India Travel Guide
From trekking tours through the Indian Himalayas to a Goa beach vacation in Western India to the history and culture found throughout the country, India tourism has it all in spades. The many temples and historic sites, the chance to go white water rafting, sport fishing or a visit to the many Ghats along the Ganges are all possible when you go on an India vacation.
This whirlwind tour of India starts in New Delhi where Indian culture and heritage comes alive at the Swaminarayan Akshardham, an intricately carved temple surrounded with gardens and ponds.
As a World Heritage Site, the Qutab Minar is one of the most popular India tourist attractions as many people flock to see the sandstone minaret. Another World Heritage Site can be found in Humayun’s Tomb, built in the 1500’s this tomb is a shrine to the late Emperor Humayunwas. Those traveling to India won’t want to miss India Gate which was built in 1931 as a memorial to India’s war dead which carries an eternal flame.
The National Ghandi Museum is also located in New Delhi and it is here that tourists can learn about his life, his philosophies and his faith in an interactive and interesting way.
Not far from New Delhi is the city of Agra which houses possibly the most well-known India tourist attraction, the gorgeous Taj Mahal. This site is also a World Heritage Site because of its cultural significance and grandeur. The spectacular architecture and white dome is also a symbol of love as it was built as a memorial to the wife of Emperor Shah Jahan.
Agra is also home to another World Heritage Site in the Agra Fort, a mere 2.5 miles from the Taj Mahal. Here is another great boost for India tourism as the fort takes guests back in time for a look into the life of medieval India, which is full of history, culture and tradition.
Heading southwest to the city of Mumbai (Bombay) your India vacation can take you to the Shree Siddhivinayak, the most revered temple of Lord Ganesh in the entire country or to the home where Mahatma Ghandi once lived, now a museum called Mani Bhavan Ghandi Museum. Here like the museum in New Delhi, visitors can learn about the man who became a national symbol through his teachings and visions, through the research center, library and museum that are on the grounds.
Kanheri Caves were used centuries ago by monks. Although most are spare, the Chaitya Cave is something to behold as it has decorative woodwork, sculptures of Buddha and other artifacts. The caves form part of the Sanjay Ghandi National Park.
Further south and on the eastern side of the nation is the city of Chennai (Madras) where those traveling in India can see the ancient shrine to Shiva in the Kapaleeshwar Temple. The Crocodile Bank allows visitors to learn about crocodiles and watch them in their natural habitat, while the many beaches along the coast make the most of the Indian Ocean’s warm waters.
The city of Chennai is also full of temples and churches including the Vadapalani Murugan Temple, Kalikambal Temple, San Thome Church and the Jaganneth Temple. After all the holy places, families can kick back at the amusement park also located in the vicinity.
Traveling west from Chennai we now stop at the city of Bangalore, the home of the Bangalore Palace that was built to look like Britain’s Windsor Castle. Housed inside is an eclectic collection of art and interesting artifacts.
If your India vacation brings you to the south of the country you can see the beautiful Pyramid Valley and the Shivasamudram Falls, although they are best seen after a monsoon because this will increase the flow of the cascading water. Bangalore is also home to the Bannerghatta National Park where tourists can visit the lion and tiger reserve, see the white tigers and other big cats, visit the reptile park, the butterfly park or go on a safari to see big game animals like elephants and hippos. Because of its proximity to a large city, the Bannerghatta Park is like no other and makes an interesting and natural India tourist attraction.
Northeast of Bangalore is the city of Hyderabad, home to one of the biggest and most influential Bollywood film studios, Ramoji Film City. This theme park has tours, rides and attractions and has been called a mini version of Universal Studios. The city is also home to the Golkonda Fort where with a tour guide you can explore the fort, learn about its history and take in great panoramic views of the city below.
The city of Jaipur is west of the city of Agra in the northern part of the country. Here India tourism has another World Heritage Site in the Jantar Mantar, a place where a selection of instruments is on display; all built in ancient times to measure celestial bodies—think signs of the zodiac. Anyone interested in astrology will think this place is a marvel, and it also houses the world’s largest sundial.
Jaipur is also home to the Palace of the Wind and the City Palace of Jaipur which houses a great armory museum. Those traveling to India and wanting to see a sacred site can do so at Galta Gorge, a temple complex that the faithful attend to pay their respects.
The city of Varanasi lies on the Ganges River, in itself a famous India tourist attraction and for locals a deeply religious site. Here is where the people come to bathe in waters to relieve themselves of their sins and a place where tourists can take a boat ride along the many famous Ghats or bathing steps to witness the rituals. Varanasi is also home to the famous Monkey Temple, a Hindu site that is also home to the sacred monkey.
If your India vacation takes you to the eastern city of Kolkata (Calcutta) one of the attractions is the Mother House, the former residence and now museum of Mother Teresa, possibly India’s most famous daughter. Here those traveling to India can step back to see how she lived her life, see her bedroom and visit her burial place or talk with the nuns who keep the memories alive. The city is also home to the Victoria Memorial Hall that displays the country’s history through exhibits and artifacts.
India tourism has a lot to offer the tourist in the vast expanse of land that forms the country. From religious sites and temples to landmarks that harken back to the time of the British rule, India is a glorious assault on the senses that will only leave you asking for more.