Travel makes you lose yourself only to find your own self. It’s something that cuts across barriers or ages and suits people from all sorts of backgrounds. It is something that offers endless memories, experiences that usually last you a lifetime. And if travel is what you’re seeking, it truly doesn’t get better than India.
Considered to be one of the greatest travel destinations on the planet, this magnificent country has everything you could possibly want from your holidays – mystery, romance, culture, food, parties, natural beauty and so much more.
Rajasthan (above image)
Popularly called the Land of Kings, Rajasthan has been at the center of Indian tourism, transporting its visitors back into history through its larger than life forts and palaces. This is where the India of your dreams comes right in front of your eyes. This is where camel rides, exotic sand dunes, hidden forts and magnificent palaces become a reality. Rajasthan was once home to the Rajputs, and its ancient heritage is full of stories of love, betrayal, pride, tradition and valor. Many of the state’s ancient forts and palaces have been transformed into luxurious hotels and museums, but village life has still remained unchanged over the years, ensuring you get to enjoy the best of both worlds. Relive the life of a maharaja, but don’t forget to enjoy a stroll past bustling markets, embark on an adventure searching for the Bengal tiger or visit the dunes for an authentic camel safari as the sun sets on the horizon.
Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, has always been famous as the city of dreams. Home to Bollywood, India’s fabled film industry, Mumbai has been one of the most strategic economic centers of the country. The city was largely built around one of the best-protected harbors by the British and like most of India, its main draw lies in its contrasts. One of the biggest highlights of Mumbai is the Gateway of India, a colonial-era monument that is now famous as one of the best places in the city to watch life go by. Try bhelpuri, the city’s favorite street food at Marine Drive or visit one of the posh wine cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, malls or promenades that the city has to offer. And if you’re searching for a dose of history and culture, traditional bazaars and magnificent attractions such as the Elephanta Caves can be found aplenty.
This one’s for the wildlife lover in you. Ladakh has always been famous for its stunning mountainside vistas and has been frequented by travelers in search of natural beauty. But you really need to break the spell that the place binds on you to discover that it has so much more to offer. The Uley Valley, a stunning area offering views of rugged cliffs and mesmerizing snow-capped mountains, is full of hidden monasteries and villages that deserve exploration. But what makes this valley even more exciting is that it is the perfect destination to catch a glimpse of the elusive snow leopard. There are about 200 leopards living in the region, and considering that there are just 6000 odd leopards left in the world, you really have to visit Ladakh to watch this magnificent beast. And even if you don’t spot a leopard, the Tibetan hare, marmots, shabo, blue sheep, ibex and Tibetan antelopes ensure that this journey always ends up as one of the most memorable wildlife adventures you’ve ever experienced.
Kerala + Backwaters
Kerala is one of the few destinations that does justice to its moniker, god’s own country, for something so beautiful must surely have been created for the gods. Kerala’s natural beauty isn’t just captivating, it’s a surreal experience that simply seems too good to be true. You’ve surely heard of those spending houseboats riding past idyllic canals with nothing but beautiful birds and peaceful vistas to keep you company. You most have also heard about those uber-romantic backwater resorts that are a must for any loving couple. But what you probably ignore is that Kerala is so much more than its backwaters. Sure, spend a day or two enjoying an overdose of romance, but make sure you save time for its exotic bazaars, ancient cities, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, stunning tea plantations and excellent wildlife viewing adventures as well. Eat that spicy curry and discover ancient ruins. Join the hustle bustle of Kochi and unwind in beautiful beaches. Simply switch off your phones and disconnect yourself from the rest of the world as this piece of heaven slowly unfolds its magnificence in front of your eyes.
Karnataka is another state that reminds you of quintessential India. It is full of ancient ruins and modern day cities with the odd tiger reserve and palace thrown in for good measure. At the center of Karnataka lies Bangalore, the silicon hub and of the best cities of the country, while regal Mysore holds off at a day’s distance to treat you to some Maharaja style adventures. If you’re looking for something older and even more exotic, the temples of Hampi and those psy sunset views are sure to add some excitement into your itineraries. Psst. Once you’re done exploring the state, don’t forget to head over to Gokarna, a place known for its heavenly beaches, for the ultimate detox.
