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9x Must Sees in India | Fairytale scents and colors

India† The fairytale land of the maharajas and their majestic temples. The land of the holy Gandhi, the holy cow and the holy river Ganges. Of bathing Hindus and mystical ceremonies. The land of arid deserts and the pearly white Himalayan mountains. Indian wealth shines in the many palaces and colorful streets of Udaipur and Varanasi. But there is also poverty. Capital Delhi and largest city Mumbai are overflowing with people. Millions of people in streets, along rivers, in slums and on buses and trains. India is not an average country but a gigantic country that is full of culture, tradition and faith. An essential country for the seasoned world traveler, it's high time for a list of must-sees in India.

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Vaccinations for India

India is a beautiful and diverse country but also one with a number of health risks. Such is the food of street food in India by definition riskier than in other countries and you will need to get some vaccinations beforehand if you don't already have them. Always get good advice beforehand from an expert, for example the GGD.

The 9 must-sees of India

1.Agra | Taj Mahal

You cannot travel to India and not visit the Taj Mahal. That just doesn't exist. This colossal marble dome inlaid with precious stones and built in complete symmetry, is one of the New Wonders of the World. Of course you don't get that honor just like that. Located in Agra, the mausoleum was built in 1631 by the order of the Moghul prince Shah Jahan in honor of his late beloved Queen Mumtaz Mahal. It took some effort, 22 years and the labor of 20.000 workers, but then you have something. Try to visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise. The colors and glare of the sun provide a wonderful spectacle. And while you're in Agra, why not visit the haunted town of Fatehpur Sikri with its many abandoned palaces. The architecture in this town is one of a kind.

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Taj Mahal, Must sees in India
Taj Mahal, Must sees in India

Also read: Holi India | Festival Of Colors

2. Varanasi | The Holy City


On to Varanasi, where you will see India in all its glory and authenticity. This Holy City is located on the Ganges River. Here you can see the many Hindus ritual baths in the morning to wash themselves from their sins. Along the water are dozens of temples on ghats. These are platforms that descend with stairs into the water. Varanasi is colorful and busy as you would expect from an Indian city. Small streets, narrow alleys, busy shops, Indian women dressed in saris, painted men silent in prayer while candles with lotus flowers shimmer through the steamy morning mist.

A stay in ancient Varanasi is a homecoming in a spiritual world. Ceremonies and even cremations along the Ganges are performed publicly. Get on the boat and let yourself be carried along this sacred river, it is the best way to experience Varanasi. Plenty of temples to visit: the Durga temple, guarded by mischievous rhesus monkeys and the Viswanath temple with its shiny domes, greet you with honor and respect.

3. Jaipur | The Pink City

Jaipur, Must sees in India
Jaipur, Must sees in India

The capital, Jaipur, is located in the state of Rajasthan. The pink of the marble of Hawa Mahal – Palace of the Winds – and the sandstones gave Jaipur its nickname 'Pink City'. Hawa Mahal is impressive: the beautiful palace that was built for the harem of the Maharaja was the window to the world for the many women. They could peek out unseen through 600 windows. The Chandra Mahal moon palace and the City Palace in the middle of the old town are also beautiful places to visit. The parks and gardens with fragrant flowers and pure nature take you effortlessly into another world. Just outside Jaipur you will find the ruins of the town of Ambèr. Here you can climb the hill to Fort Ambèr where you can enter the palace of the maharaja and admire the magnificent hall of mirrors.

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4.Goa | Hippies in trance

Goa, Must sees in India
Goa, Must sees in India

Music, Hindu celebrations, festivals and nights of trance: these are the brooding ingredients of the state of Goa with its capital Panaji (formerly Old Goa). Located on the west coast, Goa has a surprisingly varied landscape. White sandy beaches, cool rock formations, dunes, palm trees and quiet coves form the backdrop to this area, which is best known for its hippie culture. A medley of ravers, hippies, tattooed free souls and techno fanatics flock to the beaches of Anjuna and Vagator. Beautiful beaches where you immediately taste the quirky atmosphere that characterizes Goa. Mind you, you have to be interested in this. Not everyone is in favor of the free way of life of these residents.

The sandy beaches of Palolem and Gokarna are also wonderful places where the relaxed environment in particular immediately grabs you. Chaotic India seems very far away for a while. Old Goa is still a special attraction. Portuguese churches and serene monasteries show the region from a completely different side. No raves and endless techno parties for a while. The most beautiful seaside resort is without a doubt Baga. The disadvantage is that the more expensive hotels and resorts have found their place here.

