Where is the best place to go In India 2021
So you want to start planning your trip, but you can’t help but wonder where is the best place to go In India? Well, here is what you need to know. I have spent almost half a decade travelling here, so I am in a position to hand out some helpful advice, so read on, guys. 😁
In reality, the best way to answer the question of where is the best place to go in India is that it’s all a matter of what you want. India is blessed with diverse landscapes, vibrant cultures, incredible wildlife, sumptuous food and architectural wonders galore. You can’t possibly experience it all, so it is essential to ask yourself what you want from your time and money?
I want you to really ask yourself what it is you want? Do you want to feel your toes in powdery white sand? Perhaps you may have fantasies of seeking out Tigers among the lush forests of central India that are straight out of Rudyard Kipling’s jungle book? Whatever it is, this post will give you an idea of where to focus your time.
The only honest way I can answer this question is to go through some of the most popular states and then you can assess for yourself what appeals to you most. We are all individuals and saying where I think is what’s best for me and maybe of no use to you. After all, no two sets of eyes look at the world the same, now do they? It is also important you ask yourself how much money can you spend on your journey as this will have a massive impact on the end result and not all routes were created equal.
It is a very good idea to have a rough idea of where you want to go. The reality is India is a vast country and a month, or even a four, is not very much time to get what you want out of your experience, so it is essential to utilise your time the best that you can. My website is full of resources to inspire just some of what this country has to offer. For now, we will look at whole areas of the country as I feel it will give you a good feel of what to expect. I know you dont have all day so let’s get started, shall we?
Budgeting your trip to India
First, we need to talk about budgeting your trip to India. One thing that will define your experience is how much you have budgeted to spend on it. As it is in life, the more money you throw at something generally, the richer the experience will be.
How to budget your money is a vast topic and I cannot give very much helpful information in a few sentences, so I have written separate posts for that as a guide for you. First, read my post on how much to travel in India to understand what your money will really get you. While it is true that few countries offer such a good bang for your buck, you have to be realistic about your expectations.
Then you can read my post on avoiding the most common scams to get tips on not spending more money than you have to. It is overwhelmingly likely someone will try and scam you while you are on the road, so give it a read and learn from my many mistakes. It is always less painful to learn from someone else’s cockups, after all.
What to do in India.
India’s vast size means you are unlikely to see everything you want in one trip. I have spent four and a half years in the country, and I have only seen a fraction of what this wonderful country has to offer. I would strongly advise you not to try and see too much as you will wind up spending all your time on the back of a bus. So let us look at the highlights of the most popular states.
See what appeals to you most and book the appropriate tickets from there. It is as simple as that. India has a handful of budget airlines you can utilise for internal flights. For a full breakdown of getting around the subcontinent, I have written a separate post on that subject.
I always think up a rough plan before I book my trip to India, as it maximises your precious time. Also, you will probably backtrack a lot and zig-zag on your routes without some kind of program in place. Avoid wasting time and keep your routes as direct as possible.
There are many states in India, but some see a lot more visitors than others. Is this justified? Not always, but this post can only be so long before you fall asleep on your keyboard, so I will now take a look at the big hitters. I will give you a brief rundown of what to expect and you can gauge roughly if this appeals to your wants and needs. To see any of the states in detail will take a fair chunk of your itinerary, so consider it carefully.
Rajasthan is definitely one of the countries showpiece states. It is India, as you imagine it. Visit any one of the majestic forts of ages past that seem to just glisten in the sun. Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kumbalghar and Bundi all have enormous ancient ruins to amble around at your leisure. It is a big hit for the history buffs among us.
Maybe head to the painfully beautiful town of Jaisalmer and Catch a sleepy-eyed camel into the desert and sleep in the wilderness. Jaisalmer is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip, no matter where you are coming from.
Tiger filled jungles brings nature lovers from across the world to the iconic Ranthambhore national park. It is a stunning stretch of wilderness that is crowned by yet another ruined fort. It has to be one of my all-time favourite national parks on the whole subcontinent.
Maybe you want to experience the romance of the fabled city of Udaipur that is set around the picturesque lake Pichola. You can easily spend a week exploring the twisted alleyways that link one picture-perfect landmark after another. This state is sure to impress even the most hardened of travellers.
Uttar Pradesh is a cultural melting pot and home to some of India’s most iconic sights. The Taj Mahal hints at its Muslim heritage, with its delicate domes built in traditional Mogul grandeur.
The holy city of Varanasi is another clear winner for the best tourist sites in India. Buddha is said to have founded Buddhism here in 528bc. Guru Nanik came here in 1507 and it was influential in the formation of Sikhism. The mogul emperor Akbar also came to stay and all of this left a significant mark on the town. However, none is as substantial as Hinduism. Varanasi is one of the holiest places for Hindus and today; it is a riot of colour and spirituality. Definitely a must for any visitor to these parts.
