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    Seeking a rural respite in beautiful places? Here are our 7 most beautiful villages in India to get your rustic groove going!

    Tired of the usual touristy hot spots and craving for some village zen? Find your roots and experience the best of ecotourism with our list of 7 stunning villages. Unknown and endowed with raw beauty and unusual cultures, these quaint hamlets offer some much deserved peace and quiet with a whole lot of action.

    1. The 5 chimneys of Munsiyari , Kumaon

    The verdant valley of Munsiyari adorned with terrace cultivation

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    Number one on our list of most beautiful villages in India is Munsyari, Uttarakhand. It lies on the ancient Salt Route to Tibet and is a lush green secret ensconced in the Kumaon hills. Surrounded by snowcapped mountains and dense forests with the Goriganga river caressing it, this place is a delight for nature lovers and adventurers.

    Farmer and his goat at Munsiyari in Kumaon

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    Best Experiences:

    • For the more adventurous ones, there are glacier treks to Milam and Ralam.
    • Witness the magnificent views of the Panchachuli peaks on an easier 2 day trek to Khuliya Top, organised by the local KMVN.
    • Or you could just laze around doing nothing at all as Munsyari paints a gorgeous picture with its pink golden dawns and crimson sunsets.

    Best time to visit: March – June and September – October
    How to Reach: Munsyari is 650 km from Delhi

    • By Bus: From Anand Vihar ISBT (Buses going to Almora). It takes about 24 hours.
    • By Road: Head towards Bilaspur (NH 87) and continue towards Almora. Munsiyari is 200 km away There are 3 rollercoaster routes from Delhi to Munsiyari, with scenic stopovers on the way.

    Where to stay: The KMVN has a comfortable guesthouse and if you are looking for a hotel, then there is Milam Inn and Vijay Mount View Resort.

    Must Read: 10 Offbeat Trekking destinations in Himalayas

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    2. Solve a mystery at Malana, Himachal Pradesh

    Foggy mountains of Malana, Himachal Pradesh

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    In the mood for mystery and mountains? Then find your way to one of the most beautiful villages in India – Malana, an ancient and isolated village in north eastern Kullu valley. Visit this place not just for its fantastic views and fresh air but also to discover a unique clan. Legend has it that a tribe from Alexander’s army broke away and decided to make this beautiful valley their home.

    Said to be one of the world’s oldest democracies,the people are reserved and very protective of their customs so it would be wise to be informed and respectful of their “Dos and Don’ts”.

    A typical house in Malana

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    Best Experiences:

    • Until recently, Malana was accessible only by trekking for 2 days from Naggar – this is still an enchanting and easy trek, taking you over the Chandrakhani pass.
    • Trek for 17 km to Kasol over the awe inspiring Rashol Pass, with a stopover at the Rashol village. Do carry your passport as there are many checkpoints.
    • The easiest trek is from Jari to Malana with beautiful waterfalls along the 6 hour hike.

    Best time to visit: March – June and September – October

    How to Reach: It is now possible to drive from Jari to Nerang. Malana is a 2 hour trek from there.

    • By Road: From Delhi: There are buses and taxis going up to Manali. Malana is 90 km away and there are taxis available from Manali to Jari or Nerang.
    • By Air: Air India flies 4 times a week from Delhi to Kullu Airport (40 km away)

    Where to stay: There are many guesthouses, backpacker style above Malana. The closest hotels are in Kasol or Naggar.

    Must Read: 10 Travel Tips You Need To Know Before Visiting Himachal Pradesh

    3. Walk a Living Root Bridge in Mawlynnong, Meghalaya

    the famous living root bridge of Mawlynnong

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    Tribal, misty, pristine and squeaky clean – welcome to Mawlynnong in Meghalaya, about 90 km south of Shillong. Awarded the as the cleanest village in Asia in 2003, it is a wild paradise where you can witness a powerful commitment to eco – tourism by the community and government. The Living Roots bridge engineered out of the roots of the trees is a sight to behold and is said to be over a 1000 years old.

    The clean streets of Mawlynnong

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    Best Experiences:

    • Experience the rich wilderness of this place by trekking from Mawlynnong to the living bridge and back with a picnic stopover at the scenic Umterming waterfall.
    • Live the high life by staying in homestays on stilts and get treated to some delicious local cuisine.
    • Take a dip in a stream, get a glimpse of Bangladesh from a tower, discover pretty waterfalls, explore a cave – there’s much to do here!

    Best time to visit: October to April
    How to reach: There are flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Shillong. Taxis are available from Shillong to Mawlynnong
    Where to stay: The Rest house has 2 cottages. Locals provide plenty of homestays too.

    Must Read: The Ultimate List of Adventure Holidays In India for Summer

    4. Explore the moon at Nako, Lahaul Spiti

    Rugged mountains of Nako, Lahaul Spiti

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    Nako can make you believe that you’ve landed on the moon. Skirting the Tibetan border, it is a picturesque hamlet set amidst barren splendour. There is an ancient monastery and the Nako lake offers boating during summer and ice skating in the winter months.

    The breathtaking valley of Nako

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    Best Experiences:

    • Trek for 3 – 4 hours to the Tashigang village perched high above the the Sutlej river below and be rewarded with unforgettable views. Sheep will be your occasional friends.
    • Take in Ladakhi life and explore the village’s stone houses, monasteries and its fields.
    • Visit Tabo 70 km away , a UNESCO heritage site with a monastery built in 9th century AD. Another curious village to see is Kibber, the highest village in the world, with an interesting monastery and sanctuary.

