Best attractions in India: Top 25

Ancient and mysterious India, although it belongs to the “third world” countries, still attracts countless visitors. And all because it has a unique history and culture, the monuments of which have survived throughout the country. But the attractions of India are not only temples and fortresses. There are also many lush parks and nature reserves, where tourists can see in the natural environment of rare animals. And the rest on the quiet Indian beaches will be remembered for a lifetime. Do not know what to see in India? Especially for you we have compiled a list of the most popular attractions of this country.

What to see in India first

Use the list we have made, choosing excursions in India, because not always the route turns out to be interesting enough and meets the needs of tourists. Along with detailed descriptions of attractions we offer to look at pictures in order to get a clear idea of where you will visit during the holidays.

1. Taj Mahal (Agra)

Taj Mahal - a monument of eternal love

The sights of India include many different architectural monuments and structures. One of the most famous is the Taj Mahal.

If you do not yet know what to visit in India, go to this mysterious and magical place. The historic building reaches 75 meters in height and is striking in its majesty. The Mausoleum Mosque is one of the new 7 Wonders of the World. It was built in the 17th century by order of Padishah Shah Jahan to commemorate his wife who died in childbirth.

The domes and walls are made of white marble. On either side of the mausoleum are 2 pavilions, one a mosque and the other for receiving guests. Taj Mahal is surrounded by a large beautiful park with a total area of 18 hectares. The park is decorated with fountains, small lakes and canals.

You can get into the mausoleum through the Eastern, Southern, and Western gates. At the entrance to pass a strict control, which is that it is allowed to take with you only water and a camera. Inside the building are the actual tombs of the Shah and his wife Mumtaz Mahal, decorated with precious stones.

The best time to visit the mausoleum is early in the morning. The only day of the week when the Taj Mahal is closed to visitors is Friday. That day is dedicated to prayers.

Official website: https://www.tajmahal.gov.in



2. Hampi and ruins of Vijayanagar (Karnataka state)

Vijayanagar Ruins

Thinking of what to see in India? Don’t hesitate to go to the village of Hampi. It is located among the ruins of the former empire capital of Vijayanagar.

Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the many cultural and architectural monuments that have been preserved in this village. Hampi is also one of India’s main religious centers thanks to the still active Virupaksha Temple.

The temple is the epitome of architectural art. The altar is surrounded by a complex of musical columns that make different sounds when tapped. A street also surrounded by relief columns leads to the main entrance. Also in the temple you can admire the statues of the gods and various animals. A distinctive feature of the temple is the presence of a chariot made of stone, which is a copy of the original chariot.

It is also worth seeing the temple of Shiva, which is located underground. In Hampi, you can admire not only the temples, but also other architectural structures: the statue of Narasimha, the royal scales, the tower Mahanavami Dibba.

Hampi is also famous for its religious and entertainment festivals. The largest festival is the Hampi Festival. All sorts of artists, musicians, a festive parade, dancing and fireworks all take place at the festival. And the largest religious celebration is the Virupaksha Chariot Festival. Here the main participants are statues of the god and goddess, as the festival symbolizes their marriage. They are loaded onto a chariot and driven through the main street. All this is accompanied by a colorful procession.

The sights of India, especially such as Hampi and the ruins of Vijayanagar, will not leave anyone indifferent - want to visit again and again this mysterious country.



3. Red Fort (Agra)

The Red Fort in Agra

If you ask the question what to see in India, most people won’t name any other sights besides the Taj Mahal. In fact, there are plenty of other interesting places, among them is the Red Fort in Agra above the Yamuna River. If you decided to visit the Taj Mahal, you will be on your way, because the distance between them is only two and a half kilometers.

This fortress is called red because it is made of reddish stone. It is erected, to be exact, reconstructed in 1565 by order of Akbar the Great. The building is made in the form of a semi-circle, has two entrances - the Lahore Gate and the Delhi Gate, and around it is a 21-meter wall. Inside you can see several Islamic mosques, beautiful gardens and the residence of the rulers.

