Delhi: A Tale of Two Cities
Lying at the heart of India, the national capital has been the centerpiece of India’s power through most of its history. Delhi had been known by many different names in the past and the site was already a power-center mentioned in the Bronze Age epic of Mahabharata. Today the sprawling expanse is the seat of the Government of India and packs in its bosom the inheritance of thousands of years in the form of diverse monuments of ancient, medieval and modern phases of its past. From the Ashokan Pillars and Rock Edicts to stunning Mughal Red Fort to glorious Lutyens buildings reminding of the British Era, Delhi has it all. Get ready to be lost in dreamy by lanes of history or treat yourself to the spicy and lip-smacking street food, Delhi is a place that is hard to miss. With over 3000 monuments, vibrant bazaars, eclectic cuisines and top class hotels and tourist scene, Delhi is undoubtedly one of the top places to visit in India.
With its Beaches & Nightlife Goa is One of the Top Places to visit in India
The beach capital of the country, Goa is a huge attraction for about a couple of million tourists from around the world every year. Studded with exquisite beaches, the breezy and festive culture of Goa is too much a charm. Known sometimes as the “the pearl of the orient” or “A Tourist’s Paradise”, the place also has a number of exotic buildings and old forts reminiscent of a fertile imperial past. From Night Clubs to Pubs and from discos to casinos, Goa guarantees a momentous experience for a traveler. Dance off to an intoxicating evening or just lay off in warm sandy beaches, Goa is a paradise for everyone to explore.
Kochi: The Port City
A cool and peaceful town and an important sea port for about 600 years, Kochi or imperial Cochin is a landscape of picturesque beauty with a unique blend of divergent themes of history enmeshed with each other to create a wonderful blend. Kochi is an exquisite place to spend some quality time in the fascinating Keralite culture or pass a night in some exotic heritage accommodation. One of the best places to enjoy Keralite art and finesse, Kochi is also a wonderful place to see tokens of the local identity like Kathakali and Kalaripayattu.
Jaipur: The Pink City
A place of timeless traditions, a city of beautiful colors, forts, palaces and pleasure gardens, a chaotic network of noisy streets, lanes and squares, Jaipur is an icon of erstwhile Rajput heritage. Soak yourself in the busy markets, bedazzled by the marvelous handicrafts or treat your taste buds to the delightful and spicy Daal Baati Churma and Onion Kachori. A cherry on the cake of Indian Culture, Jaipur is a destination that is worth a catch.
Mahabalipuram: Rock of Ages
A group of exotic monuments known for its fine sculptures, fascinating temples, cave sanctuaries and open air reliefs, the structures at Mahabalipuram is an absolute wonder for a visitor. A UNESCO World heritage site, the buildings in the complex were constructed between 630 and 728 AD at the site of harbor where South Indian Kings traded with the kingdoms of South-East Asia. Wandering around the monuments and taking note of the fine architecture is great delight and so is watching the sunset in the evening. Just a couple of hour drive from Chennai, Mahabalipuram is famous with historical buffs and leisure backpackers alike and one of the top places to visit in Tamil Nadu.
Khajuraho: A Sensuous Journey
The assembly of monuments, known throughout the world for its erotic sculpting are also amongst the most exotic Hindu and Jain temples in the world. The structures built by the Hindu Chandelas in the 12th century were later abandoned and fell into ruin before they were rediscovered by the British and restored into one the famous tourist destinations. In addition to relishing the exquisite site and figures, visitors can enjoy a unique light and sound show that showcases the regional history and stories associated with Khajuraho. If visiting during the month of February, the travelers also get the chance to savor the the Khajuraho Dance Festival where major Indian dance forms from all over India are exhibited.
Jaisalmer: City of Desert Warriors
A remote and exotic city loaded with fascinating sights, Jaisalmer or “The Golden City” as it is called is an accurate illustration of the quintessential desert Indian culture. The magnificence of the citadel that rises from the center is breathtaking and astonishing since it still houses the old, original families of the historic township. Of the of the city that is established inside, a number of colorful, embroidered shed stalls selling various attractions veil behind them mesmerizing havellis that enthrall and delight the vision and vitalize the discovering spirit. Don’t forget to take the essential camel ride into the Thar nearby to give a finishing completion to your journey.
