India’s Most Beautiful villages:
India’s most beautiful villages can be visited along with some other nearby beautiful places. Get some peace, spend some quality time leisurely or want to find some solitude then visit these beautiful villages of India.
1. Khonoma Village, Nagaland:
This is first and foremost green village of India. It is referred as Khwuno-ra (named after the Angami term for a local plant, Glouthera fragrantisima) is an Angami Naga village located about 20 km west from the state capital Kohima. There are 600 households with a 3000 total population of the village is the first green village in India.
Khonoma is known for its fierce resistance during the British colonial period that why it often described as a ‘warrior village’. The village is also known for its wildlife conservation initiatives.
The terrain of the village is hilly, ranging from gentle slopes to steep and rugged hillsides. The hills are covered with lush forestland, rich in various species of flora and fauna. The state bird, Blyth’s tragopan, a pheasant now nationally endangered, is reportedly found here.
Two nearby villages viz. Dzuleke & Poilwa can also be trekked which are equally beautiful, serene and unspoilt environment.
How to reach:
Nearest airport is in Dimapur Indian Airlines with some major airlines operate regular flights to Dimapur. Kohima is 70 Km away from Dimapur which takes around 2-21/2 hours by road. Khonoma is further 20 kms from Kohima.
The major railhead is in Dimapur, which is linked to Guwahati. Guwahati is in turn connected to the rest of the country by important trains.
A good road network covers the state. The state capital Kohima is linked to Shillong and Guwahati.
Entry Formalities – Permits (source: northeasttourism.gov.in):
Before embarking on a journey to Nagaland, acquiring the entry permit is a must.
Domestic tourists should obtain the Inner Line permit issued by the following authorities: Deputy Resident Commissioner, Nagaland House, New Delhi, Deputy Resident Commissioner, Nagaland House, Kolkata, Assistant Resident Commissioner in Guwahati and Shillong, Deputy Commissioner of Dimapur, Kohima and Mokokchung
Foreign tourists no longer require a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) / Protected Area Permit (PAP) to enter Nagaland. Previously, tourists were required to travel in a minimum group of four people. They were allowed to visit all 11 district headquarters and specified places with this permit, valid for 10 days, with an option to extend for up to a month. The new rules only require foreigners to register themselves at the local Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) of the district they visit within 24 hours of their arrival. This is a temporary change in effect for one year.
Note: RAP/PAP is still a requirement for Pakistani and Chinese nationals.
2. Zuluk Village, Sikkim:
This beautiful village Dzuluk or Zuluk or Jhuluk or Jaluk is located on old Silk Route. It is a small hamlet at a height of 9,400 feet (2,900 m) on the rugged terrain of the lower Himalayas in East Sikkim. An offbeat tourist destination but emerging as a new hotspot for the views of the eastern Himalayan Mountain range including the Kanchenjunga.
Witness the beauty of mountain slopes in Zuluk from different vantage points like Thambi View Point or Lungthung View Point. Being an offbeat destination, it is very beautiful with amazing views, untouched, unspoilt, less crowded, picturesque and serene. Experience true Sikkimese culture and food.
How to Reach Zuluk
Zuluk is located 90 KMs away from Gangtok which takes about three hours to reach this place. You can also visit from New Jalpaiguri or Bagdogra (160 KM or 99 miles, about 6 hours), from Kalimpong (90 KM or 56 miles, about 3.5 hours, from Pelling – 150 KM or 93 miles, about 7 hours, from Darjeeling (140 KM or 87 miles, about 5 hours).
Only Sikkim vehicles are allowed here so it may be bad for road trippers who used to drive their own vehicles. So hire a private taxi or go for a packagedtouras there are no shared cabs or buses available on this route because of close proximity to the China border.
Accommodations in Zuluk
No proper hotels at this place but you can opt for homestays. You may book easily or may get a room after reaching there as well. Homestays are generally neat and clean and will cost you about 1500 – 2000 INR per night. They also serve food and provide the best hospitality.
Permit for Zuluk:
Zuluk being close to the China border, one needs to take a permit in order to reach here. The permit may to be taken from Gangtok itself, for which you are required to provide the photocopies of your Identity Proof.
A foreign national needs to take a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) to enter Sikkim. But the citizens of Pakistan, China, Myanmar and Bangladesh need permission from Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi.
What to see around Zuluk:
Several lakes, viewpoints, valleys etc. have to be explored. Some of these are so breathtaking that you would be left speechless for a while.
Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir and old Mandir
Visit famous temple of Sepoy Harbhajan Singh. It is a belief that his spirit still exists, guarding the Indo-China border, especially at the night time. Baba’s Bunkar (Old Mandir) is 10 Km away from this place towards Zuluk. You can go there by visiting Memencho Lake and Elephant Lake or Tukla Valley.
Just 4 KM away from the Baba Mandir, you will be able to see one of the most gorgeous lakes of Sikkim. This lake is surrounded by deep slopes and pine trees and said to change color in every few minutes.
Move slightly ahead of Thambi view Point, a new view point at an altitude of 13,000 feet is best for witnessing a clearer view of the Mount Kanchenjunga range. It is also a good spot to catch the sunrise.
Around 8 KMs from Thambi View Point, you can see a beautiful valley mostly covered in snow for the most part of the year. It is said that the valley changes its colors during different seasons. Find a monastery and several streams flowing through this valley.
Witness rising the Sun from behind the mighty mountain Kanchenjungha at 4 AM early in the morning from this point.
Kupup Lake or Elephant Lake:
Highest point in Zuluk has the highest golf course point in the world. Spend some time at the Kupup Lake. It is surrounded by high mountains and beautiful valleys. It is one of the sacred lakes of Sikkim. Because of its resemblance of the shape of an elephant, it is also known as the Elephant Lake.
3. Malana, Himachal Pradesh:
Historical village of Kullu District is famous for its beautiful and snowy valleys.
Malana is an ancient Indian village in the Parvati Valley. It is situated on a remote plateau near Malana River, at a height of 8,701 ft above sea level. Even though, it is isolated from the rest of the world but it has its own lifestyle and social structure. People are strict in following their customs. It has been called ‘one of the oldest democracies’ in the world. The villagers believe that they have pure Aryan genes and think that they are descendants of soldiers of Alexander the Great. They speak traditional language Kanashi/ Raksh. Several documentaries made on Malana and you may have a firsthand experience of the Malana village through ‘Malana: Globalization of a Himalayan Village’ and ‘Malana: A Lost Identity’.
Best Time to Visit
During winters, the village has extreme climate due to its location in the Himalayan region whereas summers are the best months to visit this place. Ideally you can visit in April to June to enjoy the fullest.
Where to Stay:
If you want to visit Parvati Valley, Kasol is the best place to stay because you can visit many nearby places like Malana at a distance of 19 Km, Kheerganga at 22 Km, Tosh at 20 Km and Manikaran at just 4 Km.Most of these places are known for Trekking so make a programme for Trekking to make your Trip memorable.
How To Reach:
Malana, Kullu, Kasol, Tosh, Manikaran are famous places around here so you can choose your place of accommodation as per your requirement.
By Air: Nearest airport is Bhunter Airport, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh which is about 36 Km from the Village.
By Rail: Nearest railhead is Shimla, Himachal Pradesh which is about 224 Km.
By Road: Kullu (43 Km) and Kasol (19 Km) are the nearest big places from where you can visit Malana by taxi.
You can also visit Malana by reaching village Jari, which is 13 Km from Bhuntar then hire a taxi or Trek 12 Km to Malana. Enjoy an easy and picturesque walk of six hours with beautiful waterfalls and the Malana nallah stream on the way.
Rules of the Malana Village:
There are some rules for the visiters so follow them strictly otherwise you will be in trouble as entry of Cops/ Police is banned in the village. So it’s better to avoid any such incident to happen:
- Don’t touch (Skin touch) any person or thing in Malana.
- Don’t take Videos. Click pictures only.
- Forbidden to learn Kanashi i.e. local language.
- Never fix a nail on any tree.
- Avoid burning of wood in any forest.
- Hunting of animals is prohibited.
- No traveller is allowed to marry a man or woman from Malana.
Things to do Around Malana
Kheerganga is situated at an altitude of 2960m approximately. It’s a 12km trek to Kheerganga falls which is considered as easy category of Trek in view of difficulty level. Half the way is normal walk till Rudranaag and another half is a mild climb. The area is fully covered with pine trees which openin the meadows of Kheerganga.
Kasol is another hamlet famous for its natural beauty. It is situated on the banks of the Parvati River in Parvati Valley between Bhuntar and Manikaran. It is 30 km from Bhuntar and 3.5 km from Manikaran. It’s a Himalayan hotspot for backpackers and a base for nearby treks to Malana and Kheerganga.It is called Mini Israel of India due to a high percentage of Israeli tourists here. You wonder to see some signboards of cafes and restaurants are in Hebrew. Various options of cuisines right from Israeli, Italian, Indian etc are available.
