Top 10 Places To Visit in India
India, the land of plenty, has something to offer to every type of traveller. Whether a budget holiday, extravagant luxury holiday, adventure travel or just back-packing/trekking, one has ample to choose from. The beauty of this country lies in its diversity – whether of land, people, cultures, customs and what not ! It’s more like several small countries that have come together. So whether a traveler from within India or a tourist from abroad, it is definitely not possible to cover the length and breadth of this marvelous and gigantic country in one go. Therefore, to help you get a good feel of this country, here are 10 destinations in India that are a must-visit !
1 – Kerala
A trip to this destination in the southern part of India is a defintite ‘to do’ for all those wanting to experience a little of everything while holidaying in India. It has everything a vacationer could ever ask for – wildlife and dense forests, beaches and the backwaters, misty hill-stations and trekking and camping opportunities. Famous as a summer retreat, with sprawling spice and tea plantations amidst hill stations to die for and rivers to cool at the banks of, a visit to ‘God’s Own Country’ is an experience you’d never want to miss. Some of the more popular places in Kerala are Munnar, Alleppey, Kovalam, Thekkady, Kumarakom, Wayanad etc.
How to reach Kerala
By air: Kerala has three main airports – Calicut International Airport, Cochin International Airport, and Trivandrum International Airport. These airports connect Kerala with different cities across the world.
By rail: Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station, Ernakulam Junction railway station, and Kollam Junction railway station are three major rail heads of Kerala. These stations connect the state with cities and towns across India.
By road: One can travel by road too from various cities across India to several cities in Kerala.
2 – Goa
Goa, famous all over the world for its sun, sand, beaches and free-spirited life-style, is located in the western part of India that consists of the Arabian Sea and the famous Konkan region. From the popular crowded beaches to the quiet and silent ones, Goa calls out to people of all ages and all walks of life. It’s one of those places that you fall in love with almost instantly. The young and energetic can partake of the amazing nightlife and beach parties that Goa is famed for, while the others can enjoy the cultural side of Goa, with its beautiful churches, temples and forts. Goa’s tourist attractions are unlimited and it will teach you to let go of all your inhibitions and enjoy yourself to the fullest. This destination is also famous for its delectable and awesome Goan cuisine. Goa is relatively reasonable and one can have an awesome holiday in a decent budget. It has everything to make a trip memorable.
How to reach Goa
By air: Dabolim International Airport is the major airport in Goa.
By rail: Madagaon Railway Station and Thivim Railway Station are the main railway heads of Goa.
By road: Margao Bus Terminal, Kadamba Bus Terminal, and Mapusa Bus Terminal are best connected bus terminals in Goa. However, many people prefer taking a car/bike ride from Mumbai and Pune.
3 – Mumbai
Mumbai – The city of dreams! The place that never sleeps. Mumbai is one of those places that you’ll either love or just hate, it’s difficult to be indifferent to. Also known as the financial capital of India, Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city that welcomes one and all, whether from other states of India or from other countries.
While mostly modernized in its ways and infrastructure, there is also a part of Mumbai that reminds one of the old British era, with its stone architecture and design of the buildings. Exhibiting both, the lifestyle of the rich as well as the poverty of the low-income group, this city is a happy blend of various types of people, communities, culture, customs and activities. It teaches you to be independent and yet co-exist. Once you are used to the pace of life here, any other city appears dull and slow. Mumbai has its own set of beaches, museums, gardens, national parks and fun night-life for tourists to enjoy. Restaurants offering every type of cuisine can be found in abundance across the city. Though travel and traffic can take a toll on the unsuspecting traveler, Mumbai with a charm of its own, can entice you back time and again.
How to reach Mumbai :
By air: Mumbai is the gateway to India for a large number of travellers and is extremely well connected by air with most major destinations around the world as well as in India.
By rail: Mumbai is very well connected to rest of India by trains. Trains travelling from Central, East and West India arrive at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or VT as it used to be called. Trains from the North arrive at Mumbai Central Station.
By road: Buses from other states arrive at the Mumbai Central Bus Station. Most of the inter-Maharashtra buses arrive at this station as well, although those running from Pune and Nasik arrive at the ASIAD bus stand near Dadar railway station.
4 – Delhi and Agra
Delhi, the capital of India, exhibits the history of India in depth. From the ancient Mughals to Afghans, one can visit and experience the heritage monuments, forts and artefacts that bear witness to this era. The three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Delhi, Qutb Complex, Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb are among the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture. The bustling bazaars of Old Delhi and the fascinating malls of New Delhi, street shopping at Janpath or Sarojini, to the street food at Chandni Chowk….. all of this and more have made Delhi such a lovable city.
The neighbouring city of Agra, which might just be known for being home to the Taj Mahal, has also got so much more to see and explore when it comes to culture and heritage. Tourists across the world visit India just to witness the spectacular symbol of love. This majestic monument definitely requires a visit once a tourist is down in India. For a peek into the past, Delhi and Agra are the perfect choice. Agra can be reached by rail or road from Delhi.
