Colours of India: 7 Secret Places that will make you Fall in Love!

rajastan

“India offers a kaleidoscope of panorama and experiences.

Today we’ll have a look,

at some of those that still manage to fly under the radar.”

India, is a land of vibrant traditions, rich history, and diverse landscapes, that for centuries have always fascinated travelers from around the world.

With 22 official languages (but 270 unofficial mother tongues), an area roughly 1/3 of Europe, and a population almost three times as large (with 1.4billion people, India overtook China in 2023 and became the most populated country on Earth!), India is a melting pot of cultures, traditions, and panoramas!

From the bustling streets of Delhi to the serene backwaters of Kerala, India offers a kaleidoscope of experiences that go well beyond the Taj Mahal (the most romantic tomb on the planet) and the gigantic Statue of Unity (the largest statue in the world, 187m high).

In this article, I want to take you on a journey to discover some of the hidden gems, mostly unnoticed by the masses, that showcase the true colors of India.

Get ready to be amazed as we explore 7 secret places that will undoubtedly make you fall in love with the incredible beauty and uniqueness of this country.

 

7 Barely-Known

Curious and Colorful Places in India

1. The Temple of Rats in Rajasthan

rat temple in rahjastan

In the heart of the desert state of Rajasthan lies an extraordinary pink temple that will leave you both intrigued, astounded, and perhaps a bit disgusted at first (but no worries, it’s pretty cool!).

Karni Mata Temple, also known as the “Temple of Rats”, is home to thousands (!!!) of rats that roam freely within its sacred walls: in the corridors, in the holes in the walls, and on the temple’s main ground!

Located in Deshnoke, the temple is a main experience of the region, and can easily be included in most of the Rajasthan tours, as side trip from Bikaner city which is only 30 km away.

Karni Mata Temple is a unique testament to the deep-rooted beliefs and fascinating rituals that form an integral part of Indian culture.

Legend has it that these rats are considered holy, as locals believe in reincarnation and that when I mouse dies, it might reincarnate in a human! Spotting a white rat in the temple is believed to bring good fortune.

If you’re wondering whether it might be dangerous, worry not: the mice are constantly fed, so they won’t attack people and they’re completely harmless (taking them on you, is part of the experience!).

If you’re interested to know more about this curious pink temple, I will leave you here a National Geographic Short about Karni Mata Temple, which greatly documents the one-of-a-kind experience this place truly is.

 

2. The Markha Valley in Ladakh

markha valley in india

Nestled in the breathtaking landscapes of the Indian Himalayas, the Markha Valley offers a trekking experience in Ladakh like no other.

This hidden gem is adorned with rugged mountains, picturesque villages, and Buddhist monasteries that seem like a mirage set against the stark backdrop: a dream for any trekking-lover!

The colors of the landscape here transition from lush green in the summer season, to orange-brown in the colder season, when often the mountain caps get covered by snow.

An average 8-day trek (a common way to visit the region!) takes you through high mountain passes, allowing you to witness the untouched beauty of nature.

The vibrant prayer flags fluttering in the wind and the warm hospitality of the locals make the Markha Valley a mesmerizing destination for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.

3. The Living Root Bridges in Meghalaya

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Let’s continue with green!

Venture into the northeastern state of Meghalaya, and you’ll discover a marvel of sustainable engineering – the living root bridges.

Constructed by the indigenous Khasi and Jaintia communities, these bridges are made by guiding the roots of rubber trees across rivers, creating natural pathways.

The intricate network of these living bridges spans across the lush green landscapes, offering a blend of natural beauty and human ingenuity.

The double-decker root bridge in Nongriat village is a particularly awe-inspiring sight, inviting you to immerse yourself in the tranquility of Meghalaya’s living wonders.

 

4. Turtuk, the Northernmost Village in India

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Hidden away at an altitude of 2,900m in the remote Nubra Valley in Ladakh, Turtuk stands as a testament to the diversity of India’s landscapes.

This picturesque village, nestled against the backdrop of the Karakoram Range, was a part of Pakistan until 1971.

Stepping into Turtuk feels like entering a different world, with its apricot orchards, quaint mud-brick houses, and, also here, very welcoming locals.

The cultural richness of Turtuk, coupled with its stunning scenery, makes it a destination that reflects the untouched charm of Northern India. 

