India is one of the notable countries in South Asia and is said to hold a 2nd of the worlds population. It is a constitutional country and consists of 29 states each having substantial control of its affairs. Archaeological evidence dating as far as 2600 to 2000 BCE shows that India had an advanced urbanized culture which dominated virtually every part of the northwestern subcontinent.
The Indus Civilization as it was known, functioned as a self-governing cultural and political arena which later gave rise to a distinct tradition founded on Hinduism. Having said that lets look at the 25 top tourist attractions in India.
1. Hawa Mahal
The Hawa Mahal is arguably the most distinct landmark in the city of Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan. It is painted pink and consists of an amazing five storeys. Its design is similar to that of a delicately constructed honey comb and offers beautiful views of the neighboring towns of Jantar and Mantar. This would be one of the top tourist attractions in India for any tourists whether a couple, family or a bachelor. In addition to that, one can visit a small museum within the area and see some rich relics and miniature paintings that will certainly awaken the royal past.
2. Havelock Island
A major highlight of the Havelock Island located in India is snorkeling and scuba diving. It is the most notable of the Andaman Stretch of Islands. Tourists can hop to glass-bottomed boats and experience a wide range of marine life, it’s among the top tourist attractions in India. This tourist destination is popular with bachelors and couples alike as it has landlubbing activities they can enjoy. If you think you are delicate, you can choose to remain in one of the several luxury resorts found within the Island. Be sure to refuel with coconut milk after a long walk around the Island and treat yourself to some just caught seafood.
3. Bandhavgarh National Park
For tourists who want to see wildlife in its natural habitat, this is the place to be. A visit to this place will not disappoint you. It is one of Indias most notable national parks and offers a chance to see sloth bears, leopards, and hyenas, barking deer, Indian bisons and wolves. However the star attraction is the Bengal tiger but not many tourists will see it due to thick vegetation. The best time to see wildlife here is early in the morning or late afternoon.
Dharamsala is best known for being the home of the Dalai Lama when he came here from Tibet in 1959 after he escaped. In addition to that, the city was also home to the Tibetan government during exile. The word Dharamsala means a spiritual dwelling where Pilgrims can rest. With adequate planning, one can attend the Dalai Lamas public teaching lessons. Dharamsala is popular with travelers interested in Indian cooking lessons and yoga. Hiking enthusiasts are also welcome to explore the diverse landscapes.
5. Ranakpur Temple
It is arguably one of the most decorated temples in India, boasting of its sophisticated architecture and fine art. It is also considered the best built temple in the world. The Ranakpur temple was built in the 15th century and took more than 50 years to complete. It is one of the largest temples in India and has 80 domes and 29 halls. But perhaps the most amazing feature is its 1,444 pillars where each one is unique. Exceptionally intricate designs highlight the interior.
6. Pushkar Camel Fair
A camel would be a perfect souvenir for travelers interested in visiting India. The Pushkar camel fair happens every fall and involves buying and selling of animals and especially camels, its one of the top tourist attractions in India. Although it started as a place for farmers to buy and sell livestock, the camel fair has evolved into festival that features camel races, carnival rides and sports events.
Darjeeling is a town located in northeast India and is known for trains, tea and scenic beauty. Darjeeling tea is light colored, thin and soothing to drink. The tea leaves are grown in the surrounding hills in the bordering towns. Here, travelers can see the Himalayan Hills and the snow covered peaks of the foothills. The place can be accessed by a three hour car-drive from the nearest airport or a seven hour train ride on the Himalayan railroad, a railway known as the â€toy trainâ€™
8. Varkala Beach
The Varkala beach is perfect for sunbathing, swimming and beachcombing. It is located along majestic cliffs which is one of the reasons Discovery channel named it one of the best seasonal beaches in the world. The Varkala beach is also surrounded by mineral springs that are believed to heal different ailments as well as purify ones sins. It is perfect for families, couples, corporates and also bachelors. Visitors who would rather go on a hike can visit the nearby Janardhana Swami, a temple built 2000 years ago and was dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
9. Qutub Minar
Qutub Minar is a minaret built of bricks and is the second highest in the world. It stands at 80 meters and is made of carved red sandstone bricks and extremely precious marbles. The Qutub Minar minaret also has Koran sayings carved into the stones. Construction began in 1193 and ended after four years. However, visitors are not allowed past the circular staircase consisting of 379 steps. A few meters away is the Iron Pillar, which is built of metal that does not rust.
10. Mysore Palace
Travelers who wish to visit the Mysore Palace are in for a breathtaking experience. It is the second most popular tourist destination in India. The Mysore Palace consists of seven palaces that form one big complex and they are nothing short of awesome. The Mysore was ruled by Wodeyars between 1399 and 1950. However, the original palace was built in 1399 while the new one was completed in 1912. The new palace incorporates different styles together including Hindu, Gothic, Muslim and Rajput. It stands three storeys high and consists of pink marble domes. Every year it hosts a culture festival known as Dashara.
11. Thikse Monastery
This is the only Buddhist monastery found in Ladakh, India. It stands at 12 storeys and resembles the Potalala Palace in Lhasa. This temple is located at high elevation, at 3,600 meters like its Tibetan inspiration. It is home to important Buddhist art like wall paintings and stupas. This particular attraction is a favorite with families and couples.
