The Absolute Best Places to Visit in India

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.

5 unmissable best places to visit in India

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

Taj Mahal in Agra
Taj Mahal in Agra

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.

Along the ghats of the holy River Ganges in Varanasi
Along the ghats of the holy River Ganges in Varanasi

Varanasi

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

Sunset over the Lake palaces in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
Sunset over the Lake palaces in Udaipur, Rajasthan

Rajasthan

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

 

Houseboats on the Kerala backwaters
Houseboats on the Kerala backwaters

Kerala

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.

Colourful prayer flag and the snow capped Himalayas
Colourful prayer flags and the snow capped Himalayas

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.

Sunset at the gorgeous Golden Temple in Amritsar
Sunset at the gorgeous Golden Temple in Amritsar

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!

In Varanasi overlooking the river Ganges
In Varanasi overlooking the river Ganges

 

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!

Start planning your holiday to India by taking a look at their website www.indianholiday.com they even have a section especially for first timers.

 

What do you think – Where are your favourite places to visit in India?

 

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Sunset over romantic Udaipur in Rajasthan

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33 comments

Sujith Samual August 6, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Great

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Тоня Кудина August 6, 2016 at 2:02 pm

The Golden Triangle, of course. Though i depends on the purpose of one’s visit. Many people are happy to spend two weeks in Goa, others go straight to Himalayas and so on.

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Global Gallivanting August 6, 2016 at 2:46 pm

Yes, you’re right, India offers something for everyone as there is so much diversity and so many places to see but Golden Triangle is def a must do – I put that as my No1 destinations 🙂

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Traveling Junkies August 6, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Nice article! Thank you for sharing!!

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Global Gallivanting August 6, 2016 at 5:36 pm

Thanks so much! Glad you liked it 🙂 Planning to visit India soon?

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Sam Notaras August 8, 2016 at 10:03 am

Indeed, India is a Incredible place to travel. So many religion, culture, people, languages, food. There is so much to learn from India because each and every state is a country by itself and each has its own cuisine. It just amazes me. I specially like Indian wedding styles & their festivals.

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Anna August 12, 2016 at 11:11 pm

Thanks for your comment Sam. Yes one of the best things about India is the amazing diversity – I could travel here for a lifetime and not get bored! Happy Travels 🙂

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Blank Canvas Voyage August 10, 2016 at 2:33 am

Only 5?! that must have beeb such a hard decision to make!

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Global Gallivanting August 11, 2016 at 8:34 am

Yes it was! So I cheated a little by doing regions as I can think of 100 places to visit in India! ???? What would your top 5 be?

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Faye August 11, 2016 at 8:07 am

Hi anna, I don’t have a plan to visit India so far. If ever I got a chance, I’ll let you know. Thanks for this interesting glimpse. I’ll make sure nothing to be missed out. India and Thailand are already on my bucket list.

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Anna August 12, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Hi Faye, thanks for stopping by, cool let me know if you visit India – there are lots of tips on the blog or you can email me any more questions!

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Lauren September 18, 2016 at 2:10 am

India is next on my to-visit list! Normally my trips are about 7-18 days. Do you think 2 weeks would be long enough to do two main stops? Love your blog!

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Anna September 19, 2016 at 11:57 pm

Hi Lauren, excited to hear you want to visit India. Yes, 2 weeks would be enough to visit some of the main stops, you could see the Golden Triangle and some of Rajasthan or Varanasi or the Golden Temple at Amritsar – theses are all quite easily accessible from Delhi. Or maybe instead after the Golden Triangle fly down and relax in Kerala or Goa – my advice would be not to rush to fit too much in though as it may end up being a more stressful trip then. Hope you have a great trip! 🙂

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Lucas Rodrigues November 10, 2016 at 3:02 pm

I will visit this places on my trip to india in a few days and write about it on my blog http://www.lucidlucas.com thank you for this great post! It’s really difficult to figure out where to go in such a big country.

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Chelsea November 20, 2016 at 12:55 pm

Hi! Love hearing all your advice on India. My boyfriend are looking to head to India in March for Holi and do the northern part of India since we only have around 20 days. I was wondering if you recommend booking things in advance before you go or if it is better to book accommodation and stuff like that once you arrive. Thanks again!

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Anil Sinha December 1, 2017 at 12:20 pm

Nice! All the destinations are perfect for holidays, among all ‘The Golden Triangle tour’ is the best one. I found the useful information from your blog. Thanks!

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Ashish Kumar December 20, 2017 at 8:36 am

Kerala Backwater trip will be a great experience if traveler want to travel South India, thanks for sharing

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Anna January 9, 2018 at 5:44 pm

Yes I’ve been on the backwaters many times! 🙂

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Andy January 13, 2018 at 11:20 am

The blog is really well written & nice to see the pictures of the blog

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Leni Alexander June 27, 2018 at 10:26 am

Thanks For Sharing Informative Blog……..Really all the places are perfect for Holidays in India…….Must Visit If You are in India………

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Trip Charlie September 12, 2018 at 4:35 pm

yes… india is one of the best country for travel… very beautiful places… can say proud to be an indian… and nice post….thankuu

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Akash Mirchandani March 4, 2019 at 8:23 am

Hey, Plz also write about Indian wildlife tourism in your next blog

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Saurabh March 5, 2019 at 8:06 am

Try to visit Kerala during ONAM festival. Awesome time to be there

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Anna April 21, 2019 at 2:20 pm

Yes, it would be great to celebrate the Onam festival in Kerala!

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Pradish March 9, 2019 at 1:31 am

October to March is the best time for Himalayan tour if you want to experience snow.After March snow start to disappear.

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Anna April 21, 2019 at 2:10 pm

Thanks for the tips 🙂

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Carlo Travels April 24, 2019 at 1:04 pm

Hello,
The blog posting is a perfect destination for in India is looking beautiful and given the information is fantastic.
Thank you for share us

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Jogi May 18, 2019 at 9:45 am

Taj is great place to visit. Note that ticket rates are different for Indian & foreigners

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PEPY ROOMS September 24, 2019 at 12:07 pm

Amazing sharing, you are doing a great job.

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Hanumant February 13, 2021 at 6:50 pm

I am a frequent traveler. Every 2 months I planned my next visit to explore new places in India. I visited Rajasthan last month, Really explored the whole Rajasthan. I really overwhelmed by the writers like you publishing such good info. Before the start of my trip, I surf blogs online to find more details and info about the places. Good job, Thanx to all the writers for good content.

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Shivani March 15, 2022 at 2:16 pm

Thank you so much for sharing all this wonderful info with us. It is so appreciated.

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Roshani Tomar October 31, 2022 at 10:14 am

Hello, Thank you for giving me this beautiful blog.

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The Complete Step by Step Guide to Planning a Trip to India - Global Gallivanting Travel Blog November 20, 2022 at 12:36 pm

[…] Check out my suggestions for the perfect India Itinerary to get started and see the Top 5 places in India that you’d be crazy to miss. […]

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