There are very few places that can offer a holistic experience, combining wilderness with responsible eco-tourism and the comforts of a modern holiday, and the Wayanad District is one of them. Vythiri with its untouched natural wealth offers ideal conditions for a quiet retreat and restful time-off. Check out the Soochippara Falls. A 28-km drive along serpentine roads that meander through picturesque settings will take you there. Adjacent to Soochippara, on the rocky side, are the Kanthanpara Falls. Smaller and slightly quieter, and about 30-m-high, they make for an ideal picnic spot.
You can also head to Lakkidi. One of the highest points of the Wayanad District at almost 3,000ft above sea level, it is known as the &lsquoGateway of Wayanad&rsquo because of its location at the crest of the Thamarassery Ghat Pass. Most tourists stop by here for the gorgeous views and incredible photography. Another interesting local sight is the Chain Tree, a giant ficus tree bound to the ground by chains. It is said that an adivasi youth was killed by a British engineer here and his soul haunted the place in a vengeful rage, until a priest chained his spirit to this very tree.
Located in the Udupi district in Karnataka, Kaup beach is known for its stunning lighthouse that reaches 27 metres above the ground. It closes after sunset, so get there early to take in the panoramic views. Swimming is not advisable as the water is quite rough near the shore. also check out the small fort (built by Tipu Sultan) and the Mariamma temples.
Orchha, Madhya Pradesh
A heritage-rich town by the riverside, this is the perfect weekend destination. Orchha, on the banks of the Betwa in northeastern Madhya Pradesh has so far lived up to its name (which translates to 'hidden place'). Built in 1501 CE by Rudra Pratap Singh, the medieval town served as the capital of the Bundelas. Over a long weekend, there&rsquos much to do here. Besides the main fort, there are ruins of temples, palaces and cenotaphs which provide architectural and historical delight for tourists. While here, check out the first palace built, Raja Mahal, and its elaborate motifs. Also see Rani ka Mahal, Dauji ki Haveli and the grandeur of Jehangir Mahal. The Chatturbhuj Temple takes the limelight for its sheer scale while the Laxmi Narayan Temple is famous for its murals. The Ram Raja Temple is perhaps the only one which worships Ram as a king, rather than a god.
This village in east Sikkim, not far from the famous Silk Route, is a great place to explore if you love nature and birding. According to local people, Dalapchand means &lsquoThe Great Flat Stone&rsquo. In his book &lsquoAmong the Himalayas&rsquo (published in 1900), L A Wadell refers to the hamlet as a trader&rsquos halting place. During his travels in the region, he found deserted barracks which were apparently inhabited by the British artillery but had been abandoned a few weeks prior to his arrival owing to the outbreak of a fatal fever. According to his Tibetan porters, Wadell writes, the death was caused by angry sylvan spirits. Visit the Lampokhari Lake or the Aritar Lake (after the village of Aritar where it is located). It is considered a holy lake by the local people. People pray to the spirit of the lake for wish fulfilment if their wish is fulfilled, they release fish into the lake, we were told. Feeding the fish is a popular activity. Pathways run around the lake. You may also go boating in the lake. At the far end of the waterbody is a monastery encircled with prayer flags.
Mana, located on the fringe of India-China border, often referred to as the &lsquolast village of India&rsquo skirting the popular pilgrimage hub of Badrinath in Chamoli district. Perched at an altitude of 3,200 meters on the banks of river Saraswati, this village has already made a stamp on the tourist map with several attractions like the Neekanth Peak, Tapt Kund (natural hot spring), Vasundhara Falls, Vyas Gufa and Bheema Pul, alluring travellers and adventurers alike. It has a significant place in Hindu mythology (Mahabharata), it is believed that the Pandavas crossed the village during their final journey to heaven.