It is not an overstatement that a lifetime might not be enough to explore a country like India. And thus, one visit is not enough for exploring the country’s enchanting destinations, even if you spend a year here. It is much better that you be flexible and focus on one or two parts of the country. While there are highly pumped-up and buoyant cities in India on one hand, there are tranquil rural regions too on the other, offering a heady mix to its visitor. You can stay here for months on a stretch.
The most-travelled tourist circuit in India is the Golden Triangle Tour- combining potpourri of cultures, Delhi- the capital city of India; Agra- the Mughal city that is home to Taj Majal- one of the Seven Wonder of the World and the vibrant Pink City of Rajasthan-Jaipur. Each city in this circuit is a combination of striking monuments, lively markets and varied cultures. Possibly, Rajasthan is the most explored state in India because of its vast desert, impressive markets and food and magnificent forts and palaces of Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Bundi, Jodhpur and other cities.
If you move eastwards from Delhi, you walk beside the holy River Ganga that traverses through some of the most densely population regions of the country, finally reaching one of the seven holy cities of India, Varanasi or Benaras. Known for its spectacular evening Ganga Aarti, the city is the place that has still preserved age-old religious traditions and customs of India. Cruise on the placid waters of the Ganga and catch a glimpse of the rituals going on at the Ghats. Move further and you enter the cultural capital of India, Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta. The city has been an important capital during the British era and now is a combination of the old and the new worlds.
Frequent travelers follow the Ganges route to arrive in Nepal but probably they are not really aware of the magic of mighty Himalayas of India, best known for their enchanting scenery and adventure opportunities that they offer. While Kashmir is crowned as the ‘Heaven on Earth’, there is Himachal Pradesh too with several mesmerizing hill towns. This Indian state has everything- pleasant weather and scenery, several amazing destinations, religious spot and more. There is Shimla, Manali, Kullu, Vaishno Devi and the list goes on. The remote Ladakh region mesmerizes you with its striking mysterious landscape and Dharamshala offers you a spiritual treat with its monasteries. Then, there is Uttarakhand- housing the revered Chota Chardham destinations, visited by thousands of pilgrims each year. Right on the opposite end of this chain, on the northern side of Bengal is beautiful Sikkim, one of the popular trekking destinations, offering an insight into Buddhist culture. The north-east region of India has lush greenery in abundance and offers respite from the stressful life of the cities.
From Kolkata if you start moving southwards along the coast, halt at Konark in Odisha (Orissa) to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sun Temple or Black Pagoda. Head further southwards and you enter Tamil Nadu, known for housing splendid temple, known for their Gopuram-style architecture. Madurai, a popular city here, houses a number of such architectural gems, which lie between Kaveri Delta and Nigiri Hills. The next stop can be one of the most popular South Indian states, Kerala, placed near the southernmost end of the Subcontinent on the west coast. The state offers tranquil backwaters, playful beaches, tropical climate, houseboats, villages, waterfalls, sumptuous food and the list continues. Move further up of the coast and you arrive in Goa, the beach state of India, one of the most-travelled destinations of India, popular all around the globe. A former Portuguese colony, it has beaches, churches, nightlife, food, booze, markets and more for backpackers as well as luxury visitors.
On the northern side of Goa is Mumbai (Bombay), the Dream City, which is famed as the commercial capital of India. This bustling city has Bollywood, movie industry of India, popular all around. The energy of this city and its attractions are unmatched. Close to this city, the Gujarat state, popular for its unique festivals, crafts, food and culture. The barren Kutch region and the white salt desert is a must-visit.
While you are on an extended trip in India, you surely need to head for a place that offers complete rejuvenation. Head to Manali, a Himalayan retreat offering pleasant climate, serene atmosphere and lush greenery. Get the feel of a typical British resort at Ooty in South India and Shimla in north India. Gokarna in Karnataka and Varkala in Keraal are two other such places.
Apart from this, there is still much more. Come and explore India.