The stereotypical representation of India would include the standard package of Taj Mahal, Qutub-minar and the history text 101s. But India is a treasure trove for the traveler who feeds on the high of exploring the road less traveled. Here are a few of these hidden treasures that are definitely worth a visit on your next trip:

Toda hills, Ooty

Toda Huts: The home of the Toda tribe
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Ooty is well known for its scenic charm and lakes worthy to be featured in countless movies but there are definitely layers of unexplored heritage and beauty to this seemingly commercial location. The smooth sloped hills of Toda are home to the Toda tribe known for embroidery and their characteristic homes called ‘dogle’.

Sterling has two resorts in this hill station, Sterling Ooty – Fern Hill and Sterling Ooty – Elk Hill. The Elk Hill resort is located close to the settlement of the indigenous Toda community. At the Fern Hill resort, you will get to enjoy the fresh produce of the organic vegetable garden.

Krishna’s Butterball, Mahabalipuram

Krishna’s Butterball

Not so easy to miss once you’re there is what the locals call “Vaanirai Kal” which roughly translates to “Stone of the sky god”. It’s a huge rock that weighs almost 250 tonnes. So what is so special about this huge rock? The fact that it defies the law of gravity. It sits unmoved on top of a slope that angles at 45 degrees and it hasn’t toppled till now. UNESCO had declared it a world heritage site. Although scientists from different disciplines have different interpretations as to why it stays like that, the mystery of this rock yet to be solved.

Chandipur Beach, Orissa

Chandipur: The retreating beach
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This lesser-known beach in Orissa is host to a very peculiar natural phenomenon. During its ebb tide, the water recedes to an unbelievable stretch of 4 km, revealing some of the flora and fauna and making it possible to walk into the shallow depths of the sea. This uncommon natural event is quite unique to this beach in India and is definitely worth a visit.

Magnetic Hill, Leh

Magnetic Hill, Leh

This hill on the Leh-Kargil NH, although speculated to have magnetic properties which make vehicles move downhill is merely but an optical illusion. The upward slope is actually a slight downward slope and it just appears to us as one because of lack of reference. So turn off the engine and find it out for yourself next time you are riding from Leh to Kargil.

Chembra Love Lake, Wayanad

Chembra Love Lake
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Nestled away from the wall of noises of urban Kerala is Chembra peak which is home to a heart-shaped lake on top of its very peak. Locally known as Hridaya Saras, it will take quite a bit of a trek to the top to savor the view of this breathtaking lake. But it’s worth all the effort and might evoke quite a bit of an emotional response if you happen to reach there. Sterling Wayanad which is located near Sultan Bathery is surrounded by picturesque landscapes with green rice paddies, spiky ginger fields, and the scenic plantations make for a refreshing experience.

So next time you pack your bags to explore India, choose Sterling as the place to unwind for the breathtaking scenery and gorge on scrumptious local delicacies. Make sure you add these to your itinerary because the road not taken is what will set a true traveler free.