stonehenge of India.  


Chitrakote waterfalls, India’s Niagara waterfalls

Chitrakota waterfalls, Chhattisgarh, India. Picture courtesy: adventuredriftcom 

Niagara waterfalls, USA. Picture courtesy:p1pichostme


      The Chitrakota waterfalls,  where millions of litters of water falls through the horse shoe shaped edges, from a height of 30 metres, with a thunderous sound, producing incredible rainbow, is truly a copy of Niagara waterfalls. Chitrakote waterfalls  is a must see destination in Chhattisgarh. The waterfall becomes 300 meters wide during the heavy monsoon season in India. Tourists from various parts of the country gather here to see this spectacular waterfall.  Even though Chitrakote is one third less in width compared to Niagara, the horse shoe edges, the width and the amount of water flowing during the monsoon really give it the name ‘Indian Niagara’. The waterfall is located in the Indrāvati River, west of Jagdalpur, in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh state. Travellers hustle to explore this waterfall during the monsoon - June to October, as the water flow is heavy revealing all its ferocity and charm. There are boating facilities provided in the upstream of the river. 


Vibhuthi halli Stonehenge, Carnac Stonehenge of India 

Vibhuthi halli, Karnataka, India.  Picture courtesy: karnatakatravel.blogspotin 

 Carnac Stones, France. Picture courtesy: archaeologicaltrscom


      Due to the style of alignment, the area it occupies and its use for predicting the movements of stars and sun, this pre-historic stone alignment, The Vibhuthi halli is similar to that of the Carnac Stones of France.  The location of this site is Vibhuthi halli village, in Yadgiri district of Karnataka state, is a less explored destination.  This ancient astronomical station has more than 1200 stones, covering in a large area; the stones are sued to predict the events such as solstices and equinoxes. The site is approximately 3400 -4000 years old. Due to the trees grown by the forest department a clear cut view of this beautiful site is hindered in one stretch. The site is good for tourists who are looking for an insight into the primitive astronomy, as there are more places around this destination which have other similar stone arrangements.  


Alappuzha, the Venice of India 

Alleppey, Kerala, India. Picture courtesy:keralatourdestinationscom


       Due to the picturesque canals, waterways, lagoons and beaches, Lord Curzon quoted, “Here nature has spent up on the land her richest bounties, Alleppey, ‘The Venice of the East’. This stunning touristic spot has an elevation of 1 feet as same as that of Venice, but astonishingly some places in this district has an elevation of minus 2.2 which is  below sea level,. The water level is maintained by the network of canals system and other natural water systems.  Alappuzha is a district of Kerala state. Compared with Venice, Alappuzha is greener than Venice and covered with coconut trees and paddy fields. This is a wonderful place to spend your holidays munching on fresh fish and toddy, a natural drink made from the palm and coconut trees. Alappuzha is a must see destination in Kerala and there are a number of places to see in Alappuzha. The local people still, largely depend upon the water transport systems to get around. House boats of Alappuzha are famous, along with the lightning speed of beaked boats. Instead of Gondola, they use various types of small handmade boats.


Rann of Kutch, the Bonneville of India 

Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, India. Picture courtesy:triportrapcom

Bonneville Salt Flats, USA. Picture courtesy: independentcollectioncom

      The largest salt desert of the world ‘Rann of Kutch’, which is covered with white crystals of salt, will definitely make traveller to lose themselves in empty vastness of a white desert.  This inhospitable land is much more beautiful with wild life, alluring sunset and sunrise, the starry sky and the Ran festival, than the Bonneville Salt Flats. This seasonal salt marsh is a rendezvous of flamingos, Indian wild ass, foxes, Macqueen’s bustards and blue bulls and the wet land around it is an absolute heaven for bird watchers as it has more than 40000 birds.  The best time to visits the place is during the months of October to March. The Ran Utsav, the famous carnival held every year in the Kutch, is a gateway for the tourists to experience the local food, culture and also to hang around in the white land. This destination is fully fun packed with Para motor gliding, international kite festival and much more attractions more than enough to push the Bonneville off the track. 


