Made In India: 25 Travel Experiences You Won’t Find Anywhere Else

It can take an entire lifetime to see the incredible country that is India. How do you cover something as big? Here’s a bucket list of 25 places in India which you simply must visit before you die. How many of these have you visited? Keep ticking ‘em off.

There’s no guarantee that you’ll go to heaven after you die, why not enjoy a little heaven here on earth itself?

1. Trek in Leh-Ladakh

Source: blogspot.com

Ladakh is one of the most surreal places in India. The trek is also one of the most treacherous. Acres of plain land at that altitude, a lake so clear the surface could be mistaken for glass – a visit to Ladakh can be life-changing. A bike ride from Manali to Ladakh is regarded as almost a rite-of-passage for adventurers.

Best time to go: May-October

2. Go for a Shikara Ride in Kashmir

Source: wikimedia.org

Not for nothing is it known as paradise on Earth, and not for nothing are two countries fighting for it. Sailing on a decorated shikara, in the Dal Lake, surrounded by the icy Hiamlayas in the background is the closest you can get to experiencing heaven.

Best time to go: May-August coz in winter the Dal Lake would be frozen. If you wanna see the flowers in full bloom, go in spring – April is the time when the famous Tulip Festival is held.

3. Paraglide in Manali

Source: sightseeinginmanali.com

Manali could be India’s official hill station. The place offers a range of activities ranging from white water rafting to paragliding and zorbing, not to mention the warm springs, and the cafes.

Best time to visit: September-October

4. Take the Toy train to Shimla

Source: Flickr.com @annyatoma

The best way to breathe in the hills surrounding Shimla is to take a ride in the toy train from Kalka. It takes around 4-5 hours to reach Shimla, passing through canopies of trees on the hills.

Best time to visit: March to June and October-February

5. Experience Chandni Chowk in Delhi

Source: tushky.com

Shah Jahan’s city overflows with history. See the Red Fort, Qutub Minar, roam the streets of Chandni Chowk feasting on chaat, visit Jama Masjid, the newly restored Humayun’ s Tomb, the markets – the list of places to visit in Delhi is endless.

6. See the Taj Mahal in Agra

Source: wanderingearl.com

Nothing needs to be said about this one. See the Taj Mahal. That’s all.

Best time to visit: October-March (winters)

7. Try Spotting Tigers in Corbett

Source: indiawildlifetravel.wordpress.com

Jim Corbett is located in the district of Nainital, and is a great place to spot Indian wildlife.

Best Time to Visit: Mid-November to Mid-June

8. River Rafting in Rishikesh

Source: http://holidayhotelsharidwar.wordpress.com/

No questions asked. Rishikesh is the best place for river rafting in India. Strong rapids and shallow waters, the place is a hub for river rafters.

Best Time to Visit: October-June

9. Witness an Aarti in Varanasi-Haridwar

Source: theholidayindia.com

Chillum-smoking sadhus, evening aartis at ghats teeming with pilgrims, floating diyas on the Ganges – the religious towns of Varanasi and Haridwar are the face of spiritual India. If possible, time your visit with the Maha Kumbh Mela that is held in February.

Best Time to Visit: October-March

10. Check out Choki Dhani in Jaipur

Source: blogspot.com

The culture is as colourful as the desert is white. Forts, palaces, Rajput artillery, folk arts – not for nothing is Rajasthan the cultural state of the country. Amer fort, Hawa Mahal, Queen Sisodia’s Palace Garden, and Johari Bazaar are the main attractions to cover.

Best time to visit: October-March

11. Ride a Camel in Jaisalmer

Source: Flickr.com @23021805@N05

Jaisalmer holds a desert festival every year in February. There are folk performers, camel rides, longest moustache competition, and much more. The ‘Golden City of Indiais known for its havelis, desert, camel rides, and colourful handicrafts.

Best time to visit: February (October-March)

12. Visit the City Palace in Udaipur

Source: Flickr.com @68695366@N07

The city of lakes is Rajasthan’s only respite from the heat. City Palace beside Lake Pichola is the central attraction and a most romantic place to enjoy royal splendor. A meal at a rooftop restaurant overlooking the lake is a must.

Best time to visit: September-March

13. Get engulfed by Durgo Pujo in Kolkata

Source: Flickr.com @23985194@N06

Durga Puja in Kolkata is as grand as can be. The pandals are there at every street corner, and each is better than the previous one. Women dressed in bright sarees, the sweet Prasad, holy smoke in the air – Durga Puja is a mesmerizing affair.

Best time to visit: November-February

14. Behold the Konark Temple in Orissa

Source: google.com

The Konark Temple of Puri, located by Chandrabhaga beach, is an architectural marvel. Every year in the month of December, the famous Konark festival, which sees folk dance n music performances, is organized here.

Best time to visit: November-April

15. Be privy to the changing of Guards at Attari Border, Amritsar

Source: wikimedia.org

The changing of guards ceremony at Wagah border is an overwhelming sight for spectators. Every day hundreds of people gather to witness this event. Whether you are patriotic or not, the ceremony is sure to induce a lump or two in your throat.

Best time to visit: October-March

16. Stay on a Houseboat in Kerala

Source: keralaholidays.info

God’s own country has lots to offer – beaches, backwaters, massages, hills, tea estates, Ayurvedic massages. An afternoon spent on a houseboat, sipping filter coffee or whatever you prefer, might just undo all the stress accumulated over the years.

