If you lay out the map of the world and ask me to spot India, I would say that it isn’t much of a challenge. No… It isn’t just because I am an Indian. It is because of the how big the country is. Exploring the terrain of India however is a big challenge! That is why people will tell you that you just can’t see enough of the country in a short vacation. There are just too many places to visit and explore. One thing however can be certain. No matter where in the India you head to, you will find experiences and cultures that will both shock and amaze you. From the tall Himalayan range with some of the highest peaks in the world to the waters that border the Indian coasts in the south, from the deserts in East to the lush forests in the North west, you will find that the best places to visit in India are spread far and wide. That is why people keep coming back to explore and why we as Indians find ourselves learning new things about our country every day.
PLACES TO VISIT IN INDIA: Navigating Through The list
Quite lately Shawn and I realized that while we do travel frequently within the borders of India, we haven’t covered quite enough of the terrain as we might have. One problem that we face quite frequently is trying to figure out which are the best places to visit in India. The issue doesn’t always resolve easily. So, while we were browsing online in search of some inspiration, I decided that it may be wise to coordinate with other bloggers who have travelled to different parts of the country and put together one mega post for people who are looking for inspiration. When I say mega post, I mean that the post is going to be really long. So, in a bid to make it easier to navigate to the locations you want to explore, I’ve provided links below which will take you to the desired part of the article immediately.
Jenny says that Pondicherry is one of the places to visit in India that you should keep on your radar.
GETTING THERE: Pondicherry is easily accessible by train. There are daily trains every evening from Chennai (4 hours 15 minutes) and an overnight train from Bangalore (Yesvantpur Junction, 9.5 hours) four times per week (Mon, Tues, Fri and Sat). You can connect at Villupuram Junction for many more services.
WHERE TO STAY: La Maison Radha.
Pondicherry, which forms the set of the first act of Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning ‘Life of Pie’, has to be one of the most beautiful cities of India. Wander through the old quarter and every now and then a little bit of the past will appear around a corner, transporting you to a quaint French village, complete with patisseries, colourful colonial architecture and beautiful churches.
Pondicherry (which has recently changed its name to Puducherry, but locals refer to it as ‘Pondy’) has a relaxed pace, which you’ll immediately notice (and appreciate) if arriving from one of India’s larger cities. Spend your visit strolling along the shady tree-lined streets of the French quarter, marvelling at the old colonial architecture and visiting the churches and temples, then pop into a café for a latte and croissant to catch up on your travel journal or read a book. We particularly loved the French food at Baker Street.
Every evening, Beach Rd/Goubert Avenue, which runs parallel to the seafront, is closed from 6pm to traffic. This is when it springs to life with seemingly all of Pondy’s residents taking a romantic evening stroll in the cool evening air. Join them. It’s makes for a wonderful evening. Nearby are also some lovely beaches. Flag down a tuk-tuk to take you to Paradise beach to enjoy a stroll past the brightly-painted fishing boats, along the sand to the sound of crashing waves. You can also pick up some fresh seafood from the local fisherman which is then BBQ’d on the beach.
SATPURA NATIONAL PARK
Claudia suggests Satpura National Park as one of the places to visit in India.
LOCATION: Madhya Pradesh
GETTING THERE: Fly to Bophal in Madhya Pradesh and then take private transport to Tawa Resort. It is a full day drive.
WHERE TO STAY: Tawa Resort owned by Madhya Pradesh Tourism
Satpura National Park and Satpura Tiger Reserve are among the nicest places to visit in India. They are excellent locations to admire the incredible wildlife that lives in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Here, it is possible to admire one of last untouched landscapes of India, and to sight the spotted dears, sloth bears, various species of monkeys, buffalos, snakes and birds and, more importantly so, leopards and tigers.
Around 40 tigers live in the reserve, but they are not easy to see and it is recommended spending a few days in the area to go on several expeditions, preferably in the early hours of the morning when tigers may be getting to water holes. The best time of year to spot these mighty animals is the monsoon season, when tigers can enjoy the water. Another reason why Satpura is a must visit is that it provides a good break from the hustle of Indian cities. There is no traffic, the air is clean, and the atmosphere is peaceful and relaxed. Other places to visit in the area are the Rajat Prapat Waterfall and the viewpoint of Chauragarh. The Mahadeo Cave is located near Chauragarh and is the starting point if a beautiful hiking trail.
