Top 10 Unbelievable Places You Wouldn’t Even Believe Exist In India
There are few images that are sure to come to mind when one thinks of colorful and beautiful India – the white marble beauty, Taj Mahal, being the first of them. Then there are the awe-inspiring forts of Rajasthan, the breath-taking lakes of Udaipur, the scenic backwaters of Kerala, the gorgeous Himalayas, etc. However, there are lesser known unbelievable places that you would never believe existed at all, let alone in India – for example, a temple dedicated to rats!
#1 -Â Living Roots Bridges in Meghalaya
We have seen bridges, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Tower Bridge, and Sydney Harbor Bridge – so what is so special about these bridges? Well, they are made of living tree roots instead of steel and cement. These are found in Cherrapunji, Laitkynsew and Nongriat, Meghalaya, in Northeast India. The roots of living banyan fig trees are guided through hollow canes to reach the other side of the stream, a careful process that takes 15 to 20 years to complete.Â Who wouldn’t want to walk down this bridge, straight from some fantasy world, just once? And what’s more – they come in double-decker variation too!
#2 -Â Red Rain in Kottayam Idukki, Kerala
Sporadic showers of heavy rainfall occurred in Kerala in 2001 â€“ it poured in the color of blood, red. This naturally led to a lot of speculation and attempt at scientific explanation as to what could possibly have turned rain red. Theories ranged from meteor airborne spores of a local algae and dust from the deserts of Arabia to more controversial extra-terrestrial ones. It occurred most recently in 2012. The jury is still out on the origin of this weird “blood rain”, but Idukki in India is one of the very few places in the world which has been drenched in its red showers.
#3 -Â Karni Mata Temple Bikaner, Rajasthan (Rat Temple)
There are thousands of temples in India, dedicated to the numerous Hindu gods and goddesses, famous for their beautiful stone carvings, marble pillars, gardens, lakes, etc. But amongst those temples, is this one, at Deshnoke in Rajasthan, which is extra special. It is famous for (you may want to sit down for this) rats. Thousands of black rats, approximately 20,000 in number, have their quarters in this temple, and are worshipped by pilgrims. Amongst these rodents are a few white rats which are considered especially holy.
#4 – The Snake Village -Â Shetphal, Maharashtra
So we’ve seen a temple of rats, now how about we look at their natural predators – snakes. More appropriately, in this case, Indian cobras (Naja naja) – one fatal bite of this hooded snake delivers a strong neurotoxin venom which causes paralysis and finally death. The villagers of Shetphal in Maharastra worship snakes to the point of having them roam around freely everywhere, including inside their own houses. Every house is designed in a way to allow easy movement of cobras and help them nest in the rafters of the ceiling. However, incredibly there has not been a single case of snake bite in this village!
#5 – The Skeleton Lake -Â Roopkund, Uttarakhand
This place is not for the faint-hearted. Imagine desolate snow-capped mountains under deep blue skies, rocky glaciers, a bone-chilling wind and a round lake at the foot of the mountains and there isnâ€™t a soul to be seen for miles. And round the edges of this lake, and in its snow-melted waters you can see hundreds of human skeletons â€“ bones bleached and aged through years of exposure. This is Roopkund, the â€œmystery lakeâ€ at an altitude of 5029 meters, in an uninhabited area. This place is now an attraction for the daring traveler and the bold trekker.
#6 -Â Magnet Hill, Ladakh
We all know cars slide downhill and not uphill, it is basic science, right? But this magnetic hill in Ladakh will fool you! Many tourists stop here to watch how their cars are apparently drifting uphill, against gravity, as though the hill is attracting the cars magnetically! But actually that is not the case â€“ the hill is a gravity hill, which is a place where the surrounding layout of the land creates the optical illusion of downhill areas appearing uphill. Have fun fooling those who donâ€™t know this fact, and most definitely visit this beautiful place!
#7 – The Cleanest VillageÂ Mawlynnong, Meghalaya
Tired of the dust, smoke and pollution of cities? Also tired of villages that are starting to resemble cities? Maybe it is time you paid a visit to the cleanest village in Asia which is located in the East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya, India.Â There are Khasi huts made from bamboo and jute, with beautiful flowering gardens, and there is no internet â€“ hence, it is the most perfect spot for the city-ravaged soul! The village is kept clean by collecting the waste in bamboo bins and then composting it into manure. There are living roots bridges close to the village as well!
#8 -Â Gomateshwara Statue, Shravanabelagola
There are statues and then there is the Gomateshwara Statue near Bangalore, India. If you ever give this place a visit, you will know what is it like to be face to face (feet, rather) with one of the largest monolithic statues of the world. Carved from a single block of marble, this ginormous statue stands a mind-boggling 55 feet high. It is visible from 30 km away! The view from the top of the hill on which the statue stands is also breathtaking. Go ahead and check if you can see Gomateshwaraâ€™s face without toppling over backwards!
#9 -Â Keibul Lamjao National Park, Manipur
Loktak Lake in Manipur, India is a unique lake â€“ on it floats varying sizes of phumdis which are heterogeneous clumps of plants, soil and organic matters in stages of decay. And the largest one of these floating bodies forms the only floating national park in the whole world, the Keibul Lamjao National Park. The park is the last refuge of endangered brow-antlered deer or sangai, the exact surviving number of which is presently unknown. The dancing deer, sangai is also Manipurâ€™s state animal.
#10 -Â Mummy of Sangha Tenzin, Himanchal Pradesh
Do you think of Egypt the moment you hear the word â€˜mummyâ€™? Well, India has its own famous mummy too â€“ the mummy of Sangha Tenzin, a Buddhist monk, who began a natural mummification process on himself while he was still living. Only 30 such natural mummies have been found around the world. The Sangha Tenzin mummy was found in a tomb after an earthquake, with intact skin and hair on his head. Housed in the Gue temple, near the Tibet borders, the mummy is very difficult to reach as the area is strictly controlled by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police.
In conclusion, we can now doubtlessly say that India has a fair share of some of the most intriguing places and things in the world. Since you have been down the beaten track of traditional sight-seeing so many times, why not change your plans a little and accommodate some of these places into your travel schedule? In posterity these memories will probably hold more value than a â€œpackage tourâ€. So plan an offbeat trip through India and make sure to include at least a few of these fascinating places in your itinerary. Happy traveling!