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New Delhi
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
The capital city of India is a glorious concoction of the old and the new. Temples that are centuries old, archaic Muslim quarters, and modern residencies, all exist alongside each other. Home to over a crore people, Delhi is a treasure trove of historic gems, gardens, museums and a thriving food culture. Travel to the metropolis for the vibrant bazaars of Chandni Chowk that give way to Lutyens’ New Delhi, which is the historic heart of the city. For an insight into the legacy of the Mughal era, go to the 16th century Humayun’s Tomb, the towering sandstone mosque of Jama Masjid, and experience the sound and light show at Red Fort. Tourists can spend mornings at the extravagant Akshardham Temple and evenings at the Hazrat Nizam-ud-din Dargah (shrine) that boasts of sufi music and delicious kebabs. Another popular attraction of Delhi are its pulsating markets that sell everything from baubles to handicrafts, sell everything you can possibly think of. Those who have travelled to Delhi for its particular brand of food, will have a lot on their plates. From hole-in-the-wall eateries and local student cafes in North Delhi to lavish restaurants and bars in South Delhi, there is no dish or cuisine you won’t find here. A huge incentive for travellers is the variety of public transport, wherein the Delhi Metro is the cheapest and easiest way to get around the city.
Mumbai
Best time to visit - January,February,October,November,December
India’s second largest city, Mumbai, previously known as Bombay, is home to a few hundred captivating contrasts and creeds. Mumbai is bursting with frenetic bazaars, shaded avenues thronged by commuters and roads brimming with traffic. The dynamic Maharashtrian metropolis is also a powerhouse of India’s business and trade sectors. But regardless, the city’s ethos lies in its biggest railway station - Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, in people-watching and eating bhelpuri by the iconic arch of the Gateway of India and in the exquisite Taj Mahal Palace, that holds a decade worth of stories about both Bombay and Mumbai. A few other places to visit in Mumbai are Nariman Point - a legion of office blocks in the heart of the city and the Prince of Wales Museum for its eclectic architecture. Watching the sunset with a plate of vada pav at Marine Drive and experiencing the vibrant festival of Ganesh Chaturthi at Juhu Beach are few of the best things to do in Mumbai. One must also travel to Mumbai to be dazzled by the country’s biggest, and most prolific film and media industry, wherein if you’re lucky, you might stumble upon a Bollywood star or two.
Bangalore
Best time to visit - January,February,March,September,October,November,December
If you live in a hot part of the country, Bangalore's good weather will immediately put you into a good mood. While the centre of the city has remained as it was during the British Raj, the area encircling it is on a constant boom with a vibrant student culture, popular pubs and a major electronic and industrial lifestyle. As a tourist, you can go see the Bangalore Castle. Modelled on the lines of the Windsor Castle, the one on Bangalore is a great example of the Tudor architectural style. It has beautiful gardens and the wooden carvings. The glass house at Lal Bagh and its botanical garden is a good place to relax while taking a walk. Cubbon park is one of the primary reasons why Bangalore was formerly nicknamed as the Garden City. The picturesque greenery in the middle of the city is stupefying. You can visit the Peninsular Gneiss to witness the oldest granite formations and also the look at the city from an elevated land. For a perfect end to the day, grab a beer at Toit or Peco’s. Follow it up with a grand meal at Koshy’s or Ebony, or the hundreds of other quirky restaurants in the city.
Chennai
Best time to visit - January,February,October,November,December
Located off the coast of Bay of Bengal is Tamil Nadu’s capital and India’s fourth largest city. Formerly known as Madras, the metropolis is the main transportation hub for southern India. Travel to Chennai for the unique exhibit of architecture from the British Raj, peaceful pilgrimage sites and a delectable South Indian cuisine. Tourists can start their day with a walk by the beautiful Marina Beach, teeming with fishermen and their boats, and makeshift bazaars fringing the shore. Among the other places to visit in Chennai, start with the characterful neighbourhood of Mylapore that houses the vibrant Kapaleeshwarar Temple. Then head to Rajaji Salai’s Fort in St George that once was home to the British East India Company. The Government Museum inside the imposing Pantheon complex of the colonial era is a popular attraction. The state museum is decked with bronze antiques dating back to the 7th century Pallava era. Surfing along the Covelong beach and walking through the bustling bazaars of George Town are a few of the most common things to do in Chennai. Also, don’t leave here without getting yourself an authentic South Indian thali from the illustrious Saravana Bhavan.
Jaipur
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Rajasthan’s opulent capital is a magical land brimming with desert camps and lakeside palaces. Sitting on the edge of the Thar desert and surrounded by the Aravali hills, the Pink City boasts of hilltop forts, bustling bazaars and the best pyaaz kachoris you’ll ever taste. Among the places to visit in Jaipur, the grandiose pink sandstone Palace of Winds, or Hawa Mahal, towering over the hustling streetscapes and the majestic City Palace are the ones attracting the most tourists. The 18th century old astronomical observatory of Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is a UNESCO world heritage site and a major tourist attraction. Perched proudly on the top of a hill is Amber Fort, dating back to the 16th century. The red sandstone structure houses palaces, temples, gardens and a lake inside its premises. One of the most favoured things to do in Jaipur is to walk through the lively Bapu Bazaar, and come out with bags stocked with bandhani-printed sarees, lac bangles, meenakari trinkets and blue pottery. And while you’re at it, shop for some string puppets or kathputlis that make for some excellent souvenirs. Galtaji temple, also called the Monkey Temple, is another must visit. If your eyes just can't get enough, visit Amber Fort, which has its own 600-year-old story to narrate, through its spectacular light and sound shows, cultural performances and folk music. Rajasthani tailored clothes, jewellery and handicrafts are a huge hit as souvenirs, for their exquisite mirror work, embroidery, leather and splashes of colour. Some famous places this illustrious workmanship can be bought from are Rajasthali, Anokhi, Johari bazaar and Sireh Deori Bazaar, but remember to bargain. Central Museum and Albert Hall museum are great places to learn about Rajasthan's rich history and culture and also to buy handicrafts. The Jaipur Literature Festival, the world's largest free literature festival, is dear to almost every bibliophile around the globe. Here, enjoy literature and music, amidst the likes of William Dalrymple, Stephen Fry and many other renowned writers and personalities. The 5-day festival is hosted in Diggi Palace, which gives people around the world an insight into Rajasthan's captivating cultural heritage. For those interested in pampering their palates with the flavourful Rajasthani cuisine against the backdrop of a picturesque village should visit Chokhni Dani. For a regal experience, a stay at the Suvarna Mahal is a must visit.
Kolkata
Kolkata, or Calcutta (also Cal), is a kaleidoscopic melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. There's quite possibly no Indian festival that the city doesn't celebrate with glorious hoopla. Each month sees small festive marquees popping up at every corner of the street and come October, throngs of women enwrapped in silk sarees and red bindis convene around the city, undeterred by the ever-present rains. This celebration alone is reason enough to travel to Kolkata. From the glut of vibrant attractions, the city also holds a rich vehicular heritage ranging from the big yellow taxi that floods both parts of the city (Calcutta and Howrah) divided by the reticent river Hoogly, to the hand-pulled rickshaws and rickety trams meandering the roads. Tourists will hardly ever run out of things to do in Kolkata. Starting from Kumartuli, a traditional potters’ quarter, famed for its sculpted idols of gods and demons, to the architectural spectacle, that is the Howrah Bridge, Kolkata city will engulf you with its sights, sounds and scents. Calcutta’s biggest, most prismatic wholesale flower market on Mullick Ghat, Victoria Memorial, the old Chinatown Tiretta Bazaar, the magnificent Nakhoda Masjid and Jorasankho (Rabindranath Tagore’s ancestral home) are few of the most picturesque places to visit in Kolkata.


