There are few countries in the world more vast and diverse than India. The chaotic cities, seaside towns, sprawling nature reserves, rushing rivers, and majestic mountains will draw you in and dazzle you. There truly are countless beautiful places in India, and there is something for everyone in this amazing country.
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Sadly, most travelers looking to visit India don’t have long enough to see everything there is to see. There’s simply too much to explore and too many places to go in India, so you’ll have to choose the best places to visit in India for yourself.
Here’s a guide to get you started, featuring some of the best sights in the country.
The Best Places to Visit in India
The Golden Triangle: Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur
The most traditional and beloved tourist route in all of India is the Golden Circle. The route includes visits to three of India’s most exciting cities to see sights like the Taj Mahal, the Pink City, the Red Fort, and more.
No trip to India would be complete without a visit to the country’s capital. Delhi is one wild place, filled with incredible food, hectic streets, and more temples than you could imagine. Some highlights include the Lotus Temple, Hare Krishna Temple, Kalkaji Mandir Hindu Temple, and the Jama Masjid.
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After you’ve been “templed out,” you’ll want to visit some of the exciting markets, such as the Khari Baoli spice market or the Chandni Chowk street food market. You’ll be able to barter with locals and try some of the most authentic (and spicy) food in the city.
In addition to amazing food and great temples, there are a few other sites in Delhi that you shouldn’t miss. The Red Fort is the former safeguard of an ancient city and is well worth a visit. If you’re interested in tombs of past emperors and leaders, then check out Humayun’s Tomb and the Tomb of Safdarjung. A final favourite of visitors is the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, one of the best places to visit in India.
For most people, Agra is first on the list of best places to visit in India because of the Taj Mahal. Perhaps the most famous and exciting monument in the country, the Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Built between 1632 and 1653, the palace was commissioned by emperor Shah Jahan to commemorate his wife. Today, it’s one of the most beloved travel destinations in India that is well worth a visit.
After discovering the Taj Mahal, there are many other exciting places to see in Agra, one such being the Agra Fort. Just a few kilometres from the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort used to be the residence of emperors in the past, but today is a stunning architectural marvel.
The city of Agra is busy and exciting. Make sure to visit lesser-known tombs, palaces, and mausoleums scattered around the city.
The last stop on the Golden Circle route is Jaipur, perhaps the most beautiful city of the three. It’s a city of palaces and ornate architecture, where taking a bad picture is pretty hard to do.
Some of the best places to visit in India are found in Jaipur, including the City Palace and Amber Palace. The City Palace is a stunning royal residence and museum that offers a peek into the history of royalty in the city. The Amber Palace and Fort can be found on top of a hill overlooking the city. Riding elephants is a popular thing to do here, but consider skipping this if you want to be an ethical and sustainable traveler.
No visit to Jaipur would be complete without a stop at Hawa Mahal, an unbelievable pink sandstone palace with incredible details. This structure, among others, gives Jaipur the nickname “The Pink City.”
While Jaipur is the main city most people visit in the tea-famous region of Rajasthan, there are many other wonderful places to visit in India that can be found here.
Jodhpur is India’s desert city. Visitors come here particularly to see the Mehrangarh Fort, a 15th-century masterpiece that functions as a modern museum. From the fort, you can see the entire city down below and take in the unique blue and orange colour palette that Jodhpur shows off.
Make sure not to miss an expedition into the Thar Desert with a four-wheel-drive car. You’ll have the chance to spot lots of animals like bucks and countless types of birds.
Back in town, explore on your own two feet with a camera in hand and take some pictures of the beautiful blue houses. Jodhpur is really the Chefchaouen of Asia!
With amazing lakes and waterways, Udaipur is considered to be the Venice of India. When you arrive, you’ll see right away how much charm and peace the city exudes. This can be a relaxing break from the chaos of some other more popular best places to visit in India.
The first thing you must do in Udaipur is to visit the City Palace. The stunning white arches, mosaics, and colourful reliefs make it the perfect place to take photographs. With its lovely gardens, peaceful courtyards, and ornate corridors, this is one place you can stay for hours. You’ll also want to take time to visit the Lake Palace across the water. It’s arguably as beautiful and right in the middle of the lake.
Don’t leave town without visiting at least one temple. Jagdish Temple is the most famous one in Udaipur and is definitely worth a visit. Make sure to also take a boat cruise on one of the stunning lakes.
