Regardless of the legal status of the herb in India (confusing and highly subject to change based on the time of year) people are never going to really stop lighting up as a whole. There’s parts of the country that have a foot up their butt, and then there’s other areas that don’t really look at smoking a bit of weed as that big of a deal. This entire culture, or ‘ganja gamut’ as I like to call it, could use with a few more options to pull in peace, what with the regular haunts starting to get a little too crowded. To that end, here’s a few places you can check out instead!
1. Instead of Kasol, visit Tosh in Himachal Pradesh
Instead of adding to the already swelling tourist population of Kasol, hoof it up a little way further to Tosh (just about an hour away). This scenic village is peaceful, serene and – praise be the lord! – mostly devoid of the loud drunks in Scorpios that seem to inevitably land up in Kasol.
2. Instead of Goa, visit Konark in Odisha
Most of the popular Goan haunts are overrun with people these days. It’s sad to even step foot on Baga or Vagator, so the parts that are still untouched should remain that way, don’t you think? Try going to Odisha, it has a wild expanse of empty beaches, and quite an interesting, if nascent surf culture to boot.
3. Instead of Mcleod Ganj, visit Malana in Himachal Pradesh
Honestly, if you’re hitting the hills for a buzz, why go for 20% when you can get the whole damn 100 yo! Malana might be known for making some of the best charas in the world, but the place is so much more than that, both culturally and visually, and it’s something that really should be experienced.
4. Instead of Manali, visit Bir-Billing in Himachal Pradesh
Old Manali might still retain some of that original charm, but take one step into main Manali and it’s like being back in the city. For a scene that’s a lot more chill and easy to handle, head to Bir-Billing. You can cycle around the entire hill town, much on some great grub and it’s also one of the best places in the world to go paragliding.
5. Instead of Kodaikanal, visit Cherrapunji in Meghalaya
No disrespect to Kodi, it’s still a wonderful place, but if you want a vast expanse of lush, verdant green, Cherra’s the place to go. Just head a little out of Shillong (make sure to carry some of that sweet Shillong green) and pretty much every place you look at will be paradise, guaranteed.
6. Instead of Pondicherry, visit Gokarna in Karnataka
If you want a shaanti beach holiday with some real waves, try hitting up Gokarna. There’s large stretches of delightful coast and a laid-back vibe that attracts people who are, more often than not, on the same wavelength. Plus, Pondy’s more for the drinkers anyway.
7. Instead of Pushkar, visit Hampi in Karnataka
While the call of the ‘magic shakes’ at Pushkar might seem bewitching enough, the ruins that make up Hampi are a whole different level of enchanting. It may not have that exact Pushkar vibe, but what this temple town does have is banana plantations and piles upon piles of precarious boulders that give the place a truly otherworldly feel (in the best way possible).