    Best time to visit: July – August
    How to reach: The best way to reach Nako is by road – it gives you a lot more flexibility and its easier to adjust to high altitudes plus you can pack in other amazing places like Tabo and Kibber.

    • Taxi: Taxis can be booked from Delhi or Shimla or Rampur going up to Recong Peo.
    • Bus: There are state transport buses from Shimla to Recong Peo. Recong Peo is 4 hours away from Nako and there are buses and shared taxis available.

    Where to stay: Very basic guesthouses:

    • Lavon Guesthouse
    • Galaxy Guesthouse, next to Lavon guesthouse
    • Reo Purgil, right across the road from Galaxy. It’s a little over the top and the only hotel in town and beer is available.
    • Nako Knaygoh Kinner Camp, The camp overlooking the lake has 11 tents with attached bathroom and 4 rooms.

    5. Ziro means everything in Arunachal Pradesh!

    A tribal lady in the village of Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh

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    The verdant Ziro valley, hidden in the hills of Arunachal Pradesh is home to all creatures exotic. The region has a lot to explore and you’ll be spoilt for choice! All visitors need an Inner Line Permit which can be procured here.

    Must Read: 31 Reasons Why You Should Never Visit North East India

    The quaint village streets of Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh

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    Best Experiences:

    • Wind through its expansive rice fields and acquaint yourself with the heavily tattooed Apatani tribe.
    • Get lost in the rich bio diversity of the Talley Valley Wildlife sanctuary.
    • Spot a hornbill.
    • If you are a music buff, then head to the “Ziro Festival of Music”, guaranteed to satisfy your soul with eclectic performances from India and around the world.

    Best time to visit: March – October
    How to reach: Itanagar is 147 km away and takes 3 hours by road. There are buses and taxis available from Itanagar to Ziro.

    • By Air:
      • Fly to Guwahati which is 5 ½ hours away from Itanagar.
      • Fly to Lilabari in Assam which is 67 km away from Itanagar. Airlines fly from all the Indian metros.
    • By Road:There are overnight buses and taxis available from Guwahati to Itanagar.

    Where to stay:

    • Nugunuziro (on Facebook), an NGO organises ethical and sustainable homestays. They even provide bikes and guides.
    • Hotel Blue Pine
    • Siiro Resort

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    6. The sweet hidden spot – Yana, Karnataka

    The famous caves of Yana, Karnataka

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    Yana, set against the Sahyadri mountains amazes you with its towering monolithic rock formations. This little village, 40 km away from the sunny coastal village of Gokarna, is hidden away in the forests and in it lies a secret. A passage through the overhanging rocks leads to a cave (a symbol for the self manifested Shiva Lingam) with an idol of the goddess Parvati inside.

    The verdant agricultural fields of Yana, Karnataka

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    Best experiences:

    • Trek up a spectacular route to the rocks. Meandering streams in lush green surroundings and the occasional cicada will greet you.
    • The Vibhooti waterfalls nearby is an amazing spot to camp out under the stars.

    Best time to visit: Popular throughout the year – the best time to go is January, September and October

    How to reach: Yana is 25 km from Kumta and 40 km from Sirsi. Closest airport is Bangalore or Dabolim airport.

    • By Bus: There are many overnight buses from Bangalore going up to Sirsi. Buses from Bangalore to Karwar buses go through Kumta – do confirm with the bus company).
    • By Rail: Infrequent trains to Kumta with Konkan Railway.

    Where to stay: In Sirsi:

    • Sathwik Homestay
    • Hotel Madhuvana
    • Pragati Homestay
    • Bakula Homestay
    • Areca Valley Stay

    Must Read: 10 Hill Stations in Karnataka To Rejuvenate Yourself

    7. The many flavours of Valparai, Tamil Nadu

    The gorgeous valley of Valparai, Tamil Nadu

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    The approach to Valparai is one of the most enjoyable hair raising experiences you will ever have. A snakelike road from Pollachi takes you through 40 hairpin bends concealed in majestic green mountains. Rich wildlife, tribe spotting, neverending tea estates, silver waterfalls and soulful hikes – Valparai promises to satisfy all types of travellers.

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    The beautiful and quaint village of Valparai, Tamil Nadu

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    Best experiences:

    • Opportunities galore for wildlife and nature photography
    • A variety of trails to explore, from gentle 2 hour hikes to 6 hour treks, with or without a guide.
    • Indulge in all the tea that you can – you’re in tea country!
    • Visit the dams, particularly the Upper Nerar dam for its unspoilt charm. Permissions are required at most entry points.

    Best time to visit: May to September

    How to reach: It is 104 km away from Coimbatore, 64 km from Pollachi and 110 km from Ernakulam. Closest airport and railway station is at Coimbatore.

    • By Bus: Buses are available from Coimbatore to Pollachi. Every 30 minutes, there are heavily crowded public buses from Pollachi to Valparai which take 4 hours
    • By Taxi: Taxi services available from Coimbatore

    Where to stay: There are many options between hotels and homestays:

    • Joby’s Holiday Home
    • Misty Creek Homestay
    • Valparai, Raja complex
    • Sinna Dorai’s Bungalow

    India is a treasure trove of over 6 lakh villages. What we have curated here is a small footprint on the rural eco – traveller’s map. We hope that you will enjoy discovering the myriad of the most beautiful villages in India with their rich biodiversity and cultures. We would love to hear about the villages you have visited so shout out – we’re all ears!

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    Category: Bot, Destinations, India

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