Off the beaten track: Romantic getaways for couples

  • Ruchika Kher, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: May 04, 2015 15:02 IST

Goa, Shimla, Lonavala - trying to plan a trip with your partner, but stuck with these names in your head? Go beyond the usual, and explore some beautiful locations across the country that can serve as great options for your romantic escape. From the riverside view of Majuli in Assam to the snow-capped mountains of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, let your wanderlust take you places.

*Lachen, Sikkim
Located 9,600 feet above sea level, at the confluence of Lachen and Lachung rivers, this picturesque town commands a panoramic view of the Himalayan range. The best time to visit the place is from November to June.

On your itinerary:
* Thangu, a small village, not very far from Lachen, makes for a spectacular view.
* Mountain treks.
* Yumthang Valley is popularly known as the Valley of Flowers.
* Gurudongmar Lake - one of the highest lakes in the world.

*Auli, Uttarakhand
Located in the Chamoli district, Auli has a generous population of coniferous and oak forests, and also offers a panoramic view of the Himalayas. With its moderate temperature during the summer months, it serves as a great vacation spot in the hot season.

On your itinerary:
* Day hike to Gorson Meadows that provides scenic views.
* A ride on one of the longest cable cars (Gondola) in Asia.
* Chattrakund, a man-made lake close to Auli.

*Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
This hill station is situated in the north-west part of Arunachal Pradesh. It shares its border with the Sela range in the east, Tibet in the north and Bhutan in the south-west. Away from the maddening buzz of a big city, Tawang serves as a quiet vacation spot.

On your itinerary:
* Tawang Monastery is the largest monastery in India.
* Jang Waterfalls are famous for its beauty.
* Sela Pass remains covered with snow for most part of the year.
* Tawang Handicrafts Centre promotes small-scale industries for local handicraft.

*Dhankar Gompa, Himachal Pradesh
Dhankar Gompa is a village and also a Gompa (meditation room in urban Buddhist centres) in the district of Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. Gurgling rivers and crystal clear lakes dot the highlands of Lahaul, while an ancient civilisation has survived for nearly a thousand years, and has preserved its culture against the onslaught of modernity in Spiti.

On your itinerary:
* Dhankar Monastery.
* Dhankar Lake, which is a 1.5 km trek up from the monastery.
* Nearby villages of Kaza, Key, Kibber and Tabo.

*Kovalam, Kerala
This small town in Kerala consists of three separated parts of three beaches - Hawah, Samudra and Light House. The largest among these is the Light House beach, which is a must-visit. It is close to Thiruvananthapuram.

On your itinerary:
* Boating in the Karamana river provides spectacular views of the backwaters
* Sunset at Edakkal.
* Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave temple has ancient sculptures on display.
* Valiyathura Pier offers an amazing view of the coastline of Kovalam.

*Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh
Often referred to as the 'Mini Switzerland of India', Khajjiar is a beautiful hill station in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. It has thick deodar forests covering the slopes, and a breathtaking snow-line that rests above these woods.

On your itinerary:
* Exciting hikes through the deodar thickets of the Dhauladhar Mountains.
* 12th century temple dedicated to Khajji Nag that houses life-size wooden images of the Pandav brothers.
* Several equestrian sports, paragliding and horse riding.

*Majuli, Assam
This is a large river island, nestled amidst the Brahmaputra in the upper region of Assam. Majuli is considered as one of Assam's most well-kept and unexplored secrets, which leaves visitors awestruck with its natural beauty. To explore the island, travellers can either book a motorised private boat or travel like the locals in a ferry. The cultural exhibitions, exotic Assamese cuisine and the friendly local population make Majuli a picture-perfect destination to spend time with your loved ones.

On your itinerary:
* Several Satras or monasteries like Daksinpath, Garamur and Auniati.
* Mask-making workshops.
* Raja Maidam, which has a vault of King Purandar Sinha. The monument was built as a tribute to the king.

*Wayanad, Kerala
This district-town was formed by extracting areas from the Kozhikode and Kannur districts. The rugged terrain of the Western Ghats is its main attraction. It is situated at the tip of the Deccan Plateau, and shares borders with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

On your itinerary:
* Neelimala, a great trekking destination, located in the southeastern part of the region.
* Meenmutty Falls, the largest waterfall in the district.
* Caves in Pakshipathalam.

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