10 must visit places in India, before you die!


To travel is to unleash, and if you’re lucky enough to be born in India, one of the biggest country in this world having history of thousands of years, with diverse culture, different type of communities, religions, languages and tastes. It has some of the Coldest places- to the highest rainfall in world- to the driest places on the Earth- to the Thar Desert- to the beaches-to the snow capped Himalayan ranges and much more. Here are the 10 destinations one must never miss on-

1: LADAKH - The Land of the Mystic Lamas


Photo of Leh by Shikha Singh

State: Jammu and Kashmir.

Best known for: The Great Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges, the upper Indus River Valley and the culture that has kept it's Buddhist heritage alive.

Also know as: Little tibet or moon land.

Population: Dards, Indo-Aryan, and mix of Tibetan origin.

Religion: Buddhism in majority.

Festival: September, every year which displays the traditional Polo match, the Village archery, the monastic dance in the monasteries including exhibitions.

Food: Thukpa- noodle soup, Skyu- heavy pasta dish, Momos- steamed dumplings stuffed with vegetables or meat, Chhaang- an alcoholic beverage, Butter tea- churning tea with salt and yak butter.

Climate: Remains chilly and cold for most time of the year.

POI's: Monasteries, Lakes and Vistas.

Best time to visit: May - October ( check on weather and highways before starting )

Preferable: Any day by road.

Tags: #roadies #adventure #trek #solace #camping

Value for money: 10/10

Getaways: Manali- 478 kms, Kashmir- 420 kms.

**Do not miss on: The pangong lake ( spend a night )

Khardung La.

**Snippets: A perfect place to learn more about Buddhist and Tibetan culture. If possible try exploring the Nubra, Suru & Zanskar Valley.

2: MEGHALAYA - The abode of clouds


Photo of Meghalaya, India by Shikha Singh

State: Is a state in north-east India.

Best known for: Forest, lakes, waterfalls, caves.

Also known as: The wet land.

Population: The Khasis, the Garos and the Jaintias (Tribal people make up the majority of Meghalaya's population)

Religion: Christianity and Hinduism ( Dominant ).

Festival: Wangala - an offering of thanksgiving to the sun god of fertility. Nongkrem Dance, held in October or November.

Food: Meghalaya is home to three Mongoloid tribes so it has a unique cuisine dominating rice, meat and fish. The famous food are: Jadoh- red rice which is cooked with pieces of pork. Dohkhlieh- salad made up of pork, onion and chilly. Pumaloi- type of rice which are “Steamed”.

Climate: Pleasant summers, chilled winters and wet during most time of the year.

POI's: Shillong, Cherrapunji, Tura, Mawsynram.

Best time to visit: December - August.

Preferable: By road again.

Tags: #backpacking #tribal #forest

Value for money: 9/10

Getaways: Nagaland- 271kms, West Bengal- 326 kms.

**Do not miss on: Double Decker Living Root Bridge - Cherrapunjee,

Umium Lake - Shillong,

Elephant Falls - Shillong.

**Snippets: Highly known for it's rich Flora and Fauna and surrounded by many sacred Forests, one is advised to carry a tent to spend a night or two in the forest, if you dare to.

3: KERALA - God's own country


Photo of Kerala, India by Shikha Singh

State: Is an Indian state in South India on the Malabar coast.

Best known for: Lagoons, Lakes, Houseboats and Ayurveda treatments.

Also known as: The literate capital of India.

Population: Consist of Malayali ethnicity. Most of the Malayalam and English speaking Keralites derive their ancestry from Dravidian and Aryan.

Religion: Hinduism and Islam ( Dominant ).

Festival: Onam- (August-September), Vishu- (April-May)

Food: Sadhya- served in a plain banana leaf, contains almost 24 items with some desserts, Thalassery Biriyani, Puttu and Kadalakkari- steamed rice cake, with black chickpeas.

Climate: The mountain regions predominantly have cool climate, which is very refreshing. On the other hand, the coastal plains of western lowlands generally remain hot and humid for most part of the year.

POI's: Munnar, Kochi, Alapuuzha.

Best time to visit: September - February.

Preferable: Air/Rail/Road.