Jaipur
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Rajasthan’s opulent capital is a magical land brimming with desert camps and lakeside palaces. Sitting on the edge of the Thar desert and surrounded by the Aravali hills, the Pink City boasts of hilltop forts, bustling bazaars and the best pyaaz kachoris you’ll ever taste. Among the places to visit in Jaipur, the grandiose pink sandstone Palace of Winds, or Hawa Mahal, towering over the hustling streetscapes and the majestic City Palace are the ones attracting the most tourists. The 18th century old astronomical observatory of Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is a UNESCO world heritage site and a major tourist attraction. Perched proudly on the top of a hill is Amber Fort, dating back to the 16th century. The red sandstone structure houses palaces, temples, gardens and a lake inside its premises. One of the most favoured things to do in Jaipur is to walk through the lively Bapu Bazaar, and come out with bags stocked with bandhani-printed sarees, lac bangles, meenakari trinkets and blue pottery. And while you’re at it, shop for some string puppets or kathputlis that make for some excellent souvenirs. Galtaji temple, also called the Monkey Temple, is another must visit. If your eyes just can't get enough, visit Amber Fort, which has its own 600-year-old story to narrate, through its spectacular light and sound shows, cultural performances and folk music. Rajasthani tailored clothes, jewellery and handicrafts are a huge hit as souvenirs, for their exquisite mirror work, embroidery, leather and splashes of colour. Some famous places this illustrious workmanship can be bought from are Rajasthali, Anokhi, Johari bazaar and Sireh Deori Bazaar, but remember to bargain. Central Museum and Albert Hall museum are great places to learn about Rajasthan's rich history and culture and also to buy handicrafts. The Jaipur Literature Festival, the world's largest free literature festival, is dear to almost every bibliophile around the globe. Here, enjoy literature and music, amidst the likes of William Dalrymple, Stephen Fry and many other renowned writers and personalities. The 5-day festival is hosted in Diggi Palace, which gives people around the world an insight into Rajasthan's captivating cultural heritage. For those interested in pampering their palates with the flavourful Rajasthani cuisine against the backdrop of a picturesque village should visit Chokhni Dani. For a regal experience, a stay at the Suvarna Mahal is a must visit.
Agra
Best time to visit - January,February,March,November,December
Home to the grandiose Taj Mahal, Agra’s city echoes of its bygone Mughal era days. Located in Uttar Pradesh, tourists from across the world flock to Agra all year round. Boasting of three UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Agra Fort in the city,the white marble architectural wonder of the Taj Mahal and the nearby Fatehpur Sikri. Agra is also dotted with numerous tombs and buildings that have been left behind by the Mughal empire. Agra’s tourism can also be credited to its sweeping gardens of Soami Bagh, Ram Bagh and the most beautiful of them all, Mehtab Bagh. Agra city is also swarmed by a multitude of temples that add to Agra’s vibrant character. The Balkeshwar and Kailash temple on Yamuna’s banks worship Lord Shiva, while the Mankameshwar Temple is loved by the locals for it mellifluous aarti. And while you are in Agra, you should definitely incorporate Sikandra in your itinerary. Akbar’s tomb, or Sikandra lies north to the city, and takes about thirty minutes from Agra. Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb, fondly referred to as the Baby Taj is another must visit.
Shimla
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,June,October,November,December
Once known as Shyamala, synonymous with Goddess Kali, Shimla has been a summer retreat long before India even gained independence. This famous hill station similarly has a lot of places and things to see untouched by time. For instance, take a vintage joy ride from Kalka station to Shimla in a charming toy train that will take you through towering Deodars, hills and villages. Shimla truly comes alive during winters when a blanket of snow covers it all over making every nook and corner gleam and glisten. One such place is the ice skating rink (natural ice) near Lakkar Bazaar that opens from November to December. More winter sports include skiing, which can be enjoyed 21 km from Shimla in Kufri. Adventure activities such as rafting at Tattapani or a trek to Shali Tibba and Pabbar Valley are also worthwhile experiences. If you are fond of haunted stories and interested in having your own spooky adventure, you'll love Shimla. A lot of people including the renowned Rudyard Kippling (in 'My Own True Ghost Story) have written various eerie stories set around Shimla. A place known most for giving many people the jeepers-creepers is the Charleville Mansion. Another time travelling portal is the antique bookstore, Marina Brothers, located on Mall Road, which is truly a reader and collector's paradise. There are many luxury and budget hotels here, meaning you'll never fall short of options. Popular places to eat include Wake & Bake, Ashiana, Cecil and Minchy's that serve commendable Indian and multi-cuisine dishes and delicious gourmet food.
