India is renowned the World over for its iconic sights that are scattered throughout the nation. From the obvious to the surprising; India is so full of breath-taking attractions and events that it is impossible to list them according to importance! We want to make sure that any advice on where to visit here includes as much cultural diversity as possible. So what follows is a list of our favourite sights that this grand country has to offer.
C .SHELARE / Wikipedia
The Ajanta Caves are 30 caves which have been carved into a giant cliff face. These marvellous caves are in a fantastic condition due to being “forgotten” until 1819 when a British tiger hunting party stumbled upon them. Imagine their surprise turning into awe as they realised the significance of their discovery! The Ajanta Caves were built in 2 BCE and are decorated with Buddhist religious art that is considered important by historians. The importance of the art contained within these caves is evidenced by the Archaeological Survey of India which states that the caves contain “the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting.”
The Golden Temple
This majestic temple is a must-visit attraction for anyone; featuring stunning architecture and a grandiose atmosphere that is almost unmatchable. Built in 1604 the Golden Temple sits lower than its surrounding buildings and has 4 entrances which symbolise the fact that anyone is welcome no matter where you come from or what you believe. Surrounded by water and glistening with gold; this must be on your itinerary!
Mehrangarh Fort is a tremendous sight whichever time of the day you decide to visit. Rising well above the city below, the fort is a totally imposing but strangely beautiful sight to behold. To get to the fort, visitors have to pass through 7 gates; many of which still bear battle scars dating back through the centuries. If you want a real taste of history then a visit here will satisfy your cravings! One of its many admirers, Rudyard Kipling described The Golden Temple thusly; “A Palace that might have been built by Titans and coloured by the morning sun.”
This established icon of India is simply stunning; Mysore Palace was built in 1912 and contains 18 decorative temples. The Palace is at the centre of The Old Fort complex which features many gardens and courtyards giving the whole area a regal feel. The armoury within the palace contains over 700 weapons and gives visitors an exciting glimpse into some of India’s past. Should you wish to be extra impressed by this outstanding building then we urge you to visit on a Sunday evening when the Palace is illuminated by around 100,000 lights and is surely one of the most impressive sights in all of the country.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
A.M.Hurrell / Wikipedia
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway makes this list because of the beautiful landscape you view during your journey with the steam locomotive. Opened in 1881, this railway was the first ever hill passenger railway and has achieved UNESCO World Heritage Site classification. During your ride you will be treated to splendid views but one of the most spectacular views can be seen on the Batasia Loop. If you want a beautiful and relaxing ride through some of India’s most wonderful views then this is a journey not to be missed.
Now a hotel, Lake Palace was built in 1746 as a summer palace for a local royal. Located within Pichola Lake; framed by palaces on one bank and the Aravalli Hills on the other, it’s easy to see how the Palace got its romantic reputation. The only way to reach Lake Palace is via boat, and once you reach it there are a myriad of things to do. Within the hotel’s walls you will find the Lily Garden which is a beautiful and tranquil place to relax, throughout the Palace there are a myriad of architectural feats and superbly decorated spaces.
Located close to the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort is an unmissable red fortress containing many traditional Indian wonders. The impression one gets from a visit to this fort is one of grandeur, with some of the buildings within its confines being constructed with marble. Its long and colourful history includes many instances of armies utilising the fort; something which is still the case today as the Indian Army still uses part of the fort! Visit Agra Fort and be blown away by the fabulous architecture.
This beautiful and lush landscape is home to India’s only tiger and elephant reserve, and is home to nearly 400 species of other animals. For many, Periyar Lake is the highlight of the area, a manmade lake framed by gorgeous landscape that creates a thoroughly impressive natural environment that you will not forget in a hurry! Due to the generous amount of water around the area tea growing finds a natural home here; visit Vandiperiyar town to get an insight into the industry.
The Taj Mahal really requires no introduction as one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks it is stunning in real life no matter how many pictures you have seen of it! Aesthetically perfect; this mausoleum is named by UNESCO as “the greatest architectural achievement in the whole range of Indo-Islamic architecture.” The Taj Mahal is set within an impressive Charbagh garden which for many is an unexpected treat when visiting. A truly wonderful experience, do not miss a chance to visit the Taj Mahal.
McKay Savage / Wikipedia
The Kerala Backwaters are a naturally stunning area of Southern India that you sinply must visit. Fed by 38 rivers; the Backwaters are a true treat for anyone who comes here to explore the vast array of lagoons. A stunning landscape full of life and colour naturally draws your attention; you will see many species of beautiful birds and other animals. We fully recommend a houseboat cruise, as you will see all the major sights around the area many of which are stunning and all of which you will enjoy!