12. Mehrangarh Fort
It is an impressive fort, probably the largest in India and sits on a hill overlooking Jodhpur. The fort was originally built in the 15th century as a defense mechanism and visitors can still see cannonballs embedded on one of the seven entrance gates. While inside the building, visitors will see beautifully decorated palaces and an excellent collection of musical instruments, costumes and royal cradles. The ramparts also provide an awesome view of Jodhpur.
13. Jim Corbett National Park
We all love to see animals in the wild. One such place where you can see wild animals in India is the Jim Corbett National Park. It is India oldest national park and is an excellent place to see the rare Bengal tiger. The park was established in 1936 and was renamed in 1954 to honor the efforts of wildlife conservationist, Jim Corbett, who helped create this nature reserve. Although the thick vegetation makes it hard to see the tiger, visitors may see other wildlife such as leopards, elephants and Himalayan black bears. April to June is the best time for that.
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14. Amber Fort
The Amber Fort is an impressive structure known for its outstanding architecture. The complex sits on top of a hill and is a combination of Rajput and Hindu styles. It was built in the late 16th century and its walls consists of pink, marble and red sandstone bricks. It has been featured in many Bollywood films and boasts of a glass ceiling where the queen could see the stars before she slept. It can be accessed by foot, elephant or 4WD vehicle.
The Khajuraho complex which is made up of many temples combines eroticism with fine art thus creating one of the most beautiful medieval temple art in the World. It was built in 10th century and since then only about 25 out of the 85 original temples exist today. It is the largest group of Jain and Hindu temples in the world with carvings meant to portray the traditional lifestyles of women in medieval times. It is however important to note that since the artwork is mostly erotic it might not be appropriate for minors.
16. Meenakshi Amman Temple
The Meenakshi Amman Temple is an outstanding structure that dates back to the 6th century. Although much of what we see today was completed a thousand years later, it is probably the most crucial temple in Madurai, a city built 2,500 years ago. There are intricate carvings in and outside the temple which has 14 towers in total and each is dedicated to a person or god. In addition to that, the temple also boasts of 33,000 sculptures and rich paintings. It is a perfect getaway for a couple or family.
17. Ajanta Caves
They are extraordinary structures dug out of rock and consist of monuments dating back to the 2nd century. This outstanding structures were abandoned in 650 AD and were forgotten until a British search party stumbled upon them. However their isolation proved to be useful in the preservation of numerous paintings that still exist today. The well preserved artwork depicts everything from city streets, sailing ships to snow-capped mountains. The caves can be accessed from the city of Aurangabad where one can also visit the notable Ellora caves.
18. Kerala backwaters
The Kerala backwaters is mostly a chain of lagoons and lakes located off the Arabian Sea coast in the Kerala State. The backwaters are home to a wide range of marine life including mudskippers and frogs, crabs, water birds and turtles as well as otters. The Kerala backwaters are accessible by Kettuvallams or floating hotels that ply the waterways. This is an ideal spot for families or couples and even corporates who want to have some real fun.
19. Lake Palace
The lake palace is located in the city of Udaipur in India. It was built in the 18th century as a royal summer palace. However, today it operates under the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces as a luxury 5 star hotel. The hotel has a boat that transports guests to the hotel from the east bank of Lake Pichola which has a jetty. The palace shot to fame when it featured in the 1983 James Bond movie Octopussy, as a home to one of the characters.
20. Virupaksha Temple
This temple located in the city of Hampi was initially started as a small shrine and eventually grew into a big complex governed by the Vijayanagara rulers. It is believed the temple was built in 7th century AD and is still functioning to date. This makes it one of the oldest operating Hindu temple in the whole of India.
Palolem is located in the southern state of Goa in India. It is one of the most developed beaches in India and is very beautiful. Lofty headlands surround it on either sides, creating a calm and idyllic sea with a smooth edge. Palolem is a paradise with plenty of like-minded people. It is ideal for families which prefer a decent selection of good hotels and cheap restaurants, it is the place to be.
22. Harmandir Sahib
Harmandir Sahib or otherwise known as the Golden Temple is the main center of attraction in Amritsar, and is also the most crucial religious place for the Sikhs. The temple was built in the 16th century under the supervision of Guru Ramdas Ji. In the 19th century the upper floors, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, were covered with gold. It is an outstanding structure and is always full of pilgrims from all over India and the world, happy to be at a place they normally see on television.
23. Kanha National Park
It is one of the most notable game reserves in Asia and one of the best places to see a tiger in India. Kanha National park boasts of thick bamboo forests and ravines which make it one of the top attractions in India. The best time to see wildlife is early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Varanasi is located on the banks of River Ganges and is sacred to Hindus, Jains and Buddhists. It is one of the oldest and most constantly occupied cities in the world. However it can be a little overwhelming especially when you wake up to devotees performing their devotions in the River Ganges in the morning. The centuries old temples in the background also make this one of the most breathtaking sights in the world.
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25. Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is an extensive mausoleum built out of white marble and was built by the order of the emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his dearest wife. It is nicknamed teardrop on the cheek of eternity and epitomizes the Mughal architecture and is one of the most notable tourist attractions in India. The Taj Mahal consists of several attractive buildings, ornamental gardens and reflective pools surrounded by beautiful flowers.
The endless variety of monuments, cultures and landscapes make India one of the most popular tourist destination in the world. The landscapes stretching from the Himalayas to the green fields of Kerala and the Ganges River keep tourists fascinated at every turn. The ancient ruins, exotic cities and well preserved religious structures help tell a story of a fascinating Indian way of life.