Getting off the Beaten Track
There are many places that are off the beaten track in India, but here we are going to concentrate on just two areas, Ladhka and North Eastern India. These places are not well travelled by any travellers let alone visitors with a motorhome rental or campervan hire vehicle, so expect very few facilities, and make sure that you take enough provisions with you. You may not find facilities, but what you will find are welcoming people who are more than eager to try their BBC English on you, its lots of fun and you will make life long friends.
Ladakh sits between two mountain ranges the Karakoram and the Himalayas; this is high altitude stuff, so take it easy. Take the high mountain road via the Khardung Pass to the Leh valley which is home to some spectacular scenery, Tibetan markets, and a host of Buddhist monasteries, this section of the pass is the world’s highest road suitable for motor vehicles at 5600 meters. Find a campsite near Lake Pangong which divides India with China, and relax before taking on some of the activities up here such as white water rafting on the Zanskar River, or traversing the sand dunes on a double humped or bactrian camel.
Spend some time in Eastern India in the hill stations around Meghalaya, often described as the Scotland of the East, or maybe visit the wettest place in the world, Cherrapunjee. This is a green and, as you may have guessed, wet area of the country, but don’t let that put you off visiting here. Some of the highlights of the area are the waterfalls of Shillong, and the sacred forests of Mawphlang, which are lush and full of flora and fauna, and for a truly incredible sight, visit the living Root Bridges.
Famous for its tea Assam is home to the Kaziranga National Park home where you can go in search of the unicorn rhino by elephant, and visit the world’s largest river island of Majuli. This area of India borders Myanmar is very historic and holds strong tribal traditions, the Naga tribe has a strong affinity with music and dancing, but don’t ask to any questions about their other claim to fame, being the last hunter tribes of Asia! Of course you cannot visit Assam without stopping off at Dibrugarth, the largest tea-producing town in India.
These places are certainly off the beaten track, and what you should expect is that many people that you meet will not speak English, so even if you only know one word learn ‘Namaste’ and bow slightly, that will win the hearts of the people that you meet and ensure that you will receive a warm welcome.