People are constantly striving to make their surroundings more beautiful and regularly create new ideas and innovations to this end. However, the beauty inherent in nature’s creations is beyond comparison. Many of them are so breathtaking that many are convinced the creator is an artist and creation his canvas.
For others, it is the miracle of evolution with the Earth being a work in progress for ages. The age-old forces of nature perform magic through wind, water, pressure, and minerals to create spectacular natural works of art.
India is home to several natural marvels, many of which attract thousands of visitors while others may have yet to come into the limelight. And we are not just talking about forests and green vegetation. The country is also home to other astonishing wonders such as floating islands, meteor lakes, living root bridges, and more.
Let us gaze upon the miraculous natural tapestry spread out across the country.
Marble Rock Gorges, Madhya Pradesh
Jabalpur, a nondescript town in Madhya Pradesh is home to one of the most incredible natural wonders of India. The Narmada River which flows here has sculpted a stunning gorge measuring about 8 km in length.
(Image Credit: DifferentTruth)
Originally the gorge used to be so narrow in size that monkeys were able to leap across from one side to the other. This led to it gaining its local name - “Bandar Kudni” which means monkey’s jumping place. The white marbles are rich in magnesium and similar in hardness to soapstone.
During the monsoons, the water rises nearly reaching the top of the gorge before it levels off into the basin. This causes the gorge to get eroded and expose white stone which in turn leads to a permanently white facade.
Getting Here (Nearest Railway Station, Jabalpur)
- 12188 | JBP GARIB RATH - Mumbai (DR) To Jabalpur (JBP)
- 22182 | NZM JBP SF EXP - Delhi (NZM) To Jabalpur (JBP)
- 20828 | HUMSAFAR EXP - Kolkata (SHM) To Jabalpur (JBP)
Magnetic Hill, Ladakh
Those travelling across Ladakh can expect to come across the most incredible and awe-inspiring sights. Magnetic hill is one example of such a surreal sight - one where gravity seems to virtually take a backseat. Located approximately 30 km from Leh, it is impossible for one to miss this wonder of nature. For one there is a sign that reads, “The Phenomenon That Defies Gravity.”
(Image Credit: HikerWolf)
And if that isn’t obvious enough just wait till you see vehicles that are parked at a designated spot moving forward at a speed of 20 km/h on their own. And all this while their engines are turned off. If this isn’t astonishing enough, the vehicles or any other object placed here for that matter will move uphill!
The reason for this seeming gravity-defying phenomenon is in fact an optical illusion for which there are two possible scientific explanations. The first one is that there exists a strong magnetic force on the adjacent hills, that pulls the vehicles uphill. The second and more popular one is that there is an optical illusion at play here and though the slope may seem downhill, it is in fact uphill.
Getting Here (Nearest Railway Station, Chandigarh)
- 22685 | CDG SKRANTI EXP - Bangalore (YPR) To Chandigarh (CDG)
- 12925 | PASCHIM EXPRESS - Mumbai (MMTC) To Chandigarh (CDG)
- 12011 | KLK SHATABDI - Delhi (NDLS) To Chandigarh (CDG)
Floating Islands of Loktak Lake, Manipur
Besides being the largest freshwater lake in North-East India, Loktak Lake also has plenty of floating islands that are known as “phumdis”. These are circular landmasses consisting of soil, vegetation, and other decomposing organic matter. The spongy surface of these islands feels like a trampoline.
(Image Credit: OutlookIndia)
Akin to an iceberg, the majority of the phumdis lies below the surface of the water. During the dry season, the water level of the lake drops. This allows the living roots of these islands to drop to the bed of the lake where they are able to absorb the nutrients that sustain them.
There are thousands of phumdis floating around the lake. Together with the surrounding water, they the locals with food supplies and also irrigation and drinking water. Because of this, these floating islands are often referred to as the “Lifeline of Manipur”. In fact, one of the islands even has a school that several children and adults attend.
Getting Here (Nearest Railway Station, Dimapur)
- 12424 | DBRT RAJDHANI - Delhi (NDLS) To Dimapur (DMV)
- 15645 | LTT DBRG EXP - Mumbai (LTT) To Dimapur (DMV)
- 15959 | KAMRUP EXPRESS - Howrah (HWH) To Dimapur (DMV)
Aleya Ghost Lights, Sundarbans
If you are up for something paranormal, then the Aleya ghost lights of West Bengal’s Sundarbans is a place you will like. Colourful, gleaming lights are visible from a distance in the swamps of the forest.
