The Top 16 Best Places to Visit in India

Best Places to Visit in India

India is a lively land of astonishing contrasts, where the old and modern worlds come together in a fusion of cultures. India, the world’s seventh-largest country in terms of land area and second-largest in terms of population, has a rich cultural legacy that is the product of centuries of different civilizations and religions leaving their mark on the country’s landscape.

There are many things to do in India, including the ability to visit a variety of sacred places and have spiritual encounters, while nature enthusiasts will appreciate the country’s sun-washed beaches, lush national parks, and fascinating wildlife sanctuaries.

Visitor attractions in India range from the magnificent Taj Mahal in Agra to the holy sites of Harmandir Sahib (formerly the Golden Temple) in Amritsar and the Mecca Masjid mosque in Hyderabad. This exotic country is home to a trove of spiritual, cultural, and historical treasures, which visitors can explore at their leisure.

Refer to our list of the top tourist attractions in India on a regular basis to ensure that you make the most of your time in this amazing country.

1. The Taj Mahal in Agra, India

The Taj Mahal, perhaps India’s most recognizable structure, is also the world’s most famous testament to the power of love. This most exquisite of mausoleums, named after Mumtaz Mahal, the favorite wife of Emperor Shah Jahan, was begun after her death in 1631 and completed in 1648 after 20,000 workers had contributed to its construction.

The Taj Mahal is a white marble structure that incorporates numerous features of Islamic design, including arches, minarets, an onion-shaped dome, and black calligraphy inlaid around the entry. It is the world’s most visited tourist attraction. Delicate floral designs inlaid into the fabric, as well as precious and semi-precious stones such as jade, lapis lazuli, diamonds, and mother of pearl, enhance the beauty of the piece.

Visiting at dawn or dusk is the best time of day to go because the ambiance is magnificently influenced by the shift in lighting. In order to capture an unforgettable (and safe) selfie, attempt to catch a glimpse of the Taj Mahal’s reflection in the Yamuna River from the far bank.
Address: 64 Taj Road, Agra, 282001.

2. Varanasi, also known as the “Holy City,”

Varanasi has been inhabited since the 8th century BC, making it one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited towns. This sacred city has long been associated with the powerful Ganges River, which is considered to be one of the faith’s most important religious symbols. It is a prominent pilgrimage destination for Hindus.

There are numerous reasons to visit Varanasi, not the least of which is the opportunity to tour the Old Quarter near to the Ganges, where you’ll find the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, which was constructed in 1780. The New Vishwanath Temple, which is comprised of seven different temples, is also worth visiting.

Bathing in the Ganges is extremely important to Hindus, and a number of spots known as “ghats” contain stairways leading down to the water where the faithful bathe before their morning and evening prayers. Dasashvamedh Ghat and Assi Ghat are the two most important. The latter, which is located at the confluence of the Ganges and Asi rivers, is considered particularly sacred by the Hindu faith.

Banaras Hindu University, founded in 1917 and known for its huge library with more than a million books, and the magnificent Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum, which houses fine collections of miniature paintings, sculptures, palm-leaf manuscripts, and local history displays, is also worth visiting.

3. The Golden Temple of Amritsar – Harmandir Sahib

Amritsar, which was founded in 1577 by Ram Das, is a significant centre of Sikh history and culture. The main attraction in this area is the Harmandir Sahib, which was built in 1604 and is still referred to as the Golden Temple because of its exquisite gold ornamentation.

The temple, which is the holiest of India’s many Sikh shrines (and which also draws many Hindus and people of other faiths), was created in a fusion of Hindu and Islamic designs, making it one of the world’s most sacred places of worship. The lower marble piece is embellished with ornately inlaid floral and animal designs, while the enormous golden dome is shaped like a lotus flower, which is considered a symbol of purity by Sikhs and represents a lotus blossom.

Along with the temple’s beautiful design, visitors are struck by its spiritual ambiance, which is heightened by the prayers, which are continuously sung from the Sikh holy book and broadcast throughout the complex, that are broadcast throughout the complex.

Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to partake in one of the 50,000 complimentary meals provided by the attraction each and every day as part of the entire experience.
Address: Golden Temple Road, Amritsar, Punjab 143006

4. The Golden City in Jaisalmer

The Golden City of Jaisalmer, so named because of the yellow sandstone that is used in the construction of most of its buildings, is an oasis of magnificent old architecture that rises from the sand dunes of the Thar Desert. The city of Jaisalmer, formerly a strategic outpost, is now packed with gorgeous old homes, majestic gateways, and the gigantic Jaisalmer Fort, often known as the Golden Fort, a terrifying 12th-century edifice that stands high above the town.

