Be it the breathtaking landscapes or the delightful cultural diversity, every fascinating aspect of India is an adventure in itself. Yet, while travelers marvel at its many charms, quite a few of its wonders lay hidden and unnoticed.
Read on to learn about 10 of the least visited cities in India and how they can quench your wanderlust.
1. Padum, Jammu and Kashmir
Considered to be among the most popular destinations in India, one would hardly expect any part of Ladakh to be unexplored. Yet, tucked away amidst the dramatic landscapes of the Zanskar Valley is the hidden marvel, Padum. Covered in snow for most part of the year, it is accessible for a few months in summer, and only on foot. But the scenic allure of the capital of the erstwhile Zanskar kingdom is more than rewarding. Home to mystical Tibetan monasteries such as Karsha, Khagsar and Purang, it is also a unique cultural retreat.
2. Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand
A quaint and mystic town nestling on the banks of the river Bhagirathi, Uttarkashi is what you would get if the holy city of Kashi were to be recreated in the mountains. Often known as ‘Devbhumi’ or the ‘Land of gods’ due to its numerous temples, it is indeed a spiritual haven. But if you think it is only for those seeking peace of mind, you would be wrong. With the Nehru mountaineering institute located here, it is also your gateway to some thrilling expeditions.
3. Chamba, Himachal Pradesh
Hidden away amidst the steep mountains of Himachal Pradesh, Chamba is a marvelous confluence of the splendid legacy of a former princely state and the warm hospitality of its humble locals. Although the state is home to numerous popular destinations, not many come close to the unique appeal of Chamba’s verdant meadows, exquisite ancient temples and vibrant folk culture. Visit the bustling flea market at its heart to take home souvenirs of traditional art.
4. Kurseong, West Bengal
There is certainly no dearth of picturesque hill-top destinations in India. But what sets Kurseong apart is that unlike most hill stations, it remains largely untouched by the usual ruckus of commercial tourism. One of the stops made by the Darjeeling toy train, at first glimpse, it appears little more than a township. But closer examination reveals elegant British colonial structures, lush tea gardens and vast meadows of white orchids.
5. Jorhat, Assam
While the capital city Guwahati steals the limelight, Assam’s majestic legacy lies in its cultural core, Jorhat. The last capital of the legendary Ahom Empire, here you will find the finest monuments of its regal heritage. It is in Jorhat that the river Brahmaputra forms the pristine island of Majuli, which is the largest of its kind in the world.
6. Orchha, Madhya Pradesh
If it is nostalgia you crave, head to the historic city of Orchha in Madhya Pradesh. Established in the 16th century as the capital of the fierce Bundela Rajputs, the city’s greatest asset is its magnificent architecture, built in the quintessential Bundela style. The grand palace, exquisite temples and elegant cenotaphs embellished with colorful murals are all witnesses of its glorious bygone era.
7. Patan, Gujarat
Speaking of past glory, Patan in Gujarat is yet another destination worth visiting for its archaic marvels. Rediscover the medieval stronghold of the Chavda Rajputs through the city's spectacular archeological remains dating back to the 8th century AD. Age-old Jain temples, embellished with elaborate carvings, give you a glimpse of Patan's brilliant religious as well as artistic heritage.
8. Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh
Jagdalpur is indeed a rare jewel hidden in the midst of wilderness. The lofty mountains and deep valleys covered in a carpet of greenery are embellished with picturesque waterfalls cascading down rocky cliffs. Pay a visit to the wild creatures residing in the dense forest, or uncover the mysteries of nature at its splendid caves. Yet, the true magic of Jagdalpur lies in the rustic appeal and the fascinating folk art of its tribal culture.
9. Bellary, Karnataka
One look at the magnificent, monolithic fortress dominating the cityscape of Bellary will certainly leave you wondering why you haven’t visited it all this time! Delving deeper into the town, you will hear the marvelous folklore of gods, saints and legendary emperors that will leave you enthralled and craving for more. The grandeur of Bellary's majestic past lives on in its splendid temples and historic remains.
10. Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu
Kumbakonam, at very first sight, gives you the impression of stepping into an artistic sanctuary dedicated to the gods. Nestled between the parallel flows of two rivers, it may appear nothing more than a quaint town in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur district. Yet, it is the divine serenity of its ancient temples, adorned with elaborate and exquisite carvings, that gives this city its mystic allure.
Why stick to the tried and tested when you can discover something new? These 10 charming cities are unique and underexplored; without the customary crowds often found at popular destinations. Awaken the explorer in you and uncover these lesser-known delights of India.