In today’s globalized era that we find ourselves, the world has grown both larger and smaller in more ways than one.
To cope up with the pace, a majority of us relocate to different parts of India whether it’s for your career or any other reason for that matter.
Living in another city is an eye-opener especially if the place is far from where you are currently located. Thus, we are unaware of many things which makes us wonder…
“Which is the best city to live in India?” “Is it suitable to live with my family?”
“Is the cost of living too expensive?”
and much more…
To calm your worries, we have listed some of the best cities to live in India. We rank these cities in terms of infrastructure, income potential and lifestyles.
List of Best Cities to Live in India
1. Mumbai, The City Of Dreams
The city which tops the list of best cities to live in India is Mumbai.
In 2012, Cities of Opportunity report released by Pricewaterhouse-Coopers billed Mumbai as the worst place in the world to live. This report angered millions of Indians living in Mumbai and elsewhere.
Because Mumbai is indeed a land of opportunities. You can find people from every part of India living in Mumbai. Hence, there is no scope for feeling homesick.
Mumbai has rightly be called the City of Dreams. Most top corporate houses of India began as small businesses in Mumbai.
These include Indian giants Tata, Birla, Godrej, Ambani and Adani groups, among others.
Most Bollywood stars became rich and famous thanks to Mumbai. The economy of Mumbai metropolitan region is estimated at whopping US$350billion- which is far higher than national Gross Domestic Products of some countries.
Mumbai also contributes over 6.8% revenue to the national exchequer.
Due to frequent attacks by Pakistani trained and sponsored terrorists, the city is well guarded by the Mumbai Police, Central Industrial Security Force and various other para-military and military units of India. It is home to an estimated 15 million people.
The city is India’s financial hub. Mumbai has the best infrastructure compared over any other city in India.
You can get round the clock services including food and transport, medical care and entertainment.
Undoubtedly, all this comes at a cost. The city’s suburban railway network is overcrowded. Yet, it is the cheapest and most reliable way to commute.
Mumbai seldom experiences a power failure. Nor is Mumbai prone to natural disasters, save some flooding that might occur during monsoons.
2. Hyderabad, The Pearl of India
If you find Mumbai’s occasional and minor flooding during monsoons as a problem, try Hyderabad. It is also considered to be the top cities in India and the state capital of Telangana.
Hyderabad is also one of the Information Technology (IT) hubs of India. Hyderabad is also home to offices of American and other foreign IT corporations operating in this country.
This ancient city is full of historical monuments and buildings dating back to the era of Nizams, the local rulers.
Hyderabad is famous for its hospitality. Hyderabad has a fairly low crime rate as compared to other cities in India.
The infrastructure of Hyderabad is at par with international standards. The city has round the clock power supply and a vast network of roads. Public transportation is confined to state-run and private buses.
The city will also have a Metro mass transit network shortly. Hyderabad is actually a twin-city with Secunderabad.
It is well connected to the rest of the world by Indian and foreign airlines. Hyderabad enjoys pleasant weather for the better part of the year since the city is landlocked.
Monsoons do not wreak havoc on this city nor are it very chill during winters. Summer in Hyderabad tends to be hot and dry.
3. Chandigarh, City Beautiful
Another best city to live in India with your family is Chandigarh.
Chandigarh serves three purposes: it is a Union Territory and the state capital of Haryana and Punjab. Chandigarh means ‘silver house’.
It was designed by Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, the famous Swiss-French urban planner and architect nicknamed Le Corbusier.
The urban planner was contacted in 1950 by erstwhile Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru for developing this city.
Le Corbusier wanted this city to be full of trees, good-looking homes with older style architecture, wide roads and a few monuments.
The modern-day Chandigarh is thus a neat, clean and very well organised city. You can access Chandigarh easily from any part of India or the world.
It is well connected with capital New Delhi that receives international flights from most parts of the world.
Thanks to its design by Le Corbusier, the city never feels crowded, despite being home to about 1.1 million people.
