Is Kolkata a cheap city to visit
18 must-see places in India
India is a country full of contrasts, which seems to live in the modern age and at the same time in the past. Hardly any other country exerts such a fascination on travelers from all over the world and India is the holy grail of travel for many.
12 reasons why you should travel to India
When you think of travel destinations in India, old temples and palaces, remains from the British colonial era, the mountains of the Himalayas and the golden beaches of the south come to mind. India is huge and incredibly rich in contrasts, so that everyone gets their money's worth here.
Vibrant big cities, Bollywood, spicy curies, cows on the street - India is loud and colorful and offers numerous good reasons for a trip. From luxury tourists to backpackers, there is something for everyone here. Where should the journey go? We introduce you to the most beautiful travel destinations in India, whether you are a beach lover, big city fan or a foodie.
India trip: Travel tips for South India from Goa to Kerala
The palm state, Kerala, in the very south of India was also known through the book "The God of Little Things" and is otherwise known as "God’s Own Country". No wonder that Kerala has quickly become one of the most popular travel destinations in India, because the state is incredibly green and offers a great mix of mountains and beaches - palm trees always included, of course.
You will also find a fascinating mix of cultures and the remains of Dutch, Portuguese, English, Indian and even Chinese influences. Stroll through the old streets of Fort Kochi and don't miss a visit to the Chinese fishing nets at sunset.
Not an insider tip for a long time, but the best way to explore Kerala is by boat. Spending the night on a houseboat in the backwaters is a must and is incredibly picturesque and relaxing. The best part - houseboat tours are available for all budgets and even honeymooners have their own small boats equipped with a suite.
- Insider tip: Breathe in the mountain air in Munnar and don't miss a visit to a tea plantation. The area is also ideal for hiking and camping in the mountains - luckily the temperatures here are also suitable.
- How do you get thereFlights to Kochi
- Who is Kerala for? For India beginners
- Dishes not to be missed: Shrimp curry and beef - Kerala is known for these. There is hardly any alcohol in the state, but instead you can drink “toddie,” a fermented coconut juice, here.
Jaipur is the jewel of Rajasthan, also called the pink city, is one of the most beautiful places in India. The old town center is both historically and architecturally interesting and very picturesque. One of the highlights is the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of the Winds, which impresses with its iconic honeycomb facade. For the best view, visit one of the rooftop cafés across the street.
The Amber Fort is also worth a visit. It is best to come in the morning when the crowds are still small and the temperatures are still moderate. You can either walk or take a jeep upstairs, you shouldn't go on an elephant ride. On the way you can stop at the Jal Mahal. The water palace is a particularly beautiful photo opportunity when the sun rises.
- Insider tip: Definitely visit the Galta Ji. This monkey temple is outside the city and is reminiscent of the jungle book.
- How do you get thereFlights to Jaipur
- Who is Jaipur for? Romantics - Jaipur is beautiful and incredibly romantic.
- Dishes not to be missed: Lassi vom Lassiwalla on MI Road - it's been around since 1944 and it supposedly makes the best Lassi in India.
Locals and visitors agree - Agra is rather uninteresting as a city, but it is still one of the top travel destinations in India and with good reason. The city is home to the Taj Mahal after all and you should have seen it.
It's best to come early in the morning for a good view with (relatively) few visitors and with your camera ready. The best way to learn the history of this architectural masterpiece and iconic love between Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal is with a guide.
- Insider tip: For a great view of the Taj Mahal, you should also visit the moon garden on the other side of the river. Fewer visitors come here and from the garden you have a wonderful view of the Taj Mahal, especially in the late afternoon.
- How do you get there From Delhi you can take a guided day trip or take the bus.
- Who is Agra for? A visit to the Taj Mahal should not be missed, especially for those new to India.
- Dishes not to be missed: We recommend the Sheroes Café for dining. This café is an initiative for women who have survived acid attacks and make a living here. There are no fixed prices, you only pay what you want.
The metropolis has an old and a new part of town and there is plenty to discover in both. But nowhere does the true heart of India beat more chaotically than in Old Delhi. Here you will find crowds, bazaars, rickshaw drivers, animals and street vendors of all kinds. To pave your way through the turmoil, you need good nerves and stamina.
To get an insight into the history of India, some sightseeing highlights are on the program in Delhi. These include the India Gate, the Red Fort, the Qutub Minar and the Jama Masjid, the largest mosques in India. If you can't make it to Agra, you should visit the Humayun mausoleum, because the impressive building is considered to be the forerunner of the Taj Mahal.
- Insider tip: Visit the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the Sikh temple. Everyone is welcome here regardless of religion and there is a kitchen that cooks over 10,000 meals a day for those in need. Everyone can eat here and help with the cooking.
