India Travel

The Most Charming Villages in India

Visiting an Indian village is the best way to learn more about the culture and traditions of India at its most basic level. Many tourists prefer this because it gives them a more natural approach to the country. Most of these villages are situated in exotic locations and trust me, staying at a village is much better than staying in a luxury hotel. It’s refreshing and exhilarating.

If you’re planning on an unconventional visit to India, then come over to these Indian villages that are breathtakingly beautiful.

1. Mawlynnong, Meghalaya

Clean roads in the village
Clean roads in the village. Photo by Ashwin Kumar

Praised as the cleanest village in Asia, this one deserves to be on the top of this list.

Blessed with abundant scenic beauty and a cool temperature, Meghalaya is a paradise. Add proper cleanliness to that, and there doesn’t exist a better village than this in the whole of Asia.

It is common knowledge that the villagers of Meghalaya are very friendly and humble. You will have no problem in getting an accommodation here. You can stay at guest houses or if you’re lucky enough, in a local’s house. There are bamboo baskets everywhere for you to throw garbage in. Plus, the entire village is surrounded by forests, colourful flowers, streams and living root bridges!

I hope you know what they are because they’re the most popular thing in the country. Living root bridges don’t exist anywhere else in the world. As the name suggests, these are bridges made out of tree roots. The curious thing about these bridges is that they’re handmade from the roots of rubber trees. They are then stabilised by adding sticks and stones. As the tree grows older, the roots become more extensive, and the bridge becomes stronger. A very rare and unusual discovery indeed.

2. Malana, Himachal Pradesh

Malana Village on top of the hill
Malana Village on top of the hill. Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Malana is a beautiful village in Himachal Pradesh. Situated high up on the hills, surrounded by trees and mist, this village has all the old-world charm that a hippie craves for to get lost in his/her own world. It feels as if this village is quite isolated from the rest of the world.

But the best thing about Malana is the cannabis that you get here. The locals might be a little rude because their lives are constantly disturbed by the local police but that doesn’t mean that they won’t help you. You need a permit to get all the way up to this village. In fact, it is the ideal hippie destination for anyone because once you do reach here, it’s all worth it. You might wonder what culture will you learn from the village folk but in all honesty, they teach you values. In Hinduism, even Lord Shiv is famed for consuming cannabis and alcohol. It is not what one eats or drinks but what one acts like that matters more. Your actions speak much more than your words, and that’s what you’ll learn in this small village.

The beauty of Malana will make you speechless. The lush green valleys filled with pine trees and flowers along with snow-capped mountains giving it a perfect background is all you need for a relaxing vacation.

3. Mirik, West Bengal

Sumendu Lake in Mirik
Sumendu Lake in Mirik. Photo by Wikimedia Commons

West Bengal is known for many things: its vibrant culture, famous festivals, very literate population and its fantastic food (which usually always includes fish in some form). They also have a very cute dialect and are very smart, obviously.

Apart from all of this, somewhere in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal lies a pristine village. With Darjeeling being a popular hill station in India, this village naturally becomes more charming. Situated on round hills, giving a direct view of the Sumendu Lake, Mirik is indeed an alluring village.

If you’d like to check out more hill stations, read The 5 Best Hill Stations in India.

4. Chaugan Village, Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is famous for its number of wildlife sanctuaries, high population of tigers and the infamous Khajuraho Temples. Read about it in The Most Majestic Temples in India. 

But did you know that the state is also famous for this small, scarcely populated village called Chaugan? You might not have heard about it, but you would definitely be interested in it if you knew that this village was the inspiration for one of the most famous stories of all time, The Jungle Book. That’s right. Rudyard Kipling himself stated that this village was in his mind while writing the story.

More interesting is the fact that it’s a tribal village. The government has not tried to evacuate them and does not intend to do so. These tribals have been living in this forest since ages, and they cannot survive without it. It is indeed fascinating to see how their lives are so much interdependent with the natural surroundings around them. The tribals who live here are not scary if that’s your idea in any manner. In fact, they work in close collaboration with the nation by making great furniture, and other products using forest produces and selling them. They’ll show you around the place too. You cannot miss this opportunity. Even Mowgli didn’t if you know what I mean.

5. Lachen Village, Sikkim

Mist over the village
Mist over the village. Photo by sinolchutravels

With excellent views of the majestic Himalayas welcoming you, a trip to Lachen Village will be a memorable experience.

