List of top things to do in India. What are the best things to see in India? This list ranks the most popular tourist attractions in India, from the Taj Mahal to the Bodhgaya. There are plenty of things to see and do in India with its rich history and geographical diversity.
Millions of tourists visit the Taj Mahal every year, one of India’s top destinations. The Taj Mahal is located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, and is widely recognized as an icon of Muslim art and one of India’s most admired masterpieces. India is the origin of four world religions, including Buddhism and Hinduism, so many tourists visit the country for spiritual travel each year and visit many of the sacred temples or the sacred Granges River. The Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage that attracts many visitors each year to the river. It is known as the largest peaceful gathering in the world.
India also offers exotic landscapes with a vast geographic variety including beautiful beaches, snow-covered mountains and dense forests that make the country a popular destination for outdoor adventures.
10 Cape Comorin – Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari which is also known as Cape Comorin is the place where the three humungous water bodies namely, Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal meet up. People cannot stop gazing at the darkening horizon and enjoy the moments of solitude. Sunset is more spectacular than a sunrise here and witnessing the setting of the sun makes up for a serene holiday. Lakhs of tourist, round the year are lured by the serene beauty of this place and the spectacles of sunrise and sunset.
09 Heaven on Earth – Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state in India. In the seventeenth century the Mughal emperor Jahangir set his eyes on the valley of Kashmir. He said that if paradise is anywhere on the earth, it is here, while living in a houseboat on Dal Lake. “Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast.” If there is ever a heaven on earth, its here, its here, its here. In Jammu and Kashmir the most important tourist places are Kashmir, Srinagar, the Mughal Gardens, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Jammu, and Ladakh. Some areas require a special permit for non-Indians to visit.
08 World Heritage Sites – Konarak – Sun Temple
Built in the thirteenth century, it was conceived as a gigantic solar chariot with twelve pairs of exquisitely-ornamented wheels dragged by seven rearing horses. The temple comprised a sanctum with a lofty (presumably over 68 m. high) sikhara, a jagamohana (30. m. square and 30. m. high) and a detached nata-mandira (hall of dance) in the same axis, besides numerous subsidiary shrines. The sanctum and the nata-mandira have lost their roof. The nata-mandira exhibits a more balanced architectural design than that of other Orissan temples. The sanctum displays superb images of the Sun-god in the three projections which are treated as miniature shrines. The sanctum and the jagamohana together stand on a common platform studded with an intricate wealth of decorative ornaments and sculptures, often of a highly erotic type.
The roof of the jagamohana, made of horizontal tiers grouped in three stages with life-size female sculptures of matchless charm and delicacy adorning each stage, the whole surmounted by two stupendous crowning members, produces a picturesque contrast of light and shade and is unparalleled for its grandeur and structural propriety. Majestic in conception, this temple is indeed one of the sublimest monuments of India, notable as much for its imposing dimensions and faultless proportions as for the harmonious integration of architectural grandeur with plastic elegance.
07 World Heritage Sites – Bodhgaya- Mahabodhi Temple
Bodhgaya is about 2500 years old. In the sixth century B.C., prince Siddhartha Gautama attained supreme enlightenment at this holy place and became the Buddha. In commemoration of this event, emperor Asoka set-up the Vajrasana (Diamond Throne) of polished sandstone representing the seat of enlightenment in third century B.C. Thereafter, he built a stupa in veneration of the Buddha which remained there upto the second century A.D. The original structure of Mahabodhi Mahavihara temple was completed in seventh century A.D. during the reign of Gupta kings. The temple underwent several restorations, renovations and repairs in the subsequent period in which the Burmese greatly contributed. In 1883, a very thorough and scientific renovation of the temple was done under the supervision of the British Archaeologist Sir A. Cunningham and J.D.M. Beglar and the Indian archaeologist Dr.Rajendra Lal Mitra. In 1956, on the occasion of 2500th Buddha Jayanti celebrations, the Govt. of India did some repair works and enlarged the premises of the Mahabodhi Mahavihara. This is the most sacred place of Buddhist Pilgrimage in the world.
The gold painted statue of Buddha in the sanctum shrine of the Temple is made of Black stone built by the Pala kings of Bengal. The Buddha is seen seated in the Bhumisparsa Mudra or the Earth touching posture.
The Mahabodhi Mahavihara has now been declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO on the 27th June 2002.
In the Temple complex, one can also visit the other seven places where the Buddha spent in meditation after the attainment of Enlightenment. Al these places are situated inside the temple complex.
