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Top 10 Must-See Places In India

Updated on October 20, 2014

With snow-clad mountains at the north, arid deserts in the west, perennially wet jungles in the east and a sublime coastline in the south, India is one of the most diverse countries in the world. It is home to several religions, cultures, traditions, fairs, festivals, languages, dialects and over a billion people. The number of tourists visiting her shores is increasing every year and the infrastructure and facilities in the country are improving at a steady pace. In this section we look at the top 10 places to visit in India and on how to reach these destinations.

A Bengal Tiger In The Kanha National Park In Madhya Pradesh.
A Bengal Tiger In The Kanha National Park In Madhya Pradesh.

1. Delhi

Delhi is the capital city of India and is famous for its mosques, forts, monuments and other architectural splendors. It is considered as one of the most historic capitals in the world and is home to a large number of stunning tourist attractions. The chaotic yet gracious Old Delhi and the well laid out metropolis New Delhi (British architect Edwin Lutyens) offers the tourists two contrasting terrains to set out and explore. The Rashtrapati Bhavan (Official Residence of The President), the India Gate (National Monument), the Qutub Minar, the Jama Masjid (Main Mosque), the Humayun’s Tomb and the Bahai Temple (Lotus Temple) are some of the must-see places in the capital city.

Nearest Airport: Indira Gandhi Internatioal Airport.

Nearest Railway Station: New Delhi Railway Station.

The Lotus Temple (Bahai Temple) At Night.
The Lotus Temple (Bahai Temple) At Night.

2. Kashmir

Kashmir is considered as one of the most beautiful places on the planet and is rightly nicknamed as ‘The Paradise on Earth’. The snow clad mountains, lush green valleys and cascading waterfalls provide numerous locations for tourists to sit and enjoy the scenic beauty of this spectacular landscape. The important attractions in Kashmir include the Dal lake, the Manasbal Lake, the Shalimar Gardens, the Pari Mahal, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonmarg and the Shankracharya Temple.

Nearest Airport: Srinagar International Airport.

Nearest Railway Station: Jammu Tawi is the main Railway Junction.

A Skiing Centre In Gulmarg.
A Skiing Centre In Gulmarg.

3. Agra

Agra is home to The Taj Mahal, one of the greatest embodiments of love ever constructed. It is a white domed marble mausoleum built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Apart from it, other major attractions in Agra include the Red Fort (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Fatehpur Sikri (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Akbar’s Tomb, Ram Bagh and Sikandra Fort. All these make Agra the most visited city in the country.

Nearest Airport: Agra Airport (Kheria Air Force Station).

Nearest Railway Station: Agra Cantonment Railway Station.

A Snapshot Of The Taj Mahal At Sunrise.
A Snapshot Of The Taj Mahal At Sunrise.

4. The Golden Temple

The Golden Temple, also known as the Harmandir Sahib is the most important religious place of the Sikhs. It was founded in 1577 by Guru Ram Das, the fourth guru of Sikhs. In the 19th century the upper floors of the temple were covered with gold under the orders of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The Golden Temple is the main tourist attraction in Amritsar and attracts pilgrims from all over the world. At night the temple gets beautifully lit up and looks stunning especially with the pool of water surrounding it (known as the ‘Holy Pool of Nectar’).

Nearest Airport: Amritsar International Airport (Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport).

Nearest Railway Station: Amritsar Railway Station.

The Golden Temple And The 'Holy Pool Of Nectar'.
The Golden Temple And The 'Holy Pool Of Nectar'.

5. Jaipur & Udaipur

Jaipur and Udaipur are located in the state of Rajasthan and are famous for its lakes and palaces. The Hawa Mahal or the ‘Palace of Winds’ having 953 windows located in Jaipur is one of the most important tourist attractions in the region. It is designed in the form of the crown of Lord Krishna and draws tourists from all over the country.

The Hawa Mahal Or The 'Palace Of Winds'.
The Hawa Mahal Or The 'Palace Of Winds'.

Udaipur is considered as the most romantic city in India. The Lake Palace in Lake Pichola is one of the most beautiful palaces in the world. Now it has been converted into a hotel equipped with 66 rooms and 17 suites allowing visitors to stay overnight. The Nehru Garden, the Fateh Sagar Lake, the Solar Observatory and Bagore Ki Haveli are the other important tourist attractions in Udaipur.

Nearest Airport: Jaipur Railway Station, Udaipur City Railway Station.

Nearest Railway Station: Jaipur Intenational Airport, Udaipur Airport (Maharana Pratap Airport).

The Lake Palace On Lake Pichola.
The Lake Palace On Lake Pichola.

