Global hues, local views – Indian places with an International touch

Ah, the age-old debate: to gallivant across the globe or to explore the treasures in our backyard?  Many of us dream of that perfect vacation, somewhere far, far away (if only our wallets agreed). But let’s be real, trotting around the globe isn’t just a hop away. It’s more like trading in ancestral lands, offering up a herd of cows, praying to the gods, a dash of dragon blood, and throwing in a few sacks of onions for good measure. We penny-pinch for months, bid adieu to our beloved online shopping apps, and try to find solace in a humble plate of Maggie on a Friday night. But alas, this is just the calm before the storm! Our bank accounts dwindle to the size of Nora Fatehi’s wardrobe, we endure the discomfort of traversing tens of thousands of kilometres, and find ourselves in the deep end of the unknown. 

In layman’s terms, globe-trotting is a pricey affair! But sometimes, the gems we seek in distant lands have been twinkling right under our noses all along, just waiting to be discovered. Now, comparing It is also among some of the Indian places that look international is like likening apples and oranges – both delicious, but oh so different! One might whisk you back to the Middle Ages, offering a taste of life in yesteryears, while the other could leave you scratching your head in wonder and confusion! One seems like it’s been lifted straight from the pages of a fairytale, while the other might not even make it to your travel bucket list.

We might not have set foot in these places, but we’ve seen the pictures, and trust us, they’re worth your visit! The best way to explore these scenic locations is by booking a Savaari. So, buckle up as we dive into why these Indian locales that resemble international destinations should make it to your must-visit list.

1. Coorg – The Scotland of India

Firstly, we strongly register our protest at this heading. It is not Coorg that is the Scotland of India but Scotland that is the Coorg of the United Kingdom. Coorg’s cascading waterfalls, towering peaks, and verdant valleys are like a mirror image of Scotland’s landscapes. Breathe in the fresh air, take in the green expanses, and let the serene lakes transport you straight to Scotland. Nestled in Karnataka’s southern fringes, Coorg is a nature lover’s paradise. Whether it’s wandering through coffee plantations, indulging in local delicacies, or simply soaking in the beauty, Coorg is a southern gem you can’t miss. And here’s a fun fact: both Coorgis and Scots share a deep love for their spirits. Coorgis, with their regal conduct, have embraced scotch and whiskey just like a fish takes to water. So, why cross seven seas for Scotland when Coorg offers the same vibe with a desi twist?

2. Nainital Lake – India’s Own England’s Lake District

Indian locations with international vibes - Nainital

When one thinks of picturesque lake destinations, the Lake District in England is a no-brainer. But let’s face it, it can get quite crowded and, well, pricey. Enter Nainital – India’s charming alternative, with landscapes that can give the English countryside a run for its money! Plus, exploring Nainital is a win-win – it’s a boost for Indian tourism and easy on the pocket. Ruskin Bond painted vivid images of the Himalayas in his writings, and a visit to Nainital’s Naini Lake and Bhimtal will make you live those poetic lines. Why travel a thousand miles and burn a hole in your wallet when the same enchanting beauty awaits in Nainital? Simply book a Savaari from Delhi to Nainital, get surrounded by lush greenery and snow-capped mountains, and live your fairytale in India!

3. Auli – The Alaska of India 

Auli in India

Alaska, with its stunning snow-clad peaks and thrilling winter sports, is a dream destination for many. But with the tourist rush, you might be craving a less crowded alternative. Enter Auli, a picturesque hill station nestled in the Garhwal Himalayan foothills, offering the same winter wonders as Alaska. Perched at an elevation of 2,500 to 3,050 meters, Auli is a postcard-perfect winter retreat where the mercury often dips below 1°C. Surrounded by snow-covered terrains, Auli boasts mountain peaks even higher than those in Alaska! It is also among some of the Indian places that look like international destinations. Spot majestic snow animals on the slopes, and enjoy affordable skiing in this Uttarakhand paradise. Why jet off to Alaska when Auli offers the same snowy charm, but with a desi twist? Here’s a travel guide to help you make the most of your day in Auli with various activities.

