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30 Hidden Gems In India Off The Beaten Track You Didn’t Know (1 From Each State)

India is a very interesting country, that’s getting more and more international arrivals every year. In the past ten years, the number of international tourists has increased by a whopping 97%. I spent a year in India and I met a lot of expats and other solo travelers. But most of them were doing more or less the same route: Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Kasol, Rajasthan, Taj Mahal, Varanasi… A few of them would have gone to Kerala or the Indian Himalayas, but most would leave the country without discovering some of the best hidden gems in India.

My point here is that there are a lot of hidden gems in India that often get forgotten by tourists. And they’re even more beautiful and worth visiting than the above-mentioned ones. Here are 9 off-the-beaten-track places in India you probably didn’t know existed.

Akshai Chin, Jammu and Kashmir

hidden gems in India

Number one goes to another place in Jammu and Kashmir: Aksai Chin. This paradise sits comfortably at the ceasefire line between India and China. That’s why it is known as ‘one of the most dangerous places in the world’. However, when I arrived in Aksai Chin, I saw no one. It was just me, the heavenly lakes, breathtaking mountains, and the cold desert. The main attraction is  Pangong Lake, at the Indo-China border at more than 4,200 meters above sea level. To this day, this remains one of my favorite places in the world.  

Nubra Valley, Ladakh

nubra valley

This amazing cold desert geographically belongs to the Tibetian Plateau but it’s part of India and its state Jammu and Kashmir. The most notable attractions are the sand dunes, the Bactrian camel only to be found in three other places on Earth and Turtuk- a village that feels like a slice of heaven. The best time to visit Nubra Valley is between the months of June and October. The rest of the year is too cold and the bad mountains road can be quite challenging.

Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir

lolab valley

The capital of Jammu and Kashmir is an amazing city. A lot of its charm comes from its three pearls: Dal Lake, Nagin Lake, and Wular Lake. Moreover, Srinagar looks like the winter version of Venice and it also has probably the biggest floating market in the country. You can literally find everything there, including hash and weed. Srinagar can be visited throughout the year as it has its own airport. However, I would suggest visiting in the winter because the city looks absolutely stunning with its winter clothes on.

Chopta, Uttarakhand

Chopta, Uttarakhand

Chopta in Uttarakhand is what you’d call nature’s well-kept secret, tucked away from the usual touristy razzmatazz. It’s lovingly dubbed the ‘Mini Switzerland of India’, although you won’t find any Swiss banks here, just a wealth of natural beauty. For starters, it’s a trekker’s paradise. The hike to Tungnath temple, the highest Shiva temple in the world, offers you not just a spiritual high but also an adrenaline one. And if that’s not enough, push for Chandrashila peak.

Key Gompa, Himachal Pradesh

key gompa hidden gems in india

This list of hidden gems in India couldn’t be complete without Key Gompa, a place that is the definition of a hidden gem. Perched atop a hill like a crown in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, is less of a destination and more of a journey into tranquility. It’s where monks wear maroon robes instead of corporate suits, and the spinning prayer wheels send more messages than your smartphone. Besides perfecting the art of peaceful contemplation, you can explore the ancient murals and thangkas – they’re like comic books with spiritual lessons. The Gompa is also a great place to chat with monks; their insights are more refreshing than a double shot of espresso.

Mohammadpur Umri, Uttar Pradesh

Mohammadpur Umri

Next on our list of hidden gems in India we have perhaps the most unusual place on this list- Mohammadpur Umri, near Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, is the village that defies all your standard twin stereotypes. Here, the term ‘seeing double’ isn’t just a figure of speech—it’s the norm. Known for its bafflingly high number of twins, this village might just make you question your vision. It’s the perfect place to study human genetics or to simply marvel at the quirks of nature.

Virasat-e-Khalsa, Punjab

Virasat-e-Khalsa, Punjab

Virasat-e-Khalsa in Punjab is an architectural marvel but also a very detailed museum dedicated to the history of Sikhism and the perfect place to learn more about this interesting religion. The museum has a lot of engaging interactive exhibits and galleries that feel like a new chapter of a book you can’t put down.

Sultanpur National Park, Haryana

sultanpur national park

Next on our list of hidden gems in India we have Sultanpur National Park in the often forgotten (in terms of tourism) state of Haryana. Sultanpur National Park, a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Gurugram, is an avian wonderland that could make even the most city-slicker among us yearn for a pair of binoculars and a birding handbook. It’s a birdwatcher’s paradise with a checklist that’ll have you ticking off species faster than items on a grocery list. The park is a pit stop for migratory birds, so you can expect to see some feathery jet-setters taking a break from their intercontinental flights.

