In 2020, most of us had extended time apart from friends and family - what better way to celebrate by reconnecting with your family and exploring the cultural heritage of our country.
As per a Booking.com Future of Travel survey, distance has made travellers hearts grow fonder as 67 per cent of Indian travellers plan to use future travel as an opportunity to reconnect with loved ones. Keeping this in mind, Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, has curated a list of lesser-explored cultural destinations for the entire family to explore, when it is safe to do so.
Situated between Goa and Karnataka is the cultural beach town of Karwar. Known for its serene beaches such as Karwar Beach and Rabindranath Tagore Beach, this town derived its name from a nearby village Kadwad, which means the 'last precinct' in Konkani and Kannada language. Surrounded by scenic nature, ancient forts and temples, the town of Karwar has seen colonization by Portuguese, French, the British, Maratha emperors and Muslim traders, who set up their territories by sailing through ports. Karwa is a paradise for families looking to soak in some cultural heritage away from the city crowd. While in Karwar you can also visit the Rock Stone Garden, Warship Museum, Kurumgad Island and the Oyster Rock Lighthouse.
Do you and your family enjoy ancient history? Then Dholavira is just the right place for you. This lesser-known destination is located in Gujarat's Rann of Kutch, where you can indulge in an educational experience of India's ancient and mysterious history. Also known as Kotada Timba, Dholavira is the only place that marks the presence of Harappan culture from 2900 BC to 1500 BC. It is also the second-largest Harappan site in India and the fifth-largest in the Indian subcontinent. This historical town will leave you surprised during your exploration as there is an underground drainage system for sanitation which was built by the inhabitants. While in Dholavira, you could visit the archaeological museum and spend some time at the Kutch Fossil park on your way back.
Easily spotted from afar is Majuli, a large island on the Brahmaputra river. Known for its scenic views and untouched tribal culture of the Missing, Deori, and Kachari tribes, Majuli is a lush green, non-polluted river island awaiting you and your family. Also called the cultural capital of Assam, Majuli is home to the Sattriya culture and a pilgrimage island of Assam. It is distinguished for its geography and culture where different ethnic groups of the region came through the spread of religious ideologies of Neo-Vaishnavism in the 15th century. While visiting Majuli explore the rich traditions of art and literature at the Vaishnavite monasteries, indulge in local Assamese Majuli thali and live in bamboo huts for a truly authentic family experience.
Unakoti – Tripura
Dated back to the period between the 12th and 16th centuries, known for its massive stone and rock-cut sculptures, Unakoti hills in Tripura is a must-visit for families who thrive on destinations with historical importance. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva once spent a night here enroute to Kashi. He was accompanied by 99,99,999 gods and goddesses and had asked his followers to wake up before sunrise and make their way towards Kashi. Since nobody was awake, Lord Shiva set out for Kashi alone, and put a curse on the others, turning them to stone. This gave this site the name of Unakoti - which means 'one less than a crore'. One would also find a 30 feet high Shiva head in Unakoti, known as 'Unakotiswara Kal Bhairava', including an embroidered head-dress which itself is 10 feet high. Besides rock figures of several gods, Unakoti is best defined by rock carvings, murals, and natural waterfalls that your parents will definitely look forward to.
Located at an altitude of 1,325 m, Makokchung in Nagaland is known for their exquisite tribal culture, handlooms and their Moatsu festival. If you have been meaning to explore local cultures with your parents, you can head to Mokokchung, by taking a bus or car from the main city of Kohima. Boasting of a pleasant climate throughout the year, travellers can spend days here with the warm and local people of the Ao-Naga tribe. One of the oldest villages in Nagaland, this place has several clans residing here who speak in a singular dialect of Monsen. When it's safe to do so, one can also attend the Moatsu festival, celebrated to honour the creator of the Earth, where locals pray for a fruitful cultivation season.