Tags: #nature #honeymoon_destination

Value for money: 8/10

Getaways: Kodaikanal – 411 Kms, Coimbatore– 380 Kms, Lakshadweep- 428 kms, COORG – 540

**Do not miss on: Varkala beach

, Alleppey Backwaters and a stay in the houseboat.

**Snippets: Kerala has played a vital role in keeping the magic of Ayurveda alive so if you need some then visit Athreya Ayurvedic Resort.

4: GOA - The Hippies' Paradise


Photo of Alleppey, Kerala, India by Shikha Singh

State: A state in Southwest India.

Best known for: Beaches, Parties, Casino, Sea food, Feni and Water sport.

Also known as: The party destination of India.

Population: Goan's and Konkani's.

Religion: Hinduism and Christianity ( Dominant ).

Festival: Goa carnival, Sunburn.

Food: Fish Recheado, Prawn Balchao, Prawn Balchao, Bebinca- a delicious Goan dessert.

Climate: Hot and Humid most time of the year.

POI's: Calangute, Panaji, Candolim, Palolem Beach.

Best time to visit: September - March

Preferable: By road.

Tags: #hipsters #food_drinks_beaches

Value for money: 10/10

Getaways: Dandeli- 145kms, Gokarna- 132kms.

**Do not miss on: Sunburn festival-December, A night or two in Palolem beach, A visit to sweet water lake- Arambol and stay on the beach shacks, The non-decomposing body of St. Francis Xavier which was brought to Goa in 1553.

**Snippets: Goa is India’s most forested state, with 33 percent of the state covered with forest, so you don't really have to hang in the bars all time.

5: GUJARAT - The Jewel of west India


Photo of 10 must visit places in India, before you die! by Shikha Singh

State: Is a state in Western India.

Best known for: Textiles, Food, Handicraft and Garba.

Also known as: The white desert.

Population: Gujrati's, Rajputs and Marwaris.

Religion: Hinduism ( Dominant )

Festival: Internation kite festival, Navratri, Rann Utsav.

Food: Khandvi, Undhiyu, Aam Shrikhand, Dhokla, Methi ka Thepla, Dal Dhokli, Handvo, Fafda-Jalebi, Khichu.

Climate: Pleasant Summers and Dry winters.

POI's: Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot.

Best time to visit: October - June

Preferable: Rail/Road/Air

Tags: #culture #heritage #Colourful

Value for money: 7/10

Getaways: Malshejghat- 223kms, Udaipur- 260kms, Mount Abu-230kms, Shirdi- 232kms.

**Do not miss on: Great Rann of Kutch ( stay in the tents during the rann ustav ), Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, Mandvi beach, Dwarka, The garba nights during navratri.

**Snippets: If you are sick partying and are annoyed with your drinking habit, try this place for a break- The dry state!

6: VARANASI - The spiritual capital on India


Photo of 10 must visit places in India, before you die! by Shikha Singh

State: Is a city in the Uttar pradesh state in northern India.

Best known for: The ghats, Banarasi sari, Festivals, Marijuna, the Literature.

Also known as: Banaras, the oldest city in India.

Population: Hindus and Muslims.

Religion: Hinduism and Islam ( Dominant ).

Festival: Ganga Mahotsav, Dev Diwali, Ramlila, Chhath pooja.

Food: Varanasi is highly appreciated for its street food like the Kachori Sabji, Tamaatar Chaat, Litti-Chokha, Bhang Thandai, Aaloo-Tikki, Paan.

Climate: Humid summers and an intense winter.

POI's: Dasaswamedh Ghat, Sarnath, Assi Ghat, Harishchandra Ghat.

Best time to visit: October - March

Preferable: Rail

Tags: #spiritual #ancient #history #soul_detox

Value for money: 9/10

Getaways: Bodhgaya- 255kms, Allahabad- 120kms, Ayodhya- 215kms.

**Do not miss on: The boat ride, The maha Ganga Aarti, The street food, A dialogue with the saadhu babas.

**Snippets: People given up on anything positive happening should once visit Varanasi as this city is called the city of hope. It adds a new dimension to your perceptive about life . Varanasi – The place where life and death meets.

7: HIMACHAL PRADESH - Mini Switzerland of India


Photo of 10 must visit places in India, before you die! by Shikha Singh

State: Is a northern Indian state in the Himalayas.

