7 amazing things to see in India

With nearly 1.5 billion inhabitants, India is the country with the highest population in the entire world. So you can imagine that the country is overpopulated and most places are extremely busy. Especially the capital New Delhi is extremely crowded, be prepared for this when you travel to India. Despite the enormous number of people, India has a lot to offer and is definitely worth traveling to this beautiful country. You can read all about it in this blog about 7 amazing things to see in India.

Is India a safe country?

In general, India is a relatively safe country to travel through. Of course, it is important to be vigilant at tourist attractions and other crowded places; this is where scammers and pickpockets are often active. So be sure to keep a close eye on your valuables. It is also good to keep an eye on warnings from local and national authorities. In fact, terrorist attacks occur regularly in India, especially around large cities or tourist attractions. Make sure you are aware of the current threat and always report suspicious situations to the security forces. In addition, it is good to know that it is not recommended to travel to the following areas: the Kashmir valley, border areas with Pakistan and the state of Manipur. It is also good to be extra vigilant for disturbances in northeast India and border areas with other countries. Preferably, these areas are skipped when traveling to India.
Overall, then, India is a safe country to travel through, but around busy cities and tourist attractions it is good to be extra vigilant about scammers, pickpockets and terrorist threats. In addition, it is good to familiarize yourself with which areas it is better not to visit as a tourist. This way you can avoid unpleasant situations during your trip through India. Always make sure to read the travel advice of your own government, which contains useful tips that you can use during your trip.

Is India an expensive country?

India, despite becoming increasingly touristy, is still a relatively inexpensive country to travel. Especially for people from Europe and the United States, prices for hotels, excursions and restaurants are relatively low. For €15 to €20 per night you can stay in a 4-star hotel in the center of the capital New Delhi, for example. If you eat in a local restaurant, or get food from one of the delicious street food joints, you will spend about €5 for a main course. If you go for a Western meal in a more upscale restaurant, a main course will cost around €10. So, like other Asian countries, India is a relatively inexpensive destination in terms of hotels and restaurants.

What must you have seen in India?

– New Delhi

– Taj Mahal

– Amritsar

– Varanasi

– Rajasthan

– Goa

– Rishikesh

New Delhi

We begin at the capital of this immense country: New Delhi. With nearly 28 million inhabitants, this is a tremendously busy and chaotic city. The hustle and bustle is actually a sight in itself; you will feast your eyes as you are transported through the city. It is therefore absolutely not advisable to drive through New Delhi by car yourself, because for Europeans and people from the United States it is overwhelming and very difficult to participate in the traffic.

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These days, you see more and more buildings that reference India’s partly Islamic culture. For example, you have the Qtub Minar, a more than 70-meter-high stone tower that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This landmark is also located just slightly outside the real center of New Delhi, but is well worth a visit. If you want a guided tour, make sure you have purchased a ticket before you arrive, otherwise you will end up in huge queues. These queues can add up to several hours of waiting time on the busiest days.

The following attractions are also hugely recommended:

– Chandni Chowk Market

– Akshardham temple complex

– Jama Masjid Mosque

– The Lotus Temple

– Purana Qila

In short, there is an enormous amount to do in the busy city of New Delhi. Be sure to take stock in advance of what there is to do and what you absolutely want to have seen. This way you also know how much time you want to set aside to explore the capital. We recommend taking at least 4 days to discover all the beauty of this historic city.

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Taj Mahal

Probably India’s most famous landmark: the Taj Mahal. This imposing building is easiest to visit through a day trip from New Delhi. It has been voted one of the seven wonders of the world. This election is due in part to the fact that the entire structure is made of marble! Thousands of people worked to get this building finished, which took a total of over 20 years.

What many people do not know is the beautiful but also sad story behind this building. For it was built by Emperor Shah Jahan. At the birth of their 15th child, his wife Mumtaz died. Out of love for her, he decided to have this beautiful building built for her tomb. So you could say that the Taj Mahal is actually a (pretty) big declaration of love.

Try to go to the Taj Mahal as early or as late in the day as possible. It will still be crowded then, of course, but you will be ahead of the biggest crowds. That way you have the greatest chance of getting a great view and taking some great photos for your family, friends and, of course, socials! Keep in mind that the Taj Mahal is closed on every Friday. Normally, the Taj Mahal opens 30 minutes before sunrise and then closes 30 minutes before sunset. So if you are willing to get out of bed early, you can take beautiful photos of a sunrise at the Taj Mahal.

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Amritsar

Amritsar is located in northwestern India, fairly near the border with Pakistan. As mentioned in the introduction, there may be security risks in this area. So be sure to take stock of the current situation before traveling to this city.

Should the security situation permit, though, this is truly a unique city to include in your trip through India. The biggest attraction is the Golden Temple of Amritsar. This temple is also known as Harmandir Sahib. The building stands in Lake Sarova and is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Even though the building has an imposing appearance and therefore is less inviting to take a look, it is allowed! The doors are open to everyone, so don’t miss the chance to enter a temple whose dome is covered with more than 100 kilograms of gold leaf.

Besides the Golden Temple, there are a number of other things to see in Amritsar. One of these sights has a somewhat less pleasant reason and has everything to do with the history of this city. Namely, during a festival in Amritsar in 1919, a massacre took place in which the British-Indian army reportedly killed about 1,800 people. To commemorate this terrible event, a memorial stone has been erected, the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial. You will also find a museum where you can learn more about this event. For those who want to delve further into the history of India, this is definitely recommended.