Kerala Backwaters: God’s own Country
A paradise of verdure flora, the backwaters is an amazing journey through a number of lakes, canals, inlets and rivers, stretching an expansive 900 km of water systems running parallel to the Malabar Coast and considered one of the top tourist attractions in Kerala. Through the course, there are a number of townships and cities, offering a glimpse of local life and rural handicrafts besides the established culture of people settled here. Cruising through this rich channel is done on a “Kettuvallom” or a houseboat, that takes you through this Jewel of God’s Own Country” in your own comfort and ease. The backwaters in Kerala serve not only tourism but is the local medium of commerce and transport as well. Thus a visitors bears a first-hand witness of an astonishing human-nature harmony which is truly a fulfilling experience.
Varanasi: The Beating Heart of Hinduism
Time stops in this timeless city of amazing antiquity. A place where Bronze Age cultures still survives and thrives amidst the new crust of modernity, Varanasi takes your breath away the moment you step your foot in. The astounding magic of the city begins with a number of Ghats (or river banks) along Ganges where devotees as promised by their gods come to wash away their sins and to ensure their liberation after death. One of the most sacred sites for Hindus, Varanasi in all its magnificence comes alive during the evening invocation to Ganges when bells, chants, gongs, cymbals combine to make a hair-splitting ambience that is simply majestic. With its numerous temples, ashrams, holy sites, and other sights, smells and sound, Varanasi is an awesome place to visit.
Udaipur: Venice of the East
Traditionally tagged to be one of the most romantic places on the Indian subcontinent, Udaipur is a fabulous place of forts & palaces, temples, havelis, lakes and alleys with the quintessential, all-pervading colorful Rajasthani way of life. Udaipur was built in 1568 by Maharana Udai Singh after the Mughals conquered Chittor but still had to face continuous invasions by the same and later Marathas. Nevertheless, the city still retained its distinct charm with its elegant forts and monuments. Presently, its soul lives in its chaotic bazaars, romantic boat rides, famous museums, galleries, streets and shops. Travelers can enjoy basking under the vibrant cultural sun at every corner or take delight in delectable Rajasthani food from numerous street stalls. Voted Most Romantic Destination in India, Udaipur is also a popular place for monsoon vacations in India.
Rishikesh: Yoga Capital of the World
A haven for those coming to seek the timeless traditions of Indian philosophy and benefit from the natural ways of physical and mental upliftment, Rishikesh is one of the top places to visit in India. Rapidly becoming the yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh is also one of the holiest sites for Hindus due to its proximity with the Ganges. The evening ambience at the place with all the sounds from temples, people, pilgrims and holy men with gush of holy waters feels awesomely majestic. However, the significance of the place is not limited to its spiritual dimension. It is also one of most famous white-water rafting centers with a capacity to attract sports lovers from across the globe. Local and foreign visitors forever flow towards this tiny town for an enchanting and inspirational experience.
Shimla: The Queen of Hills
The old colonial hill town of Shimla retains its timeless charm and continues to enthrall tourists forever. The cool and serene ambience enveloped with beautiful green and snowcapped hills make a spectacular sight. The main street, The Mall has a number of shops, stalls, eateries that lets the travelers fully enjoy the town’s romantic grace. Dotted with buildings here and there with imperial architecture and other old structures brings a kind of nostalgia and longing. Although Shimla was the summer capital of the British, the winter scenery of the town is particularly picturesque and enjoyable. This season is especially favored by the newly weds making Shimla one of the top places to go for honeymoon in India in December January.
Gujarat: Cultural Capital of India
Exuding its own exclusive charm, the state of Gujarat is culturally rich and diverse for a tourist’s liking. The capital city, Ahmedabad is an elegant blend of historical buildings, cultural attractions having an aura of its own. On the other hand, many of the state’s major draws lies outside the main capital. Home to some of the famous and architecturally appealing structures, the region boasts of world’s largest salt desert, The Great Rann of Kutch with a simply majestic appeal. A large number of Gandhi enthusiasts too arrive in Gujarat for it being the birthplace of the Father of the Nation and many of his memories are associated with the state. The state is a flourishing commercial center for a majority of India’s export in textiles with a shining hub of a number of brilliant artisans. Gujarat is also home to the Sasan Gir National Park, the only natural habitat of the Asiatic Lions. yet another major appeal of this cultural treasure trove of India is an array of archaeological sites. The Champaner Pavagarh Archaeological Park has been inscribed by UNESCO as World Heritage Site. For Hindus, the state holds great significance. Whereas the Somnath Temple is one of the most important of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva, Dwarka is the land associated with Krishna.
