2015 seems to have been a year for offbeat destinations. When one thinks of travel and holidays, sure there are the usual suspects of Goa and Shimla, but according to travel portal Expedia, the number of people searching for lesser-known destinations have gone up. In fact, there was a 30 per cent hike in the number of bookings during extended weekends. This year, there was a 25 per cent increase in interest for these eight destinations within the country. Take a look.
Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh: This hidden and spiritual destination of the North East is just about making a mark on the commercial tourist’s map. And justifiably so. From the famous Tawang monastery (which is the second biggest in Asia) to the Jang Falls and Jong-nga-tser lake, this region is a trekker’s delight.
Haflong, Assam: True to the offbeat North East coming into focus, another destination that piqued traveller interest was Haflong. Also known as White Ant hillock, this region is famous for its hills, valleys and waterfalls. The ruins of Maibong, the Haflong Lake and Boiral Range are some of the must-visit places while here.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands: The islands are famous for their natural beauty, so it’s no surprise that travellers should flock towards them. Though one of the more expensive travel destinations in the country, a trip is well worth every rupee you spend — and that’s something the travellers this year realised.
Lakshadweep: An even more remote tourist destination, the Lakshadweep islands are one for the bucket list. Landing on the Agatti airstrip is an experience by itself, and add to that the crystal blue-green Arabian Sea and a host of seafood, travellers in 2015 just knew that this was the holiday they will brag about for years.
Alleppey, Kerala: The Keralan backwaters are one of the more popular tourist spots that has continued its reign even this year. Mostly a winter destination, living on one of the many boats, sailing through the backwaters at Alleppey and even Kumarakom would calm even the most stressed of minds. No wonder Indians found it a much welcome escape from their fast, urban lives.
Kovalam, Kerala: No wonder Kerala is called God’s Own Country — it’s appeared on the list twice. From the backwaters to the great blue sea, the Kovalam beach is one of the country’s cleanest beaches. Ayurvedic massages, fresh seafood — travellers this year really did aim for the good life.
Tarkarli, Maharashtra: If you think there is a trend in favour of beaches this year, then you’re right. But at least travellers were open to more offbeat ones. Most people don’t think beyond Mumbai when it comes to Maharashtra, but as the last two destinations on this list show — this year was different. Tarkarli is fast coming up as the next preferred beach destination to Goa, with the Sindhudurga Fort and pristine beaches, it’s understandable why.
Amboli, Maharashtra: Not forgetting the hills, Amboli is a very quaint and lesser-known hill station in the state. Called the Queen of Maharashtra, it’s been a traditional favourite for ecologists and nature lovers, but is slowly picking up pace with commercial travellers as well, as the trend in 2015 indicates.