Rashmi suggests adding Kolkata to your list of places to visit in India.
LOCATION: West Bengal
GETTING THERE: Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport located about 17 km away city centre is well connected with all the major cities of India. To get to the city centre you can hire Uber/Ola or one of the classic yellow cabs. If you planning to get to Kolkata by train Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express are fast trains that connect Kolkata with Delhi and several other major cities.
WHERE TO STAY: We stayed at the ‘Hotel Esteem’ which is located in the Sushil Sen Road close to the popular Chowrangee street. The hotel is located a couple of km from the major Kolkata points of interest Victoria Memorial, Prinsep Ghat, Nehru Museum and St Paul Cathedral.
Kolkata is one of the popular cities in India but less touristy. You may only find a crowd during the Durga Festival which is one of the top festivals in India celebrated with great pomp in Kolkata. The festival usually falls during the months of October. There are several pandals set all over the city which hold beautifully decorated statues of Goddess Durga. The cultural capital of India offers its visitors a wide range of heritage, history and culinary options to explore. The city set on the banks of the Hooghly River has some of the exemplary Victorian architectural buildings dating from the colonial times. The major points of interest one should not miss on a visit to Kolkata are the Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge, two magnificent temples of Dakshineswar Kali and Belur Math and the Indian Museum.
The best way to explore the city is by UBER or OLA. One other option is a ferry ride to the places which are along the banks of the river, for instance, we travelled from Dakshineswar Kali to Belur Math by ferry. If you are visiting Kolkata in the months earlier to the Durga festival you can visit the Kumartuli Idol Makers and watch the artisans at work making and decorating the idols. For shopping and best restaurants in the city visit the Chowrangee Street which is lined with street food, street shopping, eateries, cafes, restaurants and branded boutiques and small shops.
Kochi should definitely be on your list of places to visit in India.
GETTING THERE: Kochi is the main city in Kerala and has daily flights from all the major cities in India and Asia.
WHERE TO STAY: Marriott Cochin
Kochi is one of the southern most cities in India and the capitol and main city you would fly into if visiting the state of Kerala. Kochi is based on the waterfront and is known for its delicious seafood. Kochi is also known for its captivating history and colourful culture. The city also holds a role in the spice trade. One of the top things to do in Kochi is to head to the beach and see the fisherman on their Chinese fishing nets. The poles are made of wood and put in the water with these long extended nets which are used to catch fish. This technique is unique to this area.
You can also see a riveting performance by the local Kathakali dance troupe. It is a classical dance from the 17thcentury that originated in Kerala. You will see dramatic costumes and lively music during the performance. For me the best part of Kochi was trying the Southern Indian food which is not as heavy as Northern Indian food due to the heat in the south and also the addition of seafood as it is plentiful in this area. My favourite dish was a chicken stew but since we were in the land of spices this was not any normal chicken stew as it was beautifully spiced and delicious.
Kylie suggests adding Madurai to your list of places to visit in India.
LOCATION: Tamil Nadu state
GETTING THERE: Madurai is one of the largest cities in Southern India and has its own airport. It is also a seven-hour train ride from Chennai, and well connected by buses to other major cities in Southern India.
WHERE TO STAY: I really enjoyed staying at Madurai Residency Hotel because it was clean, budget friendly and close to many of the main attractions of Madurai, including walking distance to the Sri Meenakshi Temple complex. The rooftop restaurant serves delicious food and has stunning views out over the temples.
The highlight of visiting Madurai has to be visiting the stunning Sri Meenakshi Temples. The temple complex, which is dedicated to Meenakshi, a form of Pavarti and Sundereswar, a form of Shiva, has 14 incredible gopurams (gateway towers) that soar into the sky. The tallest tower is almost 52 meters high. Each of the towers has thousands of intricately carved statues of animals, gods, and demons with an estimated 33,000 sculptures on the towers! The temple complex is huge – it covers 15 acres and you can see it on the horizon from many parts of Madurai. The temple can get very crowded with around 15-25,000 people visiting daily. We found late afternoon a good time to visit and avoid Fridays when it is even more crowded if possible.
Another must to in Madurai is to visit the early morning local market. It’s one of the most authentic markets we’ve experienced anywhere in the world. The streets are lined with fresh produce and grouped accordingly – look out for onion street, chilli street, fresh pineapple alley and one of the largest banana markets in the world. As you wander around the streets look out for the coffee stalls on the street corners. They serve up a delicious brew of beans from plantations in nearby Kerala, and the quality is top notch!
