In 2019, India is poised to become the 5th largest economy. An event that reflects the exponential growth of this country where culture, religion, wealth and poverty mix with colonial legacies, not to mention real contrasts between northern India and southern India.
India is a country that intrigues and arouses the curiosity of the most adventurous travelers seeking authenticity and openness. Often known as a country where you have to be well hung to visit, India transports, challenges, surprises. This is one of the reasons why it is often difficult to put words on this colorful country “Incredible India”, that’s how we qualified our trip to India during 3 weeks of visits and discoveries.
Here is the list of 10 essential steps of a trip to India:
1. Agra: The incredible Taj Mahal and Agra Fort
The Taj Mahal is undoubtedly the most famous monument in India. Located in the small town of Agra (about 200 km from Delhi), this splendid white marble temple was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his deceased wife. For the history, the construction of this marvel of architecture will have lasted 22 years and required the participation of more than 20 000 men! Visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise, when it appears in a pinkish hue.
2. Varanasi: The Holy City of Hinduism
For every Hindu, “The Ganges” is known as a sacred river. The city of Varanasi has become a high place of spirituality because of its location. Located on the banks of the river, it is aujourd ‘ hui known for its 88 ghats (set of steps that cover the river banks and allow her access). Most Ghats serve as baths to purify themselves while others serve as a place of cremation from which 150 people are burned or sunk every day. It must be said that in the Hindu religion, coming to be cremated in Varanasi is the best thing that can happen to him, it is the ultimate reward and access to safe heavens. Oppressing for certain travelers, mythical for others, Varanasi will not leave you indifferent.
3. Cochin: The Beaches and Calm of Kerala
Kerala is a beautiful tropical area southwest of India. It consists of a network of rivers, lakes, and canals all around the city of Cochin called “Backwaters”. Long stretches of beaches and huge fruit trees abound. If you are looking for a quiet place, away from the crowds and noise that are usually found in India, you are in the right place. Go exploring the Nilgiris in the Western Ghats and admire the falls of Athirapally.
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4. Ladakh: the Little Indian Tibet
Located between the Himalayas and the Karakoram Range, the Ladakh region is located in the far north of India, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Sometimes called Little Tibet, this cold desert is famous for its mountainous landscapes, temples and Tibetan Buddhist culture. Unlike the rest of Jammu and Kashmir, which is predominantly Muslim, Ladakh is a predominantly Buddhist region. Most locals speak Ladakhi, a dialect close to Tibetan.
5. Jaipur: The Capital of Rajasthan
The capital of the state of Rajasthan, Jaipur is nicknamed the pink city or the red city, because of these numerous monuments and houses of color which characterize it. In this vibrant city of North India, discover Hawa Mahal (the Windy Palace), Amber Fort and City Palace (where the royal family still resides). Admire the Jah Mahal (the floating palace), but do not forget to lose yourself in the bazaar downtown where are mixed silk shops, spices, and objects of all kinds while traveling through Palace on Wheels Rajasthan.
6. Delhi: The Capital of India
Delhi is a sprawling city with 15 million people, a true melting pot that bears witness to the exponential evolution of India. There are two parts in the city with a striking contrast …
– Old Delhi, a maze of narrow, lively and colorful streets lined with ruined buildings and magnificent temples and mosques. Very popular, this is the most interesting part of the city to immerse yourself in Indian culture.
– New Delhi: The imperial city created by the British is composed of broad avenues lined with trees and houses government buildings, beautiful hotels and beautiful homes.
Hang in there, the tingling and the Rickshaw horns (the “Tuk-Tuk” taxi, a must-do in India) can put the nerves of travelers under severe stress .
7. Jaisalmer: the doors of the desert
Located in the north-west of India, at the extreme limit of Rajasthan and on the border with Pakistan, Jaisalmer promises you an authentic experience. The Thar Desert, which borders the city, offers you exceptional trips through sand dunes to discover villages and their inhabitants. Do not miss a night under the stars to contemplate an exceptional sky!
8. Mumbai: the monstrous economic city
Located in the center west of India, Mumbai or Mumbai is one of the most populous cities with twelve million people crammed on the seven islands on which the city stretches. Mumbai is vibrating, bubbling, and dizzy. It is the commercial heart of the country and concrete skyscrapers abound. The main attractions of the country are the many museums of Kala Ghoda, the hanging gardens at Malabar Hill, and the famous Gate of India. Mumbai is also the stronghold of Indian cinema, the famous Bollywood.
9. Munnar: heading towards nature
In the south of India, leave the big cities behind you and head to the hills and greenery. The city of Munnar is located in a peaceful and lush setting, teeming with tea trees and mountains. Nearby, do not miss the Eravikulam National Park which is home to leopards, tigers and mountain goats.
10. Mysore: the architectural city
Located in South India, southwest of Bangalore, Mysore is renowned for the beauty of its architecture. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, its palace is surely the most beautiful building, a blend of Indo-Muslim art. Discover other architectural wonders, such as the Gothic cathedral of St. Philomène or the beautiful Lalitha Mahal Palace renowned for its tea room and its famous dessert Mysore Pak. Also, visit the Mysore Sand Sculpture Museum and stroll through the Brindavan Gardens.
Sahar Rashid is the founder of the BenjaNews and the iPhone-Appstore website. She is a professional blogger and article writer.