Top Places to Visit in India
India, the very name conjures up an eclectic mélange of caste, color, creed, culture and varied topography that allures the global nomads to flock to this country.
Rajasthan – The Land of Rajputana
|Maharaja of Rajasthan in procession with attendants|
The very name Rajasthan conjures the images of turban clad maharajas with bejeweled scimitars and voluptuous princesses riding painted elephants with a train of courtiers following in their wake. The Rajput warrior princes or the maharajas ruled much over Rajasthan founding great cities which they named for themselves.
These maharaja with command over lucrative trade routes amassed huge wealth which they spent lavishly to fulfill their idiosyncrasies. Building massive forts and spectacular palaces were the favorite preoccupation of these maharajas.
|City Palace, Udaipur|
However these maharajas were great connoisseurs of art as well. When the artisans sought the protection of these powerful maharajas, art and culture also flourished under their patronage. Today what we call Rajasthan is an eclectic potpourri of forts, palaces, havelis and vibrant culture with several art and dance forms.
Steeped in the tales of chivalry and romance and renowned of its stark desert landscape where males adorning strikingly colored turbans and women in equally glittering saris appear out of an Arabian fairy tale, Rajasthan stands for quintessential India for most of the foreign tourists.
|Sand Dunes, Rajasthan|
The foremost places to visit in Rajasthan include the legendary cities of Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. Allied as it was with powerful Mughal Empire, Jaipur used to be the most powerful princely state in the days of yore. Several astounding forts and palaces in Jaipur today are its prime tourist attraction.
Amber Fort was the heart of Kachhawa Rajputs kingdom and the massive fort with several palaces and structures is the prime tourist attraction of Jaipur. Today Abmer Fort, along with four other hill forts, has been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list as Hill Forts of Rajasthan.
Besides minor forts and the main City Palace along with the fabulous Hawa Mahal and Jantar Matar, Jaipur is also renowned for its colorful bazaars, havelis and temples. In short, Jaipur offers a microcosmic worldview of the varied color, creed and culture of Rajasthan for a visitor traveling for the first time to this part of India.
|Hawa Mahal, Jaipur|
Rajasthan is renowned for its myriad colors and colors are something that hold importance in several ways to several regions, classes and trades in Rajasthan. Even cities are distinguished owing to some specific color. Whereas Jaipur is referred to as the ‘Pink City’, Jodhpur is famous as the ‘Blue City’ and rising out of the desert, Jaisalmer in the extreme West is known as the ‘Golden City.’
Udaipur is not specifically tagged in a color yet but many tags like ‘City of Lakes’ and ‘Venice of East’ are most popular to allude to this city. With its spectacular lake palaces, gardens, havelis and bathing ghats, Udaipur is dubbed the most romantic city of India and the floating Taj Lake Palace at its heart has been voted the most romantic hotel in India.
|Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur|
A venture in the vast stretched of monochromatic sand from either Jaisalmer or Jodhpur or even Bikaner is one of the most sought after tourist activities in Rajasthan, The undulating sand also known as the Sam sand dunes are very much popular for camel safaris and overnight camping.
Besides these four major tourist places which arguably form the most heavily trodden tourist circuit in India, Rajasthan also offer superb opportunities for those looking to go off the beaten path. Catching the fancies of Westerners and Indians alike, Sekhawati is one such region which is off the popular tourism map. A crop of richly painted havelis, temples, atmospheric markets and distinct cultural flavor makes Sekhawati a very special place to visit in Rajasthan.
Besides the dazzling forts and palaces, Rajasthan is also blessed with diverse wildlife. There are several national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India that counts as top tourism experiences to be had in Rajasthan. Two foremost among them are Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Bharatpur which is a famous bird sanctuary and a UNESCO World Heritage Site and another one is the Ranthambore national Park renowned for its camera friendly Royal Bengal Tiger population.
Ranthambore is counted as one of the top places for wildlife safaris in India. Do check out our post on wildlife holidays in India if you are interested to explore the wild side of India or if it the Ranthambore National Park where you are planning your jungle safari then do check out our post on top 10 luxury wildlife resorts near Ranthambore.
|Royal Bengal Tiger on the prowl in Ranthambore National Park|
Mount Abu, the lone hill station in the otherwise arid and desert landscaped Rajasthan with its intricate Jain Temples is yet another popular destination that should be on travelers visiting to this region.
Hill forts, palace hotels, havelis, wildlife, shopping at traditional bazaars and celebration of vibrant culture & traditions; with so many varied experiences and activities that may keep even the fussiest of travelers on their toes, it isn’t a wonder that Rajasthan tops the chart when we talk about the best places to visit in India. Here’s a checklist of places to visit in Rajasthan.