Chandigarh
Best time to visit - August,September,October,November
Chandigarh is India's first planned city, quite distinct from the rest of the country and considerably better organized. It is the capital of both Haryana and Punjab, but the city itself is not part of either state, being a union territory, i.e. administered directly by the central government. It was one of the early planned cities in post-independence India and is internationally known for its architecture and urban design. Chandigarh has various visitor attractions including theme gardens within the city. Some notable sites are Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden, Rose Garden, Parrot Bird Sanctuary Chandigarh, and Leisure Valley. Chandigarh as a perfect city with regards to its cultural growth, modernisation and architecture. Rose Garden is home to over 1,500 varieties of rose and the Garden of Fragrance is perfect for those mind-refreshing walks. Chandigarh has a bustling food scene, home to every cuisine you can think of right from Mediterranean (Kelong, Virgin Courtyard) to Thai (Tao- Bar & Lounge). Some popular places for Punjabi dishes are Punjab Grill and Sher-e-Punjab. Chandigarh is also close to many hill stations such as Solan, Kasauli, Shoghi and Naldehra.
Dehradun
Best time to visit - March,April,May,October,November
Dehradun is easily one of the most popular hill stations in India. Though easily accessible by all modes of transportation, taking the road would be the best way to experience this heaven. The drive will take you through dense forests on the hilly road and if you're lucky, you might even see a wild elephant or leopard pass you by. The fresh and dewy hill air will infiltrate your lungs and put you in a great mood right away. In terms of things to see, there is Robber's Cave, a river cave formation and Sahashtradhara, which is also a stunning sight of nature consisting of sulphur springs. But more than its sights, Dehradun is the perfect place for a family getaway. After all it has everything that you could need for a relaxing holiday. The town has many vintage bookshops (Natraj Publishers, The English Book Depot), college campuses with hilly backdrops, architectural marvels (such as the Forest Research Institute), alleys filled with quaint restaurants, adventure sports gear shops and forest resorts and hotels to fit every budget. Vishranti, a resort tucked away discreetly in the Sal forests of the Doon valley, deserves a special mention for its beauty and luxury. The city is a haven for foodies as Dehradun offers a lot of variety and affordability in its cuisine. Restaurants and cafes such as Doon Darbar, renowned for devour-worthy Mughlai dishes and The Buffet for its mouthwatering burgers, cutlets and coffee, are popular options.
Nainital
Best time to visit - February,March,April,May,June,October,November
Located in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Nainital is one of the most beautiful hill stations in Northern India. The stunning Nainital lake is bang in the middle of the city and offers tourists stunning sunsets and enchanting sunrises. One legend says that Nainital derives its name from the Goddess Naina, whereas another legend claims that once when the Goddess Sati was being carried by Lord Shiva, her eye fell in the area. The lovely hill station promises a rejuvenating weekend break for those who are coming from the capital city and is definitely worth a visit. Like most hill stations, Nainital has a bustling mall road, warm cafes and a very busy Tibet market. The mall road houses shops selling candles with intricate designs, wooden knick knacks and colourful woollens. Do bring back some souvenirs as keepsakes! If you have time, do visit Sattal, Naukuchiatal (for paragliding and kayaking) as well as Ranikhet for its surreal beauty. If you are looking for a quiet, carefree holiday, visit between the months of January and April. It'll be cold, but there won't be any crowd.

