If you are looking for something amazing and Unusual to do in India, there is no shortage of activities. Surely, our list of 111 Amazing Things to do in India will surprise you whether you are a foreigner or an Indian.
With 29 states and seven Union Territories, India is a land of diverse cultures and traditions. The country is home to several unique monuments.
If you want to experience sights, smells, sounds and much more Continue Reading.
List of 111 Amazing things to do in India
Places to Visit in India: (1-10)
There are countless places located across the country that you must visit. These are unique and you would rarely find similar examples elsewhere in the world.
1. Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal ranks among the seven wonders of this world and is a symbol of National Pride.
Located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, this monument is unique for its architecture and special effects. Taj Mahal is the only example of its kind in the world and hence, a place you must visit in India.
2. Qutb Minar
Built by Sultan of Delhi, Qutbuddin Aibak in 11th Century, the Qutb Minar is the world’s largest tower made of brickwork and is located in New Delhi.
The tower reflects ancient Afghan architecture, also evident in Minaret of Jam in that country.
It stands 73 meters tall and consists of five tapering storeys.
3. Jaigarh Fort
Located a little distance from Jaipur, the state capital of Rajasthan, this is a fort you must visit.
It was built in 1726 by Maharaja Amer Singh, the erstwhile ruler of Jaipur and is located in Aravali hills. Jaigarh Fort is home to two unique things.
The first is Jaivana cannon, the largest such ever made in the world.
The fort also houses two silver pots that were ordered by Raja Madho Singh to carry water from River Ganga on his tours abroad.
Weighing over 350kg, these silver pots are the largest in the world and find mention in Guinness Book of World Records.
4. Houseboats of Kashmir
Houseboats of Kashmir can be found on the pristine waters of the Dal Lake and Nagin Lake.
According to legend, an ancient ruler forbade foreigners and those from other parts of India from building houses on Kashmiri soil.
As an alternative, these foreigners and Indian trades built and lived on houseboats. These houseboats are picturesque and lend an old-world charm to Srinagar, the capital of Jammu & Kashmir.
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5. Shimla & Kalka
Shimla is a picturesque town in the Himachal Pradesh state of India.
It is the only railway station from where you can ride a toy train. The train takes you to Kalka, another town in the state and back.
It is the only remnant of the old railway system introduced by the British when they occupied the Indian subcontinent.
6. Beaches of Goa
India’s smallest state, Goa has nearly 20 beaches that are popular across the world.
Millions of foreigners and Indians visit these beaches annually for sun-sea-sand tourism.
Shacks that line these beaches serve traditional food of the state and alcoholic drinks. Beaches of Goa rank among the world’s top five destinations of its kind.
7. Dhobi Ghat
You have not seen India without visiting Mumbai. This sprawling megacity is the centre of Indian industry and business.
Though a busy and bustling modern city, Mumbai is home to Dhobi Ghat.
It is a place where thousands of launderers can be seen washing the clothes of customers during the daytime.
The scene is rather unique and can be found nowhere in the world and thus making it a must-visit place in India.
8. Gommateshwara Statue
The Gommateshwara statue is dedicated to the Jain deity, Bahubali.
It was built around 980AD and stands 57 feet tall. It ranks among the largest statues of the world.
The Gommateshwara statue is located in Shravanbelgola in Karnataka.
The town is well connected to the rest of India since it is an important site of pilgrimage for the Jain community in India and abroad.
9. Khajuraho Temple Complex
Khajuraho temple complex in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of India.
The complex has temples of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist faiths.
However, most prominent among these is the Hindu shrine where thousands of rock carvings depict divine beings in erotic postures.
These erotic rock carvings draw inspiration from Kama Sutra, the treatise on carnal relations between a female and male.
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10. Namgyal Monastery
Namgyal Monastery is located in Dharmasala located at the foothills of the Himalayas, in Himachal Pradesh state.
This Buddhist monastery was built around 1560AD. It is a sprawling complex where you can see Buddhist monks everywhere.
However, Namgyal Monastery is also home of Dalai Lama, exiled leader of Tibetans. Visitors are welcome to visit this monastery.
Things to Buy in India: (11-20)
11. Bangles of Hyderabad
The ancient city of Hyderabad in India’s newly carved Telangana state is home to Laad Bazaar, the world’s largest market for bangles.
You can buy bangles made of wood, glass, lacquer and myriad other material at this market. Take some home as a gift or souvenirs.
12. Madhubani Paintings
Madhubani paintings are indigenous to the Mithila region of Bihar state.
They depict the Hindu deity Lord Krishna and his consorts in Madhuban, a mythical garden.
These paintings are famous around the world. Buy original Madhubani art since the money also supports rural artisans.
13. Sandalwood Oil
Sandalwood from India’s southern state, Karnataka is billed as the best in the world.
You can buy genuine sandalwood oil from Cauvery, the state-owned emporia of Karnataka.
Buying at Cauvery has a distinct ADVANTAGE: the Karnataka government guarantees the purity of the product. Its exquisite fragrance will delight anyone.
14. Pashmina Shawls
Pashmina shawls are famous all over the world. They are handwoven shawls made of sheep wool.
The word Pashmina means liquid gold in the Kashmiri language.
You can buy authentic Pashmina shawls in Srinagar or Jammu and Kashmir state handicraft showrooms across the country.
15. Bhoot Jolokia Pickles
Bhoot Jolokia is the world’s hottest chilli pepper. It is found in the northeastern states of India.
The chilli measures 1.5 million Scoville Heat Units (SHUs) for its pungency.
Buy Bhoot Jolokia pickles to tickle your taste buds. It is the Hottest PICKLE you would ever taste.
16. Paithani Sari
Paithani Saris are made of the finest silk. They are handcrafted in Paithan, a small city in Maharashtra, using centuries-old craftsmanship.
Paithani saris are known for their unique lustre, exotic designs and rich colours. They are among the most sought after saris in India.
