Top 10 Must-visit Destinations in India
India is a vast land of cultural, linguistic, and geographical diversity. On the north, the Himalayas border the country, the west has deserts and salt plains, while the east has lush tropical terrain. The southern peninsula is harboured by a coastline that stretches about 6100 km.
In short, any person visiting India is bound to witness picturesque hill stations, pristine beaches, verdant forests, tranquil lakes, spiritual towns, and remnants of historical kingdoms. There is a plethora of places to visit and things to experience in India.
To solve the confusion, here are the top 10 places to visit in India that will help you cover the best of the country .
Agra brings to your mind a serene image of the Taj Mahal sitting on the banks of Yamuna. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Queen Mumtaz Mahal, The Taj Mahal is internationally famous as the home to one of the 'Seven Wonders of the World.' However, that is not the only monument that the city has to offer to tourists. Agra is a testament to many other legacies of the Mughal Empire, like the UNESCO World Heritage Sites Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. The city has many historical and architectural splendours, like mausoleums, palaces, and Persian gardens. Agra also has vibrant local markets and mouthwatering foods, like the infamous petha.
Best Time to Visit: November to March.
Key Attractions: Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Akbar's Tomb, Itmad-ud-Daula's Tomb, Mehtab Bagh, Taj Museum, Jama Masjid, and Chini-ka-Rauza.
Nearest Airport: Agra Airport, Delhi Airport.
Nearest Railway Station: Agra City, Agra Fort, Agra Cantonment, and Idgah Railway Station.
Rajasthan is the land of erstwhile Rajput Kingdoms, filled with architectural wonders and sneak peeks of an opulent historical period. But along with monuments like hill forts and palaces, the state is gifted with natural bounties like deserts, lakes, and rocky mountains. Rajasthan also beckons wildlife enthusiasts to Ranthambore and Keoladeo National Park. Lip-smacking foods like Dal baati churma, Laal Mans, and Ghevar draw in travellers from India and abroad. Among the must-visit cities are Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Chittorgarh, and Pushkar.
Best Time to Visit: October to February.
Key Attractions: Amer Fort (Jaipur), Hawa Mahal (Jaipur), Nahargarh Fort (Jaipur), Mehrangarh Fort (Jodhpur), City Palace (Udaipur), Lake Pichola (Udaipur), Lake Palace (Udaipur), Jaisalmer Fort, Thar Desert, Pushkar, and Chittorgarh Fort.
Nearest Airport: Jaipur Airport, Udaipur Airport, Jodhpur Airport, Jaisalmer Airport.
Nearest Railway Station: Jaipur Junction, Jodhpur Junction, Udaipur City, Ajmer Junction, Bikaner Junction, and Jaisalmer Railway Station.
Ladakh is an adventure destination in India, renowned for its unique moon-like landscape. The topography varies from rugged high-altitude mountains to azure blue lakes to dunes of a cold desert. The terrain is ideal for bike rides, road trips, and thrilling treks like the Chadar Trek over the frozen Zanskar River during winter. The locals practice Buddhism, so along with natural beauty, Ladakh is sought after for the monasteries and the spiritual aura. The culture is similar to Tibet's, with the region celebrating many vibrant festivals like the Hemis Festival, Losar Festival, and Ladakh Festival.
Best Time to Visit: May to September.
Key Attractions: Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, Khardung La, Pangong Tso, Nubra Valley, Diskit Gompa, Tso Moriri, Thiksey Monastery, Lamayuru Monastery, Shey Monastery, and the Confluence of Indus and Zanskar River.
Nearest Airport: Leh Airport, Srinagar Airport.
Nearest Railway Station: Jammu Tawi Railway Station.
Kerala is the top getaway for de-stressing and rejuvenation in India. One can seek relaxation either on a houseboat cruising on Vembanad Lake or by signing up for ayurvedic therapies. The state has something for every traveller, from tranquil backwaters to beaches to lush forests and rolling hills. Among the unmissable places are the Alleppey and Kumarakom backwaters, the tea gardens of Munnar, and the colonial charms of Fort Kochi. The people are friendly and helpful, and the foods, like appam, Malabar parotta, and Karimeen Pollichathu, are rustic and flavorful.
Best Time to Visit: September to March.
Key Attractions: Fort Kochi, Alleppey, Kumarakom, Periyar National Park, Munnar, Varkala, Kovalam, Vagamon, and Bekal Fort.
Nearest Airport: Kochi Airport, Trivandrum Airport.
Nearest Railway Station: Ernakulam Railway Station.
The state of Goa is famous for its 106 km-long coastlines. There is a hippie vibe in its sun-kissed beaches, beach shacks, flea markets, and bohemian beach parties. The laid-back lifestyle is called Susegad, a concept associated with Goans' relaxed attitude towards life. This chill atmosphere is what pulls both domestic and international travellers to Goa. This western state of India is a favourite of tourists year-round, especially during the Christmas and New Year celebrations. However, a visit during the monsoons can reward you with lush greenery and a chance to interact with the locals and participate in festivals like Sao Joao.