The city’s public transportation system is simple yet well organised. Markets of Chandigarh are also much cleaner as compared to other cities of India.
Chandigarh ranks at No-4 on the global list of cities for outsourcing processes. It is one of the wealthiest cities in India.
Thanks to well-maintained roads and ample parking space, Chandigarh has the highest number of personal automobiles compared over other cities in India.
4. Indore, Mini Mumbai
Indore has rightly won the accolade as the cleanest city of India for two consecutive years- 2017 and 2023 and has won the Swacch Sarvekshan award given as part of Swacch Bharat initiative.
It is an ancient city and traces its origin to Maratha rulers that reigned over central India. It is also home to Madhya Pradesh Stock Exchange that ranks among the oldest bourses of this country.
Life in Indore is both relaxed and hectic, depending upon how you wish. After hosting the Global Investors Summit since 2016, Indore and its surrounding areas have drawn the attention of large foreign companies that are now setting up offices in this city.
Quality of education in Indore is also very high. In fact, it is the only city in India to house both- Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and Indian Institute of Technology. This city has a population of about two billion.
It has a flourishing gold bazaar where you can buy excellent quality jewellery. Indore ranks among the most prosperous smaller cities in India and has estimated revenue of US$2billion per annum.
The Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar International Airport, one of the biggest international airports in India, connects this city easily to rest of the world. Being centrally located, Indore can be accessed from any part of India by air.
Indore Junction is well served by Indian Railways. Local transportation, however, depends upon state-run buses and private operators.
5. Jaipur, Pink City of India
If you want to live in the city of Maharajas, consider Jaipur, the state capital of Rajasthan. It ranks as the 10th most populous cities in India with an estimated population of 3.2 million.
Also, Jaipur is a city that conforms to ancient Indian science of Vastu Shastra. It was designed by Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, an expert in the field and urban planner of sorts.
It is called the Pink City of India as all houses in old Jaipur are painted with a pinkish pigment, following a royal diktat.
The tradition continues till date: even modern houses have to conform to this regulation on exterior paint.
Over the last three years, Jaipur is being developed as a sporting centre in India. The city already hosts international cricket matches and tournaments.
Giant stadia are being built across the city to host major sports events for soccer and hockey, among others.
Additionally, Jaipur also has the excellent educational infrastructure. You can find excellent local schools offering the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) as well as Rajasthan Board. The city has several excellent colleges too.
Jaipur is one of the cities of the Golden Triangle in India’s tourism. Hence, the town teems with foreigners almost round the year. It has excellent tourist attractions and picnic spots.
These include fort Jaigarh, where the world’s most massive cannon, Jayavana is kept along with two giant silver pots for storing water- the largest of their size that find mention in the Guinness Book of World Records.
As a top tourist destination, Jaipur has excellent infrastructure including roads, power supply and local transport.
While state-owned and private buses are crowded during peak hours, you can also travel over Jaipur Metro.
The city has an international airport that receives scheduled and chartered flights from foreign countries and is well served by Indian carriers too.
Jaipur is easily accessible from any part of India by air, road and rail. The city ranks among the most prosperous ones of India.
It has a well-established gemstone cutting industry, IT, silverware and jewellery as well as manufacture of expensive carpets and luxury garments. Cost of living in Jaipur compares well with any other city of its size.
6. Bangalore, The City of Gardens
Karnataka state’s capital city Bangalore is a dream destination for many Indians. It is also known as the Air-Conditioned City of India and the country’s own Silicon Valley.
These distinctions arise from the fact that Bangalore has several large gardens such as Cubbon Park.
All streets and roads of Bangalore are tree-lined and hence, ensure the city remains cool even during warm Indian summers.
Efforts exerted by the Karnataka state government have led several international and Indian IT companies to launch operations from Bangalore giving it the distinction as India’s own Silicon Valley.
The city ranks among Tier-I towns of India. It has estimated 12 billion population. Bangalore has some of the best schools and colleges in India.
