While we all wait at home and ride out this Covid-19 pandemic from our altered offices and couches, some of us can't help but stare into the distant future in hope of the next time we would be swinging or lying in a hammock on a beach or watching the clouds caress the mountains. We may have had to drop all our touring plans from the recent past but nothing is preventing us from keeping the hope alive - by looking at some unusual yet amazing places to see once this is all over. From the jungles of the Western Ghats to summer expeditions to Halebidu, the possibilities are infinite. Here are the ten best places to visit in India in 2020 post-COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Gurez Valley, Kashmir
Surreal landscapes, cool air, breathtaking backdrops, and the sound of the gushing river are commonplace in Gurez Valley. The regular sight of shepherds and fields feels like a scene out of Bambi. Its strategic location right below the ‘Line of Control' makes the valley one of the most protected land in India. And yes, with continuous vigilance and constant patrolling, it is safe to go there.
2. Phugtal Gompa, Jammu & Kashmir
Possibly the remotest monastery in Asia, Phugtal Gompa is a striking attraction set in the mountain cave in Zanskar. As you climb up the tall mountains, you see the spectacular views of the Tsarap River. There is no road which leads to this house of peace. You need to trek for a day or two to reach this unseen place in India.
3. Damro, Arunachal Pradesh
Damro is the base to the longest hanging bridge (1,000 feet) in Arunachal Pradesh. A hidden route to heaven, Damro charms with thatched bamboo houses, swaying suspended bridges, and laid-back lifestyle of the locals. Among the list of unexplored places in India, it is a rural sort of a getaway for exhausted city dwellers. The sights of harvested crops, not-so-wild bison, a vast expanse of meadows and grasslands are quite welcoming.
4. Darjeeling, West Bengal
The term ‘Sandakphu' means the height of the poison plants. It is named so because of a specifically poisonous wolfsbane plant which grows naturally near the peak. Sandakphu, one of the most dangerous offbeat places in India, is the highest peak in Darjeeling with a staggering altitude of 3,336 meters.
5. Lepakashi, Andhra Pradesh
Lepakshi, a small town in Andhra Pradesh, is a site dedicated to Lord Veerabhadra - the fiery incarnation of Lord Shiva. There are various colourful frescos painted on the walls and ceilings of buildings and temples from Ramayana and Mahabharata. However, the best part of the place is the hanging pillar in the main Lepakshi Temple. Nothing is holding the pillar to the ground, but it is still standing.
6. Parule and Bhogwe, Maharashtra
Parule offers a farm stay experience, along with a taste of authentic local cuisine. Activities like cow milking, fishing, and plantation walking will keep you engaged. The stunning sunsets and sunrises will take your breath away. Bhogwe, on the other hand, boasts of architectural wonders and mystical charm. The village has rustic temples and old cottages, where you can have a laid-back vacation while munching cashews, boat-riding, or just lazing around on the coast.
7. Halebidu, Karnataka
Halebidu is dotted with several forgotten but charming shrines and temples. A dream destination for historians and archaeologists, the place encompasses peace and a sense of complacence that is alien to the modern world. Once a regal capital to kings, Halebidu will make you forget all other temples around.
8. Daroji Bear Sanctuary, Karnataka
You may have heard of the famous ruins of Hampi, but have you heard of an exquisitely clean and well-maintained bear reserve known as Daroji Bear Sanctuary? It is home to more than 120 sloth bears, amongst other equally feral animals. If lucky, you might get to watch the scene of the wide gorge from the watchtower, several feet above. Watch them gorging on food from a relatively closer spot at 2 pm every day, when the authorities provide these mammoths with food and water.
9. Moodbidri, Karnataka
Moodbidri is Jains' paradise and historians' dream destination. Several Jain shrines (some of them are centuries old) depicting the Digambara culture, add character to the place. The most popular one is a thousand pillared Jain Temple which is said to be over 600 years old. The architecture has Nepalese, Hoysala, and Oriental influences.
10. Urakam, Kerala
Majestic beauty, entrancing culture, skilled artisans, vibrant festivals, and delicious food - Urakam, one of the best-unexplored places in India has all! Away from the busy town life, come here to relax, rejoice, and learn pottery from the original pottery masters.