India is a South-East Asian country which is known for its diversity, in terms of culture, religion, ethnicity, linguistic, history and geography. This diversity is united among 29 states and 7 union territories, making India the second most populated country in the world. Each part of the country has hundreds of wishful destinations staging their diversity since ages. All these destinations are home to numerous attractions and amenities which attracts millions of visitors every year.
Hence, in order to unearth this reality of India, let’s elaborate its diversity in terms of travel and tourism. But before that, let’s branch out India travel for all the travelers.
Lush green valleys and meadows, snowy Himalayas and naturally blessed landscapes leave a long-lasting impression on travelers. The sacred rivers, glittering lakes and backwaters, and lustful beaches have listed India among the top honeymoon destinations in the world. The hot and dry desert in the west and high altitude cold desert in the northern part of India has never failed to awe-struck its visitors.
Even more, there are more than a hundred national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and biodiversity parks across the country which has helped in preserving the cultural and geographical importance of destinations. Lastly, for more than a thousand years, India has flourished with a variety of religions and their places of worship providing an atmosphere of peace, calmness, and spirituality.
So, it doesn’t matter what kind of traveler you are… or what time/season you are traveling. India has a long list of destinations which will suit your personality and your timing. That’s why seeing all these things, India holds a tagline – Incredible India. So, let’s have a look at the top 10 destinations in India to visit once in your lifetime. Please keep in mind that the list isn’t ranked.
- Sikkim – Gateway to North-east India
Sikkim is the smallest and the least populated state of India. It is also the world’s first organic state. Sikkim is loaded with hundreds of untouched snowy Himalayan Mountains, villages, treks and trails. It is also the home to several icy rivers, pristine lakes, rare waterfalls, and spiritual Buddhist monasteries. Sikkim also accommodates the world’s third highest mountain peak- Kanchenjunga.
All these things make Sikkim one of the most mesmerizing destinations of India and a perfect gateway to North-east India. The largest and only flamboyant city is Gangtok which is also its capital. Some of the things to see in Sikkim are Tsomgo Lake, Gurudongmar Lake, Yumthang Valley, Lachung and many more.
- Spend some leisure time in the backwaters of Kerala
God’s own country – Kerala is known to offer diversifying things when it comes to travel and photography. It can be any adventure activity like mountain biking on cardamom hills or spending leisure time in the backwaters and beaches of Kerala. Kerala has more than a hundred rivers, lakes, and canals which has created a vast area for its beautiful backwaters.
Some of the major backwaters of Kerala are Alleppey, Ashtamudi Lake, Ernakulam, and Kottayam. The luxury houseboats floating on the tranquil water and the lush green landscapes covered with coconut trees sometimes creates déjà vu in us. Bird watching, seeing kayakers, experiencing village life, shopping and witnessing sunset are some of the most favorite things to do in Backwaters.
- An unforgettable trip to Gulmarg, Kashmir
Kashmir is the most recommended trip when it comes to India travel. Whether you are a thrill seeker, an escapist, a foodie or even a chill-out retreater, Kashmir has everything for you. Kashmir is known as mini Switzerland of India and this can be proven with a trip to Gulmarg. The mountains and meadows which remain enveloped under the thick layer of snow throughout the year are too eye-pleasing.
The gondola ride to Gulmarg’s lofty-snowy mountain is the world’s highest and longest gondola ride. The slopes of Gulmarg provide the best experience to any skier in his life. Even more, there’s a large golf course established on its foot. So, just go for it.
- Auli – Heaven on earth
Auli is a picturesque hill town established at an elevation of 3200 m in the Chamoli district, Uttarakhand. The intimacy of Auli can be seen through its high ended Nanda Devi and Kamet Himalayas, large snowy meadows and the valleys lush with pine and oak trees. Auli is also an international skiing destination as its snowy meadows provide various skiing opportunities for all kind of skiers (novice to professionals). Another reason for Auli being an international skiing destination is the international skiing championships held under the international skiing federation.
Other than skiing, there are a plethora of trekking and hiking opportunities as well which attract tourists from all over the world, throughout the year. That’s why Auli is known as heaven on earth.
- Sonmarg, Kashmir – The Meadow of Gold
Sonmarg is popularly known as “The Meadow of Gold” because of the presence of a yellow flower that flourishes this valley every spring. But interestingly, Sonmarg is known for its picturesque lakes and glaciers. It is the home to numerous treks, some of those are, Thaijaws glacier trek, Krishansar Lake trek, and Vishansar Lake trek. It is also the base camp to India’s most admirable Amarnath pilgrim tour.
