So, I’ll be honest with you: I haven’t left the country in almost three years. As a student, I find myself constantly preoccupied with priorities that continuously pile on just as soon as I think it’s all taken care of. It’s because of this, that I haven’t been able to make time to go very far off or for very long. It bums me out, but one perk has emerged. I’ve been able to explore more of India the endless array of attractions it has to offer. To be honest, though, I think India is its own unique region with tourist cities/towns that aren’t and shouldn’t be compared to places in the west (because of the latter’s perceived higher value). But I still kinda wish I could relive the unexampled atmosphere and aura of places outside India. So, if you’re like me and you are on country-arrest, then here are some spots right here in India, that’ll make you feel like you’re in a country outside of your own!

Pondicherry French Quarter

Pondicherry was once a colonized state by the French East India Company, and thus has a predominant presence of French influences, particularly in the French Quarter area. The streets all have retained their French names with French-style buildings and architecture, cafes, restaurants, museums, libraries, and the works. Even the menus at the restaurants are written in French, and a lot of local residents (both foreign and Indian) can speak the language fluently! So, if you’ve always wanted to see the countryside villages of France, then this place is a good, Indian-style crash course   

Coorg

The Kodagu district of Karnataka (aka Coorg) is located right in the middle of all the zoological and natural action of the Western Ghats. With these mountains as the backdrop, thick wisps of mist encircling the hills and lush grassy fields all around, it’s no wonder this place is called the “Scotland of India”. Again though, I still feel like Coorg shouldn’t have to be known as the “any *insert western place* of India”. It’s its own place and shouldn’t have to look like/mimic another country to be the best.

MG Road in Gangtok and Downtown Darjeeling

Both these places have cobblestone walkways and ornate, fancy street lights. Aesthetically-entrancing and adorable AF cafes and trinket shops encompass the sides of the road, making you feel like you’re walking down the streets of Paris or Barcelona… except with more autos and brown faces. That, coupled with the sweater-weather and the chilly, cloud-mixed air, is the cherry on top!  

Thar Desert

This arid wonderland is spread across 2 countries and four states. Primarily in Rajasthan, the desert also finds itself in the areas of Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, and Pakistan too (15% of it… the other 85% of Thar is ours). But the landscape,  view and obvious outward features have been frequently correlated to the Sahara Desert (which can be seen from Morocco). The torridity and overall similar panoramic scenery, make this gorgeously scorching bliss akin to that of its African doppelganger.

Lakshadweep Islands

I know I’ve talked about Lakshadweep before in previous blog posts, but this tropical paradise (probably a word a used in that post too) is unlike any of your normal Indian beaches. For one thing it’s not as crowded or littered, and secondly, its pearl-white sandy beaches and its dazzlingly azure sea water is analogous to the stunning beaches of Greece, Brazil, and Mexico. The aquatic life, a range of adventure sports and premium, top-notch resorts and lodges too, add to the reasons that make this Indian island utopia a more than equal and able rival to the greatest beaches of the world.  

And there you have it: the gems of Indian tourism that could stack up with (and honestly could be better than) some of the most iconic dream destinations. These places may not require you to whip out your passport, but are just as thrilling and are much easier on your wallet. So before you pack up to take off to a city thousands of miles away, as appealing as it may seem, you might wanna try exploring the beautifully unique and incredible places nearby you. Because frankly, you don’t need travel far to find a life-changing experience or even have a good time Your next adventure could be hiding right around the corner, waiting to be discovered.

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