Best Things to Do in India

Best Things to Do in India

Discover India's Best Experiences

WRITTEN BYBryan Jacinto
PUBLISHED ONDecember 13, 2023

Are you planning a trip to India and wondering what are the best things to do?

From its colorful food culture and stunning historical locations to adrenaline-pumping adventures, there are many of India's best things to do. Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or a food enthusiast, India has something for everyone.

To make your Indian journey exciting and trouble-free, it's vital to understand practical aspects like climate, cultural norms, visa processes, and more.

Read on to discover the must-see destinations and activities that will make your trip to India truly unforgettable.

Diverse Culinary Experiences

India has a diverse culinary culture, which, like its vibrant culture, is full of flavors, spices, and aromas. Taking a culinary journey throughout India is an absolute wonder.

Regional Delicacies

India's diversity is reflected in its food as well. Each region has its unique dishes and cooking techniques. Prominent among them are:

  • North India: Opt for rich, hearty dishes such as Biryani, Butter Chicken and Tandoori.
  • South India: Try exotic flavors with Dosa, Idli, and Sambar.
  • East India: Remember the fish preparations and sweets like Rasgulla and Sandesh.
  • West India: Savor the blend of sweet and spicy dishes like Dhokla and Paav Bhaji.

Street Food

Every culinary adventure in India is complete with delving into the bustling street food scene. Iconic street foods to try:

  • Pani Puri from Mumbai
  • Chaat in Delhi
  • Aloo Tikki in Lucknow

Cooking Classes

Immerse yourself in the Indian culinary scene by taking cooking classes hosted by local chefs. Learn to make traditional foods like Chapati, Dal, and various curries. You can find these classes in major cities across India.

As you explore India's rich culinary heritage, you'll discover that food is integral to their culture. Whether it's street food, regional dishes, or cooking classes, an array of gastronomic experiences is waiting for you.

Historical and Cultural Sites

India is known for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant history, with plenty of places worth visiting. Whether you're a history buff, a lover of art and architecture, or simply curious about India's past, you'll find plenty of fascinating destinations across the country.

To make the most of your trip, consider timing it around the optimal seasons for the locations you want to explore. Consider reading through this article about the best time to visit India,

Taj Mahal

Every visit to India would be complete with stopping by the Taj Mahal. This iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site is a symbol of India's history and a timeless testament to eternal love.

Qutub Minar

In the bustling city of Delhi, you'll find Qutub Minar. This towering brick minaret, an excellent representation of Indo-Islamic architecture, provides a glimpse into the region's past civilizations.

The Ellora and Ajanta Caves

Take a step further back in time as you explore the mesmerizing Ellora and Ajanta Caves. These intricate rock-cut cave temples are an astonishing display of ancient Indian art, culture, and craftsmanship.

  • Amer Fort, Jaipur
  • Khajuraho Temples, Madhya Pradesh
  • Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
  • Sun Temple, Konark
  • Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

India's historical and cultural sites are like time capsules, each telling a unique story. They offer the chance to enter a different era and tangibly experience India's past.

Spiritual Experiences

Venturing into the spiritual heart of India can be an incredibly enriching experience. Known for its numerous temples, ashrams, and spiritual retreats, India offers a wide array of spiritual experiences.

Visit Ancient Temples

Begin your spiritual journey in India with a visit to the country's numerous ancient temples. They are not just places of worship but also remarkable examples of architectural grandeur that have stood the test of time.

  • Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand: One of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, located on the Garhwal Himalayan range.
  • Golden Temple, Amritsar: This glistening place of worship is the holiest shrine of the Sikh religion.
  • Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram: A sacred Hindu site with rich mythology and history.

Unwind at an Ashram

Stay at an ashram, a traditional spiritual retreat, to experience the simplicity and serenity India is renowned for.

  • Art of Living Ashram, Bangalore: Known for its stress-relief and meditation programs.
  • Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, Mysore: Ideal for those who wish to delve into the world of yoga.
  • Swami Dayananda Ashram, Rishikesh: Provides immersive Vedanta philosophy and Sanskrit programs.

Ganges Aarti Ceremony

Witnessing the ceremonial worship of the river Ganges, a sacred entity in Hinduism, known as Ganga Aarti in the towns of Haridwar or Varanasi, is truly unforgettable.