(Image Credit: Thrillophillia)
The local fishermen believe that these lights are in fact the spirits of fishermen who lost their lives while fishing in the marshes. And many have lost their lives after getting transfixed and following the Aleya.
These ghost lights are by no means a new phenomenon and have been spotted in several locations across the globe. In each part of the world, they are known by different names and have been attributed to ghosts or other paranormal phenomena. Besides marshes, they have been found in bog lands and graveyards as well.
Getting Here (Nearest Railway Station, Howrah Junction)
- 12314 | SEALDAH RAJDHNI - Delhi (NDLS) To Howrah (HW)
- 12261 | HOWRAH DURONTO - Mumbai (CSMT) To Howrah (HW)
- 12246 | DURONTO EXPRESS - Bangalore (YPR) To Howrah (HW)
Lonar Lake, Maharashtra
One of Maharashtra’s best-kept secrets, Lonar Lake is the only hyper-impact velocity crater in basaltic rock. The name comes from Lonasura, a demon in Hindu folklore, and the lake is surrounded by temples many of which feature artwork reminiscent of Khajuraho.
(Image Credit: MisterBharat)
The crater formed over 50 thousand years ago when a huge meteor crashed here. Over time a forest grew and surrounded the area, following which the crater was filled with water from a perennial stream resulting in the formation of Lonar Lake.
Despite its rareness, the site is not very well-known except among the locals and a few avid trekkers. Most tourists visit the Ajanta and Ellora caves in nearby Aurangabad, but few make it to Lonar.
There is a government guesthouse near the lake where visitors can stay to begin their astronomical adventure. From here there is a rather treacherous trek down a slippery path down to the lake. The banks of the lake are riddled with quicksand meaning this is certainly not a trek for the faint-hearted.
Getting Here (Nearest Railway Station, Bhusaval)
- 20658 | NZM UBL SF EXP - Delhi (NZM) To Bhusaval (BSL)
- 12627 | KARNATAKA EXP - Bangalore (SBC) To Bhusaval (BSL)
- 12906 | SHM PBR SUF EXP - Kolkata (SHM) To Bhusaval (BSL)
Amarnath Cave, Jammu & Kashmir
Among all the Hindu deities, there is arguably none more popular than lord shiva. And this is true both among Indian Hindus as well as people from across the globe. To have communion with this revered deity while simultaneously experiencing an astonishing natural wonder, millions of devotees make a trek to Amarnath Cave every year.
(Image Credit: World Pilgrimage Guide)
One of the holiest Hindu Shrines, Amarnath cave is located at an altitude of 3,888 meters. It is well known for its unique Shiv-Ling which is made of an ice stalagmite. The stalagmite is formed from water drops from the top of the cave that have frozen.
Hindus believe the cave is the site where Lord Shiva explained the meaning of life to Parvati, his divine consort. The lingam shrinks and grows with the phases of the moon, taking its complete shape in the summer. Scientists believe that various factors contribute to the changes in the size of the lingam, most notably the changes in the water’s pathways.
The cave is accessible only during the months of July and August which are the Shravan months. The Amarnath Yatra can be taken by any of two routes - one that goes via Baltal and the other through Pahalgam. The former has a shorter but supra trekking route while the latter is longer and is more popular with devotees. The trek usually takes 3-4 days to complete, but devotees are in unanimous agreement that it is well worth it.
Getting Here (Nearest Railway Station, Jammu)
- 22461 | SHRI SHAKTI EXP - Delhi (NDLS) To Jammu (JAT)
- 04671 | SVDK HSP SPL - Mumbai BDTS) To Jammu (JAT)
- 22317 | HUMSAFAR EXP - Kolkata (SDAH) To Jammu (JAT)
Get Awe-inspired by the Wonders Of Nature!
Nature is arguably the greatest artist that ever existed. With vast geographical diversity, it is no surprise that India hosts some of the most astonishing natural marvels in the country.
Many of these destinations have not received much exposure and are thus ideal locations for those looking for something new. And as for the better-known ones, well there is a reason for that, isn’t there?