India is one of the largest countries in the world and a favorite place for people from the rest of the world to visit. There is a lot about India that attracts people from other cultures to this country of multiple cultures. The diverse background of the Indian people makes for a unique place for tourists to see.
Presented here are 20 unique places and things to visit in India. From temples that celebrate the rich religious and cultural heritage of the Hindu belief system to a university that is older than any other institution of higher learning, India has a lot to offer tourists with any type of interest. Whether you are looking for a miraculous hill that your car will roll up or a temple where rats are treated like royalty, this list will surely have something that intrigues you and your family.
If you have never planned to make a trip to India, then take a look at this list to get some ideas on places and things to see and do in this remarkable country. So sit back and prepare to be blown away by these 20 items that will amaze any tourist or traveler.
20 India Has A Floating Post Office
Did you know that India has the largest postal infrastructure in the world? Oh, and they also happen to have a floating post office, which is probably the only one like it in the world. This interesting floating post office is actually a large houseboat located on the Dal Lake in Srinagar. If you are interested in visiting the floating post office in India, be sure to purchase their unique stamp, which features the lake and makes a really neat souvenir when you mail your postcard. Where else in the world are you going to be able to travel that will let you visit a post office that floats around on a lake?
19 Bandra Worli Sealink
India has a massive bridge called the Bandra Worli Sealink, which is India's first eight-lane highway over the sea. Now, that is a remarkable feat, building a cable-stayed eight-lane highway that goes over the water. Yet, the really remarkable thing is that this single bridge cuts the commute from Worli and the suburbs of Bandra from an hour and a half down to less than ten minutes. Imagine, if you could shave 90% off of your commute time, how much more would you enjoy your day, right?! Also, the Bandra Worli Sealink weighs as much as 56,000 elephants and has enough steel cable to circle the Earth. That is a big bridge!
18 Chail Cricket Ground Is The Highest In The World
Have you ever seen a good cricket match? Cricket is pretty much the national sport of India, and there are cricket fields all over the country. But if you want to see a stunning panorama while watching the cricket match, then you are going to want to visit the Chail Cricket Ground, located in Chail, Himachal Pradesh. It happens to be the highest cricket ground in the world, at over 2,400 meters (over a mile) above sea level. The cricket field was built by Maharaja of Patiala Bhupinder Singh to play friendly matches after the hill was leveled in 1893. So, even if you do not really like the game of cricket, you may want to check out the Chail Cricket Ground for an amazing experience.
17 Extensive Network Of Roads
When you are visiting India, you are going to need to get from point A to point B. Sure, flying is one way to do that in one of the largest countries in the world. However, if you are only going short distances, you are going to take advantage of the second largest road system in the world—India has some 5.4 million kilometers of road, perfect for getting travelers from one place to another quickly and efficiently. Plus, as you are driving around India, you are going to be able to see a lot more interesting stuff than if you flew to your destination.
16 Shani Shingnapur
How safe do you think it is in India? You may not think that anywhere in the world is safe anymore. However, there is a town in India called Shani Shingnapur that has no doors nor locks. This is all based on their faith in Lord Shani, guardian of the village, that people will not break in and steal their stuff. There is a long story associated with this practice, dating back over 300 years to a rock that is the idol of Shani which must not be closed up. Each year, about 40,000 visitors come to the shrine of Shani to see their unprotected rock idol.
Varanasi is a city in India that is considered to be one of the most sacred places in the country. It also happens to be the oldest living city in the world, dating back over 3,000 years. That means that people have been living in this city and have built on the steps that rise up from the Ganges river, longer than they have been living in any other place. Oh, and Varanasi also happens to be a place where people are supposed to be able to cross over from this life to the next, making the city an important and holy tirthas.
14 Indian Currency Is Illegal To Take Out Of The Country If You Are A Foreigner
You know how when you travel, you almost always wind up with a few pieces of foreign currency left in your wallet or purse? Yeah, that is pretty much a given, and usually you take it home and either save it or exchange it back in your home country. Well, that is illegal to do in India. Rather, it is illegal to take Indian currency out of India if you are not a citizen of India. That means that they are going to check you at the airport security for currency and take it away from you if you accidentally have some with you while trying to board a plane.
13 Golden Temple Of India
In India, there is a temple that feeds about 100,000 people per day on weekends and holidays and about 40,000 people the rest of the week. This is the Golden Temple of India, and the top of it is really made of pure gold, making for a beautiful sight for anyone to see. It is also one of the oldest places of worship for the Indian Sikh faithful. In fact, it is so holy that only about 35% of visitors to the Golden Temple of India come from religions other than Sikh. Surrounding this beautiful temple is a man-made lake that is full of exotic fish. Overall, one of the most striking places to visit in India.
12 Lonar Lake
There is a lake in India that was formed 50,000 years ago when a meteorite hit the Deccan Plateau. The name of that lake is Lonar Lake, and it is one of the largest basalt impact craters in the world. However, what really makes this lake and the surrounding area interesting is that scientists from around the world come to Lonar Lake to pretend like they are doing research on other planets. The unique geological makeup of the area also makes it so compasses do not work in some areas. Plus, the lake is a weird shade of green; that makes for some really neat photo opportunities for visitors.
