Determining which sites are required to visit in India is not an easy task, especially when the huge Asian country has so many contrasts and scenarios that it is almost impossible to name them all. Even so, we have tried to be as selective as possible and we have made this special with those 15 essential places to see in India at least once in a lifetime. Ready to dream?
1) Golden Temple of Amritsar
The Sikh religion is one of the most followed in India, being the city of Amritsar the chosen one for the construction of its famous Golden Temple. With four entrances that symbolize the Sikh opening to other religions, and in the middle of a lake that represents purity, this dream temple built in the sixteenth century reflects the mirage of an open India where all people, whatever their sex , religion or sexual orientation can find their place in the world.
2) Old Delhi
Designated as a walled city of Delhi in order to contain the Mughal empire displaced from Agra, Old Delhi becomes the heart of the Indian capital thanks to its history and dynamism. With Chandni Chowk, the great market of the city, giving aromas and colors, Old Delhi rests on monuments such as the Red Fort or the Jama Masjid mosque to remind us of the history of India in a neighborhood: from the forts and Mogul palaces to the Victorian houses established during the British Raj.
3) Taj Mahal
The city of Agra owes much of its fame to what is one of the most glorious monuments in the world: the Taj Mahal. Worthy of a story of The Thousand and One Nights, the famous mausoleum located next to the Yamuna River is born from one of those love stories that so much like epic travelers. It was in 1632 when the death of his wife Mumtaz Mahal led Prince Shah Jahan to order the construction of the ideal place to lodge the tomb of his beloved. More than four centuries later, the Taj Mahal continues to be the idealized destination of those who dream of traveling to that tragic and exotic India.
When a city has been built using sandstone typical of the area, each of its corners is worth discovering. The Pink City of India not only remains the color of flamenco, being one of the most psychedelic in the country: from its markets to its tattooed mantra elephants, Jaipur is a festival of color where places like the Palace of the Winds or especially the Amber Fort, whose collection of mirrors confirms the charm that we came to look for.
If Jaipur is pink and Jodhpur is the picturesque Blue City of India , Jaisalmer is known as the Golden City by adopting the shades of the desert becoming one of the most beautiful places in the state of Rajasthan . In addition to its palaces and temples, Jaisalmer stands out for the presence of the havelis , typical Rajasthanian mansions , its enormous fortress or the chattris, desert pavilions that dot the nearby lake of Amar Sagar.
The spiritual heart of India is a city dominated by the sunset and the whispers of the Ganges River, the most sacred of the entire country. A place that marks the borders between life and death, fantasy and reality, through the famous steps known as “ghats”, where pilgrims and locals peer out to bathe in the waters that bring them blessing, fortune and more positive future lives. The also known as Benares is, without doubt, the place that represents that mystical India that transcends the rest of the world.
The one known as Northern Venice , Udaipur, is one of the most glorious cities of Rajasthan thanks to its huge palaces and blue lakes. One of the best examples is the City Palace, the largest palace in the state and whose exquisite decoration contrasts with the tranquility of Lake Pichola . If you also want to stay in Udaipur, the lake itself hosts another of the city’s great attractions: the Taj Lake Palace hotel .
8) Temples of Khajuraho
The Kamasutra , emerged in India in the third century AD as a way to consolidate sexual relationships through a series of explanations and illustrations that would inspire the sculptures of the temples of Khajuraho , the largest monumental complex in all of India. Built around 950 AD, 25 of the 80 total temples built by the Chandella dynasty and designated Unesco heritage in 1986 have survived .
9) Ranthambore National Park
One of the dreams of every traveler in Indian lands is to be able to spot the Bengal tiger infront of him. One of the most beautiful and powerful images of nature is reproduced in many of the national parks of India, being the Ranthambore , in Rajasthan, which has the highest density of these orange felines. In fact, the success in the conservation of these animals in the Ranthambore has been such that they intend to export their procedures to other natural areas of the country.
If Delhi represents the history of India, Mumbai evokes the modernity of a nation where huge bridges, skyscrapers and nightlife take over this city open to the Indian Ocean. From a walk along Marine Drive to a visit to the Bollywood neighborhood , passing through its large parks and gardens, Mumbai is a vibrant display of that more contemporary and dynamic India.
11) Caves of Ajanta and Ellora
In the state of Maharashtra , the English found more than land to build their clubs and golf courses: temples dug in the cave and decorated with rock paintings. Ajanta and Ellora become the best showcase for religions in India that found among the rocks the best way to shape their faith in the form of sanctuaries and columns drawn from the depths of the mountains.
12) Beaches of Goa
Visiting Goa is something like a cocktail in the middle of a journey through the desert; a lung of breeze, water and color where to rest from the dynamism of the bazaars and the big cities. The smallest state of India was one of the first to be discovered by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century, resulting in a forest of coconut trees that embrace the colonial hermitages. A tropical paradise where the Indian version of “bacalau” is served in restaurants overlooking itsbeaches and sunsets.
Karnataka is one of the most complete states of India for many reasons, in this place whose name means “high land” we find from cosmopolitan cities like Bangalore to more majesticcitieslike Mysore , also known as City of Palaces . However, the scenario that attracts most looks dates from many, many years. Splashing the plains, the city of Hampi covers up to 350 temples spread over 26 square kilometers whose shapes and figures conquered the explorers and travelers who crossed through this city of kings and splendor.
14) Backwaters of Kerala
In South India there is a place where beaches, lakes, rivers and canals coexist between palm trees and colonial houses. Among its coconut trees are the locals, India seems to flow slower and old rice boats enclose exotic first class hotels. The backwaters of Kerala confirm the condition of this Land of God the name by which the locals refer to this kingdom of exuberance and tranquility turned into one of the essential places to see in India.
15) Sri Meenakshi Temple
The cultural epicenter of the state of Tamil Nadu , south of India, is formed by the temples of the city of Madurai . Stories and colors that explode in the Meenakshi Temple, dedicated to the goddess of fortune and consort of Shiva. A temple in whose interior you can appreciate mandalas drawn in the vaults, sculptures of colors that form psychedelic and panoramic mountains that will delight lovers of that exotic India.