When I saw this topic in the lust of things I could write about, I immediately dropped everything else and bagged it. I have been an obsessed indophile, especially after 2011 when I moved away after 16 long years of moving around to different places-Chennai, Chandigarh and Gurgaon. Mumbai happens to be my second home, a marvelous city I visit once every year to spend time with my cousins and my hometown Thrissur, in Kerala is a place I visit to meet my grandparents.
After being given the “NRI” title, I felt almost indignant and defiant. I definitely saw myself as more than a mere outsider. This was my country, one I loved and was proud of despite its shortcomings. Absence indeed did make my heart grow fonder and now I have a certain fondness and eagerness towards traveling within India (which most Indians that live in India are skeptical about).
I have learned to value my roots and explore them with the time that I have before I transcend to exploring foreign territories.
A quote by an anonymous somebody that I connected with instantaneously for it being able to hit the nail on its head with its summation of the “diverse” Indian experience was: ” It is impossible not to be astonished by India. Nowhere on Earth does humanity present itself in such a dizzying, creative burst of cultures and religions, races and tongues. Enriched by successive waves of migration and marauders from distant lands, every one of them left an indelible imprint which was absorbed into the Indian way of life. Every aspect of the country presents itself on a massive, exaggerated scale, worthy in comparison only to the superlative mountains that overshadow it. It is this variety which provides a breathtaking ensemble for experiences that is uniquely Indian. Perhaps the only thing more difficult than to be indifferent to India would be to describe or understand India completely. There are perhaps very few nations in the world with the enormous variety that India has to offer. Modern day India represents the largest democracy in the world with a seamless picture of unity in diversity unparalleled anywhere else.”
With that wonderful quote as a support and a teaser into the variation India as a nation offers, here are the top 10 places you must visit in India (this list in not in order of preference; it was hard to choose which place was “better” than the other):
Previously a Portuguese colony, Goa is on every Indian teenager’s list as the party destination. Unbelievably cheap alcohol, wild parties and beaches galore, if you’re looking for a beach place in India to just stretch back and relax, this is just the place for you.
Past the eccentric party face it shows the world, Goa also has some of the oldest churches and provides a blend of culture, history and fun.
Places to visit: Goa’s wildlife sanctuaries (20% of Goa consists of wildlife sanctuaries. They’re open all year round, although October to March are the best months to visit), Old Goa for its churches and cathedrals and Convent and Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, built in 1521. If you’re a keen shopper, the Anjuna flea market is held every Wednesday from morning until evening.
Called “Heaven on Earth” this state holds promise of beautiful gardens, friendly people, pristine views of the valley and stunning landscapes. If you’re looking to just get away from the hustle and bustle of the urban city place, this is the place for you. Feel yourself and nature becoming one at Kashmir.
Places to visit: Located on the Srinagar-Ladakh Highway, around two and a half hours drive northeast of Srinagar, scenic Sonamarg (“Meadow of Gold”) is famous for its Thajiwas Glacier and Gulmarg (meadow of flowers), India’s version of a ski resort.
Called “God’s own country” for its equally pristine scenery, visit Kerala if you enjoy a combination of Kashmir’s beauty with Goa’s coastal touch.
Places to visit: Periyar National Park for its elephants and the backwaters of Kerala.
Translated to “large state”, this state indeed has a combination of history of the countryside with spectacular urban prowess and suburban beauty.
Places to visit: Ajanta and Ellora caves for its magnificent historical beauty, Mumbai for the industrialized, fast-paced urban lifestyle. It is worth visiting Mumbai during its Ganpati festival in late August.
carved out from Punjab, Haryana’s capital Chandigarh is a city that believes in going green and maintaining cleanliness. Gurgaon is a cosmopolitan, rapidly growing city with a poise unmatchable to any other Indian city today, in my opinion. Faridabad and Noida are also in close proximity. It is the perfect state to migrate to in search for a job.
Places to visit: Sultanpur National Park, Damdama lake, Dilwara temples
#5: Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 29 states of India. Its capital is Chennai, the largest city. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Puducherry.
Places to visit: Marina beach, Vivekananda rock memorial, Arunachala, Doddabetta.
#4: West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation’s fourth-most populous, with over 91 million inhabitants.
Places to visit: Kolkata High Court, Howrah Bridge, Victoria Memorial, Sundarbans.
Mizoram is a state in the northeast of India. Mizoram is considered by many as a beautiful place due to its dramatic landscape and pleasant climate.
Places to visit: Aizwal, the capital has several touristic spots: Bara Bazaar, Mizoram State Museum and Durtland Hills.
With an antiquity that dates to the paleolithic, Karnataka has been home to some of the most powerful empires of ancient and medieval India.
Places to visit: Mysore Zoo, Gol Gumbaz, Mahabaleshwar Temple.
Rajasthan, is India’s largest state by area. It is located on the western side of the country, where it comprises most of the wide and inhospitable Thar Desert and shares a border with Pakistan along the Sutlej-Indus river valley.
Places to visit: Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort, Meharangarh Fort, Lake Palace, Jaisalmer Fort.