Previously Agra, near where the fort is located, was the capital of India, but then the title went back to Delhi. There is a fee to enter the complex. During the Mughal dynasty, it served as the residence of the Padishah. This structure is one of the most popular attractions in India, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unfortunately, part of the fortress is still used by the military, and tourists are not allowed into all its corners.

Official site: https://www.asiagracircle.in

4. Gateway of India (Mumbai)

Gateway of India in Mumbai

The primary attraction of the city of Mumbai is the Gateway of India. It is a colossal basalt arch structure, 26 meters high, located on the shores of the Arabian Sea. It was built under the direction of architect George Whittet to commemorate the visit of the English King George the Fifth. Construction began in 1911. It took four years to reinforce the shoreline alone, and the total construction lasted 13 years. The Indian authorities almost completely financed the construction of the structure. The gate is also associated with the declaration of India’s independence, when the last British soldiers came out through it.

There are many legends about the Gate of India. It is said that one should pass through the Gate only with good intentions, otherwise Mumbai will be inhospitable. At the moment, India Gate is considered to be the most popular place in Mumbai.

5. Periyar National Park (Kerala)

Walks in Periyar Park

The beauty of the Kardamom Mountains, the babbling of the Pambiyar River, the fertile Periyar Lake and countless varieties of exotic plants, the mysteries of the animal world. All this in one place - Periyar National Park.

No other attraction in India can boast of such popularity. In just one year almost 4 million tourists come here.

The Kerala Park received the status of National Park back in 1982. Today it occupies almost 350 sq. km. 70% of this area is covered with evergreen forests. Each visitor has the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of more than 2500 plant species. 350 of them are used for medicinal purposes, and some plants can grow to a height of 40-50 meters.

As for the local fauna, it is represented by more than 62 species of mammals. Of particular interest to tourists is the behavior in the natural environment of tigers, elephants, zebras, buffalo, mongoose and leopards. In addition to them, the park is home to many reptiles, birds and amphibians.

You can enjoy the moisture and coolness by going to the center of the park, where Lake Periyar is located.

Official website: https://periyartigerreserve.org

Feel the atmosphere of India in this beautiful video!

6. Mehrangarh (Rajasthan, Jodhpur)

Fort Mehrangarh in Jodhpur

Looking for what else to see in this amazing country? The grandiose fortification of Mehrangarh will amaze your imagination.

From the outside, tourists can see the high stone walls of the fort as well as the wide road that descends into the city of Jodhpur. Very close by is the memorial pavilion to the soldier who defended the fort.

The history of the site begins as far back as the 15th century. Over time, a town appeared near the foot of the fort. Mehrangarh rises almost 120 meters above Jodhpur. The height of the walls reaches 36 meters in some places. To enter the fort, one has to overcome seven gates. The most notable of them is the Victory Gate, which was erected in 1806.

On the territory of Mehrangarh (a total area of 0.2 km) are five luxurious palaces and a unique Indian museum. The latter is especially interesting for tourists because it contains traditional national costumes, as well as musical instruments, furniture, palanquins, miniatures.

You can learn more about the martial arts of the Indians by visiting the Armory. Here is a collection of knives, sabers, and the best armor from different periods of the principality.

Official website: https://www.mehrangarh.org

7. Akshardham (Delhi)

The Akshardham Hindu Temple in Delhi

Going on a trip, one outlines a plan of excursions. What sights in India are worth seeing? A very curious place is the Akshardham Hindu temple, made entirely of marble. It is located in the beautiful city Delhi across the river Yamuna, and was built not so long ago: it is just over ten years old.

The temple is a large complex, with gardens with fountains, artificial ponds, and bridges. The architecture of the building is mixed: in it you can see the tribute to tradition and modern style. What is also unique is that all the decoration and sculptures are made by hand. The shrine is made of pink marble inside and white with gilding on the outside.

