Travel while you’re still young. Lose yourself to find your own self. Live like there’s no tomorrow. And whatever you’ll explore today will last a lifetime with you. So, here’s a list of 70 amazing tourist places to visit in India before you turn 30. What are you waiting for? It’s time to pack your bags and set on a journey to scratch off a few destinations from your bucket list.
Choice of vacation destinations in India seem to be infinite; from scenic destinations to historically and culturally soaked sites, from cities bustling with chaos and confusion to destinations offering laid-back and relaxed stays. Amidst this huge list of destinations, there is always a dilemma of choosing a destination that is really worth a visit. Well! Relieving you of this dilemma, here is a list of top 15 destinations that make it to the list of ‘Must-Visit’ destinations in India for all travellers. Let’s now, find out the reasons as to why this is so.
Varanasi (Hindustani pronunciation: [ʋaːˈraːɳəsi] ), also known as Benares, Banaras (Banāras [bəˈnaːrəs], or Kashi (Kāśī [ˈkaːʃi] ), is a city on the banks of the river Ganga in Uttar Pradesh, India, 320 kilometres (200 mi) south-east of the state capital, Lucknow, and 121 kilometres (75 mi) east of Allahabad. A major religious hub in India, it is the holiest of the seven sacred cities (Sapta Puri) in Hinduism and Jainism and played an important role in the development of Buddhism and Ravidassia. Varanasi lies along National Highway 2, which connects it to Kolkata, Kanpur, Agra, and Delhi, and is served by Varanasi Junction railway station and Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport.
According to Hindu mythology, Varanasi was founded by Shiva, one of three principal deities along with Brahma and Vishnu. During a fight between Brahma and Shiva, one of Brahma’s five heads was torn off by Shiva. As was the custom, the victor carried the slain adversary’s head in his hand and let it hang down from his hand as an act of ignominy, and a sign of his own bravery. A bridle was also put into the mouth. Shiva thus dishonoured Brahma’s head and kept it with him at all times. When he came to the city of Varanasi in this state, the hanging head of Brahma dropped from Shiva’s hand and disappeared in the ground. Varanasi is therefore considered an extremely holy site.
A city immersed in a splendid Mughal charm, Agra needs no introduction. Home to the eternal symbol of love, the iconic ‘Taj Mahal‘, Agra finds one of the topmost places on the world heritage map. Having to its acclaim of being the only city in the world glittering with three world heritage sites, Agra definitely makes it to the list of popular Indian travel destinations. With its three gems, the impressive Taj Mahal, magnificent Agra Fort and splendid Fatehpur Sikri; the city lures thousands of tourists including historians and art lovers from all across India and the world. From savouring on the city’s authentic and traditional Mughlai flavours, shopping in the lively markets teeming with marble handicrafts adorned with fine inlay carvings and fine leather items, watching the epic of the timeless love between Shah Jahan and his beloved, Noor Jahan coming to life at the ‘Kalakriti Cultural & Convention Center’ to soaking your spirits in the enthralling fiesta of the ‘Taj Mahotsav‘, there is much more to do in the historic city of Agra than just exploring its monuments. For a more closer and adventurous face off with this cultural city, get on an off the beaten path journey and explore the narrow alleyways of the old city, ancient temples or visit the renowned poet, Mirza Ghalib’s birthplace
The land of majestic snow-capped mountains, serene alpine glacial lakes, enchanting valleys and ancient colourful Buddhist monasteries, Leh-Ladakh is one of the ‘must-visit’ destinations in India for nature lovers and people seeking peace and serenity away from the busy city lives. Being home to plenty of serene alpine glacial lakes, some of the world’s highest mountain passes and high-altitude scenic trekking trails, Ladakh is also a dream destination for intrepid travellers and adventure freaks across India and different corners of the world. Be it the feeling of extreme spirituality and divinity listening to the chants and hymns of lamas in the ‘Hemis Monastery’, the tranquillity of ‘Pangong Lake’ offering an indescribable sense of peace and solitude, an unforgettable adventurous experience of trekking on the frozen ‘Zanskar River’, the fun of a unique sand-dune safari sitting on the back of Bactrian camel discovering the rugged landscapes of ‘Nubra Valley’ or the excitement of spotting a snow leopard in the thick of the ‘Hemis National Park’ – Ladakh has in its store, something for its every tourist. Being part of the colourful ‘Hemis Festival‘ is something which must definitely be on the itineraries of every tourist to the mystic land of Leh-Ladakh.
Ellora & Ajanta Caves
In the state of Maharashtra, you can explore the caves of both Ellora and Ajanta. At Ellora, there is an enormous complex of shrines carved from the rocky landscape. These 34 cave shrines are up to 1,500 years old, and they are from three distinct religions: Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. Two hours away is Ajanta, which is also home to 29 caves. The Ajanta caves are covered in murals and paintings, most of which reflect Buddhist stories. While the two cave complexes are two hours away from one another, it is well worth visiting both to compare these incredible attractions.
Also known as the ‘Land of Golden Sand’, Jaisalmer in Rajasthan is a beautiful city known for its rich cultural heritage and stories of bravery and chivalry of the great Rajput rulers. An exotic city set amidst endless stretches of golden Thar Desert, Jaisalmer spells a magnetic pull at travellers sitting in different corners of the world. Be it the magnificence of the ‘Sonar Quila’ or the ‘Jaisalmer Fort’ beaming in its full glory, the magical charisma of the ancient ‘Salim Ji ki Haveli‘, ‘Nathmal Ji ki Haveli‘ and ‘Patwon-ki-Haveli‘ reminding us of the royal grandeur of erstwhile wealthy Rajput merchants, an enthralling experience of ‘Sand Dune Bashing’, a rustic charm of a ‘Camel Safari’ exploring infinite stretches of golden sand or an unforgettable culinary experience of authentic Rajasthani cuisine; Jaisalmer impresses its every visitor with an extensive range of cultural offerings.
The annual ‘Jaisalmer Desert Festival‘ is a visual treat to eyes and it makes much sense to plan for a holiday trip to Jaisalmer during this festival. Folk dances, cultural musical performances, campfires under the open starlit sky, enthralling camel shows, local hats selling exquisite jewellery and handicrafts; exuberance and vivaciousness of this gala event can be seen at every nook and corner of the city. One of the most colourful and vibrant places, Jaisalmer, for sure is one of the most striking places to visit in India.
Pristine backwaters, coconut fringed beaches, rejuvenating Ayurvedic massages and colourful festivals; Yes! You guessed it right. I am talking about God’s own country, Kerala, one of the most picturesque places in India with a footfall of thousands of tourists every year. Tucked between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats, Kerala has been blessed with immense natural beauty. Besides serene backwaters and pristine beaches, Kerala is also home to the scenic hill station and numerous wildlife sanctuaries. Offering an umpteen number of tourist activities, a trip to Kerala is a ‘must-have’ experience for every traveller across the world. From memorable houseboat stays on backwaters of Alleppey, nature walks through lush slopes and sprawling tea gardens of ‘Munnar’, thrilling elephant rides at the ‘Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary’ to watching mesmerizing Kathakali performance at the ‘Kathakali Centre’; Kerala is a destination worth visiting once in a lifetime.
When in Kerala, you simply cannot miss gorging on the aromatic Kerala food served traditionally on banana leaves or experiencing a rustic stay in a treehouse. A vibrant temple festival showcasing the cultural legacy of the state or observing the massive Chinese Fishing nets being operated by the fishermen on the beach of Fort Kochi is also something you will find only in Kerala