India is truly a traveler’s paradise as it offers innumerable opportunities to explore its diverse landscape which comprises of majestic Himalayas, magnificent Thar Desert, sunny Goan beaches, exotic backwaters of Kerala and much more. As you traverse through the land of snake charmers and Kamasutra, you realize it is an exotic mix of modernity and old world charm.
Below are the 9 must see places in the Indian sub-continent that would astound your senses and make you crave for more.
Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir
Gulmarg is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful hill stations of India situated in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. The pristine beauty of Gulmarg with lush green grassy slopes and snow covered mountains in the backdrop make it a preferred tourist destination for domestic and foreign travelers who come here in large numbers to get a slice of paradise. Today Gulmarg has earned the distinction of premier ski resort in India and the highest golf course in the world at an altitude of 2650m. Gulmarg valley lies in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas surrounded by forests of pine and fir. The meadows of Gulmarg are covered with snow during winters and a variety flowers bloom during spring and summer months all around the valley.
If Gulmarg is the paradise of North India than Munnar is surely the heaven of South India with its unending expanse of lush green tea plantations wrapped around the entire valley. Situated in Idduki district of Kerala at an altitude of 6000 ft, Munnar is famous for its exotic flora and fauna, dense forests and wildlife sanctuaries. As you traverse through the hilly terrain of Munnar, a breath of fresh air elevates you spirits and gets you in a mood to experience the nature’s bounty in God’s own country. Sprawling tea gardens, picturesque surroundings and warmth and hospitality of the people of Munnar makes it a popular holiday destination for travelers from around the world.
Pangong Lake in Ladakh region is one of the most exotic places in India offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Situated at a height of about 14,270 ft, Pangong Lake is spread over an area of 83 miles and freezes completely during winter months. The route from Leh to Pangong Lake passes through beautiful countryside of Ladakh over Chang La, the third highest motorable mountain pass in the world. Once you reach Pangong Lake, you cannot stop admiring the breathtaking scenery which gets you in high spirits and the beautiful sunset and sunrise in this isolated stretch of Ladakh gives you a feeling of being on a different planet.
Taj Mahal has earned the distinction of being one of the eight wonders of the world for its awe-inspiring architecture. Crafted in white marble; the Taj was built by mughal emperor Shahjehan in loving memory of his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. The sheer size of the monument and its beautiful surroundings transport you to the golden era of Indian history and you cannot stop admiring the minute detailing of this magnificent building which epitomizes true love. While walking alongside the banks of Yamuna River, you get to view the backside of Taj and old city of Agra which has seen many empires flourish on its soil.
*It is advisable to visit Taj Mahal in the early hours of the morning around sunrise as the crowd starts building up after eight am.
* Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays, so plan your stay in Agra accordingly.
The Great Rann of Kutch
The Great Rann of Kutch is located in the Thar Desert in the Kutch district of Gujarat and is known to be one of the largest salt deserts in the world. The vast coastline of Kutch measuring around 10,000 square kilometers with enormous stretch of white salt makes it a remarkable place to visit in India. The serenity and isolation of Kutch rejuvenates your senses as you holiday in this beautiful landscape away from the crowded cities. Gujarat tourism is aggressively promoting Kutch as a tourist destination to travelers from around the world by setting up eco-friendly accommodations and organizing Rann Utsav every year which is a festival of music and dance.
The festival usually takes place during winter months and the best time to visit The Rann of Kutch is from October – March.
Andaman &Nicobar Islands
Stretching almost 700 miles, the Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands offers some of the most beautiful sights in Indian Ocean where you get to experience nature in abundance. The panoramic landscape and blue sea waters of Andamans invite you to splurge in isolation and rejuvenate your senses with a breath fresh sea breeze. Water sports lovers can enjoy scuba diving at Havelock Islands, a tropical island of about 55 square miles situated 03 hours away north-east of port blair.
Sikkim, state in northeast India
Sikkim is one of the most magnificent regions of North-East India spread over 7000 km of vast stretches of mountains ranges. The drive to Sikkim offers majestic views of snow capped Himalayas and the lush green hills which are bound to get you into high spirits as you travel across the exotic landscape. Gangtok the capital of Sikkim is one of the cleanest hill stations in India and you are bound to be impressed by friendly warmth and hospitality of Sikkimese people who are always willing to go an extra mile to help the visitors by offering assistance in every way possible.
Best time to visit Sikkim is from March – October.
Khajuraho holds a special place in Indian history for vivid depiction of Indian Kamasutra which is explicitly displayed in the form of carvings in its Hindu and Jain temples. Situated in the largest state of India, Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where people from all over the world come in large numbers to get a glimpse of this marvel of architecture where ancient Indian erotica can be experienced in the form of sculptures and marble carvings. The architecture of Khajuraho is divided into Eastern Group of Temples and Western Group of Temples.
Best time to visit Khajuraho is during winter months from November – February.
Goa is truly a traveler’s paradise full of sunny beaches which beckon travelers from all over the world who come here in large numbers to unwind themselves and breakaway from the routine grind of the city life. Goa was founded by Portuguese sailors who arrived here in the 16th century and made it their home by colonizing it. From golden sandy beaches, thrilling beach sports and exotic flora & fauna to medieval churches, lush green countryside and colorful festivals, Goa is truly a unique experience for the discerning travelers and a perfect getaway for party animals especially during winter months. Goan cuisine is world famous for its sea food recipes and the warm and vivacious Goans are known for their delightful hospitality.
Best time to visit Goa is from October – March.