From mesmerizing sights of majestic peaks to pristine beaches to the historic remains of age-old monuments, many of India’s beautiful secrets have manifested and delighted visitors through the ages. Each of its different states has something unique to offer. Yet, there is much that still remains untouched and underexplored.
Here’s your guide to 10 least-visited states in India to add to your must-visit list!
1. Arunachal Pradesh
One of India’s seven Northeastern states, Arunachal Pradesh is perhaps the most mysterious of all. Yet, it is this mystique that makes it all the more alluring. The border conflicts with China as well as the protected area and inner line permit requirements may discourage visitors, but the scenic and cultural delights it offers are certainly worth it. From the 400-year-old monastery and thriving Tibetan Buddhist culture in Tawang to the enchanting views of Bomdila and the Ziro Valley, Arunachal is captivating in all of its forms.
While most destinations are losing themselves in the hubbub of commercial tourism, Jharkhand remains delightfully true to its rustic origins. It is here, amid the dense woods, that the age-old tribal communities of Santhals, Mundas, Gonds and so on, carry on with the traditional lifestyles, rituals, and folk arts. Apart from sheltering the tribals, Jharkhand’s forests are also home to exotic wildlife and splendid waterfalls such as Johna and Hundru. To top it all, the state is also emerging as a hub for many adventure and water sports.
Hardly do we hear of Chhattisgarh as a coveted tourist destination. Yet, if you wish to witness perfect harmony between natural wonders and man-made heritage, this is the place to be. You can explore the wild in Achanakmar Sanctuary, or be awed by the Kailash and Kutumsar natural caves. Head to the Bastar Palace to discover the royal heritage of the Bastar Rajas; or travel back in time with a visit to the ancient ruins of Sirpur.
As you step into Manipur, the stunning landscapes will have you wondering why you haven’t visited earlier. Well, the need for a Protected Area Permit or an Inner Line Permit for any non-native visitor could perhaps be the reason the state does not attract many tourists. But if the deep valleys and lofty mountains, covered in greenery and teeming with wildlife are anything to go by, Manipur is truly worth the effort. You may feast your eyes on the visual delights of Tamenglong, Ukhrul, and Thoubal, or soak in the culture at Imphal and Bishnupur.
One of the smallest states in India, size is hardly a factor in Tripura when it comes to cultural diversity. This Northeastern state is home to numerous indigenous tribes and boasts of several unique folk arts, which have been passed on for ages. Living proofs of these can be found at the archeological remains of rock-cut sculptures at Unakoti, Pilak, and Debtamura. Nature enthusiasts can head for adventurous safaris to the various wildlife sanctuaries such as Gumti and Rowa.
Be it picturesque views of natural landscapes, exotic wildlife in dense forests, or a treasure trove of historical, cultural and religious heritage, Odisha is one place where you will find it all. Yet, despite all of its amazing delights, it is continues to be overlooked by travelers. Well, that works in your favor too, if you wish for an undisturbed experience. The serene beaches like Aryapalli and Puri, the ancient Konark Sun Temple, and the Bhitarkarnika Wildlife Sanctuary are just some of the many different attractions in Odisha.
Nagaland, yet another of the Northeastern states, is not only a scenic wonder but also a cultural fanfare. The 16 indigenous tribes of the Naga warriors form a colorful mosaic of age-old traditions, folk arts, dance forms, and music. In Kohima, you can witness the cultural and religious transformation brought about over the years through the Churches and Cathedrals, while the tribal essence reigns in Wokha, Mon. Head to Dimapur, Phek or Kiphire to enjoy the splendid landscapes.
The site of many legendary moments of past, Haryana rarely gets the limelight it deserves. Overshadowed by its neighboring regions of Punjab and Delhi, Haryana has its own charms in the form of places such as Kurukshetra and Panipat that are of immense historical and cultural importance. In cities like Faridabad, Ambala, and Pinjore, to name a few, you will encounter the quintessential Haryanvi spirit of joy and celebration.
In Sikkim, the many wonders of nature form the perfect backdrop for some equally amazing human creations. Get an insight into the region’s rich Buddhist heritage with visits to Gangtok, Lachung, and Yuksom. With their stunning natural beauty, places such as Ravangla and Mangan are a haven for backpackers. On the other hand, the lake towns of Pelling and Lachen exude a romantic aura that makes them ideal honeymoon destinations.
Meghalaya, the name itself means ‘The Abode of Clouds’. And indeed, with the emerald peaks blanketed in misty clouds, it stays true to the claim. In Shillong, Cherrapunji, and Mawlynnong you witness water dramatically gushing down rocky cliffs. Head to Umiam to enjoy the serenity of lakes as you row about in charming houseboats; or you can admire the beautiful rock formations in the natural caves in Mawsynram.
These marvelous states of India promise to be refreshing, exciting and enchanting, all at once. Travel off the beaten path, and you are sure to savor your experience even more. So, bid farewell to the popular destinations and set out to these hidden gems of India, instead.