How to reach :
New Delhi is well connected to other major cities of the country and several other countries via regular flight.
One can easily get regular trains to New Delhi from other major cities of the country.
There are regular buses from other major cities of the country to New Delhi.
Agra can be reached by rail or road from Delhi.
5 – Himachal Pradesh
Referred to as ‘Dev bhoomi’ or “Land of God”, Himachal Pradesh is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west, Uttar Pradesh on the south and Uttaranchal on the east. The word “Himachal” means the abode of snow. This state is covered with immeasureable natural beauty and is, undoubtedly, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Visiting Himachal is not only a treat to your eyes but it’s a treat for your soul too. This destination abounds with some of the best snowy landscapes, trekking routes, fun activities and amazing resorts, which make the mountainous region such a cherished part of India. With entrancing hill-stations such as Manali, Kufri, Kasauli, Chail, Dharamshala and plenty more which abound in this state, you would miss out on a little piece of heaven if you do not visit Himachal Pradesh at least once in your lifetime. A state rich of apple orchards, green valleys, snow-capped mountains and various springs is a ‘must visit’ place in every traveller’s diary. Right from river rafting to trekking expeditions, to scenic landscapes, Himachal is an apt choice for even a traveller with kids. Bask in the mild sunlight and breathe in the fresh and pure Himalayan breeze, while your kids go paragliding, mountaineering, jeep safari and more.
How to reach Himachal Pradesh :
By Air: There are three domestic airports in Himachal Pradesh that are situated at Bhuntar, Gaggal and Jubbarhatti. These airports connect Himachal to Delhi and Chandigarh.
By Train: The jagged terrain and high altitude of Himachal Pradesh makes it difficult to lay railway lines. However, Himachal Pradesh has broad and narrow gauge tracks. Hence one can travel by train to only very few places in this state.
By Road: The long winding roads of this hill state make an excellent drive with breathtaking scenic views in good season. The important towns of Himachal Pradesh are well connected by a fine network of roads. The ones on higher altitudes are closed in winters and monsoons because of snowfall and landslides. There are regular bus services from Ambala, Chail, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Delhi, Kullu, Manali, Mandi, Pathankot and Shimla. One can also hire taxis from nearby places to reach Himachal Pradesh.
6 – Jammu and Kashmir
Paradise on earth ! This should aptly describe Jammu and Kashmir, a state located mostly in the Himalayan mountains, and who shares borders with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south. The natural beauty of Jammu and Kashmir is incomparable and once visited, will leave an unforgettable mark on your mind.
Heavenly landscapes and an experience of a lifetime, Jammu and Kashmir are the pride of India. Jammu and Kashmir consists of three regions: Jammu, the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. Srinagar is the summer capital, and Jammu is the winter capital. The Kashmir valley is famous for its beautiful mountainous landscape and Jammu’s numerous shrines attract tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims every year. Ladakh, also known as “Little Tibet”, is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and Buddhist culture. Gulmarg, one of the most popular ski resort destinations in India, is also home to the world’s highest green golf course.
How to reach Jammu and Kashmir :
By air: The Jammu airport in the city is the closest domestic airport that is well-connected to different cities like New Delhi, Srinagar and Leh. The other two nearest domestic airports are in Srinagar and Leh. New Delhi is the closet international airport with daily flights to Jammu.
By rail: The nearest rail junction in Jammu is located within the city and is known as Jammu Tawi. This railhead is linked to most of the Indian cities like Delhi, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Mumbai and Trivandrum. Some of the trains do not run daily so it is advisable to check the train schedule before booking it.
By road: Many neighbouring cities like Manali, Shimla, Ludhiana and Delhi are well-connected with Jammu as many city and tourist buses are run by Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation. You can choose from a regular to a deluxe bus and the fare may vary depending upon the type of bus as well as the distance covered.
Jammu also has a good road network and the most popular link is the National Highway 1A
7 – North East
Northeast India is the eastern-most region of India. It comprises eight states – the connecting Seven Sister States (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura), and the Himalayan state of Sikkim.
Relatively unexplored, this region of India is remarkably rich in natural as well as man-made beauty and is a visual delight, that must be witnessed. With the Himalayas bordering the area and spiritually rich monasteries nestled upon mountain peaks, with challenging and awe-inspiring trekking routes, North-East India is an ever-growing tourist destination in India. However as it has relatively less tourist inflow as compared to other states, it gives you the opportunity of enjoying silence and the sounds of nature to the fullest. The simple, joyful living and warm hospitality of the people of this region are equally worth experiencing.
How to reach North East :
By air: Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal (124 km from Gangtok) is the nearest airport. A 20 minutes’ helicopter ride from Bagdogra will take you further on till Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.