17. Bankura Horse
Bankura horse is made of terracotta by craftsmen in Panchmura village, located in Bankura district of West Bengal.
Every Bankura horse statue is made by assembling separate parts- all made by different potters, using traditional moulding wheels.
It has been hailed as unique handicraft worldwide.
18. Bamboo Pens
Bamboo pens are handcrafted by artisans in Kerala. They are made using different parts of a bamboo tree.
You can buy bamboo pens that come with a bamboo nib.
Modern varieties include bamboo pens that can hold a refill inside. They are excellent as gifts or souvenirs and are 100 percent eco-friendly.
19. Stone Carvings
The state of Tamil Nadu is well known for statues of Hindu deities carved in locally available stone. These figurines are carved by hand.
They are intricately decorative, albeit heavy since they are made of solid rock. These carvings are unique.
20. Batto Bai Dolls
Batto Bai dolls are a rage worldwide. They are made of clay, wire, fabric, beads and myriad other material.
Batto Bai dolls originate in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. They draw their name from an eponymous woman who made dolls for a living.
These dolls are prized collector’s items and make perfect gifts.
Drinks to Enjoy in India: (21-30)
21. Cashew Feni
Cashew Feni is an alcoholic drink indigenous to the state of Goa.
It is made of fermented cashew apple juice and is known for its distinct fragrance that lingers long after you have drunk.
It is the only alcoholic drink from India to hold a Geographical Indication in the world.
22. Officer’s Choice Whisky
Officer’s Choice whisky ousted Smirnoff as the world’s largest selling brand of alcohol. It is a blend of Indian malt whiskies and is made by Allied Blenders & Distillers.
Officer’s Choice has 42.8 per cent Alcohol by Volume (ABV) and is available across India. It is very economically priced.
23. Hayward’s 5000 Beer
Hayward’s 5000 is India’s strongest beer. It has 8.5 percent ABV and is available across the country.
There are other brands that claim to be stronger than Hayward’s 5000 but their market is limited and hence, cannot be found anywhere.
Lassi is a popular summer drink in India. It is made of yoghurt flavoured with cardamom and sweetened by sugar.
Usually, creamy yoghurt will be added on top of a glass of Lassi to give it a richer taste. It is a very healthy drink and available all over India.
Jaljeera literally means water cumin. Indeed, this is a digestive drink made at home in most parts of northern India.
It contains roasted and ground cumin powder, black salt, pepper powder, carom seed powder, asafetida and many other spices.
Jaljeera is made with water or soda and is used as digestive after a heavy Indian meal.
Falooda in India is a drink made with milk, vermicelli, nuts, dried fruits and rosewater. In ancient days, it was a drink consumed by royals.
The origin of Falooda remains obscure. Some attribute it to Iranian rulers that invaded India while others claim it was introduced into the country by Mughals.
The English word ‘sorbet’ owes its origin to Sharbat.
Traditional Sharbat in India is made of rosewater, water and dried basil seeds. Rose petals are added to give it that extra taste.
Nowadays, Indian Sharbat is also made by mixing rosewater and other ingredients with lemon and fruit juice.
Chaas is another name for spiced buttermilk. This is a very popular drink across India and is known for cooling effect on the human body.
Chaas is made by mixing buttermilk with black salt, cumin powder, green chilli pieces and topped with cilantro leaves. The recipe varies in every state.
29. Filter Coffee
Filter Coffee is peculiar to south India.
Unlike instant coffee or other variants, this particular beverage is made by allowing boiled water to pass through freshly ground coffee powder.
The ensuing mixture is then mixed with a small quantity of milk and sugar. You can find filter coffee mainly in southern India.
30. Mumbai Chai
No other place in India will have as many varieties of tea or chai as Mumbai, the country’s financial hub.
You can get every type of tea- from an ordinary one to those made using blend of spices and herbs.
Mumbai chai is famous for its various tastes and medicinal properties. Some types of Mumbai chai also have aphrodisiac properties.
Foods to Try in India: (31-40)
31. Mishti Doi
Misthi Doi is flavoured and sweetened yoghurt with a difference.
Milk used in makingMisthi Doi is condensed heavily, sweetened and flavoured with cardamom or nutmeg and then curdled.
The ensuing product is a thick, rich and delicious yet subtly flavoured dessert.
32. Pav Bhaji
Pav Bhaji is a modern invention, born in the city of Mumbai. Its evolved out of the need for office-goers and workers to rush for work every morning.
Hence, their wives would boil vegetables the previous night and mash them to make the rich, broth-like spiced ‘bhaji’ every morning.
Pav or bread would come from nearby bakeries or be home delivered by vendors.
33. Chole Bhature
Chole Bhature is a very famous dish from Punjab.
It consists of Chole, a spicy preparation made of chickpeas and eaten with Bhature, a thick, unleavened bread made of whole wheat flour.
Thanks to people from Punjab migrating to other parts of India, this food is available across the country.
Appam is a pancake made of fermented rice flour.
This food is found mainly in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Appam is unique because it is thick at the center and thin and crispy around sides.
It is generally consumed with chutneys or ‘sambar’- a gravy made of different vegetables.
35. Chicken Cafreal
Chicken Cafreal was introduced to India by erstwhile Portuguese rulers of Goa.
This dish is said to have originated in Africa, where spices were in abundance and adapted to Goa by the European colonials.
Chicken Cafreal is made by marinating chicken pieces overnight in a blend of spices and cooked over slow fire the following day.
36. Dal Pakwan
Dal Pakwan is a lentil-based dish, usually consumed for breakfast.
It is unique to the Sindhi community or people from Sind, a region of the Indian subcontinent now in Pakistan. Dal Pakwan is a rich broth of lentils simmered with spices.
It is served with Pakwan or whole wheat bread that is fried or baked with ghee or butter.
37. Bisi Bele Bhaat
Bisi Bele Bhaat is a Kannada term. It means hot, spicy rice. This dish has its origins in Mysore and was a favourite of its Maharajas.