Tosh is a beautiful place at the top of a hill with majestic mountains all around. This village is located in Parvati Valley of Himachal Pradesh. From Kasol, it’s about 20 Km situated at a height of about 7874ft above sea level. From Varshaini you have to either trek your way up to Tosh or hire a taxi. There are some trekking options available apart from Malana and Chalal.
Manikaran is a holy destination of Sikhs and Hindus which is situated at a distance of 34km from Bhuntar (nearest airport). The legendary tales say that mother Parvati dropped her earrings in the spring of Manikaran which led to the uprising of hot water from the place. Whereas Sikhs believes that Guru Nanak Dev Ji came here with his disciples and he lifted a stone in Manikaran, and the spring of hot water came out of the Earth Surface.
4. Mana Village, Uttarakhand:
Mana is a beautiful village is located in the district of Chamoli in Uttarakhand. It is located at an altitude of 3,219 meters or 10,500 feet above sea level. It is the first village on the National Highway 58 from the Mana Pass and is about 26 KMs from Indo– Tibetan border. Earlier, the villagers used to trade with Tibet.
This is the place where Lord Hyagriva first appeared to the world who is considered to be an avatara of the god Vishnu. He is worshipped as the god of knowledge and wisdom. This is also the place where Sage Veda Vyasa divided the vedas into four Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda. Mana village is believed to be a temporary stay point of legendary Pandavas, during their exile.
How to reach Mana:
Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the nearest airport to Mana/ Badrinath which is located around 311 km. Regular flights are available from Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Pant Nagar to Dehradun Airport.
Mana/ Badrinath is well-connected by motorable roads from Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Rudraprayag, Karanprayag, Chamoli etc.
Rishikesh Railway Station is the nearest railway station which is about a distance of 292 km from Mana. You can cover this distance in around 9 hours.
Best Time to Visit Mana Village:
March to June is the best time to plan your journey when weather is quite pleasant and favorable. During monsoon, heavy rainfall occurs and this area gets covered with snow blanket due to heavy snowfall in winter.
What to see near Mana Village?
There are many places like Badrinath Temple, Vashudhara Waterfall, Vyas Gufa, Hot springs, Satopanth Lake, BhimPul, Saraswati Temple etc.
Badrinath Temple is a beautiful temple, dedicated to Lord Badri, a manifestation of Lord Vishnu. It is one of the most revered pilgrimage destinations because it is included in Chardham Yatra. Singh Dwara is the main entrance and major attraction of the temple. In 8th century, famous Hindu Saint Adi Shankaracharya constructed this temple.
Badrinath Temple is located about 4 km from the village. The villagers are culturally associated with the activities of Badrinath temple and annual fair of Mata Murti Temple. This Devi Temple is dedicated to the Mata Murti, the mother of Nar and Narayan i.e., Lord Badrinath. It is situated on the right bank of Alaknanda river.
This small cave is believed to be of Maharishi Vyas who composed Vedas, Puranas and also the biggest epic Mahabharatha. Ganesh Gufa is another cave in Mana village.
If you want to go for breathtaking, mesmerizing Vasudhara waterfall and want to see panoramic view of the valley, trek 5 km from Mana village to the waterfall. The mountain cliff is about 140 m tall from where the water falls. The entire inclined walkway is tough at some points but it is very scenic & beautiful with snowy mountains, green meadows and thick forests. It is a perfect blend of natural splendor, adventure and spirituality.
Trek can be covered in 2 hours but you have extra 2-3 hours to enjoy the scenic beauty photography of nearby mountains are Chaukhamba, Nilkantha and Balakun etc. Balkun peak is believed to be the home of wealth deity Kuber in Hindu mythology. Satopanth glacier rolls down towards the bottom of Vasudhara region.
You can also go beyond the Vasudhara waterfall upto Laxmi van/ forest which is 4 km ahead from it. Satopanth lake is 17 km away from the waterfall. Camping utilities and cooking equipments are required to stay in this forest during night.
There are no food or water utilities along the route.
Hot water spring:
This sacred hot water spring is located near to the Badrinath Temple. The Kund is believed to hold medicinal values which cure the ailments like skin diseases and others. The temperature of the water of the Kund always ranges around 45 degree Celsius.
5. Nako, Tabo, Kaza villages, Himachal Pradesh:
Located in Lahaul-Spiti valley on bank of Nako Lake which is famous for its beautiful landscape.
Read my article how to reach Chitkul village from Delhi for details at https://www.singhontrek.in/itinerary-of-chitkul/
6. Munsyari, Uttarakhand:
Located amidst forest and snow peaks of Himalaya Mountains at an altitude of 2,135 meters above sea level in Johar Valley. Maheshwari Kund and Thamri Kund are alpine lakes found near Munsyari while Gauri Ganga River is flowing nearby.
