Northwest India is where you’ll find the state of Rajasthan, which borders Pakistan and is home to the Thar Desert. Whether you’re interested in Rajput history or views of the Aravallis Mountains, Rajasthan contains some of the best places to visit in India. Jaipur, or the Pink City, is the capital of Rajasthan and a wonderful place to begin your trip. It is home to an array of incredible architecture, including three forts, many temples and the extraordinary City Palace. Also in Rajasthan and worth visiting is Jodhpur, the so-called Blue City that is the gateway to the Thar Desert as well as the home to the spectacular Mehrangarh Fort.
Agra is one of the most-visited cities in all of India. Once the capital of the Mughal Empire, Agra is now home to the iconic structure known as the Taj Mahal. The white marble mausoleum was built in the 17th century, and it is widely regarded as a monument of love. While spectacularly beautiful, the Taj Majal can be very crowded. Also worth seeing in Agra is the Agra Fort, which is very similar to the Red Fort of Delhi. You can tour this 16th century fort and even explore the interior of its beautiful palace.
The southwestern state of India known as Kerala is a place of tropical beauty. Palm trees, white sand beaches and eco-tourism are all big reasons to explore the region. Besides its famous backwaters, elegant houseboats and temple festivals, Kerala is also home to Thekkady, a tiger preserve which allows you to admire flora and fauna without crowds. The hub of Kerala is the city of Kochi, where you can see the local fishing industry thriving along with modern high-rises and colonial architecture. Kochi is ethnically and religiously diverse, and in a single afternoon you can explore a Jewish synagogue, a Dutch palace, the Portuguese Pallipuram Fort and the Hindu Thrikkakara Temple.
On the banks of the River Ganges is Varanasi, an ancient city known as the spiritual capital of India. The city’s history dates back for more than 3,000 years, making it one of the oldest continually inhabited cities on the planet. Religious buildings are certainly a major attraction in Varanasi, so be sure to check out the Alamagir Mosque, the Shri Kashi Vishwanth Temple and the Sankat Mochan Temple, which is filled with monkeys. At sunrise, make your ways to the banks of the Ganges. Each day, more than 60,000 people bathe in the river, and this event is something truly unforgettable.
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.