You should consider adding Mumbai to your list of places to visit in India.
GETTING THERE: Mumbai is easily connected by railways across India and through air networks across the world.
WHERE TO STAY: If you’re here for the first time, stay in Colaba at Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Trident or Marine Plaza. If you prefer somewhere close to the suburbs, check Taj Santacruz, Novotel Mumbai or Ibis Mumbai.
Mumbai is the beating heart of India. The city that never sleeps is also the city of dreams. Mumbai envelopes you in its presence the moment you land. Like a diva, she struts her glamourous side with arm-candy heritage buildings on one side and her various moods along Marine Drive on the other side. It’s a spectacle you don’t want to miss. Further, Gateway of India tells another story while the historic Kala Ghoda district oozes charm and culture. If you need a dose of history, the museum is right next door, but I’d prefer if you visited Bhau Daji Lad museum in Byculla, about 20 minutes away by cab.
Head to bustling markets in Kalbadevi and Chor Bazaar to find the best antiques you never knew existed. Patronise the Irani cafes like Sassasian and Yazdani that still exist. Take in an art show at NCPA in the evening. At Shivaji Park, watch budding cricketers try becoming the next Sachin Tendulkar and then arrive in Bandra, the queen of suburbs. Take a gander at the houses of your favourite Bollywood celebs and then admire the Rajiv Gandhi Sealink from the ruins of Bandra Fort.
On the way back to Colaba, stop at Lower Parel. You can indulge in fancy shopping at Phoenix Mills and eat the best food at the 100+ eateries in Kamala Mills. My recommendations would be Bombay Canteen, POH, Koko and Flea Bazaar Café – in that order. If you need adventure, skip the Dharavi tour and head to Sanjay Gandhi national park. Mumbai is the only city in the world with a national park in its environs. Once you’re done, the Global Vipassana Pagoda is only a short distance away. You can leave Mumbai once you’ve ticked these items off your list but beware, she’ll have such a hold on you that you’ll be itching to come back as soon as possible.
THE TAJ MAHAL
Agra will make a great addition to your list of places to visit in India.
LOCATION: Agra, Uttar Pradesh.
GETTING THERE: Best connecting cities for flights are Jaipur and Delhi.
WHERE TO STAY: There are various places to stay in Agra in close proximity to the Taj Mahal. We stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton.
No trip to Northern India would be complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal. We were partnering with Scoot Airlines to produce a family travel campaign to Jaipur in Rajasthan. When I realised that Jaipur was only 3-4 hours from Agra, I knew instantly I had to make the effort to go. We had only 1 day in Agra from lunchtime to the following lunchtime. We visited Agra Fort on the afternoon of the first day and then visited the Taj Mahal for sunrise the next day prior to heading back to Jaipur. Sunrise is the best time to visit the Taj Mahal, the warm morning light filters over the structure highlighting the warm tones and removing the harshness of the bright midday sun on the pure white marble.
Hitting the Taj at sunrise also means you miss a lot of the crowds. It’s well known that millions of people visit the Taj each year and the tour buses normally arrive in the mid-morning around 10am. It’s also a hot area of India and temp can often reach in the high 30’s to early 40’s which would be really uncomfortable. Going in the mornings means you will have gone before the sun hits its peak. We were in and out before 10.30am and we returned to our hotel for breakfast, we were in the east gate just after 6am. We hired a local guide as we only had a small time frame and I wanted it to run like clockwork, which it did. Visiting the Taj Mahal at sunrise was one of the highlights of my travelling life.
Rohan suggests adding Nongriat to your list of places to visit in India.
GETTING THERE: From Cherrapunjee take a shared a taxi to Tyrna and walk down the 3000 steps through the jungle to reach this tiny village.
WHERE TO STAY: Serene Homestay (you can’t miss it when you enter the village)
The tiny jungle village of Nongriat is so peaceful and green it’s easy to forget you’re in one of the world’s most populated countries. While some time out in stunning nature is always a good idea the main attraction of this area are the living root bridges, the most famous of which is right on the edge of the village. The double-decker root bridge is grown from the roots of a rubber tree and has besides some supporting bamboo is are two entirely natural bridges stretching one above the other across a river. Locals developed this method of growing bridges to cross rivers during the wet season and despite becoming a tourist attraction they are still used for this purpose.
