9 Awesome Places to Visit in India for a Vacation

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Renowned as the land of mystics and spices, India is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia. The Indian subcontinent offers a diverse set of locations which makes it a paradise for tourists. From snow-capped Himalayas to sandy beaches by the Arabian Sea, you are in for a surprise with the sheer variety of landscapes here!

With exotic destinations and a large number of activities to choose from, planning a trip to India may appear overwhelming. You can, however, use this article as your handbook to learn about the best places to visit in India and the best time to explore them. 

Which are the Best Places to Visit in India?

Whether you are looking for a trip with your family during the winter or a trip in the summer, India has you covered. It has something for all seasons to deliver a memorable holiday experience.

Have a look at the table below for the most awesome places to visit in India -

Best Places to Visit in Summer Best Places to Visit in Winter Best Places to Visit with Family
Srinagar Kutch Kochi
Manali Goa Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Gangtok Jaisalmer Mussoorie

Let’s move on and cover each entry in the list of the best places to visit in India -

1. Srinagar

Located in the Jammu & Kashmir region of India, Srinagar is a major tourist spot and one of the best places to visit in India. The valley of Kashmir overlooks and unravels some of the most scenic beauties of the Himalayas and has an incredible natural beauty that makes the valley referred to as 'Paradise on Earth’. The capital of Kashmir, Srinagar attracts tourists in large numbers with its picturesque landscapes.

Here are some of the key highlights of Srinagar –

  • Dal Lake – Among the most popular attractions of Srinagar, Dal Lake is often called ‘Srinagar’s Jewel’ as it enhances the beauty of Srinagar. The lake covers around 15-18 square kilometres of area and is the second-largest lake in this province. Dal Lake also has houseboats where you can stay on this magnificent lake and view mountain peaks from the lake - a must-have experience in Srinagar!
  • Shalimar Bagh Mughal Garden – Kashmir has always attracted nature lovers with its incredible beauty - Shalimar Bagh is a prime example of this! Commissioned by Mughal Emperor Jahangir, this garden upholds the pattern of Persian gardens and now serves as a public park in Srinagar. It houses some rare species of flowers and trees which can be found only in the valley.
  • Shankaracharya Temple – The temple, a Hindu place of worship dedicated to Lord Shiva, is on the top of the Zabarwan Range in Srinagar. This temple offers a spectacular view of the valley of Kashmir, as it is located about 1,000 feet above the valley floor.
  • Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden – The garden spans more than 70 acres of land and is one of the best places to visit in India to discover fabulous flowers up close. Opened to the public in 2007, this is the largest tulip garden in Asia and is home to almost 70 varieties of tulips.

2. Manali

Manali is among the most awesome places to visit in India during summer. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, Manali is a hill station in the Himachal Pradesh state in northern India. With the city maintaining a favourable temperature due to its proximity to the Himalayas, planning your summer in Manali is a great way to escape the excruciating summer of the rest of India.

Given below are some of the popular places in Manali –

  • Rohtang Pass – A popular destination for bike riders for riding trips, this pass connects Kullu Valley with the Lahaul Valley. Trekking is possible in Rohtang Pass from May to November. However, keep in mind that the local weather can be unpredictable sometimes which makes it difficult to cross the pass on foot.
  • Solang Valley – Popularly known as the snow valley in Manali, it offers several winter adventure sports like skiing and skating. In summer, on the other hand, you can engage in river crossing, ziplining, and other adventure sports. 
  • Hadimba Temple – This temple is a shrine to the deity Hadimba, one of the renowned characters of Hindu mythology. Built in the 16th century, this temple is an important place of worship for the locals. A festival called Dhungri Mela is also organised around this temple every year.
  • Mall Road – One of the most popular places in Manali, Mall Road is the perfect destination to launch into a shopping spree. Popularly referred to as the heart of Manali, it has numerous hotels surrounding the street. This is a great place for foodies too, who can enjoy exotic local street foods like Babru and Siddu here as well.

3. Gangtok

Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim, one of the border states of India. As one of the cleanest cities, Gangtok is among the most awesome places to visit in India as well. You can observe a significant influence of Buddhist culture in this region, with several picturesque monasteries spread around the region.

