India is a high-spirited land of stunning contrasts where both the modern and traditional worlds meet. The second-largest nation in the world in terms of population and also the worlds seventh-largest by area, India is home to different religions and cultures which are major contributors to its rich heritage. There are so many amazing places to visit in India, offering a variety of things to do for travelers which include experiencing an array of spiritual encounters, and sacred sites, lush national parks, beautiful sun-washed beaches, and exciting wildlife sanctuaries. The country allows visitors to discover a trove of historical, spiritual and cultural treasures right from the Taj Mahal in Agra to Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar and the famous Mecca Masjid mosque in Hyderabad. Check out the list below to help you make the most of your time in this amazing country.
Best Time to Visit in India
The best thing about traveling to India is that it can be visited throughout the year. The peak season for tourism in India is the winter months from October till March, if you plan on enjoying the rain then monsoon is the best time to visit Northern India or even the plains or hills in the South for their amazingly rejuvenating Ayurveda therapies. For wildlife enthusiasts, April, May, and June are the most preferred months to visit National Parks in India, as this is the best time to catch a glimpse of the famous Bengal tigers. If trekking, hiking, and adventure is something you seek, then the best time to visit the North, and North Eastern Region of India would be the summer months from April till July.
If you’re fond of snow, the perfect destinations for you would be the North Indian hills including Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and destinations of northeast India. Out of which Ladakh stands out the most!
Best Places to Visit in India
#1 in Best Places to Visit in India
Agra is a very ancient city with texts that can be dated back as far as Mahabharatha (one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India). The city is home to some of the world’s most legendary architectures, like the white marbled splendor of Taj Mahal, the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri, or the Jama Masjid which is a good example of Mughal style architecture all of which make Agra one of the top places to visit in India. What makes Agra different from the other tourist attractions in India is that it is home to the iconic Taj Mahal, which is also one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Built between 1632 and 1653 under the command of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his most beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal is a beautiful ivory-white marble mausoleum. Besides the immense mausoleum, the Taj Mahal has several other extensive ornamental gardens, reflecting pools, and other beautiful buildings.
Agra is home to two other UNESCO World Heritage Sites Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort. The stunning Agra Fort also popular as Agra’s Red Fort was built in 1565 as a military structure by Emperor Akbar with modifications done later by Shah Jahan. The structure is an interesting mix of both Muslim and Hindu influences. Fatehpur Sikri is a historic town built by the popular Mughal Emperor Akbar as the capital of his empire. Although the city was later deserted due to fear of invasion by the Rajput states, and water shortage, the site remains to be one of the best examples of the Mughal Architecture.
Jammu and Kashmir
#2 in Best Places to Visit in India
Popularly called as the Heaven of India, Jammu and Kashmir are famous around the world for their snow-capped mountains, local handicrafts, plentiful wildlife, scenic splendor, and exquisite monuments. Some of the major tourist attractions here are; Sonamarg which is a serene hill town where the sight of snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes, and lush green valleys are simply mesmerizing. While here don’t forget to check out the beautiful mountain lakes like Krishnasar, Satsar, and Gangabal. Small houses, lush valleys, saffron farms, and green fields with the mighty Himalayas forming the backdrop are what you can expect from Pahalgam, a popular hill station in Jammu and Kashmir.
Another very popular tourist attraction that is on every traveler’s list of places to visit in India is Ladakh, famous for the monasteries of Hemis, Thikse, Shey, Alchi, and Lamayuru and the landscape which provides for various adventure activities like trekking along the Markha Valley, white-water rafting, and mountaineering are just perfect for a holiday in the hills. There are a lot of other things to do in Kashmir like visiting the majestic Mughal Gardens in Srinagar, Aru Village, and river rafting in Lidder River in Pahalgam, Betaab Valley, and of course a romantic shikara ride in Dal Lake.
