Do you desperately want to go for a trip and unwind? Here we present a detailed travel guide, covering the 15 best places to visit in India. Some of them are famous for their natural beauty whereas others are marvellous monuments that still stand the test of time.
Be it the stunning Taj Mahal at Agra or the beautiful backwaters in Kerala, you would love to explore each of these tourist spots in India. To make your travel effortless, we have included details such as the best time to visit, various options to travel and the visitor’s timings as well.
Table of Contents
Best Places To Visit In India
1. Taj Mahal, Agra
The finest example of Mughal architecture, the Taj Mahal is a spectacular mausoleum built using ivory-white marble. Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor commissioned the Taj Mahal in 1632 to house the tomb of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Though the construction was partially completed in 1643, the work went on for another 10 years. Spread across an area of 17 hectares (42 acres) , Taj Mahal houses a mosque, a guest house and a beautiful garden as well.
Located on the south bank of the Yamuna river at Agra, the Taj Mahal is visited by around 7-8 million visitors a year. The Taj Mahal was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Apart from that, it emerged winner in the New 7 Wonders of the World (2000–2007) initiative.
Visiting Hours – Except on Fridays, the Taj Mahal is open for visitors on all other days. 30 minutes prior to sunrise and 30 minutes after dusk are its opening and closing times.
How to reach – If you prefer to travel by air, Kheria Airport is just 10 km away. For train travellers, there is the main railway station at Agra Cantonment, and the other two stations at Raja-ki-Mandi and Agra Fort. If you are travelling by road, the main bus stands are Idgah and ISBT.
2. Jaipur, Rajasthan
Established in 1727 by Jai Singh II, the Raja of Amber, the city of Jaipur in Rajasthan state was planned by Vidyadhar Bhattacharya. Popularly known as the pink city, Jaipur, Rajasthan is the first planned city in India. Renowned all across the world for its coloured gems, Jaipur is also one of the three corners of the golden triangle with Delhi and Agra being the other two.
Jaipur is home to a number of beautiful palaces ranging from the 475-year-old Samode Palace located on Jaipur-Sikar road, Amber Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds and City Palace built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. The other places worth a visit include the Light & Sound Show at Jai Niwas Udhyan, Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory, the Albert Hall Museum, Nahargarh Fort, Jaigarh Fort and Birla Temple.
Best time to visit – Plan a visit to Jaipur somewhere between October to March as the weather would be quite pleasant during those months.
How to reach – If you are travelling by flight, Jaipur International Airport is just 13 km from Jaipur city centre. For train travellers, the nearest railway junctions would be Jaipur, Gandhi Nagar and Durgapara. For those travelling by bus, Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation runs both AC and non-AC Volvo buses every half an hour between Delhi and Jaipur.
Shimla, one of the hill stations located in the state of Himachal Pradesh is considered one of the best places to visit in India. The former summer capital of British India, Shimla is surrounded by beautiful green hills with snow-capped peaks and an abundance of cedar, fir and Himalayan oak trees.
Spanning across an area of 5131 km², Shimla entices visitors with many wonderful tourist attractions you cannot afford to miss. There are many beautiful temples such as Jakhoo temple, Tara Devi temple, Kali Bari temple and Sankat Mochan Temple. If you love to soak yourself in the beauty of nature, then you would have a great time at Craignano Nature Park, Mashobra and Himalayan Nature Park, Kufri.
Best time to visit – Plan a visit to Shimla somewhere between May to June or December to January. During these months, you can enjoy nature’s beauty to its fullest.
How to reach – The nearest airport to Shimla is located at Jubbarhatti, which is about 23 kilometres from the town. For bus travellers, the best option would be to travel by buses operated by Himachal Road Transport Corporation or private bus operators.
If you are opting for a train journey, Shimla is connected to Kalka on the Meter Gauge. Located 96 km away, it takes 6 hours to travel from Kalka to Shimla. If you prefer to travel by road, it takes 3 and a half hours to travel from Chandigarh to Shimla.