These incredible feats of nature will have you feeling like a scene straight out of National Geographic and the lack of internet and cell phone signal can truly make it feel like another world. Although you can make it there and back in a (busy) day, I recommend staying at least one night and enjoying some traditional Meghalayan food and the tranquility of the jungle.
Dana suggests adding Jaipur to the list of places to visit in India.
GETTING THERE: The easiest way to reach Jaipur is by plane. The airport is modern and conveniently located. You can also drive in (Many people fly into Delhi and drive down) but be warned it is not a smooth drive.
WHERE TO STAY: There are plenty of accommodation options to suit any budget. I enjoyed staying at the Trident Jaipur which has a charming old-world feel and is in a great location.
I like to joke that Jaipur is the instagram capital of India. Everywhere you look you see gorgeous architecture in bright, eye catching colors. Visit the Floating Palace (Jal Mahal) at sunset when the water front of Man Sager Lake becomes alive. You will find local families lounging, children playing, venders selling for and crafts and tourist groups viewing the abandoned Jaipur palace from a distance. Tour the the massive Amer Fort, put it at the top of your list! Check out Hawa Mahal where royal family members once enjoyed street festivities without being seen. If you are visiting Jaipur with kids, be sure to check out Jantar Mantar. You will tour a collection of 19 astronomical instruments that were built in 1734 – one of which, is the world’s largest sundial. A great educational experience complete with an optional private tour guide. Of course, you can’t forget the quintessential Instagram photo-op in one of the amazing doorways at the City Palace!
Jaipur is also a destination for incredible shopping. From hand painted wood creations to hand dyed/stitched cotton blouses (all at great prices) it’s a shopaholics paradise. Be sure to save room in your suitcase. There is little to no shade at most of the major tourist sites in Jaipur so it’s best to avoid summer and late spring months as the heat can be overwhelming.
Manali is a great place to add to your list of places to visit in India.
LOCATION: Himachal Pradesh
GETTING THERE: Manali is located 570km from Delhi, at the state of Himachal Pradesh. Given to the fact the entire state is inside the Himalayas (hence, the name of the state is “Himachal”), the roads are usually on a single lane and in mountain areas, so it takes around 12 hours to reach by bus from Delhi. Other options include an 8-hour bus ride from Chandigarh, or a flight to the nearest airport, in Kullu, plus another 2-hour bus ride. The bus ride may cause motion sickness due to the excess of curves, so flights are more convenient and much faster, albeit quite expensive.
WHERE TO STAY: In Manali you’ll find from cheap hostels and guesthouses to luxury hotels. There are plenty of good options for accommodation on AirBnB and many mid-range hotels with breath-taking views to the mountains. At Old Manali there are also several hostels available, where many young foreigners stay.
Although reaching there may be a lengthy journey, Manali is our favourite destination in India. The area is not as popular as Rajasthan or South India, but you’ll still find plenty of foreign tourists, which means there is a good variety of quality restaurants offering international food, for those days when you feel like taking a break from the spices. Apart from the good food, the view of the mountains and the feeling of being at the most imposing mountain range in the world is incomparable. You can easily rent a scooter and explore the whole area by yourself, which includes driving through forests, apple orchards, waterfalls and beautiful Hindu temples made of stone and wood. During the summer, paragliding and rafting are also available, and there are a ropeway and ski centre not far from there.
The entire area is very peaceful, the local people are very nice, and you still find many women dressed in local woven attires and people who have cows in their backyards – a very peaceful way of living. The best time to visit Manali is March – April or from September until November, when the weather is pleasant, but not too cold, and there aren’t as many tourists, so the roads are clear. In mid-august, the apple season starts. Apples trees and orchards are very common in Manali, so you can do your own picking! From May until October, the road to Leh – one of the most magical places in India – is open – a favourite route for tourists seeking to explore the mountains further.
If you’re considering visiting Manali in other months, keep in mind that May and June are holiday months in India, so the city gets packed with Indian tourists and the single lane roads cause unpleasant traffic jams (renting a scooter will save you from the hassle, although riding at steep curves is not always easy). July and August are monsoon season, so it rains a lot and there are heavy landslides, which makes the whole mountain range less safe. Do NOT go trekking on the rainy season – foreign tourists die every year while trekking this time of the year in the Himalayas. From December until February is winter time, which means it is very cold, it snows a lot and not all restaurants and hotels are open, but could be good for ski and snow lovers.
