India is one of those countries that find upon every traveler’s bucket list at some time. It is deeply traditional yet continually unanticipated. They might fantasize about visiting Agra to see the Taj Mahal in all its splendor or touring the royal palaces that dot Rajasthan. Others are drawn to the jaw-dropping vistas of Darjeeling and Rishikesh, as well as Goa’s postcard-perfect beaches.
There are also India’s major cities, which include New Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata, each with its own distinct personality. It’s impossible to get bored touring India’s largest cities’ temples, markets, and colorful streets. The most difficult aspect of planning a trip to India is deciding what to see.
Plan your adventure with this list of the greatest places to visit in India, whether you’re going on an epic backpacking trip or a luxurious holiday.
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Taj Mahal in Agra
The Taj Mahal, if there was only one symbol to represent India, it would be it. Millions of tourists visit Agra every year, waking up before dawn to watch the monument’s spectacular splendor sparkle at sunrise. However, Agra is the ideal destination to visit in India for reasons that go beyond the country’s most well-known sight.
The city of Uttar Pradesh is home to a plethora of magnificent Mughal structures, including Itimad-ud-Tomb Daulah’s and Akbar’s Mausoleum, both of which are covered in mesmerizing inlaid marble decorations from top to end. Tourists can also holiday the Agra Fort, which is a UNESCO World Tradition Site. Agra is a must-see city for travelers in India since it contains so many wonders in one location.
2. New Delhi
Despite the congestion and turmoil, New Delhi has a lot to offer guests. The exciting Indian capital is the ideal blend of ritual and freshness. The Jama Masjid, Red Fort, and Chandni Chowk retail district are among the country’s most prized landmarks in Old Delhi. Tourists can, however, visit a Plethora of other spiritual and cultural places around the huge metropolis.
The Lotus Temple, India Gate, Humayun’s Tomb, and Qutub Minar, India’s highest tower, are among popular tourist attractions in New Delhi. Spend your days wandering around these fascinating locations and replenishing at street-side Chai vendors and High-end eateries.
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Do you want to see India from a more cosmopolitan perspective? Travel to Mumbai, a vibrant coastal metropolis that is home to ultra-wealthy entrepreneurs and Bollywood’s hottest actors. In this opulent metropolis, visitors will never be far from a five-star hotel or a gourmet restaurant. Even if those activities are out of your price variety, a cruise down Marine Drive will make you sensation like royals as you take in the views of the attractive coast and opulent Art Deco edifices.
In the bustling “Thieves Market” or at the Churchgate train station, where hundreds of thousands of handmade lunches are packed and delivered to the city’s office workers every day, you may experience a more true, local side of Mumbai.
Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Mumbai
Rajasthan, which means “Land of Kings,” is brimming with relics of past kings and queens. With its glistening palaces, towering forts, and vibrant festivals, this western state deserves to be the star of your India vacation.
One of the best sites to visit in Rajasthan is Jaipur, which is part of the Golden Triangle Tourist Circuit, which also includes Agra and New Delhi. It’s regarded as “India’s Paris” because of its distinctive pink architecture, magnificent City Palace, and a plethora of diamond stores.
The hilltop Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur’s “Blue City” provides guests with an equally amazing experience.
With its flower-lined avenues and magnificent City Palace Complex, where the royal family still resides, Udaipur exudes romanticism.
With its yellow sandstone castles and antique Havelis, Jaisalmer appears like something out of an Arabian Nights fairy tale come to reality (mansions). Rajasthan’s allure will enchant you no matter where you wind up in this desert state.
Since the late 1960s, when the Beatles visited Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram—now an abandoned site that has become an off-the-beaten-path tourist destination for fans—Rishikesh has been on the radar for spiritually-minded tourists.
The town is located in the Himalayan foothills on the banks of the sacred Ganges River, and it is a popular destination for yoga and pilgrimages. Take part in the action or simply enjoy the sounds of the temple bells and the views from it has two suspension bridges, which are frequently patrolled by aggressive monkey families. Maintain a benign distance.
Varanasi is India’s holiest city and one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. Pilgrims wash and mourning bury recently deceased relatives in full view of onlookers near the hallowed Ganges River.
Tourists, on the other hand, find their own kind of spirituality by going on sunrise boat excursions, releasing floating floral blessings, and attending Hindu chanting sessions from the steep ghats.
Away from the river, the ancient town’s streets twist and curve like a never-ending maze. Legend has it that there is still no exact map of It, and you’ll believe it until you’ve seen the labyrinthine city for yourself.
The Golden Temple in Amritsar
Amritsar, known as the “Jewel of Punjab,” is known for its magnificent Golden Temple. The gilded edifice, which glistens in the sun and reflects into the enormous pool that surrounds it, is one of the holiest places in the world for Sikhs.