Sujan Jawai, Rajasthan

Sujan Jawai

Sujan Jawai, nestled in the heart of Rajasthan, is like an exclusive club for wildlife enthusiasts and luxury seekers. It’s where leopards roam free and humans get to live, albeit briefly, in the lap of understated elegance. Leopard spotting is the star attraction, and it’s every bit as thrilling as it sounds but the area is also a biodiversity hotspot with a plethora of bird species, crocodiles, and other wildlife.

Adalaj Stepwell, Gujarat

Adalaj Stepwell

Next on our hidden gems in India off the beaten track, we have Gujarat’s Adalaj Stepwell. Located just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Ahmedabad in Gujarat, is like a hidden level in a video game, except it’s real and doesn’t require any cheat codes to access. This architectural marvel, built way back in 1498 is a subterranean feat of artistry, where history echoes off intricately carved walls.

Tadoba, Maharashtra


This is one of the surprisingly unexplored places in India, taking in consideration the wildlife here. The main attraction of Tadoba is the  National Park, which is the oldest national park of Maharashtra, and of course, the tiger reserve, which is one of the best-kept and preserved tiger reserves in India. A jeep safari costs only around $90 USD and the best time to visit is from October to March because the rest of the year, it’s either too hot or it’s the monsoon season.

Mandu, Madhya Pradesh

mandu hidden gems in india

Mandu in Madhya Pradesh is like a secret chapter from India’s historical saga, quietly nestled in the heart of the country. The place is a complex, consisting of ancient palaces, whispering baobab trees from Africa, and love stories that could give Bollywood a run for its money. The Jahaz Mahal, looking like a ship floating on a sea of green during the monsoons, is a must-visit. Then there’s Baz Bahadur’s Palace, where you half expect a lovelorn prince to pop out singing ballads of yore. And the Rani Roopmati’s Pavilion? It offers views that can make even the most glued-to-their-phone person look up and take notice.

Mainpat, Chhattisgarh

Mainpat, Chhattisgarh

Mainpat in Chhattisgarh, often hailed as the ‘Shimla of Chhattisgarh’, is like a secret garden that forgot to get famous. Nestled in the lush greenery, this hill station is a refreshing departure from the typical Indian tourist trail – it’s more whispering pines and less honking cars. You can go trekking through the verdant landscapes, where the only traffic jam is perhaps a herd of wandering goats and the Tiger Point waterfall is a hidden gem within this hidden gem…

Maithon, Jharkhand

Maithon, Jharkhand hidden gems in india

This list of hidden gems in India couldn’t be complete without Jharkhand’s Maithon. Tucked away in the heart of Jharkhand, is the kind of place where nature decided to show off a bit. Known as the ‘Kashmir of Koyalanchal’, it’s a lesser-known jewel that hasn’t yet made it to the typical tourist’s radar – a bit like that indie band your friend keeps insisting you’ll love.

Telhar Kund, Bihar

Telhar Kund

Telhar Kund in Bihar is one of those places that makes you wonder if you’ve accidentally stumbled into a landscape painting. Nestled in the Aurangabad district, it’s a natural waterfall that hasn’t yet been overrun by selfie sticks and Instagram hashtags. The waterfall creates a natural pool that’s perfect for a refreshing dip – think of it as nature’s own Jacuzzi, but without the bubbles and the fancy controls. The area around is great for a bit of trekking or just lounging around with a book, absorbing the peace like a sponge.

Chuchen, Sikkim

Chuchen, Sikkim

Next on our list of hidden gems in India, we have Chuchen in Sikkim, a place that’s like a page torn from a fantasy novel, except it’s real and you don’t need a magic spell to get there. Tucked away in the northeastern part of India, it’s a village where the clouds play hide and seek with the mountains, and the air is as fresh as new gossip. Getting to Chuchen is an adventure in itself. The nearest major town is Gangtok, and from there, it’s a journey through winding mountain roads that make you feel like you’re on a roller coaster designed by Mother Nature herself.

Haflong, Assam

Haflong, Assam gem

Haflong in Assam is like that indie movie that everyone hears about but only a few actually see. It’s Assam’s only hill station and is fondly known as the ‘White Ant Hillock’. Nestled in the lap of nature, it’s where hills and clouds conspire to play a perpetual game of hide and seek. Picture this: lush green landscapes, ethereal mists that make you feel like you’re in a fantasy novel, and a serenity that’s as rare as a quiet coffee shop in the city.