Aside from the big show stoppers listed above, this thriving state has many hidden gems, such as the sleepy little village of Chitrakut. Despite its tiny size, it has a very holy significance and visiting here will surely stay in your mind forever. Even Huge cities such as Lucknow are often overlooked in favour of their more famous neighbours despite many tourist attractions. To find out more about this unusual state, check out my complete Uttar Pradesh travel guide.
Ladakh is one of the countries clear winners for being something extraordinary. The high mountain deserts of Ladakh can not fail to impress. It is a photographers dream as every turning seems to pose a new opportunity to exercise your camera lens. The timeless Buddhist culture and friendly people make this place something genuinely memorable.
There are hiking opportunities galore here and a chance to get away from it all. Walking in the mountains under the shadow of Buddhist gompas is simply soul charging. Despite the harsh, unyielding conditions, wildlife thrives here and there is a chance to see some very rare wildlife. I don’t think I need to say more. This is an adventure playground and one of my favourite states with a little something for everyone.
Again Ladakh is tricky to visit as there are many environmental obstacles to consider due to its extreme nature. Check out my top 10 tips for travel in Ladakh for some helpful advice on what to expect and how to deal with these challenges. 😁
Kerala is the very definition of tropical paradise. Beautiful beaches run the entire length of the whole state, and the wildlife-filled interior of the Western Ghats provides endless adventure in search of its unique flora and fauna.
Kerilas colourful heritage is reflected in its iconic dances that have become the front cover of so many travel magazines. Kerala may have one foot firmly in the future, but timeless traditions live on.
The state is home to the Indian backwaters, where you can catch a boat through its narrow channels through spice plantations to experience a way of life that in parts is virtually unchanged. The backwaters are an extraordinary place and getting a canoe down one of the narrow waterways will surely be a highlight to this part of the country.
The chance to indulge in some tropical beach life is what really drives people here though. Blessed with an incredibly long coastline, there is plenty of opportunities to explore the golden sands of Kerala. From the bustling colonial town of Cochin to the almost deserted stretches of tropical paradise to the north. There is plenty to keep you busy here. The only trouble with visiting Kerala is finding the inclination to leave it.
The Northeastern Tribal states
Also known as the seven sisters, the Northeastern Tribal States really appeals to the explorer in us. It was difficult to obtain permits until recently, which stopped all but the most determined of us from reaching these rugged parts. All states except Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim have dropped their restrictions and tourism is beginning to flourish.
The whole of the northeastern states constitute the 8th most biologically diverse place on earth. I found the wildlife here to be quite unlike anything else you will find on the subcontinent. The biodiversity kept me wide-eyed the whole time I was there and I am sure any wildlife enthusiasts will get a whole lot from their visit.
If that is not enough, it is also one of our beautiful Planet’s most culturally rich areas. The seven sisters border Bhutan, Myanmar, Tibet, Bangladesh, and Nepal, creating an extraordinary diversity of people.
With over 200 tribes, the northeastern states are a cultural treasure trove. Some have very distinct traditions, like the Kasi people of Cherapunji, who create the breathtaking root bridges that to this day are the only genuinely sustainable structures ever created by humankind. Not only are they practical they are also incredibly visually stunning. I would never usually recommend going to see bridges, but oh damn! 😍
There is a lot to draw you to the Northeast, but there are a few things to consider. Travel can be painfully slow here, and in many places, there is no infrastructure. There is a small but significant risk of political violence from time to time and the ever-looming threat of a long-overdue mega-earthquake.
Also, there is an ethical consideration. Many of these tribes have had minimal contact with western tourists, so it is essential to approach with a minimal impact in mind. Your actions may seem trivial to you but are hugely significant to the locals observing. Mass tourism is still a very long way off taking a firm foothold here. Expect lots of time with no other foreigners. However, you will enjoy a raw and unapologetic local experience in these parts.
The Andaman Islands
The Andaman Islands are literally a tropical paradise. Crystal clear waters lap against its powdery beaches. It is the kind of place you will never want to leave. The coral-fringed islands feel intoxicating while you lay in your hammock, watching the coconut trees sway gently in the wind. The Emerald Green forests are filled with wildlife and with many unique species of fauna that draw in enthusiasts from around the world.
I have visited This island chain twice now and will be going back a third. With 572 islands to choose from, there is plenty of reason to return. Whenever I arrive, I can almost feel the steam releasing from my ears. I have separate in-depth posts for many of the main islands on my website. So if this looks like it may pop up on your itinerary, then knock yourself out.
There is not much more you could ask from a holiday destination than what you get here. The Andaman islands impress everyone and do so effortlessly.
Despite its proximity to Kerala, Tamil Nadu is distinctly different. It is unlike anywhere else in the country, for that matter. Traditions run deep into the psyche of its people despite it being one of the more wealthy states.
The historical wonders leftover from the Hindu empires from centuries past will leave you utterly jaw dropped at their grand design. There are so many impressive buildings in this state you will find it hard to decide where to go first.
