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Singing Waves Or River Islands: Offbeat Destinations We Escaped To In 2021

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"My trip to Bali got canned," "I was supposed to be in Dubai right now for my honeymoon," "Yaar, North-East ka plan tha" . "Oh no, Goa is still NOT ON". 

We've all been through this venting session all through 2020 and for the most part of 2021. While some lucky ones did travel, others didn't. So, if you fall into the second category, maybe 2022 has some wonderful and amazing places waiting for you to explore. So, we thought why not compile a fun list which includes destinations that you might have not heard of or are hidden gems which need some eyeballs. From the coldest region in India to 'the land of singing waves' - we've rounded up seven hill stations or hidden hamlets which you can head to in 2022.

Disclaimer: Please check the state government regulations pertaining to Covid-19 before heading to these states. While travelling, always wear a mask and maintain social distancing. We also suggest call/enquiry the places mentioned in this list before you plan your trip!

Heading To Himachal? Check Out Andretta

Yep. Yep. Yep. We know Himachal Pradesh is all about snow-capped mountains, pristine valleys and treks. However, did you know there's a little hamlet called Andretta which is literally an artist's paradise? Just an hour's drive from Bir, the paragliding capital of India, Andretta has been a magnet for many creative practitioners, artists & painters and potters even.

Historic Fun Fact: It was established back in the 1920s by an Irish theatre artist Norah Richards. 

What's In For You: Sign up for a pottery class in Andretta Pottery and Craft Society, scroll through famous artist Sobha Singh's art gallery, pay a visit to Norah Richard's house, take the Thampsar trek.   

So, next time you're visiting Himachal, make sure you tick this hamlet off your list. 

Planning A Trip To Pondy? Stop By Tharangambadi

Water babies, did you know about this beach town in Tamil Nadu which is also called as the 'land of singing waves'? Tharangambadi is derived from a Tamil word which literally means that. Get mesmerised by the soothing, rhythmic waves that hit the shores of this coastal town. 

What's In For You: Visit the Danish Fort (which is right on the seashore), take a walk in the heritage-rich Danish colony, stop by the New Jerusalem Church, turn the history pages at the Maritime Museum or simply chat with the locals or fishermen community.   

#ProTip: Plan a visit to this town when you next make a plan to Pondy (here's a cool guide). It's roughly 120 km from Pondicherry!

Gir Jungle Safari? India's 1st Marine Park Is 6 Hours Away

Home to the country's first Marine National Park, Narara Island (near Jamnagar), is tucked away in the eastern region of Runn Of Kutch. The beauty of this island is that you can explore the coral reefs and marine life without actually diving into the sea. One just has to walk in the water and when the tide ebbs, (in about 1 to 2 feet of water) you can watch the fascinating underwater world of corals. The island boasts of exotic sea life and creatures including octopus, pufferfish, starfish, crabs, sea anemone, exotic species of birds and coral reefs as well. You can opt for a coral walk which is approximately 2 km and to be on the safe side, you can simply hire a tour guide (they charge approximately INR 300 - INR 400).  

So, if you're planning a trip to Gujarat, preferably towards the Jamnagar side of the state, this island comes highly recommended. It's a 50 km drive from Jamnagar. 

What's In For You: A coral walk, exotic sightseeing, explore the Lakhota beach and fort. 

Note: Prior permission needs to be taken from the forest authorities before you drive to this place and the best time to visit this island is during the morning. 

On A Spiritual Journey? Visit Sarnath Near Varansi

Nestled quietly in the lanes of Uttar Pradesh, roughly 10-15 km from Varanasi, resides a hidden gem. In fact, this is the place where Lord Buddha began teaching his followers for the first time and hence is considered as one of the holiest Buddhist sites in the world. Today, Sarnath is home to a number of Buddhist monasteries which were established by a number of Buddhist-dominant countries including Tibet, Sri Lanka, Thailand or Myanmar.  

So, when booking your tickets to Varanasi, make sure you drive to this site as well. 

What's In For You: Go stupa or temple hopping (there are tons which are rich in architecture and history), of course, The Ashoka Pillar, visit the Archaeological Museum, take a walk in The Deer Park or simply sit and chill at the Garden Of Spiritual Wisdom.

There's also a Bodhi Tree, which is an offshoot of the tree in Bodhgaya (where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment).

Visiting Assam? Check Out The World's Largest River Island

If North-East is on your bucket list, then Assam has tons and tons of options for you. While everyone knows about Guwahati in Assam, little do people know about Majuli, which is also the world's largest river island. Nestled on the banks of Brahmaputra river, this island hamlet is ideal for nature lovers as it's covered with lush greenery, surrounded by water bodies and is pollution-free, as it's not that accessible by road and railways, ferries and boats are the most viable mode of transport there. 

What's In For You: Start your day at Garmur (one of the holiest site which boasts of literary writings and cultural artefacts), visit Tengapania (Assam's Golden Temple), take a peaceful walk by the river, Molai forest reserve. 

#ProTip: Along with Majuli, there's also Sualkuchi which caught our attention. It's the weaving village of Assam and is popularly referred to as Manchester of the East. Although its a good 10 hour drive from Majuli, you can fit this in your travel plan.      

Also, check out these stunning waterfalls in the North East! Or these wildlife sanctuaries in West Bengal!

Backpacking To Srinagar? You're 4 Hours Away From India's Coldest Place

Called the 'The Gateway To Ladakh' and nestled at a height of 10,800 feet above the sea level, Dras is considered to be the coldest place in India (and second in the world). Yep. The temperatures drop to -22 degree celsius. Surrounded by mountains, Dras has got multiple adventurous trekking routes which makes it a popular hub for trekkers and adventure geeks. Dras also homes the Dras War Memoria which was built by the Indian Army in the memory of the brave soldiers who fought the Kargil War in 1999.      

What's In For You: Go for a 2-day trek to Saliskot or take the popular Amarnath trek, visit the Nigoor Masjid, get 'gramming at Minamarg (a pristine valley and Machoi glaciers). 

After exploring this amazing destination you can head to Leh!