In the sanctuary there is a movie theater, where tourists can watch an interesting film about religion, a museum where you can see historical exhibits, and watch the actors-robots. Tourists are taken on boats on the pools, telling fascinating stories about India and the Hindu gods.

In the evening, the temple is even more transformed: the lights come on, the fountain show begins. Time passes unnoticed while looking around Akshardham - so many amazing and unusual things here that one can’t help but divert the eyes! Those who choose to bring home tangible memories of their visit can buy souvenirs in the stores and stores, of which there are many in the territory of Akshardham.

Official website: https://akshardham.com

8. Mysore Palace (Mysore)

Mysore Palace

Many tourists wonder - what to visit in India is really luxurious? Be sure to see the Mysore Palace, the other name of the palace is Amba Vilas. The structure was built in the XIX century. It was originally the residence of the Maharajas.

The building is fascinating in its appearance and interior. The floor inside the palace is lined with mosaics, a lot of stained glass and mirrors. Entrance to the palace is through the wooden doors decorated with hand carvings. The style of the building can be called unique, because it is mixed three currents: Hindu, Muslim, Gothic. The palace consists of high towers, nine arches supported by columns, and especially original are the marble domes.

On the territory of the complex is a beautiful garden. In the autumn tourists can observe in Mysore Palace unusual festival, celebrated in honor of the victory of good over evil. The program includes curious parades of elephants, performances of artists. Inside the building you can see exhibitions of puppets, a marriage hall, a meeting room for the ruler, and an armory. The modern Mysore Palace is the fourth reconstruction of the buildings that burned down before.

9. The golden temple of Harmandir Sahib (Armitzar)

The Harmandir Sahib Golden Temple in Armsitsar

Not sure what to see in India to make a tour memorable? One obvious choice would be the Harmandir Sahib Temple, the main shrine of the Sikhs. It is popularly called the Golden Temple, because the outer facade is almost entirely, except for the lower tier, covered with gold. The building is situated near a lake whose waters are considered sacred and therapeutic by the locals. According to their beliefs, the pond contains the elixir of immortality. In ancient times, the shores of the lake were a favorite place for meditation of Hindu sages.

All tourists, regardless of their religion and nationality, are allowed into the temple. To show their openness to guests, the architects made four huge entrances on each side of the complex so that as many people as possible could visit the place. The gilded walls are inlaid with precious stones, hand-painted by the great artists of the era. Before entering the temple, the tourist must remove his or her shoes and perform the rite of foot washing.

Official website: https://sgpc.net

10. Palolem Beach (Goa)

Comfortable Palolem Beach

The sights of India are as mysterious and beautiful as the country itself. The famous Palolem Beach is located in the southern part of the state of Goa on the coast of the Arabian Sea. The place is considered one of the most beautiful in India, and even the natives call it the “Garden of Eden”.

The beach is surrounded by high headlands and is a naturally occurring bay. There are rarely any waves - the sea is almost always calm. The sand on the shore is surprisingly clean and the palm trees bend their leaves to the shore.

The length of the beach is just over 3 km. It has everything for a good and comfortable holiday:

  • sun beds;
  • umbrellas;
  • cafes and bars;
  • hotels;
  • rent kayaks, bicycles.

Palolem is literally filled with national color. Often you can see cows strolling right by the water. Along the coastline are the huts - houses with woven walls.

You can make sightseeing trips around the beach, for example, on the island of butterflies. Tourists have a lot of possibilities - from the usual holiday contemplating the beautiful sunsets to luxury yacht ride with diving. Developed infrastructure and the availability of wilderness areas attracts a large number of vacationers from Europe.

Sightseeing in India: what else to visit, being in India

Staying in this country gives a fairy-tale of completely different emotions, but no tourist will not forget a trip here, because there are so many stunningly beautiful places and unusual monuments! To learn more about the sights you see will help guides in India, which can be hired for a very modest fee.

