As more and more , travel industry is driven by social media , most travelers choose their next destination from pictures of other travelers and friends over Instagram and such handles. While it is a good way to promote such places, this also does not keep the destinations elusive anymore. You are expected to have crowds of other people , while visiting such a place . Yet to the blessing of huge range of Himalayas , some hidden hamlets and villages still hold on to their exclusivity. They are yet not, too much famous, in their reputation, and I chose to list five of them , for those who seek to go beyond the known trails. Check out if you have been to any one of this.
TONGLU - WEST BENGAL
Falling on the border of India and Nepal , Tonglu is my personal favorite. With majestic Kanchenjunga , world's third highest mountain looming large on the background , this village has some mind blowing landscapes around. Its just four houses in this village and settled atop a hill , pretty isolated from the rest of the world. With the chilling cold temperature round the year , Tonglu is a respite for summer and heat always. In the winter , snowfall, makes it beautiful and cold in both ways.
Falling near Darjeeling , it can be reached by car or foot . For more information to plan a vacation here, ping me directly.
TSOKA - SIKKIM
The village is well kept secret of western Sikkim, and though the state continues to grow in its fame of tourism , Tsoka still holds on to its elusive characteristics of being unknown. Accessible only by foot , the nature is still raw and well kept here. For those of you , who do not want to hike , a similar village but accessible by road and transportation can be found in Yuksom , in the same region. It is of your choice where you want to venture. Addition to the beautiful nature, the culture here is Buddhism , and amazing food delicacies such as momos and Thukpa , adore the taste of locals. Also for travelers who might want to try Yak Meat and amazing pork dishes, this village can serve perfectly. To know more , of course, give a knock on me,
OSLA - UTTARAKHAND
Legend has it , that this village has a temple dedicated to Duryodhana , the leader of Kauravas , from the epic Mahabharata. And the residents of this village are some of his descendants. But as all legends are , there is no proof to it, and the temple in the village indeed beautiful and striking in looks, is said to be of Lord Shiva , by the local residents. The temple door only opens during the annual fair which takes place in monsoon here, and thus the controversy remains. Hidden in the North western frontier of Uttarakhand , beyond reach of any transportation, this village is also gateway to a lot of amazing hikes and treks. A little tricky and time consuming to reach here , yet the journey and destination , totally captivates the mind and heart of all travelers that dare to go here. To plan a trip here, let me know.
GRAHAN - HIMACHAL PRADESH
A lesser known village in otherwise very famous Parvati valley , Grahan , in my view, is the most beautiful village of the valley , yet very less frequented. May be due to its accessibility only on foot, and no transportation makes it elusive as it is. The village still holds true to its customs and traditions and houses constructions that are two hundred years or more old. Surrounded by green mountains with snow during winter , Grahan is perfect to spend week , just detached from the outside world. Lonliness can never crop in , as the locals are very friendly and mingling with them is very easy. Activities here would range from hiking around forest, finding amazing waterfalls to take a bath in on sunny day. Evenings to mingle with other travelers and smoke some of the best hash in world. Interested ? You know whom to connect for a plan.
ARU - KASHMIR
A very well kept secret of Kashmir, the Aru village has everything that defines the region of paradise on earth. An ever flowing Lidder river , flowing by its side and huge green meadows near by, to venture and walk barefeet , is magical experience. Respite to all those, who are not too keen, on hiking or walking, because this village has proper roads to reach by car and transportation. Hopefully , once the political turmoil in Kashmir cools down , you can plan your vacation here. The small wooden cottages , give a feel of times , and world of Lord of The Rings. Along with super helpful and fiendly locals , the village of Aru can surely win hearts in your visit.
There are many more such beautiful villages in every corner of regions of Himalayas. My list is here, on the basis that I have been to all this places , and have never seen, much Instagram post or a hash tag from this place.
If you know of such cool places or hidden villages, do leave the name in comment box, as I too , seek for more of such beauties.
