5 MUST VISIT PLACES IN INDIA

India is such a vast country that trying to narrow my favourite places down to just five was an incredibly difficult task. There are lots of places I could have included but, as most people who visit this beautiful country only have a limited amount of time (as did I), I wanted to share just a few of my favourites so you don’t miss out.

Varanasi


I was sceptical about visiting Varanasi, especially after watching the Sue Perkins documentary about the River Ganges which aired on the BBC (TV channel in the UK). The program didn’t exactly paint a great picture of the area, and we almost cancelled our flight to Varanasi because of it. In the end I’m so glad we ignored the media as this incredibly spiritual city completely won me over. Hindus come from all over India and other countries to die in Varanasi. They believe that to have their ashes washed away by the River Ganga will liberate them from the cycle of life (reincarnation), allowing them to go directly to heaven. If you’re planning on just doing a Rajasthan/ Golden Triangle tour, it’s definitely worth the detour to incorporate Varanasi into your trip.

What to do
• Visit the Burning Ghats – please remember to be respectful and not to take and photos of the cremation site from the Ghat itself. If you really want a photo, it’s more acceptable to photograph from afar on the river.
• Take a Ganges boat tour – I’d recommended doing this both during the day and at night. Lots of people will tout you for this tour so ask around for better prices. If you want the touts to leave you alone we found it was just easier to say “we’ve already been on a tour” and they will stop asking.
• Walk along the Ghats – each section is different and you’ll see some amazing things along the way.
• Fly a kite – in January there is a big kite festival but, kids and adults will fly kites from the rooftops all year long (if its dry). You can either buy a kite from one of the local shops or you’ll probably come across one on the floor. Our guesthouse had a few on their rooftop which they let us play with. The aim of the game is to have the dominant kite in the sky by cutting the strings of the other kites.
• Watch the evening ceremony – this offering to Ganga happens every evening regardless of weather. I preferred watching from the Ghat steps but, it’s also great to watch from a boat.

Where to sleep
We stayed at Bhadra Guest House – it was cheap, comfortable and literally just at the top Dasaswamedh Ghat steps.

Where to eat
• Dolphin – little bit pricey in comparison to other place but, you can enjoy a decent curry with a view.
• Brown Bread Bakery – The bread here is almost as good as the bread in French bakeries. For western style food, it’s a very good standard.

Agra

It wouldn’t be possible to write this post without including Agra. Not because of the city itself but, because its home to one of most famous monuments in the world… the Taj Mahal. In my option one full day is enough time to cover the two main attractions in this city.

What to do
• Taj Mahal –  For a free and spectacular view of the Taj, head to the view point across the river (Mehtab Bagh).
• Agra fort – also a UNESCO  the fort doesn’t quite get the same limelight as the Taj but, equally worth a visit.

Where to sleep
We stayed at Moustache Hostel Agra – quite modern and a great place to meet other travellers.

Where to eat
Good Vibe Café – just across the road from Moustache Hostel.

Pushkar


Like Varanasi, Pushkar is also a sacred place for Hindus and has 52 Ghats situated around a central lake. Unlike Varanasi, it has more of a relaxing atmosphere (unless you’re visiting during Pushkar Camel Fair). It’s become somewhat of a mecca for travellers seeking some calm away from the big cities in Rajasthan.

What to do
Head up to Savitri Temple for sunrise, or sunset if you’re enjoying relaxing in Pushkar a little too much for the early morning hike (like me).
• Camp in the desert.
• Take a cooking or yoga class. 

Visit temples – there are a number of amazing temples around Pushkar including; Brahma Temple, Rangji Temple, Pap Mochani Temple and Gurdwara Singh Sabha.

Where to sleep
• Hotel Everest – it was cheap and basic but, it suited us just fine.

Where to eat
• Sunset Café – Positioned right next to the lake it’s a great place to relax and watch the world go by. Make sure you get the cheese toast for breakfast/ brunch, it’s the best cheese toast I’ve ever had! They also do a fairly decent pizza if you’re getting fed up of curry.
Ganga Laffe & Falafel – every time you walk past this small street café it’s full, and for good reason!

Udaipur


Known as the ‘city of lakes’ or the ‘Venice of India’, Udaipur was probably my favourite place we visited in India. I could have easily spent a few weeks here basking in it’s beauty. Udaipur was put on the map after the Lake Palace was featured on James Bond Octopussy film. This place is often overlooked on Rajasthan itineraries in favour of visiting Jaisalmer instead. If you have to pick between the two and going on a camel safari is high up on your bucket list, I would choose Udaipur.

What to do
• City Palace – this beautiful palace makes for some great photo’s, it’s a shame it gets so busy.
•Animal Aid Unlimited – if you’re an animal lover you MUST visit this charity. The work they do is amazing!
• Boat tour – The boat tour isn’t that great but, it gives you a good opportunity to get some photographs.

Where to sleep
Peacock Paying Guest House – this was a great little find, just off the main street with a great view from the roof top.

Where to eat
Natural View Restaurant – a great place to get some food and to watch the sunset (this is where my sunset photo was taken from).
Rainbow Restaurant – the milkshakes here and amazing! We went everyday to get our sweet fix.

Munnar


The South of India is like a different country completely to the desert regions in the North. This area is more a place of natural beauty rather than monuments and historic sites. If you like trekking then this is a great place to explore. I’d highly recommended getting the local bus up or back out, it’s an experience in itself, hold on to your seat.

What to do
Day tour – hire a car or a tuk tuk to drive you around for the day. We went to: Top Station, Echo Point, tea plantations, spice garden, Photo Point and Mattupetty Dam.
Go for a hike.
Have a ayurvedic massage – this is the home of ayurvedic treatments and it’s much cheaper than having a massage back home.
•Eravikulam National Park – home of an endangered breed of goat Nilgiri Tahr.

Where to sleep
We stayed at Misty Mountain. It was comfortable but, stupidly expensive for the standard of accommodation. Munnar was the only place in India we struggled to find somewhere to stay (we didn’t pre-book many accommodations). We spent around 3 hours driving around looking for somewhere. I would definitely recommend booking somewhere in advance if you’re visiting in peak season.

Where to eat
S N Restaurant – don’t judge a book by it’s cover, the food in this place is amazing.

Where are your must visit places in India?

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5 places to visit in india

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