India is the land of contrasts with an incredibly rich culture and delicious food. The north of the country is mountainous and here are many highlights of the country. But you will also find beautiful sights in other parts of the country. India is huge and its versatility makes it difficult to make a selection of highlights. But you should definitely not miss these twelve sights during your trip through India.
1. Taj Mahal
The most impressive attraction in India is the Taj Mahal , rightly one of the seven wonders of the world. You have probably seen hundreds of photos of the Taj Mahal, but viewing the imposing white marble wonder of the world in real life is still incredibly impressive. Shah Jahan had the Taj Mahal built for his deceased husband in 1631, making it the ultimate declaration of love. Go as early as possible, then you have the chance that it is not that busy.
On the route between Mysore and Goa lies the incredibly beautiful, almost unworldly Hampi with beautiful ancient temples, ruins and a wonderful backpacker’s atmosphere. The Virpaksha and the Vittala temple are absolute highlights. At the Hanuman temple you have a beautiful view over Hampi, but you have to climb six hundred steps for that. The adventurous traveler can also go rock climbing in Hampi. Shanti shanti doing nothing at all and chilling is of course also an option.
In the far north, sandwiched between the mighty Himalayas and the Karakoram Mountains, you will find China and Pakistan, one of the most inhospitable areas of Asia, bordering on . Leh is the most touristic place in Ladakh and here you can make treks through the breathtaking mountain scenery full of beautiful nature, interspersed with colorful temples, white stupas and monasteries. The green valleys in the Nubra Valley are also worth a visit.
4. The backwaters of Kerala
When you visit India for the first time, you get a ‘soft’ landing in Kerala. Life is relaxed there, nature is green and the chaos and bustle of the Indian cities seem miles away. It is one of the most developed areas of India and the standard of living is high. You will find vast beaches, beautiful waterfalls and the famous backwaters here. Here you can make a beautiful (multi-day) trip with a houseboat. Kerala is also one of the most popular destinations for a beach holiday in India.
The smallest state of India is located on the west coast of the Indian peninsula. It is one of the most legendary and iconic destinations in the world. A real hippie hangout with relaxed beaches, a unique atmosphere and charming fishing villages. Goa has a varied landscape with bays, sandy beaches and palm groves. Compared to many other parts of India, Goa is beautifully green. It is a place where many travelers linger much longer than planned.
Amritsar is located in northwestern India in the province of Punjab, near the border with Pakistan. An important religious city and the center of Sikhism. The architecture in the city is a mix of Islamic and Hindu influences. Here you will find the Golden Temple, the most important shrine of the Sikhs. Every Sikh wants to make a pilgrimage to this temple at least once in his life.
7. The Holy Varanasi
Varanasi is the Mecca for Hindus and one of the most spiritual places in the world. The city has been around for more than 2,700 years and is therefore one of the oldest cities in the world. Here you see the less beautiful sides of India: that typical Indian chaos, dirt and dirt. At the stairs on the Ganges River you will find the Manikarnika Ghat where many rituals and ceremonies such as funerals and cremations are performed.
The Beatles found refuge in the Maharishi Mahesh Ashram in the 1960s. Since then, the mystical Rishikesh has attracted spiritual seekers from all over the world. In the “yoga capital of the world” you will be inundated with yoga ashrams and meditation centers. The ideal place to retreat and work on your spiritual growth. Located on the holy river Ganges, the city now also offers plenty of activities for the adventurous traveler. You can do excellent rafting and beautiful trekking in the mountains of the Himalayas.
This is the most exotic and magical state of all of India. The mishmash of mighty forts, colorful markets and lush palaces is enchanting. The street scene is filled with beautifully dressed people with turbans or elegant saris. This area has something to offer for every type of traveler. The culture lover will find archaeological and historical highlights here and if you want to be more active, you can make beautiful treks or go on camel safari in the desert. This is also the place to spot tigers in one of the many nature reserves.
Dharamsala is a hill station in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh and the home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama: the number one reason to visit this place. In Dharamsala and nearby McLeodganj you will find an interesting mix of Tibetan and Indian culture. It is also the starting point for beautiful treks in the wooded and mountainous surroundings. The Triund Hill trek is highly recommended and you can even camp on top of the mountain. It is an indescribable experience to see the sun rise in the Himalayas in the morning.
11. The Holifeest
During this now world-famous celebration that usually takes place at the end of February or the beginning of March, the victory is celebrated from good over evil. The Holi festival is celebrated during Phalgun Purnima (full moon) to conclude the Indian winter. Everything is decorated and brightly colored powder is thrown. In the meantime Holi celebrations are being celebrated in the Netherlands, but to experience this in India is a very special experience.
The real thrill seeker is in Manali, the adventure capital of India, in its element. It is not only a well-known stopover for your India trip to the natural beauty of Ladakh and Leh, but also the place for adventurous sports such as mountain climbing, rats and paragliding. You will also find ski resorts here where you can ski and snowboard in the winter.