Perhaps the most popular beach destination in the county, Goa is one of the best places to visit in India thanks to its stunning palm trees, white sands, and prime locations for both relaxing and partying. It’s the kind of place where you could spend all day on the beach without a care in the world.
Beyond Goa’s beaches, there are lots of wonderful India destinations nearby. You can visit the towns and stroll the streets, spotting Portuguese influences from the 16th century.
Next, get out of town and see some amazing nature. Visit the impressive Dudhsagar Falls where you can swim in the freshwater pools below. You also won’t want to miss Hivre and Sada, but they’ll require a bit of trekking to reach.
Traveling south along the western coast of India from Goa, you’ll eventually reach Kerala, one of the best places to visit in India for nature lovers. Kerala is full of national parks and nature reserves. One of the best is Mathikettan Shola National Park, where you can go on lion safaris, visit the crocodile park, and explore hidden waterfalls.
Kerala’s biggest claim to fame is the peaceful backwaters that interlace the region. This large system of rivers, streams, and lakes makes an awesome place to relax and get back to nature. Try taking a boat cruise down the river or even staying on a houseboat for a few days.
Agriculture is also a big theme in Kerala. It’s an amazing experience to take a tour of a plantation, whether it be coffee, tea, or spices, and see how the locals produce their world-class goods. Make sure not to leave without tasting everything that you can.
Mumbai, formerly called Bombay, is a large financial city on the western coast of India. Don’t let that deter you, though. Some of the best places to visit in India can be found in this buzzing metropolis.
Your first stop should be the Elephanta Caves on the island of Gharapuri, located in Mumbai Harbour. The beautiful sculptures and temples on the island are dedicated to Shiva, the Hindu god, and are very scenic. In the evening, stroll along Chowpatty Beach and the Queen’s Necklace, a lovely ocean walk that lights up at night.
There are lots of forts and temples to visit in Mumbai’s city centre, and one of the most famous is the Bandra Fort. Right on the ocean, it’s a great place to watch the sunset on a warm night. Another great temple is Worli Fort, located right on the Mahim Bay and offering amazing ocean and city views.
If you’re interested in spirituality, then one of the best places to visit in India is Varanasi. This small city is right on the banks of the Ganges River, one of the most sacred places in Hinduism, and is truly a sight to behold. Although the water is polluted and might make you sick if you bathe in it yourself, you can take a boat cruise or stroll along the river and watch the locals go about their day.
There are over 2,000 temples in Varanasi, so you’ll have your choice of which ones to visit. The most famous are Gyanvapi Mosque, Kashi Vishwanath Temple, and the Golden Temple. Although Hinduism is the main religion in Varanasi, there are a number of mosques, forts, and other religious sites throughout the city.
Easily one of the best things to do in Varanasi is to attend the Aarti Ceremony, a religious event that takes place every night at the banks of the Ganges. Watch the locals gather together, presenting offerings to the gods and performing religious rituals.
The Best Way to Visit India
While India is an incredible place to visit, the logistics of traveling through the country can be extremely difficult for some. India is known for being a stressful, chaotic place at times and for those that aren’t used to it, this can be quite a challenge.
Especially if it’s your first time visiting India, you may want to consider booking a tour in order to be under the wing of a professional that knows the country inside and out. We personally love private tours that are customizable, allowing you to see exactly the things you want and leave out all the rest.
If you like those kinds of tours, too, then check out Agate Travel’s India Tours. They’re experts on the country and have been leading tours there for 21 years. Not only will Agate take you to all the best places to visit in India, but they’ll make sure the tour matches your interests and travel style. You can choose from small groups ranging from 2-6 people, or fully customize your own tour with them. It’s a great way to get your feet wet in India, especially if you’re visiting for the first time.
Right now, Agate Travel are offering some discounts for early bird bookings for their 2020 tours.
12% OFF if you book by Dec 31, 2019;
10% OFF if you book by Jan 31, 2020;
For 2019 tours, book ahead and enjoy a guaranteed discount of 10% OFF if you book 60 days in advance or 5% OFF for 30 days in advance.
India is an intense country to visit and not exactly for the faint of heart, but it’s well worth your time. With so much natural beauty, incredible food, pulsating cities, and amazing locals, you’ll be overwhelmed in the best possible way. India will surprise you and you’ll always be in for an adventure.
What’s the first place you’d visit in India? If you’ve been, what was your favourite thing you did?
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Agate Travel’s India Tours, but all opinions and views shared in this article are our own.