Sinjana suggests adding Coorg to your list of places to visit in India.
GETTING THERE: From Bangalore or Mysore there are several buses to Coorg, but I recommend renting a car to enjoy the beautiful views on your road trip
WHERE TO STAY: There are innumerable homestays and budget hotels in Madikeri, Virajpet and Kushalnagar. For a dash of luxury at reasonable budget I recommend Club Mahindra Virajpet where I stayed on my second visit to Coorg.
Coorg or Kodagu is a beautiful district in Karnataka that is not only blessed with the natural diversity characteristic to the Western Ghats of but also a diverse culture. It’s a place where Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists have lived in harmony for ages celebrating their religiousness through spectacular temples, mosques and Tibetan monasteries. There are three main tourist towns where people usually book their stay – Madikeri, Virajpet, and Kushalnagar. Tadiadmol located 15km away from Virajpet is the highest peak in Coorg and provides a heavenly view of the valley from the top. Madikeri is famous for the awe-inspiring Abbey falls which attract thousands of tourists every day, one of the best sunset views from the Raja’s seat and for the 17th century Mercara fort which has now been turned into a fort museum. From Madikeri, you can drive to Talakaveri, a sacred place for Hindus and also the source of river Kaveri. No matter what faith you follow the flight of stairs leading to the top of Talakaveri can never disappoint you. Coorg is also famous among adventure seekers for whitewater rafting in the Barapole river near Kushalnagra. Wildlife lovers can visit the Dubbare elephant camp to bathe the gentle giants or take a safari at the Nagarhole national park. When in Kushalanagara don’t forget to visit the Golden temple monastery at Bylakuppe just 6km away and enjoy a picnic at Nisargadhama, a man-made island near Kaveri. For the gastronomic travellers, if you are looking for original south-Indian spices and Niligiri coffee beans, Coorg is the place to be. Architecture, history, culture or nature – whatever be your travel inspiration, this place cannot fail to impress you.
Orchha is a great spot to add to your list of places to visit in India.
LOCATION: Madhya Pradesh
GETTING THERE: There’s no train station in Orchha so you’ll have to make your way to Jhansi, which is 15 km away. From there you can catch an auto-rickshaw which should cost around 200 INR. It takes around nine hours to reach Jhansi from Delhi and three hours from Agra – it’s definitely worth the detour from those two popular tourist destinations.
WHERE TO STAY: We stayed at Amar Mahal, one of the most opulent hotels in Orchha. There are also plenty of budget options to choose from – location isn’t important as it’s a very small town.
For such a small town, Orchha packs in a lot of sights. The architecture on offer, from the riverside chhatris to the central palaces is incredible and it’s far more off the beaten path than places like Delhi and Agra. A trip to the chhatris (monuments to Orchha’s former rulers) at sunset is one of my top India experiences – we did it twice and felt like we had the place to ourselves. The palaces (Raj Mahal and Jehangir Mahal) are fun to explore and feature some well-preserved paintings and tiles. You can also see some great views over the surrounding countryside and ruins from the palaces. Another fun thing to do in Orchha is to go for a walk / bike ride through the countryside. There are heaps of ruins scattered around, from crumbling palaces and mansions to abandoned temples. Orchha has the sights to make it a must-visit place in India, but it also has that relaxed, rural atmosphere that is often hard to find in such a bustling country. If you’re struggling with the hassles of big city travel (which can happen if you spend some time in Delhi and Agra), you’ll be glad to spend a few days in such a laid-back place.
Numbra valley is a a gorgeous spot to add to your list of places to visit in India.
LOCATION: Jammu & Kashmir
GETTING THERE: There are daily buses and shared jeeps starting near Leh Polo Ground. Usually transport goes right up till Diskit or Hunder.
WHERE TO STAY: I recommend Sonam Guesthouse in Diskit which is run by a lovely host-family.
Nubra Valley is one of the least explored areas of Ladakh. With a shift of line of control a few years back there opened new experiences for tourists. Visit India’s last open village near the border – Turtuk, the sand dunes in Hunder, hot streams in Panamik, monastery in Diskit. You will find that Nubra can easily fill 4-5 days trip.