These spiritual journeys reveal the essence and diversity of India's rich cultural heritage while providing opportunities for self-reflection and growth.

Adventurous Activities

Step into the wild and explore India's incredible landscape and nature with many adventurous activities. There's something for everyone in this diverse country.

Yet, this incredible country has so many more hidden gems waiting for you to explore. Get inspired by this guide about the best places to visit in India.

Trekking in the Himalayas

There's no better place to begin your adventure than the mighty Himalayas. You can trek through the lush green meadows, icy glaciers, and beautiful monasteries in regions like Ladakh, Sikkim, and Uttarakhand.

White Water Rafting at Rishikesh

Feel the exhilaration as you go white water rafting down the Ganges River in Rishikesh, known as the Yoga Capital of the World. This adventure is a perfect blend of thrill and spirituality.

Wildlife Safari

Get closer to the wild by riding on a wildlife safari in various national parks and sanctuaries. Experience the thrill of spotting a Royal Bengal Tiger or Asiatic Lions in their natural habitat.

  • Kanha National Park: Known for its tigers and beautiful landscape.
  • Ranthambore National Park: Famous for its large tiger population and bird species.
  • Kaziranga National Park: Home to the one-horned rhinos.

Scuba Diving in Andaman

From beginner to advanced levels, explore the Andaman Islands' vibrant coral reefs and unique marine life. It's an underwater paradise waiting to be explored.

From the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the iconic Yoga Capital of the world, Rishikesh, to the wild heart of its national parks and the underwater world of Andaman, there's never a dull moment in India!

Local Entertainment

If you're venturing out in India, immersing yourself in local entertainment is necessary. The diversity and color of India's entertainment are what set this experience apart.

From classical music concerts to Bollywood movies, traditional dance performances, and colorful festivals, India serves as a melting pot of thrilling local entertainment options.


Bollywood takes center stage when it comes to the entertainment scene in India. Book a ticket for a Bollywood movie in a local theater and be prepared to immerse yourself in a glamour-filled world of song, dance, and drama. If you're fortunate, you can watch a live film!

Music and Dance

In India, a diverse range of music and dance forms exist. Attending a classical music concert can be a mesmerizing experience. Watching traditional dance performances like Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, or Odissi can give you an insight into the country's rich culture.

  • Kathak: This dance form originated in North India and is characterized mainly by rhythmic foot movements adorned with small bells (Ghungroo), harmonizing the movement to the music.
  • Bharatanatyam: This dance form is the pride of South India, primarily from the state of Tamil Nadu. It's renowned for its grace, purity, tenderness, and sculpturesque poses.
  • Kathakali and Odissi: Two popular dance forms from the South and East of India, respectively; these dances are characterized by intricate costumes, detailed gestures, and facial expressions telling stories of Indian mythology.


Every visit to India would be complete with witnessing its vibrant, colorful local festivals. Time your visit to coincide with one of these grand Indian festivals for an unforgettable experience.

  • Holi: Known as the 'Festival of Colors,' Holi is a fun-filled celebration involving people smearing each other with colored powders, symbolizing unity and joy.
  • Diwali: Also deemed as the 'Festival of Lights,' Diwali marks the Hindu New Year. Homes, streets, and shops are adorned with lights and candles, while families celebrate with feasts and fireworks.
  • Pongal/Makar Sankranti: Known by different names across the country, this harvest festival is celebrated with kite flying, bonfires, feasts, and traditional dances.

The essence of India lies not merely in sightseeing but in soaking up its culture, which is most vividly presented through its local entertainment options. Dance to the tune of Bollywood numbers, let your heart sway with the rhythm of its music, and immerse in the hue of its grand celebrations!

Wildlife and Nature

India, known for its diverse ecosystem, offers many opportunities for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Let's dive deep into the beauty of India's wildlife and nature.

Safari through National Parks

First and foremost, going on a safari through any of India's national parks can be a thrilling experience. In their natural habitat, you can witness the majestic Bengal tigers, Chitals, Rhinos, and Elephants.

  • Bandhavgarh National Park: Known for its high density of Royal Bengal Tigers
  • Kaziranga National Park: Home to the endangered one-horned rhinoceros
  • Periyar National Park: Offers a rare opportunity to enjoy the wild from water

Explore Beautiful Hill Stations

Next, exploring the quaint hill stations scattered across the country, all unique, allows one to unwind and connect with nature.