Kerala – God’s Own Country
|Kovalam is one of the most visited beach destinations in Kerala|
Goa – Pearl of the Orient
|Agonda is one of the relatively unknown beaches in Goa and ideal for relaxing or sunbathing|
What makes Goa unique is the cosmopolitan vibes, vibrant nightlife, shopping and relaxing beaches. Eclectic sea food with Portuguese influence is also a major draw.
Heritage lovers could explore the ruins and remnant of Portuguese legacy in Old Goa which has a characteristic colonial ambiance. The churches and cathedral of this once flourishing city are now inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you are looking for serenity and seclusion, head for the more inner and private beaches especially in South Goa. Palolem is one of the quieter beaches of Goa. Some of the finest luxury hotels in Goa also come with their own private beach making them an ideal escape for romance and honeymoon in Goa.
Another popular things to do in Goa is to attend the Sunburn Festival. During Christmas and New Year, Goa comes alive with festivities.Goa is one of the best places to celebrate Holiday season in India.
Kashmir – Paradise on Earth
Kashmir is one of the most visited winter destinations in India. If you are interested in winter vacations in India, check out some more popular winter holiday destinations in India.
Tamil Nadu: Cradle of the Dravidian Civilization
|Madurai, the temple town|
Chennai, a bustling megalopolis with an unmistakable Raj era charm is the capital city of Tamil Nadu. There’s not much to see in here when it comes to tourism and a crowded Marina Beach is one of the few places tourist flock to along with George Town, the historical hub of the city.
Close to capital lies the more popular Kanchipuram which is a major Hindu pilgrimage site and also renowned for its silk saris. Kanchipuram used to be the capital city throughout the medieval era and is one of the seven holiest cities of India.
Despite its popularity, Kanchipuram is more of interest to Hindu pilgrims, whereas it is the nearby Mahabalipuram that holds the center stage when it comes to temple tours in in South India equally sought out by Indians as well as foreign visitors.
|Arjuna’s Penance, Mahabalipuram|
Other than these monuments Mahabalipuram is also renowned for its sandy beaches and has inevitable grown as a major tourist hub full of luxury hotels, swanky restaurants, emporia selling clothes & crafts and other elements characteristic of a popular tourist destination.
Talking about outstanding temple architecture, none holds as much cultural significance or awe the beholders as the Great Living Chola Temples that were constructed over the centuries when Chola Dynasty flourished in this region. Some of the most astounding and exquisite temples were constructed by the Cholas. Chidamburam, Kumbakonam and Thanjavur are dotted with temples with extraordinary architecture.
|Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram|
Beyond the temples, Tamil Nadu is also blessed with quite a few hill stations. Kodaikanal and Ooty are two most renowned of them. They also happen to two of the most popular honeymoon destinations in South India in summer.
Packing a punch with its grand temples, thriving culture, beaches and hill stations, Tamil Nadu charm lies in its distinction from the rest of India while at the same time being one of the most open and welcoming.
These are the states that top the chart when we talk about seasonal tourist footfalls be it the domestic tourist arrivals or the foreign tourist arrivals in India.
Now let us talk about some of popular tourist destinations in India sprinkled over the vast geography as well as smaller yet astounding places to visit in India that do not lie on the popular tourist map yet which out to be visited to enjoy their magnificence.
These places to visit in India are picked up owing either to their cultural, historical, architectural or the natural significance.
So in no particular order let us continue our list of top places to visit in India and shall we add to it “once in a lifetime.”
Khajuraho: The Sensuous Poetry in Stones
Agra- A Casket of Mughal Gemstones
Situated on the right bank of Yamuna River, Agra in Uttar Pradesh is home to three monumental hallmarks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites- Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.
Undoubtedly, Agra tops the chart when ot comes to places to visit in Uttar Pradesh. You may also check out our post on top places to visit in Uttar Pradesh to find more about other places of tourist interest in India’s largest state.
10 Most Awesome Attractions in India
Mumbai – The City of Dreams
Delhi – The National Capital of India
Recognized as the National Capital of India, Delhi is a place where several dynasties rose to the acme of power and drowned to dust over the course of history.
On the other hand, there is Lutyens Delhi whose geographical distance with Old might not be even hundred yards but the architectural disparity is enormous. India Gate stand tall as the modern marvels of Delhi.
Varanasi – The Holiest Hindu City
Best Luxury Hotels in Varanasi
Ladakh – The Barren Beauty
Cozily nestled amidst two towering mountain peaks- Great Himalayas and Karakoram- Ladakh is the highest plateau which gives a sense of mountains touching the periphery of heaven.
Don’t forget to read our tips on woman traveling alone in India and is India safe for traveling to help you plan your India trip. There has been some concern regarding safety issues in India especially for woman traveling alone and the general safety but a few precautions and safeguards will see you through safely enough.
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