11. Virupaksha Temple of Shiva (Hampi village, Karnataka state)

Virupaksha Temple is a pilgrimage site in Hampi

What to see in India other than beaches in Goa? The answers could be many. One of them is the Virupaksha Temple, a gem of architectural art. It is located in the small village of Hampi, Karnataka state.

According to many experts, the temple is the oldest in the whole country and is located on the ruins of the ancient city of Vijayanagara. The temple is dedicated to the god Shiva, referred to here as Virupakshi.

The main entrance to the shrine of Shiva is located in the western tower. From it one can reach the first courtyard and then the second courtyard. A path through another tower leads to the temple elephant Lakshmi. Also within the temple grounds one can see an old well, a hall with about 100 columns, the Ranga Mandala, one of the last structures of the temple.

The special construction of the temple allows the Tungabhadra River to flow as a canal through the local kitchen and outer courtyard. The shrine is a functioning temple where pilgrims come from all over the country. Festivals dedicated to Shiva and his wife Pampa are often held in the surrounding area, using the ancient chariot from the temple.

The sights of India in the village of Hampi, the Virupaksha temple among them, are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

12. Kei Gompa Tibetan Monastery (Spiti and Lahul District)

Tibetan Kay Gompa Monastery in India

Sightseeing in India attracts tourists with its spiritual content, purity and tranquility. The fortress monastery of Kei Gompa in Tibet is one such place.

Kei Gompa is located in the valley of Himachal Pradesh, actually in the center of the Himalayas at an altitude of over 4 thousand meters above sea level. Buddhist monastery was formed in the 11th century. The thousandth anniversary was attended by the Dalai Lama himself.

Numerous monks find shelter here in the cold season, and nearly 300 lamas are educated year-round. There are several rooms for tourists, where everyone can get a bed for the night. Local guides consider the Tibetan monastery to be the most interesting in terms of spiritual enlightenment. Among other things, it can offer its visitors various collections of sculpture groups, weapons, and musical instruments. The monastery has an extensive collection of ancient manuscripts and books of famous Buddhist lamas.

At the beginning of summer the inhabitants of the monastery organize a festival with a lot of ritual dances and burning of demonic spirits. Almost all the walls of the fortress consist of paintings and frescoes, which gives the structure a unique beauty.

13. Qutb Minar (New Delhi)

The Qutb Minar Brick Tower in New Delhi

What other interesting sights are there in India? In fact, there are a lot of them. One of the most visited places is the Qutb Minar Tower, which translates as “tower of victory.” It was built for almost 200 years. That’s why the architecture of the complex is mixed, as the architects and builders changed quite often.

It is the highest minaret on the planet. The tower originally belonged to the first Islamic ruler of India. It is made in the form of a cone of five tiers, and red and yellow sandstone was used as the material for the construction. The exterior of the building is very graceful - such an effect is created by the skillful carvings made by excellent craftsmen, as well as the decoration on the marble, which makes this hard stone look soft and supple.

There is a tomb, a gate, a minaret and a column of pure iron about seven meters high. In spite of the years and bad weather, this iron column has not rusted to this day. One wonders how the builders of this column were able to get chemically pure iron. There is also a tourist omen associated with it: if you stand with your back to the pillar, embrace it and make a wish, it will surely come true.

Official site: https://www.delhitourism.gov.in

14. The Basilica of Jesus in Old Goa (Panaji)

Basilica of Jesus in Old Goa in Panaji

Many tourists visiting this beautiful country wonder what to visit in India related to religions other than Hinduism and Buddhism. One church, called the Basilica of Jesus, is curious. The building is in the Baroque style. On the grounds of the church are the relics of the patron saint of Goa.

The construction of the temple was completed in 1605. The external appearance combines three currents: Ionic, Corinthian, Doric. Inside, as it should be, there is a sacred altar, a choir, and a sacristy. In the backyard are two chapels and a bell tower. One of the chapels, in which there are relics, is decorated with woodcarving, executed very skillfully and with great diligence. On it you can also see paintings depicting the patron saint of the city. The tomb itself, where the remains rest, is made of colored marble. Once a decade the relics can be worshipped - they are on display for free visits. It is believed that the relics have great healing powers.