Bisi Bele Bhaat is made of mixed lentils fried with spices and cooked together with fine white rice. Before serving, it is garnished with chopped cilantro leaves and served with yoghurt.
Haleem is a meat-based dish from Hyderabad. It is made by boiling various cereals and lentils together with meat fried in spices.
Boiling with intense heat, the meat and grains melt to form a rich broth that is consumed piping hot. You can add a dash of lemon juice to offset the spicy taste of this very aromatic dish.
39. Bhoona Ghosht
Bhoona Ghosht literally means roasted meat. But this dish from Rajasthan is not exactly roasted meat.
Instead, it is prepared using spices that have been dry roasted and finely ground into a paste.
The roasting without oil or ghee gives the spice mixture a unique aroma. Meat is marinated in this spice mix and cooked in copper vessels for better taste.
Srikhand is a traditional sweet from Maharashtra state. It is made by curdling non-Pasteurized milk.
The ensuing curds are emptied into a thin cloth and left till water drains and leave behind milk solids.
These milk solids are finely beaten with saffron, sugar and cardamom. The finished product is garnished with chopped nuts including almond and pistachio.
Arts & Culture in India: (41-50)
Bhangra is a dance from India’s state, Punjab.
It is performed by women and men. This traditional dance is performed on special occasions and to mark various Indian festivals of the state.
Bhangra is famous worldwide due to a large number of people from Punjab that live in foreign countries.
As the name implies, this form of dance originates in India’s northeastern state, Manipur. This dance is said to have origins in ancient Indian Vedas.
People of Manipur claim to be descendants of ‘Gandharvas’ or entertainers of gods and descended to Earth. The dance depicts scenes from Indian mythology.
Kathakali is a must-see dance that traces its origins to 200BC.
It is a dance where the artist depicts Lord Krishna and other Indian deities. It is generally performed solo with a mask clad artist.
The mask signifies the face of the deity of whom this dance is performed. Artists include women and men.
Kuchipudi is a very elegant form of dance practised in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states of India.
Here, the performer enacts various scenes from the life of Lord Shiva. It is a form of drama and dance combined.
The dancer elegantly conveys a story through her actions. It is a dance you must see being performed by maestros.
Tiatr is a corrupted spelling and pronunciation of the word ‘Theatre’.
This is a form of drama held in the villages of Goa. Tiatr is fast becoming extinct due to loss of interest, lack of funding and popularity of Bollywood and Hollywood movies in that state.
During Portuguese rule, Tiatr was used by freedom fighters to convey messages of nationalism and independence in the Konkani language.
Dialogues in Tiatrs had hidden meanings that would be missed by Portuguese spies.
46. Hindu Weddings
A Hindu wedding is rather a complex event. It consists of various rituals such as anointing the bride and groom with turmeric and milk paste, henna designs, processions, feasts and religious ceremonies.
In cities, traditional weddings are becoming extinct. But you can view an original Hindu wedding in rural India.
47. Cremation at Manikarnika Ghat
Manikarnika Ghat lies on banks of River Ganga in the city of Varanasi. It is the world’s single largest cremation site.
Thousands of devout Indian families perform last rites on deceased relatives at this spot in the belief, that the departed soul will find eternal peace and reach the heavens.
Cremation at Manikarnika Ghat reflects the deep beliefs of Hindus in life after death.
48. Navjot Ceremony
If need to be lucky to get invited to a Navjot ceremony.
It is a ceremony where a newborn child is welcomed into the Zoroastrian (Parsi) faith and given a name.
Nowadays it is very rare to attend a Navjot ceremony for several reasons.
Firstly, there are few Zoroastrians living in India.
Secondly, you cannot enter a fire temple since entry is restricted to Zoroastrians only.
However, some affluent families hold the ceremonies at halls where you can view it, if invited.
Lavani is a folk dance from Maharashtra.
It is performed by a group of artists, usually to the accompaniment of a Dholaki- a percussion instrument.
In the olden days, Lavani was performed to give messages of social importance to the populace in form of entertainment.
Lavani played an important role in the freedom struggle of India where artists gave messages to invoke national pride among Indians.
Nowadays Mujras are performed at bars. But these are not the original form of Mujra that was once enjoyed by rulers and landlords.
Mujra is a dance performed by female artists. It is an erotic and sensual dance intended to rouse carnal desires in women and men.
You can witness authentic Mujras at select locations in India including Lucknow
Adventures to do in India: (51-60)
51. Roop Kund Skeleton Lake Trek
Roop Kund Lake in Uttarakhand state of north India is frozen during winters. Accessing the lake is also tough and requires you to trek for long hours.
On the route to Roop Kund, you can see skeletons on either side of the narrow path. Whether these skeletons are of humans or animals is anybody’s guess.
According to legend, skeletons of a ruler and his wife were found in the lake after hundreds of years.
52. Caves of Shillong
Shillong is the state capital of Meghalaya in India’s northeast. The idyllic city is surrounded by mountains and lakes.
These mountains have mysterious caves that are infested by large bats and other creatures.
Only the daring venture into these dark, damp caves at any time of the day. However, for adventure seekers, the caves of Shillong are a paradise.
They spend entire nights at these caves equipped only with backpacks, food, water and lanterns.
53. Flyboarding in Goa
Flyboarding is a watersport that requires guts. It was popularized in Bang Bang– a Bollywood movie starring Hrithik Roshan.
For those who love adventures, try flyboarding at any of the popular beaches of Goa including Colva in the south and Calangute in the north of the state.
Flyboarding is offered by watersport companies.
54. Magnetic Hill
Magnetic Hill is located on the Leh-Kargil Highway and was once the scene of buzzing activity when Pakistani troops infiltrated into India in 1998, triggering a mini war between the two countries.
However, Magnetic Hill is a place for the adventure seeker. Any instrument, including your wristwatch and compass, tends to freeze at Magnetic Hill.
