11 Magical Must Visit Places in India
When traveling attitude is everything. Looking at a place through one person’s eyes, it may seem like the worst place on earth and then looking through another persons eyes will be the best place they have ever discovered. The later here applies to how I feel about India.
For me India is a place of dreams.
India is one of the most varied countries in the world, and feels like 20 countries rolled into one. From Himalayan peaks to Indian Ocean coastline – and history reaching back 5 millennia, India has something for every kind of adventurer. I have traveled the entirety of India and publish my diaries from living in India on this blog.My India Travel guide is your sure-fire way to cover the best parts of an incredible, and at times, unbelievable country.
The western media often portrays India is a very bias way, with blockbusters like ‘Slum Dog Millionaire’ filling the minds of the Western world with images of severe poverty and cruelty. There are 1.2 billion people living in India, many of whom are deeply religious, traditional and warm-hearted. My personal experience of India was life-changing. Indian people are kind, generous, respectful souls. The care towards animals and living things, their rich history and fascinating culture are all inspirational.
When people think of traveling to India one of the first images that comes to mind is Agra’s iconic Taj Mahal. Yoga, curry and crowds also spring to mind for many people, but I can assure you after living in India, India has much, much more to offer.
11 Places to Visit in India:
- Goa. A hippies paradise with beaches, yoga schools, fresh seafood and chilled out locals. An easy introduction to India, although I would like to add that in my opinion that Goa isn’t really the ‘real India’, in other words don’t make Goa your only destination.
- Hampi and Badami. Home to ancient temples and housed royalty. Traveling to Badami on a road trip from Goa, then awaking to the call to prayer, with the sun rising over ancient temples and monkeys and boars roaming wild below my balcony, I felt like I had arrived in the real India! Badami is home to Bhuthanath Temple and Hampi has the magnificent living temple Virupaksha, among many other fantastic structures, perhaps 2 of the most historically interesting places in all of India.
- Gir Forest in Gujurat. The reserve and forest is home to the fiercely protected Asiatic Lions. A true demonstration of the progressive attitude India has towards wildlife. Numbers have increased from just 300 to 527 (as of the 2015 census). I stayed at the Asiatic Lion Lodge, wonderful accomodation, delicious local food and close to the Forest, perfect for budding photographers wanting to go on early morning and dusk safaris.
- Rann of Kutch Pakistan border, Gujurat. Rann Utsav is an enchanting yearly construction with luxurious Swiss Royal Tents set up close to the largest salt flat in the world. For those who are more adventurous, rent an ATV and explore the salt flats that way. There are also camel tours and many cultural performances put on by local villages.
- Kerala, a tropical state that has everything from a 600km stretch of seashore, ranges of tea plantations to palm-lined backwaters and the largest lake in India, lake Vembanad. of Arabian Sea shoreline on India’s tropical Malabar Coast, has nearly 600km of Arabian Sea shoreline. It’s known for its palm-lined beaches and its backwaters, a network of canals popular for cruises. Its many upscale seaside resorts include specialists in Ayurvedic treatments. Inland are the Western Ghats, a mountain range whose slopes support tea, coffee and spice plantations as well as abundant native wildlife.
- Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Is a major city and an interesting blend of modern, traditional and futuristic. Large skyscrapers flank poorer areas, Mumbai is said to have more millionaires per square mile than Manhattan, and is also home to the ‘largest slum’ in India. Business men drive mercedes through street past rickety chai stalls, and women wrapped in chiffon saris shop alongside college girls flaunting the latest Western designer wear. Mumbai will engage your senses and capture your attention like now other city.
- Jodhpur The Blue City, a fantasy-like place and a photographers dream. Jodhpur is a city in the Thar Desert of the northwest Indian state of Rajasthan. Its 15th-century Mehrangarh Fort is a former palace that’s now a museum, is a must see in Jodhpur, set on a rocky mountain looking out across the blue city, the Fort also contains artworks and historical artifacts like Royal chairs. I highly recommend the Zip-line/Flying Fox tour, with the Fort and The Blue City as a backdrop. See a clip here of the flying fox over Jodhpur Clip of 90 days in India Breathtaking!!
- Ahmdebad and the Sabramati Ashram where Gandhi led India to political Independence. This place is magical. Gandhi is one of my personal idols and to visit where he once lived really made me feel at home in India. I cant explain why, when I visited the Sabramati Ashram I felt nostalgic like it was a familiar place. Highly recommended for travelers to India. There is still a functioning Ashram across the road today where people co-inhabit and live by the life rules of Gandhi-ji.
- Agra. Part of the well-worn ‘Golden Triangle’ tourist trail, Agra is home to the Taj Mahal, one of the most famous buildings in the world, the mausoleum of Shah Jahan’s favourite wife, Mumtaz Maha. It is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and one of the three World Heritage Sites in Agra. Well worth a trip to Agra to ore in this architectual wonder.
- Himalayas. For thousands of years the Himalayas have held a profound significance for the peoples of South Asia, as their literature, mythologies, and religions reflect. Since ancient times the vast glaciated heights have attracted the attention or professional mountaineers and adventurers from all over the world. There are home-stay treks available for those who are not professional climbers, these packages offer a few days conditioning, staying overnight in villages and experiencing the local culture before finishing with a (fairly easy) 6000m peak ascent up Mt. Kanamo. Visiting monestry and seeing how monks devote their life to God is a very humbling way to spend time in the Himalayas
- Tamil Nadu. I spent around a month in Tamil Nadu and exploring this part of South India. It is a dream-like place with palm trees and ancient temples and delicious local delicacies that can only be found in this part of India. South Indian vegetarian food is my absolute favorite. Must try dishes are Uttapam, Koozh (pronounced Kool) and locally made Halwa (I made a short clip on my favorite South Indian street food while there last). I love how food is served on a palm leaf in South India, it adds to the flavor and locals tell me it aids digestion. Tamil Nadu is home to the largest temple in India with the highest Gopuram Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. The intricate and detailed designs depicting the mythologies on South Indian temples are fascinating, one could spend a life-time simply examining them.
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