India is a country with diverse geography, varied religion, and cultural heritage, a legion of historical monuments and some of the magnificent ancient temples and bustling metropolitan cities. Exploring every part of India is practically impossible and choosing the best places to visit in India a Herculean task!
This post gives you an idea of what different parts of India especially the states and major cities in India have to offer you and the top attractions in India which we believe will make your task of planning a vacation in India much easier and more unequivocal. Every State you plan to visit in India will offer you a myriad of attractions – history, architecture, nature and wildlife, food, religious places, shopping opportunities and much more.
Top Historical Places in India
The capital city of India Delhi has served as the capital of several empires in the past and is teeming with several historical sites and monuments. The city of Delhi is a melting pot of cultures, traditions, cuisines and architectural styles influenced by the several rulers who reigned the city. The Popular Historical Sites not to miss are Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Jama Masjid, Lodhi Garden and Jantar Mantar.
The state of Uttar Pradesh is popular for several pilgrim sites for Hindus as well as Buddhists, and historical monuments at Sarnath and the Lucknow city. While Varanasi, Mathura, Allahabad are prominent Hindu pilgrim, Kushinagar, Kapilvastu, and Sarnath are well-known pilgrim sites revered by the Buddhists. One of the wonders of the world which tops India attractions Taj Mahal is located in the city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh, the UNESCO heritage sites of Agra Fort, and the Fatehpur Sikri is also to be found in Uttar Pradesh.
The Madhya Pradesh state in central India is the land of rich history and cultural heritage. The world-famous Khajuraho temples, the majestic palaces and temples in Gwalior and the Buddhist monuments at Sanchi are ideal destinations for the history buffs.
The state of Orissa is popular for the splendid Jagannath temple at Puri, glorious Sun Temple of Konark and over 500 splendid ancient temples in Bhubaneshwar. Also popular in Bhubaneshwar are the remarkable stone carvings at the Udaigiri and Khandgiri caves which are major Buddhist destinations.
Punjab state is also known as the ‘The land of five rivers’. The major tourist destinations in Punjab is the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Punjab state is home to several pilgrim sites and historical sites, some of the popular places to visit in Punjab are the rock garden in Chandigarh, historical sites of Jallianwala Bagh One can also experience the flag-lowering ceremony at Wagah border (Indo-Pak Border) and shop for exquisite handicrafts and embroidery works.
The state of Tamilnadu boasts of magnificent ancient South Indian temples exemplary of Dravidian architecture and several other historical monuments of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram, Thanjavur, and Thiruvannamalai are few cities to name which has some of the most beautiful and intricately carved South Indian temples.
The state of Telangana is home to several historical forts, monuments, and some of the most beautiufl South Indian temples. The capital city Hyderabad is a popular tourist destination to explore the imperial history through forts and palaces, unmissable cuisine and shopping experience.
Andra Pradesh is popular as a religious pilgrim destinations for the presence of several ancient temples. The state also draws visitors for the gorgeous stretch of beaches and several natural and historical attractions like Undavalli caves the Belum Caves, picturesque valleys, and hills of the eastern ghats.
Rajasthan which literally means ‘Land of Kings’ is home to some of the magnificent forts, lavish palaces, exquisite ancient temples and rich cultural heritage which makes it one of the top tourist places in India.
Amidst the barren desert terrain of Jaisalmer and Bikaner rise, some of the magnificent forts and Imperial Havelis. The blue city Jodhpur is home to one of the largest and grandeur Mehrangarh Fort and Jaipur the pink city has several historical forts and monuments.
Amongst the things to do in Mumbai apart from the popular beaches, historic forts and shopping streets have majestic buildings from the colonial era and are exemplary architectural masterpieces that can be explored on the heritage walk.
Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand
While Himachal is home to several historical temples and oldest Buddhist monasteries Uttarakhand is known as the ‘Land of the Gods’ for the Hindu pilgrim shrines some of which are thousands of years old.
Apart from the exquisite Jain temples and pilgrim sites, forts and palaces the state is also home to some of the impressive historical sites like Rani ki Vav, Champaner Archaeological Park, Harappan site of Dholavira and Indus Valley civilization site of Lothal and much more.