By rail: New Jalpaiguri Railway Station in Silguri (148 km from Gangtok) is the nearest rail head.
By road: The cities of Sikkim are well-connected to Darjeeling (West Bengal) by good quality roads.
8 – Jaipur and Udaipur
Two of the major tourist attractions in Rajasthan, located in the western part of India, are Jaipur and Udaipur. These two cities symbolize Indian heritage and take history to another level altogether. Folklore, marvellous architecture, man-made lakes, prominent monuments, and majestic palaces that are now also luxury hotels, Jaipur and Udaipur are cities not to miss.
The cities boasts of its royal Rajput influence, lifestyle intricacies, and rich art & cultural history. Jaipur also serves as a gateway to other tourist destinations in Rajasthan such as Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur and Mount Abu. For a royal journey to Rajasthan, you can take the “Palace on Wheels,” which runs through Jaipur and offers the fabulous royal splendor of Rajasthan.
How to reach Jaipur and Udaipur :
By air: There are three major airports in Rajasthan, namely Jaipur, Udaipur, and Jodhpur that operates both domestic and International flights and connects the state to various parts of India.
By rail: Rajasthan has its major railway stations in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Ajmer, and Udaipur. These stations are well-connected to the other important cities of Rajasthan and some of the other cities in India.
By road: There is a good network of National Highways and State Highways in Rajasthan, which covers the entire state and links it to the other major cities of India excellently. Also, Rajasthan is only 5 hours drive from Delhi and so most of the tourists prefer to travel by road.
9 – Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, one of the seven union territories of India, are a group of islands at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea. The tropical environment, white sandy beaches and coral reefs, lush green rainforests and active volcano make a trip to Andaman an adventurous and mesmerizing one.
Water lovers can indulge in watersports like scuba-diving, deep sea diving, sea-walking, para-sailing and snorkeling. You’d be amazed at the sites underwater and hey, aqua-lovers, it will keep you coming back for more. Besides this, tourists can enjoy the beauty of several other islands, monuments, parks etc.
Nicobar islands are mostly out of bounds as they are inhabited by many tribal groups. Indian tourists do not require a permit to visit the Andaman islands but if they wish to visit any tribal areas they need a special permit from the Deputy Commissioner, Port Blair. Permits are required for foreign nationals and for foreigners arriving by air, these are granted upon arrival at Port Blair.
How to reach Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Andaman Islands are accessible only by air or by boat as the islands are located far off the Southern coast of India.
By air: Vir Savarkar Airport in Port Blair is the only major airport. Only domestic operators offer flight service to Andaman Islands.
By sea: Ships ply between Haddo Wharf Port in Port Blair and cities of Chennai, Kolkata, & Vizag.
10 – Leh-Ladakh
Ladakh (“land of high passes”) is one of the most sparsely populated regions in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Renowned for its remote mountain beauty, its culture and history are closely related to that of Tibet.
The barren beauty of Ladakh with snow capped peaks and clean blue sky have attracted the bold and daring traveller ever since the region was opened to tourists in the 1970s. Since then, Ladakh has become a favourite haunt for trekking and mountaineering enthusiasts. The rugged terrain and magnificent mountains around, present a challenge to an adventure sport lover. But it is absolutely important to understand that to enjoy in this land of Buddhist monasteries, extreme climate and brave people, one has to ensure that you have kept aside a decent amount of days to travel in Ladakh as acclimatization itself needs at least a few days. Ride on the crazy winding roads, get stuck in the middle of nowhere, sleep with the locals and learn to be independent on the desert mountains as you undertake this adventurous journey.
How to reach Leh-Ladakh :
By air: The airport in Leh connects the region to Delhi, Chandigarh and Srinagar by air.
By rail: Jammu Tawi Railway Station (700 km from Ladakh) is the nearest rail head. From here, one can hire a cab or board a JKSRTC bus to Ladakh.
By road: The most popular means of reaching Ladakh is by road. Travellers can go on a bike/jeep ride to the destination. Bike trips from Delhi, Chandigarh, and Manali are most popular.
One can enjoy travel to some of these places directly by road or even upto/from a certain city close to the destination within India. AbhiBus offers bus services on several routes leading to these destinations. So all you have to do is log on to abhibus.com, enter your origin city and destination city on the dates that you are keen to travel and check if they have bus services plying on that route. So go ahead and book your bus tickets online to enjoy your holiday at any of these destinations.
Picture Credits: Kerala – Kerala Tourism, Goa – The Traveller, Mumbai – India.Com, Delhi, Agra – Tripadvisor, Himachal Pradesh – Holidaybirds.Com, Jammu And Kashmir – Encyclopedia Britannica, North East – Tripoto, Harleen Kalsi, Jaipur And Udaipur – India.Com, Andaman And Nicobar Islands – Andaman Swapan Tour & Travels, Leh-Ladakh – Thinkstock Photos, Happytrips.Com