To many in the world, India has always been the land of mystical rites and exotic adventure. There are umpteen stories that portray it as the land where elephants roam the street and snakes charmers perform. The Taj Mahal is also one of its wonders steeped in myth and has drawn many visitors from all over the world to admire its beauty. However, though enticed to visit one of the Wonders of the world, visitors often find themselves extending their trips to explore other hidden beauties of this colorful country.
India is a vast land that boasts not only several different culture, language and cuisine but also varied terrain and climatic conditions. There are many beautiful tourist spots in India, some of which still remain virgin due to very little information on them. Though provisions of accommodation and other facilities have been made available at most popular destinations, there are still some places that are untouched by commercialization. But if you are not daunted by the prospect of “roughing it out”, there are several spots worth the endeavor. These places do not get much tourist traffic because of the lack of facilities. However, they are also places with secrets to unfold.
For those who are keen on testing their stamina and survival skills, the adventurous trips offer the option of forest trails and rocky mountain climbs. One of the lesser known destinations is the Thalon Cave in Manipur, North East India. Located in the Tamenglong district, the caves have witnessed the Hoabinhian culture prevalent in many South East Asian countries. These caves are positioned around 900 meters above sea level and exploring them can be unnerving for some. Note of caution: those who are scared of darkness will find this a frightening experience. The forests of Cherrapunji, on the other hand, have the feel of an enchanted forest. The “Living Root Bridges” gain their name from the way the roots of the rubber tree grow to form a bridge-like structure.
If you are interested in places that could feature in the Believe It or Not series, then the ruins of Bhangarh should be on your travel agenda. Located in the Alwar district of Rajasthan, the town of Bhangarh is home to several historical ruins. But most often visitors are attracted to this place for another reason. You may choose to disregard the folklore of the city being haunted, but there are strict warnings issued by the Archaeological Survey of India advising people to refrain from entering after sunset and before sunrise. However, those who are looking forward to a face-to-face with the invisible inhabitants must not miss out on this experience.
Each place in India has something unique to boast of. Some places may be famous for their mouth-watering feasts while others may be known for their colorful bazaars. But a small village near Allahabad carves a niche for itself in the area of uniqueness. Umri boasts of producing the maximum number of twins in the world. The most amazing thing is that this phenomenon is not restricted to humans only, it has been observed in animals as well! With over 120 twins living in town, the chances of twin births happening in Umri is 300 times more than anywhere else!
India has been home to several Spiritual Masters and mystical beings that have left behind a rich legacy not only in the form of their Teachings but also proof of their extraordinary lives. In Maharashtra there is a small town called Shivapur which was home to a Sufi mystic by the name of Qamar Ali over six centuries ago. Since we are always looking for proof of the extraordinaire, the saint complied by blessing a stone with the power to levitate. Every time a group of eleven people have placed the index finger (right hand) under the stone, it has levitated. There are many who can swear by this, and if you don’t, then what better than visiting there to confirm for yourself?
Those who are scientifically inclined will find it difficult to explain away some of the naturally occurring phenomenon in India. The Magnetic Hill, Ladakh, has a sign that invites people to test the gravity defying phenomenon on their cars! When left in the neutral gear mode, the car moves automatically up a steep hill. The magnetic property of the hills can make vehicles go up to 20 kmph! Located on the Leh-Kargil- Batalik national highway and situated 14,000 ft above sea level, the Magnetic Hills have converted many non-believers to accept the mysterious ways of God.
The many reigning monarchs in India have left behind a beautiful legacy in the form of architectural wonders. The Taj Mahal is the most well-known example of the fine workmanship of the Indian artisans. But there are other examples too, lesser known but definitely not less in terms of their beauty. The Bara Imambara, Lucknow is a 15-metre tall gravity-defying architectural wonder. The most amazing thing about this structure (50 metres by 16 metres in size) is that the large arched structure has no beams to support its ceiling. The eight chambers surrounding it are built of different heights to incorporate a 3D labyrinth connecting over 400 identical doorways. If you have not been impressed with this already, it is to be noted that the roof of the structure was constructed out of rice husk!
Since the Indian sub-continent is so large and multi-terrain, there is no dearth of places boasting of scenic beauty. But of these too, there are two unusual places of natural beauty that deserve a mention. The Floating Islands of Loktak are so mesmerizing that one cannot refrain from trying to capture their beauty in their cameras. The North-Eastern region of Manipur is the home to this lake located in Moirang, near Imphal. Though the lake is also well-known as being the largest freshwater lake in the region, it is the Phumdis that attract crowds. The latter are masses of soil, organic matters and vegetation that float on the surface of the lake, giving an impression of islands. The Hide and Seek Beach or Chandipur Beach of Orissa is a delightful experience to withhold. As the name suggests, during low tide the waters recede up to 5kms to reveal a beach that disappears once high tide hits the surf.
India is a land filled with the mysterious and extraordinary; and it takes a very determined traveler to uncover even a third of its secrets. But given the many wonders that she holds in her lap, it is not surprising that many flock to India every year on their own journeys of self-discovery. Book now to discover the wonders of Incredible India!
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