The rock cut temples, the Petra of India 

Bhaja Caves, Lonavala, Maharashtra. 

Petra, Jordan. Picture courtesy:airpanoru


         If Jordan has one Petra , India has 1500 of them, the most remarkable one is Kailas, a temple in the Ellora cave system which spans over an area of 2 Km and it is more spectacular  than Petra. If that is not enough for a traveller, then visit  the Ajanta caves, Karala caves, Mahabalipuram temple, Elaphanta caves and the list goes on with more and more spectacular ancient architecture. No wonder! they call her ‘Mother India’. The rock cut temples are spread across the whole country from south to the north - megalithic to the tiny ones with just one room. India is one of the best places for the one who loves historical tourist centres. 


Lonar Lake, the meteor lake of India 

Lonar Lake, Maharashtra, India. Picture courtesy:indiamarkcom


      52000 years ago, a meteor weigh up to 2 million tonnes, travelling at a speed of 90000 km/h came crashing on to the earth and hit Maharashtra and the result of this massive collision was a hole 1.8km wide and 150m deep, now known as the Lonar crater India’s only meteor lake and world’s only hyper velocity crater lake in a basaltic rock. Lonar is located in Budhana district of Maharashtra and a tourist can reach there within four hours’ time from the famous Ajanta Ellora Caves. Even though this lake is so rare and massive, only a few trekkers and travellers visit this unique, green lake.  . The Lonar lake is one of the best places to sse in Maharashtra, India. The place around the lake is absolutely great for trekking and an ideal location for bird watchers. The uniqueness of this trip is that the road to the lake is slippery with quick sand so make sure that you are carful while walking and in good shape after walking. The forest around the lake is home of Gazelles, lungur, mongoose, barking deer, migratory birds and various reptiles and so  a wonderful treat for a serious traveller. 
Location: Lonar town is located Budhana district of Maharashtra, India, Only 4 hours drive from Ajantha Ellora caves. 

Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Maldives of India

Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. Picture courtesy: destinationone.co.in

Maldives Picture courtesy:telegraph.co.uk


      In the Bay of Bengal, 1370 km away from the mainland of India, there is a chain of 572 islands that resembles The Maldives called Andaman and Nicobar Islands.  Andaman and Nicobar is a must see destination in India, its turquoise beaches, white sand, the coconut trees make it an identical twin of the Maldives. Andaman and Nicobar islands are the living examples of the Great coastal migration that started from Africa. The aboriginal inhabitants of these islands are Nicobari people.  The water is really opaque and perfect for diving. The lush green mangrove forest, the rich flora and fauna of the islands make the travellers feel like in the middle of nowhere and it is a perfect get away from the crowd. Travellers can reach the destination either by ships from Vishakhapatnam or Chennai or by air. 


Clear water lakes of India 

Tsomoriri Wetland, Jammu&Kashmi,India. Picture courtesy: himalayanfantasycom


           Only few travellers know about the fact that India has a few dozens of crystal clear water lakes that are as amazing as the lakes in Canada, Australia, USA and China.  The water of these lakes is so clear that tourists can see the bottom of these lakes. Most of these lakes are situated in the laps of serene mountain valleys of India. Tso Moriri Lake of Jammu and Kashmir, Pangon Lake of Ladakh, Chandra tal, Sipti in Himachal Pradesh, Kareri Lake of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh and Prashar Lake of Mindi in Himachal Pradesh are some of the famous ones. The terrains around the lakes are great for trekking, camping and perfect for family holidays.  Next time when you visit India, don’t forget to take a dip in these ice cold, crystal clear waters. 


 The coral reefs of India 

Snorkeling in Andaman Islands, India. Picture courtesy: andamanstourismcom


     It may not be as spectacular as the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, but India is a home of one of the ancient and exotic coral reefs system in the world. India has more than 8000km of coast line and the coral reef system of India is divided into 5 major parts, such as Gulf of Mannar, Gulf of Kutch, Lakshadweep coral Islands, Andaman and Nicobar coral reef system and other small coral reefs systems. Destinations such as  Andaman, Nicobar coral reef system and the Lakshadweep coral Islands are the most famous and beautiful coral reef sites, with crystal clear blue shallow water. It is the home of various exotic species, resembling the Great Barrier Reef, makes it a must see destination in India. Most of these sites facilitate scuba diving, boating and underwater tourism.

