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Offbeat gems

Offbeat gems
Offbeat gems
 

High on promise, low on crowds, there are destinations out there that are waiting to get on to the big stage. From all four corners of the country, HolidayIQ has handpicked four such gems.Here's what four HolidayIQ members have to share.

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Malshejghat by Snonymous from Mumbai

Pic: Snonymous
Malshejghat is a mountain region, between Mumbai and Pune, with dense forests. The state highway from Kalyan to Ahmednagar goes through a tunnel in Harishchandragad Mountain. There are a couple of spectacular waterfalls in Malshejghat. The facilities are less, hence prepare in advance. There is no petrol pump between Murbad and Junnar, so tank up while traveling. The forest is green and beautiful with streams. One can see beautiful butterflies and wild flowers after monsoon and varieties of birds in the dry seasons. Trek to Naneghat or drive further to Junnar and Shivneri fort, or even to Lenyadri and the Ashtavinayaka site of Girijatmaka. You can also trek to Harishchandragad which is a good experience. The Pimpalgaon dam beyond Malshej Ghat boasts of monsoon flamingoes though we didn't sight any of them. Avoid going there on monsoon weekends or public holidays as the place will be crowded with tourists.

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Malshejghat Hotels

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Sattal by Anand from Delhi

Pic: Anand
Sattal is located between Bhimtal and Bhowali and is among the most popular excursions from Nainital. If you want to avoid the Nainital crowds, this is the place to be. There are lots of dhabas on the lake shores where you can enjoy a variety of food. The food served by the Sattal Forest Resort during our stay was excellent. The place is an idyllic retreat and is best to lie down, relax and watch the lush green surroundings. The views and the ambience are quite good. Take leisurely or strenuous walks around the lakes. A boat ride is just a stone's throw away. You can enjoy the snacks and delicious corn by the lakeside dhabas. If you happen to visit in summers, you can also do activities like kayaking, river crossing, rappelling, Burma bridge, all of which are carried on by independent operators. While kayaking, you can also take a dip in the Hanuman Tal. Paragliding is also being done in Naukuchiatal which is just 20-25 minutes drive from here.

Sattal is within a comfortable driving distance of 6 hours non-stop from Nainital, almost the closest a hill station can be. It is about 320kms from Delhi. You can reach Sattal via Delhi-Hapur-Garh Mukteshwar-Gajraula-Moradabad-Rampur-Rudrapur-Kathgodam-Bhimtal. The roads are quite good, especially after improvement of the National Highway till Moradabad. After crossing Bhimtal, take a left turn after about 5kms.

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Ravangla by Robin from Kolkata

Pic: Robin
Being an adventure lover and the thirst to explore new destinations brought me to scenic, small and beautiful hamlet of South Sikkim, lovingly called by the locals as Rabong and officially, Ravangla.To reach this place you can hire share or reserve taxis from New Jalpaiguri station or Bagdogra Airport. Also, you can get shared taxis at cheaper rate from SNT depot. In general, the reserved taxi will cost you anything between Rs.2300 to Rs.3000. It is a 4 hour journey from Siliguri via Sigtham or Namchi. Situated at 7000ft (2155m) between Maenam and Tendong, hills have turned into a natural tourist resort for its magical snow views and tranquility. Surrounded by high forested hills, undulating valleys dotted with village huts, Ravangla is an ideal place for short treks and bird watching. Nearby Lepcha and Bhutia villages of Yangang, Tinkitam, Kewzing, Barfung & Bakhim are ideal for short village tours.

This place is frequented by locals, foreigners and Indian tourists because of the good hospitality and warm food. The rooms are excellently maintained and in reasonable range from Rs.600/- to Rs.1000/-.The staff is quiet friendly and ready to help even in midnight. With rich natural diversity, the exotic flora and fauna in virgin forests, lofty snow mountains, waterfalls, picturesque tea gardens, quaint villages, hospitable Sikkimese villages, ethnic culture, old monasteries and fresh atmosphere, Ravangla is becoming a popular tourist destination. A few very old monasteries around Ravangla, namely Bonn Monastery, Ralong Monastery, the old historical market of Kewzing and some mysterious caves are some of the major attractions in the area. Samdruptse is also a major attraction for its natural diversity and its 120 ft. bronze statue. It is an ideal place for people seeking peace and looking to meditate.

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Ravangla Hotels

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Nelliyampathy by Saji from Cochin

Pic: Saji
Nelliyampathy is hailed as the poor man's Ooty. This hill station in Palakkad is a must-see for the scenery as well as the amazing variety of flora and fauna it has to offer, besides the wide spectrum of bird-life. The places to visit include Manpara, Karappara, Seetharkundu estates, Aanamada and several jungle trails. As for food, there is the local cuisine including meals, porottas, beef and chicken on offer.

Nelliyampathy can be a birdwatcher's paradise. Even if you are not, you will never be disappointed, what with the fresh air, the mist, the greenery and the twitter of birds to refresh you! I was lucky to have my first sighting of a lone tusker. I also had the pleasure of seeing two hornbills - one big and the other a small one, equally majestic though, with all those colors and significantly disproportionate horns. There are many other places too where a hired jeep can take you and it depends on the size of your wallet and how you bargain.

A to and fro trip to Manpara will cost you Rs.700-1000. There are buses from Palakkad and if you have a vehicle you can reach Pulayanparra. A four wheel drive or a sturdy SUV is very handy in such terrain. The jeep drivers will take you for a night safari at higher rates, but watch out for an angry tusker on the prowl who could well overturn your jeep!

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Nelliyampathy Hotels


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