India's diversity can give rise to some culturally baffling scenarios. Travelling within the vast country, you sometimes stumble upon small getaways where you feel like a stranger in a strange land, questioning if you are indeed still in your very own country. Here are 5 places in India where an Indian could feel out of place.
1. Malana, Himachal Pradesh
The people of Malana, a small Himachali mountain town located 2600 meters above sea level believe that they are descendants of Alexander the Great's army. These endogamous people do not allow foreigners to touch them or enter their settlements. Indians are allowed to interact with them but touching or entering certain holy places in the village can incite a heavy fine and some disapproving frowns.
2. Dharamkot, Himachal PradeshAnother small mountain town near Dharamshala, the seat of the Dalai Lama, the foreign experience here is very different from Malana. Most of the year, you are likely to be outnumbered by Israelis, who have settled in these parts for decades now. Boards and signs in Hebrew, middle-eastern food - falafel, shukshuka and hummus - are a common sight throughout the town.
3. Morjim, GoaMorjim has earned the moniker 'Little Russia' due to the huge influx of Russians. This North Goa enclave can give you a sudden culture shock as you are suddenly surrounded by boards and directions in Cyrillic. The beach is also home to the endangered Olive Ridley turtles, which use Morjim as their mating grounds.
4. French Colony, PondicherryStepping into the French Colony in the coastal union territory of Puducherry can really make you question where you are. From the architecture to the culture and cuisine - everything has a French flavour to it.
5. Andaman & Nicobar IslandsAndaman & Nicobar look like they're straight out of a movie set. A beautiful bio-diversity hotspot in the Bay of Bengal, the islands are home to several tribes, the most famous of which are the Jarawas. There are also tribes like the Sentinelese who have not made contact with the outside world yet, making these islands a truly alienated entity.