The Basilica of Jesus is a masterpiece of architecture that is popular with tourists. Christians make pilgrimages here, but representatives of other religions do not pass by this place.

15. Ellora Caves: Temples in the Rocks (Maharashtra, Aurangabad)

Ellora Stone Temples

Seeing the historical sites of India is interesting for any tourist, even if he came here just to lie on the beach. These trips will cost you cheap, but the impressions of the visit remains a lot.

One of the most incredible places in this country is a complex of 34 temples. They were all built before the X century AD. A unique thing is that the temples are not one culture, but several: Hindu, Jain, Buddhist. The earliest caves of Ellora are Buddhist. They are the largest and most mesmerizing. The facade of the temples is in a solemn style. The complete opposite of them are the Hindu ones. The outer walls are covered with images of sacred episodes, which were carved in several stages. There are seventeen such caves in total. They occupy the entire central part of Ellora.

The youngest temples in the rock are Jain temples. It is possible to get to them by an asphalt road. The architectural tradition in which these caves are made can be called strict asceticism. The artistic decoration of the Jain temples is very elaborate.

Tourists are only allowed to take pictures while they are here. Nothing to take and take out of the complex can not - guards are strictly watching for this. And not in vain, because the caves of Ellora are included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO.

16. Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)

A view from the Ganges River of the ritual promenade in the holy city of Varanasi Ken Wieland
Varanasi City Sights Penyulap

One can explore the sights of ancient India starting from the oldest “living” city on earth, Varanasi. It is one of the sacred places for Hindus, the city of grand pilgrimage. Being a contemporary of Luxor and Babylon, the city differed from its contemporaries incredible resistance to the influence of time. Here are preserved a number of sanctuaries, most of which have been repeatedly ruined, but each time was restored. The dream of every Hindu believer is to complete his life’s journey here, to interrupt the series of reincarnations and thus break the notorious wheel of Sansara.

17. The Lotus Temple (New Delhi)

Night-lighting of the petals of the Lotus Temple in New Delhi Vandelizer

India in the 20th century distinguished itself by a huge number of extraordinary buildings, and among them is the Lotus Temple, erected in 1986. The unusual shape of its roof is not accidentally made in the form of a lotus - this flower for Hindus is a symbol of chastity, purity and strength. The temple has a total of 27 giant “petals” covered with marble and surrounded by nine pools, creating the likeness of floating in water bud. The interior decoration fully meets the requirements of sacred scripture - there are no cult objects, sculptures or paintings. On the territory of the temple there is a museum dedicated to the religion of Baha’ism.

18. National Museum of India (New Delhi)

Front view of the National Museum of New Delhi in India Miya.m
Exhibition of one of the halls of the National Museum of India in New Delhi Daderot

In the center of New Delhi is India’s most extensive museum, the National Museum of India. It has a unique collection of amazing archaeological finds, historical artifacts and works of art. The two floors of the museum now house more than 200,000 exhibits of both Indian and foreign origin.

Official website: https://www.nationalmuseumindia.gov.in

19. Chhatrapati Shivaji Station (Mumbai)

Facade of Chhatrapati Shivaji Station building in Mumbai, India Nicke L
Historical Victoria-Terminus (Chhatrapati Shivaji) Railway Station at night Shaileshsonare

A kind of gateway to the city of Mumbai is its railway station, receiving tourists and visitors to the city. The Chhatrapati Shivaji building, erected at the end of the 19th century, attracts visitors with its extraordinarily beautiful architecture and is a landmark in itself. It is a monumental structure that represents the technological progress of which the railroads were one of the symbols in the 19th century. The building was designed by the British architect Stevens, so it is based on neo-Gothic style interwoven with traditional Indo-Saracenic motifs. The interior of the station delights its visitors with the same richness and pomp.