6. Varanasi

Varanasi (also known as Benares) is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. It is a holy town situated on the banks of the River Ganges in North India. It is a place of worship and is of religious significance to the Hindus, Buddhists and Jain. The numerous temples and Ghats which constitute most of the structures here give Varanasi the feel of a mystical temple town. The sight of pilgrims offering devotions in the River Ganges at sunrise and the prayers organized on the river banks at sunset are spectacles to behold.

Nearest Airport: Varanasi International Airport (Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport).

Nearest Railway Station: Varanasi Junction Railway Station.

The Evening 'Aarti' Prayers In The River Ganges At Varanasi.
The Evening 'Aarti' Prayers In The River Ganges At Varanasi.

India Tourism Commercial (Incredible India)

7. Ajanta & Ellora Caves

The Ajanta and Ellora caves in Maharashtra showcase some of the most spectacular rock carvings in the world. The paintings and inscriptions have been found to date back to around 200 B.C. and provide crucial information regarding the landscapes, weapons, conflicts, cultures, traditions, and much more which were practiced during those times. The fact that these caves were discovered only in 1819 after they were abandoned somewhere back in 650 A.D. helped to keep the state of the mural depictions intact. There are about 30 rock-cut cave monuments in the region including numerous Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain temples.

Nearest Airport: Aurangabad Airport.

Nearest Railway Station: Jalgaon Railway Station, Aurangabad Railway station.

A Rock Structure In The Ellora Caves.
A Rock Structure In The Ellora Caves.

8. Hampi

Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River in northern Karnataka. It was the last capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, one of the greatest kingdoms in India’s history. Hampi is famous for its ruins, temples and monuments which along with its barren terrain offer an essence of the bygone era. The Virupaksha Temple located here is believed to have been functioning uninterruptedly ever since it was built in the 7th century. This makes it the one of the oldest functioning Hindu temples in India and a sacred pilgrim hotspot. Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with more than 500 monuments spread across the hills and valleys of its mesmerizing landscape.

Nearest Airport: Bellary Airport.

Nearest Railway Station: Hospet Railway Station.

The Snapshot Of A Temple In Hampi.
The Snapshot Of A Temple In Hampi.

9. Goa

Goa is an international tourist location made famous by its pristine and exotic beaches. Tourists from all over the world have been coming to her shores for centuries to experience the beautiful sunsets, golden sands, tasty seafood and swaying coconut palm trees. The important beaches here include the Palolem beach, the Baga Beach, the Candolim beach, the Cavelossim beach and the Agonda beach. The Arvalam Waterfalls, the Alorna Fort, the Chapora Fort and the Ancestral Goa Museum are some of the other major attractions in the region.

Nearest Airport: Goa International Airport.

Nearest Railway Station: Madgaon Railway Station.

The Palolem Beach In Goa.
The Palolem Beach In Goa.

10. Kerala

Kerala is one of the most important tourist destinations in India courtesy it’s much famed backwaters. Apart from them, it is also known for its beaches, waterfalls, tea plantations, temple festivals, hill stations and wildlife. Munnar, Thekkady, Wayanad, Kumarakom, Varkala, Bekal, Thrissur, Kovalam and Fort Kochi are some of the important tourist hotspots which attract visitors throughout the year. A houseboat cruise in the Kerala backwaters should be the top priority while visiting these parts.

Nearest Airport: Trivandrum International Airport, Kochi International Airport.

Nearest Railway Station: Trivandrum Central Railway Station, Ernakulam Railway Station.

A Backwater Channel In Kerala.
A Backwater Channel In Kerala.

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    • greenteatravels profile image

      Shauna 2 years ago from The Beautiful World

      Just beautiful man! The pictures are great quality. The one of the tiget drew me in :)

    • Travel Musings profile image
      Author

      Vishnu Pradeep 2 years ago from India

      Thank you greenteatravels. Sure feels good having some encouragement...

    • readerssquare profile image

      Readers Square 2 years ago from Punjab, India

      The country is blessed manifold with astounding natural and monumental pride that leaves you awestruck. Serious question Vishnu, how did you manage to short- list this topic to Top 10? But you’ve nailed it! Despite any wonder old or new hitting the lights, to walk on the marble plinth taking in the evening air and watching the sun set between those marble minarets in Taj Mahal is something to die for!

    • Travel Musings profile image
      Author

      Vishnu Pradeep 2 years ago from India

      Yes we do have some very interesting mix of places & monuments which we are ourselves very proud of. My only worry is the conservation efforts associated with them that leaves a lot to be desired. The Taj would find it seriously difficult to cope with the shrinking Yamuna. And the cleaning of the Ganges can't be realised without a concerted efforts for atleast 10 years.

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