India – People across the globe talk about this land of “Unity in Diversity” for many things like travel, food, people, and economy etc. India is a home for more than a billion people, an absolute blend of numerous cultures. From heaps of sacred places, serene temples to spirited festivals, magnificent beaches, frosty & snow laid mountains, lantern-lit villages to superlative cities. Love it or hate it, this incredible country has got everything to leave an impression on you and make your trip a memorable one. No matter where you visit, every place in India has got something unique to offer to its travelers. Since we keep on hopping from place to place, we have put to together some of the best places to visit in India. So grab some popcorn and read on
1. Kashmir- The Paradise on Earth
After visiting Kashmir, people often struggle to describe it since adjectives like, beautiful and awesome don’t seem to do it any justice. For lack of a better superlative, Kashmir is generally described as Heaven or paradise on Earth. Kashmir is at the peak of the map of India and is surrounded by the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. The valley’s beauty is enhanced by the truly spell bounding lakes, fresh water streams, delicious apple orchards, mighty ice capped mountains and lush meadows. Adding some spectacular views, Lush green surroundings, fresh non polluted mountain air and scenic landscapes makes Kashmir one of the best places to visit in India.
Also if you are an adventure junkie, Kashmir has its share of adrenaline pumping activities like Water Rafting, Trekking, Winter Sports, Wetlands, Wildlife, etc.
All in all, Kashmir has something for everyone. So be it Adventure fanatics, spirituality or just holiday revelers, Kashmir is sure to satisfy everyone. So don’t wait and visit this amazing tourist destination or at least put it on your bucket list
2. Ladakh- The Moon land
Barren but Beautiful Ladakh – Pic by deeptrivia
A close second to Kashmir, there probably is no other place in the world quite like this travel destination. Set high up in the Himalaya’s at 3,000 m (9,800 ft), Ladakh is a plateau in the Indus Valley between the Karakoram mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south. Its altitude ranges from 9000 to 25000 feet.
Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture. It’s sometimes referred as “Moon land” & “Little Tibet” because of its natural barren beauty landscape and inhabitation by Tibetan people respectively. The main source of water is winter snowfall, this feeds the glaciers from which melt water, carried down by streams, irrigates the fields in summer.
The beautiful road from Ladakh to Tso Mori – Pic by t3rmin4t0r
What makes this tourist destination even more special is that it takes considerable effort to reach it. Sure there is a 45 minute flight but that’s probably as exciting as a trip to your typical shopping mall. To really experience the true essence of Ladakh, we recommend a road trip by car, bike, jeep or bus. Sure the tough mountain roads do take a lot out of you, but nothing quite beats the experience of getting to Ladakh.
Once in Ladakh, make sure you visit the Leh Palace, Tso Mori Lake, and Nubra Valley as well the number of monasteries dotting Ladakh. The sheer beauty of this place, combined with its amazing culture and the breathtaking journey to get there makes this number 2 on the best places to visit in India
3. Goa- God’s heaven on Earth
Another Sunset in Goa- Pic by Arun Katiyar
The common quote “Good things come in small packages” holds true for Goa since in terms of geographical area, Goa is the smallest state in India. However that doesn’t stop it from being the best places to visit in India attracting more than 2 million visitors annually. With its pretty beaches, awesome seafood, vivid nightlife, picturesque churches and water sports, it’s not hard to figure out why.
And the fun does’nt stop just there. Goa has oodles of activities you can indulge in depending on your choice and taste. If you are a bit on the laidback side, then you can just idle away time on popular beaches like Anjuna Beach and Baga Beach or visit some of the awesome churches. If you are looking for your dose of adrenaline, you can indulge in water sports like paragliding, windsurfing, jet skiing and lots more. If food and drink makes your day, try out some of the sumptuous seafood (our pick Goan fish curry!) and the famous Fenny (Goan Liquor) at your disposal.