  • Manali: Known for its breathtaking landscapes and adventure sports
  • Ooty: Famous for its lush tea gardens and blue mountains
  • Darjeeling: Offers panoramic views and the world-famous tea estates

Shopping and Local Crafts

India is an enchanting land of diversity, and this is highly reflected in its local crafts and shopping experience. From bustling markets to intricate handicrafts, India offers a new world to explore and appreciate.

Visit Vibrant Local Bazaars

Shopping in the traditional bazaars of India is a fascinating experience. The abundant colorful and aromatic spices, shimmering textiles, and meticulously hand-crafted jewelry are all part of these markets' unique charm.

The Chandni Chowk market in Delhi, the Johari Bazaar in Jaipur, and the Laad Bazaar in Hyderabad are just the start of an endless list.

Appreciate Diverse Handicrafts

  • Kashmiri Carpets and Shawls: From Srinagar in Kashmir, beautiful hand-knotted carpets and warm Pashmina shawls are well-renowned worldwide.
  • Rajasthani Miniature Paintings: In Rajasthan, be mesmerized by the intricate Miniature Paintings that tell tales of bygone eras.
  • Kanjivaram Silk Sarees: If you visit the south, a Kanjivaram Silk Saree is a must-have in your collection.
  • Assamese Tea: As you head east, consider returning some aromatic tea from Assam.

Engage with the local artisans and understand the rich cultural heritage behind each craft. Whether pottery, weaving, painting, or metallurgy, every handicraft is a unique piece of art that takes us back to the roots of Indian civilization.

Health and Safety

Before diving into India's heady adventure, it's crucial to ensure you're taking all necessary precautions to stay healthy and safe. Here are a few tips:

  • Vaccinations: First, ensure you're up to date on routine vaccines. In addition, the CDC and WHO recommend Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccines as you can contract these diseases through contaminated food or water in India. Consult your doctor for personalized advice.
  • Food and Water Safety: Speaking of food and water, you'll want to be picky about where you dine. Stick to busy restaurants and avoid street food until your stomach has adjusted. Drink bottled water and avoid ice, as it may be made from tap water.
  • Personal Safety: India is mainly safe for tourists, but taking precautions is essential. Use common sense and beware of your surroundings. Avoid isolated areas, especially at night. Keep your belongings secure and be cautious when traveling in crowded places where pickpocketing can occur.
  • Dress Appropriately: In more traditional parts of India, it's respectful to dress modestly. When visiting religious sites, women may want to bring a lightweight scarf to cover their heads. Respect for culture and traditions is a sign of being a good traveler and adds to your safety.

It's better to be safe than sorry when traveling. The more prepared you are, the more you can relax and enjoy India's myriad experiences!


Getting around in India is an adventure in itself. This vast and diverse nation offers various forms of transportation that add to the overall travel experience. Here's a quick guide to transportation in India:

  • Trains: There's possibly no better way to explore India's geographical diversity than boarding a train. This network is among the world's largest. India's railway system can take you virtually anywhere, from bustling city centers to remote villages.
  • Auto Rickshaws and Cycle Rickshaws: This is a common form of transportation in Indian cities and towns. Auto rickshaws are motorized three-wheelers that can zip through traffic, while cycle rickshaws are human-powered. Both offer a unique local experience and are cheap.
  • Taxis and Ride-Sharing: Taxis are plentiful in Indian cities and are reasonably priced. They can be hailed on the street or booked via a hotel. Uber and Ola (India's local equivalent to Uber) are widely used and are a convenient option.
  • Buses: Buses are the most commonly used form of public transportation in India, and the network is vast. You can get anywhere from local city routes to intercity travel. They're cheap and an efficient way to get from point A to point B.
  • Flights: With numerous airlines operating multiple routes, flights are the fastest way to travel long distances in India. Be sure to check prices regularly, as they can fluctuate.

For those up for a thrill, consider driving! Mind you, it's not a stroll in the park - Indian traffic can be somewhat overwhelming at first. Dive into the details about road rules, traffic signs, and road conditions. Remember, awareness is vital when you're behind the wheel in India. Why not explore this driving guide for India?

