India is a world of incredible cultures and traditions, and of course, amazing food. At its core, it is a country of incredible people, diverse backgrounds, and beautiful places. When planning a trip to India, most people may be confused as to where to begin, after all, there is so much to see, may it be the foothills of the Himalayas or the desserts of Rajhastan, there is so much to do and it can be hard to decide. In order to help the weary traveler, here is a list of the ten best places every tourist must visit in India.
10 Taj Mahal
First up, is the magnificent Taj Mahal, built by the emperor Shah Jahan to house the body of his first wife and to stand as a testament of true love. The Taj Mahal is located in Agra, India, which is a city of rich history and houses attractions such as the Red Fort as well. The Taj Mahal is built on the banks of the Yamuna River and was built with local red brick with an ivory-white marble facade imported from all around the world.
The Taj Mahal is also an active mosque, and tourists should be respectful when visiting.
Next, on the tourist's list is New Delhi, the capital of India. Delhi is home to numerous cultures and is especially rampant with street food and bazaars that every tourist must experience. Delhi is also home to attractions such as Humayun's tomb and the Qutub Minar and is overall a historic city that features numerous landmarks and historic sites. One thing to be noted is that Delhi is more than a historic town and it is quickly rising to be a modern one. With its young crowd and advances in infrastructure, New Delhi is as modern as it is old.
Following New Delhi is an ancient city that has stood the test of time for the past 3,000 years: Varanasi. Varanasi is an incredibly old and historic city and has been referred to under numerous names such as Kashi and Banaras. Varanasi is situated on the banks of the River Ganga and is home to numerous temples, some of which are centuries old. For these reasons, Varanasi is an incredibly important location for Hindus and is usually bustling with activity. Tourists in Varanasi should be respectful of the pilgrimages which pass through here and should experience the temples and cultures.
Next on this list is the state capital of Rajasthan: Jaipur. Jaipur is known as the pink city Due to the dominant color scheme of the buildings it is also known as the pink city. Jaipur is a major tourist destination and forms a Golden tourism triangle between itself, Delhi, and Agra, three of the most popular tourist destinations in India. One of the most popular attractions within Jaipur is the Hawa Mahal, which is known as the Palace of Winds due to its large number of windows and is made of pink and red sandstone. Tourists in Jaipur should also experience the surrounding desert.
6 Ajanta Ellora Caves
Next, are the Ajanta Ellora Caves that are located in the historic city of Aurangabad. Aurangabad is a city in the state of Maharashtra and was ruled by numerous dynasties in the past. Due to its changing reign of rulers, Aurangabad is rich in history and is best known for Ajanta Ellora Caves.
They are a World Heritage Site and contains Buddhist cave paintings dating back to the second century. These paintings and sculptures are some of the best-preserved pieces of Indian art and feature stunning details such as emotions, poses, forms, and even gestures. Although called ‘caves’ they are actually structures carved out of the rock itself.
Next up, located in the southern state of Karnataka, presenting Hampi. Hampi refers to an ancient village which is now a series of ruined temple complexes and is a very popular tourist attraction due to its historic buildings that are well preserved and intricately carved. Tourists in Hampi can visit a myriad of attractions, most of which are temples, some of which are Jain monuments, and one of which is a Muslim monument. Most of the temples in the complex are situated next to a marketplace and tourists can also view elephant stables, water infrastructure, hill monuments, and even more.
This is another hill station situated in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Ooty. Ooty is a popular hill station and was under the rule of the British East India Company until the 18th century. Both tourism and the economy of this location are dependent on agriculture, namely tea. Tourists can visit the tea farms and tea factories located in Ooty and track the life cycle of a tea leaf, from growth to harvest, to become a steaming cup of hot chai. Another popular attraction is the Rose Garden, which is the largest of its kind in India, so get your sniffer ready for some pleasant scents.
3 Mysore City Palace
Next is the Mysore City Palace located in Karnataka. Mysore is commonly referred to as the cultural capital of Karnataka and is a historic city full of palaces and museums. The most famous palace, alongside Tipu Sultan's palace, is the Mysore palace which lights up every night with thousands of dazzling golden lights. In addition to the palace, Mysore is a popular tourist attraction for yogis and meditators due to its peaceful nature and attracts tourists of all kinds as well. Some of the other popular sights in Mysore are the Brindavan Gardens, the Hoysala temples, Chamundi hill and more.
2 Andaman Nicobar Island
Another place for tourists to visit in India is the Andaman Nicobar Islands. The Andaman Nicobar Islands are a series of 500 tiny islands that are tucked away in the Bay of Bengal. These islands are surrounded by azure waters and contain pristine beaches and are relatively unexplored. These series of islands are home to popular tourist destinations such as one of the ten best beaches in India, Radhanagar beach. Tourists can also experience water sports at these islands and scuba dive beneath the waves to discover the coral reefs and marine life hidden away beneath the bright blue sea.
Last on this list of must-see places in India is Leh-Ladakh. Located way up north, Ladakh is home to snow-capped mountains and glacial lakes. This city is a desert located within the Himalayas and offers an incredible view and experience to those who dare to experience it. Ladakh is home to numerous Buddhist monasteries and is intended to attract people such as meditators and yogis who seek an escape from the loud world and need a quiet and serene space to find balance and themselves. While there are many adventures to be held in Ladakh, it's a pilgrimage for the spiritual.