So, supposedly, UNICEF’s #WakeUpCall Campaign is doing the rounds ! 😀
You guys should check it out – I think it’s the coolest thing in recent times.
Well, so I’ve inaugurated my Design Category, Fashion Category and the Writing one, as well.
The only thing left is THE TRAVEL TURT – My category on Travel.
And this is a culmination of my 5-day-donkey-work, which I’m hoping you’ll set great store by! 🙂
So, dear Reader –
considering India is a land of ‘Unity in Diversity’, there are so many corners that are waiting to be unleashed, just like these:
1) Bhangarh, Rajasthan.
Usually considered the “Den Of Ghosts”, the ruins of Bhangarh Fort are known to be India’s most haunted place. Despite being a 300-km drive away from Delhi, only a handful of people know about it.
Apparently, the sign at the entrance says: “Entering the borders of Bhangarh before sunrise and after sunset is strictly prohibited.” Haha, Shit just got real, mate! 😀
On a serious note, if you are someone with a fetish for ghost discovering or adventure, then Bhangarh Fort deserves a place on your “Bucket List”.
2) Auroville, Tamil Nadu.
Also called the ‘City of Dawn’, Auroville is an experimental township of an international community in Viluppuram district, about 10 km north of Pondicherry, in the state of Tamil Nadu.
People from all over the world come here to live in peace and harmony, transcending boundaries. A lot of aspiring students go for college internships as well. It is considered to be the best ‘Weird’ place to visit in the whole of Southeast Asia.
3) Lonar Sarovar, Maharashtra.
Also known as the ‘Lonar Lake’, Lonar Sarovar is a 1.83 kilometer saline soda lake created by a 2 million ton meteor impact, at Lonar in Buldana district, Maharashtra.
It is said that this lake, which lies in a basalt impact structure, is both saline and alkaline in nature.
The circular excavation bears a saline water lake in its central portion. The crater’s age is estimated to be 52,000 ± 6,000 years. Good Heavens! 😛
4) Tungnath, Uttarakhand.
Located at an altitude of 12, 073 Feet on Tungnath Mountains in Rudraprayag District, this is supposed to be the HIGHEST and OLDEST Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva.
It has distinctly been linked to the legend of ‘Pandavas’ (the heroes of Mahabharata) and is almost 1000 years old. Phew!
5) Chand Baori Well, Rajasthan.
Chand Baori is a step well situated in the village of Abhaneri, about 95 kilometers from Jaipur.
This “treat-to-the-eye” well, with 3500 narrow steps over 13 storeys, has stood exactly where it is since 800 AD. It is said that our ancestors treated it as a community gathering place during periods of intense heat, which is why one side of the well has pavilion and resting rooms (which were made for the royals).
The most interesting titbit is the fact that this well was actually featured in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.
6) Levitating Stone, Maharashtra.
Somewhere near Pune, in a place called ‘Shivapur’, lies the Hazrat Qamar Ali Darvesh that has a magical story to tell.
Supposedly, the shrine that exists today was a gymnasium, 800 years ago. A Sufi saint by the name of ‘Qamar Ali’ was taunted by the wrestlers there. Thus, the infuriated saint placed a spell on the rocks that were used for body-building. Legend has it that he said – “If eleven men place their right index fingers under the stone and then jointly call my name, I will cause it to rise higher than their heads. Otherwise, neither singly nor together will they be able to move it more than two feet off the ground”.
And it is believed that till date, the Stone of Qamar Ali (weighing 200 pounds) can be miraculously lifted by chanting his name!
7) The Curious Case of the Twins (analogous to the ‘Curious Case Of Benjamin Button 😀 )
– Kodinhi (Kerala) and Umri (near Allahabad).
Kodinhi, a miniature town, which is about 15 miles from the city of Malappuram, has managed to send shivers down the spine with a creepy feature it possesses. In a population of 2000, Kodinhi is said to have around 340 pairs of identical twins! This means, almost every family in Kodinhi has more than one pair of twins. I’m not surprised that it has earned the title of ‘Twin Town.’
Mohammedpur Umri village, near Allahabad has a similar story to tell. With over 60 pairs of identical twins in a total population of 900, Umri’s twinning rate is 300 times the national average, and perhaps the highest in the world. Whether it is of GENETIC or DIVINIC origin is still a matter of debate.
8) Magnetic Hill, Ladakh.
If any of you TV buffs ended up watching a ‘Bajaj Motorcycle’ Ad, in which a footage about Magnetic Hill, Leh-Ladakh is shown, you’ll comprehend exactly when I say – getting pulled uphill by a magnetic force is indeed something notable.
