India is a country that leaves absolutely no one indifferent. It is said that “either you love it or you hate it”, and it is very difficult not to succumb to extremes in a destination as intense as this one. With a population that is almost twice that of the entire European continent, India can no longer be considered a continent. Instead, it could be seen as a world apart. Its smells, tastes, colors, music, traditions and countless gods await you with thousands of places to explore. Check out a list of some of the most amazing places to see in India and travel tips that are a must to know. To travel to this country, good international health insurance is recommended.
Varanasi is the holiest city in the country and one of the oldest in the world, with more than 5000 years of history. It is crossed by the Ganges, a sacred river which is also one of the largest in the world for Hinduism. Hundreds of families come here every day to cremate the bodies of their loved ones and then throw their remains into the river. More than 35,000 bodies are burned in public on the banks of the Ganges every year. This is a very shocking event for the tourist, while for the locals it is something quite normal.
Apart from the crematoriums, Varanasi is known for its beautiful boat trips with sunrise and sunset and for its labyrinthine and narrow streets. From these you can reach various spice stores and unique restaurants. Varanasi is also famous for its night ceremonies. Every evening at sunset, a spectacular offering takes place at ghat Dashashwamedh, where hundreds of people gather to witness this ritual where fire, incense, songs and copper lamps are the protagonists. This ceremony, called aarti, is one of the must-see events in India.
Jaipur is one of the most photographed cities in India. You’ll soon understand why when you escape 11 kilometers from the center to visit the imposing Amber Fort, whose panoramic views cover virtually the entire city of Jaipur. The capital of Rajasthan has many other highlights, but it’s the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) that you can’t miss. Its facade with its beautiful pink balconies is a true work of art.
Udaipur is famous for its large lake, the Pichola. Practically in its center is the Palace of Lake Taj, which is distinguished by its beautiful white color. During your stay in this city, you should not miss the City Palace or the Jagdish Temple. You can also discover the James Bond movie “Octupussy”, which was filmed in Udaipur, to see a facet of this mythical city of Rajasthan.
Another unique destination to see in India on your way through Rajasthan is Jeisalmer. Its huge fort rivals Jaipur in beauty. From inside it, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city. Tourists enjoy a short jaunt into the desert to enjoy a one night stay among its dunes. Why not let yourself be tempted?
Rishikesh is one of the most popular yoga destinations in the world and a great place if you are looking for a relaxing break during your trip to India. This destination has been booming since the 1960s. Today, the city is almost entirely focused on tourism, yoga and therapies such as Ayurveda. Every step you take in Rishikesh you will find, besides souvenir stores, schools where you can practice yoga, take a course to become a teacher and even go on a retreat for several days.
Located in the northwest of the country, Amristar is one of the most interesting places to see in India. The capital of the state of Punjab has as its main attraction the Golden Temple, one of the most beautiful in the world. The Golden Temple is the holiest place in the Sikh culture as it is where their Sacred Book is kept. You can easily distinguish the Sikhs by their beard, their large turbans and the dagger they always wear on the side of their belt. Although at first glance this image may seem aggressive, you should know that Sikhs are always ready to help others and are waiting with open arms for all travelers. Thanks to this hospitality, you will even be able to sleep and eat for free in the surroundings of the Golden Temple. If you wish to return the favor, you can join their chain of collaboration and help, for example, in preparing and serving the food they prepare daily for hundreds of people.
Once you have experienced the Golden Temple, you cannot leave Amritsar without witnessing the surreal ceremony and a bit of border grotesqueness. Every day, before sunset, this “spectacle” takes place on the line between India and Pakistan. On each side of the line, stands have been built from which spectators cheer the soldiers of their respective countries. Without a doubt, something very special to see in India.
The most famous monument to see in India, and one of the most famous in the world, is in the city of Agra: the Taj Mahal. This immense white temple is a large mausoleum containing a love story. After the death of Mumtaz Mahal, the king’s favorite wife, the monarch ordered the construction of the most beautiful mausoleum in the world in his honor. After 20 years of construction, one of the most beautiful architectural works in the world was erected thanks to the work of more than 20,000 workers. The Taj Mahal is a perfect example of symmetry made of jade and crystal from China, turquoise from Tibet, lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, amethysts from Persia, amber coral from Arabia in the Indian Ocean, and many other wonders. In addition to the Taj Mahal, you can’t miss a visit to Agra Fort. It also boasts very attractive architecture and offers unique views of the Taj Mahal.
The small suburb of McLeod Ganj belongs to the city of Dharamshala in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is in this part of the country that a large majority of Tibetans escaped after the Chinese invasion of Tibet. For this reason, it is known as “Little Lhasa”. A large part of its population consists of Tibetans who managed to cross the border by crossing hundreds of kilometers through snow-covered mountains. The Tibetan people are open, very friendly and always happy to share their history with passing travelers.
It is an ideal area for walks between waterfalls, streams and even for trekking to the Triund from where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Himalayas. Finally, McLeod Ganj is the place where the Dalai Lama has his residence and from where all the decisions of the Tibetan government in exile are managed, with the hope of one day being able to return to his land.