Flashy, sunny, full of energy and rich – India, diverse and exciting, will boost your senses and sensations to the max.
Below are our favorite, the most beautiful places in India together with information on when to go, prepared based on the climate, local events, costs and seasonality.
Delhi, the government and cultural center of India, is a city so full of energy, life and people that you can not handle it without your elbows. In the summer it is unbearably hot, cold in winter, but regardless of the time of year flat, so you can push through the busy streets by eating golgappas and chaat papdi (local donuts and stuffed, fried bread) without a shortness of breath.
If you can, take the metro. Order a cocktail at the Imperial Hotel , take a walk around the bazaars in Old Delhi, go to Red Fort, marvel at Mammolian architecture, and finally relax and meditate at the Lotus Temple. Rich!
It’s best to go from October to November
Famous for its traffic and frighteningly hot – it may take a while before you fully appreciate the charm of Chennai. Give yourself a moment and you’ll notice that the city is full of energy, colors, artistic touches and brightly painted temples.
Go to George Town and admire its colonial architecture and explore Fort St. George – built by the British East India Company. If you’re looking for peace, take a walk to nearby gopurams (towers), ancient temples that embarrass Empire State.
It’s best to go from December to March
The Old Town of Hyderabad is authentic in every inch, ancient India. Cows roam around crowded, narrow streets. Sellers in the bazaar are shouting, trying to sell their goods, and the smell of chai tea and sizzling, goat Hyderabadi biryani is in the air.
Charminar, the most famous place in Hyderabad, and other ancient mosques, such as Mecca Masjid, dominate the modest and unpretentious streets, reminding you of the city’s rich past. But just head west to “Cyberabad” to feel like you’re in technically advanced Japan. If you have little time, focus on the historic city center and its amazing architecture.
Jaipur, called the “pink city” because of its characteristically painted buildings, just shines. The heart of the city is the only one of its kind City Palace, where the former royal family still resides today. Take a picture of Jal Mahal – the palace on the water; visit Govind Dev Ji, the temple that plays the main role in many a legend about Krishna; observe the stars in Jantar Mantar, a UNESCO astronomical observatory.
Do you need more energy and confusion? Face the bazaar in the city center, or go with the noisy, chatty crowd to the Raj Mandir cinema – one of the most famous in the country.
It’s best to go from November to February
Kerala, the site of the Booker Award of the novel “God of small things”, is a magical tropical paradise in the deep south of India – sparkling water, long beaches and huge breadcrumbs and cashews, whose branches bend under the weight of ripening fruit. If you are looking for an oasis in which you take a distance and rest from the crowds and noise of India, this is it.
Go to the Blue Mountains and Western Ghats and enjoy the amazing Athirapally waterfall. Cross the lagoon, or cheer for the Vallam Kali boat race that takes place every August. The food is famous for its spice, so keep coconut milk at hand to cool the taste buds if necessary.
It’s best to go from January to March (even though Kerala is tropical all year round)
Pune, rich, green and educated, was baptized “Oxford East”, and in addition there are almost as many bikes as in the original on the islands. There are plenty of universities and colleges, so if you want to feel smart and academic, this is the place for you. Party students are gathering around Fergusson College Road on Saturday evenings if they are not preparing for the next exam in one of the many cafes.
Visit the University of Pune, one of the oldest in the country, go on a horse around the Bund Garden and explore the ruins of the Shaniwar Wada palace devastated by fire. And finally, something for the senses, or Koregaeon Park known among locals as a “suburb of a restaurant”.
- Mumbai (Bombay)
Get ready. The densely populated Bombay is the essence of Indian turmoil and hustle and bustle – 12 million people crowded in seven districts. The city is the commercial center of the country and a breeding ground for concrete skyscrapers. Go to Kala Ghoda to pick up in museums like in highbanks, then to Hanging Gardens on Malabar Hill (a mandatory point of the program for all self-admirers), and finally feed pigeons at the historic Gate of India.
