Places Not to Miss While Exploring India
Wriiten by Pawan Kotiyal
India is a land of diversities; be it diversity in art & architecture, culture, cuisines or landscapes. Where at one end, exploring India fascinates historians and art lovers, at the other end; it also lures nature lovers and holiday seekers. An exploration trip to India remains incomplete without visiting the following places to get a true insight in the country’s glorious history, cultures, traditions, architecture, and scenic vistas.
Get fascinated with the natural beauty of Kerala
Known for its pristine backwaters, palm fringed beaches, lush green rice paddy fields and stunning tea gardens; Kerala has always mesmerized tourists with its intoxicating beauty. From taking relaxing strolls in the tea gardens of Munnar, exploring the village life on ‘Kettuvallams’ (special wooden house boats) as you cruise on the serene backwaters of Alleppey, enjoying memorable elephant rides in the ‘Periyar Wildlife Reserve’, watching a captivating Kathakali performance at the ‘Kerala Kathakali Center’, getting a rejuvenating ayurvedic massage in one of the famous Ayurvedic massage centres or observing the fishermen engrossed in catching fish using the fast vanishing Chinese fishing nets on the coast of ‘Fort Kochi’ – there is no end to the activities you can indulge during your visit to the ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala.
Get captivated with the subtle magic of silence in Leh – Ladakh
Located in the lap of Great Indian Himalayas in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, Leh-Ladakh is an abode for nature lovers, adventure buffs and holiday makers. Striking beauty, stunning landscapes, serene glacial rivers and enchanting valleys; make this place an ideal destination to explore India’s unmatched bounty of nature. Besides admiring the craftsmanship of nature at this enchanting place, you can indulge yourself in lifetime experiences of trekking to some of the remotest areas including the Zanskar and Markha valleys or immersing yourself in chants and hymns of the monks at few of the place’s magnetic Buddhist monasteries. The ideal time to visit Leh-Ladakh is during the ‘Hemis Gompa Festival’ when the whole town comes to life and magic of these celebrations take you in its aura of fun and merry making.
Embark on a cultural journey in Kolkata
Also known as the ‘City of Joy’, the streets of Kolkata are always seem to be bustling with fun, excitement, and festivities. ‘Durga Puja’ is the best time to get an insight into the city’s rich culture and traditions. Being the birthplace of many world renowned writers, artists and thinkers like Rabindranath Tagore and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee; Kolkata is also considered to be the intellectual and cultural capital of India. Besides its rich culture, Kolkata has also been blessed with captivating scenic beauty of its sprawling tea gardens at Darjeeling or the immense mangrove swamps of Sunderbans. How can one forget the city’s mouth-watering ‘Puchkas’ and ‘Rosogullas’? Exploring India remains incomplete without a visit to this joyous city.
Discover the scenic charm of Kashmir
Rightly said to be a paradise on Earth, Kashmir needs no introduction. With its enchanting beauty, lush meadows teeming with colourful flowers, panoramic vistas of snow-capped mountains, striking orchards of walnuts, apples, plums and peaches and bountiful flora and fauna; a visit to Kashmir is a must in India. Ranging from awesome Shikara boat rides on the serene Dal Lake watching and admiring the beauty of setting sun to blissful stays in Houseboats to taking leisurely strolls in beautifully manicured Mughal Gardens; every experience seems to be so heavenly and magical in Kashmir.
Get a step closer to soul consciousness in the holy city of Varanasi
Nicknamed as the ‘City of Temples’, Varanasi is the holiest cities for Hindus. Situated on the ghats of sacred Ganga River, the city is visited by many pilgrims from all across the world who majorly come here to take dip in the holy waters of Ganga and to pay their homage to Lord Shiva at the ‘Kashi Vishwanath Temple’, home to one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Narrow streets of the city bustling with life, mouth-watering street food and the eccentric Ganga Aarti is sure to leave you intrigued for your lifetime.
Unwind yourself in unmatched scenic charm of Gangtok
Breath-taking views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, colourful Buddhist monasteries, sparkling glacial lakes, a breath of fresh mountain air and local Tibetan cuisine; the charm of Gangtok can captivate the hearts and souls of any visitor. From visiting one of the world’s highest passes, the famous ‘Nathu La’ to immersing in the panoramic vistas of the ‘Tsomgo Lake’ to feeling an indescribable aura of spiritual bliss at one of the Buddhist monasteries; a visit to Gangtok leaves you charmed with its magic for your entire life.
Get immersed in the royal splendours of Jaisalmer
One cannot miss a visit to the princely state of Rajasthan on an exploration trip to India. Golden sand, camel safaris, ancient havelis (mansions), Kalbeliya folk dance performances and magnificent forts of Jaisalmer have always enchanted tourists with their magical charm. Annual ‘Jaisalmer Desert Festival’ must be on your travel list during your visit to Jaisalmer to get an insight in the true royal culture of Rajasthan.
Plunge into exotic beaches of Goa
White sandy beaches of Goa with swaying palms are always on the top of the itineraries of explorers to India. Balmy shores, colonial charm, ancient cathedrals & forts, adventure fun of water sports, an ultimate culinary experience and to top it all, an electrifying night life are the major attractions of this popular beach town of India.
Get awe-struck with the art and architecture of Aurangabad
A city with its history dating back to 2nd century BC, Aurangabad still retains its glorious charm and heritage. An exploration of India’s rich culture, history, art & architecture remains incomplete without a visit to this historical city. Considered to be one of the most popular destinations in Maharashtra, Aurangabad is famous for its world renowned caves of ‘Ajanta & Ellora’, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The paintings at these caves give you an insight into an excellent craftsmanship of the artisans of the bygone era. Apart from the caves, there are many more architectural wonders around the city that can be of interest to travellers and historians.
Hopefully, the above list of destinations help you make a good connection with this fascinating country’s thousands of years old history, practices, cultures, festivities and food.