Dharamsala: The Little Tibet
A tiny and scenic hill town and home to The Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in exile, Dharamshala is a magnet for tourists and pilgrims alike. Located against the backdrop of the majestic Dhauladhar range, the town is elegantly blanketed by beautiful pine and coniferous trees which makes an alluring sight. Dharamshala is also used as the summer capital of Himachal Pradesh. There are two sections of the town separated by a distance of 10 km. While the lower section is mostly offices, schools and commercial centers, the upper part has the monastery of Dalai Lama and other tea and coffee plantations.
Pushkar: The Cultural Razzmatazz
The story of Pushkar is associated with an old Hindu legend. It is believed that it is the place where Lord Bhrama, the creator of the world out of the Hindu Pantheon, dropped the Lotus flower and its petals created three lakes out of which the largest lake is the most important one. It is one of the holiest sites for Hindus and hosts one of the few Brahma temples in the world. Pushkar, although fused in typical Rajasthani cultural and traditional ambience has a distinct charm of its own that is worth exploring and experiencing. This holy city is renowned world over for its annual Pushkar Fair which is attended by scores from all around the world.
Fatehpur Sikri: The Ghost Town
A complex of some of the most magnificent monuments and structures of the medieval era, Fatehpur Sikri served as the capital of Mughal Emperor Akbar from 1571 to 1585. Akbar planned a great city around the hospice of his spiritual mentor and Sufi Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti whose prayers had blessed Akbar with his first surviving son and heir. The city stands as an icon of exquisite Hindu-Muslim architectural synthesis. Out of the many elegant structures inside, the tomb of the Chisti Saint, Diwan-i-Khas( House of Private Audience), Diwan-i-Aam(House of Public Audience), Palace of Jodha Bai and the Majestic Buland Darwaza are notable and a visual treat. Outside the citadel, there is a vibrant bazaar and the village of Sikri, few kilometers away is beautiful and worth a visit.
Hampi: Legends of the Fall
One of the most spectacular compound of monuments, Hampi is reminiscent of a flourishing medieval Indian Hindu empire is a place of wonder. The complex made of a number of Hindu and Jain temples looks majestic, exhibiting the magnificence of the glorious Vijayanagara Empire of lore. There is a market outside the main structures known as the Hampi Bazaar, which has a number of small shops, restaurants, lodges which prevail, overlooked by the grand edifice of Virupaksha Temple. One cannot sightsee Hampi in one go, thus visitors may need to spend a day or two a get a whole feel of the town and enjoy its ambiance.
Sikkim: India’s Best kept Secret
A tiny, picturesque state, sandwiched between Nepal in the west and Bhutan in the east, Sikkim is a haven for tourists traveling to North East. For most of its history, Sikkim remained a remote and isolated region, largely influenced by the Tibetan Buddhist culture and accommodating a number of monasteries and Hindu temples. The state now has a pre-dominantly Hindu population with majority of Nepali speaking inhabitants who are particularly patriotic and jealous about their homeland. There is a good scope for a number of tourist activities, the most highlighting is the Nathu-La, the natural route and border between India and China, the lies 56 km from Sikkim’s capital Gangtok. Besides there are monasteries, scenic lakes, urban malls and restaurants that furnishes a lot of dimension for enjoyment and fun.
Rann of Kutch: The Vast Nothingness
An astonishing natural tract of land spreading in a vast expanse, The Great Rann of Kutch is an immense marshland and the world’s largest salt desert. During monsoons, it is completely covered with sea water and remains submerged. However, during winters, the pristine natural beauty of the place emerges and The Rann gets transformed into stunning white glory especially majestic during the full moon. Besides the village of Kutch hosts a number of different tribal groups who create a different colorful embroidery and fabrics with exotic mirror-work and other textiles offering a wonderful attractions for the tourists acquainting them with the local life. The best time to visit this region is during annual Rann Mahotsav when this entire region comes alive with spirit of festivities and cultural extravaganza.
Ooty: Queen of the Southern Hills
Christened to be the “Queen of Hill Stations” the upper Ooty is a lovely, scenic and romantic hill town with a cool and frosty ambience with pleasant gardens, beautiful British-Era buildings and bungalows. Enveloped in a thick swarm of pine with roads crisscrossing through its terrain, Ooty has an old, nostalgic charm that exudes a cozy, soft feeling. It was initially established to be the summer capital of the Madras government that provided a much-needed relief from the hot, burning plains of the Tamil country. Now a popular hill destination, the journey leading up to the town is covered in the special toy train that leads through wonderful scenery and scenic landscapes. Ooty is also one of the top places to go for honeymoon in India.