In the end, Goa is the kind of place that although is located in India, seems like a different country altogether. With a curious mix of national and international cultures, golden sands, never ending parties and having some of the most awesome beaches in India, Goa keeps on throwing up more and more reasons why it’s worth visiting time and again. This makes it number 3 in our list of the best places to visit in India
4. Kerala- God’s own Country
The Calming Kerala Backwaters – Pic by albany_tim
Not including tourist places in south India would not make this list complete. And they don’t come any better than Kerala. Kerala offers a very unique travel experience; it is famous for its natural beauty, amazing white sand beaches, delicious sea food, ayurvedic health resorts, enchanting art forms, magical festivals, cultural monuments and backwaters.
Backwaters which are a chain of lagoons are an integral part of Kerala’s Tourism Scenario and provide a really relaxing experience. Linked by a myriad of manmade and natural canals, they criss cross half of the length of Kerala. The ever popular houseboats navigate this labyrinth giving you amazing views and a sense of calm which rejuvenates your mind and body. Must visit places along these backwaters include Kumarakom (bird sanctuary), Astamudi Lake (largest fresh water lake) and Kannur-Valiyaparambu (scenic beauty).
Kerala is one of the ten ‘Paradises found’ declared by the National Geographic Traveler, for its varied geography and devastating greenery. It is a land much applauded for the contemporary nature of its cultural ethos, and much appreciated for the soothing, revitalizing bliss that it is. It is a perfect destination for holidays, honeymoon, art, culture, tradition, health care, yoga, ayurveda and meditation. Kerala is “God’s own country” indeed and is our number 4 for the best places to visit in India.
5. Rajasthan- The Land of Royals
Photo of the Jaipur Palace in Rajasthan – Pic by mckaysavage
The mere mention of Rajasthan conjures up images and visions of the Maharajas, Rajputana, Brave and fearless Rajput warriors, Breathtaking Palaces and Forts along with royal hospitality and splendor. If there is one place that can transport you into a bygone era, it has to be Rajasthan.
Decked with monuments covered in history, Rajasthan is home to some of the most stunning places you can see. Be it Jaipur the capital, the famous lakes and palace of Udaipur, the barren but beautiful desserts of Bikaner, the blue hued Jaisalmer or the high hill station Mt Abu, Rajasthan’s bag of surprises are never-ending. Combined with ASI’s amazing preservation work, most of the monuments, forts and palaces of Rajasthan still seem like time capsules where time has stood still.
In case the sheer enormity of places to visit in Rajasthan scares you, just hop on to the Palace on Wheels. Designed with a sharp eye for luxury, the Palace on wheels is a one of a kind train which has superlative interiors, lavish meals, classy wines, and personalized services. Its old world charm combined with modern amenities and excellent comfort are sure to leave you impressed and feeling like a royal Maharaja yourself.
Rajasthan is a place that will give a window to old world charm and a black and white era you must have heard of but never experienced. It’s also a shopper’s delight with textiles in mirror work, embroidery & prints, semi-precious stones and handicrafts like wooden furniture, carpets and blue pottery. Music and culture aficionados will love the highly cultivated classical music and dance unique to Rajasthan. With so many wonderful places to visit in Rajasthan, things to do and the lovely old world charm, this is tourist destination that reminds us that the old days weren’t all that bad after all. This makes it our number 5 for the best places to visit in India
Till now we have detailed some awesome places to visit in India which include Kashmir, Ladakh, Goa, Kerala and Rajasthan. Which will be the other 5? Stay tuned till next week for In continuation with our last post, this is part 2 of the Best Places to visit in India, check out the remaining 5 places on our list.
6. Mumbai- The city of Dreams
The towering Mumbai CST – Pic by anappaiah
Think Mumbai and you think Glitz, Glamour, Movies, Fashion, Finance and of course Bhel Puri. Probably one of the most cosmopolitan cites in India, Mumbai is as diverse an experience as you can imagine. Dotted with impressive old monuments like Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, architectural masterpieces like the splendid Taj Mahal Hotel and the famous skyscrapers which dominate the Mumbai skyline; this is a city full of surprises and a tourist’s delight
For the foodies, Mumbai boasts of some amazing street food like Pav Bhaji, Bhelpuri, Vada Pao and Pani puri. Although the hygiene standards might not be top class, the taste of the street food makes it worth a try. In case you feel adventurous and have a strong stomach, head over to Khau Galli where you are sure to find some of the best street foods in Mumbai.