In addition to its palaces, temples, and lovely old dwellings, the castle has 99 bastions as well as gigantic gates leading to its main courtyard, where you’ll discover the seven-story-tall Maharaja’s Palace, one of the world’s largest royal residences. Building on a foundation that was laid in the early 1500s and continued to be expanded by successive rulers until the nineteenth century, the palace now contains sections that are open to the public, including areas that are beautifully decorated with tiles from Italy and China and intricately carved stone doors.

There are also a number of Jain temples that date back to the 12th to 16th centuries, each of which is lavishly decorated with fine marble and sandstone statues, palm-leaf texts, and vibrantly painted ceilings, among other things. Visit the beautifully-preserved 1,000-year-old library, Gyan Bhandar, which has many manuscripts and antiques from the 16th century and is well worth your time.

5. The Red Fort in New Delhi

Construction on the magnificent crescent-shaped Red Fort in New Delhi began in 1648 and continued until 1857 when it was demolished. The fort, which was named after the stunning red sandstone used in its construction, covers an area of more than two square kilometers and is completely surrounded by a large moat, which is one of the world’s largest.

The fort’s two largest gates, the majestic Lahore Gate (which serves as the fort’s main entrance) and the intricately designed Delhi Gate, which was previously utilized by the emperor for ceremonial processions, are among its most notable features.

Exploring Chatta Chowk, a 17th-century covered bazaar that sells everything from jewelry to silk clothes, as well as souvenirs and food items, is a highlight of any visit. The fort can be explored on your own, but you can also take a guided tour which will provide you with a fascinating insight into life and times under the Shah, including a glimpse into the exquisite white marble Hall of Public Audiences (Diwani-Am), where he received members of his subjects.

Try to stay for the nightly sound and light show, which depicts major events in the fort’s history and is well worth your time.

Address: Netaji Subhash Marg, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006

6. The Gateway of India in Mumbai

A must-see while in Mumbai is the iconic Gateway of India, which stands at an astonishing 26 metres tall and offers spectacular views of the Arabian Sea. Built to mark the arrival of King George V and his wife Queen Mary in 1911, this spectacular piece of architecture was unveiled with great pomp and ceremony in 1924 and held the distinction of being the city’s tallest structure for a period of time during that time.

Known for its Indo-Saracenic style, the Gateway of India, which was built completely of yellow basalt and concrete in 1948, served as the backdrop for a less joyous procession of British soldiers as India earned independence from the United Kingdom in that same year. In these modern times, the massive archway serves as a gorgeous background that is equally popular with locals as it is with tourists.

Tips: After seeing the Gateway of India, head over to the neighboring Taj Mahal Palace and Tower for a delicious High Tea, which has been a popular thing to do in Mumbai since the hotel first opened its doors in 1903 as a luxurious retreat.

7. Mecca Masjid, located in Hyderabad

Construction of Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid, one of the world’s largest mosques – and one of the country’s oldest – began in 1614 during the reign of Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah and took about 80 years to complete. It is one of the world’s largest mosques and one of the oldest in India.

The 15 colossal arches and pillars of this magnificent mosque, which can accommodate up to 10,000 worshipers, were each crafted from single slabs of black granite that were brought to the site by massive cattle trains that included up to 1,400 bulls.

This spectacular structure, which derives its name from the bricks above the central gate that was carried here from Mecca, boasts attractions such as its main entryway, a big plaza, and a massive constructed pond among its many features. There’s also a room dedicated to the Prophet Mohammed’s hair, which is on display.

A few more prominent characteristics include Quranic inscriptions above many of the arches and entrances, the magnificent ceiling of the main hall, and the cornices that surround the whole mosque construction. Keep an eye out for the intricate floral designs and friezes that decorate the arches.
Address: Hyderabad, Telangana 500002

8. Amer Fort in Jaipur

India The Amer Fort (also known as “Amber” or “Amber Fort”) was constructed as a fortified palace in 1592 by Maharaja Man Singh I and has served as the capital of Jaipur ever since. With a difficult trek upward to get there on foot, or by shuttle bus from the town below, the fort is a popular tourist destination in the area (better still, let an elephant do the work).

The Jaleb Chowk, the first courtyard, with its many adorned elephants, and the Shila Devi Temple, which is devoted to the goddess of war, are also notable attractions. The adjacent Hall of Public Audience (Diwan-i-Am), with its exquisitely adorned walls and terraces frequented by monkeys, is also worth a visit for its beauty.

