India will change the way you see the world. No other country makes a deeper impact and a more lasting impression on travelers than India. It’s intense, stunningly beautiful, an assault on the senses but once you’ve been it will stay in your heart forever. The history, culture, food, wildlife, locals and spirituality all combine to make this a fascinating nation of incredibly rich diversity and passion. Here are just 7 of the hundreds of great places to include in your Indian adventure:
#1 Taj Mahal
Anyone visiting India simply must see the Taj Mahal in Agra. India’s most iconic and famous landmark and the country’s most visited historical monument. The best time to visit is between November and February to avoid the extreme heat and benefit from off-season discounts. There are many private tours available or Agra is easily reachable by train from Delhi. If you want to avoid the crowds then take a boat ride past the magnificent building or get stunning views from the opposite bank of the river in the Mehtab Bagh Gardens.
Considered to be the most romantic city in India, its regal architecture is simply awe-inspiring. Large parts of the City Palace have been converted into a museum by the royal family, offering the chance to see some amazing and priceless exhibits. There are many great places to stay in the city with splendid views over the lake. Be sure to head to Ambrai Ghat, opposite the City Palace for incredible views especially at sunset when the palace lights are turned on. Another must-do activity is a ride on the red cable cars that take you to the Karni Mata temple and viewing platform.
#3 Ajanta And Ellora Caves
Amazing architecture and history combine to provide a unique experience in India’s most popular caves. Magnificently carved into hillside rock near Aurangabad, the level of detail and craftsmanship is spell-binding. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and with good reason. 34 caves at Ellora date between the 6th and 11th centuries while the 29 caves at Ajanta are even older. The carvings are a mix of Buddhist, Jain and Hindu and are a must-see excursion on your Indian adventure.
Much of India is busy, bustling and a bit in your face so if you want somewhere beautiful to unwind then the backwaters of Kerala are the ideal place. Palm trees hang over the water’s edge as you glide along in a houseboat without a care in the world. You’ll discover unique wildlife, riverside villages and a pace of life you could get used to. With freshly prepared Indian food available on board, you might never want to disembark. Known for its elephants and unspoiled tropical landscapes, this is the India you’ll fall in love with.
If you’re looking for a beach vacation then Goa is India’s best. Whether you want to party or laze by the ocean, the choice is yours as you can choose to do as much or as little as you like. There’s almost a beach for every atmosphere so whether it’s water sports or a hippy vibe you seek, you’ve got it all. You’ll also discover plenty of history, culture and adventure activities so hire a scooter and visit some of the old Portuguese colonial buildings or the vibrant markets.
For those seeking to experience the intense spirituality that India offers, a trip to Varanasi is well worth the effort. It is a top spiritual destination that doesn’t hide its riverside rituals. Be prepared for witnessing anything from bathing to cremating the dead in the waters of the Ganges, in this mystical city. It can be a culture shock but offers an incredible and unforgettable insight into the ancient traditions of this country.
This is where you’ll most likely land, straight into India’s capital city. It can feel a bit like a slap round the face, such is the intensity, noise and sheer numbers of people. As long as you’re braced for impact then you can allow yourself to settle in and enjoy the wonderful sights Delhi has to offer. You’ll find beautiful Mughal monuments, stunning mosques including the biggest mosque in India, the iconic red fort and numerous landscaped gardens. The difference between old and new Delhi is significant so spend time exploring both.