Laitmawsiang, Meghalaya

Laitmawsiang, Meghalaya

Laitmawsiang, tucked away in the verdant arms of Meghalaya, is the kind of place that could make a city dweller consider a life of pastoral bliss. Here, you can find some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Northeast India (a tough competition), a gorgeous forest named Garden of Caves, and rock formations that present a challenge for even the most experienced rock climbers.

Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh


Sitting at 3048 meters above sea level, Tawang is one of the most charming towns that lie off the beaten track in India. It’s home to several amazing monasteries and it’s also the birthplace of the Dalai Lama. That’s a fact many people don’t know. Getting to Tawang can be a bit challenging because the nearest airport is 6 hours away. The nearest train station is also a bit far and the mountain roads are in a pretty bad condition. However, Tawang is worth it. The best time to visit is between the months of March and September. The other months of the year are really cold and it’s possible that the roads will be covered in snow.

Enjoying this post? Then you may also like our list of hidden gems in Delhi.

Dzukou Valley, Nagaland

Dzukou Valley india off the beaten track

Dzukou Valley, straddling the borders of Nagaland and Manipur, is like a secret level in a video game that only the most dedicated players know about. It’s a place where the term ‘breathtaking’ isn’t just a figure of speech – it’s your constant state of being, courtesy of the stunning landscapes. If you’re a trekking enthusiast, this is your Shangri-La. The trek to the valley is like a rite of passage for adventurers, offering trails that meander through emerald hills, babbling streams, and a carpet of flowers that would put the most elaborate floral arrangement to shame.

Loktak Lake, Manipur

loktak lake

Speaking of hidden gems in India off the beaten track, we just can’t forget about Loktak Lake in Manipur. Loktak Lake in Manipur is nature’s own version of an impressionist painting. Known for its unique floating islands, called “phumdis,” it’s like the water decided to try its hand at landscaping. You can take a boat ride around the lake, which is pretty much like sailing through a living, breathing watercolor. The phumdis are a phenomenon in themselves – think of them as nature’s very own floating gardens. Birdwatchers, bring your binoculars, because you’re in for a treat. The lake is a haven for a variety of bird species, some of which are as colorful as the local folklore.

Lunglei, Mizoram

Lunglei, Mizoram

Nestled in the verdant hills of Northeast India, Lunglei is one of the most notable hidden gems in India. First off, there’s the town itself, a picturesque settlement that seems to hang off the cliffs. It’s perfect for leisurely walks where every corner offers a postcard-worthy view. Then there’s the bridge of rock – Thlazuang Kham, a natural formation that looks like it’s straight out of a fantasy movie set.

Unakoti, Tripura

Unakoti, Tripura

This ancient pilgrimage site, tucked away in the lush greenery of Northeast India, is a marvel of rock carvings and stone sculptures that could make anyone question their artistic skills. The rock carvings, some of which date back to the 7th-9th centuries, are a blend of devotion and art. The star of the show is the giant head of Lord Shiva, known as Unakotiswara Kal Bhairava, a statue so massive, everything else, (including yourself) fades in comparison.

Mousuni Island, West Bengal

Mousuni island

This list of hidden gems in India off the beaten track couldn’t be complete without Mousuni Island, a hidden slice of serenity tucked away in the Sundarbans of West Bengal. The island offers idyllic beaches where the most strenuous activity might be lifting your book or sipping a coconut. It’s also a great spot for camping – imagine sleeping under the stars, with the sound of waves as your lullaby.

Simlipal National Park, Odisha

Simlipal National Park, Odisha

Tucked away in the northern part of Odisha, it’s a biodiverse haven that’s more than just a walk in the park. It’s a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise, for starters. You’ve got elephants roaming around like they own the place (which, to be fair, they kind of do), and if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the elusive Bengal tiger, practicing its version of hide and seek.

Ubbalamadugu Falls, Andhra Pradesh

Ubbalamadugu Falls

Next on our list of hidden gems in India is Ubbalamadugu Falls, a place that stays under most tourists’ radars. Comfortably situated on the border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, this place is a nature’s paradise and a trekker’s delight. The hike to the falls is a blend of adventure and natural beauty, with routes that will awake your inner Indiana Jones and Zen master at the same time. The trek is a mix of rugged terrain and serene landscapes, making it both a challenge and a treat.

