Best Places to Visit in India

Best Places to Visit in India

Discover India's Must-See Locations

Bryan Jacinto
PUBLISHED ONDecember 11, 2023

Ever dreamed of exploring vibrant and energetic Indian streets? Longed for a glimpse of historic marvels or the splendour of diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes?

India is a captivating country, filled with unique attractions just waiting to be discovered. Not sure where to start? We've got you covered. Our guide highlights the top places and experiences that will inspire your travel plans and guarantee a memorable visit.

Let's embark on this journey together as we explore top attractions that are sure to captivate you.

Diverse Destinations

India, a country steeped in a rich history and brilliant landscapes, offers you a variety of destinations to explore. Here are some choices to make planning your trip easier.

From bustling cities with historical links to serene landscapes that soothe the soul, India's diversity ensures a unique experience for every traveler. Here, we've shortlisted ten must-visit tourist attractions in the country.

Taj Mahal

If you plan a trip to India, visiting the iconic Taj Mahal is necessary.

A symbol of love and a remarkable piece of Mughal architecture, it captivates visitors with its immaculate white marble facade. Often termed as a 'teardrop on the face of eternity,' the Taj Mahal is located in Agra and stands as a testament to the timeless love story of Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

Beyond its mesmerizing beauty, the Taj Mahal holds a UNESCO World Heritage Site title, making it a visually stunning attraction and an important historical site.

Jaipur City Palace

If you are drawn to the grandeur and splendor of Indian royalty, the Jaipur City Palace must be at the top of your India travel bucket list. This impressive palace is nestled in the heart of India's pink city, Jaipur, and showcases Rajasthani and Mughal architecture.

Once inside the palace grounds, you'll be whisked away in the charm of ornate courtyards, scenic gardens, and striking structures like the Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal. The City Palace, with its sumptuous peacock gates in shades of deep blue and rich amber, offers a striking vista of Rajasthan's royal past and rich cultural heritage.

The Jaipur City Palace is a living testament to the area's vibrant history. Its architectural splendor, representing the essence of Rajasthan, leaves a lasting impression on every visitor.

Mehrangarh Fort

If you want to soak history and architecture, head to the Mehrangarh Fort. In Jodhpur city, this grand fort looms high, ruling the skyline. Its compelling panorama leaves visitors captivated.

Not just a historical symbol, the fort is also an artistic masterpiece. It gathers sandstone structures, enriched chambers, and expansive courtyards under one roof, all mirroring India's vibrant cultural legacy.

Be sure to allow ample time to explore standout features like the Palanquin Gallery, housing a stunning array of vintage royal palanquins—and the Sheesh Mahal's striking web of yards and halls. And don't miss the in-house Chamunda Mataji Temple, a spiritual site that invites admiration from both locals and travelers.

Besides its historical trinkets, the fort has an adrenaline-filled 'Flying Fox' zip-line tour. It gives you an exceptional aerial view of the fort's environment. And remember to stroll around the fort's beautifully groomed gardens, where peacocks can freely wander, enhancing the visual appeal.

Mehrangarh Fort is a living narrative of India's past, narrated through its soaring walls and stunning architecture. It all combines to make it an unmissable experience for tourists.

Houseboats in Kerala Backwaters

Originally known as 'Kettuvallams,' these unique floating hotels offer a taste of Kerala's culture, lifestyle, and food, peacefully set amidst beautiful lagoons, lakes, and canals.

There's something for everyone with these houseboats, from the cozy single-bedroom boats ideal for couples to the spacious three-bedroom vessels suited for families or larger groups.

While on board, you'll be treated to amazing views of lush agricultural fields, charming hamlets, vibrant plant and animal life, and the water-rooted lifestyle of Kerala's local communities. As the sun sets, you'll experience an enchanting atmosphere of peace and charm spread over the backwaters.

With their beautiful landscapes, soothing water rhythms, and breathtaking sunsets, a journey on the houseboats in the Kerala Backwaters is less of a trip and more of an unforgettable adventure into a natural wonderland filled with rich cultural traditions.

The Golden Temple

The Golden Temple, or Harmandir Sahib, in Amritsar, is a must-visit site in India. It's the most sacred place for Sikhs worldwide, and its stunning architectural design set against the tranquil Amrit Sarovar (Pool of Nectar) draws pilgrims and tourists. It promises an enriching spiritual experience you will remember sometime soon.

