rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Getahead » Top 10 places to see in India

Top 10 places to see in India

Last updated on: August 23, 2011 18:15 IST

Top 10 places to see in India

     Next

Next
Aashish Gupta

So you've wanted to see the country and didn't know where to start? Aashish Gupta of Yellowleg.com lists out ten of the most popular places to see in India.

We've sifted through guidebooks, travel industry data, polls and reviews from travellers like you to come up with the top 10 destinations within India. Of course, India is a vast country with many more amazing experiences and it would be impossible to capture them all in a top ten list.

We're sure we will hear gasps about how awesome places like Havelock Island, Kaziranga, Spiti or Varanasi didn't make it to the list and it does break our hearts to exclude them. Nonetheless, here's what did make it to the list.

Contributed by Aashish Gupta, founder of Yellowleg.com -- The Discerning Traveller's Bookstore.


Image: The best places to see in India

     Next

10. Kerala

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Palm-lined beaches rise to meet thick jungles and plantation-covered hills. Succumb to a therapeutic Ayurvedic massage or idle away an afternoon aboard a slowly drifting kettuvallam.

It is India's most verdant state -- rated by National Geographic Traveler as one of the world's 50 must-see destinations and also one of "ten earthly paradises". This is one destination that needs to be not seen but experienced. So slow down.


Image: The Aranmula boat race
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
Prev     Next

9. Hampi

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The ruins of the Vijayanagar kingdom are the big draw here, but the setting in the strange and sublime boulder-strewn landscape are what makes them truly magical.


Image: Virupaksha Temple, Hampi, Karnataka
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
Prev     Next

8. Corbett and Ranthambhore National Parks

Prev     Next
Prev

Next


Yes, we're cheating a little by clubbing these together, but we absolutely love both of these National Parks and didn't want to leave either one out.

Both are an overnight train ride from the capital and the best places to spot the Royal Bengal Tiger. Avoid long weekends and major holidays as the proximity to Delhi then becomes a bane rather than boon (you'll see more humans than wild animals).
 
If you go to Corbett: Stay at Camp Forktail Creek for a true wilderness experience. If you feel a little less adventurous, pick the Infinity Resort located by the Kosi river.


Image: An Asian Elephant herd at Jim Corbett National Park
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
Prev     Next

7. Sikkim

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Crammed in between Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and West Bengal, this tiny, mountainous state is as pristine a pocket of India as you are likely to encounter, with some 4,000 varieties of wildflowers , snow-fed lakes, high-altitude mountain forests, and hidden Buddhist monasteries.

Go simply to enjoy the refreshing views and clean air, or tackle the fantastic treks through western Sikkim, exploring remote valleys and villages of yak-herding Tibetans.


Image: Kangchengyao mountain range in Northern Sikkim, east of Thanggu
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
Prev     Next

6. Lakshadweep

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

One of India's best-kept secrets, the islands of Lakshadweep are amongst the few undiscovered gems in the world. Geographically part of the same archipelago as the Maldives, these islands offer breathtaking beauty without the resort-y, slightly "processed" feel of their more famous cousin. This is raw, island beauty at its best.
 
If you go: Stay at Bangaram, an uninhabited island (except for hotel guests and a handful of staff, no one lives on the island) with an excellent eco-resort.


Image: One of the uninhabited islands of Lakshadweep
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
Prev     Next

5. Jaisalmer

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The oldest "living" fortified city in Rajasthan, located in the heart of the Thar Desert. Its sandstone mansions are breathtakingly beautiful, but it is Sonar Killa, literally "Golden Fort," that makes it worth traveling this far. It is the world's only inhabited medieval fort, its families living in homes they have colonized for more than 800 years.

Built entirely from yellow sandstone, the fort rises like a giant sand castle, with great views from the overhanging cannon ramparts.
 
Within 2 hours of driving are desert camps amidst sand dunes at Sam or Khuhri. You can choose to stay in one of these tented camps (a highly recommended experience) or better yet, take a multi-day camel safari into the desert.


Image: Jaisalmer
Photographs: Ami Vitale/Getty Images
Prev     Next

4. Mumbai

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

You can love it or hate it, but we can guarantee you won't feel indifferent about the Maximum City. You may feel overwhelmed if you go for a short visit, but stay on only slightly longer and Mumbai (it's still an effort to not call it Bombay) will make you it's own.
 
If you go: Read Suketu Mehta's Maximum City, a stunning, brilliantly illuminating portrait of the megalopolis and its people.


Image: Monsoon clouds gather over the Gateway of India in Mumbai
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe / Reuters
Prev     Next

3. The Taj Mahal

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The one sight that surpasses all hype... No words can describe the experience of taking in the vision of this spectacular 'monument to love'. So we won't even try. Just go.


Image: Tourists walk in front of the historic Taj Mahal in the northern Indian city of Agra
Photographs: Brijesh Singh / Reuters
Prev     Next

2. Ladakh

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Despite 3 Idiots-inspired-package-tourists crowding the spartan tourism infrastructure, Ladakh still remains remarkably untouched - once you veer off the regular tourist haunts. Spectacularly jagged peaks enfold in this magical Buddhist ex-kingdom, with prayer flags fluttering in the wind and plenty of adventures to keep the adrenalin junkie occupied.
 
If you go: Read Andrew Harvey's A Journey in Ladakh. Beyond the picture perfect lakes and mountains, Ladakh is one of the last places on earth where a Tibetan Buddhist society can be experienced. And Harvey tells you about his spiritual quest in this awesome land.


Image: Ladakh landscape
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
Prev     Next

1. Goa

Prev     More
Prev

More

Why is Goa at number 1?

World class beaches; excellent cuisine; amazingly warm people; feni; Goan "Port" wine; Portuguese influence on culture and architecture; boutique guesthouses; markets; and above all, living the local "Susegaad" life.
 
Goa has a unique fusion of cultures, lifestyles and cuisines, while being one of the most easily accessible destinations from most Indian cities.
 
If you go: Stay at Arco Iris, a 100+ years old colonial house with warm hosts and a slice of authentic Goan life.


Image: Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
Prev     More