Ananthagiri Hills, Telengana

Ananthagiri Hills

Ananthagiri Hills, often found in the bucket lists of offbeat travelers is a little slice of paradise for those who love their landscapes with a side of adventure. Nestled in the Eastern Ghats, these hills are like nature’s own amusement park, minus the long queues and overpriced snacks. The trails here offer a mix of scenic beauty and a bit of a challenge – like nature’s own version of a treadmill, but with better views and fresher air.

Nagarhole National Park, Karnataka

Nagarhole National Park, Karnataka

Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka, also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, is like a real-life version of ‘The Jungle Book’, sans the singing bears and talking panthers. Nestled in the Western Ghats, it’s a biodiverse haven that doesn’t just flaunt its wildlife; it celebrates it. You’ve got safaris where the Bengal tiger plays hide and seek, and you’re always ‘it’. Elephants roam with a majesty that says, “Yep, we’re the real kings here.” And let’s not forget the plethora of birds that turn the sky into a moving canvas.

Mollem National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa

Mollem National Park

Mollem National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa is like that quiet kid in class who’s actually a whiz at chess – understated, but full of surprises. Tucked away in the Western Ghats, it’s a green oasis in a state known more for its beaches and parties. This place is Goa’s ultimate gem, offering a respite from the usual sun-and-sand narrative. The park is home to a dazzling array of wildlife – including many different species of birds and leopards (I bet you’re surprised by that one, aren’t you?).

Idukki, Kerala

Idukki kerala

Iduki is Kerala’s ultimate little paradise which is a tough title to get in a state filled with secret ghats and underrated beaches. Nestled in the Western Ghats, it’s a district that’s less about the touristy hustle and more about the lush green hush. Here, the hills roll, the rivers sing, and the spices… well, they add a bit of zing. It’s an eco-tourist’s dream. You can start with the Idukki Dam – an architectural marvel that’s not just about holding back water, but also about letting loose some stunning views. Then, there’s the hill view park, which, true to its name, offers views that can make your Instagram followers turn a lovely shade of green.

Nicobar Islands

nicobar island

Last but not least, we conclude this list of hidden gems in India off the beaten track with one place in India that has more breathtaking beaches than Goa; Nicobar Island. The untouched nature, dense forests and dreamy beaches make this place the most beautiful island in India. And for some reason, the island isn’t very popular among international tourists. To add to that, there actually are tribal people living on the island, but the access to their village is forbidden for visitors.

Enjoying this post? Then you may also like our list of the most unusual festivals in India.

Useful Tips For Discovering Hidden Gems In India

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If you want to take a tour in India, I personally recommend GetYourGuide for seeing the main tourist attractions and Trafalgar’s Colorful India tour if you want to learn more about Indian culture.

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Have you heard about any of these hidden gems in India before? Do you know some other hidden places in India? Share your thoughts in the comments.

9 Prettiest Places in india
hidden gems in india

Mrs. Cherry

Monday 11th of June 2018

Wow! This looks like such a diverse country to travel to! Such different places from each other. Looks like a fun trip to take.

Passport Symphony

Monday 11th of June 2018

Definitely, Cherry! India is full of surprises

Backpacking Series

Sunday 10th of June 2018

That's a fantastic list. And so happy to see North East India states making to the list and truly so! Delightful read and beautiful pictures!

Passport Symphony

Sunday 10th of June 2018

Thank you for your comment and I'm glad you enjoyed the article. This list wouldn't be complete without the Indian Northeast. It's an amazing region.

Penelope Silvers

Friday 22nd of December 2017

These are amazing places and stunning photos! I love reading your posts and traveling from my armchair. Thanks for sharing! :)

Passport Symphony

Tuesday 26th of December 2017

Thank you for your support Penelope, I really appreciate it :)

Ryan Biddulph

Friday 22nd of December 2017


All are stunning spots. We fell in love with Kerala when visiting Kovalam in 2013. The beach itself was gorgeous but the surrounding jungle was inviting too. The people were so kind and generous. Awesome scene for wellness and of course the food was great, and so freaking cheap! I recall paying $1.50 USD for a bag full of fruits and veggies. A grocery store bag. Insane.


Passport Symphony

Tuesday 26th of December 2017

Hi Ryan,

Yes definitely. Kerala as a whole is a very underrated destination and everything is so cheap there :D amazing beaches and beautiful nature too. Varkala's spot in my top 10 is well deserved :)