It is also one of the most ancient sites of Indian civilisations. The archaeological finding suggests, humans lived in and around Bangalore around 4000BC.
The city is very picturesque and houses a lot of monuments including forts and palaces.
Thanks to an influx of large numbers of IT experts from India and abroad into Bangalore, the city now has a very advanced educational system.
Power supply remains uninterrupted. Food and food products are relatively economical in Bangalore since Karnataka state is self-sufficient in this field.
Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) runs local bus services in Bangalore. Bangalore Metro also offers efficient and economical mass transit facilities.
Another exciting feature of Bangalore is, this city is home to over 10,000 millionaires in terms of US Dollar net worth and 60,000 persons categorised as super rich or having investments more than US$7 million.
Bangalore is also a city that never sleeps. You can find nightclubs, pubs, chic restaurants and down-to-the-Earth eateries and other services operating round the clock in this city.
7. Coimbatore, Manchester of South India
Coimbatore is called Little Manchester of the state of Tamil Nadu, due to its extensive textiles manufacturing industry.
It is also a well-planned, neat and clean city which makes it one of the best places to live in India. It is being promoted as one of the ‘Smart Cities’ of India.
This means Coimbatore will boast world-class facilities, keep pollution under check, provide high-speed Internet services, incessant power and water supply, house gardens and other public places among others.
This is a very peaceful place if you are looking for a fairly laid back life. Since Coimbatore is located in Tamil Nadu, you will find plenty of English speakers in this city.
Over 1.6million people reside in Coimbatore and its surrounding areas. It is billed as the fastest growing Tier-II cities of India.
There is no need to worry about employment if you want to make Coimbatore your home: the city and its surrounding areas are home to over 25,000 small, medium and large industries. Coimbatore is also a major IT hub in Tamil Nadu.
It ranks second in the state for IT related services. Hence, most IT majors in India have offices in this city. The city ranks 17th for software exports worldwide.
Coimbatore is well known for its educational facilities. In fact, more than 50,000 engineers graduate from colleges in this city annually.
The local population of Coimbatore has high literacy levels. This city also has advanced industry.
It manufactures car parts for Indian automobile majors. There are a well-established diamond cutting and polishing industry in this city.
8. Dehra Dun, School Capital of India
Dehra Dun is the capital for most excellent basmati rice in the world. It is one of the most developed cities in India which is also a temporary administrative headquarters for Uttarakhand state.
Though Dehra Dun is considered as a resort, it is fast emerging as a mini-hub for IT and service industries over the last few years.
For example, regional offices of IT giants including Genpact, Spice Digital, Serco and IndiaMart are located in Dehra Dun. Residents of the city enjoy a high per personal capital income.
Dehra Dun is reputed for its educational institutes. The Indian Military Academy, The Doon School and several reputed schools and colleges flourish in this city.
In fact, students from affluent families are sent to Dehra Dun to complete higher education.
Low population of the city combined with high literacy rates makes it an excellent destination if you want to move there with family.
The city experiences mild to cool climate almost year round. Local people are friendly and hospitable.
The city can be easily accessed by rail, road and air. If you are looking for a town where it is possible to enjoy life and yet earn a good income, opt for Dehra Dun.
You can find several job opportunities there. Also, Dehra Dun is a popular tourist destination. Hence, the infrastructure of the city compares fairly well with those in bigger ones.
9. Panaji, Old Goa
Panaji is the administrative capital of India’s smallest state, Goa. If you want to combine work and leisure, go to live in Panaji. It is the most peaceful and liveable cities in India.
The city is located only a few kilometres from some of the most famous beaches of Goa. Every major Indian bank and Central government department has a presence in Panaji.
The city is located on banks of river Mandovi and shores of the Arabian Sea. It is a historical city and was established by erstwhile Portuguese rulers from the 17th century.
This is an ideal city for those who love a relaxed lifestyle. Almost everything in Panaji, except sleazy liquor bars, open before 8 am. Residents of Panaji usually walk to their office since the city is pretty small.