- How do you get thereFlights to New Delhi
- Who is Delhi for? City lovers and die-hard people - Delhi is pure chaos.
- Dishes not to be missed: All the states of India have a house in Delhi, a kind of embassy. Most of them have their own restaurant, which is also open to visitors and allows them to try the cuisine of the various countries.
Varanasi is one of the holiest cities for Hindus in India and here life is determined by the Ganges. Every evening you can see the Ganga Arti on the bank, a ritual in which the mother Ganges is thanked and good night is said.
Right next to it you can see the city's crematoria. Devout Hindus are burned here on the banks of the river and their ashes are scattered in the Ganges. It is said that those who die and are burned in Varansi are freed from the cycle of reincarnation. Both are best observed from the water, but you have to keep a suitable distance from the incineration sites - photography is allowed, but only from a distance.
- Insider tip: It is also said that Varanasi is the birthplace of the Kamasutra - shopping is all the rage.
- How do you get thereFlights to Varanasi
- Who is Varanasi for? For the spiritual
- Dishes not to be missed: Breakfast such as B. Kachori which is freshly baked in the fat and filled with dal.
Jaisalmer is surrounded by golden dunes
Jaisalmer is also called the Golden City and you can quickly see why. The ocher-colored houses and the surrounding sand dunes sparkle particularly beautifully in the evening light. The city in the far west of India on the border with Pakistan is hot and dry and the ideal starting point for a trip into the desert.
Even if there are many great forts and temples to visit here, Jaisalmer is an event especially for desert lovers. With the jeep or the camel you can explore the dunes from the outskirts and experience a world far from civilization in the Thar desert. You sleep directly under the stars or in a tent - ideal to relax after a bumpy camel ride with a romantic campfire.
- Insider tip: At sunrise you should visit the Gadi Sagar Lake, now its temples, which are almost floating in the water, are particularly beautiful.
- How do you get there You can get to Jaisalmer cheaply by bus from Jaipur or Jodphur.
- Who is Jaisalmer for? Desert adventurers and those who don't shy away from the heat.
- Dishes not to be missed: Ker Sangri, a vegetarian dish made from desert beans and capers.
Jodhpur looks like a cool oasis on the eyes, because the city is also called the Blue City. Many of the houses are either painted blue or have blue roofs. Some say the color keeps temperatures cool, while others say it keeps mosquitoes away. No matter what the real reason is, the blue is a real feast for the eyes and you have a particularly great view of the city from the Mehrangarh Fort.
The hustle and bustle in the old city is also incredibly charming. You should definitely not miss the Jodhpur Stepwell and the Jaswant Thada. This impressive palace is made of white marble that sparkles in the sun and is especially exciting for photographers.
- Insider tip: Be sure to take a tour to see the Bishnoi, a tree-loving people near Jodhpur.
- How do you get thereFlights to Jodhpur or the train
- Who is Jodhpur for? Hobby photographers
- Dishes not to be missed: Mishrilal Lassi that tastes like lime and that you drink straight out of the hand.
Leh in Ladakh
Sniffing the mountain air is on the program in Leh
A real mountain paradise is waiting for you in Leh because it is not for nothing that the small town is called the entrance to heaven, while Ladakh stands for paradise. It is one of the highest cities in the world and here you are literally close to heaven. Altitude sickness is common, so seek medical advice before you travel.
The history of the area is eventful and even today not always peaceful, but Ladakh is one of the safest areas in Kashmir. There is a lot of art and history to discover as well as particularly beautiful regional handicrafts. You will also find several monasteries and stupas here that are worth a visit.
- Insider tip: How about a round of golf on the highest golf course in the world?
- How do you get thereFlights to Leh
- Who is Leh suitable for? For everyone who wants to touch the sky.
- Dishes not to be missed: Momos with mutton. The steamed dumplings from the Himalayan regions are also very popular here.
There are idyllic islands on the Andaman Islands
If you don't feel like going to the Seychelles or Maldives or don't have a budget, you will find a similar paradise on the Andaman Islands off the east coast of India. White sandy beaches lined with palm trees, crystal clear water and great diving areas - romantic island dreams come true here.
The 300 or so islands are located in the middle of the Bay of Bengal and are the ideal destination to play a little Robinson Crusoe. There are only overnight accommodations on three of the islands - pure secluded idyll. The other islands are home to traditional tribes that have been settled here for centuries. Many have little contact with the outside world and live the traditional way as their forefathers did.
A visit to the Andamans is the highlight of any trip to India, especially for divers. Incredible biodiversity, well-preserved coral reefs and fantastic views attract mermaids from all over the world. But nature fans also get their money's worth above the surface of the water, because the Andamans are a paradise for biologists.