A direct bus from Bangalore had taken me to Wayanad through the beautiful forest of Bandipur , and by the changing green from the traffic capital of India , I knew , Wayanad will be more than what is expected. Situated in the north east frontier of Kerala , the region of Wayanad , stays elusive yet. The end of the great biodiversity of Western Ghats , meets the civilization here. Of all districts in Kerala , Wayanad has the lowest population , which means more place for nature, and that is surely visible as you hop down from your vehicle here. Weekend destination for BANGALORE and Cochin people , Wayanad is generally more calm and easy in weekdays, and being a jobless vagabond, I chose that for my first trip here.
Nestled among the hills and hillocks , the great greens of Wayanad is feast for eyes looking for nature. As I made my journey here in monsoon , the green was more lush and the weather pleasant enough for me. Of course, the rain kept coming through out my endeavor , but then it was just water falling, so did not bother much. Wayanad region is made of small and big villages connected by its pretty road. The administrative head quarter is Kalapetta , and most buses drops or picks you up from there. A lot of hotels and homestays finds it place here , however , I chose my stay in a local neighborhood far from Kalpetta. Transportation is easy, with Auto rickshaws and buses plying , but walking the beautiful roads also help to experience Wayanad at its truest form. Getting a local homestay is better , as you get traditional food of the region and they help you to guide through for the most amazing spots of the region.
Staying in a local neighborhood meant experiencing their lives first hand. Wayanad famous for its fertile soil has a lot of farming all around. From Bananas to betel nuts , this farms stretch wide and far covering most of the landscapes. It is one of an experience to walk through them , as backgrounds are covered by pretty hills that surround them. Chembra peak , which is the highest in this region looms large at distance , and made up for a constant companion when I walked around. Trekking to the top is possible if not for monsoon season. I being mostly trekking and hiking mountains for work did not opt for that , though most travelers who have done it, recommends highly of it, Travel is a personal choice , so I leave this on your perspective best to choose.
However , do not miss the farm tours around. Just go in them and meet the smiling farmers and natives working here, My only warning , going around the fields, beware of snakes a little. Wear shoes always.
Banasura Sagar or the largest earth dam and reservoir was a good place to escape too. It is the biggest source of water and sustaible project being made out of earth and mud. It reminded me of the capability of the human minds. If it feels to procreate sustainable energy , surely that is possible. The people of Wayanad live and coexist with nature a lot. Every house is filled among dense green, and own plantations. Calm and peaceful way of living can be seen around , the elusiveness is also catered as it is not a hot destination as Munnar.
For next stop, I had chosen Edekkal caves , an ancient cave, where pre historic graphics and murals, made by our ancestors are found. To be honest, my heart , which was in search of a relaxed vacation in nature , was more happy to climb the hill and see the view from top , than the caves itself.
The most important of all plantations here, is the Coffee! The abundance of coffee plantation here, makes coffee as cheap as 10 INR, in every other shop, around the corner. Even the best souvenir to take back has to be the coffee powder. The homestay I stayed with, had their own plantation and I made sure to buy cheap powder from them , for the rest of my journey.
All in all , Wayanad will be highly recommended by me , for its natural and less crowded beauty. My super tips will be to visit in monsoon , when the whole world thinks Kerala is always flooded. Wayanad being on top of hills , is mostly safe of flooding, even though high rainfall is always there. And if you are more like me who enjoys just going around and observing things, rather than tick marking off the places in To-Do list , then definitely walk around the beautiful roads of Wayanad. Hop on any local bus , and drop at any point or part of road , you seem to find beautiful. Walk along with it. You can always use Google map to find your next destination or get a bus when you feel like it.
But those roads of Wayanad , are the things I miss most from my trip.
So if you are planning a Wayanad trip, let me know for advices. Also if you have been to Wayanad times and more , leave down your best memory from there. I am surely going to go back there and hopefully , might take up your recommendations. Happy traveling !!
Note from the Author
" Travel made me rich and free. Magic and miracles are true , once you wander on the roads to places different and divine. Sharing with you all, those memories and stories , and wishing you all , that someday you guys travel far and wide too. I am not a great writer , so ignore my grammar and spellings, read it with feelings, and you might just be affected with the wanderlust to hit the road"