India has a majestic geographic terrain, filled with lush greenery, forests, scenic lakes, mountain peaks, and a plethora of tropical beaches. Hence, it offers an assortment of treasures that will arouse and speak to the nature lover in you. The country has some of the best naturally formed wonders in the world with stunning aesthetic appeal and heavenly vibe, where people can be “at one” with nature.
Here are some of the best nature spots in the country from north to south and west to east, that are stunningly surreal:
Magnetic Hill in Ladakh in Northern India is a hill where vehicles and people can defy the force of gravity and move upwards on the hill from a marked location. To experience this phenomenon, visitors just need to put their vehicle in the neutral gear from few metres ahead of the hill road, from where it will then start moving automatically at a speed of 20kmph. Actually, the road is a downhill road appearing to be an uphill road which makes vehicles gain momentum and look like it is going uphill against gravity when in fact it is rolling downhill through the pull of gravity.
These are a set of 2 bridges made of live tree roots situated deep in the lush, green forests of Cherrapunjee – which is known to be “the wettest place in India”. It is located in the North-East Indian state of Meghalaya. The bridges are also known as Jingkieng Nongriat Double Decker Living Root Bridge, or the Umshiang Double Decker Living Root Bridge or even simply as the Double Decker Root Bridge.
It is 3 kilometers or 1.86 miles long. A river - The Umshiang River - flows beneath the bridge. It is a picturesque scene and trekking the bridge can be a delightful experience.
This is one of India’s tallest and most stunning waterfalls. 310 meters high and 30 meters wide and is situated on a rail route - the Madgaon-to-Belagavi rail route in the state of Goa goes through it, and people travelling in the train that passes from here get a stunning view and feel of the falls – in fact many make this journey just to experience this. Dudhsagar literally translates of “Milk Sea” or “Sea of Milk”, which is what it looks like, a white stretch of milk falling from the mountains!
The Great Himalayan National Park is one of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites in India. It is a completely natural area, that is conserved through the years, and is located in the Himalayan mountain regions (Northern India) in Kullu, which in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The park is spread over an area of 1171 km2 at located at altitudes ranging from 1500 metres to 6000 metres. This park is a hotspot for wildlife and adventure enthusiasts, as it is home to many Himalayan animals and birds, and a large number of treks and camps are also organized here regularly.
The North-western Indian state of Rajasthan is home to the famous Thar Desert (also known as The Great Indian Desert). Most of the desert area is covered by large and shifting sand dunes. The sand on these dunes is highly mobile due to strong winds occurring here, and they receive sediments from the alluvial plains and the coast. Activities such as camping, desert safari (in jeeps), camel rides etc. are carried out here and tourists can get to live the authentic desert experience.
The Rann of Kutch in the western coastal state of Gujarat is a large area of salt marshes (an open eco system between land and seawater) which occupy the borders between India and Pakistan. These are located mostly in India – in Gujarat’s borders in its district of Kutch but it also occupies a small part of Sindh in Pakistan.
It is a beautiful white marsh land that has desert on one side and sea on the other – and is home to some endangered flora and fauna in the country. People camp here, conduct activities and fairs – and it is a picturesque ecological wonder that hasn’t been tampered by man.
Coorg is a place that offer some of the best experiences close to nature in India. It is often called the “Scotland of India” because of its beautiful vast stretches of lush greenery, misty hills. It also has some gorgeous waterfalls and is famous for its coffee plantations!
Gokarna is a coastal town in the state of Karnataka – and is only 3 hours away from Goa – which is a popular destination. This town has beautiful natural limestone formations that are highly unique, and said to have a history that goes back centuries, and its stories are also part of Hindu mythology. Tall rock formations in the shape of a hill, with a backdrop of green forests and no manmade elements around it - this place is a nature lover’s delight.
Munnar, in Kerala – a south Indian state – is a beautiful hill station filled with tea plantations and situated at the confluence of three mountain streams in the state - Muthirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala, perched about 1600 metres above sea level. A beautiful town amidst lush greenery and dense wilderness – this is also a popular getaway spot for people living in the big cities nearby.
Kerala also is famous for its Backwaters – which are stretches of serene lakes, canals and lagoons parallel to Arabian sea coast, on which the state is located. These backwaters have a heavenly charm and are divinely and unbelievably serene! They pass through Kerala’s lush paddy fields and palm groves, in their own gentle rhythm.
People can enjoy calm cruises on houseboats here provide modest to luxurious accommodation for travellers who wish to experience a day or two (or even more) in this soothing atmosphere. (These boats were once cargo boats that used to carry cargo such as Rice, Coconut & Spices and also to provide accommodation for the boatman, and over the years transformed into tourist attractions and experiences).
Butter Ball rock in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu - also known as Krishna's butterball - is a gigantic boulder resting balanced on a short incline, measuring 6 meters high and 5 meters wide, weighing over 250 tons. The boulder is said to be in the same position since over 1200 years! At one point in its history, an attempt was said to have been made by kings to move it with the help of elephants, but it couldn’t happen. Many people believe that the rock is a piece of butter dropped by Lord Krishna – hence it came to also be known as Krishna’s butter ball.
Borra Caves are one of India’s largest and most unique naturally formed caves located on the East Coast of India, in Araku Valley in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The hill on which it is located has an elevation between 800 to 1,300 m (which is roughly from 2,600 to 4,300 ft).
Borra translated to “Brain” in the Telugu language, which is spoken in the state.The caves have a variety of speleothems (accumulated mineral deposits) ranging in size and many stalactites and stalagmites – some of which resemble the human brain – and hence the name “Borra Caves”. These are also said to be the deepest caves in India – and a tour of these is a must-experience!
Kanyakumari is the southernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent. It is a beautiful place with a rich history. It is known for its stunning sunrise scenes, and the very popular “confluence of oceans” – Being at the tip of this peninsular subcontinent, Kanyakumari is fortunate to have a view of the meeting point of 3 oceans surrounding India – The Bay of Bengal (in the east), the Indian Ocean (in the south) and the Arabian Sea (in the west) – a stunning phenomenon which is a feast to eyes!
There is a myriad of other natural wonders in the country in every region that make India an ideal destination for eco-tourism. The surreal experiences of such natural wonders in this country are sure to leave you enchanted and even turn you into a nature lover if you aren’t one already!
It is one country that is filled with various beautiful natural phenomena close to those found in many other different countries, and hence have been nicknamed after those (like “Venice of the East”, “Switzerland of India” or “The Detroit of South India”, “Scotland of India”, “Niagara of India” and many more!) – so you can get a whole lot of such natural experiences in India alone – and this is certainly a reason that can convince anyone to visit India and indulge in its diverse ecological offerings.