Other notable features include Sukh Niwas (the Hall of Pleasure), which features numerous flowerbeds and a channel that was once used to transport cooling water, and the Temple of Victory (Jai Mandir), which is notable for its numerous decorative panels, vibrant ceilings, and commanding views of the palace and the lake beneath it.

The Jaigarh Fort, located just above Amer Fort and erected in 1726 by Jai Singh, is a fortification with tall lookout towers, powerful walls, and the world’s largest wheeled cannon. Keep an eye out for opportunities to stroll the walled Old City of Jaipur, which features three beautifully rebuilt gates as well as magnificent bazaars. The City Palace is a stunning complex of courtyards, gardens, and buildings that is well worth your time.

9. The Beaches of Goa

Goa’s magnificent western coastline, which overlooks the Arabian Sea and has long been renowned within India as the “go-to” place for those wanting a fantastic beach vacation, has only recently been discovered by tourists from other parts of the world. Goa’s coastline, which stretches for more than 60 miles, is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, each with its own distinct attraction.

Calangute Beach is the most commercial and congested of the beaches in the area, but Agonda Beach is a wonderful choice for those looking for peace and quiet and seclusion. When it comes to high-end holiday destinations such as fancy resorts, yoga retreats, and spa vacations, the beaches of Mandrem, Morjim, and Ashwem are popular among both wealthy Indians and Westerners. Palolem is another of Goa’s famed beaches, and it is nestled in a stunning natural setting.

Make a point of visiting the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary while you’re in Goa. This magnificent attraction is home to thick woods and a plethora of wildlife, including deer, monkeys, elephants, leopards, tigers, and black panthers, as well as India’s famous king cobras and more than 200 species of birds. It is a must-see for everyone interested in wildlife.

Divar Island, which can be reached by ferry from Old Goa, is well worth a visit. In Piedade, a typical Goan village, you can visit the Church of Our Lady of Compassion, which has beautiful stucco work, Baroque plaster embellishments, and altars. You can also enjoy stunning views of the surrounding countryside from the Church of Our Lady of Compassion.

10. Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Madurai

It is based around a lake that was constructed by British engineers in 1895 for irrigation and to supply water to the city of Madurai. Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary are two of South India’s most famous tourist sites, with over a million visitors each year.

This picturesque park, which was established in 1934, is home to a diverse range of mammals, including a significant free-roaming Indian elephant population, wild boar, otters, the lion-tailed macaque, and more than 20 Bengal tigers. It is also a popular tourist destination. A popular hobby, bird-watching is a popular pastime, with frequent sightings of species such as darters, storks, kingfishers, hornbills, drongos, and racket-tailed drongos, as well as a variety of unique butterfly kinds.

A lake boat or a guided jungle walk are the best ways to take in the park’s spectacular mountain landscape, with the latter providing visitors with an opportunity to come face to face with elephant herds and witness other species from watchtowers and viewing platforms.

11. Agra Fort

Building as a military construction in 1565 under Emperor Akbar, with later expansions by Shah Jahan, the beautiful Agra Fort (also known as Agra’s Red Fort) combines Hindu and Muslim influences to create an unusual juxtaposition of architectural styles.

The fort, which is located a little more than two kilometers from the Taj Mahal, is reached by the Amar Singh Gate, which has a low outer wall and a dogleg design that was intended to confound would-be assailants. The Akbari Mahal and Jahangiri Mahal, the largest private mansion in the compound, are the first two massive, interconnected sandstone buildings you’ll encounter when you enter.

Some of the other highlights include the Khas Mahal (Private Palace), which has a magnificent copper roof, and the Anguri Bagh (Grape Garden), which is a jigsaw-patterned Mughal garden with numerous wonderful fountains and water channels, as well as screens, that used to serve as an exclusive area for the emperor and his courtiers. Among the other notable structures in Agra is the octagonal Musamman Burj tower, which functioned as Shah Jahan’s prison until his death.

Address: Rakabganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282003

12. The Ellora Caves in Aurangabad

The world-famous Ellora Caves, which were constructed between the 5th and 10th centuries by Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu monks, are a great day trip from Mumbai, which is about 300 kilometers to the west and makes for an excellent excursion.

This remarkable collection of 34 carved monasteries, chapels, and templesβ€”12 of which are Buddhist, 17 of which are Hindu, and five of which are Jain – is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They were built in close proximity to one another, a reflection of the religious tolerance that existed during this period of Indian history.

Highlights of the Buddhist monastery caverns include a variety of shrines with sculptures of Buddha and saints dating from the 5th to 7th century, as well as the beautiful Carpenter’s Cave, which is considered to be one of India’s greatest examples of Buddhist architecture.

