One of the biggest complaints I hear from foreigners who travel to India is that the crowds and noise can be distressing. This can be even more overwhelming if you’re an introvert, like me. People and noise drain my energy and tire me out very quickly.
But India is not all crowds, noise and beggars. If you hate these, then I recommend you avoid all Indian cities, except as layovers, because you will find these three things in abundance in most cities.
Even though Indians are not known to have a concept of personal space, it’s possible for introverts to find destinations, in this vast country, where they’ll get nothing but peace and quiet. I know, because I found some of these places by actively looking for them.
So, if you love a quiet holiday, whether by the beach or in the mountains or the forests, here are five delightful destinations where you can avoid the crowds and follow your bliss.
I went to Talpona Beach, Goa, in May 2018, because I wanted to take a road trip with my family and my two Labradors. I know Goa pretty well, having lived there for two years when I was completing my Masters at Goa University.
I thought I’d seen almost every beach in Goa worth seeing, until I chanced upon the perfect family accommodation at Talpona beach, in Canacona district at the very south of Goa. We stayed there for a week in a quiet little cottage with our dogs.
There were very few people, mostly locals, on the beach and the few creatures we encountered were stray dogs, cows and crows. With excellent food, Wifi and only my family around, it turned out to be a very restful and relaxing vacation, in spite of the road trip.
I went to McLeodganj a number of years ago to do a 5-day Introduction to Buddhism course at the Tushita Meditation Center. McLeodganj is a little town near Dharamshala – the Dalai Lama’s summer capital – in Himachal Pradesh.
We spent hardly any time in the town itself and, except for my classmates, there were no crowds to disturb the serenity of our experience. The meditation sessions were an introvert’s dream. To sit in silence and contemplate was just what I needed at that point in my life.
But you don’t have to stay at a meditation centre to find peace and quiet here. You can use AirBnB to book a quiet little cottage or room with stunning mountain views in the hills of McLeodganj.
Pahalgam is a sleepy little town in Kashmir with scenic locales and sights that would be perfect in a Bollywood movie (and many have been filmed here, too).
We went to Kashmir on a 10-day trip in 2011 and Pahalgam turned out to be one of my favourite places ever. Walking along the quiet banks of the Lidder River, listening to only the sound of gushing water, was one of my favourite things to do.
There were no crowds and the only people we met in the tiny market were locals going about their business. We saw no other tourists on our visit there – none where we were staying, at least.
I envisioned myself staying for a week in a little cottage by the river, enjoying the spectacular view of the pine trees and water gushing by my front door. Oh, Heaven! Accommodation in Pahalgam is also very cheap, so perhaps I’ll do that one day.
Mahabaleshwar is a pretty popular tourist spot near Pune, so it’s not a place an introvert would think of as peaceful and quiet. No, for that you have to avoid staying in the town and instead book yourself a room at Club Mahindra Sherwood Mahabaleshwar.
This quiet luxury resort is located in a forest where you’ll see very few humans around, except when you venture into the dining room for your meals. The only people who’ll disturb you are the people who come to clean your room.
You may see a monkey or two and a few forest creatures, but these are welcome distractions. The resort is pretty far from the town (most of Club Mahindra’s resorts are), so you don’t have to go to any touristy places unless you want to.
This remote destination is an introvert’s delight. A high-altitude mountain lake with spectacular views and few people to disturb your reverie… What more could one ask for?
On a trip to Ladakh in May 2016, we stayed for a night in a tented camp at Pangong Tso (Lake). I wished I could have stayed longer, never mind that it was freezing cold and the food and amenities were pretty basic.
For that matter, almost anywhere you go in Ladakh, you’ll find almost no crowds, and the only thing that will assail your ears is the wind blowing through the rugged snowy peaks.
If sadhus and holy men are the ultimate introverts, it’s no surprise that they choose such remote places for their reflections.
I hope that, with these 5 locations for introverts in India, I’ve done my bit to change your vision of India as a place filled with crowds and noise.
Peace and quiet can be had in many places in India if you know where to look. These 5 travel destinations will help you find it.