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10 Top Tourist Places in India

Destinations in India that Capture the Country's Diverse Charm

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Ah, it's so hard to choose! What are the most popular tourist places in India? A lot of the time, it comes down to personal preference. However, some places to visit in India 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

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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. (While you're there, why not get off the beaten track and visit some attractions around Agra as well?).

3. 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 and the number of visitors it gets rivals that of the Taj Mahal! It looks particularly arresting at night when it’s beautifully lit up, with its imposing gold dome illuminated.

4. 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 regal splendor.

5. Varanasi

Varanasi, one of the top spiritual places in India, 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

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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, near Aurangabad, in northern Maharashtra. 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

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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. Goa

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India's top beach destination, Goa lures visitors with the promise of parties and lazy days at the beach. However, there's more to Goa than just hedonism. The state also offers an eclectic blend of history, nature, culture, and adventure activities.

12 of the Best Places to Visit in India Off the Beaten Track

Seen enough of India's most popular destinations? There are some remarkable places to visit in India that are off the beaten track.

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