The following are some of the famous tourist spots in Gangtok –

  • Himalayan Zoological Park – Gangtok’s zoological park is one of the highest zoos in India. Situated at a 3 km distance from Gangtok city, this park offers natural habitat to some endangered species around the world. Among others, Himalayan Red Pandas and Crimson-horned Pheasants are chief attractions of this zoo. 
  • Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary – Sikkim's Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary is primarily famous among birdwatchers. This sanctuary is home to the rufous-headed hornbill and other birds which have been recognised as endangered. 
  • Tsomgo Lake – Also known as Changu Lake, this lake forms one of the iconic landscapes in upper Sikkim. This lake, situated at an elevation of around 12,300 ft, remains frozen during the winter. In summer, however, various flowers bloom here to make for a brilliant colourful view along with the lake. 
  • Tashi View Point – This point is a must-visit one if you want to appreciate a glorious view of the Himalayas. Located around 8 km from Gangtok city, the place is famous for offering a breathtaking view of the Kanchenjunga and Siniolchu. You can climb up here and chill for some time, all while enjoying the magnificent views of the surrounding peaks.

4. Kutch

Kutch or Kachchh is a famous tourist attraction and one of the best places to visit in India’s western part. Located in Gujarat state, Kutch district has emerged as a major tourist hub and is home to several palaces (presently turned into tourist spots).

  • Kutch Museum – Established by Maharao Khengarj, this is the oldest museum in Gujarat state and is an architectural marvel in itself. Founded in 1877, the Kutch Museum retains valuable records of the distinct culture of this region. The museum has some important artefacts such as Royal utensils, a cannon gifted by Tipu Sultan, and more.
  • Aaina Mahal Palace – Aaina Mahal, or the palace of mirrors, is a royal palace located in the district capital Bhuj. This palace uses an inspired assortment of Venetian glasses inspired by European architectural style, with this fusion of architectural patterns making for a major attraction of this palace.
  • Vijay Vilas Palace – Built as a summer resort for royalty, Vijay Vilas Palace now serves as an essential tourist attraction in Gujarat. The palace now stands as iconic evidence of an Indo-European architectural pattern. Although the royal family still inhabits a portion of this palace, tourists can access a few select areas of the palace.
  • Rann of Kutch – Rann of Kutch is a one-of-a-kind salt desert, making it one of the most awesome places to visit in India. The salt marsh of Kutch spans more than 7,500 square km in size, making it one of the world’s largest salt deserts as well. 

Notably, the state tourism department hosts a carnival every winter known as the Rann Utsav. This is an ideal time to visit and experience the awe-inspiring full moon of the Rann of Kutch.

5. Goa

Goa is one of the best places to visit in India if you are looking for beaches. The coastal state features a few of the most iconic beaches on the Arabian Sea. Goa used to be an important Portuguese colony, the remnants of which can still be found in local architecture.

Goa offers a unique blend of beautiful natural landscapes along with historical locations, making it a complete package that you cannot miss out on your India tour.

Here are the top attractions in Goa that you must visit –

  • Dudhsagar Falls – This waterfall is located on the Karnataka-Goa border and is one of the most scenic ones in the country. This fall’s name translates to ‘Sea of Milk’, which is believed to have come from its appearance - as the Mandovi river plunges from 600 metres height, this incredible foaming white waterfall is created.
  • Anjuna Beach – Among numerous beaches spread across the district, Anjuna Beach is known as the most serene place in Goa. With this beach having an attractive rocky portion along with the beach part, Anjuna is great for taking some photographs or experiencing the charming sunset by the sea.
  • Palolem Beach – As opposed to the calming Anjuna, Palolem Beach is famous for its bustling adventure sports and exotic nightlife. Lined with palm trees and vibrant little shacks, Palolem Beach is ideal for partygoers in Goa.  
  • Aguada Fort – This fort and the adjacent lighthouse are a prominent reminder of the Portuguese heritage of Goa. Built in the 17th century, the fort initially served as a line of defence against foreign attack. Presently, this tourist attraction offers some of the best views out of Goa.

6. Jaisalmer

Nicknamed the ‘Golden City’, Jaisalmer is a city in India’s Rajasthan state. During the Mughal era, this used to be an important location for the Rajputs – one of the warrior clans of Rajasthan. While the royal blood still survives in Jaisalmer, the mediaeval forts and residences serve as exotic attractions for tourists.

Discussed below are the most frequented locations in Jaisalmer –

  • Jaisalmer Fort – This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the rare forts around the world that is still inhabited by people. You will find stores and ancient homes where local people continue to live. In the later afternoon, reflected sunlight from the yellow sandstones of the fort emits a golden hue, which is the reason why it is also called Golden Fort.
  • Nathmal Ki Haveli – Located in the Sadar Bazar area of Jaisalmer, this is a privately owned residence. The primary attraction of this Haveli lies in the exotic exterior design and architecture. Constructed in the 19th century, this is considered an iconic product of Rajput and Islamic architecture.
  • Desert Cultural Center – This Cultural Center is a great place to get a comprehensive understanding of Rajasthan’s local culture and tradition. Here, you can witness artefacts and art from the mediaeval era while also experiencing local tradition through a puppet show in the evening.
  • Desert Safari – A considerable portion of Rajasthan consists of the Thar Desert, which expands for thousands of miles. Jaisalmer is considered an entry point to the desert, which allows you to take desert safari tours from here. A camel ride through the vast sandy terrains of the Thar is a must-have experience on a tour to India.