Best Time to Visit: November to February.
Key Attractions: Aguada Fort, Chapora Fort, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se Cathedral, Calangute Beach, Baga Beach, Vagator Beach, Anjuna Beach, Dona Paula, and Dudhsagar Falls.
Nearest Airport: Dabolim Airport.
Nearest Railway Station: Margao and Vasco-da-Gama Railway Station.
Amritsar is a spiritual destination, home to the famous Golden Temple or Gurudwara Harmandir Sahib in Punjab. The city is also historically significant as a part of India's freedom movement. The bullet holes on the walls of Jallianwala Bagh pose as a reminder of the sacrifices made by the city's people in 1919. The lowering of the flags ceremony at the Attari-Wagah border by the security forces of India (BSF) and Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers) is another spectacle worth watching in Amritsar. The city is also a food lover's paradise. Take your pick from Amritsari kulchas, lassi, kulfi, or delectable jalebis.
Best Time to Visit: November to March.
Key Attractions: Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh, Partition Museum, Attari-Wagah Border, and Gobindgarh Fort.
Nearest Airport: Amritsar Airport.
Nearest Railway Station: Amritsar Junction Railway Station.
Varanasi is one of the most ancient cities in India. Also known as Benaras or Kashi, the city has historical and religious significance. It sits on the bank of the River Ganges and is known for its ghats, temples, and Hindu cremation rituals. Here, one can walk from Assi Ghat to Manikarnika ghat or ride a boat on the Ganges to watch sunrise or sunset. Tourists can also witness the famous Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat every evening. The city's gastronomical delights include Malaiyyo and Tamatar Chaat. Banarasi Silk Sarees are a great choice to carry back a handloom souvenir.
Best Time to Visit: November to March.
Key Attractions: Dashashwamedh Ghat, Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Manikarnika Ghat, Assi Ghat, Ramgarh Fort, Darbhanga Ghat, Rana Mahal Ghat, and Sarnath.
Nearest Airport: Varanasi Airport.
Nearest Railway Station: Varanasi Junction and Mughalsarai Junction Railway Station.
Sikkim is a mountain state in eastern India known for its natural beauty and tranquillity. The state is a treasure trove for nature lovers, offering snow-capped mountain peaks and majestic lakes like the Gurudongmar and Tsomgo. There are charming hill stations like Gangtok, Pelling, Ravangla, and Yuksom. Timing your trip during the appropriate season can even reward you with meadows of Yumthang valley blooming with exotic rhododendrons. Sikkim is also home to many Buddhist monasteries and stupas. Momos, Sha Faley, and Thukpa are some of its culinary offerings.
Best Time to Visit: March to May, October to December.
Key Attractions: Gangtok, Rumtek Monastery, Nathula, Tsomgo Lake, Pelling, Ravangla, Namchi, Yumthang Valley, and Gurudongmar Lake.
Nearest Airport: Pakyong Airport, Bagdogra Airport.
Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP).
Hampi in current-day Karnataka was once the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. The town is famous for its archaeological ruins, sitting on rugged terrain with massive boulders. There are remnants of many temples, palaces, markets, and monuments. Hampi is like an open-air museum, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The most iconic monument of Hampi is a Stone Chariot in the courtyard of Vijaya Vittala Temple. The River Tungabhadra divides the town into two parts, with the other side of Hampi dominated by craggy peaks and lush paddy fields.
Best Time to Visit: October-February.
Key Attractions: Virupaksha Temple, Shree Vijaya Vitthala Temple, Stone Chariot, Lotus Mahal, Elephant Stables, Queen's Bath, Matanga Hill, Zanana Enclosure, and Achyutaraya Temple.
Nearest Airport: Hubbali Airport, Bangalore Airport.
Nearest Railway Station: Hospet Junction Railway Station.
Pondicherry is a Union Territory of India and a former French colony. It is formally known as Puducherry and casually called Pondy by its residents and visitors. Pondicherry is one of the best places in India to see French architecture and cultural influence. The French Quarter of Pondicherry has arrays of buildings painted in various shades of yellow, making it look like a fairy-tale town. The cosy cafes offer French cuisines, stores have a bohemian vibe, and streets are pedestrian and bicycle friendly. The stunning seaside promenade is like a cherry on top.
Best Time to Visit: October to March.
Key Attractions: Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville, Paradise Beach, Seaside Promenade, Auroville Beach, Pondicherry Lighthouse, Mahatma Gandhi Statue, and French War Memorial.
Nearest Airport: Puducherry Airport.
Nearest Railway Station: Villupuram Junction, Puducherry railway station.