The Hindu caves, on the other hand, are significantly more complicated and were carved from the top-down, eliminating the need for scaffolding. The most impressive of these is the Kailasa Temple, a gigantic rock-cut temple that represents Mount Kailasa and that required the removal of 200,000 tons of granite to construct.

13. Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, Rajasthan

The massive Mehrangarh Fort, which dominates the old city of Jodhpur and is one of the largest fortifications in India, was constructed in the 15th century to protect the people of the famed “Blue City,” as the name suggests. Because of its indigo-colored houses, which are painted blue to deflect heat, Jodhpur is still known by this name today.

Mehrangarh, perched atop a soaring rocky outcrop, is an incredible architectural achievement, with its huge walls seemingly impenetrable by any means. Access is gained by one of seven magnificent gates, which include Jaya Pol and Fateh Pol (the latter still bears scars from cannon attacks).

Highlights of a visit include seeing the fort’s interesting network of courtyards and palaces, as well as visiting a museum that houses a magnificent collection of relics relating to the Maharajas and their reigns. If you have the opportunity, spend some time in the ancient centre of Jodhpur, which is known for its eight city gates, a beautiful old clock tower, and a plethora of bazaars selling anything from vegetables to sweets, spices, and handmade crafts.
Address: Fort Road, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342006

14. The Ganges River

The Ganges River, also known as “Ganga” after the Hindu goddess who created it, has long been considered one of India’s most magnificent natural beauties. It is also one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting large numbers of Indian people who come to participate in religious rites as well as tourists who come to take in the majesty of this mighty river.

In spite of the fact that a number of cities dot the river’s banks, it is to the city of Varanasi that most people visit to see the Ganges and the various cultural attractions that have sprouted along its banks. Despite being a small city by Indian standards (it has a population of approximately 1.2 million people), the city is densely packed with temples and other significant religious structures, many of which are dedicated to (or on) the Ganges.

There are numerous “ghats” set up along the river’s banks, making it possible for worshippers and tourists alike to get up close and personal with the river. There are a total of 88 of these access places to the Ganges, each of which is comprised of sometimes steep steps leading directly into the river. Many of them are hundreds of years old, but many of them were significantly repaired and improved in the 1700s, and with their frequently vivid, colorful ceremonies and festivals, they are among the most stunning spots to shoot in India.

If you have the opportunity, take advantage of one of the Ganges river trips that are available in the city from any of the ghats. The dawn cruises in the early morning hours are the most amazing. Purchase one of the small, floating offerings available from a vendor and float it down the river to complete the experience (camera at the ready, of course).

15. Mysore Palace

Visiting the sprawling city of Mysore will provide you with a delightful mix of fine old colonial architecture, regal Indian palaces, and lush, well-manicured gardens, among other things. While those who enjoy shopping will enjoy spending time in the city’s famous silk and sandalwood bazaars, the main attraction is the magnificent Mysore Palace, which is located in the heart of the city.

This magnificent three-story palace, which was completely rebuilt in 1897 following a devastating fire, contains many noteworthy features, including elegant square towers and domes; numerous ornate ceilings and pillars in Durbar Hall; and the magnificent Marriage Pavilion, which features glazed floor tiles, stunning stained glass, artworks, and displays of jewelry. It’s also where the magnificent Golden Throne is displayed on occasion, which is a sight to behold.

If you want to experience something truly magical, make sure to attend one of the spectacular light shows that take place every Sunday and on holidays, when the palace is lighted by more than 90,000 lights. A free cycle tour of the palace’s expansive grounds and gardens is a fantastic way to get a better sense of the place once you’ve gotten inside.
Address: Sayyaji Rao Road, Mysuru, Karnataka 570001

16. Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya

Bodhgaya, widely regarded as the holiest Buddhist location on the planet, draws tens of thousands of visitors each year, all of whom are drawn to the site to participate in meditation and prayer with the resident monks.

One of the most impressive structures in this area of pilgrimage is the beautiful Mahabodhi Temple, which was erected near the spot where Buddha attained Enlightenment and began formulating his life philosophy. A big gilded Buddha statue is housed within the temple, which was built in the 6th century and has been rebuilt multiple times since. The temple is capped with a stunning pyramidal spire and has been restored numerous times.

Additionally, the site’s pipal tree, which is a descendant of the original bodhi tree under which Buddha meditated for seven days after attaining enlightenment and is considered to be one of the oldest and most venerated trees in the world (you’ll know you’ve found it when you see the red sandstone slab marking the location), is worth visiting.

Address: Bodhgaya, Bihar 824231

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