This small village is situated at a whopping elevation of 2,750 m. Apart from its splendid scenery, you can check out its many monasteries and lakes. There are also trekking opportunities that you’ll love. Since it’s a Himalayan village, yak is in plenty here. Therefore, also make sure that you watch shearing and the following procedure.

6. Bir Village. Himachal Pradesh

Small houses on one of the mountains of Bir
Small houses on one of the mountains of Bir. Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Yet another beauty from the state of Himachal. This amazing village is a heaven for the adventure seekers. It is known as the Paragliding Capital of India.

The takeoff site for paragliding is called Billing, and the landing site is named Bir, but together they’re referred to as Bir-Billing. Apart from paragliding, this quaint village is also famous for its remarkable number of Tibetan refugees. Because of that, there are many monasteries to be found in the village.

Because of the inevitable peace, calm and tranquillity that Bir offers, a lot of people, both Indians and foreigners, come here for silent meditation. As such, it is becoming a hub for adventure lovers and Nirvana lovers.

7. Gir, Gujarat

Cubs in the forest
Cubs in the forest. Photo by Wikimedia Commons

The Gir National Park of Gujarat is the only home of the Asiatic Lions in India. Therefore, it is the most important national park in India.

Because of the dwindling population of this species, the government had to declare it as a Protected Area which initially created a lot of problems. A small village is situated at the periphery of the park, and the locals have somehow learnt to coexist with the animals within because they cannot leave their homes. They go into the park to collect water from the various rivers flowing within.

The villagers in Gir are very hospitable. Many organised camps with nice facilities are available in the National Park. You can stay in camps or even the villages if you’d like it. If you’re a nature lover, this is an excellent opportunity for you. You can spot the majestic Lions and also many other endangered species that call this place home. To know about more such national parks, head on to Top 8 Natural Attractions of India.

8. Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat

The unending desert
The unending desert. Photo by Wikimedia Commons

The Great Rann of Kutch can be described in one word: unbelievable. But that is not because it has lots of vegetation or high buildings or beautiful rivers. In fact, you cannot see anything like that at all here.

The Great Rann of Kutch is the largest salt desert in the world. The salt marshes spread across miles and miles are just splendid. Tropic of Cancer also passes a few miles from this place. It also forms a border between India and Pakistan.

There are a few villages nearby. The locals usually have lots of stories to tell about the place. Because of the tourism in the area, a festival called the Rann Utsav is set up. It is an exceptional experience because, during the festival, you can see all the sights here, taste some delicious local cuisines and get to know about the culture and history of the place from the locals itself.

Visit this salty marsh and just admire nature’s wonders!

9. Gushaini Village, Himachal Pradesh

Gushaini Village
Gushaini Village. Photo by ShevantiRaj

It seems like the list of villages in Himachal Pradesh never ends. Not much to say about this village but the fact that it has more natural beauty than any of can probably take in. It is located in the Kullu district of the state.

You can count this one in the list of hill stations, but thankfully, this is still less visited by most. You can catch a connecting bus from Delhi to Manali to reach Gushaini. Thankfully, there is a small village tucked away in this vast and exotic valley, and the villagers are more than welcoming.

If you’re up for an offbeat vacation, Gushaini Village has to be on the list.

10. Gavi, Kerala

Gavi, Kerala
Gavi, Kerala. Photo by Jaseem Hamza

Finally coming to the South because Kerala cannot miss out from this list. I’ve been to this small forest village and had the most refreshing and best experience ever.

Gavi is so beautiful that it has been featured in many movies. Surrounded my mist and trees, this lovely village is set up in the Ranni Forest of Kerala. Since it’s a Protected Area, you’ll have to get permission first. Many buses head out to Gavi from major towns like Kochi or Kottayam.

It’s a calm and peaceful village and let’s not forget that Kerala has been declared as #1 state for tourism in India. Locals are very friendly and will assist you all the time.

Head over to this piece of paradise.

By Merlin Chacko

Currently studying English Literature at Delhi University. Obsessed with Harry Potter and NOT Shakespeare. I believe that nothing nourishes the soul like books and travelling. Constantly amazed by the Indian culture and its history. Personally feel that the old forts and ruined palaces in India are almost magical.

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