Dreamy locales and surreal landscapes lend that extra glamour to movies. Imagine a love story filmed amidst snow capped mountains. Now imagine the same story in a desert. And now, re-imagine the same plot set in a modern Indian city. That’s the difference. The look and feel are vastly different when India’s scenic shots are roped in as the backdrop to the story.
In some ways, the Indian film industry is probably one of the best ways to promote tourism in even the remotest and most offbeat places in our country. It may be an ordinary location, but as soon as you put it in a Bollywood movie, it becomes a popular tourist destination. Case in point being Spiti in Himachal which shot into prominence post King Khan’s Dil Se. Here’s a quick list of top Bollywood shooting locations. Even a single picture is enough for the asking to take a tour to these destinations!!
Rohtang Pass: Incredible Geographical Wonders
Located 52 km from Manali, Rohtang Pass, at an altitude of 13,050 feet is spine chilling stretch of snowclad road. Movies like Jab We Met and Highway have made this location immortal. In recent times, the place has become a veritable stop for biking enthusiasts.
How to reach: Joginder Nagar is the nearest railway station which is about 103 km from Rohtang Pass and 50 km from Manali. From there you need to hire a car to reach Rohtang Pass.
Best time to visit: May to October
Pangong Lake: Dream Location
Who can forget the reunion of Raju, Farhan and Ranchoddas Chanchad (3 Idiots) by the blue, hypnotizing waters of Pangong Lake! That mesmerizing lake led most to jot down Pangong in the “must-travel-to-someday” list.
A host of films have savoured the surreal locales, notable among these being Lakshya, Tashan and Sanam Re.
How to reach: Pangong Tso can be reached after a five-hour drive from Leh.
Best time to visit: May to September
Gulmarg: Snowy Mountains And Chinar Trees
Many of the greatest Bollywood classic hits like Aap Ki Kasam and Bobby were shot amid the snow-covered mountains and Chinar trees of Gulmarg. Much later, Raazi, Fitoor and Phantom (2015) too canned portions of the film here. Called the “Switzerland of India,” Gulmarg’s natural beauty, in some places, outdoes the Alpine white charm too.
How to reach: The nearest airport to Gulmarg is in Srinagar which is 56 kilometers away. You can hire a car from there to reach Gulmarg.
Best time to visit: March to June
Udaipur Palace: Royal Encounter
Udaipur Palace has not only won the hearts of Indian filmmakers but has also become one of the best places for pre-wedding shoot in India. Octopussy, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Guide, Ram Leela, and The Jewel in the Crown are some of the greatest movies that were shot at this grand palace. This trip is perfect for history afficionados
How to reach: Udaipur is well-connected and you can take a flight, train or bus according to your budget to reach here.
Best time to visit: September to March
Munnar: Lush Green Valleys
Layered lush green hemmed in by fertile ranges, cool breeze and cloudy ambience. That best fits Munnar. The tea and coffee plantations are the popular shooting locations in India. Be it small budget Tamil movies or a grand Bollywood project, Munnar’s proximity to Mumbai has helped in being a quicker go-to than the lofty hill stations of the North. Movies like Chennai Express, Nishabd, and Life of Pi give us reason to visit God’s Own Country.
How to reach: The nearest airport is Cochin, around 125 km away from Munnar. A five/six road journey thereon, captures the beautiful sights of the surrounding ambience.
Best time to visit: September to March
Himachal: Hidimba Devi Temple
The temple is devoted to Hidimba Devi, who is the wife of Bhima, one of the protagonists in the Indian epic Mahabharata. The beautiful structure, nestled amid a thick cedar forest, served as a filming location for the 2013 romantic comedy Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani as well as the critically acclaimed 1992 drama Roja. The area is well paved with thickly dotted walkways.
Best time to visit: Early July to late August
How to reach: The nearest airport to Hadimba Temple is Kullu-Manali Airport in Bhuntar 52.5 km away. From the airport, you can hire car or taxi to reach the temple which will take you about 2 to 2.5 hours. By Rail: Joginder Nagar railway station is the nearest station to Hadimba Temple at a distance of 165.3 km. Alternately, people prefer Chandigarh (317.6 km) and Ambala (337.4 km) railway stations as they connect to major cities of the country.
Goa: Aguada Fort
Fort Aguada is a well-preserved seventeenth-century Portuguese fort, along with a lighthouse, standing in Goa, India, on Sinquerim Beach, overlooking the Arabian Sea. It is an ASI protected Monument of National Importance in Goa. The fort was originally constructed in 1612 to guard against the Dutch. It was a reference point for the vessels coming from Europe at that time. Among the famous Bolly potboilers canned here are, Dhoom, Golmaal and some scenes from Dear Zindagi.
Best time to visit: September to March (9:30 am to 6 pm)
How to reach: It lies about 16 kilometres from the state capital Panaji (Panjim). Goa International Airport is 39 km north of the fort.
Rajasthan: Nahargarh Fort
Nahargarh Fort stands on the edge of the Aravalli Hills, overlooking the city of Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Along with Amer Fort and Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh once formed a strong defence ring for the city. The famous fort scene in Rang De Basanti (2006) and the song Masti ki Pathshaala were both shot here. Bol Bachchan was also filmed at Nahargarh.
Best time to visit: All seasons are good, though winter would save tourists the blazing sun. The fort closes after 5 pm but the vicinity is a beautiful place to hang around.
How to reach: Nahargarh Fort is easily accessible via road or rail. There are three railway junctions nearby, which are Jaipur, Gandhinagar and Durgapur. The city railway station and bus stand is just 17 km away. From the capital city, you can hire a bus, a taxi or an auto rickshaw to reach the splendid fort.