Tired of crowded touristy hotspots? Go offbeat as you explore small towns and villages in India. The perfect escape from the hustle-bustle of cities, here you can indulge in incredible experiences. Vacations in these lesser-known locales of the country are truly memorable. Avoid crowds, explore raw natural beauty and unusual cultures, and also get to experience a plethora of new things.
Nowadays, more and more people are looking for less frequented destinations. We bring to you some of those places that not only provide a relaxing getaway but also some cherished memories.
Here is a list of most enchanting small towns and villages in India:
Mawlynnong in Meghalaya, is one of the most enchanting villages in India. Moreover, it is one of the places you must visit in North East India. Awarded as the cleanest village in Asia in 2003, the village represent a powerful commitment to eco-tourism by the community and government. Apart from the scenic bliss, the Living Roots Bridge engineered out of the roots of the trees is a sight to behold. In fact, the tribal community is amiable, opening their hearts and homes for guests.
- Experience the rich wilderness while trekking from Mawlynnong to the living roots bridge.
- Picnic at the scenic Umterming waterfall.
- Adopt treehouse living on the duration of your vacation.
- Have mouthwatering delicacies prepared in bamboo shafts.
- Take a dip in a stream, the water is pristine.
- Get a glimpse of Bangladesh from a tower.
- Discover pretty waterfalls, your very own haven.
- Go batman –style and explore a cave.
Best time to visit: October to April.
Where to stay: Locals provide plenty of homestays. You can also opt for guest house and small hotels.
Diskit Town, Ladakh
Ladakh is a remote region in India but blessed with beauty, thrill and incredible experiences. Set around Diskit Monastery, a 14th century monastery known for a 106 feet tall statue of Maitreya Buddha, the Diskit town is without doubt blessed. Enjoy the serenity of mountains, make bird watching your hobby while you are here. Moreover, the unique Nubra Valley is close by, where you can go for a short day trip. It is one of the must visit places in Ladakh.
- Visit the ancient Diskit monastery.
- Attend the popular Dosmoche festival colorful festival, masked dances, etc.
- Stay in the monastery and adopt their daily rituals.
- Go trekking.
- Explore the desert-like landscape of Nubra Valley.
- Learn all about bird watching
Best time to visit: June to September
Where to stay: Ladakh has abundant options of homestays in this part of the village. You can stay at the monastery, you need to get permission from the monks or one of the village folks would give you shelter.
Majuli is the largest river island in the world and one of the best experiences of the enchanting villages in India. Located on the banks of Brahmaputra River, the island holds an area of around 421.65 square kilometers and one of the popular tourist attractions in North East. The place offers a great blend of culture and history which allures people from all across the globe. The island of Majuli is only accessible via ferries which can be taken from Jorhat.
- Learn about the culture of Assam.
- Explore the museums.
- Spot the unique flora and fauna
- Go on boat rides in the sunrise.
- Attend one of the colorful festivals here.
Best time to visit: October to April.
How to reach: The nearest airport is in Jorhat, 20 km way. The island is only accessible by ferry.
Where to stay: There are few small hotels and lodgings.
A small town located in Uttarakhand, Landour has frozen in time. Landour is blessed with bliss of mountains wrapped in the charm of small town. The quaint Himalayan town has a salubrious weather throughout the year. There are few buildings of architectural and heritage value, a visit to them will transport you to the colonial era. It is also home to Ruskin Bond; the author synonymous with the mountains. It is one the relaxing vacation spots in India.
- Experience the Welsh named-town
- Visit the British Raj-era churches of the Kellogg’s Church, St.Paul, the Methodist Church, and St.Peter’s Church.
- Explore the trekking trails in Uttarakhand.
- Meet the popular author Mr. Ruskin Bond
- Hike to the panoramic look outs.
Best time to visit: October to June
How to reach: Landour is easily accessible by road. Taxis are available to the hill town. Arrive to Dehradun by train or flight at Jolly Grant Airport.
Where to stay: Landour has a number of accommodation. There are many budget hotels. You can also opt for the homestays.
Mandawa in Rajasthan is not just a beautiful town it is one known for time travel. Founded in the 18th century, the town was basically inhabited by rich merchant families. The historic and heritage charm and amazing mansions (havelis) every year attract an amazing number of tourists. Do not miss relishing the sumptuous delicacies of the local cuisine. Relive history and heritage of on your visit, it is one of most popular tourist attractions in Rajasthan.
- Marvel at beautiful Rajputana mansions uniquely of the Shekhawati region.
- Relish the mouthwatering delights.
- Photograph the beautiful frescoes.
- Live the royal lifestyle in one of the havelis transformed into a luxury heritage hotel.
- Explore the thriving markets where you can shop for souvenirs.
Best time to visit: October to March.
Where to stay: Opt for heritage hotels which have been transformed from the royal mansions. There also budget hotels and other lodgings.
Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh
Soaked in the bliss of North East, the charming Ziro Valley has a small town charm. The verdant beauty is hidden in the hills of Arunachal Pradesh. It is one of the off-beat vacation spots in India. Rice fields, thick pine forests, snow-capped mountains in the backdrop, home to all creatures exotic, the town is perfect for new experiences. The region has a lot to explore and you will be spoilt for choice! Enjoy the simple pleasures. Do not miss to attend the popular Ziro Music Festival.
- Explore the expansive rice fields
- Acquaint yourself with the heavily tattooed Apatani tribe.
- Get lost in the rich bio diversity of the Talley Valley Wildlife sanctuary.
- Spot a hornbill.
- If you are a music buff, then head to the “Ziro Festival of Music”, guaranteed to satisfy your soul with eclectic performances from India and around the world.
Best time to visit: March – October
How to reach: Ziro is 147 km away almost 3 hours from Itanagar. The city’s Lilabari airport has many airline services. Overnight buses and taxis are also available from Guwahati.
Where to stay: There are small hotels and sustainable homestays.
The merge of bliss of hills and the charm of a small town in Kerala, Idukki is a gem of Kerala. The natural beauty and tranquility of the place is truly unmatched. Settled at the highest point of Western Ghats encompassed by mountains, there are many scenic trails to be explored. How many places can actually boast of forests, lakes, waterfalls, thrilling treks, and more in one place? Get to very heart of nature in the one of the must-visit places in Kerala.
- Spend time in the undisturbed wilderness of Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Explore the hiking or trekking trails.
- Picnic at the Idukki arch dam, Cheeyappara Waterfalls, etc.
- Trek to Anamudi Peak and forests of Devikulam
- Explore the spice plantations in the hill town.
- Interact with the tribal community of Kerala.
Best time to visit: October to May.
How to reach: Kochi is the nearest airport. Theni is the nearest railway stations. Taxis, state buses and private vehicles are easily available to get to the town.
Where to stay: Idukki has a number of small-budget hotels and homestays.
Snuggled in the heart of Rajasthan, Khimsar is a typical village setting. The Great Thar Desert adds to the beauty. The quaint village is perfect to learn everything about surviving the desert. Explore the spectacular relics of history, try out experience sports, wildlife safaris or simply relish the beauty of the desert. The enchanting small town is one of those places where you must visit once in a lifetime, it offers blessed sunsets. For an authentic experience soft Har, Khimsar is one of the popular tourist attractions in Rajasthan.
- Experience the Thar Desert in Rajasthan.
- Camping in the sand dunes of Khimsar.
- Jeep or camel safaris in the Khimsar village
- Pay respects to the ancient Jain temples
- Explore the Dhawa Doli Wildlife Sanctuary and Panchala Black Buck Reserve.
Best time to visit: October to March.
How to reach: Jodhpur is the nearest airport and railway connection, 90 km from Khimsar.
Where to stay: Camps, budget hotels, heritage hotels, etc.
Matheran is a beautiful hill town in Maharashtra which promises a peaceful holiday. Set at an altitude of 800 m above the sea level, it is an experience of nature at its best. From great view of the surrounding valleys and hills to cool and calm weather, Matheran has an enchanting and revitalizing quality. No vehicles are not allowed here which adds to the tranquility of the place. The small town is one of the best places to visit in India.
- Kondana caves and Dodhana waterfall rappelling.
- Trek to Chanderi caves
- Attend an adventure camp
- Trek to Kalavantin Pinnacle Trek
- Fresh air and bliss of Western Ghats.
Best time to visit: Throughout the year, though it is best to avoid the rains (July to September).
How to reach: Matheran is connected by rail from Mumbai and Pune. The Toy Train arrives to Matheran from Neral in 2 hours’ time. You can drive up to Matheran car park but no vehicles are allowed beyond this point.
Where to stay: Matheran has abundant options of lodges, luxury resorts, cheap hotels and guest houses.
One of the relaxing escapes in South India, Chikmagalur is one of the enchanting towns which is synonymous with bliss. Famous for its coffee plantations, the town is also known as the ‘coffee land’ of Karnataka. Picturesque landscapes dotted with greenery and waterfalls, the town is blessed with salubrious climate throughout the year. The best thing about Chikmagalur is, it is pristine and perfect for a relaxing vacation in India.
- Spend time learning about the history of coffee and cultivation.
- Trek to Mullayanagiri.
- Explore the Kudremukh national park
- Enjoy a picnic at Hebbe Falls.
- Explore Kalhatti and Manikyadhara falls
- Hike to Kemmangundi
- Wildlife spotting at Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
Best time to visit: Throughout the year, even the rains amplify the beauty.
How to reach: Mangalore is the nearest airport, 160 km away. Gudur is the nearest railway station, 40 km away. The town is easily accessible from Bangalore and other cities in Karnataka.
Where to stay: Chikmagalur has abundant options of accommodations. Choose from resorts, luxury to mid-range hotels, homestays, etc.