The jungles are full of all the wildlife that is unique to the Western Ghats. To top it off the Tamails know how to cook up a storm, making this one of India’s most exquisite culinary journeys into the bargain. What more could an Intrepid backpacker want?
This state has a little something for everyone and does not do things by half. The national parks here are both iconic and some of the most diverse in the country. Driving around Nagarhole National Park looking for such magnificent beasts as elephants or black panthers has to be a wildlife lovers dream. The Western Ghats run through this state as well, bringing endless hiking opportunities for those who want to stretch their legs.
For the history buffs among you, Hampi is considered one of Asia’s most important archaeological sights. This place alone can take a whole week of your time. There are also monumental Islamic ruins left over from the Mogul Dynasty, so there is plenty to keep you entertained.
Some of the best beaches can be found along its long and bountiful coastline. The most famous is Gorkana that attracts party goers, soul searches and just plain hedonists from across the world. If you want something laid back yet accessible, then this is your jam. 😎
Blessed with a variety of landscapes Mahendra Pradesh ( middle state) has some show-stopping sights. The erotic temples of Khajuraho or the mogul ruins of Orchha are sure to make just about anyone appreciate history. If you want more, then check out the magnificent ruins of Mandu, where you can spend days discovering one ruined palace after another.
The national parks here create a landscape that’s iconic in our mind’s eye to what Indian jungles should look like. Indeed these are the very forest Rudyard Kipling got his inspiration from, albeit without the orangutans. In a place like Kanha national park, nature puts on a spectacular show, and with some of the highest concentrations of tigers to be found anywhere in the world. 🐱
Even if you are not a nature buff, the landscapes here will take your breath away. If that still does not do it for you and you are just itching for some hardcore culture, then this state still has you covered. It is deeply tribal here and some cultures are very remote. I believe there is something here for everyone regardless.
Further Information about India
Here is a list of resources for further information about India. These are the ones I have found to be particularly useful and I am sure you will too. With so many places to grab your interest in this incredible country, it can be hard to know where to start. Every journey is different, so you must have a clear plan in your head to make sure you get the most out of your time and money.
An excellent place to start and one I have come back to again and again for inspiration is the Lonely Planet guide to India. This guidebook provides an unbiased opinion and has a system of writing that has been built on for a very long time, so they can give coherent descriptions of what you will be getting and give you an idea of how much stuff costs.
Even if you don’t purchase a Lonely Planet guidebook, I strongly recommend getting something. Guidebooks are a valuable source of information, yet I see so many travellers on the road without one?
Another great place to get your information is the government’s website Incredible India. The site has stacks of data on just about everything you need to know, from Indian food to yoga retreats. It is well worth checking out.
If you are looking for a documentary series, I would recommend Gordon Ramseys’ great escapes India. It is an insightful, entertaining series that is delivered in a uniquely flamboyant manner for all those foodies out there. It is an excellent place to start to get your teeth into the gastronomic journey that is travel in India. David Attenborough also has a great series on the wildlife of India and who does not like the sound of his voice? You can find it for free on youtube! Check it out. 🧐
Planning your trip to India
Now you have an insight into where is the best place to go to in India for you, it is time to start thinking about planning your trip to India. I have a whole blog on how to plan a trip to India in five easy steps. Please take a look at this one, as it is sure to be super helpful for you. The blog is modelled on my tried and tested method of planning that definitely works!
There is a bit of thinking about when it comes to flights, as some destinations cost a lot more than others. If you want to see Karela, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, then fly to either Bangalore or Chennai because they are the cheapest destinations. If you’re going to visit Utter Pradesh, Rajasthan or Mahadra Pradesh, then fly into New Dehli because that is the most affordable destination in north India. If your focus is the Northeastern Tribal States, then fly to Calcutta.
Begin to elaborate on your plan. Please find out more by using the resources I have listed or find more, as I can not overstate the importance of having a coherent plan. Planning the trip is also an excellent reason to get out of bed on a Monday morning when you are saving money. Putting your plan all together is one of the big joys of your adventure, in my opinion. May I suggest buying a big map and drawing your proposed route on it to minimalise any backtracking?
Take your time to really refine your itinerary. For this to be possible, you should start planning as soon as possible and learn as much as you can about what to expect. Knowledge is vital here as India can be an unpredictable place to travel in. Lastly, try not to cram too much into your itinerary as you want to have time to take it all in. Not to mention something as simple as a public holiday can seriously throw a spanner in the works when everything grinds to a screaming halt.
In summary of my blog on where is the best place to visit in India?
A trip to India will probably be one of the most memorable experiences you will have in your life, so the most important is to have fun. This post aims to inspire you and fire up for your dream trip. I hope I did that? It is no secret that India is my favourite destination and I aim to help you share my passion.
As usual, if you have any more questions you think I can help you with, or you just want to know more about your area of interest, then just leave your comments in the box provided and I will get back to you. If you have any thoughts on what you think I should write about next, please feel free to leave your suggestions as I always strive to create a better service for my readers. I think I am done for now, so I will see you in the next post. 😁
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