Located at an altitude of 11000 feet above sea level and 30 kilometers away from Leh, this hill is known to have magnetic power that can pull a car upwards at a speed of 20 km/hr, even when the engine is off.
9) Mawlynnong, Meghalaya.
Mawlynnong Village in Cherrapunji is popularly called ‘God’s Own Garden.’ It has won international accolades for being ‘Asia’s Cleanest Village’. It is a community-based effort for promoting eco-tourism in the state. What is interesting to note is that this village has a 100% literacy rate and most villagers can converse in English fluently. Mawlynnong also boasts of a Balancing Rock, which is worth seeing.
10) Village Without Doors, Maharashtra.
Located 35 kilometers from Ahmednagar, the Shani Shinagpur village has never witnessed any crime, and that has been attributed to the blessings of Shani Dev, residing in the popular Shani temple.
The only reason why homes and commercial buildings in this village have no doors, not even a door frame, is because they have entrusted their fate in God. Taking note of the near-zero crime rate, the UCO Bank has also opened a ‘lock-less’ branch in this village, the first of its kind in India.
11) Nohkalikai Falls, Meghalaya.
Located at a height of 1115 feet, near Cherrapunji, one of the wettest places on earth, Nohkalikai Falls is one of the tallest plunge waterfalls in India.
Fed naturally by rainwater, this waterfall is named after the tragic tale of a woman called Ka Likai (in Khasi language – “Jump of Ka Likai”) who remarried, after the death of her husband. But her second husband was extremely jealous of her love for her daughter. He murdered the daughter one day, and to hide the evidence, cooked up her remains into a meal. Kali Kai searched for her daughter to a great extent, but all in vain. Later the same day, her husband offered her the meal, as she was exhausted. After eating, she discovered to her horror, the daughter’s fingers lying in the basket filled with betel-nuts. Grieved and anguished, she threw herself off the cliff, giving the waterfall its name.
12) Hanging Pillar – Andhra Pradesh.
The small historical village of Lepakshi is home to many ancient marvels. One of them is the Hanging Pillar of the Lepakshi temple. Amongst the 70 pillars of the temple, one hangs without any support! Visitors pass objects under the pillar to check if the claim is true. According to locals, passing objects under the pillar brings prosperity to one’s life.
Another legend gives the town a prominent place in the Ramayana — this was where the bird Jatayu fell, wounded after a futile battle against Ravana who was carrying away Sita. When Sri Rama reached the spot, he saw the bird and said compassionately, “Le Pakshi” — ‘rise, bird’ in Telugu.
13) Natural Mummy of Sangha Tenzing, Himachal Pradesh.
If you thought mummies existed only in Egypt; you are wrong, my friend.
In a little village called Gue, in Himachal’s Spiti district, lies the well-preserved 500 year-old mummy of Sangha Tenzing, a Buddhist monk from Tibet. It was found in a sitting position, with skin and hair intact. This is probably because, the monk started mummifying himself while he was still alive. The mummy was discovered after an earthquake in 1975. It is now on display at a temple in Gue.
14) Kolukkumalai, Tamil Nadu.
Kolukkumalai Tea Estate, the World’s Highest Tea Estate – is an hour and a half long drive (35 kilometers) from the town of Munnar. Located at a height of 7900 feet above sea level, this tea estate is renowned for producing tea in the traditional method.
It is also famous for owning the world’s OLDEST tea factory.
It’s hard to decide which is more captivating: the scenic vistas or the flavored teas produced.
15) Bullet Baba Shrine, Rajasthan.
If there is any place in the world where you are likely to come across a shrine where flowers and liquor bottles are offered to a motorcycle, it has to be Bandai, Jodhpur 😀 – hahaha!
Popularly known as the ‘The Motorcycle God’, a drunk Om Singh Rathore died when his Bullet crashed into a tree. After the police claimed the bike and took it to the station, the bike was found at the spot of the accident again the very next day. They brought it back to the station, emptied the fuel tank and chained it. Yet the bike magically found its way back to the accident spot again.
It was after this that the motorcycle was moved permanently to the location and the Om Baba (or Bullet Baba, as it is popularly called) Shrine was erected.
16) Living Roots Bridge, Meghalaya.
All over the world — People ‘BUILD’ bridges.
But, the Khasis of Meghalaya — they ‘GROW’ bridges. 😀
The Umshiang Double Decker Bridge is truly one of a kind in the entire world.
Made of the branches from Rubber Tree (I guess the scientific name is something like ‘Ficus Elastica’ – who cares anyway? :P), it produces strong secondary roots from its trunk. These have been trained to grow in a particular direction using betel-nut trunks, forming sturdy, living bridges over decades. Some of these bridges are more than a hundred feet long and over 500 years old.
