How to Explore Offbeat Places

By Rutuja Bhagwat - June 08, 2018


This post was originally titled as May Favourites, which is a part of the monthly series in which I share my personal achievements and the best moments from the previous month. However, while I was composing this post, I tweaked it and the remnant you can see the title today.

You might have stumbled upon a variety of articles unearthing offbeat places in and around a locale. The word offbeat catches our attention so fiercely that we cannot help but click on the link. The more exotic locations we learn of, the better (even though we don't necessarily have a travel plan in that region).

Whenever you sit down to build an itinerary, one of the searches I am sure to find is offbeat places in and around so-and-so. How do you think travellers discover exceptional mountains and lakes? I'm not sure how they do it, but I have my own trick.

To make this task understandable, I would refer to a Hindi saying,"Bagal mein chhora, sheher mein dhindhora." Roughly translating into English, it means: The boy is next to you, yet you go announcing about it in the entire city.
I purposely chose this saying as a reference. I have seen so many of you trying your best to find a treasure across India or globally, but miss out on the riches around you.

Exploring adjacent locations gives me as much happiness as travelling to another city or another country. However, we all are so glued with the Lonavalas and the Mahabaleshwars, that we forget Mumbai has more fascinating places in the outskirts than the ones already famous today.

HOW TO EXPLORE OFFBEAT PLACES

I'm going to let the cat out of the bag. This is one of the biggest travel secrets I hold and you're lucky to hear it. How exactly do I discover offbeat places like Usgaon lake, Chinchoti waterfalls or Bhavali dam? It's a no-brainer; I take the help of Google Maps.

For instance, let's say you live in the Nalasopara or Vasai-Virar region and you're looking for offbeat places around. How do you do it? Open Google Maps and go to Vasai, for example. Zoom in the map and you'll see some green and blue spots. The green indicates a forest and the blue indicates a water body. Go to those spots one by one and zoom in to find their names. Additionally, Google Maps also lets its users share images of the locations. So if you're lucky enough, you too shall find images of these offbeat lakes and waterfalls shared by people.

By following this trick, you shall come across a plethora of options. Now, let's try to explore offbeat places in a popular destination. Let's take up Dehradun, which is a beautiful city in the west of Uttarakhand.


For this, I fed in Dehradun on Google Maps and then zoomed in to search either tree or camera symbols, both of which are of our interest. When I did this, I found two Tea Gardens in Dehradun and of course it delighted me! Next, I dragged and browsed through other spots. I came across Kalingan Park (Kalinga War Memorial) that looked interesting with tombs all over the place. It reminded me of the South Park Street Cemetery of Kolkata! This is how to find exotic places that nobody talks about.

SO, WHAT NEXT?

Finally, after enlisting places from Google Maps, research about them individually. Go to Google Images and look out for pictures. Then go to YouTube and search for vlogs or videos. And lastly, go to Instagram, which is an amazing way to find some recent and candid pictures. Just type the location name in the search bar and look under both tabs 'Places' and 'Tags'. You're sure to find images here!

This is precisely how I explore offbeat places! It's simple, isn't it?

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