- Insider tip: With a local guide, you can also visit the other islands and the indigenous tribes that live there.
- How do you get thereFlights to Port Blair
- Who are the Andaman Islands suitable for? Divers and Mermaids
- Dishes not to be missed: Island food - jackfruit, coconut and fresh fish.
Hampi is a climber's paradise
Hampi is small and incredibly relaxed, which is reason enough that the town has developed into one of the most popular backpacker destinations in India. The former capital of the Vijayanagara empire and formerly the largest city in the world, is now rather sleepy. Nevertheless, a visit is worthwhile, because the ruins of the city are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are a unique open-air museum.
All around you will find pure nature and a unique landscape made of large granite chunks that are reminiscent of the Flintstones. Rent a bike and discover the surrounding landscape with the remains of the Vijayanagara dynasty and the idyllic rice fields. Otherwise there are great hiking routes with wonderful viewpoints and very sporty people use the large boulders to boulder.
- Insider tip: In summer, temperatures rise to over 40 degrees, while in winter it is still a pleasant 24 degrees. Therefore, the best time to travel is from October to March.
- How do you get there By train from Goa or Kerala or by bus from Hospet, from where you have connections to major cities in the area.
- Who is Hampi for? Backpacker
- Dishes not to be missed: The vegetarian Udupi cuisine is at home here, which, thanks to the Satvik tradition, also excludes onions and garlic.
Rishikesh is hip and was loved by greats like the Beatles (this is where the song “The Happy Hrishikesh Song” was written) and other stars for a reason. It is also considered the gateway to the Himalayas and from here you can quickly reach the source of the holy Ganges, which rises at an altitude of 4000 meters. It is one of the most religious places in India, which also means that neither meat nor alcohol is served here.
When visiting, you should definitely not miss a rafting tour and even a swim in the Ganges. Since Rishikesh is so close to the source, the water here is still incredibly clean. You are now in the yoga capital of the world and the ideal place for everyone who practices yoga on a regular basis. Even newbies shouldn't come to Rishikesh without taking an hour - there is a wide range of yoga and meditation options for all levels.
- Insider tip: In February and March the gurus gather in the city and it is high season for the Yoga Teacher Training. In addition, the International Yoga Festival is now taking place. Seasoned yogis think that's great, but it also means that the small town is now extremely crowded.
- How do you get there By train
- Who is Rishikesh for? For spiritual and yogis
- Dishes not to be missed: Beatles fans eat pasta arrabiata in the Beatles Café.
The Darjeeling district is located in West Bengal and borders Nepal and Bhutan. This leads to a high degree of ethnic diversity and to the fact that Nepali and Tibetan are also spoken here. The area is a real, small melting pot at the foot of the Himalayas.
Darjeeling is synonymous with tea and is known for its tea fields. The lofty heights (between 1500 and 2500 meters) not only make tea cultivation possible, but was also the reason that Darjeeling was a popular holiday destination during British colonial rule. The "Hill Station" was considered a place of relaxation for residents of the hot Kolkata - perfect for you, too, if you need to cool off during your trip to India.
- Insider tip: Don't miss a ride on the toy train.
- How do you get thereFlights to Bagdogra
- Who is Darjeeling suitable for? For tea and mountain lovers
- Dishes not to be missed: Tea, tea, and more tea.
Pushkar is particularly popular during the annual camel market
Pushkar is another holy city in India and the most important pilgrimage site. There are 400 temples and 52 ghats here, which were created as a bathing place for pilgrims on the lake. The Pushkarsee is sacred because legend has it that the creator god Brahma dropped a lotus leaf here, causing water to arise in the desert.
Especially during the Mela, a blessed full moon phase in October / November, a particularly large number of believers make a pilgrimage to Pushkar to take a holy bath and to ask for release from the cycle of rebirths. The festival is also an impressive backdrop for visitors and is the largest and most colorful festival in Rajasthan.
- Insider tip: The annual camel market also takes place during the Pushkar Mela - a spectacle not to be missed, even if you don't want to buy a camel.
- How do you get there By bus, train or camel
- Who is Pushkar suitable for? Pilgrims and camel friends
- Dishes not to be missed: Since Pushkar is so sacred that there are neither eggs nor alcohol (and of course no meat), you shouldn't miss a bhang lassi. Made with the dried leaves and small inflorescences of the cannabis plant, it is quite intoxicating.
Get ready for something. The densely populated Mumbai, whose seven boroughs on the island of Salsette are home to 12 million people, can be the purest anthill. This is the economic center of the country and accordingly skyscrapers are lined up here. Kala Ghoda has a fantastic selection of museums, while the Hanging Gardens on Malabar Hill are a must for selfie enthusiasts. You should definitely pay a visit to the historical monument "Gateway of India", which is permanently surrounded by pigeons.