Best known for: Home to scenic mountain towns, host to the Dalai Lama, Himalayan landscapes, popular hill-stations, rock climbing, mountain biking, paragliding, trekking, climbing, ice-skating, and heli-skiing and strong Tibetan presence.

Also known as: Mini Switzerland on India.

Population: Pahari, Kannets, Rathis and Kolis. There are also tribal population in the state which mainly comprise Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis.

Religion: Hinduism ( Dominant )

Festival: Halda in Lahaul district- January, Dussehra in Kullu – October, Phulaich Kinnaur – September, Baisakhi in Mandi – April, Poltu in Sirmaur Region, Winter Carnival in Manali – January, Shimla Summer Festival in Shimla – Ice Skating Carnival in Shimla and Dalhousie.

Food: Dham- red kidney beans (rajma), green lentils (moong daal) and rice in curd, Sidu- distinct bread with ghee/ butter/ mutton/ daal, Chha Gosht- A lamb meat, Kullu Trout- fish marinated and shallow fried in mustard oil, Bhey- A unique dish made from the lotus stems, it is truly a scrumptious.

Climate: A pleasant Climate through out and snow fall during the winters.

POI's: Shimla, Manali, Dharamshala, Dalhousie, Rohtang pass.

Best time to visit: March- November

Preferable: By road

Tags: #mountain #trek #adventure #honeymoon #camping

Value for money: 10/10

Getaways: Dalhousie- 325kms, Kalpa- 260kms, Nahan- 300 kms, Manali- 257 kms, Kinnaur- 235kms, Kufri- 260 kms, McLeod Ganj- 245kms, Palampur- 210kms.

**Do not miss on: A visit to Rohtang Pass, Solang Valley, Spiti valley, Chamba, Kasauli, Dharamshala, Chandratal Lake. Trek to Saru Tal and do try Paragliding, River rafting in Manali.

**Snippets: If you want to get the best of this place travel by road, rent a bike, meet the locals and explore the rural ( as people here are very friendly and the culture is worth exploring ), ditch the hotels and go camping.

8: UTTARAKHAND - Land of the Gods - Devbhumi


Photo of 10 must visit places in India, before you die! by Shikha Singh

State: A state in northern India crossed by the Himalayas.

Best known for: Hindu pilgrimage sites, yoga study, shelters for Bengal tigers and other native wildlife, hill stations and Valley of flowers.

Also known as: Land of the Gods- Devbhumi.

Population: Uttarakhandi, Garhwali, Kumaoni,Rajputs and Brahmins.

Religion: Hinduism ( Dominant )

Festival: Kumbh Mela- takes place four times every twelve years, Bhitauli, Phool Dei- March, Hilljatra, Kandali- when the Kandali flower blooms once in every twelve years, in the months of August and October.

Food: Gahat ke Paranthe, Bhang Ki Chutney, Kafuli- Made from spinach and fenugreek leafs, Phaanu- mixture of different lentils, Baadi, Chainsoo, Thhatwani-lentils’ stock and rice paste.

Climate: Chilling summers and freezing winters.

POI's: Nainital, Rishikesh, Dehradun, Mussoorie, Jim corbett Nation park.

Best time to visit: Through out the year.

Preferable: Rail/Road.

Tags: #honeymoon #trek #backpacking #hillstation #spiritual

Value for money: 10/10

Getaways: Nainital- 300kms, Lansdowne- 170kms, Shimla- 230kms, Nag tibba- 100kms, New theri- 130 kms, Almora- 228kms, Nahan- 370kms, Parwanoo- 400kms.

**Do not miss on: A visit to the Char Dham Yatra, Haridwar-Rishikesh Tour, Dhanaulti- on Mussoorie-Chamba road at 2250 m above sea level, Auli** ( much known for skiing ), Chopta, Bhimtal lake, Jim Corbett National Park, Almora, Nainital- Lake Tour, Mussoorie- Queen of Hills and Valley of flowers.

**Snippets: To explore the wilds of the Himalayas jungle safari is highly recommended followed by River Rafting, Bungee Jumping, Flying Fox, Giant Swing. Uttarakhand being covered with seasonal snow become an ideal place for skiing.

