The 10 Best Places to Visit in India

Vibrant cities, wildlife havens, mountainside retreats, spiritual centres and much more – discover the best places to visit in India
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Written by
Keith Jarman

Published on: December 22nd, 2023

Last modified: June 14th, 2024

India is the seventh-largest country on earth, so it’s no surprise that it’s brimming with beautiful places to visit. Throughout its 36 states and territories you’ll find endless historical landmarks, religious sites, captivating landscapes and lively cities. Each destination promises its own alluring activities, from spotting Bengal tigers to learning to cook the country’s beloved cuisine.

With so many excellent options, it’s no easy task to decide where to go in India – so we’ve asked our travel designers to share their top picks. Their recommendations include the brilliant metropolises of Mumbai
and Delhi; spiritual havens like Rishikesh and Varanasi and remote outposts such as Ladakh. Here are the best places to visit in India, according to the experts.

1. Mumbai – The Dynamic City of Dreams

Mumbai is overflowing with energy and eclectic influences. This massive metropolis is a living tapestry of diverse cultures and languages, all of which mix and mingle in its bustling streets. Formerly known as Bombay, it’s the birthplace of Bollywood and a hub of opportunities, inspiring its optimistic nickname: the City of Dreams. 

Need to know: Don’t miss the imposing Gateway of India, the seaside Marine Drive, the fascinating Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum and the lavish Taj Mahal Palace hotel.

2. Delhi – The Storied, Sprawling Capital

Delhi, the enormous capital of India and one vertex of its Golden Triangle, is a true fusion of old and new. In fact, it’s literally divided into Old Delhi, home to historic temples and mosques, and New Delhi, with its leafy boulevards and British colonial architecture. In the latter you’ll find The Imperial – an opulent hotel that reflects the city’s illustrious past.

Need to know: Visit the rust-coloured Red Fort and the Jama Masjid, a grand mosque whose minaret affords fantastic views of the city. In addition, add culinary tour experiences to your itinerary to savour the rich and diverse flavours of local cuisine.

3. Jaipur – The Majestic Pink City

The capital of the northern state of Rajasthan, Jaipur abounds with royal history and heritage. Here you can take private tours of magnificent palaces, wander among the distinctive pink buildings and enjoy the old-world elegance of hotels like Samode Haveli – or venture beyond the city to stay at the remarkable Six Senses Fort Barwara.

Need to know: Jaipur is well known for its craftsmanship; shop for handmade textiles, jewellery, ceramics and more in its vibrant bazaars.

amer-cityscape-sunrise-jaipur-rajasthan-india

4. Varanasi – The Sacred City on the Ganges

The word ‘ancient’ takes on new meaning in Varanasi, which has been a spiritual hub for various religious groups for millennia. Set on the shores of the holy Ganges river, it provides a fascinating window into local beliefs and traditions. Stay at Brijrama Palace to be right in the middle of it all, with rooftop views over the river.

Need to know: We suggest cruising the Ganges at sunrise and walking along the ghats (stone embankments) in the evening to witness sacred riverside rituals.

5. Agra – Home of the Taj Mahal

Of all the incredible things to see in India, the Taj Mahal is likely the most iconic. Located in Agra, it’s a truly spectacular symbol of the country – but it’s far from the only attraction here. Explore lesser-known sites like the Mehtab Bagh garden complex, the tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah and the nearby ancient, abandoned town of Fatehpur Sikri.

Need to know: You can stay less than a kilometre away from the Taj Mahal at The Oberoi Amarvilas

6. Ladakh – A Serene Mountain Escape

Sometimes called Little Tibet, Ladakh is one of the world’s highest regions. Surrounded by the staggering peaks of the Himalayas and Karakoram, full of arid desert landscapes and dotted with cliffside monasteries and monuments, it’s among the most beautiful places in India – ideal for both quiet escapes and thrilling adventures.

Need to know: Embark on the Shakti Ladakh Village Experience to explore this region on foot and sleep in traditional houses and dome tents.

7. Udaipur – Lakeside Luxury and Culture

Udaipur is famed for its shimmering lakes and glorious palaces, creating a wonderfully romantic atmosphere that pervades every corner of this enchanting city. Discover its ornate temples and tranquil gardens or navigate the narrow streets and buzzing bazaars of its old town. There are plenty of luxurious hotels here, but we especially love Taj Lake Palace, known for its intimate dining experiences with scenic views.

Need to know: If you want to see some of India’s big cats, head outside of Udaipur to JAWAI: an outstanding leopard safari camp in rural Rajasthan.

city-palace-udaipur-rajasthan

8. Rishikesh – A Sanctuary of Wellness and Spirituality

With its proliferation of ashrams and mystical temples, Rishikesh is among the most breathtaking places in India. If you’re interested in yoga, meditation or traditional wellness, you’ll be in your element here. That said, it’s also a top destination for outdoor adventure sports like hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and whitewater rafting down the Ganges.

Need to know: Ananda in the Himalayas is the place to stay in Rishikesh – a world-renowned luxury wellness retreat on a 100-acre estate.

9. Amritsar – A Peaceful Pilgrimage Site

For followers of the Sikh faith, Amritsar is a sacred spiritual centre. At its heart is the glimmering Golden Temple, set in the middle of a glassy lake, which draws devotees from far and wide to bathe in its waters. This is the largest city in the state of Punjab, making it the perfect place to sample Punjabi cuisine. Stay at Taj Swarna to experience the wonderfully warm local hospitality. 

Need to know: Amritsar is right on the border with Pakistan; you can watch as the gates are closed each night with an elaborate ceremony.

10. Bandhavgarh National Park – Biodiversity and Bengal Tigers

The vast biodiversity and natural beauty of India is on full display in Bandhavgarh National Park, which boasts an incredibly high density of Bengal tigers. In addition to being one of the country’s best places for tiger spotting, it’s also home to many other wildlife species like leopards, wild dogs, sloth bears and more.

Need to know: Samode Safari Lodge is an ideal home base from which to explore Bandhavgarh, featuring 12 private villas and a cosy lounge.

 

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