The Absolute Best Places to Visit in India
There are so many incredible places to visit in India that it would take a lifetime to see them all and sometimes the hardest part of planning a trip to India is narrowing down where to go and deciding which places in India you simply can’t miss.
This huge and diverse country offers a lifetime of adventures and one of the best things about India, and something that keeps travellers returning again and again, is the diversity of this incredible country – from buzzing cities to ancient temples, palaces and forts, from the desert to the snow capped peaks of the mighty Himalayas, to the tropical beaches and backwaters of Kerala.
After traversing this huge country many, many times over the years, I’ve put together this post with only the absolute best places to visit in India to make it easier for you!
I’m not going to bombard you with hundred of places in India because chances are you won’t have time to visit them all. So I’m going to share just my top 5 absolute best places to visit in India to make it easier for you to plan your trip.
These destinations are perfect for your first trip to India because they allow you to tick off some of the most famous sights and landmarks in India, whilst also giving you an exciting insight into India’s rich culture and heritage.
There are simply hundreds of places to visit in India, but the one thing that remains the same wherever you choose is that you can be sure you will be in for an adventure, infused with the colour, vibrancy, spirit and warmth of the incredible Indian hospitality that makes traveling here so captivating and memorable.
The Very Best Places to Visit in India
The Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle consists of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. The destinations that make up the Golden Triangle are only a short distance apart but contain some of the most famous and iconic sights in India making it one of the most unmissable places to visit in India.
You can see the best of the Golden Triangle in just a few days, starting the capital, Delhi which is a fascinating and vibrant modern city littered with important historical relics of empires past. Next, the city of Agra is home to the most beautiful building in the world – the unmissable Taj Mahal and finally ‘the pink city’ of Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan, India’s most flamboyant state, and home to elaborate palaces, colourful bazaars and imposing forts.
Whilst the Golden Triangle contains many of the most popular sights and places to visit in India these cities can be a little overwhelming for a first time visitor to India. Luckily there are many great Golden Triangle tours that you can choose from to take the hassle out of your trip and allow you to enjoy these spectacular sights.
There are many spiritual places in India and if you want to understand more about India’s rich culture, spirituality and religion then Varanasi is an essential stop on any Indian adventure.
India has attracted spiritual seekers since time immemorial and the holiest places to visit in India, and one of the oldest inhabited cities in the whole world, is the ancient city of Varanasi situated on the banks of the holy Ganges river.
Visiting Varanasi is quite an experience as Hindus believe that dying here releases you from the cycle of death and rebirth and being cremated along the holy river is very auspicious for Hindus and a unique and unforgettable sight for tourists.
There is also a nightly Ganga Aarti ceremony that tourists are welcome to attend and don’t miss taking a boat ride along the holy river Ganges at sunrise when the whole place is bathed in a magical dewy glow and you can see all the rituals of life , and death, played out along the river bank.
Varanasi is another city that can be an assault on the senses but it’s an unmissable Indian experience and you can easily add on Varanasi to a Golden Triangle Tour
The desert state of Rajasthan is India at its most colourful and flamboyant. Rajasthan, the land of the Maharajas, is packed with history, ancient forts and extravagant palaces.
Rajasthan contains many of the most popular places to visit in India, filled with colourful cities, bazaars and sights. Jaipur, known as ‘The Pink City’ is more than just a gateway to this intoxicating state, Jaipur is home to the intricate Hawa Mahal, the majestic Amer Fort, the City Palace and much more.
The blue city of Jodhpur with its mighty Mehrangarh Fort is also a must see, as is Jaisalmer, where you can explore this massive ancient golden fort of a city and take a camel safari into the surrounding desert.
Also don’t miss the romantic city of Udaipur, a city of mesmerising lakes and places, the holy town of Pushkar, which is also home to the legendary camel festival, and don’t miss the chance to spot tigers at Ranthambore National Park.
There is just so much to see in Rajasthan that it can be hard to know how to fit it all in! You can see all the highlights on a tour of Rajasthan, or why not combine all the unmissable sights of North India with a Rajasthan, Taj and Ganges tour
The tropical, laid back, luscious state of Kerala, known as ‘God’s own country’ in the far South of India is one of the most relaxing places to visit in India. Kerala is a complete contrast to busy North India and makes the perfect relaxing break.
Kerala is famous for its gorgeous, languid backwaters and they are one of the must see places in India. No visit to Kerala is complete without taking a cruise along the backwaters in traditional rice barge, known as a kettuvallam, that has been converted into a luxurious house boat.
Watching the local life along the river side carry on as has done for centuries under the gently swaying palm trees while eating a fragrant fish curry is just pure bliss. Kerala also offers tropical jungles, wildlife sanctuaries, spice plantations, hill stations, rolling tea plantations and gorgeous beaches and a chance to experience a much more relaxed pace of Indian life.
As Kerala is one of the most laid back places to visit in India, it makes a perfect, easy introduction to India. You could ease yourself into the country by exploring relaxed Kerala first and then flying up to tour North India. Kerala is also the birthplace of Ayurveda and a great place to take a yoga and ayurveda retreat.
The Indian Himalayas
If you’re more of a mountain person and want to escape the heat there are still many places to visit in India that will delight you!
There’s really something special about the majestic Indian Himalayas and it’s not just the cool air and stunning mountain vistas, you can also visit spectacularly colourful Buddhist monasteries and get a taste of the serene and beautiful Tibetan culture.
Some of the top mountain destinations in India include Himachal Pradesh and Dharamshala, the home of the Dalai Lama, Leh and Ladakh, home to ancient palaces, monasteries and surreal landscapes on the Tibetan plateau and Darjeeling and Sikkim with its world famous tea plantations and stunning, colourful Tibetan monasteries.
Other places in India I can’t fail to mention include the incredible Golden Temple in Amritsar, which you could easily combine with a trip around Himachal Pradesh, and the beaches of Goa are also one of the most popular holiday destinations in India.
Of course it would be hard to fit all of these places to visit in India into one trip and if you only have a short time to visit India I recommend focusing on one region. If you have a couple of months to travel India then you can see alot – here’s my recommended India itinerary for those who want to see it all!
With so much to see it would take a lifetime to see all this incredible country has to offer. This is why many people return again and again but these are destinations that are perfect for your first trip to India.
How to Plan the Perfect Indian Holiday
Whilst I believe that India is one of the most incredible destinations in the world, I’m also the first to admit that traveling in India can be a culture shock and a challenge for even the most experienced traveller and planning your first trip to India can seem like a daunting task. To help I put together a complete step by step guide to preparing for your first trip to India.
Don’t worry though, it does get easier once you become more accustomed to the country but, especially for first time visitors, if you want to experience all this amazing country has to offer without the hassle then letting an experienced and reputable tour company like Indian Holiday Pvt. Ltd. (IHPL) take care of all your travel arrangements can ensure that your holiday goes smoothly and is memorable for all the right reasons!
This post was written in collaboration with Indian Holiday PVT LTD (IHLP), a National Tourism Award winning leading tour operator and travel agent that is recognized by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and has been serving satisfied clients for over 25 years.
IHPL offers expertly crafted itineraries for both short escapes and inclusive tours all over India. They also customise or put together custom tours to suit your specific interests and requirements for the perfect Indian Holiday!
What do you think – Where are your favourite places to visit in India?
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