The state has a legion of historical monuments, forts, ancient temples, and palaces.
Also worth exploring are the historical monuments, forts, and architecture of the traditional mansions from the Portuguese era.
The colonial-era buildings and monuments in the capital city Kolkatta will give you ample reasons to plan a visit to this city of culture and history.
Foodies Paradise in India
While the historical monuments are the top places to visit in Delhi one can indulge in street food. One can find small eateries and snack selling hawkers almost every corner of the street. Old Delhi is a popular hangout spot for foodies, here you will find a variety of food items from piping hot samosas, jalebis, to a myriad of chaats, Mughlai food items and more. The state of Bengal is famous for the Bengali sweets and the mouthwatering fish curries and fish fries. Goan cuisine comprises of seafood and dishes with prominent usage of coconut and coconut oil which should definitely be on your list for foodie destination.
When in Rajasthan indulge in the scrumptious local cuisine. Like Delhi, you will find small eateries and snack selling hawkers almost every corner of the street. But the one must try are the Rajasthani Thalis loaded with items from snacks to main course and sweets. Every city in Rajasthan serves its own special thali prepared with a touch of their local cuisines.
Best Places to Visit in India for Shopping
Delhi is a shoppers paradise with several traditional markets and shopping complexes. You will not fall short of things to buy in Rajasthan. Shop from elaborate handicraft and Rajasthani dresses, metal wares or leather items. Rajasthan offers its guests with loads of shopping opportunities. Mumbai is another city not to miss for the shopaholics. Huge malls, branded shops and numerous shopping streets in Mumbai offer a myriad of shopping opportunities for the visitors. The wide range of local arts and handicrafts in Goa including the Goan lace, bamboo and seashell crafts, sculpted woodwork make for great gifts and souvenirs.
Best Places in India for Scenic Landscapes
The states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are set in the region of Himalayas bestowing it with some of the scenic mountain towns and hill stations which have served as the popular summer destination in India for ages. Both the states are the natural treasure trove of flora and fauna with flower valleys, extensive orchards, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries which make one of the top India destinations. The lush green valleys and picturesque mountainous landscapes are popular for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, skiing, paragliding, and rafting.
The easternmost region of India comprises of the Seven Sister States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, and Sikkim. Visit Tawang monasteries in Arunachal one of the largest monasteries in the world, drink tea in the largest magnificent tea gardens of Assam, explore the exotic flora fauna in the national parks and wildlife reserves in Assam, Meghalaya, and Manipur. Explore the natural wonders of limestone caves, waterfalls, and rainforests. Marvel at the biggest river island Majuli and the Loktak Lake which is one of the largest freshwater lakes and the only Floating lake in the world.
The Karnataka state of India has a diverse geography that boasts of beautiful hill stations like Coorg and Chikmagalur and magnificent waterfalls. More than 300 km of coastline has some of the pristine beaches and quaint towns which can be best explored on a coastal road trip.
The Maharashtra state of India is known for the bustling city of Mumbai one of the famous places in India which is home to the Bollywood and one of the top tourist places in India. The western ghats in coastal Maharashtra turn lush and verdant during the monsoon forming gorgeous waterfalls and famous trekking spots.
Also not to miss are the rolling vineyards of Nashik which make for a great weekend getaway.
In Orissa, also worth visiting are the Chilka Lake Asia’s largest salt-water lagoon home to exotic flora and fauna and the gorgeous stretch of golden sandy beaches along the Bay of Bengal. Udaipur in Rajasthan has some of the gorgeous lakes
The northernmost state of India may be in news for wrong reasons of territorial conflict with neighboring countries and might often raise the question of safety but it is the most beautiful part of India. While the Jammu region is home to popular pilgrim destinations the Kashmir valley is the paradise of India and is most often compared to Switzerland.
The lush green valleys, snow-capped mountains and the houseboats in Dal Lake of Srinagar have been drawing visitors for decades. Ladakh region one of the most beautiful places in India has gained recent popularity thanks to some Bollywood movies, the region is laden with surreal mountainous landscapes and Buddhist monasteries. The road trip from Jammu to Ladakh offers with some of the spellbound vistas and hair-raising experiences.
