Indian Tourist Destination: Best Places to Visit in India

Sep/08/2021 / by Team SEEMA
Places to visit in india
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15 Best Places to Visit in India

The sprawling Indian peninsula is known for its diverse mix of culture, heritage, landscape, and colorful festivals. It makes for the perfect holiday destination with something for everyone! The best places to visit in India known as one of the oldest civilizations in the world, the country extends from the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayan range in the north to the sunny tropical coastline of the south.

When you travel to this vibrant land, be prepared for a sensory feast. From the beautiful outdoors to the varied cuisines you will chance upon, everything is a unique experience. Whether its spiritual encounters you seek or wildlife sojourns, you will find it here. Check out this compilation of places to visit in India to make the most of your time here.

1. Taj Mahal, Agra

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The iconic Taj Mahal, a beautiful mausoleum built of white marble, is counted among one of the wonders of the world. Built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, this beautiful monument is considered the epitome of everlasting love. Built in the 17th century, this magnificent structure houses the tombs of the emperor and his beloved queen. Legend has it that after the completion of the monument, Shah Jahan had the hands of the craftsmen chopped off so they could never construct something this beautiful ever again! For a memorable experience, time your visit to the Taj Mahal at dawn or dusk. Set aside at least half a day for your visit to the sprawling complex that has multiple reflecting pools and beautifully designed gardens offering ample photo opportunities.

2. Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Maharashtra

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The UNESCO World Heritage site of Ellora and the nearby Ajanta caves, with their rock cut interiors, make for a mesmerizing attraction. The sprawling hand-cut cave complex is home to Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist monuments besides beautiful frescoes and paintings. The caves remained abandoned and hidden until a hunting party tumbled upon them in the 19th century. The well-preserved interiors have carvings depicting city streets, geographical features such as mountains, and battlefields. The massive, monolithic Kailash Temple is one Indian tourist destination not to be missed when you’re here.

3. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

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Spirituality oozes out of every nook and cranny in Varanasi, the city set along the banks of the mighty Ganges. Counted among one of the oldest cities still inhabited in the world, it is easy to see why this is so. From its many riverside ghats (stairs leading to the water) to the ancient shrines that dot the city, you get to see a completely different side of India. A stark contrast to the modernity of most Indian cities, Varanasi takes you back in time. A stroll around the Old Quarter, a visit to the splendid Kashi Vishwanath Temple, and the mesmerizing Ganga Aaarti are a must-see when here.

4. Hampi, Karnataka

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This sprawling city of ruins comprises around 500 monuments that were part of the famous Vijayanagar Empire. It is easy to visualize how the vibrant capital city might have been as you wander among the remains of magnificent temples with intricate carvings, marketplaces, and the ramparts. Stables, aqueducts, and barracks stand testimony to the thriving nature of this ancient civilization. Massive boulders dot the landscape and offer splendid views of the surroundings. Notable among the monuments of Hampi are the Virupaksha Temple that functions to this day, the Vithala Temple with its iconic stone chariot, and the storefronts of the once bustling bazaar. Plan to spend a few days here if you want to really experience the magic of Hampi!

5. The Golden Temple, Amritsar

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Harmandar Sahib, well-known as the Golden Temple, is the holiest among the Sikh shrines in India. Aptly named for its beautifully carved dome and upper floors plated with real gold, this shrine has been drawing visitors since it opened its doors in 1604. Looking upon the soothing sight of the tranquil water in the huge tank surrounding the main temple as you listen to the continuous chant of prayers is a memorable experience. Partaking of the free meals or langar made and served in the temple’s kitchen with the help of volunteers is one of the highlights here.

6. The Red Fort, Delhi

Places to visit in india
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Made of red sandstone, the crescent-shaped Red Fort is an iconic symbol associated with Delhi, the capital city of India. Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, this fort is accessible through two magnificent gates. It sits surrounded by a huge moat, right at the heart of the city. Having served as the erstwhile home of emperors and their families, it now houses museums that chronicle the rich history and heritage of India. It is at this UNESCO-listed site that the Indian Prime Minister unfurls the national flag every year on Independence Day. You could catch the sound and light show held her in the evenings to know more about the history of this monument, known as one of the famous places in India.

7. Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Places to visit in india
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Also known as the Golden City, the charming town of Jaisalmer lets you live the desert dream in royal style. The magnificent Jaisalmer fort towers over the city like a sentinel keeping watch. Spend hours exploring its many Jain temples and regal mansions built in the traditional style of architecture. You could also enjoy a leisurely camel ride across the undulating sand dunes of the Thar Desert. Camping in the desert and shopping in the colorful markets of Jaisalmer are some other experiences that await you here.

