Your happily Ever After: Embark on a blissful married life by heading to any of these 10 offbeat and charming Indian destinations for a romantic—and safe—honeymoon. By Shrimayee Thakur
Check out these 10 off beat honeymoon destinations in India:
Nestled at the intersection of the Godavari River and the Bay of Bengal, Dindi is a little slice of beachy heaven. Explore the lush greenery of the village via a bicycle ride, where you can also spot exotic birds that have come in search of Dindi’s serene backwaters. Antarvedi Beach, where the river meets the sea, is a must-visit location surprisingly free of crowds. Soak in the view undisturbed, with just each other’s company and the hum of waves crashing on to the shore. Or trek along the 26-kilometre-long beach that runs through coastal areas, and interact with local fishermen. Visit the nearby heritage village, Peruru, where time stands still, leaving the community, its culture, and the buildings as they were a century ago.
Palavelli Godavari, a riverfront resort, offers plush rooms with private balconies from where you can enjoy the view. sterlingholidays.com
Known as a paraglider’s paradise, Kamshet is perfect for couples looking to experience adventures together. And they’ll have plenty to choose from here—head to the Shinde Wadi Hills, a popular paragliding point; or undertake a challenging trek to the Dhak Bahri Caves, an ancient site of animal sacrifices (practised even today) that offers gorgeous views of the surrounding land, including the twin forts of Rajmachi: Shrivardhan and Manoranjan. Approximately 20 minutes from Kamshet, the Bedse Caves are also worth a visit. Some of Maharashtra’s oldest caves, they are home to ancient Buddhist shrines, known for their beautiful rock carvings. Spend a quiet afternoon together on the banks of the Pawna Lake, an artificial waterbody formed by the Pavana Dam. Explore the three forts nearby—Lohagad, Tikona, and Tungi—and end the day taking in a dazzling sunset over the lake.
Stay at the Le Farm Luxury Farmstay, a villa near the backwaters of the Vadivale Dam, ideal for couples seeking complete privacy. lefarm.in
Tucked away amongst lofty Himalayan peaks, Dhanaulti is a hilly paradise covered in dense, green forests of oak and deodar trees, as well as rhododendrons. While it is located close to some of Uttarakhand’s more popular destinations, such as Chamba and Mussoorie, Dhanaulti has an enviable air of peace and tranquillity that others lack. Sitting high in the Himalayas, this hilly destination offers several opportunities for adventure. Test your balancing skills on a Sky Walk, a thrilling activity where you walk across a 360-feet-long wire, set more than 36 metres above the ground; or take an exciting zip-line ride over the lush environs. Enjoy an afternoon
picnic at the Eco Parks of Amber and Dhara, which are basically two forest-gardens, set 200 metres from each other. To soak in panoramic views of snow-clad Himalayan peaks, trek to nearby Lal Tibba, known for its romantic sunrises and sunsets.
The Terraces is a boutique spa-resort, featuring plush interiors, a balcony to enjoy the spectacular view, and a spa with a range of exotic treatments. theterraces.biz
Fast emerging as a popular beach destination, Gokarna is often called the more laid-back and less commercialised version of Goa, and is perfect for honeymooners wishing to spend time on beaches dotted with swaying palm trees. Walk along the pristine, white shore at Kudle Beach, and stop for a bite at any one of its numerous, tempting eateries, or head to Om Beach to see its unique curved coastline. Quicken the pace of your honeymoon by engaging in one of the many opportunities for water sports: parasailing, banana-boat ride, or jet-skiing. Delve into Hindu mythology at the 1500-year-old Mahabaleshwara Temple, built in the Dravidian style of architecture, using white granite. Once you’ve had your fill of the beaches, trek to the massive, black-limestone caves in Yana or visit the intimidating Jog Falls, one of the highest plunge waterfalls in India. Take a closer look at the history of the region at Mirjan Fort. Built in the 16th century, it is blanketed in moss and surrounded by a lush, green forest.
Kahani Paradise, located only minutes from Paradise Beach, features lavish rooms offering stunning views of the ocean and complete privacy. kahaniparadise.com
Situated close to Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala’s capital city, but removed from its hustle and bustle, Poovar Island is an oasis of calm, girded by the Neyyar River. Its endless stretch of golden sands, dense coconut-and-banana-tree groves, and myriad species of fauna form a bewitching backdrop for your honeymoon. Pozhikara, just a kilometre from Poovar, boasts a beautiful sandbank that separates the turbulent sea from the Neyyar River; spend a lazy afternoon here, relaxing on the beach and watching local and migratory birds. Take in a vantage-point view of southern Kerala from the top of the lighthouse at Lighthouse Beach, or head to the beaches of Kovalam and master the sport of surfing with the help of Kovalam Surf Club. Catch a glimpse of the region’s history at the rock-cut cave temple in Vizhinjam, dating back to the 8th century, or acquaint yourself with rare and colourful species of marine wildlife at the Vizhinjam Marine Aquarium.
