10 Of The Best Unconventional Travel Experiences In India For The Offbeat Traveller - Homegrown

10 Of The Best Unconventional Travel Experiences In India For The Offbeat Traveller

Goa trips have now been reduced to a terrible cliche. The ‘sunshine state’, though still a sought-after vacation spot (and with good reason) is slowly starting to lose its quaint charm. House parties, a relatively more economical and comfortable option, too don’t always make the cut. Neither does staying in for a Netflix and pizza party. So for all of you who are confused (very much like some of us at Homegrown) about the best way to unwind without being too pretentious, thrifty, or boring, we’ve done the dirty work for you by compiling a list of unconventional travel plans that are far from the usual vacations centred around tourist spots and guided tours. So, scroll down to find everything from an authentic Ladakhi experience to writer’s retreats that will get your creative juices flowing. There’s something for every kind of traveller here!

I. Vacation With An Artist

Vacation With An Artist (VAWAA), an online platform for creative travellers, plays on the idea of gifting someone a vacation with their favourite or preferred artist. It’s for the restless travellers who want more than just to lounge in a hammock with the sound of waves crashing at the shore as they sip on their drinks. Started by Geetika Agrawal who curatesartists from around the world and connects them to people who are interested in learning a new trade or skill, VAWAA has recently launched a range of gift cards just in time for the festive season!

From learning a 5000 year old metal art with an expert to learning the skill with India’s finest ceramist to paper making in Luisa and Herve in Auroville to learning how to make bamboo bicycles, there’s a VAWAA gift for everyone. In fact, come 2019, VAWAA is also organising 3 special photography retreats in Italy, Spain and Norway. Unlike a typical VAWAA gift card experience which is designed for solo travellers, these photography retreats will be held in groups of 6-8 people.

For more information about the VAWAA gift cards, click here.

II. Explore Lesser Known Treasures Of Goa With Khoj-aao! Tours

khoj-aao! started with passion for discovering the wonders of the outdoors. As seasoned adventurers and nature enthusiasts, we promote the exploration of backyard biodiversity through thoughtfully curated outdoor experiences. Our aim is to learn more our environment so we can thrive sustainably within it. We offer fully customisable half-day, full-day, overnight and multi-day experiences across Goa and the A&N Islands that are eco-responsible, engage local communities and conservation efforts and promote ecological and environmental awareness,” reads their website. From bird watching in Goa to exploring local charms, Khoj-aao! has something for everyone.

Click here for more information.

III. Road Trip Across Pondicherry

Muddie Trails is organising a road trip to Pondicherry that seems to be the ideal way to end your year if you’re a travel enthusiast. Explore the French colony, experience the culture, visit monuments, check out museums, and feast on some mouth-watering delicacies. This two-day-long trip is the all encompassing Pondicherry adventure you’ve been on the lookout for.

Click here to find out more about the trip.

IV. Head To Hampi For An Exciting Hiking Experience

If you’re not one for Christmas festivities or new year celebrations and want to spend this December a little differently than usual then, we have just the thing for you. Muddie Trails is organising a two-day-long hike to Hampi that makes for the perfect festive season getaway.

The pick up point for the hike is Hyderabad. On the first day, post reaching Hampi and settling into your tents, you will head to the Anegundi Fort, which makes for the perfect photo opportunity thanks to the breathtaking backdrop. This will be followed by a visit to the Sanapur lake. After this head for Anjanadri hill and hike along northern banks of Tungabhadra river. The day is scheduled to end with a cozy evening huddled around a bonfire.Day two is comparatively less hectic with only a visit to Tungabhadra river and the famous The Vijaya Vittala temple on schedule.

Click here for more information about the hike.

V. Travel With Unpland - The Travel Agency That Doesn’t Tell You Where You’re Going

Travelling is impossible without planning, and planning can be a major struggle. Trawling through TripAdvisor looking for the perfect hotel, making sure you stay under budget, and even just choosing a place to go can be extremely difficult! But it’s also hard to imagine being able to just get up and go on your perfect trip without having planned anything beforehand.

But with Unpland, an up and coming travel agency, you can do exactly that - go on a trip without planning anything at all, including where you’re going to go. Unpland will plan your trip for you and keep it all a secret until you’re about to leave. All you have to do is fill out a form.

Fill out the form for your surprise trip here.