In terms of tourist places in Mumbai, popular destinations include The Gateway of India, Marine Drive (semi-circular shaped natural bay along the sea coast), Hanging Gardens, Juhu Beach, Ajanta Alora Caves, Elephanta Islands and Haji Ali Dargah (Mosque). Also, if you are a shopaholic, check out the Colaba Causeway, Flora Fountain and Churchgate and the bazaars near Jyotiba Phule Market. And of course remember to bargain hard.
All said and done, Mumbai is the city that dazzles with its combination of old world monuments, futuristic skyline, Bollywood Movies, great shopping avenues, tourist destinations, pristine seaside and a lot more. The city of dreams, where anything seems possible makes it to our number 6 on the best tourist places in India.
7. Kodaikanal-Princess of Hill Stations
Dreamy Kodaikanal – Pic by flickrPrince
Yet another awesome tourist place in South India makes it to our list. For it’s hard to pronounce name, Kodaikanal is one of the most peaceful and popular hill-stations situated on the Palani Hills of Tamil Nadu, about 120 kms away from Madurai. Originally served as a refuge for the British Bureaucrats to escape from the hot plains, it has now blossomed into a popular summer retreat.
In Tamil language Kodaikanal name means “The Gift of the Forest”. Kodaikanal has many places of interest. Everywhere you go, you are surrounded with enchanting waterfalls and scenic beauty which sometimes seem straight out of a dream.
Kodaikanal has beautiful tourist attractions which are sure to wow you. The most popular one is Kodaikanal Lake (star-shaped man-made lake), bicycles and horses are available for rent at this lake to ride around the lake), Bryant Park or the Botanical Garden, Coaker’s Walk (1 km pedestrian path running along the edge of steep slopes on the southern side of Kodai), Bear Shola waterfall, Green valley view, Shembaganur museum and Guna caves are some of the other major attractions of Kodaikanal.
This quaint little hill station nestled in Tamil Nadu might not have the publicity Shimla and Manali enjoy, but is sure to give you cool climates, breathtaking scenery, lush greenery and views which are sure to stay with you for a lifetime. All this makes it a worthy entry at number 7 for the best tourist places in India
8. Darjeeling- Visitor’s Paradise
Kanchenjunga as seen from Darjeeling – Pic by Partha Sarathi Sahana
This list wouldn’t be complete without including this tourist destination. Starting from its humble beginnings as a cluster of villages, this was the first hill station established by the British. Located in the state of West Bengal, Darjeeling is famous for its natural beauty, tea production, trekking and awe inspiring views of Kanchenjunga ( 3rdhighest peak in India)
Darjeeling is speckled with some interesting and must visit tourist attractions. Some of the remarkable places to visit in Darjeeling are Tiger Hill (gives an immense view of Peak Kanchenjunga during sun-rise), Zoo, Mahakal Temple, Singalila National Park (trekking destination), Buddhist monasteries and the Himalayan Zoo.
Along with places to see, Darjeeling offers you a range of things to do. For adventure addicts, there is mountain biking which is probably the best way to see this lovely hill station. Also a variety of trekking options along the Himalayan ridges on the Indo-Nepal border near Darjeeling. For catching the best views of Kanchenjunga, make a visit to the Shruberry Health Club. Also hitch a ride on the world famous Toy train and enjoy an unhurried way of looking at life.
For shopping addicts, the obvious best thing to buy is Darjeeling Tea which is world famous for its light taste and awesome aroma. Other noteworthy buys are local textiles, handicrafts and art. However a point to note is that the shopkeepers are more interested to cater to the foreign tourist rather than the Indian tourist (hmm colonial hangover? You bet!).