Munsyari acts as the base camp for treks to Milam, Ralam and Namik Glacier, while Dharachula is the base camp for Kailas Mansarovar Yatra, Adi Kailash Yatra and Narayan Swami Ashram.
Maheswari Kund/ Messary Kund or Meshar Kund, Birthi Waterfall, Kalamuni Temple, Nanda Devi Temple, Thamri Kund, Gauri Ganga River, Munsiyari Museum, Baituli Dhar are some famous places in and around Munsiyari.
Munsyari can also explore on Scooter/ Scooty which can be rented on ₹500-700/- per day.
How to reach Munsiyari:
Pantanagar is the nearest airport which is 313 Km away from here.
Tanakpur and Kathgodam are the nearest railheads which are around 271 Km and 284 Km away from here.
You can first reach to Almora then further go to Munsyari which is 196 KM away from here.
What to see in and around Munsyari:
Maheswari Kund/ Messary Kund or Meshar Kund:
It is associated with Yaksha, a demigod who used to reside in the pristine lake. The beautiful lake is surrounded by scarlet rhododendron, oak trees and other himalayan flora.
A story tells by locals that the Yaksha fell in love with the beautiful daughter of Sarpanch (head of the village). The villagers didn’t let him to marry her and dried the lake where he used to live. He cursed the villagers that they will face the scarcity of water and drought. Later, the villagers applogised him and he set free the lake form the curse.
The kund/ lake is situated at a walking distance in the forest from the town. The trail is well defined that can be undertaken alone but prefer to go with a guide who will brief and assist you in exploring some untouched places where normal tourist can’nt go alone. Generally, uphil trek will take around 45 minutes to reach the kund but you can spend some quality time in pristine environment and do photography of snowcapped Panchachuli range of mountains named after the 5 Pandavas.
Birthi Water Falls is located about 14 km from Tejam and 35 KM from Munsiyari on Munsiyari-Thal road in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. It gushes from 400 feet above sea level which can be approached easily by a short trek. Region around the waterfall is surrounded by dense forest and offers a magnificent view of the snow covered peaks.
Located at a distance of 15 km from Munsiyari on the way from Birthi Waterfall. The place is famous for its Kali Temple dedicated to Naga God. Divine aura of the temple liberates all the bad energy and negative vibes and brings positivity. It is the highest point en-route from Chakauri to Munsiyari. The eccentric view of Panchachuli peak can be seen from here.
Nanda Devi Temple:
Nanda Devi temple, dedicated to Goddess Nanda or Parvati, is a religious or spiritual site. You can reach here by after a 3 Km exciting trek. It is one of the oldest temple of Uttarakhand situated at 7500 feet above sea level.
Thamri Kund or Thamri Tal is surrounded by alpine trees. This magical lake exists at such a height of 7500 feet above sea level. Lake is surrounded by snow-capped hills all around in winters and it becomes green during the monsoon. Snowcapped Panchchuli peaks look great from here. Mystic spirituality blends with natural charm captivates the mind of every tourist.
It is a perennial lake and one of the freshwater lakes located at this height in the entire region of the Kumaon Valley. A beautiful trek leads to this lake in 4 to 5 hours and hence starts your journey in the early morning.
Religious significance of this lake can be understand by the fact that when the rain is low then the local people reach Thamari Kund and offer prayers for the rain.
Gauri Ganga River:
Gauri or Gori Ganga is a river in the Munsiari tehsil of the Pithoragarh District. Milam Glacier is the main source of this river just northeast of Nanda Devi along with the Glaciers of the Ralam River.
Munsiyari Museum is a tribal heritage museum whereas Baituli Dhar is a rhododendron forest in the Munsiyari can also be seen during the visit.
7. Tarkarli village, Maharashtra:
Tarkarli village is located in Sindhudurg District of Maharashtra. On the shores of the Arabian Sea, Tarkarli is beautiful coral beach known for its white sands and clear waters. It is one of the calmest beaches of the Maharashtra and also known for water sports. Scuba diving facility is also available at this place.
Sindhudurg Fort is a historical sea fort located in Arabian Sea near Malvan town in the Konkan region of Maharashtra in Western India. Chhatrapati Shivaji commissioned the fort, was built on a small island known as the Kurte island on Malvan coast.
The Kolamb beach offers Dolphin sighting as well as adventure sports opportunities. But, don’t expect that you can see dolphins here. It is one of the most beautiful and serene white-sand beach of the Konkan region.
