Travel Begins at Home – Dekho Apna Desh

Wondering which are the offbeat but classy places to visit in India that seem very similar to international locations? Read on.

Phew! It has been one year of restricting ourselves from the pleasures of our normal lives. From trying our hands at Dalgona Coffee to jumping on the bandwagon of every internet trend – we have endured it all. And while the year allowed us to get back to our families, it confined us within the boundaries of the four walls. Walls that once had vision goals and travel plans. 

As we followed our daily routine of endless scrolling on the internet every day, we certainly removed the “wanderlust” from our bios. But we have made it through! 

As vaccination starts in different phases across the country, the road ahead looks better, safe, and inviting. Both literally and metaphorically. Domestic travel has resumed, giving people a chance to finally step out of their houses to give themselves a well-deserved break. Travel in 2021 looks good and Indian tourism is here to stay!

What is Travel Begins at Home?

After a year spent indoors, it’s time to venture out and explore the unknown. However, it is crucial to travel responsibly, taking all the necessary travel precautions to ensure a safe trip. Many states are seeing a second wave of COVID-19 cases, adding to the travel restrictions. However, with the vaccination drive being carried out, this is expected to be no more than a minor bump.

At a critical time like this, where guidelines are updated every day, international travel looks like a far distant dream. Not to forget, the risks involved, the requirement of a COVID-19 vaccination certificate to enter certain countries and the heavy dent it causes on your pocket.

We, at Savaari, believe that if your heart desires the thrill of adventure, you must not look further, you should begin at home! Through a carefully curated list of offbeat locations, we give not one, but many reasons to choose your friendly-neighbourhood destination for your next getaway. 

When we think of home, we think of the warmth it brings to our hearts, the calm in the chaos, the zest in the monotony. Travelling in India, within the borders of our home, gives us the same feeling. India being rich in culture, has many hidden gems for that one perfect vacation. And the best part? You would feel at home everywhere. 

 

Dekho Apna Desh – An initiative to boost Indian tourism

Back in 2020, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India launched a campaign “Dekho Apna Desh” to promote Indian tourism. Under this campaign, they encouraged travellers to visit 15 Indian destinations in a year. However, due to the pandemic, the campaign had to be put on hold.

The campaign has been revived to boost domestic tourism and is a treat for enthusiastic travellers! People who visit 15 Indian destinations in a year will receive exclusive prizes! The Ministry of tourism has also been conducting several webinars and giving travel recommendations, exploring the culture of the country under the Dekho Apna Desh campaign.

This also gives a chance for travellers to look at these local regions from a different pair of glasses. Who knows, you might just discover the place with the best Chinese food or the one where you can whisper away your clouding thoughts to nature? There’s so much left to see!

2021: The year of domestic travel

Through a series of blogs, we have drawn striking similarities between the popular international destinations and the lesser-known Indian ones. After all, exploring India is like a box of surprises. And while we do not present these places as an alternative to the former, we wanted to bring out the best that the country has to offer to its travellers. The experience is unparalleled and gives you all the more reasons to step out, explore India, while still feeling at home.

Credits: Incredible India Youtube Channel

Here is the complete curated list of all of these locations. Click on your desired destination to know everything about them!

1. Gandikota vs Arizona

You may have seen countless pictures of the Grand Canyons, but nothing prepares you for just how huge it is. But did you know that there is something very similar closer home? Surprisingly this hidden paradise looks a lot like its American counterpart. So much so, that if pictures of both these places are put side-by-side, you would not know the difference! The resemblance is uncanny. 

2. Switzerland vs Khajjiar

This hidden gem in the Chamba district was discovered by Willy P. Blazer who happened to be the Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland. He called Khajjiar “Mini Switzerland”, thus immortalizing it as a great alternative to the more expensive cousin. Travel post-pandemic to this place to create some Instagram-friendly memories.

3. Scotland of India – Coorg

Coorg has its share of towering mountains- Tadiandamol being one of the most popular. The 3rd highest peak in Karnataka, the summit is at an altitude of 1,748 metres. Compared to the scale of the Himalayas, the Western Ghats appear piddling, yet at this altitude, we can observe unique biomes and landscapes that can only be characterized as alien. Shola forests, grassy knolls and the occasional boulder present an antediluvian vista, recalling the ancient power of these mountains. Though a large proportion of Coorg is covered by coffee estates, the ecosystem has adapted and wild flora and fauna continue to flourish everywhere. 

4. Salt Flats of Utah vs Rann of Kutch

Whether it is the endless expanse of white or the crystal clear Great Salt Lake that borders the flats, the place will make you, the visitor, ‘feel’ a certain way. The crunch of the ground, the blinding white that offers no relief or contrast, the smell of salt in the air, all come together to make this place unique and inimitable. Not quite. There are many many salt flats all over the world. Each, without doubt, is unique, but these flats also share certain fundamental features.