Pondicherry: Savor the Colonial Charm
Pondicherry or now renamed Puducherry was the capital of French in India during their heyday. Getting inside the town, one can see a considerable French influence in the streets, houses and neighborhood, especially in old Puducherry. The new part of the town has more Tamil preponderance and is generally more cluttered and chaotic. Puducherry has a number of elegant buildings like churches, townhouses, public buildings constructed in typical imperial style that looks dreamy and enchanting. One of the main attraction of the town is the famous Aurobindo Ashram and its branch, just outside, in Auroville, that draws a number of people and seekers from around the world.
Jodhpur: The Blue City
Elegant and beautiful, called the “Blue City”, Jodhpur is a chaotic and crowded, though inviting town, lying 340km south-west of Jaipur. The foundations of Jodhpur were laid in 1459 by Rao Jodha, who was a Rajput Chief. After conquering neighboring areas, he founded the city as the capital of his kingdom of Marwar. Later on Marwar went on to become an important kingdom during the medieval times. Vibrant with the typical Rajasthani culture, the center of attraction is the mighty and majestic Mehrangarh fort that overlooks the city at one corner. Down the main city is bustling with traffic, noise, chaos and pollution, characteristic of old cities finding to adjust with modernity. Visitors can enjoy trek along its confusing alleys and will find the colorful and dynamic life particularly attracting.
Mumbai: The City of Dreams is One of Top Places to visit in India
Bustling with life, full of energy, dreams, drama, fashion, style, poverty, affluence, business, industry, finance, achievements and failures. Mumbai is “the maximum city” as well as one of the most popular places to visit in India. It is its financial powerhouse and its entertainment hub and one of the most diverse cosmopolitan cities. Turning aside its maddening crowd and all the hustle, one can have a look at its elegant colonial architecture, poke into its unique street food and try to soak in to its distinct and characteristic way of life. But the city is dominating. One needs a tremendous amount of stamina and perseverance to get along the pace, to endure its killing humidity, traffic and crowd. But Mumbai is sure to take your heart away. It has an element of charm that is magnetic, something exclusive that captures the imagination. For rest, you have to experience it yourself!
Mysore (Mysuru): The Sandalwood City
A traditional and elegant place to be, hosting a stunning royal heritage and home to the famous palace, Mysore has an ambiance that is captivating for a discerning tourist. Besides the monumental glory, Mysore stands as an important center for silk production, incense and sandalwood. Thus, there is a scope for exploring and experiencing the city with its markets, people and also an international yoga center that is quickly becoming a major draw. For cultural interaction, this city is best visited during the annual fest of Mysore Dasara which is celebrated with great fervor.
Ranthambore National Park: The Wild Encounters
One of best sites to grab a look for tigers in India is the Ranthambore National Park. Located about 10 km from Sawai Madhopur, the park is an expansive stretch of 1334 sq. km that also includes in its embrace the 10th century Ranthambore Fort. The park, along with about 48 tigers also hosts other species including chital, leopard, jackals, nilgai, and jungle cats, in addition to a large variety of birds. Ranthambore remains abuzz with tourists throughout the year (when it is open), especially the arrival of travelers in winters is quite persistent. There is a good option for accommodation along the main road, letting the tourists enjoy a comfortable and cherishing stay.
Manali: Romance of the Hills
An all season destination, Manali has long endured the distinction of being one of the top tourist places to visit in India. Situated strategically in beautiful Beas River Valley, Manali is surrounded by a rich and panoramic view of snow-capped peaks with magnificent gush of Beas flowing through its center. Manali satisfies travel itch of every kind. While adventure tourists can relish in heart-pumping adventure sports activities like paragliding, rafting, mountain bike, trekking, climbing, skiing and canyoning, the more relaxed ones can revel in the cool airs, stunning views and shopping malls. Although main Manali has become a bit chaotic and overcrowded, visitors who want to unwind in a cool and calming spot can choose the Village of Vashisht or Old Manali. Manali is also a popular destination for honeymoon in North India.
