Someone once said that being in India feels like tripping in the sixties, and by that he meant it’s still got that hippie vibe. I didn’t understand it then, but after travelling extensively, I’ve figured out this theory in bits and pieces. Especially if you’re travelling through Rajasthan, Goa or Himachal; you’ll experience the freewheeling nature of hippie-dom more deeply.

Of course we have plenty of ‘designer’ hippies these days; but what he meant was these places still celebrate the free spirit, throw in a few glorious herbs, and you’ve landed your own counterculture moment.

Nubra Valley

A little north-east of Ladakh lies the gorgeous Nubra valley. Someone who’d recently gone there told me it’s a real trip just standing on the rocks and watching the mighty Shyok river. It’s the land where you can view the best sunsets in the world, time actually pauses for months, and the skies merge with the rivers.

It’s unreal to imagine such beauty in the coldest desert region of the country, but it’s mind boggling to just sit and absorb all this gorgeousness in one go. Sometimes you do feel you’re inside a dream within a dream, where the blue is so blue that you go dizzy just looking at it.


It falls under transformative spaces, where by day it’s mystical and enchanting and by night it’s silent and spooky. This picturesque hamlet sits on a hilltop, and boycotts cars and electronic vehicles all together.

So either you walk up the hill or even better, ride a horse. You could cover the entire town in a day and later realise that the lovely British-style bungalow you passed has shifted someplace else by night. Like, literally. Now, if you get what I mean, it’s trippy in that bizarre scary way, but oh so beautiful nevertheless.


The Parvati Valley is indeed the abode of the gods. First of all there’s nothing more pristine than the Himalayas, and secondly, the air up there is something else. But more than that, this lovely hamlet is a huge draw on the rave circuit. So if you like your trance and EDM, take that bus up to the mountains, and bring on the music.

The hills do come alive here, and the sound of music is unbelievable {not to mention the accompanying herbs}. It’s all ‘natural’ in the end, and that’s why we love it.


Alleppey is a drug for the mind, body and soul. The backwaters are a quiet balm, and the cool currents massage all your soreness away. An idyllic two day stay in a house boat is well worth the effort, and as the boat strays towards narrow brooks and streams, one can laze and dream of faeries far, far away.

I truly enjoyed my time in the houseboat, and the calm atmosphere of the mystic river. It’s a bit of magic, with an awesome vibe to match.


Ok, we all know Goa is done to death and that techno and EDM have burned north Goa from the nineties, and sometime you wonder what’s become of this beautiful beachy paradise like, seriously? But then you stumble upon a precious gem and discover unique experiences within close range. I guess that’s what happened in Morjim. Of course the nuanced psy trance and house that was playing in the cafes reminded me of the hey days, but Morjim sets the tone for a more chilled and non-touristy vibe.


Hampi is a trip! Why? Because it’s literally out of this world, with its gigantic boulder sprawl and it’s sci-fi like a ghost township. Massive, bold and surreal are some of the words that come to mind when one describes this ghost town. Tucked between gigantic boulders and a mighty river, this rocky landscape is gorgeous.

Go rock climbing, river rafting or day tripping along the rocks, and you’ll feel high and on top of the world. Cross the river and stay in colourful tents, and remember to smoke a few totes at the very trippy Evergreen Café. Look around and you might just spot a mermaid.


You can actually live inside the fort in Jaisalmer and pretend you’re a princess from your favourite fairytale. The fort is a living, breathing functional city, and right in the middle of the night you can peep out of your little castle window and watch the stars crumble.

Jaislamer does feel very Arabian nights-esque, and if the sea and the mountains maintain their distinctiveness, then the desert is not far behind. There is something infinite about the desert, the warm wind, and the patient animals. Wading through the sand dunes and lying down on your back is something else, when you know the next city is miles and miles away.


Gokarna was always there, but it remained distant and isolated for a long time, and for the right reasons. No one wants it to become the next Palolem or the next Baga; locals and patrons want to keep it fresh and non-touristy. Barring a few beaches, it does feel remote and far out, but that’s what the trippy traveller wants, and no amount of commercialisation can take away the ‘rawness’ that is Gokarna. It’s raw, grimy and bit shoddy, but it grows on you and does strange things to your mind.


Dubbed Asia’s cleanest village, Mawlynlong {a couple of hours from Shillong} is purity in essence and form. From the second you descend on this little hamlet, you know you’ve come to a white field where the aura is fresh and clean. Unlike other hill stations and forest reserves, Mawlynlong sometimes feels prehistoric, as there’s no evidence of any modern set-up, which is great because you can truly connect with mother nature and experience the omnipresent surreal vibes, besides gasping at the panoramic sights from Sky View, a viewing portal; the highest point in the region.

The amazing root bridges make you feel like a Lord of the Rings character; maybe you just might just bump into a hobbit!


A world heritage site, this picturesque town in Arunachal beckons the thirsty traveller yearning for novel vibes. I haven’t been here as yet, but from what I’ve heard, the grass couldn’t be more greener than the egg blue skies. Again pure in essence and structure, the town is ancient and is home to the Apatani tribe.

Nothing can match the greenery or the beauty of Ziro. It’s still untouched.

This article was first published on Tripoto, the global travel community. 

 Feature photo: Steve Hicks via Flickr[CC BY 2.0]


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