Best Time to Visit India

  • Winters are from November to February. This is the peak season to travel to India. Favorable weather and temperature makes it ideal for sightseeing, city breaks and other outdoor activities. Rajasthan, Goa, Delhi, Agra, Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, and Maharashtra are the perfect to visit during these months. Most of Himalayas will greet you with snow during this season.
  • Summers are from March to May. This is the ideal time to visit north and northeast India. Most hill stations ideal during this season, such as - Ladakh, Kashmir, Ooty, Manali, Spiti Valley, Darjeeling, Rishikesh, Auli and Uttarakhand.
  • Monsoons are from June to October. The rains offers respite from heat. Monsoon are the best season to experience Kerala, Cherrapunji, Agra, Delhi, Rajasthan, Lonavala, Darjeeling, Kodaikanal, Goa, Coorg, Orchha and Kutch.

Budget for India

For Budget Travellers: INR 600 - 1000 a day

  • Accommodation in hostels and lodges: INR 60-400
  • Food in local cafes and street eateries: INR 50-200
  • Public Transport in autorickshaws, metro and buses: INR 10-50
  • Sightseeing (Entry-tickets & shows): INR 50 - 200

For Mid-range Travellers: INR 1000 to INR 3000 a day

  • Accommodation in mid-range hotels and homestays: INR 500 - 1000
  • Food in mid-range cafes and restaurants: INR 300 - 800
  • Local transport local taxis: INR 100 - 600
  • Sightseeing & Tours: INR 100 - 1000

For Luxury Travellers: INR 6000 and upwards

  • Accommodation in 4* or 5* hotels: INR 4000 and upwards
  • Food in upscale restaurants and bars: INR 1000 and upwards
  • Local transport in cabs: INR 400 and upwards
  • Sightseeing and Activities: INR 1000 and upwards

Visa Information for India

The nationals of Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives do not require a visa to enter India. This visa is valid for upto 30 days and costs ₹2000.

More than 100 nationalities can obtain a 30-day e-Tourist visa by applying online prior to arrival. This visa is valid from the day it is issued. This visa allows two entries into India through the airports in Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bangalore, Calicut, Chennai, Chandigarh, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum, and Varanasi or through the seaports in Cochin, Mangalore, and Goa.

Countries or territories that require an e-Visa fee of USD 25 (+2.5% bank fee) are Japan, Singapore, and Sri Lanka. All Japan nations are permitted to apply for a visa on arrival at the Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Chennai airports.

Countries or territories that require an e-Visa fee of USD 50 (+2.5% bank fee) are Albania, Andorra, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameron Union Republic, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Island, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong SAR), China (Macau SAR), Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cote d'lvoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Laos, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Oman, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos Island, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vatican City, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

Countries or territories that require an e-Visa fee of USD 75 (+2.5% bank fee) are Mozambique, Russia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and United States of America.

 

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