7. Kochi

Kochi is located in the state of Kerala, which is famous for its backwaters. Mostly a tropical province, Kerala is home to lush greeneries that make for a magical experience in themselves. Kochi is among the best places to visit in India to enjoy various watersports and discover historical places spread throughout this city.

  • Periyar National Park – Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is a notable destination to visit in South India near Kochi. It houses a large number of elephants along with several other species of animals. What’s notable here is that you can explore this park as per your preference - you can engage in trekking, rafting, camping, and more here to explore the biodiversity of Kerala.
  • Check Out Chinese Fishing Nets – These unique nets are fixed on poles or stands of teak and bamboo and adorn the beaches in Kochi. Unlike regular fishing nets, these nets require the efforts of 4 to 6 fishermen at a time. You can visit beaches nearby and witness the functioning of this marvel live!
  • Santa Cruz Basilica – Originally built by Portuguese colonialists, this basilica is a cathedral church in Kochi. Although it was damaged under British colonial rule, it was constructed again in the early 20th century and has been an important tourist place since.
  • Bolgatty Palace – This palace was built by Dutch traders in the 18th century before being taken over by British colonialists. Presently, this island is turned into a heritage hotel that you must check out for an unforgettable experience.

8. Andaman & Nicobar Islands

With a unique culture and variety of watersports, Andaman & Nicobar Islands make for one of the best places to visit in India. You can find sparkling white sandbanks with exotic markets of local handicrafts here. Andaman has a large assortment of seafood options as well, which makes it a paradise for seafood lovers.

Here are some must-visit iconic locations in Andaman and Nicobar –

  • Havelock Island – Havelock Island or 'Swaraj Dweep' is a famous white sand beach with scenic turquoise blue water. It is popular among divers for its diverse marine world as well. It is also an awesome place to visit in India for bird lovers, with the island’s tree-lined shores housing birds such as white myna, woodpeckers, and more.
  • Port Blair – Port Blair is the capital of the Andaman Islands and is famous for its stunning tourist spots. Apart from sparkling white beaches, you can explore various exotic indigenous markets to collect souvenirs as well. 
  • Cellular Jail – In the colonial era, this jail (also known as ‘kala pani’ or ‘black water’) was used to hold Indian revolutionaries associated with India’s struggle for freedom.  Built in 1906, this jail is now an important tourist site, especially for history buffs who would like to learn about the Indian struggle for independence up close.
  • Anthropological Museum – This museum offers a fascinating tale of Andaman’s rich indigenous history. You can learn about various artefacts, utensils, weapons, local scriptures, and others of the local tribes here.

9. Mussoorie

Located on the foothills of the Himalayas, Mussoorie is a serene little town in Uttarakhand, India. Commonly known as the ‘Queen of Hills’, this town used to be a summer resort for British colonial officers. Presently, it is among the most popular places to visit in India for travellers willing to chill and wind down in the middle of nature.

Here are some popular attractions of Mussoorie –

  • Kempty Falls – Offering an iconic scenic view, this water cascades from a height of 4,500 feet and forms an incredible natural pool in the valley. Developed in 1835, this site has become a major tourist attraction in the region.
  • Gun Hill – The second highest peak of Mussoorie, it is located around 400 ft above the Mall. Gun Hill is easily accessible via cable cars, which also provide you with a great opportunity to get an aerial view of the entire Mussoorie.
  • George Everest House – Located on a secluded hilltop, George Everest House is a major tourist attraction in Mussoorie. It served as the residence of Sir George Everest, who was India’s Surveyor General between 1830 and 1843. Notably, Mt. Everest is also named after him! In this place, you can learn about his works as well as his famous laboratory.
  • Soham Heritage Art Center – If you wish to explore the diversity of Himalayan culture, make sure to include this art centre in your list. It has a vibrant collection of sculptures, canvases, paintings, and frescoes. Additionally, a temple is located adjacent to this centre, which is a major traditional site for yoga and meditation.

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As a huge country with incredibly diverse cultures and landscapes, a trip to India is bound to leave an everlasting effect. While it is normal to get overwhelmed as to what to visit, you can easily use our list of the best places to visit in India and start making your plan soon.

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