4. The backwaters of Kerala
The scenic backwaters of Kerala, God’s own country, will leave you spellbound for sure. The serene stretches of lakes, canals and lagoons are situated so beautifully that it lies parallel to the Arabian sea.
Alappuzha, popularly known as the ‘Venice of the East’, is famous for its houseboat cruises where you can spend quality time with your loved ones and get soaked in the beauty of nature.
The other famous backwaters in Kerala, India include Ashtamudi lake and Alumkadavu in Kollam, Kuttanad, Kumbalangi Tourism Village at Kochi, Vembanad lake in Kottayam and Pathiramanal in Alappuzha.
Best time to visit – The best time to visit Kerala is between September to March. During these months, the weather will be quite pleasant and less humid.
How to reach – If you prefer flight travel, there are airports situated in major cities of Kerala such as Trivandrum and Kochi. When it comes to train journeys, there is good rail connectivity across the state. The last option i.e. bus travel is also quite convenient as there are frequent bus services provided by Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and private bus operators from Kerala to other states of India.
Famously known as the Blue City, Jodhpur in Rajasthan is famous for its palaces, forts, temples, Havelis and even homes that are painted in different shades of blue. With a glorious history that dates back to 1459 AD, the Rathore clan is strongly linked to the origin of this place.
Jodhpur houses a couple of beautiful forts such as Mehrangarh Fort and Khejarla Fort. The other major tourist attractions include Umaid Bhawan Palace, Moti Mahal, Sheesh Mahal and Phool Mahal.
Best time to visit – Plan a visit to Jodhpur somewhere between October to March.
How to reach – The domestic airport is located just 5 Km from the city centre making it pretty easy for air travellers. By road, there are government-operated Volvo buses from Delhi and Jaipur that provide direct services to Jodhpur. If your preferred mode of travel is the train, then there are several trains from major Indian cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Jaipur.
6. Nubra Valley, Ladakh
If you love to explore picturesque locations and scenic beauties of India, then there is no better place than Nubra Valley, Ladakh. Long back, it was the trading route that connected eastern Tibet with Turkistan via the famous Karakoram Pass. The high-altitude cold desert at Hunder Village is a major attraction that deserves special mention.
Apart from that, the Khardungla pass at 18,380ft. is the highest motorable road and it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to travel on this route. The other famous tourist destinations include the Diskit Monastery, the Bactrian Camel ride and the 32-metre statue of Maitreya Buddha.
Best time to visit – The best time to visit Nubra Valley is between June to August.
How to reach – If you are planning to travel by flight, the nearest airport is the Kushok Bakula Rinpoche Airport at Leh. On the other hand, if you wish to travel by train, the nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi, situated at a distance of 705 km from Leh town. For road travellers, Nubra Valley is located at a distance of 95 km from Leh town. The two options to travel are via Manali-Leh-Nubra or Srinagar-Leh-Nubra route.
7. Dal Lake, Kashmir
Famously known as the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir” or “Srinagar’s Jewel”, Dal Lake is a magnificent lake situated at Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. Surrounded by beautiful gardens from the Mughal era, houseboats and parks, you would love the ambience at Dal Lake for sure.
The amazing gardens such as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh built during the rule of Jahangir, the Mughal emperor would leave you mesmerised. Apart from that, the other attractions include the floating gardens, known as “Raad ” in Kashmiri. The beautiful sight of the gardens is worth exploring with lotus flowers blooming during the months of July and August.
Best time to visit – The months of July and August would be the ideal time to visit Dal Lake.
How to reach – By air, the nearest airport is the Sheikh ul Alam International Airport at Srinagar. It is just 17 km from Dal lake. If you opt to travel by train, Srinagar Railway Station is the nearest, located at a distance of 14 Km. By road, Dal lake is just 5 Km from Lalchowk Srinagar.