“Growing up as an Indian in the USA, I had never heard of a place called Auli in India. So, when I visited India for my annual vacation and my aunt recommended taking a Savaari from Delhi to Auli, I was intrigued. Upon arrival, I was taken aback by the stunning snowy landscape, reminiscent of the Alaskan winters – a true winter wonderland! Having been a skiing enthusiast since childhood, I never imagined I would experience skiing in India, given its typically hot climate. Renting my ski gear, I hit the slopes and had an unforgettable time. I’m grateful to my Savaari driver for introducing me to such a marvellous destination.”

Nupur Devnani

4. Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand – India’s Antelope Valley 

Step into the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand, and ‘abundance’ is the word that will dance in your mind. This enchanting valley, brimming with a myriad of wildflower species, is India’s answer to Antelope Valley in the USA. Rich in legends, some locals whisper that it’s the abode of fairies, while others believe it’s where Lord Hanuman found the Sanjeevani for Lakshman. 

Indian places that look international

While these tales add a dash of mystique, the Valley of Flowers was unveiled to the world by mountaineer and botanist Frank Smith in 1931. His writings opened the doors to this floral paradise, making it a popular trekking destination. It is also among some of the Indian places that look international. So, before you set your sights on Antelope Valley, lose yourself in the vibrant hues and legends of our very own Valley of Flowers.

5. India Gate, Delhi – Our Desi Arc de Triomphe 

Arc de Triomphe and India gate

No need to fly to Paris to marvel at the Arc de Triomphe when we have our glorious India Gate in Delhi! Resembling the French monument, India Gate is steeped in patriotic history. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and inaugurated in 1921, this 42-metre tall structure, originally called the All India War Memorial, honours the 70,000 soldiers who sacrificed their lives in World War 1. So, why yearn for the Parisian Arc when India Gate stands tall, symbolizing our rich history and valour? Book a Savaari from Delhi for a historical monuments exploration within the city.

6. Jama Masjid in Delhi – Twinning with Badshahi Mosque in Lahore 

The Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, commissioned by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and completed in 1673, stands as a testament to Mughal grandeur with its four minarets and a single entrance. Meanwhile, Delhi’s Jama Masjid, a masterpiece commissioned by Emperor Shahjahan and completed in 1656, boasts two minarets and three entrances.

Jama masjid in Delhi

Despite these differences, the architectural brilliance, the intricate carvings, and the vast courtyards of both mosques reflect the Mughal aesthetic and their love for monumental structures. Both mosques’ domes, arches, and minarets echo the tales of a bygone era, making them mirror images of each other’s splendour across borders.

7. Jal Mahal in Jaipur – India’s Answer to Trakai Castle of Lithuania

Trakai Castle in Lithuania, rising from the waters of Lake Galve, is a gothic beauty and a treasure of history. The red brick walls reaching out to the sky, surrounded by the lake, offer a picturesque view, especially on a sunny day. While most of Trakai Castle has been reconstructed, its aesthetic remains intact. Now, meet India’s counterpart – Jal Mahal in Jaipur. Originally built as a hunting lodge for Rajput Kings, this palace, unlike Trakai, wasn’t built on an island and wasn’t meant to be a palace. The mysteries surrounding Jal Mahal, its corridors, and its transformation into a 15-foot-deep lake, leave visitors intrigued. While you can admire Trakai Castle from a boat, Jal Mahal offers an overwhelming vibe from the lake’s edge, leaving you pondering its enigmatic history.

Jal Mahal

“I’m an Italian traveller visiting Jaipur for the first time, having heard so much about its beauty. It’s my first trip to India. A new friend recommended I book a Savaari in Jaipur, complete with a chauffeur. I wasn’t familiar with the sights or local cuisine of Jaipur, but my driver, Rakesh, showed me some stunning places and shared all the information I needed. One spot that really impressed me was Jal Mahal. It reminded me of Trakai Castle in Lithuania, another beautiful place I’ve visited. Both sites are unique, but the architecture and the way they sit on water is mind-blowing. I’m really grateful to Rakesh for this wonderful experience.”

