7 Coolest Towns in India

Need a break from the hustle bustle of the city but don’t want to encounter tourists all throughout your vacation? Then move past your popular holiday spots and discover these pristine, little-known gems in India that will give you your much-needed break amidst Mother Nature’s bosom. There are many places to visit in India which can make your holiday more enjoyable.

  1. Kalimpong
Deolo Hill, Photo by Abhishek Kumar, CC BY 2.0

As part of  until it was priced off by the frontier British and joined to the Indian Territory, the hill station of Kalimpong boasts of quaint old churches, colonial architecture, antiquated Buddhist monasteries and ancient temples.  Situated near the lower ranges of the Himalayas, this gorgeous town offers all-encompassing vistas of the Teesta Rangit Valley in Sikkim.

  • Things to do: Visit the Santi Kunj anthuriums, try local cheese at the Lark’s Provisions, go exploring at the Lepcha Heritage Museum.
  • Places to visit: St. Teresa’s Church, Deolo Hill, Neora Valley National Park, MacFarlane Church.
  • Mcleodganj
Pyayer Wheels, Tsuglagkhang Temple,  Photo by travelwayoflife, CC BY-SA 2.0

Mcleodganj, also known as “Little Lhasa”, is a town 4kms from Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, dotted with little numerous little beautiful cafés and restaurants situated right in the lap of nature offering Indo-Israeli-Italo-Tibetan food.

  • Things to do:  whether you choose to visit the dainty cafés and strike up conversations with strangers, or just sit around nursing a cup of hot chocolate, or go camping on the hills under the starlit skies – the best way to roam Mcleod is to just pick a direction and keep walking.
  • Places to visit in Mcleod Ganj: The Seed café, Illiterati, Tsuglagkhang complex, men-tsee-khang
  • Varkala
Varkala Beach, Photo by Koshy Koshy, CC BY 2.0

Varkala is a coastal town located in Kerala, set in tranquillity in the lap of nature, with a combination of clean, quiet and calm beaches surrounding lush, green mountains. Inspite of its backpacking vibe, Verkala is essentially a temple town with the main beach Papanasham being a holy place frequented by Hindus.

  • Things to do: Sunbathe on the largely untouched beaches, gorge on Italian Japanese dishes at Trattorias, try Keralan delicacies at Sreepadman or have coffee at the Coffee Temple after an early morning jog.
  • Places to visit: Odayam Beach, Papanasham Beach, Janardhanswamy Temple.
  • Zanskar Valley, Ladakh

While visiting Ladakh you can also visit Zanskar which is a little town situated in the Kargil district- possibly one of the most rugged terrains in India if not the world. Situated amidst the land popularly known as ‘Paradise on Earth’, the Zanskar valley is as picturesque as it gets.

  • Things to do: One thing you wouldn’t want to miss is the Chadar Trek. A frozen spectacle awaits you as a flowing river freezes into a white blanket displaying vibrant colors ranging from a milky white to a bluish tinge to a golden yellow when sunlight bounces off the brilliant formation of ice – the Chadar Trek is when you realise how apt the ‘Paradise on Earth’ title is.
  • Places to visit: Sani Gompa, Anmu, Zangla Palace, Phuktal Gompa
  • Mandawa, Rajasthan
Ram Temple, Photo by Prashant Ram, CC BY-ND 2.0

Not to be confused with Mandwa, Maharashtra, Mandawa is a town you can visit in Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan, lying in the heart of the Shekhawati region majorly known for its havelis and forts. It is a little touristy as compared to others in this list, but offers a safe haven to be spending time with your family and soaking in all the culture and heritage that this town has to offer.

  • Things to do:  Explore the ancient city, strike up conversations with locals who are more than willing to share with you stories and lore of the historic town or go exploring the various havelis and museums.
  • Places to visit: The Mandawa Haveli, Harlalka well, Chokhani double Haveli, Temples.
  • Landour
Street View, Photo by Paul Hamilton, CC BY-SA 2.0

Landour is a small cantonment hamlet situated about 35km from Dehradun, near Mussoorie. The Europeans prevented Indians from building in Landour, so there is more of a European as well as an American vibe to this place. It is more popularly known as the author Ruskin Bond’s home town. Its USP is the absence of any kind of commercialization in the town- even hotels. Thus a day excursion is recommended rather than a whole stay.

  • Things to do: Try the local ‘naal badi’, a dish made with a local variety of aloe, coated with soaked and ground dal and the popular Garhwali cuisine.
  • Places to visit: Rokeby Manor, Cloud End, Sister’s Bazaar
  • Mawlynnong
Photo by Ashwin Kumar, CC BY-SA 2.0

Maywlynnong is a village town in the East Hills of Meghalaya, famous for its cleanliness and natural beauty. It boasts of holding the title of being the cleanest place in Asia, also famously known as ‘God’s own Garden’. It is especially pretty in the monsoons, when streams run throughout in abundance and orchids dance around the town.

  • Things to do: Waterfall Rappelling at Elephant Caves, sit around and enjoy the clean pristine environment and purge your body of toxins at the local spas.
  • Places to visit: Shella Bazaar, Mawlynnong Waterfall, Church of the Epiphany.

Pick any of the above and get on the road right away. Sometimes taking an off-beat path is just what you need to rejuvenate and reconnect with yourself.

Author’s Bio: Rohit is a travel aficionado and a wordsmith; fascinated by his fellow journeyman. He spends part of his days trying to board the Hogwarts Express. The rest of his time he spends travelling the world, meeting new people and creating breathtaking memories. Read out his travel experience at http://www.transindiatravels.com/.

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