India is an enormous and diverse destination. Bordered by Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar, to not mention the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, means there are various sides to the country.
More than 20 official languages, multiple religions and a range of cuisines exist within India’s borders. To truly experience the breadth of Indian culture and history, travel is vital. Head to as many of those best places to go to in Indias as your itinerary allows.
In the southern tip of India, you’ll find the beautiful city of Mysore. Once the capital of the Wodeyar dynasty, Mysore is best known for housing the magnificent Mysore Palace. The palace is that the epitome of opulence, and a tour through the structure will reveal upscale touches like carved rosewood doors, ceilings decorated in ivory and countless paintings on the walls. If you’re in Mysore, you won’t want to miss the incredible Devaraja Market, outdoor experience on Dhanwanthri Road where you can buy some chai tea and then browse stalls offering produce or sandalwood carvings.
In the northern province of Punjab is Amritsar, a Holy City and a mecca for the Sikh religion. The main attraction in Amritsar is the Golden Temple, also called the Harmandir Sahib. Built over 400 years ago, this temple truly is golden, and it's always full of Sikhs visiting from around India and also the rest of the globe. You can tour the Golden Temple regardless of religion, but you got to show respect by covering your head and removing your shoes. Enter the temple through the Ghanta Ghar, the main entrance, and admire the Amrit Sarovar, a pool surrounding the temple where pilgrims bathe.
In northernmost India, in the heavily disputed Kashmir region, is the mountainous destination of Ladakh. This region is large, but it has a low population density and several nomadic residents. Breathtaking, pristine scenery is a major draw to the area, but virtually all travellers will also spend time in the town of Leh. The town is located at a really high elevation, and it's also home to the 17th century Palace of the King of Ladakh. Buddhist culture also very prominent in Leh, and you may wish to explore some of the numerous Buddhist monasteries and temples within the Old Town.
7. Goa Beaches
On the western coast of India is Goa, a former colony of Portugal that blends Indian culture with colonial influences and plenty of international tourism. Goa is popular largely due to its spectacular beaches. The busiest and most popular of all is Candolim Beach, where travellers from around the world flock to soak up the sun. Anjuna Beach, by contrast, is far less crowded. It is also an incredible place where you can walk to Chapora Fort and admire the sandy coastline from a brand new perspective. Palolem is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Goa with it’s a natural bay surrounded by lofty headlands on either side. Goa is widely loved by adventurers, and recreational activities are plentiful for those looking forward to some fun beneath the sun.
If you’re spending any time in Northern India, you'll certainly visit the capital city of Delhi. The enormous sprawling destination is home to several districts, and it is considered to be one of the oldest cities in the world. One of the highest sights in Delhi is of the Red Fort, or Lal Qila, which was built in the 17th century. The Red Fort is made from sandstone, and you'll be able to walk through its Lahore Gate, into the bazaar, through the jewel palace and even into the former residence of the sultan. While in Delhi, you must also make time for the various museums and religious structures that make up the city.
India may be a land of cultures, religions and spirituality, therefore, an Indian exploration remains incomplete without a visit to the Celestial City of Varanasi. Also known as the city of ‘Moksha’, the place holds a great religious significance for Hindus. Situated on the banks of sacred river Ganga, the town is believed to be over 5000 years old. Bustling with enchanting ancient temples and holy Ghats crowded with people performing various rituals and prayers, Varanasi makes for an ultimate spiritual travel destinations India. From paying homage to Lord Shiva in the famous ‘Kashi Vishwanath Temple’, taking a dip in holy waters of river Ganga absolving your sins, revelling in the spiritual aura of the divine Ganga Aarti during evenings on the ‘Dasaswamedha Ghat’, taking a walk along the Ghats watching life flow by, exploring the chaotic and vibrant streets teeming with life to gorging on its delicious ‘Benaras ki Chaat’ or indulging in a very unique shopping experience of musical instruments and world-renowned ‘Benarasi Silk Sarees’; Varanasi is indeed a fantastic place to visit in India.