Famous city bazaars will delight you with colors, exotics, curiosities and jewelry, especially in Colaba. You will find traditional performances and performances at the Prithvi Theater in Juhu. If you really want to include holiday beaching, limit yourself to observing people and letting go swimming.
It’s best to go from November to February
- Kolkata (Calcutta)
Calcutta? A city of contrasts. Terrifying poverty is hard to miss, especially against the glaring eyes of wealth – like unpolluted golf courses, polo fields and clubs only for wealthy people.
Despite – or perhaps because of – poverty, Kolkata is known as a city of culture, and the density of Nobel laureates, award-winning writers and poets per square meter is intimidating. Immerse yourself in everyday extremes while walking along the river through the Eden Garden at the local cricket pitch. Go to the annual, the most crowded book fair in the world in January, or the movie at the Calcutta Film Festival in November.
It’s best to go from October to February
Mysore is famous for her beauty. The most beautiful place in the city is in turn a palace inscribed on the UNESCO list – red domes, wonderfully colorful stained glass windows and gardens. Be sure to go there on a Sunday when it is lit from top to bottom.
But this is not the end of the architectural feast – you must find the Gothic Church of St. Filomena and the stunning Lalit Mahal Palace, now a hotel known for its British afternoon teas. If you like sweets, try Mysore Pak – a local dessert that looks like fudge. In the Museum of Mysore, Sand Sculpture is full of art, and a walk through the brilliant gardens of the Brindavan Gardens will give you a break. If you’re a fan of festivals, be sure to drop by in September for the 10-day Dasara Festival.
It’s best to go from September to January
Utakamand, located high in the Blue Mountains in South India, is a place for everyone who is looking for a respite from the tropical heat. Green hills, eucalyptus trees and tea plantations – all within easy reach, or rather a charming, miniature train.
Explore the magical Botanical Garden, where the May Summer Festival takes place and climb to the top of Doddabetta to add some great photos to your collection. You can ride a horse around the lake, or venture deeper into the wonderfully green rural areas. Be sure to try the famous chocolates of this region and drink them with local tea. Do you feel like something else? The Mysterious Wax Museum will surely not disappoint you.
It’s best to go from March to June
- Pondicherry (Puducherry)
The city was under the rule of France until 1954 and its Gallic past is obvious, especially in the eastern part of the city, and on the streets to this day French sometimes can be heard. Nowhere else in India will you find such a relaxed and artistic atmosphere.
The main goal of the entire city is to do as little as you can, so adjust and relax. The Old Town and its surroundings are charming city villas, cobbled streets and a wonderful, French-inspired cuisine. If you miss your croissants for breakfast, steaks and red wine, here you can eat your fill before the day at the beach.
It’s best to go from October to February
James Bond fans recognize Udaipur from the “Octopussy”. It’s the perfect place for romantic evenings – wonderful architecture and calm lakes create a sensational atmosphere. Everywhere colors dominate here – costumes of residents, flowers, food, architecture and the annual “festival of color”. Even the buildings are flashy – the City Palace is dazzling with mirrored domes and glass mosaics.
Hariyali Amavasya Mela festival, organized around the complex of artificial lakes, adds a charm to the city in August, and the Shilpgram Crafts Fair in November offers a wide selection of local handicrafts and art. Know more about the Palace on Wheels itinerary which covers this destination during the trip.
It’s best to go from August to January
Leave large, crowded cities and put on picturesque hills. Munnar is the favorite place of the British in colonial times – lush green and peaceful surroundings, full of tea trees and mountains whose tops hide in the clouds. Visit the gardens at the Floriculture Center, take a picnic at Mattupetti Dam, or test your lungs at Echo Point.
In the Eravikulum National Park you will find leopards, tigers and intrepid mountain goats, and in Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, strange bird species. Get on a steamer, swim around and gather strength for a climbing expedition.
It’s best to go from September to June
Must see the iconic route map of Palace on Wheels train which shows all the destinations.