With so many beautiful places to visit in India, planning a trip can be a daunting task. Whether you seek the rich culture of Rajasthan, the glorious beaches of Goa, or a spiritual pilgrimage in the mountains, each destination in this vast country can feel worlds apart.
It is the country’s diversity; however, that makes India so exciting. Each time you travel somewhere new, it’s a journey into the unknown. Often you are greeted with a uniquely vibrant culture, delectably fresh cuisine, and entirely different landscapes.
Ideally, you will want to spend at least one month in India if you’re going to cover many of the country’s highlights. However, for those with limited time, here is a guide to the major attractions and Instagram hotspots to help plan your trip.
Pro Tip: the train is an easy and affordable way to get around.
Hampi isn’t only one of the most beautiful places to visit in India, but arguably one of the most unique. The city’s landscape is adorned with both ancient rock-cut temples and towering boulders, making it feel like another world entirely. And exploring them will have you feeling like Lara Craft or Indiana Jones.
A city steeped in history, Hampi once served as capital to the mighty Vijayanagar Empire. The kingdom remained prosperous until the 1600s when powerful Muslim kings invaded and left Hampi in the ruined state it is today. Hundreds of dilapidated monuments scattered across the city are classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Despite the air of lost glory, Hampi remains majestic and intriguing. Whether you are a history buff looking to hit up the temples or a curious backpacker looking to soak in the mystical vibes, Hampi is sure to leave you mesmerized. To make the most of your trip, plan your Hampi itinerary here.
Bursting with architectural wonders, Jaipur, the vivacious capital of Rajasthan, is a perfect example of beauty in chaos. Known as the “pink city” for its signature terracotta architecture, Jaipur is one of the most photographed places in India. With aesthetic masterpieces such as the Amber Palace, Hawa Mahal, and Patrika Gate, it’s easy to see why.
Another highlight of Jaipur is the various forts scattered throughout. What once served as defensive walls around the Old City now provide a welcome retreat from the urban sprawl. Head to Nahargarh Fort just before dusk to witness one of the most breathtaking sunsets in India.
When I think of beautiful places in India, Udaipur is always one of the first that jumps to mind. Known to some as “the white city,” or “the city of lakes” Udaipur is both elegant and enchanting. And with impressive mountain ranges dominating the landscape, it’s easy to forget you are in a city at all.
Unlike most cities in Rajasthan, Udaipur feels incredibly peaceful. Boasting a series of watery reprieves and magical retreats, an air of opulence and a notable bohemian culture persist in the form of artistic expression, quaint boutiques, and cafe culture.
While days can be spent meandering the City Palace, Monsoon Palace, or Karni Mata Temple, one of our favorite things to do is nothing at all. Find a rooftop overlooking Lake Pichola, enjoy all-you-can-eat Thali at Namaste Café, and take in the live music at Bagore Ki Haveli.
If you seek a relaxing beach getaway, look no further than the eccentric state of Goa. With a tremendous 60-mile coastline and over 60 beaches each with their own vibe, it’s the perfect place to Goa-head and chill.
Sun-worshippers have been lapping up Goa’s vibe since the hippy movement firmly cemented it on the map. And despite the surge in tourism today, a sliver of counterculture persists. Along with dreadlocked backpackers, you’ll find a realm of health retreats and meditation centers.If you’re seeking a laid-back ambiance with little else to do than watersports, the South will be right up your alley. If you want to explore the party scene and backpacker enclaves, consider heading North.
For nature enthusiasts, Kerala is often referred to as “Gods Own Country,” with a host of outdoor and adventure pursuits. Hilly tea plantations and national parks host a realm of wildlife, palm-fringed beaches, and quaint waterfront towns. And don’t discount the Kerala Backwaters, considered by many to be the “Venice of the East.” The idea of peacefully cruising the canals, passing sleepy riverside villages, immersed in serenity is quite a draw. Who wouldn’t be tempted by such a blissful escape?
Leh and Ladakh
Set high in the Himalayas, Leh and Ladakh are considered to be one of the most beautiful places in India for their tremendous peaks, Tibetan monasteries, and epic trekking opportunities. Pangong Lake stretches all the way to China, while the Nubra Valley is famed for being a desert oasis shrouded in mountains.
But as with any remote destination, getting around can be a challenge. Many choose to motorbike through the dusty switchbacks. If you aren’t confident on a bike, there are other options such as bus or taxi. However, buses run infrequently and taxis can be expensive, which only makes the saying, “difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations” all the more accurate.
Anybody who has been to Agra will tell you that it’s far from desirable. The city itself is run down, busy, and polluted. Nonetheless, there is one major factor that earns Agra a spot on this list – The Taj Mahal. Undoubtedly one of, if not the, most beautiful place to visit in India, it’s the crown jewel of India and a true labor of love, constructed by the emperor in honor of his late wife.
Like a diamond in the rough, it’s hard to put into words just how captivating the seventh wonder of the world is. Seeing it for the very first time moves many to tears. And I am yet to meet anybody who hasn’t been taken aback by its sheer magnificence.
I have to say; usually, I am not a fan of sunrise missions; however, sunrise at the Taj Mahal is one not to be missed. The white-marble mausoleum appears ethereal in the morning glow, almost like a mirage. And when the first ray of sunlight hit, well, it’s a moment you’ll never forget.
About the Author: Charlotte and Natalie are the explorers and adventurers behind Our Taste for Life. You will often find them wandering off the beaten path, immersed in nature, or enjoying authentic cultural experiences. The rest of the time, you will find them eating. Follow their journey on their blog or Instagram.
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