In addition to the above sights, there is much more to see and explore in and around Amritsar:

– Gobindgarh Fort

– Durgiana Temple

– Food Tours

Varanasi

Varanasi is a holy city in India, also known as Benares. For Hindus, this is a very important place and there is much to discover about its culture. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and it is good to know in advance that here you will also be introduced to the lesser sides of India: chaos and filth. Don’t let this stop you, but be prepared.

The local culture is best discovered at the steps by the Ganges River. Here you will find the Manikarnika Ghat, a place where many rituals and funerals take place. If you walk a bit around the Ganges, you get a beautiful view of the steps where the rituals and purifications take place. From this perspective, you also get a view of the architecture of the city, which with its many temples is also very beautiful. By the way, good to know is that you should never accept people who invite you to take you to a place for a better view, these people are only after your money! So always look for the best spots for views and photos yourself. In addition, always be respectful to the local culture. Tourists are allowed to cleanse themselves in the holy water of the Ganges, but it is emphatically not the intention to swim extensively or play games in this water.

Apart from taking a bath in the Ganges, you can also book a boat tour on this river. You sail with a rowing boat along a number of beautiful palaces and temples where the guide will tell you more about the history. You will also see many Hindu rituals along the way, which is very impressive to see. By the way, this boat trip is best in the morning, preferably between 6 and 8 am! So you have to sacrifice a little sleep to have the best experience.

Besides the boat ride, you can also explore the city on foot with walking tours of the beautiful palaces and temples. You can also attend a ritual ceremony or enjoy the sunset by the Ganges River. In short, plenty to do in this holy city. Always be respectful and considerate of the local culture!

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Rajasthan

Rajasthan is often referred to as the most beautiful state of India. You will find everything in this state; from bustling and colorful markets to mighty forts and temples. For those staying longer in India, it is highly recommended to use a lot of time to explore Rajasthan. Security risks do apply to some areas of this state, so always keep an eye on these if you decide to travel to Rajasthan.

The capital of Rajasthan is Jaipur, also known as “the pink city. This is for a special reason. The traditional color of hospitality of the Rajputs, the original inhabitants, is pink. When the Prince of Wales came to visit in the 19th century, the inhabitants of the city decided to paint all the houses in this color. This just goes to show how hospitable people in India generally are.

Besides this funny history, there is also a breathtaking sight to see in Jaipur: the Hawa Mahal. This wind palace is beautifully built, with the many windows located on the outside. The palace is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the entrance fee is only €2.50. Highly recommended if you are in Jaipur. By the way, the Monkey Temple is also a fun sight to see. This temple, located on a mountain, is famous because hundreds of monkeys live there. Be careful and never approach the monkeys yourself; they can be aggressive and spread rabies. This is a disease you definitely don’t want to catch; we recommend getting vaccinated against this virus before your trip.

Besides Jaipur, there are many other things to see in Rajasthan. For example, you can visit Udaipur or Jaisalmer. Want a little more adventure? Then go on a camel safari through the Thar Desert. Find out in advance which tours are reliable, because you want to make sure that the camel you go on safari with is well taken care of. By the way, the world-famous Taj Mahal mentioned above is also located in the state of Rajasthan!

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Goa

After all the busy cities with lots of history and culture, are you ready for a quieter place where you can hang out on the beaches and enjoy delicious cocktails? Then take a trip to the state of Goa. This state is known for its fine beaches and beautiful fishing villages. Also, this part of India is much greener than other parts of the country. Be prepared to want to stay here longer than pre-planned, there have been many travelers who stayed here anyway, haha.

As already mentioned, Goa has some beautiful beaches. For example, you have Palolem Beach, Agonda Beach and Baga Beach here. Each beach has its own characteristics. For example, Agonda Beach is in a greener environment than the other beaches, while Baga Beach is known for its beautiful yellow sand and clear blue water. So decide in advance what you like best, if you have enough time we recommend visiting all the beaches because they are so different.

If you want to get a little more into nature and seek adventure, visit the Dudhsagar Falls. These beautiful falls are not only accessible on foot, you always have to use public transportation for this. The easiest way is to go the first part by train and then take a local bus. After this, you will still have to make a long trek of 12 kilometers for the best views of the falls. So you have to be willing to do something to see these falls, but if you want to bring some adventure into your trip then this is a good option!

Since Goa is a somewhat hipper state, there are many beach bars around the beaches where you can sip delicious cocktails. In addition, on some beaches it is also possible to take surfing lessons. There are also many festivals around the coastal towns with colorful flags and outfits. It is great fun to experience one of these local festivals, so be sure to check if there is a festival taking place during the time you are staying in the state of Goa. This way you can really immerse yourself in the culture of India.

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Rishikesh

Rishikesh is a city known for its spiritual visitors. Many people call this place the “yoga capital of the world. However, you don’t have to love yoga to include this city in your trip through India. Because of its location near the Himalayan Mountains, there is plenty of adventure to be had around this city. For example, you can take hikes through the mountains, as well as raft in the beautiful rivers that surround Rishikesh. For the hikes, though, it is advisable to bring professional hiking boots because the hikes are very challenging.

As mentioned, there are many opportunities to completely unwind in Rishikesh. For example, take part in one of the many yoga sessions organized by locals or visit a meditation center. If you enjoy interacting with other travelers, this is a great opportunity to connect with travelers around the world.

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