The state of Tamilnadu is also home to some of the popular hill stations and coffee plantations which are ideal summer getaways. The several majestic waterfalls and beaches.
The Kerala state set along the Malabar Coast is popularly known as ‘God’s Own Country’ for its palm-fringed beaches, serene backwaters, undulating lush tea gardens, spice plantations, and wildlife sanctuaries.
Spend a day in houseboats sailing on the backwaters of Alleppey or Kumarakom devouring on delicious local cuisine or make a visit to the hill stations along the western ghats and explore the plantations, waterfalls and wildlife sanctuaries Kerala is an ideal holiday destination for a laid back experience. A visit to Kerala is incomplete without experiencing the benefits of traditional Ayurvedic spas.
West Bengal State, the birthplace of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore also draws visitors for the scenic hills stations, tea gardens, ample beaches along the coastline and numerous ancient temples.
Explore the Cultures and Festivals of India
The state of Gujarat is visited by millions of tourists every year for the ‘Rann Utsav‘ a carnival held in the white desert of Kutch from November to February and the popular Kite festival in the month of January. You should visit Kolkata City in West Bengal to marvel at the grand Durga puja during the Navratri. Also worth the visit is the Mysore Dussehra celebration that is celebrated on a grand scale in the Mysore City of Karnataka. Visit North East India to participate in the amazing traditional dances and indigenous festivals like Bihu and Hornbill. The grand scale festival of Kumbha Mela and Lathmar Holi celebrations in Barsana and Nandgaon villages near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh is a spectacular event.
Also Read: What to Wear in India
Visit for Nature and Wildlife
The Gir forest in Gujarat is home to the world-famous Asiatic Lions, hop onto a wildlife safari and explore the world of wildlife the Asiatic wild ass, hyenas, foxes, and exotic birds. Gujarati cuisine is mostly vegetarian, must try are the royal Gujarati Thalis. Ranthambore in Rajasthan is home to one of the largest national parks. Sundarbans in West Bengal should be on your list if you want to meet the majestic Bengal tigers.
While Karnataka is home to famous national parks like Bandipur National Park and the Nagarhole National Park, the large forested area of the state of Madhya Pradesh is home to some of the diverse flora and fauna which can be explored on a visit to Bandhavgarh National Park, Pench National parks or Kanha National Park. The state is also home to several gorgeous waterfalls, Bhimbetka Caves and Marble Rocks of Bhedaghat and several other natural wonders.
Best Beach Destinations in India
Andaman and Nicobar
One of the best holiday destinations in India the group islands in the Bay of Bengal has some of the beautiful beaches with crystal clear azure waters and serene shores great for a relaxed and laid back vacation. Adventurists head to this heavenly location for various water sports activities and experience the wonders of the underwater world with snorkeling and scuba diving. The heritage tours and museums offer an insight into the culture and past of these gorgeous islands. The scrumptious seafood and pristine environs make it a great choice for family getaways as well as a popular honeymoon destination.
Exploring India to the core seems like a daunting task, there are loads of things to do in India; explore the snow-capped mountains, beaches, lush forests, ancient temples, and historical sites and the list goes on. We are yet to travel to most of these places. How many of these have you covered? Are you planning to visit India anytime soon? Shoot us with your queries we will try our best to help you.
The smallest state of India is popularly known as the ‘Party Capital of India’ for its pubs with excellent nightlife and is one of the best places to travel in India. Goa has some of the remarkable churches and ancient temples and gorgeous coastline with some of the best beaches in India.
Pondicherry located south of India is a popular tourist destination for the gorgeous coastline and traces of French influence in its buildings, avenues and even cuisine which puts it on top of the list of amazing places in India. Pondicherry has several churches, temples, and historical monuments dating from the colonial era. The beaches also offer water sports activities like parasailing, banana boat rides, and scuba diving. Pondicherry is also an ideal location for people looking for a spiritual destination owing to the famous spiritual abodes like Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the presence of yoga and meditation centers.