As the scorching summer heat settles across the Indian subcontinent, many seek refuge in cooler destinations to escape the sweltering temperatures but while popular hill stations offer respite, there are numerous offbeat places in India that provide a unique and refreshing experience. Embark on a journey to these lesser-known gems, where you can beat the heat while immersing yourself in captivating landscapes, tranquil surroundings and cultural richness.
Let’s explore some offbeat destinations in India that promise a cool and memorable summer getaway. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Deep Banka, Chief Operating Officer at Zostel, shared, “Summers pose multiple options when it comes to choosing travel destinations within India and mountains are invariably one of the most favored options. Over the last couple of years, we have observed that travelers are increasingly opting for offbeat destinations, especially due to the serenity and lower tourism density at these locations. Moreover, it is important to consider that offbeat locations are far more conducive to ‘beat the heat’ kind of travel plans as they are nestled away from the pollution woes of popular hilly cities and towns. In fact, over the last two quarters, we have noticed that 25-30% of inbound inquiries we have received for properties that are located in offbeat locations which reflects a significant uptick from 3-4 years ago.”
He suggested, “Some of the perfect ‘beat the heat’ destinations are Rashil and Barot in Himachal, the Kumaon region in Uttarakhand, and Pedong in West Bengal. Also, Tawang in Arunachal, Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh, nestled away villages in Meghalaya and Sikkim, among others. The travel community is exponentially growing especially with more and more people indulging in remote work and we definitely anticipate that the trend will contribute tremendously towards boosting local economies across India, particularly during the summers, as people look to plan relaxing getaways to navigate the ‘not so forgiving’ temperatures in mainstream cities.”
Firmly believing in the power of exploration and stepping outside one’s comfort zone, Akaal Manchanda, Director at Zuper Hotels and Resorts, advised, “While traditional destinations offer familiarity, I recommend venturing into cooler and offbeat places to truly broaden your horizons. Places like Goa, Panchgani, and Lonavala hold an unexplored charm, where nature’s beauty merges with vibrant cultures. These unconventional destinations provide an escape from the ordinary, rejuvenating your spirit and igniting fresh perspectives. Embrace the allure of the unknown, for it is in these hidden gems that you’ll discover untapped inspiration, fostering personal growth and invigorating your professional journey.”
Bringing her expertise to the same, Sripad Vaidya, Co-Founder and COO of ConfirmTkt, said, “Some offbeat places to travel this summer to beat the heat are Ooty, Coimbatore, Munnar, Kodaikanal from south, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand states from North and Sikkim from Northeast. People who want to enjoy train travel near the hilly areas of the south must not miss Ooty. It is one place that many have often witnessed in Indian movies, mainly due to its natural beauty, stunning landscape and pleasant weather. Families can experience rolling hills, lush green valleys, tea plantations and beautiful gardens for a rejuvenating experience during a vacation. Fortunately for travelers, Ooty is well connected by trains and can be visited during any time of the year.”
He added, “Uttarakhand and Sikkim are beautiful and popular tourist destinations for people from all over the world. Some of the popular places to visit during summer in Uttarakhand include Nainital, Mussoorie, and Jim Corbett National Park, while in Sikkim, places like Gangtok, Pelling, and Lachen are popular among tourists. The best part is that you can take the train to reach these destinations and enjoy the beautiful scenic journey. All these are perfect summer destinations for those looking to experience natural beauty, adventure sports and local culture.”
Echoing that summer vacations are a much-awaited time of the year when everyone from Gen-Z, millennials and families get to escape from their daily routines and indulge in leisure and travel, Rohit Sharma, COO at AbhiBus, said, “It is a season filled with warmth, sunshine, and an opportunity to explore new destinations or relax in familiar ones. Whether it’s a beach getaway, a mountain retreat, or a cultural expedition, summer vacations offer the chance to recharge and create lasting memories. Summer vacations provide the perfect opportunity to break free from the monotony of everyday life and embrace the joys of relaxation, exploration and rejuvenation. While North Indians chase snow during scorching summer, South also has some hidden gems such as Ooty, Coorg and Munnar etc.”
According to him, top summer destinations in Southern India are Ooty, Munnar, Kodaikanal and Wayand as they offer a cool and pleasant climate throughout the year and the convenient way to travel is via bus while North Indians prefer Manali, Nainital and Shimla. He elaborated, “Ooty is known for its stunning natural beauty, which includes rolling hills, lush green valleys, tea plantations, and beautiful waterfalls. While, Coorg is known for its coffee plantations, scenic waterfalls and beautiful landscapes. Manali, the undisputed champ of offbeat escape, is located in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh and is an excellent family destination for vacation mainly due to its beautiful landscapes, snow-capped mountains and various adventure activities. One can plan a vacation to Manali via bus to enjoy the scenic beauty. There are close to 5000 passengers in over 120 buses plying from Delhi to Manali alone and 107 Private Buses and 15 HRTC buses from other major cities such as Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Amritsar etc. Daily there are over 300 buses that leave for Manali, carrying over 15000 snow lovers.”