06 God’s Own Country – Kerala
Kerala, a state situated on the tropical Malabar Coast of southwestern India, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Named as one of the ten paradises of the world by National Geographic Traveler, Kerala is famous especially for its Eco-tourism initiatives and beautiful backwaters. Its unique culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demography, have made Kerala one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Kerala is an established destination for both domestic as well as foreign tourists. Kerala is well known for its beaches, backwaters in Alappuzha and Kollam, mountain ranges and wildlife sanctuaries. Other popular attractions in the state include the beaches at Kovalam, Kappad, Cherai and Varkala; backwater tourism and lake resorts around Ashtamudi Lake, Kollam; hill stations and resorts at Munnar, Wayanad, Nelliampathi, Vagamon and Ponmudi; and national parks and wildlife sanctuaries at Periyar and Eravikulam National Park. The “backwaters” region—an extensive network of interlocking rivers, lakes, and canals that centre on Ashtamudi Lake, Kollam, also see heavy tourist traffic. Heritage sites, such as the Padmanabhapuram Palace, Hill Palace, and Mattancherry Palace, are also visited. The city of Trivandrum ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourists in Kerala. To further promote tourism in Kerala, the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival was started by the Government of Kerala in 2007. Since then it has been held every year during the December–January period.
05 Destination of ancient pilgrims – Ajanta Ellora
The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra are 30 rock-cut cave monuments and these splendid architectural wonders portray the rich heritage of India. The paintings and sculptures in these caves are supposed to be masterpieces of Buddhist religious art. The cave temples are positioned in a horse-shoe shaped cliff.
The cave temples of Ellora located in the Deccan Plateau were excavated between 600 AD and 900 AD. There are numerous Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain temples here and all of them are made from solid rock. The Kailas (heaven of Siva) temple in Ellora is one of the most interesting and attractive cave temples here. Ellora, also known as Ellooru, represents the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture.
04 Little Tibet – Leh / Ladakh
LADAKH is a land of high passes on the borderland of India & Tibet. Ladakh is also known as ‘The Land of the Mystic Lamas’, ‘The Broken Moon land’, or ‘The Last Shangri-La’. It is also known as ‘Little Tibet’ because of the cultural & geographical similarities with Tibet.
At various times in the past Ladakh has been politically part of western Tibet and this influence is still prominent today throughout most of the region.
Ladakh comprises three main regions. The first is Leh & Upper Indus Valley. This is the cultural heartland of Ladakh where many monasteries and palaces reflect the deep Buddhist heritage of the region. Leh has been the center of Tibetan-Buddhist culture since ages. The Zanskar Valley is the second region. It’s a comparatively isolated valley to the south of Indus Valley and its high culture is also Buddhism.
The third main region of Ladakh includes Kargil & Suru Valley, west of Leh down the Indus Valley. It supports an Islamic culture that can be traced back to the 15th century.
Ladakh has also been known for some of its best hiking locale in the country. Trekking in Ladakh is very different from hiking in the west as the trails are the lifeline between villages. Its a high altitude desert plateau, which is situated between 2500 & 5000 mts. of altitude, the highest summit reaching over 7000 mts., which would be a delight for the trekkers. Ladakh’s colorful gompas have attracted people from all over the globe. Ladakh is one of the most rugged regions of the entire Himalayan range and is often referred to as a Trans-Himalayan zone because of its position between the Great Himalayan Range and the vast Tibetan plateau.
03 Pink City – Jaipur
Jaipur is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan in Northern India. It was founded on 18 November 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber, after whom the city is named. The city today has a population of 3.1 million. Jaipur is known as the Pink City of India.
The city is unusual among pre-modern Indian cities in the regularity of its streets, and the division of the city into six sectors by broad streets 34 m (111 ft) wide. The urban quarters are further divided by networks of gridded streets. Five quarters wrap around the east, south, and west sides of a central palace quarter, with a sixth quarter immediately to the east. The Palace quarter encloses the Hawa Mahal palace complex, formal gardens, and a small lake. Nahargarh Fort, which was the residence of the King Sawai Jai Singh II, crowns the hill in the northwest corner of the old city. The observatory, Jantar Mantar, is one of the World Heritage Sites. Included on the Golden Triangle tourist circuit, along with Delhi and Agra, Jaipur is an extremely popular tourist destination in Rajasthan and India.
02 Rome of East – Goa
Goa, the smallest state of India is known for its exotic beaches with amazing sunset view, golden sand and coconut palms playing with the wind. If having a great time with a dear one is on your mind, Goa is the perfect place for togetherness. Tasty seafood, parasailing, wind surfing and water-skiing facilities make the beaches of Goa a core fun place. Alorna Fort, Ancestral Goa Museum, Arvalam Waterfalls, Chapora Fort and Calangute beach are some of the popular destinations in Goa.
01 The symbol of Love – Taj Mahal
Agra’s Taj Mahal is one of the most famous buildings in the world, the mausoleum of Shah Jahan’s favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is one of the New Seven Wonders of the world, and one of three World Heritage Sites in Agra.
Completed in 1653, the T?j Mahal was built by the Mughal king Sh?h Jah?n as the final resting place for his beloved wife, Mumt?z Mahal. Finished in marble, it is perhaps India’s most fascinating and beautiful monument. This perfectly symmetrical monument took 22 years (1630-1652) of hard labour and 20,000 workers, masons and jewelers to build and is set amidst landscaped gardens.