When most people think of India, large, crowded cities come to mind. But there is so much more to this fascinating country. India has a rich blend of natural beauty, stunning architecture, complex history, and captivating culture. From majestic temples to gorgeous beaches, there’s something for everyone. Keep reading to learn about all the places you must see in India!
Once the capital of the Mughal Empire, Agra is India’s most visited city. There’s one major reason for the booming tourism—it’s home to the Taj Mahal. This iconic mausoleum is the country’s most famous landmark and the very reason so many travelers are inspired to explore India in the first place. The white marble complex was built in the 17th century. Visit at sunrise or sunset for breathtaking views of the sun-soaked dome shimmering off the reflecting pool. Of course, a Taj Mahal tour isn’t all Agra has to offer. Be sure to check out the impressive Agra Fort, made of blazing red sandstone.
Delhi is India’s capital city and one of the oldest cities in the world. For that reason, many first-time visitors find themselves getting to know this buzzing metropolis during their travels. It’s the perfect place for sightseeing, with countless museums, mosques, forts, and monuments dating back to Mughal rule. The top attractions are often complete with beautifully landscaped gardens. One of the most popular sites in Red Fort, built in the 17th century. Like Agra Fort, it was built of red sandstone. The stunning architecture will blow your mind, and it’s an absolute must see in India!
Rajasthan is where you’ll find some of the most charming cities in all of India. Jaipur, the Pink City, is the state’s capital. The sun illuminates the pink hues of the city’s buildings, showcasing the unique architecture and making for a mesmerizing sight. Jodhpur is the Blue City, painted in vibrant shades of blue—from pretty pastels to cerulean to royal blue. It’s also the Gateway to the Thar Desert, making it the perfect place to embark on a desert expedition. While in Jodhpur, visit the statuesque Mehrangarh Fort—one of the largest forts in the country. Round out your stay in Rajasthan with a trip to Udaipur for a true taste of luxury. The city is famed for its regal splendor and has been called India’s most romantic city. Tour the sparkling lakes and shimmering palaces; much of the City Palace has been converted into a museum.
Varanasi is the holiest place in all of India, and it’s viewed as the spiritual capital. It’s one of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities, and it’s the best place to witness ancient traditions regarding life and death. Every day, over 60,000 people bathe in the Ganges River believing it’ll wash away their sins and help free them from the cycle of rebirth. For the same reason, the dead are cremated here. It’s an intense scene, but visiting Varanasi provides fascinating insight into the country’s culture and religions.
Kerala is a tropical paradise, known predominantly for its backwaters. Lagoons and lakes ebb and flow into each other, lined with towering palm trees completing the picturesque vista. Sail down the waterways aboard a houseboat, taking in the lush greenery, diverse wildlife, and rituals of daily life in the villages resting on the water’s edge. This is one of India’s most popular attractions, but it’s not all Kerala has to offer. Relax on one of the white-sand beaches and swim in turquoise waters.
Ajanta and Ellora Caves
The Ajanta and Ellora Caves will inspire a sense of wonder unlike anything you’ve ever felt. These atmospheric sites are home to over 100 caves, carved in intricate designs and allowing you to take a look back in time. They were constructed between the 2nd and 7th centuries, and served as Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain places of worship. The caves are around a two-hour drive from each other. It’s a can’t-miss destination for all the history buffs out there!
The state of Meghalaya is a place of unparalleled natural beauty. The name means “abode of clouds,” and it’s known for its powerful waterfalls, cliffside views, and crisp mountain air. One of the most unforgettable experiences is visiting the living root bridges throughout the region. The bridges are made by shaping the roots to grow across rivers. It can take 15 years to make, but the bridges last for centuries, creating a magical ambience.
Amritsar is the holy city of the Sikhs and home to the renowned Golden Temple. The site is impossible to miss—lustrous gold leaf covers the building, gleaming brightly against peaceful waters. Built in 1577, countless Sikhs have embarked on pilgrimages to the city over the years. While in Amritsar, visit the many important monuments and religious sites. You can also tour the Golden Temple; just make sure to follow proper etiquette and wear a headscarf.
Goa is pure bliss. This ultimate tropical getaway has some of the best beaches in the world. Located on the country’s western coast, it was once a colony of Portugal. Many people think of Goa as a place to lounge on the sand and party by the sea, but it’s so much more than that. There’s ample opportunities for action-packed adventures and exciting water activities, as well as learning about the area’s rich history and immersing yourself in its culture. The northern region is more developed and attracts larger crowds, while the south is a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle.
Khajuraho Group of Monuments
The Khajuraho Group of Monuments date back to the Chandela dynasty (between 950 and 1050) and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once home to 85 temples, only 20 remain today. The Hindu and Jain temples are known for extremely elaborate carvings and extravagant architecture. Head to this renowned site for an up close and personal look at these awe-inspiring temples.