Varanasi, Uttar PRadesh

What to See in India Besides the Taj Mahal?

The father of American literature, Mark Twain, describes India as the land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the world combined. India is a dream destination for every traveller, and the first thing that probably comes to anyone’s mind after hearing about India is the Taj Mahal. After all, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, exquisitely carved out of love. But, there’s more to India than just the Taj Mahal and its romantic charm. Today we are taking you on a trip to other equally fascinating places spread across all the corners of India.

Lucknow

Lucknow – Popularly known as the city of nawabs (royals), is the capital city of India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh. The city is extremely famous for its Nawabi cuisine, handicrafts, apparel, colourful local markets scattered all around the city, the striking combination of Islamic and British architecture and epic monuments. Lucknow is a city that is packed with a unique lifestyle, mannerisms and culture and has plenty to offer for tourists, but unfortunately, it is ignored by many travellers.

 

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Varanasi

Located on the banks of the mighty Ganges, Varanasi, also known as Benaras and Kashi, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and is also the holiest in Hinduism. This magical city oozes religion and culture, is intense and pilgrims from all over the country come here to wash their sins or simply to die here in old age. The city is equally famous for magnificently hosting popular Indian festivals, local art, craft, music, and dance. It is sacred, soulful and spectacular – exactly what India is known as. Words can do no justice to the aura of Varanasi, as the mystical charm of this place can only be experienced.

Meghalaya

Meghalaya – the abode of clouds, is a state in the northeastern part of India. Set on dramatic horseshoes of rocky cliffs, Meghalaya is rich in tribal culture, folklore and is overwhelmingly Christian. One of the world’s wettest regions, Cherrapunji, is found in Meghalaya and probably is why the state is a popular tourist destination during rainfall. Ever walked on a bridge made out of living tree roots? No? Meghalaya is the place to visit if you wish to experience walking on one feels like.


Kolkata

India’s third-largest city Kolkata or Calcutta, is where India and England collide as it is the former capital of British India. Kolkata is popularly called ‘the city of JOY’ and can easily be stated as India’s arts, literature, and cultural capital. While its lively streets will captivate you in the city, delectable Bengali cuisine will surprise you, the countless local markets will amaze you and watching a peaceful sunset at the banks of Hoogly. If you want to experience a city with a soul, visit Kolkata.


Khajuraho

Located in Madhya Pradesh (the heart of India), Khajuraho is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is popular for its stunning Hindi and Jain temples adorned by sensuous carvings, inspired by the erotic text – Kama Sutra. Khajuraho is an architectural masterpiece and a brilliant example of Indian culture back in the medieval period. The quiet village is very delightful and provides an easy-going traveller vibe.

 

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Hampi

Hampi – the city of ruins, situated in Karnataka, and is surrounded by hills. Comprising 500 ancient monuments, beautiful temples, street markets and captivating remains of the Vijayanagar empire, Hampi is an open museum and historical delight for travellers. Step into ancient history by visiting this carved city.

 

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Andaman and Nicobar

Blue seas, Virgin Islands and a regal past – welcome to Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The union territory is around 1400 km away from the east coast of India and consists of around 572 islands, out of which only 37 are inhabited. The capital city of Port Blair was primarily utilized by the Britishers to imprison freedom fighters who were exiled from the mainland. The cellular jail is now a major tourist attraction, apart from the crystal-clear turquoise waters, shimmering beaches, palm-lined shores, and dreamy horizons. The islands also offer snorkelling and diving opportunities.


Backwaters of Kerala

The state of Kerala is fondly referred to as ‘God’s own country.’ The backwaters of Kerala are a peaceful and picturesque palm-lined network of lagoons, lakes, rivers and canals that run inland from the city of Kochi to Kollam. The lush green landscape surrounding the water bodies, diverse wildlife, and houses that line the backwater transform a regular boat ride into a journey through another world. The annual snake boat races held along the backwaters are another great source of entertainment for tourists. It is the best place to calm your mind, body and soul.


Kutch

From Hilly terrains to pristine beaches, we have now arrived at the sandy part of the country. Located in the western state of Gujarat, Kutch is India’s wild west. With the vast expanse of white salt desert in the Rann of Kutch, this surreal place is an amazing experience to witness. Stretches of pure white land as far as the eyesight goes, crafts, embroidery works, Flamingo and wild ass sanctuary are some of the things thus region if popular for. The annual Rann festival held during winters is when the place comes alive and cannot be missed.


Jodhpur

The city of Jodhpur from the royal state of Rajasthan is also known as the ‘The blue city,’ ‘Sun city,’ and ‘Gateway to Thar.’ Famous for royal forts, blue houses, colourful culture, sweets and snacks, this city is conveniently located in the centre of Rajasthan, making it easier for tourists to explore other cities of the state. The city is called the blue city as it looks completely blue in colour from an aerial view. And before we forget to mention, Jodhpur is also seen in the backdrop of the movie, The Dark Knight Rises?


Hope I have provided you with enough reasons, other than the Taj Mahal, to visit and experience this incredible land known as India. If you would like to add other gorgeous Indian destinations, please feel free to drop them in the comments.

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Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

 

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