8. Old Silk Road Route
A pass with historical importance, Nathula Pass goes through the intersection of the Indo-China border. An aspect worth mentioning is that the pass forms a part of an offshoot of the Old Silk Route. Located 56 km away from Gangtok, Nathula Pass is situated at an elevation of 14,140 feet. Until 1962, this was the place through which the renowned silk route used to operate.
For transporting precious items such as gold, silk etc, from Tibet to India, lines of mules were used. In fact, the Old Silk Route passing through Lhasa, Sikkim and Eastern India was going through Nathula Pass in the past. While passing through these amazing mountain roads, you can view the blue Tsomgo Lake, also known by the name Change lake and the new Baba Harbhajan Mandir.
Best time to visit – The best time to visit the Old Silk Road Route is between October to May.
How to reach – The only option to reach Nathula Pass is by driving from Gangtok. Please note that only SUV vehicles are permitted to be driven here. At Gangtok, several vehicles such as Innova, Bolero, and Scorpio are available for rent.
If you are more interested in pilgrimages, then Pushkar in Rajasthan is a place you would love to explore. Located to the northwest of Ajmer, Pushkar is situated at the height of 510 metres. The hillocks on three sides of Pushkar add to the beauty of this place. Famously known as the ‘rose garden of Rajasthan’, the essence of the renowned Pushkar rose is exported across the globe.
The major temples that entice devotees to this place include Brahma Temple, the only temple in the world dedicated to Lord Brahma, Gurudwara Singh Sabha, Varaha temple, Savitri temple, Rangji Temple and Pap Mochini temple. The other major attractions include the famous Pushkar fair and the Pushkar lake.
Best time to visit – Plan a visit to Pushkar in the months of October and November. It will be the winter season and you can attend the Pushkar fair as well.
How to reach – From Pushkar, the nearest airport is the Sanganer Airport in Jaipur, India. It is located at a distance of 146 km. For train travellers, there is good connectivity between Pushkar Terminus Railway station and Ajmer railway station, located 14 Km away. If you are planning to travel by bus, there are frequent buses from Pushkar to all major cities such as Ajmer, Jaipur and Jodhpur.
10. Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab
Located at Amritsar, the holy city of the Sikhs, Golden Temple is one of the best places to visit in India for devotees. The two-storied structure of the temple is built using a 67-ft square of marble and 400 kg of gold leaf. Also, the beautiful full golden dome of the temple deserves a special mention here.
In the southern part of the temple, there is a garden and the tower of Baba Atal. Believe it or not, the ‘Guru Ka Langar’ serves free food for close to 20,000 people daily and on special occasions, the number goes up to 1,00,000.
Best time to visit – The best time to visit Amritsar is between November to March. The Golden temple is open for visitors on all days of the week from 5 am to 10 pm.
How to reach – The nearest airport from the temple is the Sri Guru Ramdass International airport at a distance of 13 km. From the Amritsar Railway Station, the temple is just 2 kms away. Bus travellers can board the bus to Bus Stand Amritsar which is hardly 1.7 Km away.
Often referred to as the French Capital of India, Pondicherry, located in Tamilnadu is a tourist destination frequented by travellers. Situated along the Bay of Bengal, Pondicherry is a place blessed with beautiful beaches.
The major tourist attractions include Paradise beach, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville, Arikamedu, Seaside Promenade and Serenity Beach. The other factors that entice tourists towards Pondicherry include thrilling water sports and delectable local food.
Best time to visit – The best time to visit Pondicherry is between October to March.
How to reach – For flight travellers, Pondicherry has an airport of its own. If you prefer to travel by train, Puducherry Railway Station is just 4 Km away from the city centre. For those travelling by bus, there are lots of buses that operate from Pondicherry bus station.
12. Thar Desert
Located in the Indian state of Rajasthan, the Thar Desert is also known by the name the Great Indian Desert. Spanning across an area of 200,000 km², it holds the distinction of being the 20th-largest desert in the world and the 9th-largest hot subtropical desert.