11 Brihadeeswara Temple
The Brihadeeswara Temple is over 1,000 years old and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Something really unique about this temple is that it is made of granite, over 130,000 tons of it, and that makes it the only temple to be made entirely of granite. The enormous statue of Nandi at the entrance is carved entirely out of stone, which is very impressive for something that is so old. The Brihadeeswara Temple is a great example of what religious faithful are capable of when it comes to showing their dedication and appreciation to their deities. In India, there are quite a few such examples but none like the Brihadeeswara Temple.
Did you know that India has a river that many people consider to be cursed? The Karmanasa River is just such a river, and the name means "destroyer of religious merit." Now, apparently, the river was created when someone decided they wanted to rule their own universe and the ancient Hindu gods destroyed them. To this day, no one wants to touch the river or even use its water. Anyone who lives near the river eats fruit and raw vegetables because they are afraid of using the water for cooking purposes. The Karmanasa River may not actually be cursed, but if it is, you should probably not go swimming in it.
9 Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary
One of the largest elephant sanctuaries in India is the Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary. There are more than 60 elephants living in this particular sanctuary, so you know it has to be pretty big to accommodate that many pachyderms. These elephants are special, though. They have been trained to partake in ceremonies and temple events. During the month of July, the elephants are given special Ayurvedic treatment and food. These elephants live pretty well, but considering the fact that they are an endangered species, it is important for the people of India to take care of them. Visitors are able to visit the sanctuary to get to know the elephants and their unique lifestyle.
8 Chai (Tea)
Would you believe that India is the second largest producer of Chai in the world? Commercial tea production did not begin until British East India Company arrived, converting large areas of land for mass tea production. And now, 70% of the tea that India produces is drunk in the country. If you like Chai, then you are in luck, because the drink can usually be found in many stalls along the streets of cities across the country. Tea prepared in India is not steeped but the leaves are usually boiled along with whatever additions and then with milk and sugar. That makes for a tasty drink!
7 Tirupati Balaji Temple
Temples are pretty important in India, and the Tirupati Balaji Temple is no exception. The temple is comprised of seven hills that depict the face of Lord Balaji. A cool fact about the temple and its ceremonies is that the flowers used for worship at the temple are from a secret city 22 kilometers away. Also, it is the most affluent temple in the country, bringing in about $600 million a year in donations. However, the most interesting thing about the Tirupati Balaji Temple is that it is the most visited sacred place in the world with about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims per day.
6 Karni Mata Temple
If you are looking for an interesting temple with an interesting story, then look no further than the Karni Mata Temple. It is said that the temple was built in the 1400's when a goddess refused to reincarnate a storyteller's son and the storyteller said that storytellers in India would be reincarnated as rats in the goddess' temple. So now, there are about 20,000 rats living in the temple, and when they die, they are reincarnated as a caretaker of the temple. Seems pretty bizarre, but the rats are well taken care of, and they play a key role in the functioning of the Karni Mata Temple.
5 Nohkalikai Falls
Waterfalls are all over the world, and they seem to have some kind of magical draw to them, especially high waterfalls with their plumes of mist at the bottom. The highest waterfall in India is the Nohkalikai Falls, and the name is translated as "Jump of Ka Likai." Ka Likai was a woman who jumped to her death over the falls after her second husband killed her daughter. That is the story, at least. Whether you believe the story or not, the Nohkalikai Falls are so beautiful that you are going to want to visit them and be sure to take a lot of pictures.
Do you love to learn? Have you been to a university? Many people in today's world have been to a university, but that was not so common a couple of thousand years ago. Around the year 700 BC, the oldest university in the world was founded in India. The name of that university is Takshila. This was an area over 2,000 years ago where people went from all over the region of the world to learn more from the most learned men around. While hardly recognizable as a university today, it is still an interesting place to visit for those with a lifelong passion for learning.
3 Magnetic Hill
Would you like to sit in a car that is rolling up a hill? Do you think that it is possible for a car, weighing thousands of pounds, to defy the laws of physics and roll up a hill? In India, there is a hill where a stopped car will be able to roll freely, almost magically, due to the layout of the surrounding hills. Okay, the hill actually goes down, not up, and the experience is due to an optical illusion that makes it appear that the car is rolling up the hill. But still, it is a pretty cool experience only possible in India.
2 Ladahk Is Home To The World’s Highest Bailey Bridge
Would you believe that the highest bridge in the world is the Bailey Bridge in the Ladahk Valley? This particular bridge is a prefabricated truss bridge and sits in the Himalayan Mountains, the highest mountains in the world. The Bailey Bridge is at an altitude of 18,379 ft above sea level and took a feat of engineering to put into place. At that altitude, very few people are able to move about without any distress on their lungs. Can you imagine building a bridge that high up? If not, take a trip to the Ladahk Valley and visit the Bailey Bridge to marvel at the ingenuity that went into its construction.
1 Hawa Mahal
The Hawa Mahal is a palace in India that was built in 1799 by Rajput Sawai Pratap Singh, and it is shaped like Lord Krishna’s crown. The name means "wind palace," and it has 953 small windows to keep the wind blowing inside the palace, making it an ideal summer retreat. One interesting fact about the Hawa Mahal is that there is no front entrance; anyone coming in or out needs to go through the side. Also, there are no stairs to the upper levels. Instead, there are a number of ramps that move people from the lower levels all the way to the top of the palace.