Karli Backwaters provides stunning views beyond your imagination between Tarkarli and Kudal rivers. The area is surrounded by lush green trees, fresh cool breeze flowing around you. Beautiful sunsets, chirping of birds, lined up palms; wonderful waves make it a unique travelling point. Houseboats similar to the Kerala houseboats provide a unique attraction in Tarkarli village. You can book cruise packages and boat rides online.
The garden of gods i.e., Deobagh village belongs to the fishermen community. The fishermen offer their boats on rent to the tourists for sightseeing. It is also famous among birdwatchers as flocks of migratory can be watched along with local birds. Delicious seafood is offered in local restaurants.
Tsunami Island, Wayari Bhutnath Beach, Rock Garden Sunset Point, Padmagad Fort, Wairy Ubhatwadi Beach can also be visited during this tour.
When to visit:
The best time to visit Tarkarli Village is October to March. During the peak season, this place becomes crowded.
Monsoon season experiences moderate weather so, crowed is less than expected.
How to reach:
Tarkarli village is about 490 km from Mumbai, and 110 km from Panajiand 7 km from Malvan Beach.
Kudal is the nearest railway station which is about 35 km from here on the Konkan Railway route.
From Malvan jetty, it takes 15-20 minutes to reach the fort by small boat.
8. Mawlynnong Village, Meghalaya:
Waterfalls, Caves, Meadows and Cherry blossoms are not the only reasons for you to visit Meghalaya. You can visit the Mawlynnong Village which earns the tag of the ‘Cleanest village of Asia’; it looks like God’s Own Garden. The fresh water streams, evergreen surroundings, picturesque landscape and well-preserved traditions of the Khasis can be experienced here. The most famous iconic natural bridge of Meghalaya i.e., Nohwet Living Root Bridge is found here. The bridge was created by weaving the roots of the Ficus tree around a framework by generations. You can also take a dip in the cold water of the river.
Church of the Epiphany:
It is more than a century old church which is a beautiful piece of European architecture. Mawlynnong, i.e., Cluster of Stones, was derived from the fact that there are numerous rocks in the village that have craters in them. The villagers link the tradition of cleanliness to Christianity and ultimately a way to reach God through cleanliness.
Around 1500 caves are in Meghalaya and around 980 of them have been explored till now. Some of India’s longest, largest and deepest caves are found in Meghalaya. Mawsmai is one of them and is a popular tourist attraction in Cherrapunji. It is 85 Km from Shillong and 4 km from Cherrapunji.
Only a part of the cave, around 150 m is open for tourists while rest of the cave is off-limits to tourists. While exploring the cave, be careful for low overhangs and uneven surface on the floor of the cave. It has a large entrance but it becomes very narrow in some places and you may crawl to get through it at some stretches. You may able to see the fossils of sea organisms in embedded in the cave walls. The cave is open daily from 9am to 5:30 pm.
Located at 69 kilometres from Shillong, the state capital and 105 Km from the Asia’s cleanest village Mawlynnong, it receives the highest rainfall in India. Reportedly, it is the wettest place on Earth or the place with the highest average annual rainfall. Guinness Book of World Records says that Mawsynram received 26,000 millimetres (1,000 in) of rainfall in one day in 1985.
Mawjymbuin cave, known for its stalagmites, is located in Mawsynram. A pair of notable speleothems – stalactites shaped like a cow’s udder over a large stalagmite is found inside this cave.
Other places near mawlynnong:
Cherrapunji locally known as Sohra was the traditional capital of ka hima Sohra (Khasi tribal kingdom). It has often been credited as being the wettest place on Earth, but for now Mawsynram currently holds this distinction. Despite abundant rainfall, Sohra faces an acute water shortage and the inhabitants often have to trek very long distances to obtain potable water.
There are some interesting living root bridges in villages near Sohra like the Umshiang root bridge, Mawsaw root bridge, Ritymmen root bridge and the Double Decker root bridge at Nongriat village.
Seven sisters waterfall:
Nohsngithiang Falls also known as the Seven Sisters Waterfalls or Mawsmai Falls is a seven-segmented waterfall located 1 kilometre south of Mawsmai village and 5 Km from Cherrapunji. It is one of the tallest waterfalls in India as the water falls from a height of 315 metres (1,033 ft). The waterfalls get illuminated by the sun and the vibrant colors of the setting sun on the waterfalls make it beautiful.
In this area, there are several waterfalls because of the heavy rainfall including Nohkalikai Falls, Dain Thlen Falls in Khasi hills while Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills have Tyrchi Falls en route to Jowai and Pelga Falls near Tura.