16 Surreal Places That Make India The Most Beautiful Country In The World

*Spends entire life savings on plane tickets*

 

Perched at an altitude of 10,000 feet over sea level, this picturesque valley is hard to get to – non-locals require a permit, and some solid navigation skills – but (as is evident from these stunning pictures) so, so worth the effort.

 

Tucked away in Tamil Nadu, this is a district that you absolutely must visit if you like a) food, b) architecture, or c) all of the above. Whether it’s meals, buildings, or saris, Chettinad believes in boldness and attention to detail.

This remote valley boasts a total population of little over 13,000 people, split into small villages (the largest of which is inhabited by 700 people). So basically, if you ever want to really truly get off the grid, follow these simple steps: 1) Go to Zanskar. 2) Enjoy.

4. Andaman & Nicobar Islands

 

Paradise (noun): A cluster of islands off the coast of India, where the water is clear and the sand is soft and the weather is perfect and the people are kind. Synonym: Andaman & Nicobar.

5. Suraj Tal Lake

 

A lake fed by glaciers, streams, and year-round snowfall, Suraj Tal is considered a sacred body of water by some. Which makes sense because, if these pictures are anything to go by, it is evidence that heaven exists.

6. Ghats in Varanasi

 
 

If someone were to find themselves in a situation where they had 5 minutes to experience a broad cross-section of life in India, this would be the place to do it. The ghats are home to a diverse range of entrepreneurs, vendors, priests, sadhus, and families, all united by a dependence on – and deference to – the Ganga.

 

This lake was made in the 14th century to serve as a dam and source of irrigation for its surrounding villages and towns, but – in typical Rajasthani fashion – its pragmatic purpose is now secondary to its stunning aesthetic beauty.

 

This West Bengal peak requires a trek (or a very bumpy car ride) to get to, and temperatures can drop down to -20 degrees Celsius, but the view is 100% worth it.

What do you get when you combine streams, forests, an 80-foot waterfall, and perfect Kerala weather? God’s own vacation destination.

 

And, while we’re in Kerala, it would be unfair to move on without a little detour through the stunning backwaters. Home sweet houseboat.

11. Chitrakoot Falls

These impressive falls – known to some as India’s Niagara – serve the dual purpose of telling you what season it is (if, for some reason, all your senses have failed except eyesight): They are brownish in the monsoon because they carry silt, but are clear in the summers when they don’t.

 

The gorgeous capital city of Mizoram is literally built on a ridge nearly 4,000 ft. above sea-level. Talk about living on the edge.

 

This massive desert touches some of the most beautiful cities in the world, including Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, and is home to some of India’s most vibrant art-forms.

 

This Maharashtrian district (an 8-ish-hour drive from Mumbai) is a serene, relatively untouched patch of India’s beautiful West Coast, made dramatic by its many forts.

15. Chittorgarh

 

While Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Udaipur steal Rajasthan’s touristy limelight, Chittorgarh quietly boasts some of the most intricate and beautiful architecture in the state.

A meeting-point of rivers, hills, and sprawling tea plantations, this scenic hill station is testament to the fact that there’s a “tea” in “pretty.”

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Rega Jha is the Editor-in-Chief of BuzzFeed India and is based in Mumbai.
 
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