India, the seventh largest country in the world, stretching from the high Himalayas to the tops of Kerala, from the sacred Ganges to the sands of the Thar Desert. The country’s population exceeds one billion inhabitants, is divided into more than 2,000 ethnic groups and speaks more than 200 different languages. Among the attractions of India are a huge number of architectural monuments, natural wonders and an almost endless variety of cultures. Ancient ruins, breathtaking religious shrines, exotic cities and amazing natural landscapes — all this inspires awe and at the same time fascinates the traveler. I bring to your attention a list of the 10 most popular tourist destinations in India.
Let’s start from the 10th place — these are the lagoons and marshes of Kerala, stretched parallel to the coast of the Arabian Sea. The Kerala wetlands are home to many unique species including crabs, frogs, waterfowl and animals such as otters and turtles. Boat trips along long natural canals are very popular here.
Picola Palace in Udaipur
This palace was built in the middle of a lake in the 18th century as a royal summer residence. Today it is a luxurious 5‑star hotel. Tourists are brought here by boat from the pier on the eastern shore of Lake Pikola. The palace became especially famous in 1983, when one of the James Bond films took place here.
Virupaksha Temple in Hampi
The Virupaksha temple became a key shrine of these places under the rulers of Vijayanagara. This temple has been in operation since its construction in the seventh century AD to this day, making it one of the oldest functioning Hindu temples.
Palolem beach in Goa
Palolem Beach is considered the most beautiful beach in Goa — it is a natural bay surrounded by high capes on both sides. The sea here is always calm, there are almost never waves. This beach can be an ideal place for connoisseurs of good hotels, inexpensive restaurants, vibrant nightlife and a large number of free, liberated like-minded people.
Kanha National Park
Kanha Park is one of the most beautiful nature reserves in Asia, the most famous natural attraction in India. This is one of the best places to watch tigers in their natural habitat. The lush bamboo forests, grassy meadows and gorges of Kanha became the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling, who wrote his famous Jungle Book.
Temple of Harmandir Sahib in Armitsar
Harmandir Sahib is better known as the golden temple, one of the most beautiful religious sites in India, the most important religious place for the Sikhs. The construction of the temple began in the 16th century by the Guru himself, and in the 19th century the upper floors of the temple were covered with gold. The temple is always full, thousands of pilgrims come here every day to bow to their shrine.
The Jaisalmer fortress is located at a considerable distance from civilization, in the desert on the border with Pakistan. Jaisalmer is also called the Golden City because of its yellow sandstone walls. This is one of the most beautiful, and at the same time, the least visited attractions in India. The reason for this is its remote location.
The Ajanta caves were carved into the rock around the second millennium BC. Around 650 AD, the caves were abandoned and forgotten until 1819. Thanks to the isolation, these caves are perfectly preserved; here you can see many ancient frescoes carved into the rock. The best way to get here is from the city of Aurangabad, along the way you can also visit the Ellora caves.
Holy City of Varanasi
Varanasi is located on the banks of the Ganges River. This is a sacred place for Hindus, Buddhists and Jains alike. This is one of the oldest cities on Earth, continuously inhabited since its construction. One of the most breathtaking scenes in the world is the mass bathing of pilgrims in the waters of the Ganges River, as well as the sunrise against the backdrop of centuries-old temples.
The Taj Mahal is not only the most recognizable landmark of India, but of the whole world. This huge mausoleum is located in Agra and was built of white marble by order of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife. He called it “a teardrop on the cheek of eternity.” In addition to the main domed marble mausoleum, the Taj Mahal also includes several other very beautiful structures, mirror ponds and decorative flowering gardens.
As a bonus, I also invite you to visit the topic dedicated to the cave temples of India, where you will find a story about the most famous of them.