No wonder it was described once as the “jewel of the British Empire”—with a tremendous pluralism, immense cultural heritage, and huge population, India might as well be described as the Jewel of Asia! Home to the Indus Valley Civilisation, India is a culturally rich country where no visitor is bound to boredom. No, sir. Impressive monuments to love like the legendary Taj Mahal, towering fortresses like the Agra Fort, the bustling commercial centres at Mumbai and Delhi, or the most romantic natural getaways like the mountains and valleys of Kashmir; India is simply an immense collection of exciting sights, rich culture, extraordinary cuisine, and above all, adventure.
The largest city in India, Delhi is an immense collection of urban clusters that offer visitors an equally immense array of attractions full of rich culture and fun. Connaught Place is Delhi’s commercial and financial hub, attracting not only investors, but also thousands of visitors who do their shopping at Palika Bazaar, a colorful and traditional market. A stroll through Lodhi Gardens takes you to a fabulous site of grand mausoleums of impressive architectural heritage. You can also visit Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi’s most imposing edifice built to house the garden tombs of India’s famed Mughal emperors. Last but not least is the Red Fort, right in the centre of Delhi. This fortress is where India’s Prime Ministers preside over the colorful “national flag” parade on Independence Day.
This wonderful city combines two of India’s most remarkable icons of architectural achievement and monumental beauty: the legendary Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. What can be said of the Taj Mahal except that a visit to India is never complete without visiting this ultimate testament to love and beauty? And what’s more delightful is that, only 2.5 kms away, is the Agra Fort, the magnificent imperial residence of India’s Mughal rulers.
Known as the “Pink City of India”, Jaipur is in India’s famed ‘Golden Triangle’, which includes Delhi and Agra, themselves replete with architectural jewels and hundreds of attractions. Jaipu hosts magnificent palaces and temples, like Hawa Mahal and Galtaji.
Named an alpha world city in 2009, and hosting the largest number of billionaires in India, it’s no wonder Mumbai is known as India’s richest city. With a high standard of living, tremendous business hubs, Mumbai is a magnet for expats and visitors alike. Get the feel of Hollywood by visiting its Asian sister, Bollywood, and admire India’s famed film industry hub. Mumbai is also replete with shopping malls, galleries, theatres, and cinemas. You can also visit Girgaum Chopatty, Mumbai’s ‘Copacabana’ version of the famed beach in South America.
With astounding mountains and valleys, Kashmir is, simply put, the Asian Alps. Bordered by the towering Himalayas, Kashmir is a truly romantic abode of nature’s lovers: visit the gorgeous Pahalgam Valley or Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain on Earth. Srinagar, the capital, and nicknamed “Venice of the East”, is a city of lakes, palaces, temples, and fabulous gardens. Srinagar becomes stunning during spring and summer.
Best things to do in India
The Taj Mahal, Agra
Conceivably India's most recognizable building, the Taj Mahal, is also the world's most famous testimony to the power of love. Named after Mumtaz Mahal, the favorite wife of Emperor Shah Jahan, this most beautiful mausoleum was begun upon her death in 1631 and took 20,000 workers until 1648 to complete. Combining many elements of Islamic design, including arches, minarets, an onion-shaped dome, and black calligraphy inlaid around the entrance, the Taj Mahal is mainly white marble. Counting to its brilliance are delicate inlaid floral patterns and precious and semi-precious stones such as jade, lapis lazuli, diamonds, and mother of pearl.
Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya
Bodhgaya, believed the world's holiest Buddhist site, attracts thousands of visitors each year, all drawn to participate with the resident monks in meditation and prayer. The focal point of this place of pilgrimage is the stunning Mahabodhi Temple, built next to the very spot where Buddha came to Enlightenment and formulated his philosophy on life. Made in the 6th century and restored numerous times since the temple is topped with a gorgeous pyramidal spire and houses a giant gilded statue of Buddha.
The Golden City: Jaisalmer
So named for the golden sandstone used in most of its structures, the Golden City of Jaisalmer is an oasis of magnific old architecture that rises from the dunes of the Thar Desert. Once a strategic outpost, today the city is filled with grand old mansions; magnificent gateways; and the massive Jaisalmer Fort, also known as the Golden Fort, a daunting 12th-century structure that rises high above the town.
The Beaches of Goa
Lengthy known within India as the "go-to" goal for those seeking a great beach vacation, Goa's stunning western coastline, watching the Arabian Sea, has only recently been discovered by tourists from overseas. Goa's more than 60 miles of coastline is home to some of the world's most beautiful beaches, each with its particular appeal.
For those looking for quiet, isolated Agonda Beach is a good choice, while Calangute Beach is the most commercial and crowded. For those in search of posh resorts, yoga getaways, and spa vacations, the beaches of Mandrem, Morjim, and Ashwem are fashionable among wealthy Indians and Westerners alike. Palolem is another one of Goa's famous beaches in a beautiful setting.
Built as a military structure in 1565 by Emperor Akbar with later additions by Shah Jahan, the stunning Agra Fort (also known as Agra's Red Fort) is an exciting mix of Hindu and Muslim influences.
Located a little more than two kilometers from the Taj Mahal, the fort is documented through Amar Singh Gate with its low outer wall and dogleg design built to confuse attackers. Once inside, you'll see two sizeable interlinked sandstone establishments, Akbari Mahal and Jahangiri Mahal, the largest private residence in the complex.
Rebuilt in 1897 after a devastating fire, this beautiful three-storied palace features highlights such as its great square towers and domes; the many ornate ceilings and pillars in Durbar Hall; and the splendid Marriage Pavilion, with its glazed floor tiles, stunning stained glass, artworks, and displays of jewelry. It's also where, on special occasions, the exquisite Golden Throne is exhibited. The sprawling city of Mysore is a pleasure to troll, thanks to its eclectic mix of fine old colonial architecture, regal Indian palaces, and lush, well-manicured gardens. At the same time, those inclined towards shopping will enjoy spending time in the city's famous silk and sandalwood bazaars, the magnificent Mysore Palace's main attraction.