Delhi, the City of Djinns, is Modern India’s capital, a city full of lost relics and modern wonders, narrating stories of countless cultures, while presenting cosmopolitan wonders at every turn. Delhi showcases chaos at its magnificent best and never before has mayhem felt so beautiful, so intoxicatingly magical. Delhi often reminds you of Rome as you explore dusty bazaars that give way to Mughal mausoleums, colonial-era attractions and medieval fortifications. At the same time, it also reminds you of how modern it really is through mega malls, nightclubs, restaurants, boutiques, galleries and more. Delhi has a way of frustrating you, but give it a while, and chances are that you’ll fall in love with some of its lesser known corners. Whether its watching the sun set in Lodhi Gardens or listening to qawwali at Purana Qila, you’re sure to find a corner to call your own.
The sun, the sand, the sea – Goa offers an overdose of all three, but you’re not here for sunbathing. Never sunbathing. Goa is famous as one of the most exotic party destinations on the planet and that is what you’re here for. If the Caribbean sounds too exotic, pricey even, simply head over to Goa for your own Caribbean-like adventure. South Goa is where you get to see those exclusive resorts that offer larger-than-life experiences. And if you’re searching for hot and happening parties, North Goa is where you need to be. And once you’re done drinking, partying and enjoying the groovy music, you can surely spend a day or two in its stunning white-sand beaches, for a much-needed detox.
The spiritual heart of India offers a mesmerizing mix of art, architecture, history and culture that leaves you spellbound and speechless. The stars of the show are those exotic sculptures of Khajuraho, while two of India’s best sanctuaries, the Bandhavgarh and the Kanha, are also located here. And if you still have some time on your hands, the 15th century citadels of Mandu and Buddhist stupas of Sanchi are sure to keep you entertained. The food and culture on offer is perhaps even more special than its legendary attractions, for tourists get to see traditions dating back decades and sample some of the most delicious food that the country has to offer.
Varanasi. The holy land. A city famous as one of the most important pilgrimage centers in the world. A place where thousands of Hindus bathe in the River Ganges to purify themselves and purge their sins in front of the rising sun. Varanasi presents an atmospheric blend of ancient bazaars, temples and riverside ghats unlike any other city in the world. And considering that it is one of the oldest cities in India, the land of the Shiva, you wouldn’t have it any other way. While there are approximately 2000 shrines and temples in Varanasi, you simply cannot skip out on the Vishvanatha temple or the Durga Temple. And don’t forget to sample the mouth-watering food or pick up unique items at one of the bazaars in the city.
Darjeeling, often called the Queen of the Hills, is one of the most popular getaways in Eastern India. The British considered the place to be one of the most coveted hill stations in the sub-continent, for a place that manages to boast of a backdrop of the mighty Himalayas is sure to be special. And while the hill station is famous for its slow paced lifestyle and idyllic experiences, the tea plantations often end up being the star of the show. Mention the words Darjeeling tea in front of any tea lover and chances are you’ll see them salivating at the prospect of drinking some of the best tea in the world. Spend your mornings feasting on this magnificent tea, preparing yourself for a long day of exploration and shopping. Visit Buddhist monasteries and fading relics of the colonial era in the afternoon and spend the evening in Mall Road, haggling with vendors, bargaining your lungs out to get your favorite pieces at the best prices. And if you’re really looking for a special adventure, use the toy train to get to Darjeeling. This journey climbs 8000 feet over 8 hours along a narrow-gauge track and it ranks among the most beautiful train journeys on the planet.
Each destination on this list of the top 10 destinations in India can be easily customized to suit your tastes and preferences. Browse through our India tours and find the perfect itinerary for your Indian adventure with our India travel specialists.