India is a vibrant land of amazing contrasts where both the traditional and modern worlds meet. Being the seventh largest nation in the world by area and the second largest in terms of population. India has a rich heritage, the result of centuries of different cultures and religions leaving their mark.
Highlights for travellers include the opportunity to experience a series of sacred sites and spiritual encounters, while nature lovers will enjoy its sun-drenched beaches, lush national parks and exciting wildlife sanctuaries. From the magnificent Taj Mahal in Agra to the sacred sites of Harmandir Sahib (formerly the Golden Temple) in Amritsar and the Mecca Masjid mosque in Hyderabad.
The Best Tourist Attractions in India
Taj Mahal, Agra
Perhaps the most famous building in India, the Taj Mahal, is also the world’s most famous testimony about the power of love. The name of Mumtaz Mahal, the favorite wife of Emperor Shah Jahan, this most beautiful of the mausoleums began after his death in 1631 and took 20,000 workers of 22 years to complete.
Incorporating many elements of Islamic design including arches, minarets, an onion-shaped dome and black calligraphy embedded around the entrance, the Taj Mahal is built mainly of white marble decorated with delicate floral motifs embedded and precious and semiprecious stones like jade, lapis lazuli, diamonds and mother-of-pearl.
The Holy City of Varanasi
An important pilgrimage center for Hindus, the holy city of Varanasi, has long been associated with the mighty Ganges River, one of the most important religious symbols of the faith. Dating from the 8th century BC, Varanasi is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. It offers many reasons to visit, including the possibility of exploring the old town adjacent to the Ganges, where the Kashi Vishwanath temple is located, built in 1780 (the new Vishwanath temple with its seven separate temples is also of interest). Bathing in the Ganges is of great importance for the Hindus, and numerous places known as “ghats” have stairs that lead to the water where the faithful bathe before the prayers. Plan your trip to Varanasi and avail the world-class facilities of Maharajas Express train which is the world’s leading luxury train.
In total, Varanasi has more than 100 ghats, the largest is Dasashvamedh Ghat and Assi Ghat (the latter, at the confluence of the Ganges and Asi rivers, is considered particularly sacred). It is also worth visiting the Hindu University of Banaras, established in 1917 and known for its huge library with over a million books, and the magnificent Bharat Kala Bhavan museum that exhibits fine collections of miniature paintings, sculptures, palm manuscripts and local history exhibitions.
The Golden Temple of Amritsar
The best tourist attractions in India, founded in 1577 by Ram Das, Amritsar is an important center of Sikh history and culture. The main attraction here is Harmandir Sahib, opened in 1604 and still known as the Golden Temple for its beautiful golden decoration.
The sanctuary of the most sacred Sikh shrines in India (it also attracts many Hindus and people of other religions), the temple was built in a mixture of Hindu and Islamic styles, its lower marble section features such inlaid flourishes of floral motifs and ornate animals, while The great golden dome represents a lotus flower, a symbol of purity for the Sikhs. In addition to its splendid design, visitors are equally impressed with the spiritual atmosphere of the temple,
The Golden City – Jaisalmer
Named after the yellow sandstone used in most of its buildings, the Golden City of Jaisalmer is an oasis of splendid ancient architecture that emerges from the sand dunes of the Thar Desert. Once a strategic post, today the city is full of splendid old mansions, magnificent gateways and the enormous Jaisalmer Fort, also known as the Fort of Gold, an imposing structure of the twelfth century that rises over the city. Before planning your trip to Jaisalmer, have a look on the Maharajas Express train cabins and explore the forts & palaces.
In addition to its palaces, temples and fine old houses, the fort has 99 bastions along with huge doors that lead to its main courtyard where the seven-story-high Maharaja Palace stands. Started in the early sixteenth century and added by successive rulers until the nineteenth century, The palace offers sections open to the public that include beautifully decorated areas with Italian and Chinese tiles and carved stone doors, as well as several Jain temples dating from the 12th to the 16th centuries, each decorated with fine images of marble and sandstone, manuscripts of palm leaves and ceilings painted in bright colors.