Are you not sure what are the best tourist attractions in India? Here is my personal list of 11 of the very best not to miss, so check it out right now! 😁
India is a lively country full of surprising contrasts, where traditional and contemporary cultures collide. India is the world’s seventh biggest country by size and second-largest by people. India has a rich legacy that has been shaped by centuries of diverse civilizations and faiths.
Why travel to India?
Mention India to someone, and their minds tend to fill with exotic thoughts. Visions of rich culture, spices and spirituality will all spring to mind. I have had a strong passion for travelling my whole adult life, and I have been lucky enough to visit almost one-third of all the countries on this beautiful earth. Yet, no other country has left such a mark on my soul as this one.
Visiting India gives tourists the chance to explore a fabled culture that is steeped in history. At the same time, environment enthusiasts will appreciate the country’s sun-drenched beaches, lush national parks, and fascinating animal sanctuaries.
Travellers to this unique nation will uncover a bounty of spiritual, cultural, and historical riches, from the beautiful Taj Mahal in Agra to the sacred sites of Harmandir Sahib (previously the Golden Temple) in Amritsar to the beautiful beaches of Goa.
The very best tourist attractions in India
Now it’s time to check out our list of the 11 best tourist attractions that are frequently visited in India. I hope to assist you in making the most of your time and money in this great nation.
The Taj Mahal, Agra
The Taj Mahal is arguably India’s most iconic structure. It is also one of the world’s most renowned testaments to the power of love. This exquisite mausoleum is named after Mumtaz Mahal. She was the Mogul emperor Shah Jahan’s favourite wife. Construction began in 1631 and took 20,000 workers until 1648 to finish.
The Taj Mahal is mainly made of white marble that shines in the Indian sunshine. The delicate arches, minarets, calligraphy and the onion-shaped dome are all indicators of Islamic architecture. Exquisite inlaid floral designs with exotic and semi-precious stones such as jade, lapis lazuli, diamonds, and pearls add to its opulence.
The Holy City of Varanasi
Hold on to your hats; this is one of the most chaotic, intense and disorganized places on the planet. Yet Varanasi is at the very heart of spiritual India.
The city houses an estimated 23000 Hindu temples, and Hindus believe that if you are cremated in this sacred city, you can achieve moksha. That is a way to break the cycle of death and reincarnation in a bid to reach Nevada. So this is a very auspicious place to come and finish life’s journey.
The holy city of Varanasi dates back to the eighth century BC. Varanasi is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities.
In addition to being one of the most auspicious places in the world for Hindus, Buddhists also share a deep-rooted past here. It is believed that the lord buddha gave his first sermon here in 528 BC and founded Buddhism very close by. There are also 15 mosques in the old city of Varanasi and some are very grand indeed.
Brahmin priests give nightly ceremonies on the banks of the river that can be breathtaking to witness. Varanasi is without question the epitome of spiritual India.
Harmandir Sahib: The Golden Temple of Amritsar
Amritsar was founded in 1577 by Ram Das. Today, it is a significant centre of Sikh history and culture. The primary attraction here is the impressive Harmandir Sahib. The temple was built in 1604 and is still known as the Golden Temple because of its ornate gold decorations.
The temple was built in a fusion of Hindu and Islamic designs. The gorgeous temple floor is made of marble. You can see the complex floral and animal themes that have been delicately carved into the rock.
While the enormous golden dome is shaped like a lotus flower, a Sikh symbol of purity.
Tourists are sure to find they are similarly fascinated by the temple’s spiritual ambience, heightened by the constant chanting of prayers from the Sikh holy book broadcasted all across the complex.
The ability to partake in one of the 50,000 – 100,000 free meals served each day is part of the whole experience, and tourists are encouraged to do so.
The Golden City: Jaisalmer
The Golden City of Jaisalmer, called for the yellow sandstone utilized in most of its structures, is an oasis of magnificent ancient architecture rising from the Thar Desert’s sand dunes. The city is now packed with stunning ancient homes, majestic gates, and of course, the gigantic 12th century Jaisalmer Fort that towers over the whole town.
The stronghold has 99 bastions and large gates opening to its central courtyard, which houses the seven-story-tall Maharaja’s Palace.
The palace began construction in the early 1500s and expanded by succeeding kings until the nineteenth century. Large portions of the building are still accessible to the public. Look out for the elegantly adorned walls with tiles from Italy and China.
For a full breakdown of how to get the most out of your trip, check out my in-depth blog on the best places to visit in Jaisalmer and learn how to get the most out of your time.
