Weekend Getaways : Off The Beaten Track

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Weekend Getaways : Off The Beaten Track

Vacations in lesser-known places are a great way to escape from the hustle-bustle of our daily lives. Awaken the explorer inside you and take a trip to an offbeat destination this weekend. If you are tired of visiting the same old touristy hotspots for your getaway and are looking to get away for the weekend to a quiet new place, then read on to see our list of some of the best offbeat destinations in India.

From Mumbai

Dapoli, Maharashtra

This small town is a mini-Mahabaleshwar in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra and is the perfect offbeat weekend getaway from Mumbai It is an untouched hill station famous among the locals. It is located 800 feet above sea level and has one of the longest stretch of beaches from Dabhol to Kelshi. The beach town is slowly gaining recognition for its serene beauty and its historical and cultural heritage. The town is quiet, surrounded by lush vegetation and is blessed with a cool climate.

The town is easy to reach from Mumbai by train or by road. Catch a train from Mumbai Central to Khed (which is 29 km away from Dapoli) and from where you can rent a taxi or rickshaw to Dapoli. If you plan on travelling by road, then you can easily access this town through the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway but be prepared for winding roads as this quaint town is located in the Western Ghats of India.

Distance from Mumbai: 218 km

Places to visit:

  • Harnai Port: This port consists of two forts, Suvarnadurg: located on the sea and Kanakdurga: located on the land. The port is 17 km away from Dapoli.
  • Unhavare: These hot springs are 35km away from Dapoli and are known to be rich in sulphur. Soaking in hot springs is a great way to naturally detox your skin.
  • Panhalakaji caves: Located on the Dapoli- Dabhil Pangari road, these caves are located deep in the valleys and are surrounded by lush forests.
  • Kadyavarcha Temple is located in Anjarla, a village near Dapoli. It is known for its right-side placement of the Ganesha idol which means its trunk curves towards the right which is a rare thing.
  • Murud Beach: This beach town is 68 km away from Dapoli. The beach is particularly clean and neat. You can also go dolphin watching on boats here.
  • Karde Beach: Like the other beaches in the region, this beach is unpolluted and clean as well. It is 7 km away from the city centre and is perfect for long strolls in the sunset.
  • Kelshi: A small village 23 km away. This beach is an untouched haven for beach and nature lovers. The beach is covered in lush and dense forests.
  • Ladghar Beach is a serene and tranquil beach, 7 km away from Dapoli and is known for its grainy shoreline and water sports.
  • Kolthare Beach: this beach is located in the Kolthare village, some 13 km away from Dapoli.
  • Savane Beach
  • Tamastrith Beach

Things to do:

  • If you love animals then engage in dolphin- watching on the beaches.
  • Tour the old forts in the area like the Harnai forts
  • Go exploring in some caves
  • Find some relaxing and tranquil time in the hot springs
  • Take part in fun water sports like surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and canoeing.
  • Try out local fish curries and kokum drinks.

Best time to visit: You can visit Dapoli all through the year except in the summer months. However, winter from October- March is the peak season to go to this scenic beauty.

From Bangalore

Dhanushkodi, Tamil Nadu

Dhanushkodi is an abandoned town on the coast of Tamil Nadu. The town was destroyed in the 1964 Rameswaram cyclone and remains uninhabited since then. The town still stands, untouched by time, cut off from the rest of the world, completely isolated. It is also known as Tamil Nadu’s “Ghost Town”. This is an offbeat weekend getaway from Bangalore that is gaining popularity.

The best way to reach this town is by road from Bangalore. You can book a bus ticket or travel by car and get to this small town in 10 hours. Alternatively, catch a train from Bangalore to Rameswaram which is a 16 min car ride from Dhanushkodi, the whole trip will take around 12 to 13 hours.

Distance from Bangalore: 603.2 km

Places to visit:

  • Dhanushkodi Beach: This white sand beach is the main attraction of this quaint town. Enjoy a silent and relaxing walk on the shore.
  • The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is located 17 km away from the town. It is one of the few marine parks in India. It consists of 21 islands along with mudflats, beaches, forests and estuaries.
  • Adam’s Bridge: is a natural bridge that connects India with its neighbour Sri Lanka. This natural beauty can leave anyone in awe of nature.
  • Pamban Island: This deep blue sea island is a beautiful place to explore. It is located 20 km away from Dhanushkodi.
  • Church and Station ruins: The remains of the 1964 flood, these places are a true spectacle to behold.
  • Ramar Patham Temple: The temple is believed to be the place where the Hindu god Ram was informed by Hanuman on the whereabouts of Sita. It is believed to have the footprints of Ram on a stone.

Things to do:

  • For all photographers, this desolated town is an exquisite place to take some memorable and exquisitely beautiful shots.
  • Enjoy water sports on the beach like sea surfing.
  • Go for long, peaceful walks on the quiet shoreline.
  • Explore the ruins of the quiet town.