This causes trekkers to lose position and seek help.
55. Parasailing in Kerala
Parasailing has become a very famous watersport in India thanks to several companies offering it at prominent beaches. You can parasail at select beaches in Kerala.
The operator will tag you onto a parachute latched to a speedboat.
The speedboat will sail into waters off the beach while you fly above due to wind currents caught by the parachute.
56. Paragliding in Pune
The ancient city of Pune now has something for the adventure inside you. Kamshet, located on the outskirts of Pune has a paragliding centre.
Here you can hitch a ride with an experienced paragliding pilot or take a short course and do it yourself, if you dare to.
The area around Kamshet is fairly flat and para-gliders do not attain much height. Hence, you can land safely with sufficient training.
57. Bhadra River Rafting
Rafting on Bhadra River near Chikamagalur in Karnataka is definitely not for the weak hearted. Nor is it for the unskilled.
The river passes over rocks and at spots is very turbulent. Hence, it needs skilled hands to manoeuvre the raft.
However, there are companies that offer rafting over River Bhadra with skilled pilots.
Located near Darjeeling, the Samsing-Khasmahal area is full of adventures. With the help of the skilled staff of tourist companies, you can indulge in rock climbing, rappelling and tyro-lean traversing.
This is also an adventure you should not miss. However, never attempt this alone since the area is located at a height and accidents can occur unless accompanied by qualified instructors.
59. Mumbai Local Trains
This is not exactly an adventure tour by any stretch of the imagination.
But boarding a local train in Mumbai and getting off one at specific stations can be a real adventure during peak hours.
Local trains of Mumbai are operated by Western Railway and Central Railway.
If you dare to, board a Churchgate bound local train at Bhayander railway station and try alighting at Andheri on the Western Railway section.
Similarly getting into a train at Dadar to disembark at Dombivli on Central Railway is enough to daunt anyone.
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60. Haji Malang Gad
Haji Malang Gad is a fort named after a Sufi saint that once lived in the area. It is located 790 feet above sea level.
Access to the Haji Malang Dargah, an Islamic shrine is by trekking only. At times, you need to climb the mountain using ropes.
It is not possible to reach the shrine or the fort by vehicle. Hence, you have to trek. You can buy a good walking stick sold by vendors at the foothill.
The area can be accessed from Kalyan railway junction on the Mumbai-Pune rail route.
Places of Spiritual Interest: (61-70)
61. Badrinath Temple
Badrinath Temple is among the four shrines visited by devout Hindus as part of Char Dham Yatra and Mini Char Dham Yatra.
Access to the shrine is only during the months of April and May and October and November every year. It is one of the most visited shrines in India.
It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is located in an eponymous town in Uttarakhand.
62. Our Lady of The Mount Basilica
Our Lady of The Mount Basilica is a famous Roman Catholic shrine located in the Bandra (West) suburb of Mumbai.
It is also called Mount Mary Church. This basilica is very famous because it features in most Bollywood movies.
In fact, several movies starring Amitabh Bachchan including ‘Amar, Akbar, Anthony’ show this superstar of Bollywood praying at the basilica.
Legend states, every wish is fulfilled when you pray at this shrine. Vendors sell various images of wax outside this basilica.
Depending on your wish, you can offer a wax image. For example, offering a wax image of a currency note means you are asking for wealth while an idol of a couple symbolizes a request for blessings to get married.
63. Jagatpita Brahma Temple
There are very few shrines in India dedicated to Lord Brahma.
The most prominent among these is the Jagatpita Brahma Temple located in Pushkar, Rajasthan.
The temple complex was plundered and pillaged by Islamic invaders of India. However, locals of the area have restored it time and again.
Pushkar Fair which attracts thousands of foreign and Indian tourists is held in October-November every year, depending upon the Hindu calendar.
64. Ajmer Sharif Dargah
Located in Ajmer, a bustling city of Rajasthan, the Ajmer Sharif Dargah is the tomb of the famous Sufi saint, Moinuddin Chishti.
It was built during Mughal rule over the Indian subcontinent over several decades. Muslim rulers from India including Nizam of Hyderabad contributed towards its development and upkeep.
This Islamic shrine receives millions of foreign and Indian visitors annually. It is open to followers of all faiths.
65. Ohel David Synagogue
Ohel David Synagogue is the largest shrine of the Jewish community outside Israel.
It is located on Moledina Road in Pune. Ohel David Synagogue is known for its unique red brick and trap stone structure.
Consequently, locals of Pune fondly call the shrine as ‘Lal Deval’ or ‘Lal Deul’ in Marathi, meaning ‘red temple.’
The Ohel David Synagogue was built in 1863 by British philanthropist and businessman, David Sassoon, who is also the founder of India’s public sector Bank of India and other prominent shrines, charity and educational institutes that flourish till date.
66. Sri Mangueshi Temple
Sri Mangueshi Temple is the most prominent shrine of Goa. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in Priol, a village near Ponda city.
Sri Mangueshi temple attracts millions of foreign and Indian tourists every year. It is part of the itinerary of North Goa sight-seeing tours operated by travel companies in that state.
The original shrine was located in Cortalim in South Goa that was ravaged during the inquisition by Portuguese invaders during the 16th Century.
Worshippers of Sri Mangueshi moved the idol and re-established the shrine in Priol. The shrine has a very unique architecture.
67. Srikshetra Horanadu
Located in Horanadu, about 130km from Mangalore in Karnataka, the Adishakthyathmaka Sri Annapoorneshwari Devasthan is the only temple in India dedicated to Sri Annapoorna, the Hindu goddess of food and nutrition.
The temple can be easily accessed by bus, rail or road from Mangalore, Bangalore and other major cities of Karnataka.
Srikshetra Horanadu is a very unique shrine. The moment you enter this township, you will be led to dining halls and served a rich breakfast, lunch or dinner, depending upon the time of the day.
In fact, you can eat round the clock. You do not pay for food in Srikshetra Horanadu.