Best time to visit: September-March

17. Watch the Sunset at Hampi – Karnataka

Source: 500px.org

Hampi is a land of temples. They are the most beautiful ruins and rocks you will ever see. And when the sunrays fall on them at sunset, it’s a sight to behold. Don’t be surprised if you feel a tear or two falling down your cheek.

Best time to visit: November-April

18. Chill at a Cafe in Pondicherry

Source: livingonacanal.com

The former French colony has the beauty of a coastal Indian town and grace of French architecture. Its neat promenade, French cafes, temple elephant, and Auroville city are what one must have tried in Pondicherry.

Best time to visit: November-February

19. Laze on a hammock in Goa

Source: blogspot.com

Goa is one destination you should have definitely visited before you get married. You need to have attended a beach party, done parasailing over the Arabian Sea, or drank crazy. But even if you have roamed at Anjuna Beach, ridden a Scooty, or just lazed away in a hammock, you have been there. Check out the list of Goa’s best 10 things to do before you head to Goa.

Best time to visit: November-February

20. Breathe in the North East

Source: getawaymemoires.com

The North East, with its lush greenery, hilly terrain and simple people, is a backpacker’s paradise. There’s Tawang Monastery in Arunachal Pradesh, the Ziro festival there is a new kid on the block, and is a great hit. Assam’s Kaziranga Park, Nagaland’s Hornbill Festival are some of the many highlights of the region. Meghalaya is an all-rounder. It’s got peaks, caves, lakes, waterfalls, and the wettest places on earth.

Best time to visit: November-April (barring December which is chilly)

 

21. Eat Pav Bhaji on Juhu Beach, Mumbai

Source: Flickr.com

Nothing is more relaxing than indulging in a plate of steaming Pav Bhaji with dollops of butter on it, strolling on Juhu Beach, with the sea resounding the perfect tune in the background. Who says Mumbai is a fast-paced city?

Best time to visit: February

22. Observe the Sculptures of the Temples in Khajuraho

Source: Flickr.com @79009234@N07

It’s no secret that the Khajurao temples exhibit erotic sculptures, the eroticism of which could put to shame even the most liberal of Western minds.

Best time to visit: September-March (the annual Dance Festival is held in March)

23. Cruise in the Andamans

Source: tripadvisor.com

Andaman and Nicobar Islands are India’s exotic holiday location. It has not only scenic beauty, but also a dark history. The place has amazing climate, clear blue waters, and a non-touristy feel. We Indians come here when we want an overseas holiday without spending the corresponding amount.

Best time to visit: October-May

24. Run around the Rann of Kutch and Gir

Source: zigwheels.com

Gir is home to the now endangered Asiatic lion, while Rann of Kutch is the white desert of Gujarat. Every year in December and January, it holds the Great Rann Utsav which sees folk dances, music, artisans, and camels with colourful embellishments in the white background of the desert.

Best time to visit: October-March

25. Taste some Tea at an Estate in Darjeeling

Source: vedicodyssey.com

Darjeeling is the official tea-maker of the country. This town that was a popular summer retreat during the British Raj, offers scenic views of the Himalayan mountain range – trekking through the tea estates is a must. Kasto maza hai lelaimaa (How much fun it is when a train goes up and down on a hilly track).

Best time to visit: April-June and September-December

 

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  1. Aakash

    I have seen Keoladeo Bird Park. It is very good. The best way to explore it is on a rented cycle which is available inside the park. Now, up on my wish list is Ranthabore. I have grown up watching the tale of Machli the tigress on Nat Geo.

  2. Pooja Raman

    Hi. Can anyone tell me what is the best time to visit Sundarbans? Though I am eager to check it out, I have heard some very sinister tales about it and even stories of prowling tigers and crocodiles.

    • Pratyush Jain

      Hey Pooja.

      Those scary tales are true but the tourists don’t get stalked since they are not allowed to explore the prohibited areas. Most of the exploration is done on boats. So, you will be safe from the croc’s jaws unless you decide to go for a swim. The best time to visit Sundarbans will be between November and April. Just stay clear of this deltaic region during the monsoons and you will survive.

  3. sudha rungta

    A delightfully good article. It makes me yearn for all these places. It’s an irony we crave for African and Amazonian forests when our own wildlife is so rich in fauna. I am yet to get a taste of my maiden wildlife trip. Of these, I would prefer Sundarbans any day. It has a mystery which no other sanctuary can rival.

  4. Deepti

    I have already been to Corbett and Ranthambhore. Next on my list are Kaziranga and Sundarbans. I pledge to uncover both the day I travel east. Good juicy article by the way.

  5. divya nivetia

    What a yummy post! I love nature and natural places. Alas, I am yet to open my account of wildlife trips. If I could go to one of the above-listed parks, I would choose Bandhavgarh. Heard that tiger density is very high there.

  6. Abhilash

    I have been to quite a few national parks over the past decade. I must confess that the experience you get in Sundarbans is unique, even outlandish. To be fair, I didn’t get to see any of those mighty and much-talked about Bengal Tigers. Don’t go with the expectation of seeing a tiger. The forest is deep, dense and you’ll mostly be on a boat. But the fear factor is there. So are the snakes and crocs.

  7. Ritesh Agarwal

    Good to see Keoladeo in the top rung there. This is the only wildlife park i have ever visited and had a good time even though i was short on time….