The site also has the world’s largest community kitchen, which serves lentils and curries to 100,000 customers (including curious tourists!) every day.
India isn’t just about huge cities and holy places; it also offers some of the best beaches in the world in Goa. Its golden sand beaches along the Arabian Sea have something to offer everyone, whether you want to hang out with the backpackers in laid-back beach huts or have a ritzy tropical escape in a five-star choice Goa’s blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures is one of its most distinctive features. From the destination’s Baroque architecture and cathedrals to its fiery vindaloo curries and seafood delicacies, you’ll notice the blend.
In Kerala, you’ll exchange beaches for quiet backwaters if you travel south of Goa. Nothing compares to boarding a traditional thatched-top houseboat in Alleppey (also known as Alappuzha) and quietly floating through palm-fringed lagoons and rivers, whether for a day excursion or an overnight expedition. On the water, you’ll be treated to freshly prepared Indian cuisine as well as breathtakingly magnificent natural scenery and fauna.
Kerala is a breath of fresh air after the heaviness of cities like New Delhi and Jaipur in the north. When you need a respite from the chaos, set aside some time here.
10. Ajanta and Ellora Caves
Travelers may not be able to travel back in time, but the Ajanta and Ellora Caves in Maharashtra can come close. The caves, which are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, have complex sculptures dating back at least 1,500 years.
The Ajanta Caves are the more ancient of the two sights, with roughly 30 Buddhist cave monuments carved into the rock dating back to the second century BC.
Nearly three dozen Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu carvings can be seen in the Ellora Caves, the most notable of which is the Kailasa Temple (Cave 16), a gigantic monument dedicated to Lord Shiva with life-size elephant figures. The amazing carvings at both locations will leave you speechless.
In India, it doesn’t get much better than what you’ll find in Darjeeling when it comes to sightseeing. The West Bengal hill region is known for its lush green tea plantations, breathtaking snow–capped peaks (including Khangchendzonga, the world’s third-highest summit), and peaceful Buddhist friaries. This is the ideal location for a mountain walk or mountain bike excursion.
Taking a ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is one of the most popular things to do in Darjeeling. The 140-year-old “Toy Train,” which is powered by an antiquated steam locomotive, takes tourists on two-hour joy journeys from Darjeeling to Ghum—a journey that is consistently ranked as one of the most scenic trains rides in the world.
Kolkata, India’s third-largest city, is a crumbling British India masterpiece rich with colonial-era architecture. The Victoria Memorial, a white marble monument with a museum and dozens of galleries, and Park Street, a popular street with stores and restaurants that bustle 24/7, especially during the holidays, are two of the top things to do in Kolkata.
Kolkata, on the other hand, is as much about the sights as it is about the feelings. This is a city that will elicit every single one of your emotions, with life’s highs and lows on display on every street. Prepare yourself and be ready to be surprised.
Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s main city, is a raucous, overpowering metropolis that manages to entice guests. Ahmedabad, India’s first UNESCO World Heritage City, was awarded the status in 2017 for its magnificent architecture, walls and gates, and prominent Hindu and Jain temples.
Sabarmati Ashram, Gandhi’s headquarters from 1917 until 1930, is located on the western bank of the Sabarmati River. Its museum features a display of the Indian hero’s distinctive spectacles and spinning wheel, as well as information about his life. While you’re in town, try some of the city’s street food, which is said to be the greatest in India.
When the temperatures in New Delhi and other cities in North India reach dangerously high levels, visitors and locals alike go to the hill stations, the most prominent of which is Shimla. The cool breezes and forested hillsides provide a welcome respite from the heat, as well as a peaceful setting to spend a weekend or longer. The ambiance is just as nice in the mountainous center section of town, where driving is prohibited, as it is in the picturesque surroundings.
Make a reservation on the Kalka-Shimla Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while you’re in the area. The Ninety-six-kilometer railroad, which has been in operation for more than a century, is known for its breathtaking scenery and real vintage experience.
South India, despite its cultural differences, is just as enticing as the north—just go to Mysore to witness for yourself. Karnataka’s third-largest city is known as the state’s cultural capital, known for its high-quality silk, Mysore painting history, and mesmerizing Hindu temples with deity carvings that reach almost to the clouds.
Most visitors come to Mysore to see the palace, which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With limitless mirrored decor, stained-glass windows, carved wooden doors, and beautiful mosaic flooring that look like the inside of a kaleidoscope, this attraction elevates Indian grandeur to new heights. The palace is regarded as one of the best examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture in the country. Make a point of stopping by at night to see the castle illuminated up with thousands of twinkle lights.