Alongside its captivating beauty, the temple offers a unique dining experience at the langar, a free community kitchen. It's a tangible demonstration of the Sikh principle of equality, serving meals daily to thousands of people, regardless of their social or religious background.

Before visiting, consider a few etiquettes: cover your head, remove your shoes, and cleanse your feet before entering the temple. It's a sign of respect for the holy place.

Whether you're on a spiritual quest or an architectural enthusiast, the Golden Temple is an iconic destination that radiates equality and brotherhood. It's worthwhile for anyone touring India.

Sunset at the Thar Desert

The Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, is the largest desert in India and is found in the country's northwestern part. As twilight emerges, the sweeping dune landscape transforms, bathing in the glow of the setting sun and offering visitors an ethereal, tranquil experience.

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in this tranquil, enchanted land is by embarking on a desert safari. It typically includes a camel ride that takes you into the heart of the desert, providing unmatched views of the sunset.

Goa Beaches

With beaches gently caressed by the waves of the Arabian Sea, Goa is the epitome of relaxing tropical getaways. Whether you're an adventurer seeking parasailing, dolphin spotting, scuba diving, or a vacationer wanting to curl up with a book in a beach shack, Goa has it all.

When the day winds down, prepare for a breathtaking sunset view accompanied by the distant tunes of Goan trance music. It's a scene that will be etched in your memory!

Goa's beaches are not just places to visit; they cater to every type of traveler. Whether you're a backpacker on a shoestring budget or someone seeking luxury at a beachfront resort, you'll find something perfect here. These beaches promise not just a vacation but moments that will reignite your travel enthusiasm every time you think of them.

Ajanta and Ellora Caves

India's heart contains two stunning examples of ancient Indian art and architecture - the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. These UNESCO World Heritage Sites, carved into hills, feature detailed sculptures and murals, providing a glimpse into centuries past.

You'll find the Ajanta Caves fascinating. Known for their beautiful artwork and carvings, these caves showcase Buddha's life and the religious practices of the day. These 30 unique Buddhist caves are like a treasure trove of history waiting to be discovered.

Not too far away are the Ellora Caves. They stand apart, showcasing Buddhist, Hindu, and Jainism influences, signifying India's rich religious diversity. Out of the 34 caves here, the Kailasa temple stands out, an awe-inspiring construction chiseled out from a lone rock, representing Indian architecture's brilliance during medieval times.

Touring Ajanta and Ellora is like stepping back into the bygone eras, marveling at the craftsmanship of ancient Indian architecture. They are invaluable pieces that highlight the richness of India's cultural heritage.

Sundarbans National Park

You'll adore visiting Sundarbans National Park if you're a nature lover. It's the largest mangrove forest in the world, placed at the southeastern tip of India. It's a biodiverse haven, teeming with a wide range of wildlife.

Sundarbans charms with its stunning beauty and diverse life forms. It's home to many species, including the Royal Bengal Tiger. Rest assured, the array of wildlife extends to plenty of birds, reptiles, and mammals, too.

Remember, the park is divided into segments, each rewarding visitors with unique wildlife sightings. Organized tours and adventurous boat safaris provide a chance to delve into the park's beauty. As you explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you'll gain insights into its incredible biodiversity.

Remember to pack your binoculars for an enhanced bird-watching experience. Spotting rare bird species is a possible thrill! And lastly, remember Sundarbans is a plastic-free zone. The commitment to preserve its beauty extends to its responsible tourism policies.

Kaziranga National Park

Are you a fan of wildlife? You can use Kaziranga National Park in Assam, Northeast India. This notable wildlife haven, known for having the largest group of one-horned rhinoceroses worldwide, covers 378 square miles of wetlands, forests, and grasslands.

In Kaziranga, numerous ranges - the Eastern, Central, and Western - each offer unique landscapes and wildlife encounters. Elephants, tigers, water buffalos, swamp deer, and various bird species call this park home.

Experience the park up close through a jeep safari, or take an elephant safari for a unique encounter. While seeing specific wildlife might require a bit of luck, the beautiful natural landscapes alone will amaze you.

One visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site and you'll see it's more than a sightseeing spot; it's a place to connect with nature and grasp the lives of these wild creatures in their natural setting.

Take your pick; each destination epitomizes a facet of India's vibrancy, awaiting your exploration!

Cultural Experiences

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India is a vibrant country with diverse cultures, traditions, and spiritual beliefs. From bustling cities to tranquil countryside, every place offers an enriching experience. Ready to dive into this cultural potpourri? Here's a glimpse of unique Indian experiences awaiting you.