Official website: https://cr.indianrailways.gov.in

20. Hawa Mahal Palace (Jaipur)

The pink sandstone wind palace in Jaipur Marcin Białek

India delights the eyes of its visitors with a variety of sumptuous palaces. They include the floating Jhel Mahal, the mirrored Shesh Mahal, the Maharajahs’ residence Mysore Palace and the magnificent Taj Mahal, a masterpiece of marble. Another palace creation that made Jaipur famous is Hawa Mahal or the Palace of the Winds. This structure got its second name due to the unique system of windows which create natural ventilation in the room. This allows those inside to enjoy the coolness even in the hottest heat. The building was built of pink sandstone in the shape of Krishna’s crown at the very end of the 18th century.

Official website: https://www.hawa-mahal.com

21. Picola Lake Palace (Udaipur)

The white marble Lake Picola Palace in Udaipur City user:Flicka
Lake Pichola Lily Pond in Udaipur City Taj Hotels

In the vicinity of Lake Pichola there are splendid places, rich in greenery and impressive with an extraordinary landscape. It is here, in one of the towns of the area, that King Singh the Second has his residence, the Lake Palace, the largest palace complex in the state of Rajasthan. It was built in the 18th century, in 80s of the 20th century it was especially popular for the filming of the James Bond movie, and nowadays it’s been transformed into a five-star luxury hotel. Even the most sophisticated visitors are impressed by its walls made of precious white marble, 83 luxurious rooms are designed in the national style, and guests can even use the services of hereditary butlers working here.

22. Goa (Southwest India)

Tropical beach in Goa with palm trees in the background

For those who are still choosing what to see in India, Goa will be a place of relaxation, endless celebration, freedom and fun. This city is definitely worth a visit to add a touch of serenity to the educational program of the trip. The beaches are the first place to go to get a good rest and enjoy the Indian nature. Among other things, a visit to the Fonteynes neighborhood with houses of the Portuguese colonizers, the market in the coastal town of Anjón, the authentic fair in Arpora, the spice plantations with a developed tourist infrastructure will allow to taste the national colors.

23. Holi Color Festival

Holi Celebration at the Radha-Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork Steven Gerner

One of the most colorful and enchanting events in India is the beloved nationwide festival of Holi, which is a symbol of the coming of spring and the rebirth of life. The roots of this celebration go back centuries - there is a belief that in ancient times there was a woman named Holika, who was burned for disobedience to the ruler. At the time of the burning, her nephew covered her with a colored veil, which God himself sent him in response to prayer requests for her aunt’s salvation. Since then, a tradition of painting each other with colors has developed into a large-scale festival. The whole festival is a feast of colors, tons of colored powder and flowers hung everywhere, and a grand bonfire as a sign of farewell to the passing winter.

24. Bollywood (Mumbai)

Songs and Dances of Bollywood Skip

Fans of Indian cinema will also find the attractions of India interesting to them, and the first is Bollywood, a generalized name for the Mumbai film industry, derived from the name of the American district of Hollywood and the location of the Indian film studios, the city of Bombay. Hundreds of soap operas, films, commercials, entertainment shows, and other television programs are shot in these studios every year. The pavilions of Bollywood are open to the public - you can visit the set, get to know the lives of the actors behind the scenes and experience that inexpressible atmosphere, among the sets, surrounded by the dressing rooms and in the light of the footlights.

25. Ganges River (Uttarakhand)

The confluence point of the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers which form the Ganges Keerthi msrit
Washing in the sacred waters of the Ganges Bluerasberry

One of the largest rivers on the planet originates in the glaciers of the Western Himalayas, drawing in the crystal purity of their meltwater. For Hindus the river is sacred - it is believed that it embodies the power of the goddess Ganga, who patronizes the sources of all earthly bodies of water. On the banks of the river there are many species of fauna, numerous species of fish, reptiles and tropical insects. Where the Ganges takes its source and for the first dozen kilometers there are rapids, where rafting lessons are common. It is believed that every Hindu should take a dip in the waters of the Great River at least once in his life.