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India's top 10 tourist destinations

Last updated on: July 19, 2011 08:45 IST

India's top 10 tourist destinations

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With Tirupati temple attracting hordes of visitors, Andhra Pradesh has become the top tourist destination in the country recording 155.8 million domestic tourists in 2010.

"Tirupati temple in Andhra attracts maximum tourists. In fact, the number of domestic tourists visiting the state is more than Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra which have Taj Mahal and Ajanta Ellora respectively," a senior tourism ministry official said.

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Image: Kakatiya sculpture at Warangal.
Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Uttar Pradesh
144.8 million

The footfall at domestic tourist destinations across the country witnessed a surge touching 740 million in 2010, an increase of 10.7 per cent than the previous year.

The number of domestic tourist visits to the states and Union Territories was 669 million in 2009 and 563 million in 2008.

"The growth in domestic tourist visit in 2010 was about 11 per cent in comparison against the previous year," said the official.

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Image: The Taj.
Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Tamil Nadu
111.6 million

The number of foreign tourist visits to India during 2010 was 17.9 million as compared to 14.4 million in the previous year, registering a growth of 24.2 per cent.

The tagline adopted for promoting tourism is Enchanting Tamil Nadu.

It is home to beautiful hill stations, thick forests and wildlife.

Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of peninsular India, is famous for its beautiful sunrise, Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar's statue built off the coastline.

Marina Beach in Chennai is one of the longest beaches in the world.

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Image: Thirumalai Nayak Mahal at Madurai.
Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Maharashtra
48.5 million

From hill stations, to beaches to forts and caves, Maharashtra is not just India's financial capital but the fourth most attarctive tourist destination in India.

Maharashtra becomes the top state in attracting 5.1 million foreigners in 2010.

The other states and Union Territories which attracted foreign tourists in significant number are Delhi (1.9 million), Uttar Pradesh (1.7 million), Rajasthan (1.3 million), West Bengal (1.2 million).

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Image: 'Zero Mile Stone' located at Nagpur.
Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Karnataka
38.2 million

Karnataka hosts numerous spots of interest for tourists. There is an array of ancient sculptured temples, modern cities, scenic hill ranges, unexplored forests and endless beaches.

The districts of the Western ghats and the southern districts of the state have popular eco-tourism locations including Kudremukh, Madikeri and Agumbe. Karnataka has 25 wildlife sanctuaries and five national parks.

Several popular beaches dot the coastline.

Recently Karnataka emerged as a hot spot for health care tourism.

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Image: Hoysala Empire sculptural articulation in Belur.
Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Madhya Pradesh
38.1 million

Besides the famous Khajuraho Temple and the Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh is endowed with rich and diverse forest resources.

Madhya Pradesh represents great river basins and the watershed of a number of rivers.

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Image: Khajuraho the cultural capital of Chandela Rajputs.
Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Uttarakhand
30.2 million

Leisure, adventure, and religious tourism play a prominent role in Uttarakhand's economy, with the Corbett National Park and Tiger Reserve and the nearby hill-stations of Nainital, Mussoorie, Almora, Kausani, Bhimtal and Ranikhet being amongst the most frequented destinations of India.

The state has always been a destination for mountaineering, hiking and rock climbing in India.

A recent development in adventure tourism in the region has been white water rafting and other adventures sports.

Eco tourism, agritourism and rural tourism have also found new grounds in many villages of the state.

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Image: A view of the Nainital lake.
Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Rajasthan
25.5 million

Endowed with natural beauty and a great history, tourism is a flourishing industry in Rajasthan.

The palaces of Jaipur, lakes of Udaipur, and desert forts of Jodhpur, Bikaner & Jaisalmer rank among the most preferred destinations in India.

Often called a shopper's paradise, Rajasthan is famous for textiles, semi-precious stones and handicrafts.

Bikaner is famous for its namkeens, Jaipur for its jewellery, Jodhpur for sweets and Jaisalmer for yellow stone.

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Image: Camel ride in the Thar desert near Jaisalmer.
Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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West Bengal
21.1 million

West Bengal stretches from the Himalayas in the north to the Bay of Bengal in the south.

It houses the world famous Sunderbans.

Real estate, financial consultancies, travel and tourism and hotel industry also contribute to the state economy.

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Image: The Royal Bengal Tiger.
Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Gujarat
18.9 million

Ancient cave paintings to historic murals, natural and man made caves -- art, history, music, culture, all dovetail within each other to form a wondrous matrix.

Gujarat is also unique in its geological and topographical landscape.


Image: Navratra dance.
Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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