  • Fairs and Festivals: Participating in a local festival in India can be an exhilarating experience. Whether it's the bright colors of Holi, the sparkling lights of Diwali, or the superbly choreographed dances at the Onam festival in Kerala, these occasions offer the true essence of India's rich cultural heritage.
  • Indian Cuisine: India's diverse culinary landscape offers everything from spicy curries to sweet delights. Each region has its specialties. The 'Thali,' a platter with various Indian dishes, provides an assortment of flavors that will tickle your taste buds.
  • Arts and Crafts: From intricate Madhubani paintings in Bihar to gleaming marble inlay work in Agra, Indian art forms are vast and varied. Learning about these art forms and trying at some of them could be a fascinating encounter with Indian culture.
  • Music and Dance: Indian music, with its innumerable ragas and dance forms, like Bharatanatyam and Kathak, convey tales of mythology and spirituality. Attend a cultural program or performance, and you'll be mesmerized by how these art forms have been preserved through generations.

Outdoor Activities

India's diverse landscape presents a plethora of outdoor activities. These activities, deeply rooted in the vibrancy of the land and its culture, offer an immersive experience unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Indeed, India's outdoors is a treasure trove for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike.

  • Trekking in the Himalayas: The mighty Himalayas offer easy and strenuous trails. The bracing mountain air, scenic landscapes, and the challenge of unpredictable terrains make trekking in the Himalayas a must-do for adventurists.
  • White Water Rafting in Rishikesh: Experience the rush of adrenaline as you navigate the fast-paced currents of the River Ganges. Not for the faint-hearted, but indeed an unforgettable experience for thrill-seekers!
  • Jeep Safari in Rajasthan: Explore the Thar Desert's undulating dunes and experience local culture in a new light with a fun-filled jeep safari.
  • Wildlife spotting in National Parks: India is home to diverse wildlife. Embark on a wildlife safari in parks like Ranthambore or Bandhavgarh to spot tigers, elephants, and majestic creatures in their natural habitat.
  • Surfing on the Coastlines: Goa and Karnataka's coastlines are havens for surfers. With many surf schools in the region, it's a perfect place for new learners or experienced surfers to take on the waves of the Arabian Sea.

For a comprehensive guide to what India offers, check out this article on the best things to do in India to start planning your adventure!

Transportation Options

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Traveling in India offers various modes of transport that cater to different comfort levels, time constraints, and budgets. Every city has its unique mix of transportation options, each offering a different experience.

  • Trains: The Indian Railways is one of the most extensive railway networks in the world, connecting major cities and remote villages. You can choose from various classes, from economical sleeper coaches to air-conditioned first-class cabins.
  • Buses: Buses are a popular and affordable means of transport. They range from government-run services to luxury private coaches. Deluxe and Volvo buses offer more comfortable seating and are ideal for longer journeys.
  • Taxis and Auto-rickshaws: Taxis and auto-rickshaws are ideal for short distances within city limits. These vehicles have meters, but confirming the fare before starting your trip is always good.
  • Domestic Flights: With a rising number of budget airlines, domestic flights have become a time-efficient way to travel between cities. Remember, though, that flight prices can vary based on the time of booking and travel dates.

If you are looking for adventure and have a flair for navigation, renting a car or bike is ideal. However, driving in India can be different than you may be used to.

To better understand this option, check out this comprehensive driving guide for India.

Accommodation Options

When planning your trip to India, one of the crucial steps is finding suitable accommodation. India offers various options to suit every traveler's budget and preferences.

  • Luxury Hotels: Chains like The Oberoi, Taj Hotels, and Leela Palaces offer top-notch service, comfortable rooms, and excellent amenities. These can be found in major cities and tourist locations.
  • Budget Hotels: Affordable options are plentiful in India. The Ginger chain of hotels provides clean, simple rooms at very reasonable prices.
  • Guesthouses and B&Bs: For a more authentic experience, consider staying in a local guesthouse. Not only are they more personal, but they also allow you to interact with locals.
  • Hostels: Perfect for backpackers and those traveling on a tight budget, hostels offer dormitory-style rooms with shared facilities at meager prices.
  • Homestays: Experience Indian hospitality firsthand by staying with a local family. This option is comfortable and insightful, giving you a taste of Indian culture.

If you still need to figure out where to go, this article on the best places to visit in India offers in-depth insights into the top destinations and where you might want to set up your temporary home during your visit.

