On an Offbeat Track: From Shoja in Himachal to Wayanad’s Chembra Peak, here’s a list of new tourist destinations for your next trip

Since the pandemic, a number of offbeat vacation destinations have come into vogue and have become the new vacation spots. When we talk about holidays, we think of Goa and Manali but lesser known places like Ziro and Shoja are becoming the new tourist poles. We suggest other unusual tourist destinations in India to visit this summer.

Capital of the Chavda and Chalukya dynasties of Gujarat, Patan was founded by Vanraj Chavada, the most prominent king of the Chavda dynasty. It was previously known as “Anhilpur-Patan” and was then a prosperous trading city, thanks to several Hindu and Muslim dynasties.

The city is home to many Hindu temples, mosques, dargahs. During the time of the Solanki of Patan, Rani ki Vav or the stepwell was built by Udaymati, in memory of her husband Bhima, one of the largest structures that silted up and only a part of it is visible now.

Located in Hassan Karnataka, Halebidu is a hidden place from the world at large. The royal capital of the Hoysala Empire in the 11th century, was historically known as Dwarasamudra. In the 14th century, Halebidu was sacked twice by Delhi Sultanate forces. It is home to Hindu and Jain temples which represent Hoysala architecture. Some of the historical monuments worth visiting include the Hoysaleswara temple (the largest and most elaborate twin temple dedicated to Lord Shiva), three large Jain temples in a row, a three-shrine temple dedicated to Shiva called Kedareshwara temple, the well Hulikere, the museum and others. Nearby structures include Chennakeshava Temple, Lakshminarasimha Temple, Ishvara Temple, and Nuggehalli Group of Temples, among others.

Chembra Peak
The highest peak in Wayanad, Chembra is a scenic spot. It is located at 2100 meters above sea level and thus offers a beautiful view of the fauna and flora and many exotic species. Heart-shaped lake, waterfalls, greenery welcome visitors along the way to Chembra. A number of hikers visit Chembra for an adventurous experience. The nearest train station to reach Chembra is Kozhikode and the nearest airport is Calicut International Airport and Kannur International Airport. Banasura Sagar Dam and Banasura Hill are nearby places to visit for tourists.

This laid-back spot in northeast India is a tourist’s paradise. It is an ideal location for those seeking peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The city of Ziro is located in Arunachal Pradesh. The Apatani tribe, who speak Apatani, Hindi and English, reside there and the place is known for its Apatani cultural landscape. Its cool climate makes it a welcoming place and an ideal vacation spot for summer holidays. Ziro’s top attractions include Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Dolo Mando, and Tarin Fish Farm. Due to its pleasant weather, the hot month of May is the perfect time to travel to Ziro to escape the summer heat. The place has also been included in the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Mandu, also called Mandavgad, is an ancient town in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh. A subdivision of the kingdom of Taranga in the 11th century, the fortress city is famous for its architecture. The remains of the city offer a dip in the past to its visitors. It is one of the least known places in India. Some Mandu attractions include Jahaz Mahal, Hindola Mahal, Jami Masjid, Baz Bahadur Palace. Bayazid Baz Bahadur Khan, the last Sultan of Malwa Sultanate, built his palace in the 16th century. It is known for its large courtyards and is located under the pavilion of Roopmati. Rani Roopmati was the poetess and wife of Baz Bahadur. The nearest airport to reach Mandu is Indore. Bollywood has also not been spared from Mandu’s charms as the 1977 film Kinara was filmed in Mandu.

Connecting the districts of Shimla and Kullu in the Seraj Valley, Shoja is known for its uncharted terrain. Small village in the middle of nature, it is 5 km from the Jalori pass. The Deodar forests cover the snow capped Himalayan peaks in Shoja and offer magnificent views. Waterfall, Jalori Pass, Serolsar Lake, Tirthan Valley, Raghupur Fort are must see in Shoja.

Carol N. Valencia