From the treasure troves of Bollywood, we have handpicked 8 beautiful destinations in India, some that became hot hubs once the movie came out, some that still remained untouched, but all mystical and beautiful. So not wasting any time, presenting to you…

1) Athirappilly Falls (Raavan)

Despite the terrible monstrosity that ‘Raavan’ was (the movie, not the mythological character. He was still bearable), the film was shot in some exquisite locales, and has a wild, wet, haunted look in its entirety. In that treatment, it is magnificent and you cannot help but look in awe as the characters weave in and out of the lush jungles, rivers and rapids. One of the stellar locations chosen is the Athirappilly Falls in Kerala, Mani Ratnam’s favourite (he has also shot parts of Dil Se, Iruvar and Guru here). A part of the Chalakudy river, Athirappilly is also known as the Niagara falls of India.

Cochin is the nearest airport (58 kms) and Thrissur is the nearest railhead (63 kms)

2) Chapora Fort, Goa (Dil Chahta Hai)

Once upon a time, Akash, Sameer and Sid stood near the ramparts of a decaying fort, contemplating the vagaries of life.  As they swore to visit the fort every year and so did we sitting in the movie halls watching them, the Chapora fort (or the Dil Chahta Hai fort as it is more popularly known) went on to become one of the top places to visit in Goa. Overlooking the coast, the fort offers great views of the Vagator and Anjuna beaches (Youngsters, when you are at Anjuna, don’t forget to visit ‘Curlies’ – a beachside food-and-drinks shack on the beach itself)

During the Portugal rule, the fort was built in a grand style and also had underground tunnels to aid in escaping in case of an emergency. After the Portuguese left, the fort was abandoned and never occupied again.

3) Asoka (Bhedalghat, Pachmarhi)













Much like Raavan, SRK’s Asoka was an enigma. One of India’s greatest kings, it felt quite jarring to see Ashoka outstretching his arms and dancing to songs across the length and breadth of the country. He looked less Raja and more ‘Raj’ to be honest. But to the director’s ( Santosh Sivan) credit, he took us to some beautiful and unique locations to depict Ashoka’s shenanigans. Among the best, is Bhedaghat– a village just 20 kms away from Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh.

The village is world famous for splendid Marble Rocks on the banks of Narmada River. Covered with dark volcanic seams of green and black, these 100 feet high rocks stand tall on both sides of the Narmada.  During the day, the sun sparkles on the pure white surfaces of these rocks and at night they shine ghostly silver in the moonlight. The Marble Rocks of Bhedaghat have been listed among  ‘one of the 1000 places you should see before you die’. The best way to enjoy the sheer charm of these rocks is by taking a boat ride in Narmada. Pachmarhi is another beautiful location where the movie was shot.

‘Raat ka nasha’
‘San sanana’

4) Pangong Tso (3 Idiots)











One of the best things that ‘3 idiots’ did for tourists is show Ladakh to them. And ever since, a steady stream of families has been heading for the Himalayan kingdom during the summer months. Here, Pangong Lake (where the film’s climax was shot) is a pristine lake, bluer than blue ever was, clearer than clear ever could be, pure and regal. Do respect the lake when you are there, and do not litter.

5) Chamera Lake, Chamba (Dor)











Nagesh Kukunoor’s ‘Dor’ is a movie of contrasts. Of two women separated by religion. Of independence versus rigid conservatism. Of Himachal Pradhesh’s lush green and Rajasthan dry brown. The story was enough to capture our hearts, the locations – Chamera lake (Chamba, Himachal), Bhandal valley (Zeenat’s village), Umaidnagar Garh (Meera’s house) just drives the arrow right in.

6) Pahalgam (Tahaan)

Santosh Sivan just will not stop showing us beautiful places, will he? Tahaan, shot in 2008, is the story of a young boy whose donkey is taken away when his family suffers from a family crisis. Determined to get his ‘pet’ back, Tahaan travels through the mountains and during the journey is asked to carry a grenade across the border to commit a terrorist crime. The movie is aesthetically shot in Pahalgam, Kashmir and you cannot but dream of visiting the place having seen the movie.

7) Western Catchment (Jo Jeeta Wo Sikandar)

One of the greatest romantic songs of Bollywood cinema – “Pehla Nasha” and yet, how many know where it was shot? Give up? Good, it was shot in the “Western Catchment” region. Know where that is?  Aww le le. A pretty environmental treasure in the Nilgiris, the Western Catchment is just 20 kms from Ooty. Full of rolling hills, green carpet meadows and lakes, it is only fair that it formed the backdrop of that beautiful song. Note, tourists need to take permission before visiting this area.

 8) Doraha (Rang De Basanti)

Once upon a time, the Mughal Sarai fort (Doraha) lay dusty and barren, some 20 kms from Ludhiana. And then Aamir Khan, Madhavan and their friends came laughing and yelling on their gaudy bikes and red open gypsy, and today the fort has forgotten how it was to be lonely and forlorn and is responding to the name ‘RDB Fort’.  Right behind Gurdwara Manji Sahib (in Doraha) amid lush fields, ½ km from National Highway 1, this ancient fort has many a story hidden inside its two double-storied gateways, that still stand intact. The structure has a beautiful array of rooms and verandas on all four sides. Another fort that shot into prominence because of the movie is the Nahargarh fort  for the Khalbali song, and another scene where Sharmaan Joshi and Aamir are having a beer drinking competition on a steep ledge.

Do you have any secret hideaways that we don’t know of?

Don’t miss WAH’s compiled 25 amazing places to visit in India.

Neeraj Narayanan

At WeAreHolidays, Neeraj Narayanan is Head of the Content and Digital Media Team. He has a Masters in Advertising & Media Communication, has had experience as a Communication Consultant to the Government of Gujarat, and as a Brand man in the IT giant firm - Cognizant.

On weekends, he conducts Heritage Walks in Delhi.

Neeraj Narayanan – who has written posts on WAH Blog.