11 Underrated yet beautiful places you won't believe are in India

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    Khonoma, Nagaland

    Situated on a cliff, overlooking the undulating movements of the rice fields, Khonoma is a small village in the interiors of Nagaland that is home to the indigenous Angami Naga warriors. A rickety-rockety ride through the sinuous 20km road from Kohima leads you to Khonoma - India’s First Green Village. The drive is sub-alpine and exposes a diabolic view of the breathtaking abyss down under.

    Kadmat Island, Lakshadweep 

    kadmat-island-lakshadweepA 3-hour ride from the mainland of Agatti Island, Kadmat island, also known as Cardamom Island, is a place of eternal solitude. The sea is so mesmerising and playful that the waves dance to the rhythm of the light breeze, and as you look at the deep blue ocean, your mind sails off in serenity. Kadmat Island is a place where you’ll be lost in its vastness; it is a peaceful and quiet getaway.

    Phawangpui, Mizoram

    Blue-Mountain, MizoramKnown as the "Blue Mountain", it is the highest peak in Mizoram (7,100 feet above the mean sea level). The whole plateau is a garden of rhododendron skirted by beautiful trees and flowers of all colours and shapes. There are splendid views of the blue hazed hills and valleys. This is an ideal spot for mountaineers.

    Dudhni lake, Silvassa

    Dudhni Lake, SilvassaA beautiful lake built on Madhuban dam’s reservoir, Dudhni lake is ideal for a short getaway and water sports. From boating, kayaking, speed boats, canoeing and jet skiing, Dudhni lake is perfect to get away your weekday blues.

    Rani ki vav, Gujarat

    rani-ki-vav-gujaratThere are so many things to love about this one. First - it was built by a lady, unlike most other monuments in India. Second - the architecture is that of an inverted temple. Third - it is a 27-metre-deep stepwell which is 64-metre-long and 20-metre-wide, built to worship shallow water of the Saraswati river. This is a subterranean wonder that is adorned with sculptures of gods and their mounts, demigods and nymphs.

    Bodh Gaya, Bihar

    Bodh Gaya, BiharA state that is almost pandemonium personified, comes to a pious point at Bodh Gaya, the place where Buddha attained enlightenment under a Bodhi tree. With other Buddhist sites at Rajgir, Nalanda and Vaishali, there are sporadic pockets in Bihar that appeal to your senses.

    Rock Garden, Chandigarh

    Rock Garden, ChandigarhNoble like his name, Nek Chand had recrudescing dreams of a place that was straight out of a fantasy. His dreams reiterated to create a magical paradise, today known as the ‘Rock Garden’. A large chunk of urban-industrial-waste constituted to these making of unique sculptures. A kaleidoscope of scrap from bottles, bangles, glasses, pebbles et al is arranged beautifully in these installations to create a piece of art like never before. Surreal arched walkways, passages, cascading falls, grottos and turrets form a complex network inside the park. Nek Chand was also awarded a Padma Shri for was his endeavour.

    Belum caves, Andhra Pradesh

    Belum_CavesA labyrinth of dark and mysterious wonder forms the underbelly of a large limestone cavity. Belum, meaning ‘cave’ in Sanskrit, was primitively occupied by Jain and Buddhist monks. Some relics found in the cave are a testament to this theory. Second largest natural caves in India, Belum caves were formed by the constant force of water erosion by Chitravati River. These caves have fascinating stalactite and stalagmite formations.

    Loktak Lake, Manipur

    loktak-lake-manipurLoktak Lake lies snug in the Moirang city of Manipur. It is the only floating lake in the world and the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India. The phumdis floating over it not only form a formidable landscape, but also act as a livelihood for the fishermen in this area. The lake is home to 233 species of aquatic plants, about 100 species of birds and 400+ species of animals, including the Indian python and sambhar.

    Unakoti Hills, Tripura

    unakoti-hills-tripuraIf you’ve always fancied the eerie looking rock monuments at the Easter Island, but can’t really afford an air ticket to Chile, you can look at heading to the Unakoti hills of Tripura to view similar rock-cut sculptures. Images of Lord Shiva, Ganesha, Maa Durga standing on a lion, and a Nandi are sculpted out here.

    Diu Fort, Daman and Diu

    Diu FortA beautiful fort built by the Portuguese, Diu Fort is a small wonder dotting the west coast of India. A place that was once commanding and strong, is now fallen prey to illicit lovers scribbling on its walls. Nonetheless, it stands unmarred by the tourist havoc and is a place that tells you volumes of its chivalry and resilience.

    Author: Winnie Karnik