#3 in Best Places to Visit in India
If you’re planning to spend your vacation like royalty, head to Rajasthan. Located in the westernmost corner of Rajasthan close to the border with Pakistan, Jaisalmer is a very beautiful and quintessential desert town that offers palaces, elephant and camelback rides, history, forts, and lots more. The city became popular for sand dunes activities in the extensive stretch of the Thar Desert. Jaisalmer offers tent accommodations for tourists, wherein they are entertained by the cultural nights organized by the owners. Set on a high rocky plateau, Mount Abu is the lone hill station in Rajasthan. The hill station offers respite from the blazing summer heat that swelters not only Rajasthan but also the neighboring states of Gujarat and Delhi. Mount Abu is a hot spot for honeymooners in North-West India and is also one of the top places to visit in India for a summer holiday.
While here don’t forget to check out the lush Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary which houses around 250+ birds with wild boars, sloth bears, leopards, and Chinkaras (Gazella bennettii) and spreads over 288 sq Km. Built under the support of Maharana Kumbha, Kumbhalgarh is an awe-inspiring fort that personifies the spirit of Rajasthan. Often considered as ‘The Great Wall of India’, the wall is the second-longest continuous wall in the world and extends for more than 35 kilometers. The fort encloses about 360 ancient temples, as well as canon bunkers, step wells, and palace ruins.
#4 in Best Places to Visit in India
Famously known as the City of Joy, Kolkata is India’s second-biggest city and is in every sense the intellectual, artistic, and cultural capital of the country. The city is a really good blend of the old colonial-era charm and the hipster culture thriving amongst the city’s millennials. The streets of Kolkata are chaotic, hectic, and yet are overflowing with creativity and life. If you look past the crumbling buildings you can discover delicious Bengali cuisine, diverse neighborhoods, engaging heritage, and interesting places to shop. This 300-year-old city is the capital of West Bengal and is also a reminder of the numerous clashes and freedom struggles which are the reason behind the unity that prevails in India. If you’re planning a visit to Kolkata and would like to see the city in full bloom, then it is best to make plans between 22nd – 26th October as that is when the whole city comes to celebrate Durga Puja.
Another new attraction to the city that has gained popularity is the first replica of the Eiffel Tower which is part of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’ at Eco Park. The tower offers amazing views of Kolkata from the observation deck which is at a height of 25 meters. Kolkata is one of the best places to visit in India if you’re a foodie and want to experience rich culinary traditions. The city is home to some lip-smacking street food, historic Indo-Chinese restaurants, mouthwatering Bengali sweets, and many other legendary eateries.
#5 in Best Places to Visit in India
Popularly called as “God’s own country”, Kerala is one the most beautiful places to visit in India thanks to the enchanting backwaters, captivating hill stations, and mesmerizing waterfalls with the added serene atmosphere make it perfect for an outing with the family. The backwaters of Kerala are a chain of lakes and lagoons that are parallel to the Arabian Sea and are home to a wide range of aquatic life like mudskippers, crabs, turtles, and water birds. The most popular activity in the backwaters which attracts tourists from around the world is the houseboat tourism. A trip in a houseboat along the lush green landscape, villages, and houses that are lined up along these waterways make the journey so tranquil and relaxing. Chilled beer and freshly cooked dishes make the journey more enjoyable.
The most popular backwaters are the ones in Alleppey, located on the Malabar Coast the backwaters bring out the actual beauty of Kerala. While here don’t forget to get an Ayurvedic massage which is known for its medical benefits around the world. Another popular attraction in Kerala is the hill station Munnar which is famous for its craggy peaks, tea estates, and lush greenery. Located in the Western Ghats it is a commercial center for some of the largest tea estates in the world.