Renowned for its flora and fauna, you can enjoy the beauty of various tourist places such as Jaisalmer Fort, Kuldhara Village, Gadisar lake and a desert safari at Thar desert. The desert has several protected areas such as The Desert National Park, The Tal Chhapar Sanctuary, the famous bird sanctuary and The Sundha Mata Conservation Reserve.
Best time to visit – Plan a visit to the Thar desert somewhere between October and February. During this season, the days will be warm and the nights will be chilly.
How to reach – Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Jodhpur are the nearest places to the Thar desert. Catch a flight to either Delhi or Jaipur and travel to one of these towns by train or a road trip.
Rishikesh is an amazing place situated in the Uttarakhand state of India. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the river Ganga flowing through Rishikesh adds to its beauty. Often referred to as the ‘yoga capital of the world, you can find lots of people who come here to learn yoga and meditation.
Rishikesh is also one of the most preferred pilgrimage destinations as it houses many ashrams. The major tourist attractions include Narendra Nagar, Byasi, Gita Bawan, Beatles Ashram and Swargashram. Apart from that, you can engage in various adventurous activities such as rafting, bungee jumping, giant swing, trekking and rock climbing.
Best time to visit – Plan a visit to Rishikesh somewhere between February to mid-May as the weather will be quite pleasant.
How to reach – The nearest airport to Rishikesh is the Jolly Grant Airport, at a distance of 21 Km. There is also good connectivity of trains from Rishikesh railway station. If you prefer to travel by bus, there are lots of buses available from Delhi ISBT Kashmiri Gate and Meerut.
14. Yumthang Valley, Sikkim
With an abundance of natural beauty, Yumthang Valley at Sikkim is a tourist destination you just cannot afford to miss. Located 140 km away from Gangtok, the breathtaking view of mountains and different flower varieties such as Shingba Rhododendron flowers makes this place definitely worth a visit.
Yumthang Valley is also known as the “Valley of Flowers” as you can find beautiful flowers throughout the valley. As the area is under the control of the army, you need to get a permit from the Gangtok Tourism office to visit Yumthang Valley.
Best time to visit – The best time to visit Yumthang Valley is between February to June as it is the season when Shingba Rhododendron flowers bloom.
How to reach – The best option is to travel by train and the nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. If you love travelling by air, book a flight to Bagdogra Airport which is 120 kilometres from Gangtok. On the other hand, if you prefer to travel by road, there is good connectivity from the town of Lachung which is around 113 kilometres from Gangtok.
Villupuram is among the best places to visit in India. Located in the Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu, Auroville offers you a never before experience of a universal township in the making. Apart from Tamil Nadu, some parts of Auroville lie in the Union Territory of Pondicherry. Auroville aims to become a universal town where men and women across the globe can live in peace and progressive harmony defying all creeds, politics and nationalities.
Here, the places worth visiting include the Matrimandir viewing point and gardens and the Matrimandir inner chamber. Furthermore, you can attend other activities such as learning through work and volunteering on Auroville farms.
Best time to visit – The best time to visit Auroville is the winter season ie. between October to March.
How to reach – By air, the best option is to travel to Tamilnadu. Then you cover the distance of 160 Km to Pondicherry by road. If you opt for a train journey, take a train from Chennai to Pondicherry. From there, it is hardly 20 km by road. If you want to travel by road, there is a distance of 160 km from Chennai to Pondicherry.
Hope the article provides valuable insights about the best places to visit in India. However, choosing the location purely depends on your area of interest. If you are passionate about exploring the beauty of the architectural marvels of India, then you can choose one Taj Mahal or Golden Temple.
The backwaters of Kerala, Shimla, Dal Lake, Nubra Valley, Rishikesh or Yumthang Valley are the best places to visit in India if you prefer to enjoy the natural beauty
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