– Alexander Shulenin

8. Thar Desert in Jaisalmer – India’s Sahara 

With golden sands and endless horizons, the Sahara Desert is a dream for romantics and adventurers. But why dream of camel rides in Morocco when the Thar Desert in Jaisalmer offers a similar golden experience? With activities ranging from camel rides to overnight stays in desert camps, the Thar Desert promises an unforgettable journey through golden sands, right here in India.

9. Kumbhalgarh Fort of Rajasthan – India’s Great Wall 

The Great Wall of China is renowned as the longest wall in the world, but did you know India houses one of the longest walls too? Nestled amidst thirteen mountain peaks in Rajasthan’s desert, the wall surrounding Kumbhalgarh Fort, just 80 km from Udaipur, stands as a testament to India’s architectural prowess. The mighty fort is 3600 ft tall and 38km long that surrounds the area of Udaipur.

Great Wall of China vs Kumbhalgarh fort

It was considered to have been built by Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. So, before you dream of the Great Wall, take a moment to appreciate the grandeur of Kumbhalgarh, right in our backyard.

10. Rann of Kutch, Gujarat – India’s Bonneville Salt Flats

If you’ve been marvelling at the Bonneville Salt Flats in America, it’s time to turn your gaze towards our very own white desert – the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. Its unique blend of swamp and white sand desert, the crunch underfoot, the blinding white expanse, and the salty breeze make it a mesmerizing experience.

 Rann of Kutch, Gujarat - India's Bonneville Salt Flats

While salt flats are scattered around the globe, each with its uniqueness, the Rann of Kutch holds its charm, especially during full moon nights and between October to February when the vibrant Rann Festival is in full swing. Click here to learn the details about the Rann Utsav. It’s a magical spectacle that’s uniquely ours!

11. Chitrakoot Falls, Chhattisgarh – India’s Niagara

Chitrakoot Falls, often dubbed the ‘Niagara Falls of India’, is a testament to India’s natural splendour. Nestled in the Bastar District of Chhattisgarh, this waterfall is formed by the Indravati River cascading down a horseshoe-shaped gorge. It is also among some of the Indian places that look international. Standing tall at 95 feet, the falls present a majestic sight, especially during the monsoons when the river swells, transforming the serene streams into a powerful force of nature. Just 38 kilometres from Jagdalpur, Chitrakoot Falls is a monsoon marvel, offering a spectacle that rivals the world-famous Niagara.

12. Rajabai Tower, Mumbai – India’s Big Ben

The iconic Rajabai Clock Tower in Mumbai University, soaring at 85 meters, is often likened to London’s Big Ben. After undergoing extensive restoration since 2013, this architectural marvel, blending Victorian, Gothic, and Islamic styles, has reclaimed its prominence in Mumbai’s skyline. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Tata Consultancy Services, the Indian Heritage Society, and Mumbai University, the Porbandar stone structure now gleams, standing as a beacon of Mumbai’s rich history and architectural heritage.

Cab service in India

13. Munnar, Kerala – Twinning with Boh Tea Plantation, Malaysia 

India is a leading tea producer, but the Boh Tea Plantations in Malaysia share a striking resemblance with our very own Munnar in Kerala. Both regions, steeped in history and legacy, have been cultivating tea for centuries. The meticulous effort invested in maintaining these estates is evident in their lush landscapes. The uncanny similarity between Munnar and Boh Plantations is so pronounced that distinguishing between images of the two becomes a delightful challenge. It is also among some of the Indian places that look international. Witness the twin beauty of these tea estates and savour the green tapestry they weave across continents!