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5. Jaisalmer | The Golden City

Jaisalmer, the golden city in India
Jaisalmer, the golden city in India

The city of Jaisalmer is exotically located on the edge of the Thar desert. The place that is also called the Golden City is again a city in itself. Through the sun gate you enter the historic citadel where old merchant houses, narrow alleys, ancient temples and the fairytale Jaisalmer Fort dominate the streets. The colorful dresses that the women wear here are famous. Many backpackers and travelers come to this remote place on the border of India and Pakistan to take a trip to the desert. On a camel you make a journey of several days, including overnight stays under the pitch black desert sky. Also cool is surfing on the sand dunes! You won't be seeing that again anytime soon.

6. Darjeeling | tea at height

Darjeeling, Must sees in India
Darjeeling, Must sees in India

From one extreme to the other. From desert up to the mountains of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. Here, on the flanks of Mount Kanchenjunga (8586 m) you will find the world famous Indian mountain village of Darjeeling. This name is of course a matter of course, especially among tea drinkers. Darjeeling is located at an altitude of 2600 m and has an excellent climate where tea plantations flourish in a beautiful environment. The smells blowing around are overwhelming, you would spontaneously say goodbye to coffee and only want to drink tea. Near Darjeeling is the Tibetan Monastery of Ghoom and lookout point Tiger Hill. From this place you have an astonishing view of Mount Everest. The area surrounding Darjeeling is truly beautiful and makes the train journey well worth it.

7. Kerala | Paradise in India

Kerala, India
Kerala, India

Massages, soothing yoga, surrounded by palm trees, plantations and desirable beaches: that's Kerala in a nutshell. This state is located in southwestern India and has the longest beaches in the world. An overnight stay in one of the tree villas is highly recommended. A tour of this area takes you from the silk city of Mysore past the Tholpetty National Park – where you can spot elephants with a bit of luck – to end up at the island town of Cochin. Kerala, with its jungles and wooded characteristics, is quite rightly the green emerald of India. Spices are grown everywhere along the coast, hence the nickname Spice Coast. You can smell the delicious spices from miles away. Kerala is best known for its backwaters: a large system of rivers and canals. Hop on a houseboat and travel the waters of these extraordinary backwaters. Tea plantations, rice fields and beautiful flora & fauna pass by.

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8. Chennai | Hindu tradition

Chennai, Must sees in India
Chennai, Must sees in India

The city of Chennai, formerly Madras, takes you back to the origins of the true Hindu tradition. Here in the province of Tamil Nadu you step into the world of the Raj culture and the classical dance of the Hindus: Bharata Natyam. Chennai is a place where past and present are effortlessly in harmony. All the colors of the rainbow shine towards you in this fourth city of India. Chennai is located on the Bay of Bengal, so you can also stretch out on the miles of beaches here. The most beautiful temple is undoubtedly the Shiva temple of Kapaleeshwarar. While in Chennai, don't forget to lose yourself in the shops of Spencer Plaza and race directly on a rickshaw to the legendary film studios of MGR Filmcity.

Want to see even more of Chennai? Our neighbors from safeandhealthytravel.com recently wrote a nice blog about all Highlights of Chennai with even more sights, tips for good food and nice hotels to stay in. Have fun!

9. Delhi | Capital of capitals

Delhi, india
Delhi, india

Of course you can't leave India without visiting the capital. The city consists of Old and New Delhi. The smells and colors can be overwhelming on arrival, as can the unprecedented crowds. Certainly, there are many beggars and poverty is dripping through the remote streets. Still, meeting Delhi is a wonderful experience. Think of the Qutab mosque or the Chadni Chowk trade center full of shops and historical monuments. And what about the beautiful mosque Jama Mashid? Or the Red Fort Lal Kila? Delhi has an incredible amount of sights and attractions. Don't forget to visit the Raj Ghat tomb of India's most famous person: Mahatma Gandhi.

Do you want to map out your own route? Then take advantage of the Golden Triangle, a route that leads past Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. During this trip you will pass the capital Delhi, the Taj Mahal in Agra, the spiritual Varanasi and the holy Ganges. From the busy and chaotic city life you end up in serene temples, the landscape around you changes every day.

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  • You forget about world tallest statue,
    Statue of unity in India (gujrat)

  • Hi Monica,

    Thank you for your nice words! We could possibly add the Golden Temple in Amritsar and the other points you mentioned to the article, but unfortunately I have not been there myself and have no pictures of it.

    If you would like to provide some pieces of text and some photos, you can send them to [email protected]† I'll make sure it's okay! AND of course a credit/name will accompany it that it is your work/property.

    Best regards,


  • What a great site that makes my heart beat faster. To India I would like to add… The golden temple in Amritsar (so very beautiful what takes place there), Rishikesh with the long walkway over the Ganges with the wonderful name Lakhs Manjula. The Himalayas with the Tibetan settlement Mc Leod Ganj in Dharamsala. The fresh air in Munnar, Ponicherry, Kochi
    Sweet but also fierce country

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