To reach Nubra Valley you need to cross one of the highest motorable passes – Khardung La. Due to the high-altitude and climate, the pass is blocked by snow and closed from November to April. You will find that the most comfortable months to visit the valley are from June to September.
Nubra Valley is also one of the biggest producers of apricots in the North. If you choose to visit in July-August, you will see numerous orchards filled with fruits. The local people are usually happy to offer you home-made apricot products. If you are after autumn foliage then come in September, when the valley trees get coloured in the warm colours of fall. But if you really want to have an enjoyable and unforgettable experience, don’t underestimate the importance of acclimatization. Spend a few days in Leh till you feel comfortable with the altitude. If you feel dizzy in Nubra, you don’t really have an escape except a high-altitude pass towards Leh. Nubra Valley is one of the highlights of Ladakh and I hope it will be on your list when you are around!
Mysore is a gorgeous spot to add to your list of places to visit in India.
GETTING THERE: Mysore is well-connected by air to major Indian cities. Another option is to fly into Bangalore and take the bus or car to Mysore.
WHERE TO STAY: The city has many great accommodations ranging from 5-star hotels to budget hostels. I recommend staying near the Mysore Palace or the market to be centrally located to most tourist attractions.
Mysore is one of my favourite places in South India for a variety of reasons. It is where my partner and I travelled together for the first time and it is also where he proposed! But apart from the personal reasons, I also love Mysore for its vibrant culture and beautiful architecture. Mysore was historically the capital of the ruling Wodeyar dynasty for over 6 centuries. It’s prominence as the first city is reflected in the majestic Mysore Palace, the royal residence and one of the city’s premier tourist attractions. The city also has 6 other palaces. Built in 1912, the palace attracts over 6 million visitors each year. Visitors can see the palace buildings from the inside during the day and attend the popular lighting ceremony on Sundays or during the festival of Dussehra.
The city’s Devraja market is worth stopping: here you can splurge on sandalwood figurines, pure silk sarees and clothing, and the famous Indian spices. Other places to visit include the Mysore Zoo and St. Philomena’s Cathedral featuring stunning Gothic Revival architecture.
Jacky suggests adding Aurangabad to your list of places to visit in India.
GETTING THERE: Aurangabad is accessible from the bigger cities in Maharashtra. It is located about 6 hours from Mumbai or 4 hours from Pune by car or bus. Aurangabad has a domestic airport offering routes to/from Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad. Train connections are also available.
WHERE TO STAY: There is a range of hotels available in Aurangabad. The best areas to stay in are the city centre around, or close to Aurangabad Railway Station. If you are planning a visit to either the Ajanta or Ellora Caves, it may be convenient to stay close to CBS, Aurangabad Central Bus Stand.
Overshadowed by many other cities in Maharashtra, Aurangabad is a bit of a hidden gem. It stands out among other cities in the state as a city still heavily influenced by Dakhni Muslims. Apart from Hindi and Marathi, Dakhni Urdu is still spoken by many of the city’s inhabitants. It also reflects in the food, as haleem and mutton biryani are popular dishes. The city in itself has plenty to offer. Most visitors are drawn to Bibi Ka Maqbara, popularly known as the ‘Taj of the Deccan’. Bibi Ka Maqbara does not only resemble the Taj Mahal in Agra, it is also a tomb. Dating back to the late 17th century, it is a monument of great historical importance and is beloved by locals and visitors alike.
Other attractions in the city include Panchakki, a 17th-century water mill and more than 50 gateways awarding Aurangabad the title of “City of Gates”. Just outside the city lie the Aurangabad Caves, 12 Buddhist caves dating back 2000 years, and Daulatabad Fort, a rather impressive medieval fort dubbed ‘best for of India’ by the British. Most visitors to Aurangabad, however, come to use it as a base for exploring some of India’s finest UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. Some of the caves are more than 2000 years old and reflect ancient Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain culture in India. The Ajanta and Ellora Caves are easily accessible from Aurangabad and a must-see in Maharashtra.
Elizabeth says that Rishikesh is one of the best places to visit in India.
LOCATION: Rishikesh is town in the Dehradun District of Uttarakhand state in India.
GETTING THERE: Bus / Car: Rishikesh is very well connected to other Indian cities by road, if you want to travel from Delhi, it is about 245km. From nearby Haridwar to Rishikesh it is about 30km.