14. Fontainhas, Goa – A Stroll Through Portuguese Streets 

A heritage walk through Fontainhas in Goa is like stepping back in time, immersing oneself in the vibrant legacy of Portuguese influence. Goa’s unique cultural heritage, shaped by Indian, Mughal, and Portuguese rulers, is vividly reflected in the lifestyle of the Goans. Fontainhas, located in the heart of Panjim, was home to influential Portuguese settlers. The narrow lanes, winding between overhanging balconies of old villas and buildings, showcase European architectural charm. The colourful houses, painted in shades of blue, yellow, and green, contribute to the lively and cheerful ambience, making Fontainhas a living testament to Goa’s rich, multicultural past.

15. Ruins of Kuldhara – India’s Ayutthaya 

The Ayutthaya ruins in Thailand, with their ancient temples and the famous Buddha tree, are a captivating sight, but India has its mysterious ruins – Kuldhara in Rajasthan. This ghost village, once prosperous, was abandoned overnight in 1825, leaving behind tales of curses and architectural wonders, which you can read all about here. The similarities between the ruins of Ayutthaya and Kuldhara are striking, despite belonging to different eras. Both sites, steeped in history and mystery, offer a glimpse into the past and continue to draw explorers, photographers, and the curious alike.

16. Dawki – India’s Makena, Hawaii 

Makena in Hawaii is renowned for its clear waters, making it a hotspot for snorkelling and whale watching. Similarly, Dawki in Meghalaya, located near the Bangladesh border, offers stunning riverside views and a blend of cultures. The changing topography and the enchanting evening scenery, with lights glowing over the serene river, make Dawki a picturesque counterpart to Makena. It is also among some of the Indian places that look international. Here, the hills of Meghalaya meet the plains of Bangladesh, offering a unique landscape that mirrors the beauty of Hawaii.

17. Jodhpur and Morocco – A Tale of Two Blue Cities 

At first glance, the blue buildings of Jodhpur, India, and the vibrant streets of Morocco might seem like two images of the same place. The striking similarity between the Blue City of Jodhpur and the blue streets of Morocco is undeniable. Both cities, with their characteristic blue hues, showcase a unique charm and architectural beauty. The resemblance is so uncanny that one might mistake a close-up shot of a blue street in Morocco for a distant view of Jodhpur. 

18. Nijigarh Tapang – India’s Phi Phi Island

Phi Phi Island, with its azure waters and vibrant party vibe, is a staple on every Thailand itinerary. However, its charm has somewhat diminished due to overcrowding. Enter Nijigarh Tapang, located near Bhubaneswar, Odisha. This hidden gem, with its enchanting green lake created from stone mine excavations, offers a serene alternative. The reflection of the sun on the green waters is a sight to behold, making it a sought-after destination for both local and international tourists. Whether you visit during sunrise or sunset, Tapang Green Lake promises a tranquil experience away from the bustling crowds of Phi Phi Island.

“Being a driver lets me see lots of special places. One time, I was in Odisha and came across a really beautiful place called Nijigarh Tapang. I was surprised to find such a spot in Odisha as I had never heard of it before. It’s so pretty, and now I tell all my passengers about it. They often say it feels like they’re in faraway islands like those in Thailand, Vietnam, or Indonesia.”

Gopinath Sarkar, Savaari driver

19. Krem Chympe – Meghalaya’s Green Grotto

The enchanting allure of Jamaica’s Green Grotto Caves finds a rival in Meghalaya’s Krem Chympe. This cave, India’s fifth-longest, is a hidden treasure in the Jaintia Hills. Surrounded by lush greenery and accompanied by the gentle murmur of the Chympe Waterfalls, it’s a haven for explorers and nature lovers. The sun-kissed limestone formations at the entrance beckon visitors to delve deeper into its mysteries.

Indian places that look international
Image credit: News Bharati

If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure, Krem Chympe is your answer. Click here to know everything about this offbeat gem in Meghalaya.