Best time to visit: The best time to take a trip here is in the winter months from October to February. However, you can also visit during the summers. Avoid going in the monsoon as this beach is prone to storms and floods.

From Delhi:

Bundi, Rajasthan

Bundi is a village in the Hadoti region in Rajasthan. It is famous for its forts and monuments which preserve the gloriousness of its Rajput rulers. Bundi was previously called “Bunda-Ka-Nal”, Nal means narrow ways. The village is of great historical significance as it has been a place for many historical battles. It is submerged in beauty and cultural significance. The village is blessed with many rivers and is hence is a lush land with exquisite flora and fauna. It is surrounded by a huge wall with four gateways. This is truly a unique and offbeat weekend getaway from Delhi and is worth a visit.

Catch the Mewar Express from Harat Nizzamuddin Railway Station to Bundi. The journey takes around 10 hours. Or book a bus or cab from Delhi which will take 9 hours.

Distance from Delhi: 480.6 km

Places to visit:

  • Taragarh Fort: This fort is 3 km away from the city centre and is one of the main tourist attractions of the area. It was built somewhere in the 16th century. It is famous for its intricate design and beautiful painting gallery.
  • Badal Mahal: this palace is located inside the Taragarh Fort. The walls of this building are covered in intricate and beautiful paintings. These paintings interestingly depict an influence of Chinese culture.
  • Moti Mahal: it is a royal apartment of the fort. It has a stunning ceiling filled with mirror-work. The stones for making this building were carefully selected and were combined with 36 kg of gold to erect this gorgeous structure.
  • Hathi Pol: it is an entrance to the Garh Palace. This gate is one of the two humongous entrances to the palace which has two trumpeting elephants that form an arc.
  • Garh Palace: This structure is made up of many small palaces that belonged to various princes of the state.
  • Phool Mahal: The Phool Mahal is a fortress that is located on the shore of the Phool Sagar.
  • Sukh Mahal: It is located on the shore of the Jait Sagar around 3 km from the city centre.
  • Bhoraji-ka-Kund: This is a step well constructed around the 16th century and is a haven for many birds.
  • Chaurasi Khambon ki Chhatri: The translation is ‘an umbrella of 84 pillars’. This structure is a marquee built in 1683 and comprises 84 pillars.
  • Nawal Sagar Lake: A huge man made lake with a few islands, this is located right in the middle of the city.
  • Chhatra Mahal: Built in 1660 by Chatar Sal, this palace is a prominent work that boasts of Rajput power.
  • Shikar Burj: This is another quaint spot in this place. It was an old hunting cottage owned by the rulers of Bundi.

Things to do:

  • Shop for wooden items, metal wares and silver jewellery.
  • Explore nearby villages
  • Visit the step-wells and palaces of the area.

Best time to visit: October to March during the winter months is the best time to visit this town. Summers are too hot and monsoons are too humid for making a trip here.

From Kolkata

Bishnupur, West Bengal

This small town is filled with serenity and peace. It is a perfect getaway from hectic schedules and stressful city life. This “Land of terracotta temples” is famous for its rich culture in the form of architecture, music and handicrafts. It is famous amongst tourists for its classical music, paintings and Baluchari sari. The temples boast of grandeur and historical marvels.If you live in Kolkata, you absolutely must try this offbeat weekend getaway from Kolkata.

How to get there:

By train: You can catch a train from Kolkata railway station to Bishnupur Junction. It will take you an approximate time of 5 hours to reach Bishnupur.

By Road: Bishnupur is well connected to Kolkata and nearby cities by road. So, you can also opt to drive down yourself or hire a cab.

Distance from Kolkata: 199 Kms

Places to visit:

  • Lalji Temple: This laterite temple was built in 1658. It is decorated with ornamental carvings and is built on a square, raised platform.
  • Jorebangla Temple: This temple was erected in 1655. It is built like two huts joined together and a tower. The outer surface is decorated with intricate carvings of gods, goddesses, flora and geometric designs.
  • Rasmancha: One of the oldest brick temples. The temple has one inner chamber housing the idols of Radha and Krishna.
  • Susnia Hill: Located 46 km away from the city centre, this hill is famous for its natural spring.
  • Mukutmonipur: An important tourist village in the area, it is famous for its earthen dam.
  • Madan Mohan Temple: Built in the late 17th century, this temple has a flat roof with curved cornices and a pinnacle on the top.
  • Biharinath Hill: This hill was an ancient centre for Jains and is the tallest hill in the area.
  • Joyrambati: A tourist village in the district famous for being the birthplace of Sree Sarada Devi.
  • Jhilimili: This place is known for its scenic beauty and for the river Kangsabati which flows through its forest. It has a watchtower which offers a panoramic view of the breathtaking surroundings.

Things to do:

  • Go out for a picnic in the serene environment of Jhilimili.
  • Visit neighbouring Parks.
  • Shop for souvenirs from the local market.

Best time to visit: During October to March, when the weather’s nice and cool.

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