India is an extremely diverse country, with every state offering something different. This can make planning a trip challenging. Where to go? What to see? And all in so little time! This guide to India tourist places by region provides a roundup of all the highlights of each state in India to give you an idea of where you should focus your attention.
Interested in the best of what India has to offer? Narrow it down with these 10 Popular Tourist Places in India. Or, if you'd rather venture away from the tourist trail, here are 12 of the Best Places to Visit in India Off the Beaten Track.
Andaman & Nicobar Islands
India isn't just mainland. Around 1,000 kilometers off the east coast of India, in the Bay of Bengal, the tropical Andaman and Nicobar Islands also fall under Indian territory. Havelock Island is the most popular place to visit, and offers snorkeling and scuba diving. Foreigners need a permit, issued on arrival at Port Blair.
Bihar has changed and improved a lot in recent years, and now has huge potential as a tourist destination in terms of spiritual and rural tourism. One of the main reasons you'd want to visit Bihar is to explore the birth place of Buddhism in India, including Bodhgaya and the Mahabodhi Temple. A convenient ways of doing this is by taking the Buddhist tourist train. The Sonepur Fair is known for its elephants.
Goa has always been one of the most popular tourist places in India. People to flock there for its beaches. However, that's not all the state offers. Adrenaline activities, shopping, spice plantations, nature, and history are added attractions.
Gujarat, a state known for its entrepreneurial ability, doesn't commonly feature on the tourist trail in India. Yet, it does have some notable attractions. Most famous is the Sabarmati Ashram that Gandhi founded in Ahmedabad, and which served as his headquarters during India's struggle for independence. The Great Rann of Kutch white salt desert, Indian wild ass on the salt plains of the Little Rann of Kutch, tribal villages and textiles in the Kutch district, and lions at Gir national park are other things worth a look. If you're there for the Navaratri festival, don't miss the famous Gujarati garba dancing!
Want mountains? Himachal Pradesh is the place! Its mountainous landscape, at the foothills of the Himalayas, is made up of a series of valleys and snow covered peaks. Himachal Pradesh is deservedly sought out by adventure lovers. Alternatively, the state provides a refreshing escape for those who are craving crisp mountain air. Enjoy historic toy trains, Buddhist meditation and philosophy, remote high altitude villages, and even skiing during the winter!
Jammu & Kashmir
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is one of India's most controversial tourist places, and one which many people don't feel comfortable visiting. There has been significant unrest there in the past, particularly between Hindu Jammu and Muslim Kashmir. However, plenty of visitors head to Leh, in the Buddhist Ladakh region. Otherwise, visitors tend to prefer the hill station of Srinagar where houseboating is popular. The Shiva caves in Jammu and Kashmir also attract pilgrims, along with the Buddhist monasteries.
Karnataka, in south India, has a lot to offer. Unfortunately though, travel to Karnataka is often overlooked in favor of more popular places in Goa, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. Those who visit Karnataka's tourist places will be rewarded with a memorable mix of ancient ruins, royal heritage, coffee plantations, yoga, national parks, and beach.
Madhya Pradhesh, in central India, draws visitors with well preserved remnants of its compelling history. Its many abandoned cities provide an intriguing window to the past, so different to the congested India of today. In further contrast, the national parks of Madhya Pradesh offer some of the best wildlife spotting opportunities in India. However, the erotic temples at Khajuraho are the most famed attraction.