20. Drung Waterfall, Gulmarg – India’s Tiffany Falls

Channel the magic of Canada’s Tiffany Falls in Gulmarg’s Drung Waterfall. Especially in winter, Drung transforms into a majestic sight, with its cascading waters surrounded by icicles and snow. Located a short distance from Srinagar and Gulmarg, this waterfall is accessible year-round. However, its true beauty shines brightest in winter when the entire landscape is blanketed in snow. Travelers to explore the vibrant lanes of both cities and discover the cultural richness they have to offer.

21. Udupi’s St Francis Xavier Church – India’s Christ The Redeemer 

Udupi’s St Francis Xavier Church stands out with its unique dome and layout, reminiscent of the iconic Christ The Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With a seating capacity of 1000, over 50 stained glass works, and mural art adorning its walls, the church is a marvel in its own right. The crowning glory is the replica of Christ, The Redeemer statue, installed atop the dome at a towering height of 105 feet, making it a sight to behold for parishioners and visitors alike. If you are planning to explore Udupi, check out this comprehensive travel guide.

While backpacking in India, coming from Brazil, I was traveling from Goa to Gokarna. On a whim, I decided to make a stop at Udupi in the Savaari I had booked, drawn by the town’s reputation for delicious food. What I encountered next was truly surprising! I stumbled upon St Francis Xavier Church and was astounded to see a statue resembling the iconic Christ the Redeemer from Rio! I never expected to find such a structure in India, and it absolutely blew my mind. Although the landscapes of the two locations are different, the similarities between the statues were striking. I highly recommend that travellers to Udupi make a point to visit this place.

Carla Gomes

22. Srinagar’s Floating Market – India’s Bangkok Floating Market 

Dal Lake in Srinagar, known for its scenic beauty and vibrant floating markets, is often compared to the renowned floating markets of Bangkok. Set against the backdrop of majestic mountains, this market is a kaleidoscope of colours and a must-visit in Srinagar. Locals cultivate vegetables in their floating gardens and sell them on shikaras, creating a unique shopping experience that starts at the crack of dawn and offers a glimpse into the daily life of Srinagar’s inhabitants. It is also among some of the Indian places that look international.

If you are planning to go on a road trip to Kashmir, check out this itinerary that covers the must-visit locations.

23. Gundlupet, Karnataka – India’s Andalucia Sunflower Fields 

The sunflower fields of Gundlupet, Karnataka, are turning heads and becoming a popular spot for photography and selfies, much like the sunflower fields in Andalucia, Spain. Known as the ‘Flower Pot’ of Karnataka, Gundlupet is renowned for its expansive sunflower and marigold fields. Visitors are greeted by a sea of bright yellow sunflowers on either side of the road, set against the backdrop of picturesque green hills, making it a breathtaking and unforgettable destination.

24. Malarikkal Water Lilies, Kerala – India’s Nong Han Kumphawapi Lake 

Indian places that look international - Malarikkal Water Lilies
Malarikkal Water Lilies | Image credit: Travel with Bee

Picture yourself in a serene state of bliss, rowing down a lake blanketed with enchanting pink water lilies. While Thailand boasts the famous Nong Han Kumphawapi Lake in Udon Thani, India has its floral paradise in Kerala’s Malarikkal. Known for its expansive 650 acres of paddy fields dotted with pink and white water lilies and lotus flowers, Malarikkal is a seasonal spectacle that draws visitors and photographers alike, eager to capture its blooming beauty.

25. Amkoi, Meghalaya – India’s Vale da Lua, Brazil 

Amkoi in Meghalaya is a hidden gem, reminiscent of Brazil’s Vale da Lua with its naturally formed, uniquely shaped, and smooth white stones lining the dry river bed. Located in the Jaintia Hills District, this village is a renowned tourist spot, captivating visitors with its unusual rock structures. The rocks, naturally smoothened and painted with faded colours, offer a picturesque landscape, making Amkoi a must-visit for explorers seeking something off the beaten path.

