Here, Travel Ticker is sharing five amazing, yet off-the-beaten-track destinations in India. When we think of India, visions of the Taj Mahal usually come to mind, but India is a country with an ancient history, UNESCO sites, unique customs, delicious gastronomy, and several secret wonders to explore.

Ananthapura Lake Temple

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This is a Hindu Temple located in the village of Ananthapura, in the South Indian state of Kerala. There are several legends surrounding the temple’s lake. It is said that one crocodile named Babia lives here. The crocodile serves as guardian of the temple and doesn’t eat meat, not even the fish that live in the lake. Whether Babia is vegetarian or not, the locals claim to see this 150-year-old croc from time to time. They sometimes feed him (rice and veggies, of course).

Mawlynnong Village

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Mawlynnong Village in the northeastern state of Meghalaya was recognized as the “cleanest village in Asia” in 2003 and “the cleanest in India” in 2005. It is still known for its cleanliness and picturesque setting. The village became very concerned with hygiene after a cholera outbreak over 100 years ago. Since gaining its claim to fame, Mawlynnong has become a popular eco-tourism spot, offering nature walks to the Root Bridge in the nearby village of Riwai and a Sky Walk along an 85-foot-high bamboo bridge offering panoramic views of the border with Bangladesh. There is also a balancing rock to see and natural waterfall pools where visitors can enjoy swimming.

Ganapatipule Beach

Located along the western coast of India in Maharashtra, Ganapatipule Beach is one of the country’s most stunning beaches. Unspoiled and serene, Ganapatipule is a white sand beach ideal for one or two-night stays. Things to see include the 400-year-old Ganapati Temple built right on the shore, visiting the small town of Ganapatipule, and enjoying water sports like paragliding and row boats. You can also visit the 17th century Jaigad Fort for breathtaking sea views (35 kilometers from Ganapatipule) and enjoy the specialty of the area – fish curry.

Phuktal Monastery

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The Phuktal Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Northern India’s Himalayan region. The monastery was built approximately 2,500 years ago around a natural cave, which has long been regarded as an important place of meditation, teaching, and learning Tibetan Buddhism. Phuktal is open to all visitors who wish to attend daily pujas, ceremonies, and events. The monastery has a school for local children, traditional Tibetan medical clinic, and hosts celebrations throughout the year to bring good karma and pray for peace and harmony. As of now the monastery is only accessible by foot (a day’s walk from Dorzang, but a road is currently being constructed.

Parvati Valley

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India’s Parvarti Valley in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh is the most remote of the five destinations on this list. With only a handful of villages, the valley attracts independent travelers, nature lovers, and adventurers. Most of the villages in the Parvati Valley are sparsely populated, but offer scenic beauty and a serenity that is rarely experienced by outsiders traveling to India. Some villages to see include Kasol, Kheerganga, Chalal, Rasol and Tosh. Keep in mind that in winter, visiting the Himalayas is not recommended, so try and plan your visit here in spring or summer.

Do you have any favorite lesser-known destinations in India? Leave us a comment below!