It is possible to book accommodation and other facilities from the temple management online if you are planning a visit there.
68. Srisaila Devasthanam
Srisaila Devasthanam is located in Srisailiam, Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas or Holiest shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The Srisailia Devasthanam is one of the lesser-known shrines of India despite its unique architecture, significance and ease of access.
Actually, Srisaila Devasthanam is a shrine complex. According to belief, people suffering from curses incurred by killing or harming a cobra perform the last rituals of this serpent at the shrine as atonement and seek forgiveness.
Those suffering from generational curses because their ancestors hurt or killed a cobra also perform the ‘Naga Dosha Pooja’- the atonement ritual at this shrine.
69. Shri Naina Devi Ji
The temple of Shri Naina Devi Ji is located on a hill in the Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh. The history of this temple is as obscure as the legends that surround its origin.
According to legend, Lord Shiva, enraged at self-immolation by Goddess Sati began the ‘Tandava’ dance to destroy the world.
Other deities pleaded with Lord Vishnu to stop the destruction of Earth. Lord Vishnu sent his ‘Sudarshan Chakra’ that cut Goddess Sati’s body carried on the shoulders of Shiva into 51 pieces.
The temple is located at the spot where the eyes of Goddess Sati reportedly fell to Earth.
The temple is one of the ‘Shaktipeethas’ of Goddess Durga. It overlooks Gobind Sagar Lake. You can ride a cable car in this town.
70. Udvada Atash Behram
Udvada Atash Behram is the holiest shrine of the Zoroastrian (Parsi) community of India. Doyens of Indian industry from the Tata and Godrej families, among others, also visit this Agiary or fire temple.
It is located in the Udvada town of Gujarat and is easily accessible from Surat and Mumbai.
This shrine dates back to the 8th Century AD when Zoroastrians from Iran fled to India to escape forced conversion to Islam and persecution at the hands of Persian and Arab rulers.
They were granted sanctuary in Udvada by Raja Yadu Rana who reigned over the area and allowed them to build a shrine for worship.
The shrine draws its name from ‘Atash Behram’ meaning Fire of Victory in the Persian language.
It is the holiest shrine of the Zoroastrian community worldwide and houses the world’s oldest continually burning fire.
Due to strict Parsi traditions, you cannot enter the Udvada Atash Behram shrine unless you are a Zoroastrian by birth. However, you can take pictures of this shrine from the outside.
Festivals for All Seasons: (71-80)
Teej is a festival celebrated by people of all faiths, for over a week to a fortnight in the north Indian states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
It is held during the first days of the monsoons. This festival is rather unique and celebrated in different ways in these four states.
In Punjab, the festival is celebrated by women and at schools. The Haryana government makes special arrangements for tourists that wish to experience Teej celebrations.
Boys fly kites while groups of women enjoy on swings. The administration of Chandigarh also has special facilities for visitors to the city during Teej.
In Rajasthan, swings and hung from trees and you will see women clad in green (to signify nature) playing on these while singing traditional songs.
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72. Durga Pooja of Kolkata
Durga Pooja is celebrated across India and marks the culmination of the nine-day Navaratri.
It signifies the victory of Goddess Kali over the demon Mahishasura after a sustained nine-day war during which the female deity reincarnated nine times (hence Navaratri).
However, the best Durga Pooja celebrations are seen in West Bengal, especially in Kolkata. Devout Hindus sacrifice buffaloes ceremoniously to signify slaying of the demon.
The ritual sacrifice is done at temples. Buffaloes are beheaded with one stroke of the sword before a pit.
The head rolls into the pit while the gushing blood of the sacrificial animal splashes over idol of Goddess Kali or Durga. In other parts of India, it is called ‘Dussehra’ or the 10th day or victory day.
Carnival is celebrated in countries once ruled by Portuguese and Spanish colonials.
In India, this festival is celebrated in Goa. It is held in February every year and marks the beginning of the Roman Catholic period of fasting and atonement- the Lent.
The term ‘Carnival’ in Spanish and Portuguese comes from the words ‘Carne’ (meat) and ‘Non’ (no).
Devout Roman Catholics abstain from meat during the 40-day Lent that signifies fasting by Lord Jesus at Mount of Olives in Israel.
Carnival, therefore, is the last day before Lent when meat is consumed by the devout before the onset of Lent.
In Panjim, the state capital of Goa, you will see a miles-long procession led by King Momo who presides over the celebrations.
The procession consists of cultural floats from all regions and communities of the state. Millions of foreign and Indian tourists converge upon Panjim to witness this annual procession.
Onam is a harvest festival of south Indian states, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is celebrated by people of all religions.
Onam occurs during the month of September every year which marks the end of the monsoon season and the time for harvest.
On this day, homes in Kerala are decorated with ‘Pukalam’ or ornate designs made at the entrance of the home with petals of various flowers.
Every household will participate in a feast called ‘Onasadya’ or ‘culmination of harvest’ that consist of at least a dozen vegetarian dishes and sweets.
Onam is celebrated worldwide. It is also a major festival in the Middle East and celebrated by the large expatriate community from Kerala that resides in the six Arab states.
You can enjoy Onam in Kerala every September and taste ‘Onasadya’ at any good vegetarian restaurant.
Vesak is celebrated by the Buddhist community of India. It marks the birth, enlightenment and death of Lord Gautama Buddha, spiritual leader of the Buddhist faith.
Vesak occurs in the month of May every year. On this day, devout Buddhists visit shrines and indulge in charity, keeping in line with the teachings of Lord Buddha.
The biggest Vesak celebrations in India are held at Bodhgaya, the city in Bihar where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.
Thousands of tourists from Japan, South Korea, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam among other countries, visit Gaya for Vesak. In India, this festival is also called Buddha Purnima.
76. Dussehra of Mysore
Dussehra is actually Durga Pooja. If you want to see grand celebrations of Dusshera without animal slaughter, visit Mysore.