Summing it up, Darjeeling is a hill station with gives you a lot of options for places to visit, things to do and of course some awesome tea and remarkable views of Kanchenjunga. Add to it a ride in the famous Toy Train and this is an experience you will not forget soon. Darjeeling makes a compelling case for number 8 on list of best tourist places to visit in India
9.Agra-City of Taj
The Taj Mahal – Pic by voobie
A city that has three of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites is hard to keep out of this list. Located at the banks of Yamuna River, Agra is about 200 kms away from New Delhi. From its early references in the Mahabharata to being the capital of the Mughal Empire, Arga is a city that shines with examples of intricate Mughal Architecture wherever you look.
The Taj Mahal probably is best described by Rabindranath Tagore as “a teardrop on the cheek of eternity”.Attracting thousands of tourists in a day, the Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Built in 23 years with the help of over 20000 workers, it is so perfectly designed and constructed that it looks similar from all its four sides. The Quranic inscriptions on its four entrances are carved in such subtle increase in size that may appear to be of the same size from top to bottom. Craftsmen from Italy and Persia were hired by Shah Jahan to help design his tribute of love to his wife. These and many more reasons make this monument a crowning achievement in Mughal architecture.
Apart from the awe inspiring Taj Mahal, there are many other things to do in Agra should you get the time. Other tourist attractions worth visiting are the Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Itmad-Ud-Daulah’s Tomb and Jama Masjid. If you are in the mood for a bit of shopping, you can buy various stone products, jewelry and other items. However you should be careful about being ripped off and always should bargain hard since some items can be fake. For the foodies, must have are the delicious variety of Chats and the famous pethas of Agra.
As a city, Agra might be a bit on the disappointing side with its pollution, touts and hawkers. But from a perspective of its historical significance, amazing monuments and tourist attractions, no trip to India is complete without visiting the Agra. Also it’s close proximity to the capital of India make it an ideal weekend getaway from Delhi. All this and many more reasons make Agra number 9 on our list of best places to visit in India
10.The Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The Lovely Andaman and Nicobar Islands – Pic by _e.t
This tourist destination might not be one everyone’s list and also off the beaten track. However that does’nt means it should be missed. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a group of islands which lie in the Bay of Bengal. The Andaman is separated to the north while Nicobar separated towards the south. Both the islands have been separated from Thailand and Burma by the Andaman Sea. Although these islands are one of the remote places on the planet, their beauty makes them a must visit destination.
Initially the islands were populated mainly by the local people who comprise of a bunch of aboriginal tribes some of which are totally cut off from the world. Port Blair does not have a glory past where it was used as a jail for rebels and freedom fighters by the Britishers. However contrary to that gory detail, the Andaman and Nicobar islands have some of the most beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and a good list of things to do along with places to visit.
Some of the places to see in these islands are the British colonial buildings in Port Blair (including the notorious Cellular Jail) and the World War II bunkers (awesome!). Also if you are a nature fan, check out the Neil Island which has lush green forests and pristine sandy beaches. But you shouldn’t leave these islands before having a peek at India’s only active volcano at the Barren Islands (always smoking!)
For people who love water sports, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have a range of activities like Scuba diving, Snorkeling, Surfing. Also a must do is to see the coral reefs through a glass bottom boat at Jolly Buoy Island. If you are a land loving homo sapient, there are Camping, Trekking options as well.
The Andaman and Nicobar Island are indeed a very interesting tourist destination. They might not by your typical tourist destination but their asset lies in the un spoilt beauty, peace and quiet as well as a chance to see the only active volcano in India. Although our number 10 is an unconventional choice, we love it for this very reason. The Andaman and Nicobar islands give you a chance to go off the beaten track and experience awesome coastal tourism.
Since all good things come to an end, the Andaman and Nicobar islands are the last on our list of the 10 Best places to visit in India. We hope you liked reading this list as much as we enjoyed putting it together. If you have any more suggestions for even more awesome travel destinations, stories anything to do with travel, sound off in the comments or on our facebook page. Till next time, Happy Travelling!