Weather Considerations

When planning a visit to India, it's crucial to consider the weather, as it plays a significant role in shaping your experience. India, known for its diversity, is no different regarding its climate, encompassing various weather patterns across other regions and times of the year.

The year in India is typically divided into three seasons: winter, summer, and monsoon. Let's take a closer look at each one:

  • Winter (October to February): Most parts of India, excluding the extreme northern states, enjoy mild winters with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 25°C (50°F to 77°F). It's the perfect time for sightseeing and outdoor activities. However, pack warm clothing when heading to the northern regions or hill stations.
  • Summer (March to June): Summers in India can be intensely hot, with temperatures in some parts soaring above 40°C (104°F). It is a great time to visit the hill stations for some respite from the heat.
  • Monsoon (June to September): The arrival of the monsoons is a spectacle to behold, transforming landscapes and offering a unique experience. However, it may disrupt travel plans, so it's a good idea to check the monsoon forecast and plan accordingly. Some regions, such as the Thar Desert and the hills of northeastern India, indeed come alive during this season.

The weather conditions can vary significantly from region to region. It's always recommended to check the specific weather forecasts for the places you plan to visit before packing your bags.

Safety Precautions

When traveling to India, like any other foreign country, it's essential to remain alert and mindful of your safety. Paying attention to specific safety measures can ensure a smoother journey.

  • Travel Insurance: Prioritize getting travel insurance that covers theft, loss, accidents, and health issues.
  • Safe Food and Water: Opt for bottled water and hot, freshly cooked food to avoid potential foodborne illnesses.
  • Money Safety: Be cautious when withdrawing money from ATMs. Try to use machines that are located in public, well-lit areas.
  • Proper Dressing: Respect the local customs appropriately, especially in religious areas.
  • Transportation: Use registered taxis or popular ride-sharing services for safer travel.

While India is a generally safe destination for tourists, it's still wise to stay updated about the country's current situation before your visit and be mindful of general travel safety advice.

Visa Requirements

India requires many visitors to obtain a visa before their travel — and the requirements depend on your country of origin and the purpose of your visit. Whether you're entering as a tourist, on business, for medical treatment, or to study, it's essential to understand the specific requisites for the prospective visa.

  • Tourist Visa: Typically granted for up to six months and may include single, double, or multiple entries into the country. Proof of onward travel and sufficient funds to cover your stay are generally needed. In addition, two passport photos and an itinerary of your travel plans in India may also be requested.
  • Business Visa: Business visitors must show evidence of an invitation from an Indian company and letters of support from their home employer. Additionally, you'll likely have to provide information on your educational qualifications and expertise in your field.
  • Medical Visa: This is given to individuals seeking medical treatment in India at reputed and recognized medical institutions. Medical and financial documents will be requested for this visa application. You'll also have to provide a letter from the medical institution detailing your treatment plan.
  • Student Visa: To study in India, you'll need an offer letter from the institution you're planning to study at. Proof of adequate finances to cover your tuition and living costs, academic transcripts, and a passport valid for at least six months beyond your stay are also typically required.

International Driving Permit for India

If you're planning to drive in India, it's important to note that you'll need an International Driving Permit in India. Your standard driving license from home might only sometimes cut it here.

The IDP is crucial for two reasons. Firstly, it's globally recognized, acting essentially as a translation of your driving license. It makes it easier for the local authorities to understand your credentials. Secondly, it can be an extra form of identification alongside your passport.

Obtaining your IDP back home is much simpler and faster than getting a local license after you've landed in India. Its absence can lead to issues with local law enforcement and insurance claims in case of an accident. Not to mention, most reputable car rental companies require it.

By grabbing your IDP before your journey, you're essentially ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable trip to India. Indeed, that's a driving reason to get one!

Local Customs or Etiquette

India is a culturally diverse country with varied traditions and etiquette, making it distinctive and fascinating. As you navigate different regions, be aware of some commonly accepted customs to show respect and fit in better with the locals.

  • Respect religious sites: India is deeply steeped in spirituality. Whether visiting a temple, mosque, church, or even a Sikh Gurdwara, remember to dress appropriately, covering your shoulders and knees and removing your shoes before entering.
  • Greet with 'Namaste': While English is widely spoken, greet locals with a 'Namaste,' bringing your hands together at the chest level. It's a customary way of showing respect.
  • Use your right hand: In India, the right hand is used for eating, offering gifts, or accepting something. The left hand is considered unclean, so use your right hand for all significant actions.
  • Follow local dining practices: Indians usually eat with their hands. Also, remember to wash your hands before and after meals. Try not to waste food, as it is generally considered disrespectful.
  • Bargain wisely: Haggling is an accepted practice in many Indian markets. Start negotiating at about 30-50% lower than the initial asking price. However, only press a little complicated on the pricing if it's already reasonable.

