India's six truly unique experiences to add to your bucket list

Photo: Shutterstock/ Abhishek Sah Photography

India as a country is so rich in its diversity, heritage, culture and languages that it’s truly impossible to comprehend and understand it all. Each specific region of the country has something special and unique - whether it’s a never before tried dish, an experience with almost supernatural elements to it, or a local festival unlike any other. While most travellers and tourists don’t like to embrace the adventure of the road less travelled, if you’re a complete daredevil and adrenaline junkie, or simply enjoy unique experiences, here is a guide to the most special and unique experiences you can take part in across the country.

Bhut Jolokia - If you’re ever traversing the northeast and visiting the states of Assam, Manipur or Mizoram and you’re someone who can handle a bit of heat, you can test out your taste buds and take a bite of “Bhut Jolokia” or ghost pepper chilli, one of the spiciest chillies of all time. Just to give you an idea of its spice level, these chillies are almost 400 times spicier than Tabasco sauce! This chilli is also called the “Naga Jhalokia” named after the fierce warriors of Nagaland because you will definitely have a battle raging on your time after a bite of this! Competitions on who can eat the most are waged every year, so if you’re thinking of entering, be warned! The spice levels are truly off the charts.

Bhut Jolokia. Photo: Shutterstock/ Nattawut.J

The Silver River - while most people visit the Andamans and Havelock Island for a fun beach getaway or to experience deep sea adventures through snorkelling and scuba diving, there is a lesser-known activity that is equally as exciting and fun to behold. Go on a late-night kayaking expedition and you can experience bio-luminescence, where the phytoplankton in the water emits a sliver of light and make you feel like you’re gliding on moonlight! This is the most surreal and beautiful experience because you can enjoy a sky full of stars, the calm serenity of the water and the glow from below, all at once!

Bhangarh Fort - If you find haunted houses endlessly fascinating, then a visit to Bhangarh Fort, in the district of Alwar is definitely something to add to your bucket list. According to the legend, the village and fort were cursed by a sage who was told he couldn’t marry the princess of Bhangarh. Over the years, no one in the village was able to bear a child, and any new house that would be built would mysteriously collapse. While the fort is abandoned now, people have still seen paranormal activity there quite frequently. Do you dare to explore these ruins?

Bhangarh Fort. Photo: Shutterstock/ travelview

Red Ant Chutney - Spice is something that many people can tolerate. But can you tolerate spice coupled with creepy crawlies? If you really want to test if you could survive in the wild on insects, then visit Bastar in Chhattisgarh to try “Chapda” or red ant chutney. This delicacy is made from ground-up red ants as well as their eggs, and a hefty addition of coriander, garlic, ginger, red chillies and salt and pepper to taste. While this definitely doesn’t sound appetising to most, don’t be too quick to reject this dish. It’s a part of American Chef Gordon Ramsey’s menu as well.

Magnetic Hills of Ladakh - Tourists visiting Leh can experience this strange phenomenon that defies gravity! Around 30 kilometres from Leh, there is a spot on a hill, where if you go and bring your car to a standstill it will still move upwards on its own. This Magnetic Hill lies on the Leh-Kargil-Srinagar highway and of course, opinions on why this phenomenon occurs are varied. While some people believe that the hill has a magnetic pull others believe that the hill is an optical illusion and actually slopes downhill. I guess you’ll just have to visit this spot to find out for sure!

The Town of Auroville - While Pondicherry is a popular tourist destination known for its French influence from colonial times, it is also home to the town of Auroville, an experimental and utopian community that thrives on the property of self-sustainability. It has no government, no currency and no religion. The town's residents come from all over the world to experience this lifestyle and Auroville has residents from over 55 different countries. It is also known for its large gold dome, and a man-made meditation centre called Matrimandir in the middle of the town. The citizens of this unique town hope to find peace, happiness and unity in diversity. It is definitely a truly fascinating and one-of-a-kind place to visit in India.

Auroville. Photo: Shutterstock/ Vyas Abhishek

From creepy crawly delicacies to haunted forts and luminescent rivers, India has a myriad of unique and once-in-a-lifetime experiences that are tough to find anywhere else. So if you’re all set to let out the daredevil and the thrill seeker in you, we hope you take some pointers from this article before embarking on your next adventure.

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