The Red Fort, New Delhi
The majestic crescent-shaped Red Fort in New Delhi was named after the spectacular red sandstone used in its construction. I was built by Shah Jahan in 1648 as the seat of Mughal power – a role it maintained until 1857. It encompasses a broader area of more than two square kilometres, all of which is besieged by a large moat.
The fort’s two most enormous gates, the majestic Lahore Gate (the fort’s main entrance) and the ornately painted Delhi Gate, which the emperor previously utilized for ceremonial processions, are among the fort’s highlights.
Mumbai: The Gateway of India
The magnificent Gateway of India, which stands 26 meters high and overlooks the Arabian Sea, is also a must-see in Mumbai. This spectacular piece of grandeur was built to honour the arrival of King George V and his wife Queen Mary in 1911 and was, for a time, the city’s highest building. It was opened with great pomp and ceremony in 1924 and was the city’s tallest structure.
The Gateway of India is made entirely of yellow basalt and it is noteworthy for its Indo-Saracenic style. It was also the site of a less joyous parade of British soldiers when India attained independence in 1948. The massive archway now serves as a gorgeous background popular with both residents and visitors.
Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad
The Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad is one of the world’s largest mosques and one of India’s earliest. The construction of this elegant building commenced in 1614 during Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah’s reign and took nearly 80 years to build.
There are 15 colossal arches and pillars to this stunning mosque, which can seat 10,000 worshipers. Each pillar is individually carved from single slabs of black granite brought to the site by massive cattle trains that reportedly included up to 1,400 bulls!
This spectacular structure gets its name from the bricks above the central entrance carried here from Mecca, has many attractions. The main entryway, broad plaza and the vast ancient pond are sure to impress.
The Beaches of Goa
Goa’s magnificent western coastline, which overlooks the Arabian Sea, has only lately been discovered by tourists from abroad in all reality. Even today, India is not really renowned to be a “must-go-to” beach destination, is it?
However, Goa’s 60-mile coastline is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, each with its distinct attraction.
Agonda Beach is a fantastic alternative for people seeking peace and quiet, whereas Calangute Beach is by far the most commercialized and busy. The beaches of Mandrem, Morjim, and Ashwem are popular with rich Indians and Westerners looking for upscale resorts, yoga retreats, and spa holidays. Palolem is another famous beach in Goa with a lovely location.
You will need a few days here to explore the beautiful Goan beaches and that could quickly turn into a few months if you are not careful.
Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Madurai
Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is based on a lake developed by British engineers in 1895 for irrigation and to give water to the city of Madurai. It is one of South India’s most famous tourist destinations.
This gorgeous park, established in 1934, is home to a vast population of free-roaming Indian elephants, wild hogs, otters, the lion-tailed macaque, and more than 20 Bengal tigers. Bird-watching is a popular pastime, with species such as darters, storks, kingfishers, hornbills, and racket-tailed drongos, as well as a wide variety of butterflies, frequently seen.
The beautiful Agra Fort (also known as Agra’s Red Fort) was built as a military fortification in 1565 by Emperor Akbar, with subsequent extensions by Shah Jahan. It is a unique combination of Hindu and Muslim elements.
The fort is accessible by Amar Singh Gate, with a low outer wall and a dogleg shape to confound invaders. It is located a little over two kilometres from the Taj Mahal. Once inside, the Akbari Mahal and Jahangiri Mahal, the enormous private mansion on the site, are two massive interconnected sandstone structures.
Kinnaur, Lahaul, and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh
This route via the Kinnaur, Lahaul, and Spiti Valleys (beginning in Shimla and finishing in Manali) is one of the most dazzling possibilities for a genuinely Himalayan journey. Along the route, you’ll stop at the villages of Kalpa, Nako, Tabo, Dhankar, Kaza, Ki, and Kibber, as well as one of Tibet’s oldest temples.
With the stunning snow-capped mountains all around you, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to a hidden realm of such spectacular magnificence that nothing could possibly compare. Allow 10-14 days to complete the circle; it may turn out to be the most fascinating part of your trip.
India is a sensational experience that might be overpowering. It is ancient, diversified, and lovely. The nation provides something for every tourist, from its rich culture and delectable cuisine to its historic architecture and picturesque scenery.
Further reading on the best places to travel in India
I have found that Audley Travel also has some fantastic suggestions of places to spend your precious time. Please remember that India is a whole subcontinent and you can only fit so much into your itinerary. My best advice is to put some real thought into what you want from your time and money. What is it that really appeals to you?
For lots of information on how to start travelling in India, you can read my blog on it. This epic post covers all manner of aspects of travel. It is packed full of my tricks and tips to help you along your way. 😁
Also, I would implore you to check out my blog on travel tips to save money while on the road. It only takes a few minutes to read and is packed full of information that could save you a ton of money. 💰