The Amba Vilas Palace of Mysore plays host to musical concerts while the entire city bears a festive look.
Highlights of the Dussehra celebration include a traditional dance performed at the palace by a group of artists.
The dance signifies the nine-day battle by Goddess Kali and with the demon Mahishasura. In Mysore, Goddess Kali is also called Chamundeshwari.
The main feature of Dussehra is the grand ‘Pooja’ performed by the royal family of Mysore at the Amba Vilas Palace.
Members of the public can witness this religious ceremony too. The idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari is taken ceremoniously around the city in a giant procession.
The idol and palanquin are carried on an elephant while a member of the royal family and priests mounted on another pachyderm follow.
These elephants are decorated with flowers and other ornaments. The procession is worth seeing.
77. Kongali Bihu
Festivals are all about victory and prosperity. Have you ever participated in a festival that actually celebrates poverty? Surely not.
Then you must visit Dubrugarh and other parts of Assam during the month of September and participate in Kongali Bihu.
It is a festival that celebrates poverty. Kongali Bihu is celebrated by farmers of Assam. They open their storerooms and empty it of grain.
A simple meal of rice bran balls is fed to cattle. Women and men chant a special prayer aimed at warding off rodents, locusts, evil eye and malevolent spirits.
In the evening, menfolk of villages suspend oil lamps from long bamboo poles and go around farms and forests waving those to scare away ghosts.
Since Kongali Bihu is all about poverty, you cannot expect to be served sweets and feast. Instead, you will have to make do with plain boiled rice or ‘kanji’ and if lucky, some toasted dry fish, pickles or salad. Participate in Kongali Bihu if you are looking for a unique experience.
Janmashtami marks the birth of Hindu deity, Lord Krishna.
Across India, this festival is celebrated as ‘Dahi-Handi’ by hanging a pot containing yogurt at height.
Kids and teenage boys form a pyramid to reach this pot. However, the best Janmashtami celebrations in India are at Mathura in Uttar Pradesh.
The city is easily accessible from New Delhi. Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Hence, Janmashtami celebrations are very grand.
Visit the temple located at the spot where Lord Krishna is believed to have been born. The temple hosts very unique, two-day celebrations while the entire city of Mathura bears a very festive look.
Locals also invite visitors for a feast consisting of yoghurt and rice accompanied by one or two vegetarian side dishes.
79. Ganesh Utsav
Ganesh Utsav is a celebration dedicated to Hindu deity, Lord Ganesh. It is celebrated primarily in the states of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka.
There are two types of Ganesh Utsav celebrations- domestic and public. Both are observed for periods ranging from one day to whopping 21 days.
The city of Pune is the best place to participate in Ganesh Utsav celebrations. Here, public celebrations include stunning displays, gigantic size idols of Lord Ganesh and cultural performances.
In Mumbai, you can visit Lalbaug Cha Raja, hailed as the main Ganesh Utsav celebration of the city. In Goa, the best Ganesh Utsav celebrations are seen in a small village called St.
Estevem, around 30km away from Panaji. In Goa, Ganesh Utsav is celebrated with more fervour than Diwali, the undisputed king of Indian festivals.
80. Hornbill Festival
The Hornbill Festival is celebrated in Nagaland from December 1 to December 10. This festival is promoted by the state government of Nagaland and the Central government as a tourist attraction.
Nagaland is primarily an agrarian society, with over 70 percent of the local populace depending upon agriculture as a source of livelihood.
Nagaland is also home to nearly 38 known and countless unknown tribes. Each tribe has its own celebration.
To foster amity among various tribes and to have a common celebration, the Nagaland government created the Hornbill festival.
It also celebrates the bird Hornbill that is commonly found in Nagaland. Celebrations consist of folk dances, fairs, cultural shows and traditional music concerts as well as shopping festivals, among others.
Visit Kohima, the Nagaland state capital to participate in this wonderful celebration of the culture of India’s northeast.
Safaris & Wildlife: (81-90)
81. Hemis National Park
Located in Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir, a safari at Hemis National Park will delight any wildlife lover.
The national park is home to Tibetan tiger, snow leopard, Tibetan Argali sheep, blue sheep, ibex, snow cocks and slithery, venomous snakes that hibernate in winters.
You can watch Indian snow leopard, a species categorized as ‘Critically Endangered’ by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES), to which India is signatory.
An estimated 100 Indian snow leopards now live at the Hemis National Park.
82. Jim Corbett National Park
Jim Corbett National Parks is located near Nainital in the Uttarakhand state of India.
It is the oldest national park in India and named after Jim Corbett, who played a key role in designating the area as a protected zone for animals.
There are over 580 species of flora and fauna that dwell in Jim Corbett National Park. It is home to the Bengal Tiger, a protected species in India.
If you visit this national park around November, it is possible to view the Bengal Tiger alone or in groups.
83. Bandhavgarh National Park
Home to Bengal Tiger, different types of leopards, barking deer and other exotic animals, the Bandhavgarh National Park is a delight for any wildlife lover.
It is located in Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh state and can be accessed from any part of India.
There are over 500 species of rare animals, birds, insects, reptiles and plants at Bandhvagarh National Park.
The area derives its name from a legend. Hindu deity Lord Rama asked his brother Lakshman to watch Sri Lanka from a hillock in the area.
In Sanskrit, the term Bandhavgarh means ‘hill of brothers’. Project Tiger was first implemented at Bandhavgarh National Park by the Indian government.
Hence, it has a high density of the Bengal Tiger. Tour operators conduct daytime safaris here.
84. Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is located around 160km away from Jaipur, the state capital of Rajasthan. The area is very scenic.
Ranthambore National Park was once the hunting ground for royals of Jaipur and its friendly states. Now it is a prime tiger sanctuary in India.
You can book a safari for Ranthambore National Park. This park is famous for its Bengal Tigers: they can be spotted wandering around the wilderness searching prey or simply relaxing under trees.