Another highlight are the city's famous markets, with the curiosity and jewelry market in the Colaba district being particularly recommended. A traditional performance (in Hindi) at the Prithvi Theater in Juhu is also very rewarding. If you are drawn to the beaches, you should be content with relaxing on the sand - the water here is uninviting.
- Insider tip: Mumbai is also home to Bollywood, the Indian film industry that produces over 1000 films a year. How about a studio tour?
- How do you get thereFlights to Mumbai
- Who is Mumbai for? Bollywood and big city fans
- Dishes not to be missed: Street food is popular in Mumbai and tastes different here than in the rest of the country. What started as a Chaat from Uttar Pradesh has acquired a very special note over the years thanks to onions, garlic and lots of red chili powder.
Calcutta (also Kolkata) is a city of contrasts, which sometimes demands a lot from its visitors. The high levels of poverty cannot be overlooked, especially considering the obvious wealth expressed in the perfectly manicured golf courses, polo fields and wealthy private clubs.
Despite all the poverty - or maybe because of it - Calcutta is known as the City of Culture and has produced numerous Nobel Prize winners and award-winning writers, poets and other celebrities. Immerse yourself in the ubiquitous contradictions and stroll along the riverside Eden Garden Promenade that takes you past the local cricket field, attend the annual book fair in January - the world's most popular of its kind - or watch a movie at the Kolkata Film Festival in November .
- Insider tip: Visit the house of Mother Theresa, who spent a lot of time in the city during her lifetime and is buried here.
- How do you get thereFlights to Calcutta
- Who is Calcutta for? Art & culture fans
- Dishes not to be missed: A Kati Roll (a kind of Indian burrito) at Nizam’s, which was invented here.
Mysore is a real beauty. The jewel of the city is undoubtedly the Amba Vilas Maharajah Palace, with its red domes and kaleidoscopic stained glass decor inside. The best day to visit is Sunday: between 7 and 8 p.m. every corner of the facade is illuminated by thousands and thousands of lightbulbs.
Other architectural treasures include St. Philomena's Church and the stunning Lalit Mahal Palace Hotel, where you can enjoy British-style afternoon tea. Marvel at the art in the Mysore Sand Sculpture Museum and take a stroll through Brindavan Gardens, which are adorned with numerous fountains.
- Insider tip: Come during Mysore Dasara, one of India's most colorful festivals.
- How do you get there By bus or plane directly from Bangelore
- Who is Mysore for? For fans of color and opulence
- Dishes not to be missed: Mysore Pak, a local toffee-like dessert made with ghee.
Udaipur is for romantics
James Bond fans will know Udaipur from the movie Octopussy. Full of architectural gems and serene lakes, the city is the ideal place for a romantic getaway. The locals dress in colorful robes and the annual festival of colors, Holi, makes everything even more colorful. Even the buildings are thick - the city palace of Udaipur shines in the splendor of the numerous decorations made of mirror and stained glass.
Hariyali Amavasya Mela, the festival of the "green new moon", is celebrated at the artificial lakes and gives the city another highlight every August. If you're interested in local handicrafts, don't miss the Shilpgram Festival in November.
- Insider tip: Treat yourself to a night at the Taj Lake Palace, which is located in the middle of the picturesque Pichola Lake
- How do you get thereFlights to Udaipur
- Who is Udaipur for? Romantics
- Dishes not to be missed: Dal-baati-chorma, a highlight of Udaipur cuisine: dahl, wheat rolls and fried wheat crumbs with sugar
Goa is known for its beautiful beaches
Goa is arguably the most famous southern state in India and also the most popular. If you want tropical beaches and pure sun, this is the right place and so it is no wonder that Goa is also so popular with Indian travelers. For foreign visitors, Goa is just the right travel destination in India to arrive first - India “light”, so to speak.
A distinct Portuguese note can still be seen in Goa today, both in the architecture and in the kitchen. No matter whether you really want to party or want to experience pure nature and relax - you are right in Goa. Not only are the beaches world famous, the state also offers beautiful tropical forests and the Western Ghats Mountains.
- Insider tip: Anyone who comes before Lent can celebrate Carnival in Goa - a real highlight on the event calendar.
- How do you get thereFlights to Vasco da Gama
- Who is Goa for? Beach lover
- Dishes not to be missed: Bebinca, Goa's most popular dessert made from a layered cake made from eggs, coconut milk, sugar and ghee.
Curious? You can find more travel inspiration and 15 travel tips that will help you see more of the world on the momondo blog.
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