Even more, one of the most difficult trek- to the Zojila pass, also starts from Sonmarg. Various camping, river rafting and photographing options are also available here. These are some of the reasons why tourists love to visit this grandeur of Kashmir.
Jaisalmer is unquestionably one of the must-visit cities of Rajasthan, India. It’s breath-taking forts and Havelis, historic museums, vibrant markets, and typical Rajasthani styled restaurants represents the rich culture and heritage of Jaisalmer. Even more, Jaisalmer lies in the heart of absolute golden sand desert called the Thar Desert. The presence of the sun-soaked golden sand all around the Jaisalmer designated the beautiful tagline of this city – “The Golden City” of India.
The architecture of the whole city is made of golden sandstones which increases the weight-age to the tagline. Tourists from all over the world come here and experience the exclusive culture of Jaisalmer and Rajasthan. Lastly, the most popular amenities of Jaisalmer include camel riding, spending nights in the desert, doing campfire and stargazing.
- Rann of Kutch
Rann of Kutch is the southern part of the Thar Desert located in the Gujarat state of India. On one side of Rann of Kutch, you’ll see the Arabian Sea while it is a long stretch desert on the other side. However, the desert is not that typical golden sand desert rather it is a salt desert. It is probably one of the largest salt-marshy lands in the world.
The Rann of Kutch is famous for various other things as well. For example, handicraft market, Bhuj wildlife sanctuary etc. Rann is also popular for its cultural events that occur every day for tourists. Moreover, it is also famous for the bird watching activity as pink flamingoes migrate from Siberia to Rann during the winter season.
Every year, Rann also witnesses the famous Rann Ustav (festival) in the winters, presenting the vibrant culture of Gujarat. Tourists from all over the world come here to be part of the festival.
- Udaipur – The city of Lakes
Tryst with modernity and tradition, Udaipur is one of the most flamboyant cities in India. It has been the destination of royal families of Rajasthan, India since ages. And so, Udaipur is considered as a romantic city of India or even sometimes also known as “The Venice of East”. Moreover, the city is been established on lush green Aravali hills hence we can witness the intimacy of nature with the city as well.
Primarily, the presence of stunning lakes, especially the Pichola Lake and Fatehsagar Lake are the reasons for this trip. The romantic ride, boating, and other fun activities are the specialties of these lakes. Then the architecture of the city palace, Jagdish temple, monsoon palace, and Karni Mata temple will cease your soul permanently. There are many man-made delights such as Saheliyon ki Badi, Aravali Vatika, Maharana Pratap museum, rose garden, Doodh-Talai, and many more gardens and museums.
- Amritsar – A Pilgrimage city
Amritsar is the capital city of Punjab, India. It is the holy destination for the Sikh religion. You’ll find loads of Gurudwaras here but the center of attraction is The Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib Gurudwara). The temple was built nearly 400 years ago and is a complete package of its glorious history.
Amritsar is renowned for its street food. The street food majorly includes Makki-di-roti, Sarso-da-saag, Amritsari chole-kulche, Lassi, butter chicken, and many more food items. So it is a perfect delight for all the foodies. Other than food and gurudwaras, what makes Amritsar a prestigious destination is the Partition museum dedicated to struggle faced by India during the independence (1947) and Jallianwala Bagh memorial. Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum, Durgiana temple, and Gobindgarh fort are also eye catchy.
- Kullu and Manali
Kullu and Manali are one of the most happening hill stations in India which can be visited year-round. The destinations are amidst between sky-high Himalayan ranges. Both destinations are named together because they are located very close to each other. The cities are established on the banks of River Beas. The picturesque landscapes of Kullu and Manali are embraced by its snowy Himalayan peaks and the valleys lush with pine and deodar trees.
Hence, these destinations are loaded with a variety of things that keeps visitors in the state of ecstasy. These things are adventure treks on the Pir-Panjal Mountains, Rohtang pass and on Solang valley. Doing skiing, paragliding, horse riding and zorbing are also included in this list. Other than adventure activities, sacred temples, monasteries, and hot springs are present here which will bring peace and calmness to your mind. The trip to Kullu-Manali is just beyond wonders of nature.
These are the top 10 things listed by Prateek Goel (Roadaviator). Follow him on Instagram and Facebook to know more about India travel.