India is one country which offers a diversity of terrains and culture like no other country in the world.
India has it all – The Himalayas and the tallest mountains in the world, luscious green forests housing the most amazing wild animals and birds on the face of the earth, fertile plains accompanied by holy rivers, the Deccan Plateau, the dry deserts of Thar in Rajasthan and the cold desert in Ladakh, and the high seas on the three sides of the Indian peninsula. You name it and India has it. Here’s a list of the 10 of the must see destinations in India.
10. Darjeeling, West Bengal
This quintessential hill station in West Bengal is also referred to as “the Queen’s necklace” because of the way the town looks from neighboring hills at night with the lights turned on. Darjeeling or Darj’ as its most ardent visitors like to call it was built by the British government much before independence and continues to have a charm of its own.
The stunning views of the Greater Himalayas and the Kanchenjunga range that this hill station offers are absolutely breathtaking. Breakfast (Read: Hamburger, Tea, and Hot Chocolate) at Keventers and Lunch/Dinner at Glenarys are amazing experiences. And Do Not miss sunrise at Tiger Hill – it is as they say, a once in a life time experience that one will always cherish.
9. Kerala Backwaters, Kerala
The backwaters in Kerala are essentially a group of lakes and lagoons that lie parallel to the Arabian sea coast. These backwaters are amazing from a scenic perspective and are an ideal place for a getaway with your better half or with a group of your best buddies.
These backwaters are also flush with sea food such as crabs, fishes, and lobsters. It is every foodies dream. At the present time, house boat tourism has become the most popular tourist activity in these backwaters with several traditional rice-boats having been converted into what could be best described as floating hotels.
8. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Varanasi or Benaras happens to be one of the oldest cities in India and is situated on the banks of the holy Hindu river, the Ganges. This city which has strong religious connections to Hindus, Buddhists and Jains is perhaps one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in India.
Varanasi is a bastion of Hinduism and one can find a temple or two in about every 100 meters or so. The ‘rabdi’ and ‘kheer’ – traditional Indian delicacies – are unreal in this part of the world. The best sight in Benaras is the ‘ganga-arati’ that is held at the ‘dashaswamedh ghat’ in the evening every day of the week.
7. Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Jaisalmer is a remote city situated in the westernmost corner of Rajasthan and close to India’s border with Pakistan. Immortalized by the Bengali writer/director Satyajit Ray in his ultimate novel ‘Sonaar Kella’, this city is most famous for its “Golden Fort”.
This fort is not made of gold but of yellow limestone which is available at this part of the world. The stone shines through in the dark as well while during daytime, its radiance is as good as gold. Jaisalmer does look a great deal like a scene right out of the Arabian Nights and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India.
6. Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
Jim Corbett National Park is one of the most beautiful wildlife reserves in India and is perhaps the most scenic destinations where one could catch the tiger in the wild in India. The terrain in this part of India is hilly, although there are vast plains on one side of the reserve which is divided into four areas – Dhikala, Bijrani, Jhirna, and Sitawani.
Peacocks, dear, lemur, cheetah, elephants, bisons, tigers and a whole many species of birds are what one would normally come across at Corbett Park. Add to this the mystifying story of the man after whom this vast reserve is named and the local stories and what you get is an amazing vacation.
5. The Golden Temple, Amritsar
The Golden Temple in Amritsar, also known as the Harmandir Sahib is the principle tourist attraction in the city of Amritsar in the Punjab. It is the most religious place for Sikhs across the world and the building of this temple was started by Guru Ram Das in the 16th century.
The 19th century saw the upper floors of the temple being covered by gold courtesy of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The Golden temple in Amritsar is a stunning piece of Architecture and a great place to learn and observe Sikh traditions and culture. The place is always buzzing with devotees and pilgrims from all the corners of the world who come to pay their respects.
4. Palolem, Goa
Palolem beach in Goa is one of the best of Goa’s developed beaches and also happens to be one of the most beautiful being surrounded by hills on either sides. The beach is a gently sloping beach which is home to a calm, almost idyllic sea that one can imagine. The beach offers an array of inexpensive eating options – restaurants as well as hotels – which is a massive plus. The best bit about Palolem is the nightlife associated with this part of the world. One is sure to meet a lot of like-minded people here as the party never stops here.
3. Lake Palace, Udaipur
Lake Pichola in the city of Udaipur in Rajasthan is home to the Lake Palace which was built in the 18th century and served as a summer palace for the royals. At the present time, Lake Palace qualifies as one of the best hotels in the world featuring under the banner of “Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces”, which is a subsidiary of the Tata group.
A private boat service transfers guests to and from the Palace from the eastern bank of Lake Pichola. The Lake Palace in Udaipur has featured in the James Bond film, “Octopussy” which starred Roger Moore as Bond with former Indian tennis player Vijay Amritraj featuring in a pivotal role.
2. The Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad
The Ajanta Caves, which originate back to the 2nd century BC are cave monuments cut out of rock which were abandoned around the middle of the 6th century AD. They were rediscovered by a British hunting party in the year 1819. It is thought that the fine preservation of some of the paintings that can be witnessed till this very day is down to the fact that the caves remained isolated for more than a thousand years. The murals at the cave depict everything that was prevalent at the time around the 2nd century BC. The Ajanta Caves as well as the Ellora Caves can be accessed from the city of Aurangabad.
1.The Taj Mahal, Agra
The Taj Mahal in Agra was commissioned to be built by the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife Mumtaaz. The immense white mausoleum which is situated on the banks of the river Yamuna in Agra was built between 1632 and 1653 AD.
It is said that the men who built this fantastic monument had their hands severed by the ruler so that a replica of the monument could not be created. Till this very date, the mausoleum remains an engineering marvel. The Taj is one of the shining examples of Mughal architecture and is one of the major tourist attractions in India.
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