To round the experience, stay at one of the floating cottages at Poovar Island Resort, which also offers sunset cruises along the calm backwaters around the island. poovarislandresorts.com
Spanning 800 square kilometres, Sariska Tiger Reserve displays Rajasthan’s arid beauty with its dry deciduous forests, rocky cliffs, and endless grasslands offering a welcome home to the local wildlife. The park is a well-known haven for successfully relocated tigers. The best way to catch a glimpse of one is on the three-hour Sariska Safari, which will take you through the area’s numerous attractions. While its tigers are definitely the biggest attraction, the reserve also hosts other jungle cats, leopards, wild dogs, sambars, chital, and nilgai, along with exotic species of birds, such as sandgrouse and crested serpent eagles. The forest also features two ancient temples—the famous Pandupol Temple, mentioned in the Mahabharata; and the 6th-century Neelkanth Temple, with its erotic statues. History buffs will like the Kankwari Fort—only accessible through a safari—where Emperor Aurangzeb jailed his brother, Dara Shikoh.
The Amanbagh offers palatial suites, as well as tours, including of Bhangarh, an ancient city, and Somsagar Lake, where you can enjoy a private meal. aman.com
Known for its natural beauty, Mayurbhanj is a cultural hub that was once part of the kingdom of Bhanja rulers. The ancient village of Khiching, which sits within the Mayurbhanj district, was once its capital, and houses an architecturally unique temple made of chlorite slabs with intricate carvings, dedicated to Goddess Kichakeswari. A small museum nearby displays historical sculpture and art. Mayurbhanj also has several other beautiful spots steeped in mythology, such as Bhimkund, a lovely, blue pool and waterfall surrounded by craggy rocks that has ties to the Mahabharata; and Ramtirtha, the only crocodile-rearing centre in the region, that is mentioned in the Ramayana. Mayurbhanj is also home to the sprawling Similipal Biosphere, home to tigers, numerous species of reptiles, and birds.
Lulung Aranya Nivas is a rustic forest-resort where you can switch off from the bustle of city life in the comfort of luxe suites and riverside cottages. simlipalforestresort.com
A beautiful ode to Madhya Pradesh’s regal past, the historical town of Orchha was established by the Bundela chief, Rudra Pratap, in the 16th century. Its glorious past is proudly displayed through its Rajput palaces, royal chhatris (cenotaphs constructed in honour of the rulers), and temples—architectural treasures that have a firm foothold in the town’s present look. The Orchha Fort Complex, located on an island in the Betwa River and reachable by a four-arched bridge, is the primary attraction here. The vast complex houses multiple palaces within, including Jahangir Mahal, built by Bir Singh Deo in the early 17th-century to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jahangir. Another famous palace inside the fort, Raja Mahal is known for its beautiful murals. The Pravin Rai Mahal was built in honour of a famed, eponymous 17th-century poet and musician. Known as the ‘Nightingale of Orchha’ at the time, her story is played out in a light-and-sound show at the fort. Combine water sports and sightseeing with a kayaking tour around Betwa, which allow you a closer look at the 14 chhatris along the banks, or visit the Orchha Natural Reserve, home to exotic species of birds.
In keeping with the town’s royal theme, check in to one of the opulent rooms at the Orchha Palace. orchhapalace.com
Picture pale-yellow grasslands, nestled between two seasonal rivers, stretching into the distance, with a cluster of elegant blackbucks loping through it. Velavadar is a sight to behold, and perhaps one of the only tropical grasslands that has been established as a national park, in 1976. Once the hunting grounds for the maharaja of the princely state of Bhavnagar, the reserve is relatively small, about 34 square kilometres, yet is packed with wildlife, which includes wolves, nilgai, striped hyenas, and one of the largest harrier roosts—with birds like Montagu’s harriers, Pallid harriers, and marsh harriers, all nesting here. While blackbucks are quite easy to spot, visit the park early in the morning for a chance to see the elusive wolves,
or perhaps a rare bird, such as the tiny Bengal florican.
The Blackbuck Lodge, located in the park, offers the chance to get up close and personal with the wildlife, in cottages with plunge pools and decks looking out into the wilderness. theblackbucklodge.net
Also known as the ‘Valley of Flowers’, Yumthang Valley resembles a picture-postcard, with its snowy mountains, sparkling Teesta River, vast green meadows dotted with colourful Himalayan flowers, and a forest of silver firs. Though its proximity to the Indo-China border means visitors need a permit from Gangtok, this enchanting paradise makes sure the effort is worth it. Gear up for a trip to Zero Point, often called the last point of civilisation as there are no roads ahead. Sip hot coffee or tea while enjoying a spectacular view of the mountains around you. Dip your toes into the hot spring nearby, which is warm even in the winter, and is believed to have medicinal properties.
As there are no accommodation options in Yumthang, you can stay at the Yarlam Resort in nearby Lachung, a pretty little village on the banks of the Lachung River. yarlamresorts.com