5. Jokulsarlon Lake vs Gurudongmar Lake

Sikkim and Iceland

Located at a height of 17,100 ft above the sea level, Gurudongmar Lake is among the 15 highest lakes in the world. Unlike the Jokulsarlon Lake in Iceland, which has been appropriated by the mythopoetic machinery of Hollywood, Gurudongmar has religious as well as spiritual significance. It is believed to have healing powers and visitors like to carry some water back home with them. 

6. Trakai Castle vs Jal Mahal

jal-mahal

Though one can only admire the palace from the edge of the lake, Jal Mahal has a very overwhelming and over-powering vibe around it. You find yourself wondering what those corridors could be holding? If abandoned, then why submerged? How could the drought conditions years ago force villagers to turn this dried out lake into an artificial reservoir? Now a 15 feet deep lake, it is quite baffling when one connects the dots. And no matter how hard you want to make sense of what’s floating in front of you, you cannot!

Credits: Rajasthan Tourism

7. Amsterdam vs Srinagar

srinagar-tulip-garden

Kashmir’s obsession with spring is a whole different definition of ‘colorful’. Here, spring has an all-pervasive impact and even the various water bodies, lakes and reservoirs come alive. The joy of riding a Shikara and slicing through a carpet of blooming lotuses will make you reconsider ever returning to over-populated and over-polluted cities! Undeniably a floral paradise, Kashmir is a favored child of spring. To top it all, every year around March or April Kashmir hosts Asia’s largest Tulip Festival. 

8. Andamans vs Phi Phi Islands

andamans

Andamans and Nicobar Islands collectively comprise of 572 islands, of which only 38 are inhabited. Interestingly, Andamans are closer to Myanmar and Indonesia than to the Indian mainland. The fact that it is accessible only by air or water (a rather long affair) has contributed to its relative unpopularity amongst tourists. However, this trend is undergoing some correction in recent times with more and more people travelling to the Andamans every year, but even today the Andaman islands are fairly unexplored. 

9. Malaysia in Kerala’s largest tea museum

Malaysia-kerala

Upon observing Boh Plantations in Malaysia and Kanan Devan Hills in Kerala, we realized that the two look like exact copies of one another. And this is no exaggeration, if pictures of the two plantations are placed next to one another, you won’t know which one is in Malaysia and which belongs to Kerala. See for yourself!

Credits: Kerala Tourism

10. New Zealand in India

savaari-new-zealand-dzukou-valley

Dzukou Valley in Nagaland has become one of our personal favourites. Sitting high amidst the clouds, this valley is the most famous for its multicoloured carpets of flowers that bloom in summer, most special being the Dzukou lily which is found only in Dzukou Valley. The first two weeks of July are usually the peak flower season in Dzukou Valley. But if you can’t make it during the blooming period, we assure you, it’ll be gorgeous nevertheless.

Credits: Ghurgure Youtube Channel

11. Indianized France – The Pondicherry Affair

Lying on the East Coast of Tamil Nadu and around 163 km from Chennai, Puducherry, as it is officially called, is one of the seven Union Territories of India. A tiny coastal town with just about a million people living in harmony, Pondy is certainly a place that deserves your time and attention. Artsy and ‘too-French’ in design, this beautiful town has some of the cleanest beaches in India, quirkiest cafes for those perfect Instagram stories and serene Auroville for the restless heart. For a hassle-free road journey, you can rent a cab from Chennai or any other city to visit this French town.

12. Alps like experience in India

Fortunately, northern India is blessed with one of the greatest mountain ranges in the world – the Himalayas. While there are quite a few locations across India that offer skiing, but one of the most sophisticated and well-equipped ski resorts in India can be found in Gulmarg. 

13. Lakshadweep Islands vs The Maldives

savaari-lakshadweep-maldives

An archipelago made up of 36 islands and around 300 km off the coast of India, Lakshadweep is nowhere close to how most people imagine it to be. It is definitely not a place where you would be stranded in a hut, just surviving on biscuits and bottled water. 

Starting your journey at home will also keep you safe and sound. All you need to do is to pick a destination, awaken the wanderer in you and hit the roads. For the offbeat recommendations, you can trust the experts at Savaari. And for that classic road trip experience – you can always rent a cab with experienced chauffeurs to travel safely. You can also avail exclusive app-only discount by booking your trip with Savaari’s car rental app.

About the author

Reading between lines - the ones that rhyme, on a journey with no stop sign.

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