Several other species of animals including Indian leopard, blue bull, striped hyenas and others can be spotted at this national park.
85. Sasan Gir Forest National Park
Sasan Gir Forest National Park is home of the Asiatic lion that features on IUCN Red List of critically endangered species. In fact, this is the only home of the Asiatic lion.
The Indian government and various Non-Government Organizations are taking steps to protect and increase the population of the Asiatic lion.
If lucky, you might spot one of these lions that are short in stature yet extremely ferocious, strolling around the forest.
Other rare species include the rusty stopped wildcats, golden jackal, striped hyena, four horned antelope and blackbucks.
Sasan Gir Forest National Park is located 45km away from the city of Somnath in Gujarat.
86. Kaziranga National Park
Another favorite spot for wildlife safaris is the Kaziranga National Park located in Nagaon and Golaghat districts of Assam.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since it houses a two-thirds population of the endangered Great One Horned Rhino.
This national park is also home to 15 critically endangered species on IUCN Red List.
These include Asian water buffalo, swamp deer, Royal Bengal tiger and many others. Booking a safari is possible from any travel agency or online.
87. Periyar National Park
Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary is among the biggest forest reserves in India.
It stretches into two states, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The national park is part of Project Elephant and Project Tiger launched by the Indian government.
Hence, you can spot Indian elephant and Bengal tiger along with other species including sloth bear, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri languor and many other exotic birds, animals, reptiles and insects.
It can be accessed from Madurai located 110 away and Kochi, located 120km away. Safaris are available during all months except monsoons.
88. Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary
As the name suggests, this wildlife sanctuary is located along banks of the River Cauvery in Karnataka.
It is famous for its reserves of Indian elephants, especially tuskers. Further, you can also spot Bengal tiger, mouse deer, honey badger, four horned antelope and many other rare animals in this national park.
This is a very picturesque wildlife sanctuary. It can be accessed from anywhere in Karnataka. Safaris are available online or through travel agents.
The nearest city is Mandya, also known for its timber market.
Also Read: List of Top Wildlife Sanctuaries in India
89. Sunderbans National Park
Located near the city of Kolkata, the Sundarbans National Park also crosses the international boundary and extends into Bangladesh and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is also a biosphere reserve. Sundarbans National Park houses the ferocious Bengal Tiger. Indian fishing cats that feature on the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable are also found in Sunderbans National Park.
Other rare animals include jungle cats, leopard cats, pangolins, flying fox and Indian gray mongoose among others.
Dreaded venomous snakes are rife in the Sunderbans. Daytime safaris are available from operators in Kolkata and can be booked online too.
90. Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve
Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve has won accolades from IUCN for its tiger protection programs.
It is located in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra and can be easily reached from Nagpur, the winter capital of India.
You can get day safaris to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. Here, the predominant species is Bengal Tiger.
Other species indigenous to this reserve include Indian bison, Asiatic wild dog, Reed cat, barking deer, small Indian civet and Indian marsh crocodile, among others.
Additionally, Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve plays host to exotic plants and trees that are seldom found elsewhere in India.
Different Modes of Travel: (91-100)
Just in case you are not aware, there are 13 excellent and running ropeways in India. You can ride a cable car here.
- Manali Ropeway (Himachal Pradesh)
- Raigad Fort Ropeway (Maharashtra)
- Gulmarg Gondola (Jammu & Kashmir)
- Gangtok Ropeway (Sikkim)
- Rajgir Ropeway (Bihar)
- Glenmorgan Ropeway (Tamil Nadu)
- Auti Ropeway (Uttarakhand)
- Dhuandhar Wateralls Ropeway (Madhya Pradesh)
- Darjeeling Ropeway (West Bengal)
- Srisailam Ropeway (Andhra Pradesh)
- Malampuzha Udan Khatola (Kerala)
- Mussoorie Ropeway (Uttarakhand)
- Makhdoom Sahib Cable Car (Jammu & Kashmir)
Trams were introduced in the city of Kolkata as far ago as 1873. The Kolkata tram network is among the oldest such system to remain operational till date.
Trams in Kolkata are operated by Calcutta Tram Company (CTC). It owns some 200 foreign and Indian made trams of which over 125 operate daily.
During peak hours, a Kolkata tram carries about 200 passengers.
Metros are the most recent introduction to India’s mass transit systems in cities. They are predominantly found in large cities including New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore among others.
Metro rail projects are at various stages of completion in most cities of India.
They provide a fast mode of transport. Metro rakes are usually imported from various countries and are air-conditioned.
94. Cycle Rickshaws
Cycle rickshaws consist of a canopy and seats fitted on the back of a bicycle.
They are common in rural India. However, you can also ride a cycle rickshaw in Agra when you visit the Taj Mahal.
Here, the driver rides the bicycle while you relax in the seats. Often, the driver will dismount the bike to tug or push the cycle rickshaw on slopes.
95. River Ferry
In India, the state of Goa has the most extensive network of ferries that ply over Rivers Mandovi, Zuari and Sal.
They are operated by River Navigation Department of the Goa government.
Passengers ride free but you have to pay a fee of Rs.10 for a two-wheeler and Rs.35 for a car or four wheelers. Buses are also carried on these ferries.
96. Man Pulled Rickshaws
Though mechanization and soft loans provided to people that once pulled rickshaws have caused them to go extinct in many places, man- pulled rickshaws continue to ply in various small cities of India.
They are common in Matheran, a hill station near Mumbai, where gasoline-fueled transport is banned for environmental reasons.
You can also find man-pulled rickshaws in West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Tanga or Tonga is horse driven carriages found in rural areas of northern India, including the states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Tanga consists of a seat and canopy fitted that is pulled by horses. A rider lashes the horses to increase or decrease speed.
They are popularized by Indian movies, especially blockbuster Sholay. You can also ride a Tanga at Girgaum Chowpatty and Juhu Chowpatty in Mumbai.
