Published 14th September 2019
India is a country most often known for its spices, chaotic traffic and haggling practices, rather than its tourist attractions, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any. India might not be on the top of your must-visit list, but it’s such a surprising country that maybe it should be. Not convinced? Here are our 7 top tourist attractions in India which could persuade you to book that Indian adventure.
1. The Taj Mahal
It might be expected but there’s no way the Taj Mahal is not going to make this list. One of the most recognizable buildings in the world, the story of the Taj Mahal is a love story which will make the most cold-hearted person all soft and gooey on the inside.
Emperor Shah Jahan built this mausoleum to honour his wife upon her death. Made mostly of marble and inlaid with precious stones, it took 20 000 people 22 years to build. It truly is a work of art – best to visit at dawn or dusk.
A holy city situated on the banks of the Ganges River, Varanasi is a major pilgrimage centre for Hindus. Take a boat trip down the river and watch the locals bathing themselves on the stairways of the ghats as they wash away their sins. The Ganges is a popular place to cremate your loved ones so you will probably notice bodies being burnt on the side of the river, or even bodies being unloaded into the water.
As you can imagine, Varanasi can be quite an assault on your senses but it is a truly spiritual place that should not be missed.
If it’s a beach holiday you’re looking for – or just some time away from the craziness of India’s cities – head to India’s western coastline. With more than 60 miles of coastline, there are many different beaches you can go to depending on what you’re looking for – peace and quiet, yoga retreats or party destinations can all be found there.
As with any beach destination, Goa is not only for those wanting to laze in the sun. There are a few old cities worth exploring, you can hop on a boat to go watch dolphins or you can enjoy the most amazing Goan cuisine.
4. Amber Fort
Sitting on a hill in Jaipur, Amber Fort is famous for its architecture as well as its history. It was built in the late 16th century and is made up of pink and red sandstone and marble. Jaipur is in fact known as the Pink City as this is the dominant colour scheme of the city, but the Amber Fort still manages to stand out. More of a palace, there is more to this fort than meets the eye.
Visitors are free to explore the palace complex, with courtyards, temples, gardens and terraces. But the piece de resistance must be the Maharani’s bedroom, with its walls covered in a mosaic of shards of mirror and coloured glass. As the Maharani was not allowed to sleep outside, the room was created so that when candles are lit it looks as if thousands of stars are shining from the walls and ceiling.
The Kerala backwaters are one of the most Instagram-worthy sights in India. A chain of lagoons and lakes stretch as far as the eye can see, lined with palm trees. To while away a day there’s nothing better than to float down the peaceful waterways on a houseboat and watch as life on the river passes you by.
6. The Golden Temple
The Golden Temple in Amritsar is the spiritual capital of the Sikhs. It is surrounded by a body of water, thus earning it its name, meaning Holy Pool of Nectar. In fact, it was purposely built lower than the surrounding land to symbolize egalitarianism and humility. It is called the Golden Temple in English because it is plated with gold, and it truly is a sight to behold.
Also known as the Golden City, Jaisalmer is a desert town in Rajasthan. If ever there was a town straight out of Arabian Nights, this is it. The majority of the town’s buildings were built with yellow sandstone, making a striking statement. Besides wandering the historic streets to admire the architecture, you can also visit the surrounding sand dunes, go on a camel safari or dine at one of the many atmospheric rooftop restaurants.
These are only seven of the many attractions worth visiting in India. It most certainly is a country worth visiting and where you will get more than you bargained for.