VI. Let Your Imagination Run Wild At These Writer’s Retreats

There comes a point when the art of writing simply cannot flourish in the middle of an urban chaos. Especially, if you are waiting to get your hands on completing that book you started but never finished, or the connecting pieces of the memoir that you have written half-way aren’t hitting the spot. An urge to get away for some days begins to surface, clear the mental fog, prompt creative and well-written lines. Fortunately, scenic, writer-only stays, that are known to rekindle the drooped literary senses, dot different parts of India and provide their occupants with the best from their breathtaking surroundings. Locations that are perfect to lose out the dreary exhaustions of city-life, meander through dwindling little roads, and reconnect with your manuscript or even start a new one, house some of the best writers’ retreats of the country.

Click here to check out Homegrown’s curation of writer’s retreats across India.

VII. Trek Across India’s Borderlands With This Sustainable Travel Company

Ultimate Frontier Outlands’ (UFO), a responsible-adventure travel company based out of Dehradun takes people to the most isolated and unexplored places and border territories in the Himalayas. They strongly believe in the mantra of ‘ #findingthefeather’ that for centuries has been considered a sign for travel across different cultures and regions – the spirit of which is an integral part of their journeys. They organise customized treks to places shrouded in mysteries and spiritual adventures while introducing you to the new cultures and respecting local traditions. Their idea of ‘Adventure by day, (Affordable) Luxury by night’ is what differentiates them from the crowd.

Click here for more information about the treks..

Stay At These Farmsteads Run Solely By Ladakhi Mothers

Photographed by Indrajeet Rajkhowa
Photographed by Indrajeet Rajkhowa

Beyond majestic, wrinkled mountains and glistening glaciers, past the worn-thin touristy attractions of Leh city, Ladakh offers the opportunity to experience the gentle charm and authentic richness of Ladakhi culture and hospitality. Phyang and Phey village farmstays are run by Ladakhi mothers. Phyang village is 18 km from Leh city, in the warmer months of May to September, the farmstays in Phyang and Phey valley are open to travelers, volunteers and guests from around the world.

Click here to know more about the unique experience that is the Phyang and Phey village farmstays.

IX. Learn The Art Of Artisanal Cheesemaking At A Scenic Hillside Farmstay

If you’re looking for an adventure with an educational value to boot, you’ll find the Acres Wild Cheesemaking Farmstay satiate all your curiosity about life at a farm on a hill. It is a wonderful coalition of nature, sustainability, and the art of cheesemaking.

Located in Coonoor, a small hill station in Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu, Acres Wild encompasses a sprawling 22 acre farm complete with farm animals, ponds that are home to different types of fish, and vegetable patches. Mansoor Khan, the director who launched Amir Khan’s career, always yearned for life away from the bustling city and would often dream of escaping to calmer, more serene places. He finally managed to convince his wife, Tina, and two young children to move to Coonoor where they owned property. The Khans have a personal approach to the educational getaway, requiring guests that wish to take the course to stay on campus in one of three kinds of cottages on offer: Colby Cottage, Cheddar House, and Haloumi House. The farm is on a hillside and can basically be divided into three levels, with Colby and Haloumi on the topmost levels, and Cheddar on the lowest level. On the middle level is where the Khan family quarters are along with the Dining and game rooms where meals are served. Their website alludes to the active nature of the program by mentioning the mild trek and moderately strenuous walk necessary to travel across the farm. The Wild Acres Farmstay is an immersive experience that promises a lot of rewards for the peaceful, eco-friendly, curious traveller.

Click here to know more.

X. Head To These Homestays Across India For A Taste Of Permaculture Living

To put it simply, permaculture focuses on building a way of life that works in sync with nature, and not against it. There are no set rules for this concept, however, there are certain basic principles that work as broad guidelines - earth care, people care, and fair share. The rest depends on the resources accessible and how one chooses to make the best of whatever is available.

But considering the kind of lifestyles we live today, it’s difficult to imagine slowing down our existing paces and throwing ourselves into an ecosystem that is completely different. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t get a taste of what that life might be like. Over the years, the popularity of permaculture and the increasing number of Permaculture Design Courses (PDC) being offered by various permaculture practitioners across the country has equipped many individuals with the opportunity to set up their own permaculture farms and homestays. They’ve created an entire world that is based on principles of fair share, earth care, and community living, further multiplying the experience by allowing others to discover and understand the essence of permaculture.

Click here to view Homegrown’s favourite homestays that let you experience permaculture lifestyle.

If you liked this article, we suggest you read:

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