In a diverse country like India, choosing unexplored travel destinations isn’t much of a problem, especially if you want to give the crowds a miss and look forward to a fun-filled vacation in the lap of nature to beat the blues. However, for the Indian middle-class, a fun-filled vacation means where he can have loads of things to see and do, and yet not break the bank while paying for accommodation and dining. So, here are 3 destinations that can give the middle-class Indian his money’s worth:
· Nawalgarh (Rajasthan): If you have planned a trip to Rajasthan and yet want to head straight to a place that lets you get a glimpse of the old world hawelis without the crowd and din of big cities, Nawalgarh is your ideal bet. Drawing its name from its founder - Thakur Nawal Singh, Nawalgarh is often dubbed as an "open air art gallery" and the "land of havelis" that draws tourists by hordes - families, couples, singles et all.
During your trip to this city, take in the beauty and old-world charm of the various havelis – both big and small, dotting the place. Some notable ones that should feature on your travel itinerary include the Roop Niwas Palace, Hira Lal Sarowgi Haveli, and the Aath Havelis. You should also set a date with the Nawalgarh Fort, the south eastern part of which displays some of the finest frescos belonging to the Shekhawati region. You can reach here from Delhi and other cities of Rajasthan (Bikaner, Jaipur, Kota, Ajmer, and Jodhpur) by bus. For accommodation, you can choose from http://www.heritagethikana.com/ and http://www.touristpension.com/. Lodging would cost anywhere between INR 1200-1500 per night (a family of 2 adults+1 kid), and 3 meals a day (per person) would set you back by around INR 900-1000.
· Kolad (Maharashtra): This small village in Maharashtra’s Raigad district is your best bet if you are eyeing an action packed vacation. Kolad’s key attraction is enjoying whitewater rafting at Kundalika River. Friends, families, singles – everyone can get a chance to enjoy a wide variety of other activities as well like river crossing, trekking, and kayaking during your Kolad trip. For nature lovers, the splendid marshlands and valleys, against the backdrop of the magnificent Sahyadris, which would enthrall the sore eyes and refresh battered souls, are a treat for sure!
You can reach Kolad from Pune (157 kms) by road in about 2 hrs and 10 minutes. Though there are many budget lodging options, the one rated as the best is http://www.kundalikarafting.in/. A 2 Night/3 days package would cost anywhere between INR 2100 to 4500 per day per person depending on the time of your visit (weekday or weekend) and how many persons are in a group (rate varies as per double occupancy/triple or quadruple sharing basis).
· Masinagudi (Tamil Nadu): If a vacation in the jungle where you get a chance to see the wildlife of that area from close quarters, excites you, this is the place to be. Starting from van safaris into unspoilt sanctuary areas, and bird watching, to taking a tour of the elephant camp, and a trip to the local tea/ pepper/coffee plantation, you can enjoy all these and more during your Masinagudi sojourn. You may even plan a full day excursion through the twin sanctuaries of Mudumalai and Bandipur, along with a visit to Gopalswami Betta, which is a hill whose peak plays host to a historic temple. Families, elders, couples, singles – everyone will have something or the other to look forward to once they reach Masinagudi.
From Coimbatore Airport, about 123 Kms from Masinagudi, you can reach here easily via road. Ooty - 28 kms away, though, is the nearest city from Masinagudi. There are many accommodation options at this place to suit your budget. You can stay at Glen View Resorts (rates vary between INR 2115 and 5828 for 2-4 persons), or Bamboo Banks Farm Guest House (rates 4000+ for couples and families per night), both of which are highly rated on TripAdvisor. Another good place to stay at is http://www.masinagudi.com/. At Masinagudi, 3 meals a day (per person) would cost you anywhere between INR 900-1000.
India has many more of such hidden gems that offer tourists an uninterrupted, leisurely and calm experience, which most popular tourist destinations these days can’t. So, plan tours to these unexplored destinations and we’ll return soon with another set of attractions that are still not battered by stream of tourists and let you enjoy your own slice of paradise!