Fifteen astonishing cities and places to visit in India

Before you travel to India, your idea of it might not match reality because it’s too diverse to summarize in one thought.

India is a huge country with many different climate types, cultures and a lot of cities and places to visit. You’ll realize this soon enough if you travel around this vast country.

There are places to visit in India that might appeal to you more than others. But, it’s a good idea to open up your comfort zone. Because it will open your eyes and widen your perspective on this country. And that’s when you’ll discover its real beauty.

This article will cover some of the better cities and places to visit in India.

Delhi

The vibrant capital city of India is almost an inevitable place to visit in India. The cheapest flights to India often fly to the Indira Gandhi International airport, close to Delhi. And, if so then it makes sense that you will stay one or more nights in Delhi. Because India is huge, it can take you a long time getting from one place with the Indian railroads.

Red fort in Delhi. Cities to visit in India-
The red fort in Delhi.

Why Delhi is one of the cities to visit in India

Delhi is interesting.

Often called a dirty, busy and exhausting place to visit in India. Yes, but there are ways to escape the big crowd. It’s a city with almost 20 million inhabitants and a full day of activities might be tiresome. But if you pick out the right activities, the right places to eat and a good place to stay. Then it will be an OK place to be.

Tip: Make sure you book your accommodation before you arrive in India as this is mandatory to get into the country.

Mumbai

The big city of Mumbai is an adventure for exploration. Its many different faces will make you feel happy, or sad and probably also overstimulated. Why? Because it’s beautiful with its magnificent architectural masterpieces and spice-scented bazaars.

Here’s a guide about the city of Mumbai with an itinerary for one or two full days.

Mumbai is one of the cities to visit in India due to its history and its uniqueness. No other city in the world is like Mumbai. You’ll have to discover it for yourself if you like it or not.

A taxi driver with his taxi in Mumbai, India.
A taxi driver with his taxi in Mumbai, India.

Jaisalmer

Of all the places to visit in India, Jaisalmer might be the most unexpected beauty. Why? Imagine a sandstone city with a huge fort surrounded by a desert landscape. Camels, flat roof buildings and dry heat is what you can expect in Jaisalmer. But, also a rich history that dates back to the era of the maharajas in India.

It’s a very tourist-friendly place to visit in India. And, it’s surprisingly welcoming with it’s laid back vibe. Jaisalmer also offers quite interesting sightseeing options for all kinds of travelers.

Jaisalmer fort desert view
The view from the rooftop of the Golden Fort in Jaisalmer.

Jodhpur

This city of blue shaded houses and a might fort with a rich dynasty history is becoming more and more popular for travel. It’s one of the places to visit in India when you’re visiting Rajasthan. One to three days should be enough for exploring the streets and fort of Jodhpur

People looking through a window inside of the Jodhpur fort
People looking through a window inside of the Jodhpur Mehrangarh Fort.

Udaipur

Udaipur is a picturesque lake city in Rajasthan. It’s not that big at all and it rather feels like a big town. This makes it a perfect city that you can explore on foot. Whenever you’re in India and you are traveling around the province of Rajasthan, then you could consider visiting Udaipur. There are many good restaurants, sightseeing spots, and guesthouses. Udaipur is one of the best cities to visit in India when you want to visit the Ranakpur temples or the Kumbhalgarh Fort.

Upaipur piccolo lake
The Piccolo lake in Udaipur is one of the beautiful places to visit in India.

Jaipur

This is the Capital city of Rajasthan, the Pink City of Jaipur. It’s known as the gateway to the desert heritage cities of Rajasthan. You’ll see combinations of new and old everywhere in this city together with its many colors. It’s famous for its Amber Fort and bazaars.

man on an elephant in Jaipur, India
A man on an elephant at the Amber Palace in Jaipur. Photo by C Rayban.

Agra

One who travels to India has to visit the Taj Mahal at least once, right? Either way, you agree with this or not. But, Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located has to be on this list because it’s a popular place to visit in India. And, it’s close to Jaipur and Delhi, which is convenient for traveling time.

The Taj Mahal is the most famous place to visit in India for travelers

Yes, Taj Mahal probably is one of the most famous places to visit in India. It’s located in Agra and you can do a day trip from either Jaipur or Delhi. Make sure you bring your camera when you visit this marvelous monument.

Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal in Agra, India. Photo by Annie Spratt.

Varanasi

On the banks of the holy river Ganges, there is a sacred pilgrim city. Varanasi is believed by Hindus to be a spiritual place where it is most honorable to be cremated. When a person dies in the Hindu religion, the depletable body becomes redundant as it was a vessel that used to carry a soul. Therefore, the lifeless body will be cremated.

Probably one of the most religious places to visit in India

Varanasi is probably one of the most confronting places to visit in India because of the sight of life and death. There are pilgrims bathing in the Ganges, whilst other lifeless embodiments are being cremated next to it on the banks of the river. But, visiting Varanasi will help you widen your perspective on India and it’s cultural and religious traditions.

varanasi, places to visit in india
A man bathes in the Ganges in Varanasi. Photo by Frank Holleman.

Amritsar

Just next to the border of Pakistan, there is a holy Sikh city, Amritsar. In the heart of Amritsar, you can the infamous Golden Temple, which is a holy Sikh sanctuary. Amritsar is on the cities to visit in India when you are traveling in the state of Punjab. The city is famous for its heritage walks, colorful bazaars, and many temples.

Golden temple in Amritsar
The Golden Temple in Amritsar. Photo by Raghu Nayyar.

Srinagar

Surrounded by dreamy lakes and forested mountains, there is a city high up in the North of India with the name of Srinagar. It’s located in the heart of Kashmir and the city is famous for its many gardens, temples and Kashmir silk.

cities to visit in India, Srinagar
A boat on Srinagar lake. Photo by Midhun George.

Leh

Welcome to the picturesque Himalaya city of Leh. It’s one of the cities to visit when you are traveling to the North end of India. It’s famous for its white-colored houses and enchanting mountains in the background. You’ll find Tibetan monasteries in Leh, colorful bazaars and many tandoori restaurants.

Leh is one of the most elevated cities to visit in India

You’ll probably need a couple of days’ time to get used to the elevation when you visit Leh. It is located at ‎3,500 m (11,500 ft) above sea level. So take your time to get used to before you do any considerable activities. It’s one of the places to visit in India if you want to visit the Himalaya mountains.

Himalaya, India places to go
A truck high up in the Himalaya mountains. Close to Leh. Photo by Harsh Fuloria.

Rishikesh

Rishikesh is a good place to visit in India for spiritual relaxation in the mountains. It’s a city where you’ll want to stick around for a while as it’s called the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’. There are many ashrams and yoga and meditation classes. But if you want to learn some other skills like making jewelry or paintings, then Rishikesh is also perfect because there are many kinds of classes. Rishikesh is located on the banks of the Ganges river and it’s surrounded by green hills. It’s a beautiful place to visit in India.

Rishikesh, India.
Rishikesh is one of the cities to visit in India for yoga and meditation. Photo by Praveen Kumar.

Kolkata

One of the largest cities in the East of India is Kolkata. It’s one of the places to visit in India if you are interested in grand colonial history and great contrasts. It has a sophisticated history that dates to the 18th century when it was found by the East India Company as a trading center. Nowadays, it’s the metropolis of tea and the cultural capital of India with its many monuments.

colorful hands in India
Holi festival in Kolkata. Photo by Debashis Biswas.

Chennai

In the Bay of Bengal, on the South-East side of India, you’ll find the city of Chennai. It’s the Capital city of the state of Tamil Nadu and its famous for its Fort. The Fort St. George was built in 1644 and it holds a rich history. Before Chennai was a city, this Fort was there to protect a trading post. After that, the city of Madras was founded. Now it’s called Chennai. This city is famous for its colorful Hindu temples adorned with carved statues of gods. And also for its amazing Indian food at the beachfront.

A woman in a street in India
A woman carrying water home on the streets in Chennai. Photo by Ibrahim Rifath.

Kochi

In the Southern state of Kerala, there is a coastal city with the name of Kochi. It has always been a port town with a different kind of vibe compared to the rest of India. The cultural diversity of the people might be one of the reasons. Also, the laid back vibe and palm tree landscapes create a uniqueness of its own.

Places to visit in India
A Tuk Tuk taxi in a street in Kochi. Photo by Karthik Chandran.

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