 

Dras, the Oymyakon of India 

Dras  valley, Jammu & Kashmir, India. Picturte courtesy: Anoop Negi


            If you think India is hot, that means you haven’t explored the whole country.  Oymyakon in Russia is the coldest place on earth. The temperatures in Oymyakon can reach as low as -89 degree Celsius, enough to cause heart attack for a traveller.  Dras is India’s Oymyakon, located in the Kargil District of Jammu and Kashmir state. This destination is notorious for its cold climate. The temperature during the months of December plunges down to -45 degree Celsius. It is more than enough to freeze a person in seconds.  Don’t forget to include your best cold jackets and protection gears in your traveling kit, if you are planning to visit India in the winter time. 


Thar, The Great Indian Desert

Thar Desert, India. Picture courtesy: wiwigo.com


              From the coldest Dras, let us move to India’s own hot desert Thar.  Travellers often think about Middle East, when they hear about desert safaris, but the great Indian Thar desert is a perfect place for desert safaris.  This is the world’s 9th largest subtropical desert, blessed with an incredible amount of flora and fauna. Thar desert is a must see place in  India. 


 Thanjavur Brihadweshvara temple, The Indian Pyramid

 

Thanjavur temple, Tamilnadu, India. Picture courtesy: triportrapcom2


             During the construction of Tanjavur temple  King Raja Raja and his armies have moved millions of tonnes of granite block enough to build the Great Pyramid of Giza and among them there were two granite blocks weighing 40 tonnes each moved over a mile and placed them on the top of the temple 216 feet from the ground level.  Tanjavur temple is an astonishing engineering marvel of the ancient world that has witnessed wars and overcame natural calamities for more than 1000 years. It still stands as a reminder of India’s bright past. This astounding Temple is big enough to fit 200 Taj Mahals.  Tanjavur temple is a must see destination in Tamil Nadu, India. 
The Pyramid type of construction can be found all over the world, such as the  Pyramids of Egypt, China, Mexico, Indonesia, Cambodian, India, Spain, Sudan, Nigeria, Italy etc. which follows the same pattern of construction with tower doorways rising towards the sky,  to be close with the Gods. The Indians pyramids had more of a religious purpose than the burial function, which is common in most of the Pyramid structures. There are other temples in south India, such as Gandikoda Cholpauram temple, Sri Rangam Temple which has the pyramid style of construction.  Millions of travellers, religious people and researchers visit these ancient pyramid temples of India every year.


Valley of flowers Uttarakhand, Antelope valley of India

Valley of flowers, Uttarakhand, India.

 Antelope valley , USA.


     Valley of flowers National park is a must see destination in Uttarakhand, the valley resembles the Antelope valley in USA. Covered in ice almost all the year around, what looks like a barren white land, during the month of June comes to life. When the ice sheets start to melt, the tiny seeds begin to germinate.  During the months of July, the plants begin to bear flowers, in the second weeks of July they start to bloom, transforming the valley into a giant flower carpet. It is one of the best romantic destination in India. The valley is home to various animals, insects and birds, all depends upon the millions of plants and its flowers a wonderful treat for the travellers, who likes to trek through the tough terrain, to find out this hidden secret of the nature. 
            


             From the Pyramid temples of south India to one of the coldest places on earth Dras, India has everything to keep a traveller happy. India, a beehive of activities, festivals, traditions, colours, natural landmarks, manmade wonders, exotic food, ancient medicines, diverse religions and people,  is  truly a phenomenal place. It has a substitute for everything in the world. The alternatives may not be as pleasing as the original one but some of them are better than the original ones. India is an incredible  place that a traveller must see once in their life time, but don’t visit the country for a day,  a week or  a month but go there for couple of months and see what experiences you can bring back home. 

 
 

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