9: KARNATAKA - One state many worlds


Photo of 10 must visit places in India, before you die! by Shikha Singh

State: Is a state in southwest India with Arabian Sea coastlines.

Best known for: Mysore silk, Channapatna Toys, Waterfalls, Ancient Temples and heritage.

Also known as: The ancient gem of south india.

Population: Bengaluru, Hubballi-Dharwad, Mysuru, Belagavi, Kalburgi, Mangaluru, Davanagere and Shivamogga. This state has one of the largest populations of Anglo-Indians in India.

Religion: Hinduism ( Dominant )

Festivals: Hampi Festival- January, Kambala Festival- November-March, Chalukya Dance Festival- January, Mahamastakabhisheka- In very 12 years.

Food: Udipi sambar-idli-vada, Mysore masala dosa, Mysore bonda, Bisi bele bath, Neer dosa, Ragi dosa, Rice rava upma, Potato sagu, Banana rasayana.

Climate: It is a region of heavy rainfall experiencing dry summers, lovely monsoons and chilled winters.

POI's: Bengaluru, Mysore, Mangalore, Jog falls, Madikeri, Abbey falls, Hebbe falls, Kodachari, Bidar, Gulbarga, Yana.

Best time to visit: March- Feb

Preferable: By road, rail, air.

Tags: #adventure #heritage #backpacking #mountains #nature #hippe

Value for money: 9/10

Getaways: Murudeshwar- 480kms, Maravanthe- 470kms, Munnar- 476kms, Kodaikanal- 460kms, Kabini National Park- 220kms, Bandipur Tiger Reserve- 220kms, Kodanad- 320kms, Chickmagalur- 250kms, Honnemardu- 379kms, Ooty- 280km,

**Do not miss on: Coorg, Gokarna, Dandeli, Hampi, Wine Tours in Ramanagara, Nandi Hills – Muddenahalli, Sigandhur and Jog Falls, Chikmagalur, Badami and The Coral Ride in Tunga River.

**Snippets: If you are a history lover you are viewing the right destination. Missing on Dandeli, Coorg, Gokarna and Hampi is a big NO NO. These places are paradise for every solo traveller, puff in some grass, go hippy, explore the history, meet the strangers, exchange stories and later become one.



Photo of 10 must visit places in India, before you die! by Shikha Singh

State: Is one of the seven union territories of India.

Best known for: These roughly 572 islands are known for their palm-lined, white-sand beaches, mangroves, tropical rainforests, undulating mountains, ancient tribes, and sea food.

Also known as: The Emerald Isles / Happy land of Butterflies.

Population: The Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa and Sentinalese, Local Borns, Aboriginal Tribes, Nicobarese, Moppilas, Burmese & Karen, Chotanagpur Tribals (The tribes inhabiting these islands don’t interact with outsiders ).

Religion: Hinduism and Christianity ( Dominant )

Festivals: Island Tourism Festival- December- January, Beach Festival- April.

Food: Andaman & Nicobar Islands were, and still are inhabited by indigenous tribes. They had very little contact with the outside world, and so raw fish and fruits were their staple diet for a long time resulting in no special cuisines but everything and anything in Sea food like crabs, prawns, lobsters, fish.

Climate: Being surrounded by sea, the islands of Andaman and Nicobar experience a moderate temperature throughout the year.

POI's: Port Blair, Andaman Islands, Havelock Islands, Neil Island, Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Barren Island, Great Nicobar Island, Rutland Island, Clique Islands, Smith and Ross Islands.

Best time to visit: March- February.

Preferable: By air.

Tags: #honeymoon #beach #isolation #tribal #watersport

Value for money: 9/10

Getaways: Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea ( kidding :P )

**Do not miss on: Neil Island, The underwater walk at North Bay Island and Havelock Island, Coral Reefs ( Cinque Island ), A visit to kaala paani ( Cellular Jail ), Water Activities ( Swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, banana boat rides, parasailing, underwater walking, jet skiing ), Little Andaman Island, Mayabunder.

**Snippets: Try visiting the Barren Island, situated 135 km away from Port Blair, is where you can see this live volcano. Yes, Live!

Did you know The 20 rupee note depicts a scene from Andaman & Nicobar islands ?


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