India is a vast land, having thousands of tourists attractions all over the country. Many of the tourist attractions of India are famous all over the world and a number of them have been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. However, covering all the tourist attractions in a single tour is not possible, better you visit a particular state or city in a single tour. Here I am providing a brief overview of top ten tourist attractions of India.
Red Fort (Delhi) : Red Fort the principle land mark of Delhi, was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in between 1638 A.D to 1648 A.D. A red sand stone monument, Red Fort was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site last year. Red Fort extends over an area of about two kms and surrounded by massive wall varying in height from 18 mts to 33 mts. Originally there were 14 gates to the fort, but now only entrances have remained namely the Delhi Gate and Lahore Gate. Red Fort complex houses a number of impressive structures such as Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, Rang Mahal, Khas Mahal, Moti Masjid and Royal Baths. Sound and Light Show is a modern attraction of Red Fort that is organised in the evening and recreates history of India. Close to Red Fort, Jama Masjid is another important tourist attractions. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, Jama Masjid is the biggest mosque of India.
Taj Mahal (Agra) : One of the seven wonders of the world, Taj Mahal is situated in the city of Agra, Uttar Pradesh. A white marble monument, Taj Mahal was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1653 A.D. Shah Jahan constructed this monument in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. More than 20,000 labours worked day and night for 20 years to give Shah Jahan’s dream a beautiful shape. A World Heritage Site, Taj Mahal is a huge complex housing several magnificent structures. Taj Mahal complex has well-laid out gardens, a mosque and a prayer house. Just one km away from Taj Mahal, Agra Fort is another attraction of Agra. Erected by Mughal Emperor, Akbar the massive fort complex houses a number of beautful palaces, two mosques and lush gardens.
Qutab Minar (Delhi) : Qutab Minar or Victory Pillar is one of the major attractions of Delhi. A 72.5 high tower, Qutab Minar dominates the nearby areas and visible from long distance. Qutab-ud-din Aibak started the construction of the tower in 1199, but he could complete only the first floor, before he died. His son-in-law Iltutmish completed the 2nd and 3rd floor, while the rest two floors were added by Feroz Shah Tughlaq. Originally constructed in Afghan style of architecture, Qutab Minar underwent repairing many times. Aayaats (verses) from Holy Qoran in Arabic and inscription in Kupee language are inscribed over the walls. Qutab Minar has five distinct storeys, each marked by a projecting balcony. Alai Darwaza is the main entrance to Qutab complex, inside the complex there are a number of attractions such as Quwwat-Ul-Islam Mosque, Alai Minar, Iron Pillar and Iman Zamin tomb.
Khajuraho Temples (Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh) : Situated in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho temples are known worldover for its erotic sculptures. Khajuraho temples were built by the Chandela rulers during the 9th and 10th century AD. Originally there were 85 temples, but now 22 temples are present. Khajuraho temple complex has been divided into three categories namely – Western Group, Southern Group and Eastern Group. Some of the finest temples of Khajuraho are Kandariya Mahadeo Temple, Chaunsat Yogini Temple, Vishwanath Temple,Lakshamana Temple, Parsvanath Temple,Ghantai Temple, Adinatha Temple,Duladeo Temple and Chaturbhuj Temple.
Elephanta Caves (Mumbai, Maharashtra) : Elephanta Caves are just 9 kms away from the city of Mumbai. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Elephanta caves is a must visit place during any trip to Mumbai. Elephanta Caves are thought to date back the Silhara kings of the 810 AD- 1260 AD. At Elephant caves, Indian art has found one of its most perfect expressions, especially the massive reliefs in the main cave. The caves site contains impressive reliefs, sculptures and a temple of the Lord Shiva. A rock-cut temple, Shiva temple spreads over an area of 60,000 ft comprises of a main chamber, courtyards and subsidiary shrines.
Ajanta and Ellora Caves (Aurangabad, Maharashtra) : Ajanta and Ellora Caves are located close to the Aurangabad city in Maharashtra. Discovered by John Smith, a British Army Officer in 1819, Ajanta and Ellora are visited by thousands of tourists every year from all over the world. Ajanta and Ellora are cave shrines cut out of rock and considered as amongst most outstanding specimens of ancient Indian architectural heritage. Ellora has 34 caves and situated at a distance of 30 kms from Aurangabad. Ellora caves were carved between 350 AD to 700 AD and depicting the three faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Ajanta is 100 kms away from Aurangabad and has 29 caves, which describe the history of Buddhism, from 200 BC to 650 AD.
Backwaters of Kerala : Backwaters are the most popular tourist attraction of Kerala. A gift of nature, backwaters have formed due to the accumulation of sea water at beaches. Kerala backwater are inland lakes connected by a network of canals. Some of the famous backwaters of Kerala are Alappuzha Backwaters, Kuttanad Backwaters, Kottayam Backwaters, Kollam Backwaters, Kochi Backwaters, Kumarakom Backwaters, Malappuram Backwaters, Kozhikode Backwaters and Trivandrum Backwaters. Best way to explore the Kerala backwaters is to take on cruises on a house boat locally called as Kettuvallam. A house boat cruise on Kerala backwater is once in a lifetime experience and you will remember it for long time.
Goa Beaches : One of the smallest states of India, Goa is also called the ‘beach paradise’. Set along the Arabian Sea, Goa’s 131 km long coastline is home to some of finest beaches of world. Bestowed with turquoise blue water and white clean sands, the beaches of Goa are rated very high on the popularity chart. Goa's capital city Panaji is home to Miramar beach which is favoruite among the tourists. Other popular beaches of Goa are Calangute, Arambol, Vagator, Anjuna, Baga, Morgim, Candolim, Sinquerim, Bogmalo, Velsao, Cansualim, Majorda, Colva, Varca, Mobor and Palolem. Most of the Goan beaches offer excellent opportunities for water sports and you can also relax on the beach side. You can also savour a variety of delectable sea foods in the beachside eating joints.
Darjeeling : Situated in the Indian state of West Bengal, Darjeeling draws tourists from all over the world. One of the finest hill stations of India, Darjeeling is located close to Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders. Natural beauty of Darjeeling is truly mesmerising and you can feel the nature at its best here. Darjeeling is surrounded by snow-capped Himalayan mountain ranges. Besides, the rich flora of the place, breathtaking sunrise and sunset views and lush green tea gardens make Darjeeling a captivating destination from all aspects. From Darjeeling you can enjoy the splendid view of the Kanchenjunga mountain, world’s third largest peak. Some of the major attractions in and around Darjeeling include Ghoom Monastery, Dhirdham Temple, Bhutia Busti, Tiger hills, Batasia Loop, Zoological gardens, Natural History Museum and Observatory Hill.
Kaziranga National Park : Kaziranga is located in the state of Assam. A World Heritage Site, Kaziranga National Park is famous all over the world for its ‘Great Indian One horned Rhinos.’ Set on the banks of the river Bhrahmaputra, Kaziranga spreads over an area of 480 sq. kms. Kaziranga National Park is flanked by beautiful lush tea gardens and tall elephant grass. In addition to Rhinos, you can spot Wild Buffalos, Swamp Deers, Wild Elephants and over 450 species of birds in Kaziranga National Park. Manas National Park is another important national park close to Kaziranga. Manas is also a World Heritage Site and houses One-horned Rhino, Red Panda, Hispid Hare, Pigmy Hog, Golden Langur and many other animal and bird species.