Embracing these practices will enhance your experience of the Indian culture and make your journey more enriching and memorable.

Currency and Payments

India's official currency is the Indian Rupee (INR), designated by the symbol ₹. Main denominations you'll see include ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹100, ₹200, ₹500, and ₹2000 for paper notes, and ₹1, ₹2, ₹5, and ₹10 for coins.

While it's standard to use cash throughout the country, more and more places, especially in cities and popular tourist areas, are accepting debit and credit cards. Nonetheless, having cash on hand is still a good fallback, particularly for smaller vendors who may not take cards.

Apps like Paytm, Google Pay, and PhonePe are famous for everyday transactions. Remember, you might need an Indian bank account or phone number to use these.

Regarding tips, it's not a requirement in India. However, if you've received good service, a tip of around 10% is seen as generous.

Before your trip, remember to let your bank know you're traveling so your card doesn't get blocked. Also, watch the currency exchange rates to ensure you're getting a fair deal.

Language and Communication

India has a rich linguistic heritage; more than 21 languages are officially recognized, each with several dialects. However, English is widely spoken and understood in cities and tourist areas, acting as the bridge between the visitor and the diverse local languages. Familiarizing with basic Hindi phrases can enrich your experience and help you connect deeper with the locals.

"Namaste" for hello, "Shukriya" for thank you, "Haan" for yes, and "Nahi" for no are some simple Hindi phrases you can start with.

Translators or guidebooks can also be handy for navigating regional languages when venturing off the beaten path. Remember, respect and a friendly smile often trumps any language barrier.

Environmental Considerations

When exploring India's diverse attractions, you must respect the country's unique environment. As a visitor, you must practice sustainable tourism and preserve India's natural and cultural treasures for future generations.

Here are some practical tips you can follow:

  • Limit Plastic Use: India is working hard to reduce its usage of single-use plastic products. Support this initiative by refilling a reusable water bottle instead of continuously purchasing new plastic bottles.
  • Respect Wildlife: Always maintain a safe and respectful distance from animals when visiting national parks or wildlife reserves. It is not only for your safety but to reduce animal stress.
  • Dispose of Waste Responsibly: Do your part to keep India beautiful by disposing of your trash properly. Avoid littering, especially in rural areas and public spaces.
  • Conserve Water: Water is a precious resource in India; do your part to conserve it by taking shorter showers and reusing hotel towels.
  • Choose Eco-friendly Accommodations: Consider staying in green hotels or eco-lodges that prioritize sustainable practices.
  • Support Local Enterprises: Shopping locally, especially for handicrafts and food, contributes to the economy and reduces the carbon footprint of shipping goods.

Remember, every small step towards sustainability can significantly impact the environment.


India offers a variety of connectivity options to keep you linked with the world, no matter where you are. Maintaining digital communication is okay in a bustling metropolis or a remote hill town.

With comprehensive 4G coverage and emerging 5G networks in big cities, India's robust telecommunication infrastructure always retains you from your social media or emails. Many hotels, cafes, and airports offer free Wi-Fi, although the quality and speed of the internet can vary.

Before you travel to India, be sure to check international roaming options with your service provider. For some, buying a local SIM card upon arrival might be a cost-effective choice, depending on your home country and the duration of your stay in India.

Time Zone

India operates on Indian Standard Time (IST), five and a half hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+5:30). This single time zone applies across the country, streamlining travel arrangements.

It's worth noting that IST doesn't observe Daylight Saving Time (DST). Therefore, the time difference between your home country and India may change depending on the time of year if your country practices DST. Check the current Indian local time before making any travel or communication plans. Here's a quick tip:

Most smartphones and digital devices automatically adjust to local time zones when you're traveling. However, it's always good to double-check your settings to ensure they're correctly configured for your current location.

Closing Thoughts

India offers a plethora of incredible destinations that cater to every traveler's interests. From the majestic Taj Mahal in Agra to the serene backwaters of Kerala, this diverse country has something for everyone. India has everything if you're seeking cultural immersion, natural beauty, or spiritual enlightenment. So, pack your bags and embark on a journey to explore the best places this enchanting country offers.

Curious to learn more? Feel free to click the links throughout this article for more in-depth information.

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