#6 in Best Places to Visit in India
Jaipur is a stunning city and is inevitably on the list of most beautiful places to visit in India. The city is the capital of Rajasthan and is home to stately palaces, forts, and regal architecture. The entire city was painted pink during the rule of Sawai Ram Singh to welcome King Edward VII in 1876. Most of the avenues remained painted in pink which gave Jaipur a distinctive appearance and led to it being called the Pink City. Popularly known as the Palace of the Wind, the Hawa Mahal is a five-story red sandstone structure standing in the heart of the city. This palace was built so that the royal women could get a view of the activities on the street while staying hidden from sight. Constructed in 1799 the palace has 953 windows and is considered a very good example of the Rajputana architecture.
Another popular tourist attraction in Jaipur is the Amber Fort. Built in the late 16th century, the fort is a blend of Rajput and Hindu styles. The beautiful pink and red sandstone structure has been a part of many Bollywood movies, but the most interesting part of the fort is the Mirror Palace which is an amazing room built with a pure glass ceiling for the queen to view stars before she falls asleep. Some of the other popular attractions in Jaipur are the Jantar Mantar which is the world’s largest stone sundial and is also one among the 5 astronomical observatories in India, the Ranthambore fort which is part of the UNESCO world heritage sites and the Ranthambore National Park which is a tiger reserve and also a very famous National Park.
#7 in Best Places to Visit in India
The capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is one of India’s most famous hill stations and is also among the best places to visit in India for honeymooners. With a pretty Town Hall in the center and the breathtaking Himalayas in the backdrop, the city attracts lots of tourists throughout the year. If you’re interested in learning about the history of Shimla you can visit the Gorton Castle, Christ Church, and the Viceregal Lodge. The best time to plan a trip to Shimla is between March and June when the weather is pleasant and perfect for outdoor activities. If you like trekking or want to have a mountain vacation then you will definitely enjoy Shimla as it is chained along a 12km hill and has forested hills dropping away in all directions. Some of the other popular attractions here are the Scandal Point, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, the Shimla State Museum, Annandale, Naldehra and Shaily Peak, Kufri, Ridge, Chadwick falls, Chail, and many more.
Some of the best things to do while in Shimla are going camping in the mountains, visit the Shimla Ridge which is the cultural hub of Shimla,, shop till you drop at Mall Road, indulge in River Rafting, experience the Toy Train Ride with gorgeous views of pine-covered hills, paragliding, skating at natural Ice Skating Rink, take a walk in the Pine Forest, experience Golfing like Never before at Naldehra, or plan a visit to the Apple Orchards to name a few.
#8 in Best Places to Visit in India
Mumbai is the city of the common man, stalwarts, and dreamers. The city lies on the Konkan coastline and is a vibrant combination of seven islands. Mumbai (Bombay) is defined by fast-paced lifestyles, scenic beaches, brutal corporate culture, glittering film industry, and of course the largest slum dwelling in India, the city paints a surprising picture of contradictions. Popularly called the city of dreams, Mumbai has a place for everyone from millionaires and starlets to artists and traditional fisherfolk. Although a cosmopolitan city, it still sticks to its age-old traditions like colorful festivals, and dabbawalas to name a few. While in Mumbai don’t forget to get a taste of the famous street foods while sipping on a cup of chai (tea) on your way.
Mumbai has so much to offer for tourists and locals! Some of the best things to do while visiting Mumbai are riding the ferry at the Gateway of India, sunset at Haji Ali Dargah, picnic at the Juhu beach, street shopping at Colaba, taste the sumptuous street food at Girgaum Chawpatty, visit the world-famous Elephanta caves, Bollywood tour at Film City, enjoy thrilling rides at Essel World, revitalize at Aksa Beach, marvel at the architecture of Jama Masjid or just have a raging night of fun at Playboy club. With so much to do here, it is definitely one of the top places to visit in India
#9 in Best Places to Visit in India
The capital of India, Delhi reflects a beautiful blend of modernity and history with its fancy shopping places and its monuments. Top attractions in the city feature spellbinding forts, monuments, and mosques which were left behind by the Mughal rulers who had once occupied the city. The Tughlaqabad Fort built by Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq in 1321 is a beautiful fort that was built to keep the Mongolian raiders at bay. While here you can also check out the tomb of Ghiyas ud-din Tughlaq which is connected to the fort. Delhi is mostly visited by tourists traveling to India as this is where their flights land. The city has a lot of popular places to explore like India Gate, Jama Masjid, Red Fort, the Lotus Temple, and Qutub Minar to name a few.