17) Bada Imambara, Lucknow.
This architectural ‘Gravity Defying Palace’ dates back to the 18th CE.
Built with the perfect blend of European and Arabic architecture, the central arched hall of the Imambara is 50 metres long and about three stories high, hanging without the support of any pillars or beams! The main hall is known for the architecture of the labyrinth or bhool-bhulaiya, with more than 1000 narrow staircase passages.
18) Floating Stones, Tamil Nadu.
Located on Pamban Island, the little town of Rameshwaram has great significance in Hindu mythology. It is from here that Rama is believed to have built the Ramsethu bridge across to Lanka to rescue Sita. The Stones that were used to build this bridge that had Rama’s name engraved on them never sank in water and are still found around Rameshwaram!
19) Red Rain, Kerala.
The town of Idduki is also known for a strange phenomenon called ‘Red Rain’. The first incident of Red Rain was recorded as early as 1818. In Hinduism, red rain is considered to be the fury of the Gods, punishing sinners. It signals a wave of demolition and catastrophe.
20) Prabalgad Fort, Maharashtra.
The MOST DANGEROUS FORT in the world.
Also called ‘Kalavantin Durg’, it is one of the most beautiful abandoned places in India, located in the Sahyadri mountains of Maharashtra.
It is believed to have been built before 500 BC, i.e, the time of Budhdha. Maybe that is why it’s called the ‘Climb To Heaven’.
It can be seen from the Mumbai Pune expressway and now, it is also a famous trekking place in the state.
21) Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan.
Known as the ‘The Great Wall of India’ with a 36 kilometers wall around the Fort, it is a WORLD HERITAGE SITE, located in Mewar.
It has the second longest wall in the world after the Great Wall of China.
22) Floating Islands, Manipur –
Located near the town of Moirang, the Loktak Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in North-East India, is also called the only Floating lake in the world due to the floating phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matters at various stages of decomposition) on it.
24) Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand.
This National Park in the Western Himalayas is known for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and the variety of flora.
This Reserve is in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2004.
25) Kuldhara, Rajasthan.
C-R-E-E-P-Y !! 😮 A village where it is believed that no one survives overnight.
This is said to be a ghost village, which now lies in ruins after it’s abandonment since 1800s. Myth has it that it carries a curse of the villagers who migrated to other places.
Kuldhara lies about 15 Km west of Jaisalmer in western Rajasthan. The village was established in 1291 by the Paliwal Brahmins, who were a very prosperous clan and were known for their business acumen and agricultural knowledge. But one night in 1825, all the people in Kuldhara and nearby 83 villages vanished into the dark.
26) Phuktal Monastery, Ladakh.
Home to 700 Monks, Phuktal Gompa is one of the most isolated monasteries in the world.
It is a unique construction built into the Cliffside, like a honeycomb. It is located on the mouth of a cave on the cliff face of a waterfall of the Lungnak (Lingti-Tsarap) River.
27) Chevella, Telangana.
Residents of Kummera and six other villages in the Chevella mandal of Telangana are the luckiest ones in South India, because they get to experience one foot thick sheet of ice every Winter. There are occasional hailstorms as well.
28) Kongka La Pass, Ladakh (Indo-Chinese UFO Base).
Kongka La Pass, in the Himalayas is in the disputed Indo-Chinese border of Aksai Chin. Locals on both sides of the border believe there is an underground UFO base in this region with the knowledge of both countries, since they have seen UFOs coming out of the ground.
This theory is given credence by the fact that in June of 2006, satellite imagery on Google Earth revealed a 1:500 scale detailed terrain model of the area in question on the Chinese side of the border. This model was surrounded by buildings resembling a military facility.
29) The ‘Madgaon-Belgaum Rail Route’, Goa.
Called the ‘Sea Of Milk’, Dudhsagar Falls is a four-tiered waterfall located on the Mandovi River, forming the border between the states of Karnataka and Goa. It is 60 km from Panaji by road and is located in the Bhagwaan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park amongst the Western Ghats, making it a sight to behold, specially during the Monsoons. 🙂
Dudhsagar Falls is among India’s Tallest Waterfalls, at a height of 1017 feet (310 m), making the train tip on the railway bridge a truly thrilling experience! 😀
30) Marble Rocks, Madhya Pradesh.
It is an area along the 1077 kilometer path of Narmada river, near Jabalpur.
The river has carved the soft marble, creating a beautiful gorge of about 3 km in length.
There is a cable car to take visitors across the gorge. You are also likely to find boats to row downstream for guided tours, and many small shops filled with crafts made from the local materials.
Happy REVERIE-ing! 😀
I’m off now! 🙂