Weather Conditions

India is a country of diverse climates, making it a compelling destination to experience a myriad of weather conditions all in one place. Let's explore what you can expect!

North India

North India, with regions like Delhi and Rajasthan, is known for its extremes. It gets scorching in summer, reaching 45°C, and quite cold in winter, falling to around seven °C or even lower in some mountainous regions.

South India

Travel further south, and you'll find a tropical climate. Places like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka boast hot and humid weather most of the year, even with temperatures ranging in the 20-35°C bracket.

Monsoon Season

An important aspect to bear in mind is the monsoon season. It typically lasts from June to September and can significantly affect travel plans. It's a spectacle, as it breathes life into the landscape and creates a sense of renewal.

  • Early Monsoon: Most of the country gets rainfall from June to July.
  • Late Monsoon: Monsoon showers can extend until September, particularly in the northeast and southern coastal strip.

For an authentic Indian experience, plan your travel around a mix of weather conditions. The country surprises with changing landscapes and vibrant festivities throughout the year.

Cultural Etiquette

Visiting India involves appreciating its unique cultural aspects. Understanding Indian etiquette enhances cultural knowledge, helps in interactions, and respects local life. We've assembled a list of critical customs and behaviors.

Respect Religious Practices

India is home to many religions living peacefully together. Be sure to respect religious practices, like removing shoes in Hindu temples or women covering their heads in mosques.

Indian Greetings

Offering a respectful greeting is central to Indian etiquette. The traditional Indian greeting is the Namaste, which involves bringing your hands together at your chest level and giving a slight bow. 'Namaste' can be used at any time of day and in any setting. With its meaning, 'I bow to you,' it signifies respect for the other person.

Eating Etiquette

Indian cuisine is world-famous for its vibrant flavors and diverse dishes. When eating with an Indian family, remember to wash your hands before and after your meal. It's common to eat with the right hand in India. Even if utensils are used, they will be typically navigated by the right hand.

Showing Respect to Elders

In India, elders are given the utmost respect. Younger ones are expected to touch the feet of their elders as a show of respect and to seek blessings. It's a beautiful custom that symbolizes respect for age and wisdom.

Avoid Public Displays of Affection

India is relatively conservative when it comes to displays of affection in public. Kissing and hugging in public is not generally accepted. Adopting a more reserved demeanor when showing affection in public is best.

India is a country with diverse cultures, languages, and traditions. The norms mentioned above can vary in different regions and other communities in the country.

International Driving Permit for India

If driving in India forms a part of your itinerary, securing an International Driving Permit (IDP) should be on your agenda. Acting as a globally recognized translation of your license, it's typically valid for a year.

Getting an IDP involves contacting your local motoring body before you jet to India. Having six months of validity left on your domestic license is vital. Your IDP application might require a fee, an up-to-date passport photo, a filled-out application form, and a photocopy of your valid home license. Given that each country has its own IDP requirements, it's advisable to look into the specifics in your home country.

Remember that your IDP is not a standalone document or a substitute for your license. It supplements your home license and should always be carried with it. In the event of roadside incidents or checks from local authorities, you must display both your IDP and domestic license.

Visa Requirements

If you're planning to explore the many wonders of India, it's crucial to understand the visa requirements in advance. India offers several types of visas, and you need to apply for the one that corresponds to your reasons for visiting.

Regular Tourist Visa

A regular Tourist Visa is for tourists who wish to sightsee, visit friends or relatives, or attend a short-term yoga program. This visa is valid for six months to 10 years for US citizens, but your stay per visit should be a maximum of 180 days.


The e-visa was implemented to make the application process easier and faster. There are three types of e-visas: e-Tourist Visa, e-Business Visa, and e-Medical Visa. The duration of these visas can range from 60 days to 1 year.

  • E-Tourist Visa: As the name suggests, this is meant for tourism. This visa allows for double entries for a stay of up to 60 days.
  • E-Business Visa: This visa allows a stay of up to 60 days with dual entry benefits for those visiting India for business purposes.
  • E-Medical Visa: This visa is for those seeking short-term medical treatment in India. It allows for a triple entry for a stay of up to 60 days.

Journalist Visa

Those going to India for journalistic activities or filming require a Journalist Visa. The duration of this visa is up to six months.