8. Beaches of Goa

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The very mention of Goa evokes images of a tropical paradise with miles and miles of pristine sand bordered by azure water. Palm trees and huge boulders add to the picture of leisurely afternoons perfect for soaking in the sun. Calangute, Palolem, Anjuna, and Vagator are just some of the popular beaches here. Exploring charming fishing villages and historical landmarks that date back to the Portuguese occupation are other attractions in Goa. The Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is perfect for communing with nature and spotting wildlife species such as elephants, leopard, black panthers, and king cobras. Tasting local seafood specialties is a must when here.

9. Gateway of India, Mumbai

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Dating back to the year 1924, this impressive monument was built in honor of King George V and Queen Mary’s visit to the city. Crafted of yellow basalt rock and concrete, the monument showcases a blend of Hindu and Muslim motifs. It makes for a great phot opportunity with the ocean behind and the flock of pigeons strutting all around. You will also find statues of the Maratha leader Chhatrapati Shivaji and Swami Vivekananda nearby. You could then catch the ferry to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Elephanta Caves, a complex of cave temples dedicated to the Hindu Lord Shiva.

10. Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya

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The holiest of all Buddhist shrines in the world, the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya sits adjacent to the spot where the Buddha gained enlightenment. Also known as the Temple of Great Awakening, this UNESCO-listed site was originally built in the 6th century. Since then, it has been renovated many times. Close by is the descendant of the Bodhi tree under which the Buddha sat in meditation, with a piece of red sandstone marking this spot. Gaze upon the pyramidal spire and the large gilded statue of the Buddha housed within, to your heart’s content, before you call it a day!

11. Lake Palace, Udaipur

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Standing in stark contrast to the largely desert landscape seen in most cities of Rajasthan, Udaipur is aptly named the City of Lakes. With fairytale palaces set amid tranquil water bodies, this city makes you feel like royalty. Prominent among the palaces here is the picturesque Lake Palace set amid the waters of Lake Pichola. Built as a summer palace in the 18th century it how houses a luxury hotel run by the Taj Group of Hotels. Accessible only by boat, this hotel was made famous in the James Bond flick ‘Octopussy’. A stay at this splendid hotel could make your trip to India that much more memorable!

12. Pangong Lake, Ladakh

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Feel peace descend upon you as you gaze at the tranquil water of Lake Pangong in Ladakh. Stretching from India to Tibet, this endorheic lake is unique in that it keeps changing color! The water of the lake appears as blue, green, and even grey throughout the year and at times during the day. Despite being a saline lake, the high altitude at which the lake sits causes it to freeze over completely in peak winter. A special permit is required to visit this scenic lake as it is located along the border with China. Most reputed tour agencies will be able to guide you on this. You could also check the Ministry of Tourism website for details on how you can get the required documentation yourself.

13. Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh

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India is known for its exotic wildlife species such as the tiger and elephant. What better spot to get up close with these animals in their natural habitat than at one of the best and largest national parks in the country. Kanha National Park sits at the heart of the country in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Its lush bamboo and sal forests are where you can see wild tigers in all their majesty! The fact that it is this wildlife reserve that served as an inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’, adds to its charm. Get an adrenaline rush as you explore the forest with nature walks and thrilling safaris at one of the best tourist places in India.

14. Mysore Palace, Mysore

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The ancient city of Mysore has plenty of attractions to keep you busy. However, the magnificent Mysore Palace, the residence of the Wodeyar kings for generations, tops the list. The current structure came up in 1897 after the original palace was completely razed to the ground in a devastating fire. Marble domes in a deep pink shade and beautiful towers make for a pretty sight. You can enjoy a tour of the palace for a look at the interiors and artefacts that have adorned it for centuries including the magnificent Golden Throne. On Sundays, take in the resplendent beauty of the palace when it is lit up by the light of thousands of electric bulbs. Keep your camera ready to capture the image at the precise moment when the lights are turned on and flocks of pigeons take to the sky startled.

15. Backwaters of Kerala

Alappuzha, Kerala, India
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Floating down serene lagoons in a traditional houseboat made of bamboo and other eco-friendly materials epitomizes the perfect holiday in the famed backwaters of Kerala. Sip on fresh tender coconut water and feast on fresh seafood delicacies prepared the local way for an authentic experience. Alleppey, Kuttanad, and Kumarakom are just some of the destinations you might want to consider for a peaceful sojourn in God’s Own Country.

