Written by Ashana Beria
India is huge country with a vibrant culture where people in different parts have different traditions and lifestyles. Selecting ten places in India is a very difficult task considering each place has something unique to offer; although I’ve compiled a list of my top ten Indian cities... enjoy!
Kashmir is known as the paradise on earth – the snow clad mountain peaks, lush green meadows, alpine valleys and flower gardens attract people from all over the world. The Dal Lake is an absolute favourite amongst travellers with its mirror-like flat sheet of water that show the reflections of the carved balconies of the houseboats and the Pir Panjal Mountains. Take a ride on a Shikara (boat), sipping some Kawa (Kashmiri tea) and enjoy the beauty of the place. When bored of the scenic beauty, try some skiing and sledging on the slopes of the mountain. After falling a zillion times you’ll be super hungry and what better than to eat Rajma Chawal!?
If scenic beauty and lush green meadows isn’t your thing, but partying on the beach with great music is, then Goa is the place for you. Exotic beaches, golden sands and coconut palms sway in the breeze here, with a beautiful sunset as the backdrop. You could either lie down on the beach with an exotic cocktail or two and enjoy the view, or try some water sports like parasailing, water skiing and wind surfing. There are some amazing street markets for girls where the most exquisite jewellery is available. At night the whole city comes alive – whether you want to party in a shack or an exquisite club, you can take your pick!
No other city in India has the grandeur and splendour like Udaipur. Udaipur is known for its exquisite palaces, temples and havelis (royal villas) and its numerous lakes – for that reason, it’s often dubbed as the ‘Venice of the East’. Many of the palaces have been converted into heritage hotels; if you stay there, you’ll be sure to feel like Indian royalty! The city palace is the most visited attraction, and is home to many antiques and Indian art. While at Udaipur, visit the markets and get a true feel of the traditional Indian culture. The food here is rather luxurious too, so sample the authentic Rajasthani food at as many restaurants as possible! You must also experience a camel ride at either the Fateh Sagar Lake or Doodh Talai Lake to complete your Indian experience.
The backwaters in Kerala is one of the most famous tourist actions in all of India; and a ride in a houseboat along these water is one of the most relaxing experiences ever. Freshly cooked south Indian food and some chilled beer make the ride even more enjoyable! While you’re there, be sure to get some Ayurvedic treatment, whether it’s a simple massage you’re after or the treatment to some ailment, Kerala is the place to get it. If you visit during the monsoon season you must witness the snake boat race – it’s by far the most exciting event hosted in Kerala. Buy some tea and coffee as gifts for people when leaving Kerala – it’s huge business there, and the flavour of both beverages is unbeatable.
The capital city, a trip to India would be incomplete without a few days here. Of course, you must visit the tourists, but beware of the gypsies hanging around, hoping to take advantage of tourists. This city has some of the most exquisite Mughal architecture in the form of mosques, forts and other monuments too. Nevertheless, as a modern and urban city, Delhi has excellent shops – whether you’re after luxury or high street brands, or want to see exquisite Indian outfits, you’ll find it all here. Be sure to visit Sarojni Nagar for some street shopping at bargain prices; and for handcrafted silver jewellery, check out the Chandni Chowk market.
Referred to as the ‘city of joy’, this city truly brings a smile to anyone’s face who visits. The homeliness and helpful nature of the people here will not be found anywhere else. The Victoria Memorial – reminiscent of British rule – is truly magnificent: travel to it in a horse-drawn chariot to get a real feel for this beautiful city. At night time, take a drive on the Hooghly Bridge and Vidya Sagar Setu Bridge when they are lit up for a breathtaking view. Also, whilst in Kolkata, you must try the sweets of the city – people from all over India travel here just for the sweets, so make sure you take some back for friends and family!
This is the most visited city as it is the home of the Taj Mahal! The Taj Mahal truly is beautiful, and it’s easy to see why it’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World! But the Taj Mahal isn’t Agra’s only claim to fame – be sure to check out Fatehpur Sikhri, Agra Fort and Akbar’s tomb whilst over there too.
The holy capital of India attracts people from far and wide owing to the stories associated with it – a dip in the Holi Ganges river for instance, is said to cleanse away all sins. Apart from bathing and burning, the dead bank of the Ganges is used for a variety of activities such as blessings, massages, shaves and games of cricket. This city has a charm that makes you forget all the worldly pleasures!
Referred to as the ‘city of dreams’, the Bollywood film industry is situated here, and as such, a visit here is incomplete without bumping into an Indian celebrity (whether or not you’d recognise them is another matter completely!). I think that Mumbai is a perfect blend of busy city life, and relaxing seaside; and staring out at the waves at Marine drive is a favourite pastime amongst the people of Mumbai. Another must-do is witnessing the sunset at Hajji Ali, which is breathtaking. Much like Delhi, the shopping is excellent with street stalls and malls. Don’t forget to try the spicy vada paws on the street!
Claiming my number one spot is this little tea town, which offers brilliant weather and is a great place to go when the sun is scorching. Visitors love watching the sun rise from Tiger Hill, whilst enjoying some tea. Tea plantations drive the livelihood of the people here and are one of the main attractions here, apart from sports such as rafting and trekking.
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