Student Visa

If you plan to pursue an educational course in India, you'll need a Student Visa. It is issued for the duration of your academic course or a maximum period of five years.

It's always best to check the website of the Indian consulate in your region for specific and updated information about visa requirements. Please apply within the timelines and with all necessary documents to avoid last-minute issues.


Finding the Right Place to Stay

One of the essential parts of your trip to India is deciding where to stay. Thankfully, India offers various accommodation options to suit every budget and preference.

  • Luxury Hotels: India is home to some of the world's most lavish and renowned hotels for those seeking luxury. These establishments ensure an unforgettable stay enriched with royal prestige and world-class service.
  • Boutique Hotels: If you want a more intimate and personalized experience, consider a boutique hotel. India boasts many boutique establishments brimming with local charm and quirkiness.
  • Homestays: For an immersive cultural experience, opt for a homestay. Live with residents, share meals with them, and get an authentic, first-hand insight into the Indian lifestyle.
  • Hostels: If you're on a budget, consider staying in a hostel. Throughout India, you'll find a variety of hostels catering to backpackers, socialites, and solo travelers alike.

Booking Your Accommodation

Once you've decided on the type of accommodation best suited to your needs, you can make a booking. Many platforms offer easy and swift booking options, from online websites to mobile applications. Remember, consider booking your stay well in advance to get the best deals.


In India, you'll quickly notice the variety of languages. Prepare to hear an intriguing mix of languages.

  • Hindi: Spoken by the majority, Hindi is India's most widely spoken language. A phrase or two in Hindi can be helpful on your visit.
  • English: English is used extensively in business, education, and administration. So, don't worry, you can communicate efficiently with most locals.
  • Regional Languages: India comprises various states, each boasting a unique language. From Bengali in the East to Gujarati in the West, Punjabi in the North to Tamil in the South, you'll hear various languages.

Language creates an authentic connection. Learn a local phrase or two. It helps in communication and gives you a natural feel of India's varied cultures.

Money and Expenses

While planning your trip to India, understanding the local money and necessary expenses goes a long way in enhancing your experience. Remember, the Indian Rupee (INR) is the official currency.

Handling Indian Currency

India operates on a cash economy despite the growth of digital transactions. Small street shops, rickshaw drivers, and local eateries often only accept cash. Thus, keeping a reasonable amount of cash during your exploration is crucial.

Larger establishments, hotels, and shopping malls usually accept international credit and debit cards. Watch out for hefty foreign transaction fees on your card, though!

Expenses To Prepare For

Typically, expenses in India can be categorized into:

  • Accommodation: You can opt for budget-friendly hostels, mid-range hotels, or luxurious heritage properties. Depending on your preference, accommodation can be affordable or moderately expensive.
  • Food: India is famous for its rich culinary heritage. Dining expenses can range from cheap street food to upscale restaurants.
  • Travel: Public transportation, including trains, rickshaws, and buses, is affordable. However, if you choose to hire private taxis or use domestic flights to traverse across states, it can add to your expenses significantly.
  • Shopping: Markets in India offer various handicrafts, traditional wear, jewelry, and more. Be prepared to spend on these charming keepsakes.
  • Entry Fees: Most tourist attractions charge a nominal fee. A visit to remarkable World Heritage Sites like the Taj Mahal or palaces in Rajasthan comes with a small entrance fee.

In India, bargaining is quite common in local markets. Feel free to haggle and get the best price for your purchases.

Budgeting For Your Trip

India is known for its affordability for travelers. However, planning your budget allows you to relish this diverse nation without financial stress. Here are a few tips:

  • Define your travel luxuries: Understand what aspects of the trip you want to splurge on. Is it accommodation? Is it food or shopping?
  • Daily Budget: Try to set a daily budget for your expenses. It includes food, local transportation, and a little extra for unexpected costs.
  • Emergencies: Always have some money set aside for emergencies. Be it for medical emergencies or unexpected travel changes, it is always good to be prepared.

Closing Thoughts

India is a treasure house of adventures, tastes, and experiences for every traveler. It offers something for everyone - food lovers, history buffs, thrill-seekers, and cultural enthusiasts.

Remember to be mindful of their customs, pack according to their weather forecasts, and always stay informed about travel requirements. You're all set for an unforgettable trip!

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