India, a subcontinent, is bountifully blessed. The country has vivid history, diverse cultures, different climate zones, exotic cuisines and lots more. This translates to make India a top destination for foreign and domestic tourists.
India boasts of the world’s fourth largest railway network. It has seven major domestic carriers who also fly international routes.
Almost every Indian state runs bus services for local passengers and tourists. For any tourist- domestic or foreign- India is a land for myriad experiences.
Facts speak for India
In 2016, the World Economic Forum ranked India as the world’s 24th most popular destination. This was a commendable achievement since India’s popularity soared by whopping 16 points- from the previous No-40 where it stood for several consecutive years.
World Travel and Tourism Council states, some nine million foreign tourists visited tourist places in India in 2016 recording a growth of nearly nine percent. These foreigners accounted for combined spend of US$ 23.14 billion in 2016, an increase just below 10 percent over the previous year.
The Central and state governments are investing heavily in bolstering the nation’s tourism infrastructure.
Private investments in tourism have surged exponentially as India ranks third in the world for Gross Domestic Product- Purchasing Power Parity (GDP-PPP) Index. India therefore has several top tourism destinations.
Top 10 Tourist Places in India
You can find some of the best & most common tourist places in India. If you have never been to one or more of the tourist places mentioned below then make a plan this season.
Grandeur of Rajasthan
As implied by the name, Rajasthan is indeed a land of emperors and kings. State capital Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Udaipur host resplendent palaces and forts where Rajput kings reigned for centuries.
These cities of Rajasthan are easily accessible from anywhere in India. They are well connected by Indian Railways. Airports of these cities meet globally accepted standards. These palaces and forts are full of local legends and folklore.
Guides regale tourists with romantic odes about princes and princesses, spine chilling stories about ghost warriors and jilted lovers. Every stone, room and monument of Rajasthan carries its own legend.
Rajasthan is a shopper’s paradise. Gourmets will relish Rajasthan cuisine which features vegetarian and meat-based dishes, cooked in rich sauces.
The best & most happening tourist place in India. The smallest state of India and former Portuguese colony Goa is renowned worldwide for its white sand beaches and crystal clear seas. The popularity of Goa’s beaches can be gauged from the fact several have been used as settings for Bollywood blockbusters.
Nestling between Arabian Sea and Sahyadri mountains, Goa has mild, tropical weather for a better part of the year. Monsoons in Goa tend to be heavy but enjoyable. Goa has everything for someone.
Water-sports and adventure are available on beaches and riversides, including para-sailing and water-ski rides. Cascading, milky white waterfalls towards the south invite nature lovers. The state is under 65 percent forest cover.
This makes it home to migratory birds and animals. Scores of places of spiritual interest are also found in Goa. The state is famous for Cashew Feni, the only alcoholic drink from India that bears global Geographic Indicator (GI) status.
Splendour of Mughals- Delhi and Agra
New Delhi and the old city, better known as the capital of India, are must see for domestic and foreign tourists. New Delhi itself features several attractions.
The Qutub Minar complex houses the 73 metre minaret itself whose construction began in 1190 AD. Rajghat, where ashes of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of India’s non-violent freedom movement are interred is another place worth a visit.
India’s Parliament House, the Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate and Jantar Mantar and Bahai Lotus Temple are visited by Indians and foreigners.
Agra and Fathepur Sikri are main attractions on this track for obvious reasons. One of the wonders of the world, Taj Mahal is located here. Nearby Fatehpur Sikri have several attractions from the Mughal era.
Sikkim- Mystical North East
Hitherto unexplored, states of India’s North East including Assam, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim now welcome tourists. . Nature reveals its glory in waterfalls, flora and fauna of the North East.
Sikkim, a former kingdom, unravels its mysteries to tourists. Gangtok and Yuksom are two most popular tourism destinations of Sikkim. Other attractive destinations of the North East include Shillong, Aizawal and Guwahati, among others.
An excellent network of airports with connectivity by Indian national and regional carriers make India’s North East a delight to visit.
Sikkim offers eco-tourism, adventure, culinary, heritage sites and culture tourism. It is an ideal Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) destination for corporate entities.
Jammu & Kashmir: India’s peak
Despite best efforts by hostile neighbours, Jammu and Kashmir remain open for tourists for better part of the year. The Vasihno Devi shrine near Jammu welcomes tens of thousands Indian and foreign tourists annually.
Srinagar, the state capital delights every visitor. Stayin in a boathouse on Dal Lake, plucking freshly ripened apples off trees, shopping for exquisite handwoven carpets is made possible in Kashmir.
Spiritual gateways- Uttarkhand
One of the four Chaar Dham or four sacrosanct sites of India are located in Uttarkhand in north India. Amarnath, Badrinath, Kedarnath and Haridwar are easily accessible. They are a must-see for seekers of spirituality.
Located amidst lofty, formidable Himalayas, these towns attract Indians and foreigners alike. They remain top-notch tourist destinations regardless of one’s religious beliefs.
Awe inspiring mountains, fables and mythology combined with low hanging clouds over lush forests help one refresh spiritually. Excellent tourist infrastructure combined with ancient, warm hospitality make Uttarkhand a delight to visit.
Serenity redefined- Andaman & Nicobar
Located in Bay of Bengal, the Andaman Islands are Indian territories farthest from the country’s shores. Serenity and tranquillity get redefined in Port Blair, the regional capital. Andaman Islands is a melting pot for various Indian cultures.
Its capital, Port Blair houses the infamous prison complex where several prominent Indian freedom fighters including Swatantraveer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar were incarcerated. It was from this jail that Savarkar wrote his epic novel and patriotic poems. Special permits may be required to visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Khajuraho- Kamasutra caves and more
Khajuraho is most famous for its ancient caves, Hindu, Jain and a few Buddhist shrines. Most visitors to Khajuraho are however attracted by its caves which depict hundreds of erotic carvings.
Khajuraho is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has excellent tourism infrastructure. The nearby city, Jhansi is also excellent for history and culture aficionados.
Jhansi was former kingdom ruled by legendary Rani Lakshmibai, martyred during India’s first war of independence in 1857. National parks of Madhya Pradesh where the Royal Bengal Tiger breeds, are nearby.
Ancient mysteries of Odisha
The Sun Temple of Konark was built in AD 12th Century. Ancient builders and designers were so well acquainted with solar movement that they decided to utilize what in modern days is called ‘Fraunhofer Effect’.
The Sun Temple is carved into rock. It is built to resemble the mythical chariot used by Sun, idolized as deity. The base of this temple looks like giant wheels.
Ancient Indians utilized the Fraunhofer effect so well, the whole temple appears to move just before onset of a total solar eclipse.
The effect was discovered by German physicist Josef Von Fraunhofer in mid 1800s. How did ancient Indians get this knowledge centuries earlier and how remains mystery till date.
Ayurveda and more- Kerala
Kerala is renowned in India and abroad for several attractions & is considered as best tourist place in south India. Kerala is where you find exotic dances and scintillating veg, non-veg dishes. Kerala is also known for its famous backwaters and boating.
Yet, the best attraction of Kerala remains Ayurveda-based medical treatment. Using this ancient Indian medical science, Ayurveda practitioners in Kerala cure almost everything from a hurting spine to chronic asthma. For body and beauty conscious, there is no destination that parallels Kerala.
Ayurveda treatment packages in Kerala are in great demand. Kerala is also a paradise of sorts for every tourist. The land offers culture, history, culinary and eco-tourism as well.