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Kanika Nevatia Mar 11 2015

What are some of the unique ways to travel in India?

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Had your share of train rides and flight travel? Here’s a list of some unique ways to travel in India that go beyond the conventional convenience of a drive through the country.

1. Camel Safaris

The ideal way to explore the exotic sand dunes and the mesmerizing sunsets of Rajasthan is atop a camel. You can take your pick from the elaborately designed camels and ride into the deserts of Jaisalmer and Bikaner. The folk dances and the cultural performances at the desert camps add to the charm of the safari. It’s the best way to traverse rustic Rajasthan.



Image by xisdom

2. Houseboat Cruises

Ever wanted to live on a house that floats? Try going on a houseboat cruise in the backwaters of Kerala and make your childhood fantasy come true. Originally used as carriers of rice and spices, today these kettuvallams (converted into houseboats) exude luxury and pack in a host of modern conveniences. This is your local Venetian ride through canals and backwaters!




3. Yak Safaris

Picturesque meadows amidst snow-covered mountains somehow seem different when you are atop a woolly animal. That’s the experience that a yak safari at Ladakh promises you. Its a truly unique experience when you explore the regional culture and surroundings while riding this majestic animal that is about 6 feet in height and about 1000 kg in weight! You can also try the yak safari at the Spiti Valley or in the state of Sikkim.




4. Coracles and Crafts

A centuries old tradition that was adopted by fishermen, a ride on coracles and crafts is still popular in the state of Karnataka. A saucer shaped carrier, the coracle was earlier used for fishing, carrying people and light vehicles. Riding a coracle through the ruins of Hampi or floating across the backwaters of Sharavathi is quite an adventure!




5. Horse Rides

A ride atop a purebred Indian horse will take you back to the royal times when maharajas and princes used to take a leisurely ride across their kingdoms. You can pick from the royal Marwari horses that are an ancient breed of warhorses and take a ride through the villages of Rajasthan for a peep into the heart of India.



Image of a Marwari horse by BOMBMAN

6. Tram-ride

The trams in the city of Kolkata bear testimony to the fact that old-world charm still supersedes industrialization. The tram tracks traversing the length and breadth of the city make for an exceptional site. A tram ride at Kolkata not just makes you a part of history (Kolkata trams are the oldest operating trams in Asia!) but also makes for one of the most unique ways to travel in India.



Image by sankarshan

7. Rickshaw Rides

Whether its the hand-pulled rickshaws of Kolkata, the cycle rickshaws of Delhi or the auto-rickshaws of Mumbai, a rickshaw ride is a must-try! Hop on a cycle rickshaw and take a tour of Old Delhi by travelling through the winding lanes of Chandni Chowk, explore the bright markets of Kolkata by a hand-pulled manual rickshaw or simply catch an auto rickshaw for your next destination in Mumbai--you will enjoy the experience!



Image by bengal*foam

8. Hot Air Balloon Rides

Think peaceful surroundings, magnificent views and an unforgettable adventure? A hot air balloon ride amidst the mountains at Manali or above the holy town of Pushkar provides that and much more. A relatively new adventure sports activity in the country, hot air ballooning will provide you with an entirely new perspective on the breathtaking beauty of India.



Image by FlickrLickr

9. Elephant Safari

A thrilling way to experience the wildlife in India is atop the majestic elephants found in Indian forests. Decorated in bright gear and a howdah (a large seat for visitors to sit on), elephants provide the best means of accessing remote and inaccessible parts of forest. You can ride an elephant at Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary or the Kaziranga in Assam among other sanctuaries in the country. What’s better, you can have a clear view of the wildlife in the forest!



Image by File Upload Bot (Magnus Manske)

10. Bullock-cart Rides

Rickety wooden wheels and planked carts transport you back to older times where a bullock cart was the only means of transport. While you can’t go back to that time, you can experience a bullock-cart ride at a few village homestays and farm ventures that have preserved that charm. Sit comfortably in brightly decorated open carts and enjoy the bumpy ride for a true feel of rural India.



Image by KALX999

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, ditch that car and explore these unique ways to travel in India.

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