Also referred to as the ‘Land of Golden Sand’, Jaisalmer in Rajasthan is a beautiful city known for its rich cultural heritage and stories of bravery and chivalry of the great Rajput rulers. An exotic city set amidst endless stretches of golden Thar Desert, Jaisalmer spells a magnetic pull at travellers sitting in several corners of the globe. Be it the magnificence of the ‘Sonar Quila’ or the ‘Jaisalmer Fort’ beaming in its full glory, the magical charisma of the ancient ‘Salim Ji ki Haveli‘, ‘Nathmal Ji ki Haveli‘ and ‘Patwon-ki-Haveli‘ reminding us of the royal grandeur of erstwhile wealthy Rajput merchants, an enthralling experience of ‘Sand Dune Bashing’, rustic charm of a ‘Camel Safari’ exploring infinite stretches of golden sand or an unforgettable culinary experience of authentic Rajasthani cuisine; Jaisalmer impresses it's every visitor with an extensive range of cultural offerings.
The annual ‘Jaisalmer Desert Festival‘ is definitely a visual treat to eyes and it makes much sense to plan for a vacation trip to Jaisalmer during this festival. Folk dances, cultural musical performances, campfires under the open starlit sky, enthralling camel shows, local hats selling exquisite jewellery and handicrafts; exuberance and vivaciousness of this gala event can be seen at every nook and corner of the city. One of the foremost colourful and vibrant places, Jaisalmer, needless to say, is one among the foremost striking places to go to in India.
3. Rann of Kutch
An enormous stretch of a white salt that is submerged underwater for 4 months in a year, the great Rann of Kutch in Gujarat is an incredible place to visit in India. With its astounding natural beauty, the world’s one of the best salt desert is swarmed by an endless number of tourists each year, especially during the famous ‘Rann Utsav’ when the white canvas gets painted into different hues and shades. Live ethnic music and dance performances, camel safaris, traditional tent stay and a delicious Kutch cuisine make this experience an unforgettable one for each visitor. From walking along vast stretches of white getting a glimpse of the salt-making process, watching colourful migratory birds in the Chhari Dhand Bird Sanctuary, getting breath-taking views of the infinite expanse of the Rann from ‘Kala Dungar’ to seeing the artisans creating magic with their hands making exquisite embroidery pieces; a visit to Rann of Kutch is actually an eye-opener. What adds to the charm of this memorable trip may be a stay in traditional ‘Bhungas’ or cylindrical shaped huts with conical roofs within the enchanting ‘Hodka Village’ nearby. Providing you with a feel of rustic village life, these huts are beautifully decorated with traditional mirror work patterns and delicate latticework. During the night, enjoy a bonfire and watch a folk dance performance under the moonlit sky relishing on the tasty and spicy home-made Kutch delicacies.
2. Aurangabad – Ajanta Ellora Caves
Dotted with many ancient monuments, Aurangabad is a historical city located in Maharashtra. A city ruled by several dynasties in the past, today boasts of its rich heritage with its architectural marvels reminding the tales of its reigning dynasties. Mostly famed for its stunning Buddhist cave paintings of Ajanta and Ellora, a world heritage site, Aurangabad is visited by many national and international tourists throughout the year for many other reasons too. The magnificent ‘Bibi ka Maqbara’ reflecting the architecture of iconic ‘Taj’ and houses the tomb of Aurangzeb’s wife, Begum Rabia attracts many historians, architects and art lovers. The fortified city’s rich and alluring gates like ‘Kala Darwaza’ and ‘Rangeen Darwaza’ adorned with intricate carvings provide you a sneak peek into the artistic skills of the artisans and craftsmen of the bygone era.
The city’s one of its kind cultural fiesta of ‘Ellora Ajanta Festival’ showcasing the talent of a number of dancers and musicians across the country in the backdrop of illuminated 1400 years old caves adds to the charm of this historic city and provides another reason to art lovers for a visit to Aurangabad.
When in Aurangabad, don't give a miss to the lifetime opportunity of adding to your wardrobe, a traditional and exquisite collection of fine hand-woven Himroo and Paithani silk, an exotic speciality of Aurangabad.