Travel Guide for India

The diverse nature of the country and its varying climate can prove challenging to visitors, especially first-timers. India is a vast country that is a melting pot of cultures, people, and cuisines. Trying to cover all tourist attractions in India in just one trip can prove overwhelming and stress you out instead of being an enjoyable getaway. Keep in mind the following when holidaying in India and you’ll be good to go:

  • Go slow and steady – Pick just a handful of destinations from the vast number of tourist places in India and don’t try to cram in everything. Set aside enough time to explore each city you stop by and to take in all its attractions at a leisurely pace.
  • Keep in mind weather conditions when you pack – The different regions of India experience varying weather patterns around the year. So, do a little research about the places on your itinerary and pack accordingly.
  • Watch what you eat and drink – Even if you are someone who is accustomed to spicy food, remember that the definition of spicy in India can range from mild to really hot! While you don’t have to completely stay off street food, it’s wise to choose your discretion when picking the eateries for sampling local specialties. Bottled water is your best bet though most eateries and restaurants across the country offer filtered drinking water now.
  • Be prepared for a sensory experience – The noise and sounds, especially in the big cities can get a little bit too much. Keep a pair of noise cancelling headphones ready for moments when you want to hear yourself think!
  • Lookout for fraudsters and scam artists – Tourists are easy prey in India and tour offers are the most common scams you will chance upon. Self-proclaimed tour guides are in plenty at the popular tourist spots. It is best to hire guides through the travel agency that helped you with your trip. You could also check out the government tourism website for information on registered tour guides.
  • Make use of public transport – Contrary to what you may have seen or read, India has a robust public transport system. From subways to local trains, there are plenty of ways you can explore the cities. Rural areas and smaller towns rarely have an extensive rail or metro network. However, auto rickshaws and local buses are omnipresent. Most of the cities and towns now also boast of app-based taxi services such as Ola, Uber, and local franchises.
  • Stay safe – As with any new place you travel to, steer clear of lonely spots and do not venture out during odd hours. It is best not to carry around too much cash with you. Villages and towns in India now have ATMs and even street side vendors are tech-savvy when it comes to using wallets such as Amazon Pay and Paytm for transactions.
  • Mind the local customs – While most people in India are tolerant of tourists and their unintentional cultural faux pas, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of local etiquette. For instance, you must remove your footwear before entering a temple. Also, wearing miniskirts or tank tops when visiting places of worship is not recommended. Similarly, public displays of affection are frowned upon and are best avoided.
  • Choose accommodation wisely – There is no dearth of accommodation in any of these beautiful places in India. From super luxury options such as palace stays and brand name hotel chains to modest vacation rentals, you will find something to suit your budget and your travel needs.

FAQs

Where do Indians go for tourism?

Indians are avid travelers who favor domestic and international destinations alike. Within India, travelers prefer destinations such as the beaches of Goa, the backwaters of Alappuzha in Kerala, and hill stations such as Munnar, Darjeeling, and Nainital. Unique destinations such as the Rann of Kutch with its salt flats, Agra with its iconic Taj Mahal, and the islands of Andaman and Nicobar are some other popular choices.

Which is the number one tourist place in India?

India is home to a large number of popular and famous tourist places. While it is difficult to pinpoint the number one tourist destination in the country, there are some that make it to every tourist’s list. These include the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Red Fort in Delhi, and the Hawa Mahal in Jaipur. The spiritual city of Varanasi, the beaches of Goa, and the breathtakingly beautiful ruins of Hampi are also in the contention for the numero uno position.

Which countries do Indian tourists visit most?

Singapore, Thailand, and the UAE top the list of countries most visited by Indian tourists. These are closely followed by Malaysia, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. European countries such as Switzerland and France as well as India’s neighboring countries of Nepal and Sri Lanka are also on the list. Island destinations such as Maldives, Mauritius, and Australia are other nations preferred by Indian tourists.

How many tourist places are there in India?

India is a vast country with a rich cultural heritage. It is home to hundreds of tourist attractions including around 40 UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sites. Being a country that has been ruled by various prominent dynasties over the centuries, it is home to fine examples of different architectural styles. Across the country, there are also plenty of monuments and landmarks that stand testimony to India’s colonial past.

Which city is called Heaven of India?

The picturesque region of Kashmir is known as the ‘Heaven of India’. It earned this sobriquet owing to the scenic landscape made of verdant hills, snow-capped peaks, and tranquil water bodies. Located at the northern end of the country, the region is also known as the ‘Paradise of India’ and is often compared to Switzerland in Europe. The incredible beauty of the region keeps changing with the seasons making it an all year round destination.

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