Must Visit Places in India You Probably Did Not Know About
1. Mandvi, Gujarat
This is a quaint, sleepy little town near the Gulf of Kutch in Kutch, Gujarat. It was built in the 17th century by a Rajput king especially for the purposes of trade and commerce. Today, it is a town with a 400-year-old legacy. Mandvi is the birthplace of India’s wooden boats, and there is a theory which suggests that they have been used for seafaring even by the Romans. Currently, the Arab countries are the largest buyers of these wooden boats, which are known for their durability, and for being completely handmade. Mandvi is also known for its pristine, white sand beach.
2. Kutralam, Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu
This town is the birthplace of one of India’s most ancient martial arts: Varma Kalai. According to Tamil mythology, Lord Shiva taught this art to his son, Murugan, who then taught it to the sage Agasthya. This usage then spread the knowledge of this martial art among his students in this town. Varma Kalai is a unique martial art that requires a deep knowledge of the pressure points in the human body. This knowledge, depending on how it is used, can either inflict hurt or heal. The principles of Varma Kalai travelled to countries like Japan and China, and influenced their martial arts disciplines, as well. This place is, therefore, an important historical relic of ancient Tamil culture.
3. Kannur District, Kerala
This area is most prominently known for Theyyam, an ancient dance form that is a method of ritual worship. It is known as the dance of the gods, with the dancers sometimes being worshipped as gods themselves. Theyyam, which has over 400 different styles of dance under its umbrella, has a rich, unique history that is deeply embedded into Kerala’s culture. The performers of Theyyam are mostly from the lower caste community, but this is a dance form that is accessible to all. It is an important way of storytelling, and a key to passing on the mythology of the area.
4. Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
This place is home to the Kye Gompa or the Ki Monastery. It is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, comfortably perched atop a hill that stands 4,166 meters above sea level. It is the biggest and most sprawling monastery in the Spiti Valley and was home to as many as 100 monks back in 1855. It is a religious centre of training for the Lamas. This monastery has a very turbulent history, and has faced tribulations such as fire, ransacking, and being attacked by the Mongols in the past.
5. Udupi, Karnataka
This town, like a few others in the state of Karnataka, is famous for temples with a unique feature of worship: the ratio, or the chariot. These religious vehicles are several stories tall, painstakingly and intricately designed by a community of ratha makers, and are ritually pulled by worshippers of different gods at chariot festivals that take place from time to time. These chariots are centers of goodwill and brotherhood, as they cause the coming together of the people for a united cause. Chariots are pulled to and from the temples that house them against a backdrop of lights, fireworks and festivities.
6. Devprayag, Uttarakhand
This is the place that witnesses the meeting of the rivers Alakananda and Bhagirathi. It is a Hindu pilgrimage town that is caressed by the Himalayan Mountains. The sight of the dually colored waters mingling with the spirituality of this temple town makes it a perfect destination to those seeking enlightenment, and also serves as an environmental marvel.
7. Mawsynram, Meghalaya
Known to be the wettest place in India, this is an off-the-grid location that abounds in beauty and serenity. It also features an enormous formation of a stalagmite that is thought to resemble a shiva linga, and worshipped by locals. This place, therefore, bears monumental religious and environmental significance for the country.
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