Delhi is also home to world-renowned Delhi University which has some of the best colleges in India for Science, Arts, and Commerce. Another new addition to the attractions in Delhi is the Madame Tussauds Museum which was the first of its kind in India. The wax museum houses life-size wax statues of many Indian and international celebrities and eminent figures from around the world. The capital is also famous for its shopping places like Dilli Haat, Janpath Market, Sarojini Market, Connaught Place, Lajpat Nagar, and Chandni Chowk. These places also have a wide variety of street food options that have made a name for themselves all over the country. With so much to offer, Delhi deserves a place on your list of best places to visit in India.
#10 in Best Places to Visit in India
Popularly considered as the ”Queen of the Hills”, Darjeeling is a town in India’s West Bengal state that is littered with beautiful tea gardens on mountain slopes and stands at a height of 2,050 meters above sea level. The town is a common name in the houses of those who love tea (chai) and is also renowned across the world for its various varieties of teas. Darjeeling tea is aromatic, thin, soothing to drink, and light in color. The leaves of which are grown and plucked in the hills around the town. The beautiful snow-covered peaks of the Himalayan foothills can be assessed by tourists by taking the 7-hour journey on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railroad popularly called the “Toy Train” or by a three-hour car ride from the nearest airport. The mesmerizing scenery, the backdrop of one the highest peaks in the world (Mount Kanchenjunga), and beautiful sunrises make Darjeeling one of the most inviting places to visit in India.
#11 in Best Places to Visit in India
Considered among the best places to visit in India by the youth, Goa has some of the best beaches, nightlife, and food and is the epitome of tourism in India. The pristine beaches of Goa are the reason for almost 90% of all the tourism with two main tourist seasons: summer and winter. In summer (rainy season in Goa) Goa is visited by tourists from all over India and during winters, tourists from around the world (mainly Europe) visit Goa to enjoy the splendid climate. Considered as the party capital of India, the state lures a lot of visitors with the promise of lazy days and night parties, but it has so much more to offer! Goa has an amazing blend of history, culture, adventure activities, and nature with the north being more action-packed and developed and the south playing host to silent beaches.
In a nutshell, Goa can be defined by amazing nightlife, beach shacks, a variety of booze, and dirt cheap prices. Goan cuisine is an interesting mix of the Portuguese and Konkan cooking styles and is a foodie haven for seafood lovers! For those interested in exploring the other side of Goa can head to Dudhsagar Falls which is a four-tiered waterfall and is about 60 km from the capital city of Panaji.
#12 in Best Places to Visit in India
Considered as one of India’s top spiritual places, Varanasi is a mystical holy city that offers insights into ancient Indian traditions. The highlights of the city are the many riverside ghats which are used for everything from burning the bodies of the dead to bathing and taking part in the evening Ganga Aarti ceremony. Popular by the names of Benares and Kashi, the city is one of the oldest inhabited cities with numerous types of temples packed in its alleys and streets that can be dated back to the 8th century BC. On the ghats of the River Ganges, you can find both pandits teaching young kids about life and Aghori sadhus smearing ashes all over their bodies. With sights showing both the reality of religion and the purity of death, Varanasi is definitely one of the most unique places to visit in India. Out of more than 100 ghats in the city, Dasashvamedh Ghat and Assi Ghat are the largest and also considered holy among the Hindus.