These pilots do not fly. Instead, the word is used to signify motorcycle taxis ubiquitous to Goa.
If you are travelling alone or need to rush someplace in Goa, a pilot is your best bet.
They are motorcycle cabs operated by locals who know the streets of the state like the back of their palms. However, you have to bargain for the fare.
You can travel on canoes to various places in two states of India- Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir.
They are the common form of transport in these states due to several lakes, rivers, rivulets and backwaters crisscrossing the states, especially Kerala.
In Jammu & Kashmir, canoes ply on the Dal and Nagin Lakes.
In Kerala, they traverse shallow waters of the Arabian Sea to take you to islands and other places accessible by waterways only.
Want to experience take-off and landing on water, ride a seaplane in Kerala, Gujarat or Goa among other places.
Seaplanes in India shot into fame after Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew on one without the security of any sorts to cross River Sabarmati.
However, seaplanes have a long history in India. Now, you can book a seaplane ride from any operator online.
Other Things to Do in India: (101-111)
101. Ayurveda Massage
If you are looking at beauty and wellness, avail of world-famous massage based on India’s ancient medical system Ayurveda.
There are hundreds of massage centres in Kerala that offer traditional massage.
Masseurs use oils mixed with herbal extracts that are known to benefit your skin, provide relaxation or cure various ailments.
102. Shopping at Chor Bazar
Chor Bazar means “thieves” market. It is located a little away from the eastern side of Grant Road railway station in south Mumbai.
The market opens every Friday evening and sales continue until past midnight.
This is an excellent place to buy antiques and used stuff. However, exercise extra caution since the area is rife with pickpockets and conmen.
Also, you have to bargain heavily while buying anything. Never venture alone in this area.
Vipassana is a unique form of meditation that focuses on self-discovery and self-realization.
The Vipassana International Academy conducts regular courses for those interested.
These meditation programs range between three and 21 days. During the program, you cannot speak with anyone, unless there is an emergency.
Fees are very nominal and the food is included in the amount. Take this program to relieve yourself of stress and lead a happy life.
104. Wagah Border Ceremony
Wagah Border Ceremony, officially called Beating the Retreat Ceremony is attended by millions of tourists in India.
It includes a ceremonial parade by personnel from India’s Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers on the other side.
It is held daily from 4.15 pm during winter months and 5.15 pm during summer at the Wagah international border between India and Pakistan.
The parade includes the lowering of the national flags by personnel of the two countries and the ceremonial closing of a giant gate that is opened every morning.
The ceremony lasts for 45 minutes. Wagah is located in the Punjab state of India.
105. Dining at New Lucky Restaurant
New Lucky Restaurant is located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
There is nothing spectacular about this restaurant from the outside. Once inside, you will find that seats-and sometimes tables- are actually located amid tombstones where the dead lie interred.
For a macabre effect, owners cover some graves with shawls and blankets. The restaurant is located over a defunct Muslim cemetery.
106. Bathe at Vajreshwari
The hot springs of Vajreshwari near Mumbai are said to have waters with medicinal properties.
Millions of people claim to be cured by these sulfurous waters of diseases including aches and pains as well as skin problems.
Others claim to have gotten rid of diabetes and cardiac ailments.
Regardless of these claims, bathing at Vajreshwari springs is an experience you should never miss.
107. Landing at Leh Airport
Kushok Bakula Rimpochee International Airport of Leh ranks among the highest in the world. It is located 3,256 meters Above Sea Level.
It is located in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Flying to and from Leh is pretty uneventful unless you are taking off or landing.
The aircraft gets heavily buffeted by mountain winds during take-off and landing.
Further, an airline has to pass dangerously close to rugged mountains and cliffs when approaching or leaving Leh.
108. Glass Bottom Boat Ride
Indulge yourself in a glass bottom boat ride in Port Blair and at other tourist places in Andaman and Nicobar islands.
They sail over crystal clear waters and give you a glimpse into the underwater world. If you thought that glass bottom rides were only available outside India, visit Port Blair or Kavaratti to enjoy one within this country.
If you are adept at swimming, try snorkelling at Aravind’s Wall in Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry).
Here you will see various types of marine creatures including crustaceans, eels, water snakes, parrotfish, squid and octopuses, pufferfish and lots more.
If lucky, you might come across a coral stone to take home as a souvenir. If not, you can simply walk around on beaches of Puducherry.
110. Shop at Fashion Street
Fashion Street is a section of the busy Mahatma Gandhi Road located between Mumbai CST and Churchgate railway stations of Mumbai.
It is a favourite haunt of foreigners and tourists to buy high-quality readymade garments at highly discounted rates.
Usually, garments sold at Fashion Street stalls are export surplus and rejects- meaning they are made of superior material but have some manufacturing defect that cannot be noticed easily.
Remember to bargain heavily before buying something. You can also buy imported garments-especially shirts for men here at prices as low as Rs.100 each.
111. Dolphin Spotting off Bat Island
Bat Island is a small rocky beach located just beside the outer defence perimeter of Dabolim International Airport of Goa.
Take a boat ride from Dona Paula for a picnic to Bat Island. On the way, you will see pods of dolphins jump in and out of the sea and perform stunts.
These dolphins are not trained. They live in natural habitats and their behaviour is decided by season and surroundings.
Boatmen manoeuvre their crafts clear of these dolphin pods to avoid the vessel from overturning.
There are lot many things to do in India.
If you are a food lover, visit the famous Khau Gallis of Mumbai to gorge on some scrumptious vegetarian and meat-based dishes.
Nightlife lovers can enjoy the pubs of Bangalore. The spiritually-minded can visit scores of famous temples that dot every Indian state.
There is also no dearth of adventure for the daredevil in you. Should you want a thrill, visit any of the countless places that are known to be haunted or are locations of paranormal occurrences.
There is no dearth of activities to suit people of any age and budget in India.
Whether a resident of this country or a visitor, these things to do in India will surely interest you.