While any time of the year is great, if you happen to travel there by spring you could see the whole valley painted in bright yellow: this is due to the magic of the apricot orchards’s flowers, a spectacle to witness! 🙂

5. Kangchenjunga (8.586m),

the Highest Peak in India

 

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As we continue our journey through the hidden wonders and colors of India, our next stop takes us to the awe-inspiring Kangchenjunga, standing tall at 8,586 meters (just 250m less than the more famous Mount Everest in Nepal).

Nestled on the border of India and Nepal, Kangchenjunga is the third-highest peak in the world and the highest in India.

This colossal mountain is not just a visual spectacle as it holds immense cultural significance for the people of Sikkim and Nepal.

According to ancient legends, the Kangchenjunga is home to a mountain deity called Dzö-nga (or “Kangchenjunga Demon”), a type of yeti/rakshasa that guards the valley of immortality hidden between the mountain’s slopes.

Surrounded by pristine landscapes, Kangchenjunga offers today a trekking experience that is both challenging and spiritually rewarding.

The breathtaking views and the sheer magnitude of this peak make it a must-visit for adventure enthusiasts seeking to conquer new heights!

If climbing or trekking is not your thing though, you should still consider reaching at least the Tashi View Point (the closest vantage point from where you can see unobstructed views of Mount Kanchenjunga) and take your chances to admire the bright red of dawn and sunset on the top of the Kangchenjunga, contrasted by the dark blue underneath.

6. Ranganathaswamy Temple,

the Largest Hindu Temple

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Now it’s time to go golden and multi-color!

Prepare to be mesmerized as we explore the Ranganathaswamy Temple, an architectural marvel and the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world.

Located in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, this temple is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha, a reclining form of Lord Vishnu.

The temple complex spans an impressive 156 acres and is surrounded by seven concentric walls, which contain 81 shrines, 21 towers, and 39 pavilions.

Intricately carved pillars, vibrant frescoes, and a spiritual aura make it a pilgrimage site like no other.

The Ranganathaswamy Temple is not just a place of worship; it’s a living testament to the rich cultural heritage and artistic brilliance of India: countless colorful statues, adorned Hindi-style walls and a golden vimana sitting on top of the main shrine.

Be sure not to forget your photo camera!

7. Bull Surfing in Kerala

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Until now, we’ve seen natural wonders and man-made masterpieces, but now we come to a curious local tradition.

With our final destination we would like to introduce you to a unique and exhilarating experience that takes place every August in the post-harvest season in the state of Kerala: the Maramadi festival also referred to as “Bull Surfing”.

Forget about conventional water sports; here, the thrill comes from riding the waves on the back of a majestic bull – or two -.

The competition consists of a 100meter race, usually carried out by two oxen attached to one another, running in half a foot of water and mud, while three men run along them (two flank the bulls on the sides to give directions, and one behind “surfs” on a wooden plank pulled by the animals).

The competitions are a heart-pounding spectacle that combines the raw power of these magnificent animals with the daring spirit of the participants.

If you’re wondering, the oxen are fed for this specific event and are revered as team companions by the humans racing with them.

It’s a tradition originated from local farmers, and no animal is mistreated as people hold strong respect toward them (and India is a country strongly against animal suffering, as a wide chunk of the population believes in reincarnation!).

Bull surfing races can be found in many different towns of Kerala and usually last for several hours (as many teams run one after the other separately!).

Bull Surfing is not just a sport; it’s a cultural extravaganza that showcases the deep connection between Kerala’s people and its rich agricultural landscape.

At the end of the races, useless to say that all participants will be completely soaked in mud, showcasing the funny “brown-side” of India 😉

Conclusion

STREET IN BUCHAREST - ROMANIA

And here we come at the end of this article 🙂

In this article, we took a plunge into the diverse tapestry of Indian culture, nature, and adventure, and seen 7 colorful and secret places that are usually hardly mentioned in most tourist guides.

From the desert landscapes of Rajasthan and its pink and orange temples, to the towering peaks of Kangchenjunga that shine in bright red at dawn, contrasting with the blue of the mountain feet.

From the serene temples of Tamil Nadu encircled by the yellow flowers of the apricot orchard to the thrilling Bull Surfing in the browny mud of Kerala, while passing through the green living bridges of Meghalaya and the colorful temples of Ranganathaswamy… each destination unravels a unique face and color of India’s charm, that can make you fall in love with this incredible country! 😀

Before going, I would like to ask you:

What do you think about the article?

Have you had the chance to travel to any of those places before?

How was your experience?

Let us know in the comments below! 😀

Hereafter I will leave you a few articles that you might also be interested in checking out:

Thank you for reading, and see you in the next article!

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