Nandi Hills, Karnataka
Nandi Hills, nestled at a height of 1478 m above sea level is a town in Karnataka blessed with pleasant climate throughout the year. The town is named after the famous statue of mythical bull ‘Nandi’ who guards the Yoganandeeshwara Temple. Home to a wide variety of species of birds and animals, the hills are blessed by nature. The enchanting town is perfect for trekking, day picnics or a quiet weekend, it is one the lesser-known tourist places in South India.
- Trek the trails of the nature blessed hills.
- Visit the Yoga Nandeeshwara Temple and the magnificent Nandi Temple.
- Adventure activities like cycling, paragliding, camping.
- Explore Tipu Sultan’s summer palace.
- Enjoy the view from the picturesque Tipu’s Drop.
Best time to visit: Throughout the year except the monsoon (July to September).
How to reach: Located at a distance of 65 km. from Bangalore, Nandi Hills can be easily reached by road. The nearest airport is in Bangalore, capital city of Karnataka. Chikkaballapur is the nearest railway station, 9 km from to Nandi Hills.
Where to stay: Nandi Hills have many options of accommodation, including resorts, luxury to mid-range hotels, homestays, etc.
Agatti Island, Lakshadweep Islands
One of the most beautiful places in India, Agatti Island, one of the islands Lakshadweep is a truly enchanting town. It is blessed with golden sands meeting the turquoise waters and aquatic diversity of coral growths and multi colored marine life. Spend days swimming, or in the sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, fishing, sailing, water skiing and more. It is a relaxing destination for a vacation in India.
- Swimming in the crystal clear waters of Andaman Sea
- Snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, water-skiing and other sports
- Bicycle on the island
- Go trekking or walking all over the town
Best time to visit: October to February.
How to reach: Agatti Island is easily accessible from Cochin, the port city of Kerala. Cruises as well as flights are available for the town.
Where to stay: Agatti has only one private resort and some functional lodgings.
Malana, Himachal Pradesh
One of the most beautiful villages in India, Malana is mysterious and one place every traveler must visit once in a lifetime. The ancient village in Kullu valley is home to a unique clan, said to be descendants of Alexander’s army. Said to be one of the world’s oldest democracies, the locals are reserved and very protective of their customs. Malana is perfect for relaxing, adventures and to simply escape the cities. It is one of the top places to visit in Himachal Pradesh.
- Trekking to Naggar.
- Hike up to to the Chandrakhani pass.
- Trek of 17 km to Kasol over the awe inspiring Rashol Pass, with a stopover at the Rashol village.
- 6 km trek to Jari for beautiful waterfalls.
- Learn about the ancient democracy and the unique customs.
Best time to visit: March to June and September to October
How to Reach: Malana can be reached by trekking or by buses and taxis. The closest airport in Kullu is 40 km away.
Where to stay: There are many guesthouses, backpacker style offering accommodation in Malana. The closest hotels are in Kasol or Naggar.
Nako, Lahaul Spiti
A trip to the moon may not be suitable for many reasons so visit Nako the small town in Spiti Valley blessed with moon-like landscapes. Close to the Tibetan border, the picturesque hamlet set amidst barren splendor is one of the places one must visit in India. The town has an ancient monastery. Additionally, the Nako Lake is a picturesque sight which offers boating during summer and ice skating in the winter months. Escape the cities and enjoy the blessing of nature.
- Enjoy the solitude of Nako.
- Explore the Nako Village and Monastery.
- Trek to the Tashigang village.
- Take a glance at Ladakhi life and explore the village’s stone houses, monasteries and its fields.
- Visit Tabo, a proposed UNESCO heritage site with a monastery built in 9th century AD.
- Also xplore Kibber, the highest village in the world, with an interesting monastery and sanctuary.
Best time to visit: July to September
How to reach: The best way to reach Nako is by road. While the remote village in Spiti Valley is 4 hours from Recong Peo. There are state transport buses and shared taxis to Recong Peo but from there is no public connectivity.
Where to stay: Basic guesthouses and a camp overlooking the Nako Lake are the options of accommodations in Nako.
One of the most enchanting towns in India, Yana, set against the Sahyadri Mountains amazes visitors. Hidden away in the forests, the secret spot is one blessed with picturesque scenery. The black crystalline limestone rocks are unique rock formations have made Yana a popular destination. In fact, it lures all kinds of visitors including pilgrims, trekkers, and nature lovers. Also, the self-manifested Shiva Lingam with an idol of the goddess Parvati inside is one you must definitely visit. Beautiful and crowd-free you Yana offers a memorable vacation.
- Trek up a spectacular route to the monolith rocks.
- Also pray to the self-manifested linga, (phallic form of Lord Shiva) with Goddess Parvati
- Take a dip in streams in lush green surroundings.
- Photograph and spot birds and the beauty.
- Picnic at the Vibhooti waterfalls.
Best time to visit: January to March and also the months of September and October.
How to reach: Yana is 25 km from Kumta and 40 km from Sirsi. Closest airport is Bangalore or Dabolim airport.
Where to stay: There are no accommodation options in Yana. The nearby towns of Kumat and Siri has hotels, homestays and other options.