While at Banaras don’t forget to check out the famous Banaras Hindu University, popular for its huge library which has over a million books and it’s amazing Bharat Kala Bhavan museum that features fine collections of palm-leaf manuscripts, miniature paintings, local history exhibits, and sculptures
#13 in Best Places to Visit in India
Amritsar was founded by Guru Ram Das in 1577 and has an important place in the Sikh culture and history. The main attraction here is Harmandir Sahib also known as The Golden Temple, opened in 1604 this is the holiest of India’s many Sikh shrines. The temple is known for its beautiful gold decoration and was built in a blend of Islamic and Hindu styles. While the large golden dome is in the shape of a lotus flower which represents a symbol of purity to Sikhs, and its lower marble section features motifs of animals and flowers. Another attraction here is the Gobindgarh Fort, constructed more than 300 years ago the fort has never been made open to the public at least for the last 170 years. This fort gained popularity as it was home to the gorgeous Kohinoor diamond. There are various shows conducted here to tell the history of the place through means of state of the art technology. Currently, they are running only 2 shows, one of which is an amazing 3D show with special effects on Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the other is a spectacular evening show using projection mapping.
Another popular historic attraction in Amritsar is the public garden of Jallianwala Bagh which is just a small walk away from the Golden Temple. The place was originally used for religious discourses and community meetings and is remembered for becoming a bloodbath for the many peaceful protestors on 13 April 1919. Amritsar is also amongst the best places to visit in India if you’re a foodie! Some of the dishes you must try here are Amritsari Kulcha, Sarson Da Saag & Makke Ki Roti, Tandoori Chicken & Chicken Tikka, Amritsari Lassi, Punjabi food thali, and Aloo paratha with butter to name a few.
#14 in Best Places to Visit in India
Mysore is a beautiful historic city in the state of Karnataka and is mostly famous for the Mysore Palace. The Mysore Palace is the second most popular tourist attraction in India and the seven palaces that make up the main palace are nothing short of spectacular. From 1399 to 1950 Mysore (Mysuru) was ruled by the Wodeyars, during which the palace was constructed in 1912. This new palace is an amalgamation of Hindu, Rajput, Muslim, and Gothic styles. The best time to plan a visit to Mysore to see the city and palace in full bloom is during Dashara (17-27 October), when the palace hosts several cultural festivals, annual art shows, and the diamond-studded royal throne is also on display in the festive season.
Mysore is a fun city to explore thanks to the right mix of regal Indian palaces, lush well-manicured gardens, and fine old colonial architecture. Tourists who like shopping should definitely try spending some time in the city’s famous sandalwood and silk bazaars. Some of the interesting things to do in Mysore include visiting the Chamundeshwari Temple, wildlife spotting at the Mysore Zoo and Bandipur National Park, enjoying thrilling rides at GRS Fantasy Park, and reveling in nature’s Lap at Chamundi Hills.
#15 in Best Places to Visit in India
Udaipur popularly called the City of Lakes is the pride of Rajasthan. The city is surrounded by the beautiful Aravalli Hills and is set around a series of artificial lakes. This ‘Venice of the East’ is overflowing with breathtaking architecture, mesmerizing temples, and natural beauty which make it one of the best places to visit in India. A very popular attraction in Udaipur is the Lake Palace which is on the waters of Lake Pichola and was built in the 18th century as a royal summer palace. Today it operates under the “Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces” as a luxury 5 Star hotel. To transport guests to the hotel the Lake Palace uses a boat which can be found on the east bank of Lake Pichola, The Palace gained immense popularity after it appeared in the James Bond film Octopussy in 1983. Much of the sprawling City Palace has been converted into a museum by the royal family, housing priceless memorabilia and providing tourists with an amazing opportunity to take a look into their lives.
The city has a lot going on to keep the tourists captivated. Some of the best things to do in Udaipur are exploring the City Palace Complex, boating on Lake Pichola and Fateh Sagar Lake, watching the Sunset at Ambrai Ghat, sampling traditional Mewari Cuisine, relaxing in Udaipur’s Regal Garden, getting wild at Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary and riding the Mansapurna Karni Mata ropeway.