India is one of the most versatile countries in the world that is bustling with picturesque places, masterpieces of ancient architecture, beautiful temples, exciting festivals, spectacular nature, and more dishes than you can try in a lifetime. So, where do you start in such a large and fascinating place?
Enjoy Indian sweets in Almora
Let’s face it: we girls love sweets and what better way to get to know a country and its people than try its wonderful desserts? India is big on sweets and each state can offer you a variety of yummies, but Uttarakhand is home to some of the most mouth-watering recipes that date back hundreds upon hundreds of years. From juicy Bengali sweet dishes like Rasmalai and Rasgulla to extra sweet delicious Bal Mithai and milky Burfi, you can spend a whole day exploring sweet shops of Almora and still not try everything they have to offer.
Relax on the beach in Goa
Goa, the southern state of India, is known for its picturesque beaches, never-ending parties, and spectacular music festivals that draw artists from all over the world. Head to Arambol, Anjuna, and Vagator for some night action or spend leisurely days on the beautiful beaches of Kerim, Morjim, and Ashwem – either way, you’ll never get bored in Goa!
Try yoga in Rishikesh
Some may say that Rishikesh has become somewhat touristy over the past few years, but you still can find places that offer a truly authentic yoga experience. There are two bridges in Rishikesh, Ram Jula and Laxman Jula, each being a kind of a hub for different types of experience. You will find a plethora of ashrams near Ram Jula ranging from budget-friendly to upscale ones. There you can enjoy yoga and meditation classes as well as learn the ancient ways of Ayurveda and Hindi. Laxman Jula is a backpackers #1 choice as it is packed with guesthouses, cafes, and restaurants.
Go shopping in Delhi
Why shop in Delhi? Because it’s fun, cheap, and incredibly exciting! You will find upscale markets like the Connaught Place, but there are also plenty of budget-friendly markets that will offer you an authentic shopping experience you won’t get anywhere else. Head to the Janpath and Tibetan markets to shop for goods from all over India, including the gorgeous shawls and pashminas this country is famous for, then switch to the Khan market to buy some Ayurvedic beauty products. The one and only advice we have for you – bargain! You might actually insult someone if you just blindly accept the first price given to you as bargaining is something of a national sport in India.
Explore the tea plantations in Munnar
Located in the southern state of Kerala, Munnar is a picturesque hill station that is still quite unspoiled by tourist attention. Its lush greenery and cool climate make it a perfect summer escape from the scorching sun of the lowlands. Head to the breathtaking Anamudi Peak that is located at the height of 2,695 meters above sea level, explore the wildlife of Eravikulam National Park, and enjoy the serene beauty of numerous tea plantations that dot the whole region. It is the center of tea trade and you’ll find more than 50 tea estates that will be happy to give you a tour and sample a variety of locally grown teas.
Ride through the sand dunes in Pushkar
Pushkar, a small yet picturesque town in Rajasthan, is often overlooked by travelers due to its proximity to the Thar Desert and hot climate. Nevertheless, this is one of the biggest pilgrimage sites for Hindus that are drawn here to bathe in the sacred waters of Pushkar Lake with its 50 ghats (steps) and one of the rarest temples devoted to Brahma, the God of Creation. Surrounded by the sizzling sands of Thar, Pushkar offers all its visitors exciting camel safaris and overnight stays at the camping sites located right in the midst of the desert. Opt for sunset rides as they offer the most spectacular views.
Visit the Holi festival in Vrindavan
Holi is one of the biggest and most vibrant festivals that is celebrated all over India for around 40 days starting from the middle February and ending in the beginning of March. Also known as the ‘festival of colors’ Holi celebrates the triumph of good over evil as well as the playful nature of Lord Krishna who has started this fun game to gain attention of his beloved Radha. Although each state in India has its own Holi celebration, it is believed that the celebration in Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan, the city where Lord Krishna was born, is one of the most spectacular and fun experiences one can have on this amazing day. Go deep into the rowdy crowd, get drenched in colorful water, and get pinks, greens, blues, and yellows all over your face and clothes. This festival is pure joy!
Visit the Ganga Aarti ceremony in Varanasi
Majestic Ganga Aarti ceremonies can be observed in Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Varanasi, but the latter is by far the most spectacular sight one can enjoy on the banks of river Ganga. Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in the world and is known for many things, including the famous place where they burn bodies 24/7 and Dashaswamedh Ghat, where the spectacular fire ceremony to praise the Holy Ganga takes place every evening. Performed by a number of young priests, this beautiful ritual features Agni Pooja (fire offering) to praise Maa Ganga, Lord Shiva, Agni (Fire), and Surya (Sun). It starts around 7 p.m. right after sunset and involves rhythmic chanting and singing along with gracious movements of brightly lid lamps held by young priests. It is indeed a must-see!
Explore the Himalayas in Manali
Once the ‘high season’ in the south of India is over and the exceedingly warm spring months start turning into scorching hot summer days, most of the travelers start moving up north to the chilly greens of the Himalayan villages. Manali is a laid-back place that draws adventurers from all over the world with its spectacular views, hippie playgrounds, musical venues, and numerous activities like rafting, trekking, skiing, and climbing. Explore the surrounding villages for a more relaxing experience off the beaten track.
Visit the southernmost tip of India in Kanyakumari
Located in the state of Tamil Nadu, Kanyakumari draws thousands of Indian tourists to marvel at its spectacular sunsets and sunrises happening almost at exactly the same spot. Kanyakumari is mostly known as a place where the waters of the Indian Ocean meet the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Apart from its unique geographical position, Kanyakumari is an important pilgrimage site as the famous Kumari Amman Temple is located here, as well as Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Gandhi Memorial Mandapam.
Shop at a Saturday Night Market in Arpora
Goa is famous for many things, but only locals and long-stayers know about its vibrant and absolutely exciting market that is available each Saturday in the village of Arpora that is about 45 minutes away from Arambol, the main hippie and musician’s hub. What makes the Saturday Night Market a one-of-a-kind experience is the fact that it’s packed with gorgeous designer clothes by artists from all over the world. If you want to go on a shopping spree – this is the best place to do it! There’s also a stage with live performances to make your experience even more joyful.
Try Indian food – everywhere!
India is the ultimate definition of a foodie’s paradise because everywhere you go – the food changes with the scenery! In Mumbai you can try a mix of Maharashtrian, Parsi, and Gujarati cuisines as well as a variety of sea food dishes and the classical street foods like sev puri and bhel puri. Head to Varanasi for the Malaiyo, a creamy milky dessert available only in winter, and to Arunachal Pradesh to sample the most delectable dishes from the Tibetan cuisine. Hyderabad offers a variety of mouth-watering biriyanis, while southern states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu boast some of the most finger-licking dosas, idlis, and a special variety of thali that you won’t find anywhere else. It’s like a dream come true!