Which cities you must visit during your first vacation to India?

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Photo of Which cities you must visit during your first vacation to India? 1/7 by Anamika Sharma

“There are some parts of the world that, once visited, get into your heart and won’t go. For me, India is such a place” – Keith Bellows of the National Geographic Society once said. And one’s thing certain: There’s definitely a reason for such inspirational, genuine and heartfelt quote. Characterized by its numerous population with unique colorful food scents, stunningly out of the ordinary architecture and plenty of mystical and legendary history facts that still shapes the country’s society and lifestyle, India offers its visitors a one of a kind journey that will last forever in every person’s heart and soul who dares to visit this outstanding paradise.

From major historic landmarks to exceptional religious buildings, India will certainly meet or even surpass your expectations, due its amazingly beautiful communities that will welcome you as one of their ones. Despite the shocking chaotic traffic that characterizes the big cities of Mumbai or New Delhi, India has other stupendously gorgeous cities like Varanasi – the oldest city in the world – or Jaipur, that will easily overtake all the cons that are commonly associated with a trip to India.

For what is worth, these are the best places to visit if you’re thinking about a trip through the most beautiful cities in India!

Delhi

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Even though is quite hard for the common person to geographically differentiate or distinguish Delhi from New Delhi (which is the capital city of India), you simply need to know that Delhi is a territory that encompasses a total of eleven districts, of which the 20th-century born New Delhi is one and that’s where all the government main buildings are erected. Geography and politics aside, there’s a lot of sites to visit while in Delhi. From the magnificent presidential palace of Rashtrapati Bhavan to the spectacular India Gate – a triumphal arch serving as a war memorial that commemorates the 90,000 Indian soldiers that passed away during the British wars, passing by the remarkably Red Fort, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO that was built during the mid 17th-century and served as the Mughal emperor’s residence for nearly 200 years. Apart from these three wonderful places, you should definitely think about visiting the Humayun’s Tomb, the Lotus Temple, the Qutb Minar and the Akshardham.

Mumbai

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Despite not being India’s capital city, Mumbai is unquestionably the largest city in the whole country. Truly a megalopolitan monster due to its metropolitan population of 20.7 million people (!), Mumbai lies in the state of Maharashtra and is currently the 4th most populous city on Earth. Every tourist that passes by this astounding city is eager to photograph the tremendously scenic Gateway of India, an Indo-Saracenic waterfront monument that accurately captures the Indian environment in every single way. The incredible gothic building of Chhatrapati Shivaji (in English, Victoria Station) that definitely looks more like a cathedral than a station, the Walkeshwar temple complex and the Mani Bhavan (Mahatma Gandhi’s base) are also must-see’s in Mumbai, while religious sites such as the Siddhivinayak Temple, the Haji Ali Dargah, the Kanheri Caves or the Elephanta Caves are also noteworthy.

Agra

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For traveling purposes, Agra is clearly the synonym of one of the most beautiful architectural masterpieces in the whole world – the Taj Mahal. Constructed for 21 straight years from 1632 to 1653, this absolutely elegant mausoleum is arguably one of the most physical symbols of eloquence, devotion and commitment that has ever been built. Ordered by Shah Jahan, a powerful Mughal ruler during the 17th-century, to honor his wife that died during the birth of their 14th child (!), as well as to commemorate their 18 years of marriage, the Taj Mahal became the landmark of India for years to come, being consecrated not only as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, but also as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World 24 years later.

The building is so unique that one story (allegedly only a myth) sustained for over a century. It was hypothesized that Shan Jahan ordered to cut off the workers hands and blinded the architect responsible for this tremendous artwork, in order to prevent them from making such a splendid monument ever again. Tragic truth or people folklore, who knows? The only thing we all know is that the architect of the Taj Mahal is not known for certain, although Ustad Lahori has been widely credited for it. Even though, the mystery persists.

Furthermore, be sure to spend some additional time in Agra to visit just a few more incredible and historic sites. Attractions such as the Agra Fort, the Tomb of Akbar the Great or Guru ka Tal pilgrimage place are also worth mentioning, while Gwalior, an ancient (and huge!) site of Jain worship located 122 km south of Agra should be obligatory as well.

Chennai

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Located on the Coromandel Coast of Bay of Bengal, Chennai is the fourth largest city in India and probably the hottest one in the country. Apart from all that, the intricate carvings in the Kapaleeshwar Temple one of the most exclusive artworks that you’ll get to see in a 7th-century religious monument. Dedicated to Shiva, one of the three major figures in Hinduism, this building is certainly something you want to lay your eyes on, but the view of the temple tank at dawn is also breathtaking.

With the possibility of combining history and relax due to beaches nearby, Chennai is definitely a destination that both tourists and travelers should have on their lists!

Varanasi

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Idyllically situated on the banks of the River Ganges in northern India, Varanasi is considered the oldest city on Earth, especially due to its religious significance to the Hindu community, which arguably makes Varanasi as the “Mecca of Hinduism”. Vibrant and colorful buildings massively erected alongside the Ganges banks gives a matchless environment to a place that has been the religious center of India for more than 5000 years, attracting several tourists every year!

Jaipur

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The capital city of the historic state of Rajasthan is unquestionably one of the most important heritage cities in India, welcoming thousands of enthusiastic tourists about its major landmark – the Hawa Mahal (in English, the Palace of the Winds). Dating back from the end of the 18th-century, more precisely from 1799, this fine example of Rajput architecture was built by Maharaja Sawai Singh with one curious purpose. The idea behind this project resides in the inquiring fact of letting the royal women that lived inside it to see what was happening on the street, but without being seen themselves. What we get from that is a one of a kind structure with an absolutely unique façade.

Besides the Hawa Mahal, you should definitely pay a visit to Chokri Sarhad palace complex, which gives you the possibility to contemplate the blending of both Rajput and Mughal designs. A bit outside the city lies three magnificent forts: Jaigarh, Naharghar and Amer. The last one, Amer, definitely takes center stage. Located only 11 km from Jaipur, this stupendously beautiful attraction is quite easy to reach and was built around mid 16th-century. Characterized by its eye-catching serpentine staircase and refreshing Maote Lake nearby, the Amer Fort also offers its visitors the opportunity to admire various gates, ramparts and cobbled paths.

We really hope that, by now, you’re considering to choose India as your next adventure. The best thing about this wonderful country is that there are still several places that clearly deserve to be visited and explored, such as Udaipur, Darjeeling, Karachi, Goa, Kolkata or Amritsar, among many others. A huge country like India has so many regions locations and regions that are must-stopovers during a trip and Vacation India is the perfect travel company to provide you the tour option that best suits your interests!

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