When was the last time you went for a holiday and didn’t go through your Facebook newsfeed or upload a selfie to show your friends what a brilliant time you’re having? In this world of hashtags, Instagram pictures and Facebook likes and check-ins, technology addiction is becoming a huge problem.
If you don’t want to fall in the trap, try and get away from all this by going for at least one digital detox vacation in a year. Choose a place with no network and leave your laptops and iPads at home, spend time connecting with nature, reading a book, playing with your kids or doing nothing at all.
Take your pick from these insanely beautiful places that are ideal for a digital detoxification.
The stunning capital of Spiti, Kaza is located at a height of 11,980 feet. There’s plenty to do at this charming place, but getting here is such a task that you’ll need a day to unwind and relax. Ki Monastery, 14km away, is the largest in the state so a visit here is mandatory, to soak in the vistas of those rugged peaks.
Kibber, Langcha and Komic villages have their own charm. In fact, at the height of 13,943 feet, Langcha happens to be one of the highest villages in Asia, and Komic village has just 114 people. What you do here is chat with locals, enjoy the peace and quiet while soaking in the stunning scenery. Mobile network? Consider yourself lucky if you don’t get it.
Asia’s cleanest village, tucked away in the north-eastern state of Meghalaya, is absolutely gorgeous. Combine it with a trip to Shillong and you can easily spend a night here. No fancy hotels or a resort, but a basic guesthouse takes care of all your needs.
Nearly a century old, the village has thatched Khasi huts, picturesque gardens full of flowers and bamboo baskets outside each home to keep the village clean. A 15-minute walk takes you to one of the legendary living root bridges – a natural bridge made by twisting the roots of a huge rubber tree. The roots make a pathway across a stream, making it easy for villagers to commute. These bridges are unique to Meghalaya.
Far away from the crowd in Srinagar, Leh and Gulmarg is this quaint valley that was a part of the ancient Silk route and is connected to Gilgit in Pakistan. It’s 130km from Srinagar and it can easily take you about six hours to reach here, but the journey with snow-capped peaks in the distance and driving past pretty lakes, is so scenic that you won’t even realise how time has gone by.
With the Kishanganga River flowing through the valley, beautiful hamlets, shepherd grazing on the meadows, it’s a place that seems lost in time. Dawar is the main town here. The main attraction is the Habba Khatoon peak, named after the famous Kashmiri poet. Interestingly, the locals, a tribe called Dards, believe that they are descendants of Alexander and speak a different language.
If exploring the remote unknown floats your boat, look no further than the Siang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh. Any further, you’re in China. I dare say there is no greater pleasure than a zero-notification getaway.
That the ‘no-network’ alerts become increasingly steadfast as you ease into the Siang hinterland is a joy worthy of tears. Ditch that device for birdsong, snaring sunrises, catching sunsets, campsite conversations, crackling bonfires; sounds of silence, even. Should you want to replace the virtual with the real, and choose life, Siang Valley is just the place to make the switch.
A village lost in the Garhwal Himalayan region, is home to 500 people and 3000 sheep. Kalap, about 200km from Dehradun, is a gorgeous village, surrounded by pine and deodar trees, where you can go back in time because the villagers claim that they are descendants of Pandavas and Kauravas.
Getting here is one challenge, as no car goes there so you’ll have to trek for at least 4 hours, but the effort will be worth it. There’s nothing much to do here except to enjoy the natural beauty, meet the locals and listen to their stories. It’s a unique experience that you wouldn’t want to miss.