It is lined with gardens, innumerable beaches and ancient houses built in Portuguese colonial architectural style. Public transport in Panaji depends solely on private bus operators.
Hence, it makes good sense to have your own two-wheeler. In fact, the main bus terminus of Panaji bears deserted look after 10 pm daily.
At the same time, Panaji has excellent shopping facilities ranging from malls and local stores to giant supermarkets.
It has a wide selection of restaurants from different foreign cuisines to cater to millions of foreign tourists that converge on the city every year.
The city can be accessed by air from Dabolim International Airport or train via Margao and Vasco Da Gama cities. Bus services from various Indian states are also available.
Despite relaxed ambience, Panaji is a great city if you wish to escape from the din of megacities. It has the fairly good infrastructure, though power outages can strike during monsoons.
It has a vast market where everything from expensive electronics to local catch of fish is available.
Booze is cheap in Panaji and costs just about 40% of rates you would pay in neighbouring Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Panaji has excellent educational facilities. There are dozens of primary and secondary schools as well as reputed colleges.
The outstanding feature of this city is Altinho, a suburb located at a height from where you get a panoramic view of the city. The famous Miramar beach is situated in this city.
10. Kochi, Queen of Arabian Sea
The last city to showcase on this list of best cities to live in India is Kochi.
Kochi or Cochin is located on the western coast of India and is the financial hub of Kerala state.
It is a magnificent city with broad roads, gardens and traditional houses that blend well with modern buildings.
Kochi has very high literacy rates- almost 100%. Hence, there are excellent educational institutions in the city.
The people of Kerala accord high importance to quality education. Hence, you may be assured that kids will get superior schooling and higher studies at institutes in this city.
The population of Kochi is estimated just below one million residents. This is because most people that work in Kochi commute from villages and towns on outskirts of this city.
Kochi is one of the wealthiest cities in India. It also has the most modern infrastructure developed by the Kerala government and private companies.
Crime rates in Kochi are fairly low due to high employment rates caused by cent-per-cent literacy. You can arrive by air, road, rail and even sea to Kochi.
There are regular ferry services from neighbouring states that use waterways to connect this city. Kochi has a massive international airport built with public-private partnership.
Kochi is home to people from various parts of India through the predominant community is from Kerala. The city houses a significant port.
It is recognised as 17th most industrially important cities for India by the World Bank. This is because almost every industry has a base in Kochi.
11. New Delhi
Another place which needs special attention listed in best cities to live in India is none other than New Delhi.
New Delhi is India’s national capital and a Union Territory. It has a population of more than 26.2 million.
The city was designed by famous British urban planners, Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker. New Delhi is the largest commercial city in Northern India.
It ranks as the second wealthiest city and Union Territory in India after Goa. New Delhi does not have many industries but the National Capital Region (NCR) also contributes towards employment.
Prominent industries of New Delhi include hospitality and tourism, IT, banking, media and telecommunications.
This is because New Delhi was never intended to be a commercial centre of this country and its role was confined to that of the nation’s seat of administration.
To Sum Up
The Indian government classifies cities into three categories: Tier-I, Tier-II and Tier-III. Understandably, cities of economic and political importance figure in Tier-I list while those with large populations and modern infrastructure come under Tier-II. Others are listed as Tier-III cities.
Over 4,000 cities are listed in Tier-I, Tier-II and Tier-III categories. Top seven cosmopolitan cities in India are those having a population over three million residents.
Megacities of India include Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad, among others.
Standard of living in almost every megacity is on par with one-another. In Tier-II cities, you will find some infrastructure under development while Tier-III cities are gearing for development and become significant players in the country’s economy and development.
Understandably, you will not find some services or infrastructure in lesser developed cities. You can definitely consider some of the best cities to settle in India.
Or, you can also consider living in other places like New Delhi, Chennai or Kolkata if you prefer a megacity.