A Passport-Free Journey – A Road Trip to International Vibes

Mumbai to Goa: A road trip with a Portuguese vibe

Goa, with its Portuguese architecture and pristine beaches, mirrors the charm of Portugal. The Sunburn Festival held here is akin to international music festivals, offering a vibrant atmosphere and diverse music genres. On the way to Goa, stops at Pune and Kolhapur allow travelers to explore the rich history, culture, and cuisine of Maharashtra, adding depth to the journey.

Chennai to Pondicherry, the French Riviera voyage

Pondicherry’s French Quarter and colonial architecture transport visitors to the French Riviera. The city celebrates Bastille Day with fervour, reflecting its French heritage. A stop at Mahabalipuram offers a glimpse into ancient Pallava art and architecture, enriching the travel experience.

Delhi to Shimla, a road trip reminiscent of the Swiss Alps

The mountainous terrain and colonial architecture of Shimla evoke the beauty of the Swiss Alps. The Shimla Summer Festival, with its cultural performances and exhibitions, resembles European summer festivals. Stops at Chandigarh and Solan offer a mix of modern urban planning and serene hill station vibes, respectively.

Delhi to Khajjiar via Dalhousie, a voyage to Mini Switzerland

Khajjiar’s lush green landscapes and serene beauty have earned it the nickname “Mini Switzerland”. While there are no specific international festivals here, the local Himachali festivals provide a unique cultural experience. En route, Amritsar offers a spiritual retreat at the Golden Temple, and Dalhousie enchants with its colonial charm.

Delhi to Jaipur to Pushkar – Middle Eastern vibes on road

The architecture and desert landscapes of Jaipur and Pushkar resemble Middle Eastern destinations. The Pushkar Camel Fair is a spectacle, reminiscent of Middle Eastern desert festivals, with vibrant colors, traditional music, and camel races. Stops at Neemrana and Ajmer offer historical exploration and spiritual reflection at the famous Dargah Sharif.

Guwahati to Shillong – Road to the Scotland of the east

Shillong, often referred to as the “Scotland of the East”, offers landscapes reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands with its rolling hills and serene lakes. The Cherry Blossom Festival celebrated here mirrors the iconic Sakura season in Japan, showcasing the pink and white beauty of cherry blossoms, along with cultural performances, music, and local cuisine. A stop at Umiam Lake on the way offers a tranquil retreat and picturesque views, enhancing the overall travel experience.

Why visit Indian places that look international with Savaari?

Savaari is your key to discovering India’s hidden gems. Our chauffeurs are not just drivers; they’re local experts who can unveil the secrets often missed by regular travellers. With Savaari, you’re always safe and well-taken care of. These Indian spots might give you a “Haven’t I seen you somewhere?” vibe, but trust us, they’re rocking their own groove and historical bling! And who better to narrate their tales than our chauffeurs, who know the local legends like the back of their hands? Just download the Savaari car rental app, and voila, you’re on the road to discoveries! So, buckle up and let Savaari drive you to a world where every mile is a smile and every destination a standing ovation! Curtain up, the adventure to these Indian places that look international begins!

Last Updated on October 4, 2023 by blogadmin

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Global hues, local views - Indian places with an International touch
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Global hues, local views - Indian places with an International touch
Discover exotic Indian places that look international. Explore diverse cultures, landscapes, and experiences.
Savaari Car Rentals

About the author

Shabari, a modern-day wanderer, seeks out the hidden stories within the world's serene landscapes and vibrant cultures. She views each person as a living, breathing tale, a unique signature in the grand narrative of existence. With an insatiable curiosity for local customs and traditions, Shabari explores the rich drapery of humanity wherever her journey leads. Her passion is to unravel the secrets of tranquil temples, scale majestic mountains, and share the ancient wisdom they hold. Join Shabari on her quest for solace amidst the world's quiet corners and let her writing transport you to the heart of these captivating adventures.

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