Darjeeling: Of Tea and Toy Train
A cool and quintessential colonial era hill town, Darjeeling is West Bengal’s charm and prized tourist spot. With the spectacular view of Kanchenjunga on the Northern side, the place has some remarkable attractions including a number of Buddhist Monasteries, elegant colonial styled buildings and a zoo with exotic species such as snow leopards, red pandas etc. Darjeeling is also India’s major tea growing center with expansive lush green tea gardens adorning the area. A visitor can enjoy Darjeeling’s vibrant and urbane ambience in addition to a number of excellent restaurants, shopping centers, bustling streets and a beautiful toy train – which has been inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO – winding through the town. A pleasant spot to spend some quality moments, the best time to visit Darjeeling is between October to May when the flooding rains hitting the town can be best avoided.
Gulmarg: Meadow of Flowers
Literally meaning to be the “flower meadow”, Gulmarg is a beautiful hill town located about 56 km north east of Srinagar. Gulmarg, used to be one of the most visited tourist spot in olden times. It still retains some of that charm. The meadow is pretty broad and lush that offers ample scope for fun and adventure activities including also the world’s highest golf course. Tourists can ascend some of the beautiful pine slopes that also affords them the view of Nanga Parbat that lies in the Pakistani controlled region of Kashmir. Moreover, in winters these slopes host a skiing and other fun activities including zorbing and pony rides.
Amritsar: The Golden City
The holiest city for Sikhs, Amritsar is home to The Golden Temple, the center of the religion and one of the most visited place of pilgrimage. The city is said to have been founded by Guru Ramdas, the forth Sikh guru in 1577 and hence it’s also called Ramdaspur. Amritsar is divided into two parts, the old city and the new one. The old city, the area in and around The Golden Temple is a busy, overcrowded networks of narrow streets and alleys, where one will find colorful bazaars with huddled shops selling various items. Other main attractions around is the Jallianwala Bagh, the site of the infamous mass massacre of Indians during the British Rule and Wagah Border, definitive border between India and Pakistan and also a spot of an exotic evening ceremony by the two armies.
Kanyakumari: Tip of the Nation
The end of the Indian subcontinent, Kanyakumari or Cape Comorin is the last station of India beyond which lies the waters, the majestic site of intermixing of Arabian Sea, The Bay of Bengal and The Indian Ocean. There is something magical about this place, especially when during clear skies of April, one can watch the rising and setting of Sun from the same horizon. The place draws a growing number of pilgrims and tourists every year, most of whom are just curious to see India’s end. Otherwise, there is a temple dedicated to the local virgin Goddess, Devi Kanyakumari and Vivekananda Memorial, where Swami Vivekananda is said to have attained enlightenment, which attracts a number of visitors.
Dalhousie: A Verdant Paradise
A small hill station serving as a summer retreat for the erstwhile British Raj, Dalhousie is cool and peaceful town spread over and extent of five hills. The station was founded by Lord Dalhousie in 1854 from the ruler of Chamba and was developed into one of favorite destinations for spending summer vacations. The place has a number of colonial style buildings, beautiful busy streets and lanes and fascinating and panoramic views of the hill side that are major attractions. It remains one of the favorite destinations for couples and honeymooners.
Auli: Footloose in Himalayas
Auli is one of the most important and popular skiing resorts in India, located just 14 km from Joshimath. Blessed with sufficient snow, the situation of Auli is perfect, lying in an awesome blanket of awesomely picturesque and panoramic view of Himalayan peaks like Nanda Devi. Auli is visited by many foreigners and international sports people for the thoroughly enjoyable experience that it offers. A 500km ski-lift and 800m chair lift connect the upper and lower slopes that gives plenty of scope for the thrill. The best time to visit Auli is all through the year except in monsoons when the place experiences heavy rainfall. If you are a ski enthusiast, Auli is definitely one of the best tourist places in India to travel to between December till March.
Kausani: Honeymooner’s Paradise
Subdued in a relaxing, peaceful environment with a picturesque panoramic view, Kasauni is quickly becoming a frequented tourist destination for travelers, both local and international. The expansive, cool and wooded valleys with an amazing backdrop of snow-capped hills provided a pleasing experience whereas the ashram of Mahatma Gandhi, the temple of Baijanath and the site of Bageshwar offers sightseeing for visitors. The place also has good accommodation facilities that helps to make this soothing journey worth taking. When it comes to honeymoon, Kausani with its scenic surroundings, spectacular views of Himalayas and serene ambience is one of the top places to visit in India.