Air: Dehradun Jolly Grant airport is located approximately 30km from Rishikesh. There are daily flights from New Delhi, as well as from other cities within India.
Train: Rishikesh is connected by railway, however it is limited. Haridwar Railway station is located approximately 35km from Rishikesh. You can hire taxi’s or auto rickshaws once you arrive to take you to your final destination.
WHERE TO STAY: In the state of Uttarakhand, there are accommodation choices to suit all budgets and types of holidays. From home-stays, to luxury five-star hotels, you will be able to find something to suit you. If you are looking for luxury and total rest, relaxation and rejuvenation stay at the Ananda which is located at the magnificent foothills of the Himalayas. It overlooks the ancient spiritual city of Rishikesh and the River Ganges. The hotel can be reached from Dehradun Airport in 40 minutes. If you take a taxi the fare is roughly 3500 Indian Rupees one way. This is a popular choice due to the hotel being set on a beautiful 100-acre palace estate.
Rishikesh offers the visitor so many incredible things to see do and experience. On arrival to Rishikesh you will be met with breath-taking scenery of the jungle clad hills, the Ganges river and the foothills of the Himalayas. Rishikesh is known as one of the most spiritual places in India and is a world-famous pilgrim destination. The history written about Rishikesh and its surrounding areas is fascinating and definitely should be read prior to visiting, especially if you want to understand the spiritual and holy significance of the city.
The city has vast number of things to do and see, especially if you are interested in spirituality, culture, nature, adventure and history, this destination will certainly not disappoint. Here are a few select things you can do when visiting Rishikesh. The Ganga Aarati at Rishikesh a remarkable spiritual experience, to witness which takes place at sundown at the Parmarth Niketan Ashram, the ritual combines various elements such as fire, water, earth and air, with chanting carried out by the guru. Ram Jhula is a suspension bridge across the river Ganges between two famous ashrams. There are bright and vibrant markets located at each side. This remains one of the most famous landmarks in the area. You can also visit and stay in many of the ashrams. Rishikesh is also world famous for yoga and meditation centres where you can join classes or learn about it from the many experts that live there. If your feeing adventurous Rishkesh has activities such a trekking, water rafting, and rock climbing and camping.
Rishikesh has some mouth-watering places to eat and dine, beware that non-vegetarian food is prohibited in Rishikesh area because it is a holy place. When visiting Rishikesh here are some other interesting places to visit: Bhootnath Temple, Iscon Temple, Astha Path, Raghunath Temple, Rishikund, Swarga Niwas Temple, Marine Drive, Rishikesh Main Market, Chandreshwar Mahadev Temple and Goa Beach.
Campbell believes that Jaisalmer is one of the best places to visit in India.
GETTING THERE: You can easily get from Delhi to Jaisalmer by bus. It is a 10 hour journey. The bus departs twice daily. The train on the other hand takes 18 hours and also departing two times per day.
WHERE TO STAY: Mystic Jaisalmer
In the north of India, the state of Rajasthan is well known for its colour coded cities. Udaipur is known as the white city, Jodhpur the blue city, Jaipur the pink city and my favourite Jaisalmer is the yellow city. Set in the Thar Desert, Jaisalmer’s nickname comes from the honey-gold hue that stems from this medieval ford that was established 1156.The ford is a former medieval trading centre and is still the core of a living city today with over a hundred people still living in it.
Chiselled out of sandstone by hand, located in the middle of the desert it is a magnificent site with the city extending in to the desert from it. Most tourist accommodation is located in the surrounding city. Many amazing mansions with incredible ornate carvings, once the home of rich merchants on the Silk Road can be found in the surrounding neighbourhoods. The most popular activity in Jaisalmer is without doubt a visit the amazing ford. It is surreal that people still live in such an old structure. Many travellers come to The Golden City to experience a camel safari in the surrounding Thar Desert. This is an amazing experience and trips of different durations and distances are very easy to organise in Jaisalmer. A camel is not a horse and riding one was not a very convenient experience. I was still crapping myself whenever my camel started to gallop after two days.
The sandy landscapes were spectacular and the night sky breath-taking, the desert grants photographers some amazing opportunities. My favourite part of the trip was sleeping outside under that amazing sky and making coffee on the fire in the dunes at sunrise.
By Campbell from Stingy Nomads ⇒ Instagram