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