1. Travel
Send to a Friend via Email

10 Must See India Places to Visit

Destinations in India that Capture the Country's Diverse Charm

By

Ah, it's so hard to choose! What are the must-see destinations in India? A lot of the time, it comes down to personal preference. However, some India destinations remain perennially more popular than others. These 10 destinations all capture the diverse charm of India.

Want to know more about India's top destinations? Check out this India Travel Planner and this guide to the Top India Tourist Places by Region.

Prefer to see India on a tour rather than independently? Consider one of these 15 Top Small Group India Tours from G Adventures.

1. Delhi

www.flickr.com user Saad.Akhtar

Most first time travelers to India usually land in Delhi, India's capital city. It can be a rather rude shock. The city is primed to take advantage of the unsuspecting tourist. However, bear with it! Delhi's top attractions feature spellbinding mosques, forts, and monuments left over from the Mughal rulers that once occupied the city. Many of these are set in beautiful landscaped gardens that are perfect for relaxing. And the crumbling old city of Old Delhi is a fascinating, albeit chaotic, place to explore.

2. Taj Mahal

A part of India's popular Golden Triangle tourist circuit, Agra is home to the Taj Mahal. Enough said really. It's India's most iconic monument and the top historical attraction in India.  For that reason, it's impossible to leave it off the list (although Agra itself is an uninspiring city).

3. Udaipur

Sam Segar
Ah, Udaipur! Famed city of lakes and palaces. (And yes, I really do think it's the most romantic city in India). A must-visit for the ability to immerse yourself in the regal splendor.

4. Golden Temple

Getty Images/Bruno Morandi

Amritsar, home to the Golden Temple, was founded in 1577 by Guru Ram Das, the fourth guru of Sikhs. It’s the spiritual capital of the Sikhs and gained its name, meaning "Holy Pool of Nectar", from the body of water around the Golden Temple. The exquisite Golden Temple attracts pilgrims from all over the world. It looks particularly arresting at night when it’s beautifully lit up, with its imposing pure gold dome illuminated.

5. Varanasi

Varanasi is a city quite like no other. This mystical holy city openly reveals its rituals along the many riverside ghats, which are used for everything from bathing to burning the bodies of the dead.

6. Ajanta and Ellora Caves

www.cepolina.com

No doubt India's most popular and widely recognized caves, the Ajanta Ellora caves are carved into hillside rock quite in the middle of nowhere, in northern Maharastra. These caves are simply awe inspiring. Words can't describe how magnificent they are.

7. Hampi

Vivek Chugh

An incredible energy can be found in Hampi. The last capital of Vijayanagar, one of the greatest Hindu kingdoms in India’s history, it's renowned for its captivating ruins, intriguingly intermingled with large boulders that rear up all over the landscape.

8. Madurai

Ancient Madurai in Tamil Nadu is home to the most impressive and important temple in south India --the Meenakshi Temple. If you only see one south Indian temple, the Meenakshi Temple should be it. The city of Madurai is more than 4,000 years old, and has remained a major center for Tamil culture and learning. The 12 day Chithirai Festival, featuring a re-enacted celestial wedding of God and Goddess, is held in Madurai during April each year.

9. Kerala Backwaters

www.sxc.hu user cute mink
One of the most popular attractions in India, a trip in a houseboat along the palm-fringed Kerala backwaters is so tranquil and relaxing. The lush green landscape, diverse wildlife, and houses and villages that line the backwaters make a journey along these waterways seem like a journey through another world. Freshly cooked Indian food and chilled beer on board the boat make the experience even more enjoyable. Don't miss it!

10. Fort Kochi

Martin Child/Getty Images.
Known as the "Gateway to Kerala", Kochi is an enchanting city that's had an eclectic influence. The Arabs, British, Dutch, Chinese, and Portuguese have all left their mark on the city. Most people recognize Kochi from pictures of the famous Chinese fishing nets that line the waterfront. Fort Kochi is full of architecture and historical sites, and is a marvelous place to stroll around and explore on foot. You can also catch a Kathakali dance performance and get an Ayurvedic treatment.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.