Places to Visit after Corona Pandemic in India 2020
You want to go on a trip to India and do not know yet which places to visit?
And yes, it is difficult to sum up India in a few words, as this vast country offers so many facets to explore! From the arid landscapes of the far north, sculpted by the cold of the Himalayas to the paradisiacal beaches of the Andaman Islands , or the lush jungle of Kerala , you will really have the choice during your tour in India.
India is also a country of great historical and cultural wealth . The architectural wonders of the Golden Triangle of Rajasthan rub shoulders with the palaces of Maharajas , Buddhist and Hindu temples and ancient ruins.
In order to help you see it a little more clearly, I have prepared this top 30 places of interest and things to do in India.
And at the end of the article, I also offer 3 suggested itineraries for visiting India. Perfect for organizing your stay!
On the way!
Visit India: the essentials
1. Ladakh, the Indian Himalayas
Land of extremes and contrasts, Ladakh is nestled in the Upper Indus Valley. Protected by the Himalayan chain, the “Great Country” spared by the monsoon, is surprisingly arid.
Treks in the high mountains (about 5000m above sea level) are one of the region’s essential activities . Most departures are from Leh, the capital of the province , located at an altitude of 3500m.
Former stopover on the Silk Road, Leh has a population mainly composed of Tibetans of origin as evidenced by the superb monasteries found there . I recommend in particular to visit the most famous, that of Lamayuru.
At an altitude of 2200 meters , it’s hard not to feel very small in the face of the grandeur of the Himalayas. The capital of the State of Himachal Pradesh , Shimla, offers you a welcome break from the dampness of the cities. It is for this reason that the British Empire chooses it as the summer capital.
Even today, the Shimla buildings bear the imprint of both styles.
Victorian-style architecture and churches stand alongside Hindu temples . Combining English charm and the beauty of the Toit du Monde landscapes, we understand why everyone nicknamed Shimla ” the queen of mountain resorts”.
To see Shimla
The Road Mall , a long avenue lined with shops
The Jakhu temple to admire the famous statue at the top
The Shimla State Museum and its collection of jewelry, costumes from the region
As you will have understood, summer is therefore the ideal time to visit this part of India.
3. Traveling on the “Kalka-Shimla Toy Train”
Inaugurated in 1903, the Kalka-Shimla line is made up of 103 tunnels and 700 bridges for only 96 km of track!
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a journey into the heart of the breathtaking landscapes of the Himalayan mountains awaits you. All aboard the most vintage of trains: a steam train!
With a cruising speed of 30 kilometers per hour , it will take you around 5h30 to reach Shimla. You will therefore have plenty of time to take advantage of it to admire the landscape. By cons I prefer to warn you, the nickname “Toy Train” is not usurped, the cars are really small!
Dharamsala gained its fame by becoming the place of exile of the fourteenth Dalai Lama, in 1959. Many Tibetans joined him and settled in McLeod Ganj, in the upper part of the city, giving Dharamsala the nickname of ” Little Lhasa ”- name of the capital of Tibet.
Here, the Tibetan government-in-exile has founded many monasteries and rebuilt the Institute of Tibetan Medicine and Astrology in order to perpetuate and preserve their ancestral culture.
Become an important place of pilgrimage , many tourists flock to discover the monks praying in traditional togas in this city in the heart of the Himalayan mountains.
If you are in a spiritual mood, you can also walk the path of the Kora for a small meditative walk. You will see many flags and prayer wheels there. The place is very popular with Tibetans who come here to recite their mantras.The Travel TipsIn Dharamsala, book a cooking class at Lhamo’s Kitchen to learn how to make momos, the famous little Tibetan steamed dumplings! You can contact them directly on Facebook
In the foothills of the Himalayas stands a city well known to lovers of oriental spirituality: Rishikesh .
The yoga capital of the world welcomes many Westerners who have come to learn this discipline in ashrams, hermitages serving as places of training and pilgrimage.
You will be able to observe the meditating monks on the Ghats on the banks of the Ganges , the sacred river which has its source not far from Rishikesh.
In March, the city also organizes the International Yoga Festival which attracts a crowd of visitors who come to discover the principles of yoga under the aegis of the greatest yogis from all over the world.Travel Tips Anecdote : The city is known worldwide since the passage of the Beatles in 1968 who came to learn yoga and whose practice even inspired an album.
6. The Golden Temple of Amritsar
The Golden Temple of Amritsar is the most sacred building of the Sikhs. It attracts many faithful who come to pray, sing and purify themselves in the sacred waters.
As the name suggests, it is completely covered with gold and I must admit that the effect is quite successful.
To visit it, you must imperatively clean your feet in the water before entering and cover your head.
The temple is relatively unknown to Western tourists because it is not located on the usual routes of a route in India. If you want to visit it, you will have at least 10 hours by train from Delhi.The Travel TipsThe Golden Temple shines with all its fires at night, be sure to take a photo.
7. Fatehpur Sikri
The former capital of the Mughal Empire , listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site , unfolds its charms just 40 km from Agra. The one nicknamed ” The City of Victory” was built by Akbar, one of the greatest Mughal rulers.
Only 1 hour drive from Agra, this is a must-do excursion during a trip to India.
Fatehpur Sikri is a city with cosmopolitan influences , from Jain, Mughal, Persian, Hindu and Turkish cultures. The result is superb buildings in red sandstone and white marble, such as the Jama Masjid mosque or the 3 palaces dedicated to the emperor’s concubines.
I also advise you to visit the Panch Mahal, a 5-story palace and the Skikri bazaar for the typical Indian atmosphere.
8. Admire the Taj Mahal at sunrise
Located in the city of Agra, the Taj Mahal is the most famous monument in India. It is among the 7 new wonders of the world.
Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in honor of his third and favorite wife, the monument is simply awe-inspiring.
Dawn is the perfect time to admire this sublime white marble mausoleum. The sun rises on the Esplanade Est , a famous spot for photographers. The crowd is more scattered, the place is quieter and the play of light on the basin and the chiseled stone allow for the perfect photo.The Travel TipsAvoid going there in December, when the fog is quite dense.
Capital of Rajasthan , Jaipur is distinguished by its pink sandstone architecture which has earned it the nickname “pink city”. The city is part of the Golden Triangle of India.
You can start the visit with the old walled city, a pleasant maze where you can stroll with its artisanal stalls.
Very beautiful monuments are also to be seen:
the City Palace made up of 2 palaces and a museum
the Royal Observatory: It is the largest stone observatory in the world. It also houses the largest sundial. Built by a maharajah wishing to know the most favorable dates for certain events such as weddings or trips
the magnificent Palace of the Winds with its 953 windows from which the women observed the street, hiding from the sight of all.
Nestled on a hill in the Cité Rose, Fort d’Amber is also worth a visit.The Travel TipsFrom Jaipur and to reach the Amber fort , I advise you to stop in front of the Water Palace , a palace surrounded by water. You will not be able to visit it but the photo stop is worth the detour.
10. Take a rickshaw in Old Delhi
It is quite an experience during your stay in India, that of taking a rickshaw in the chaotic Old Delhi .
Your driver makes his way through the winding alleys bordered on both sides by stalls stocked with food, chai vendors and unsuspected temples, all in a cacophony of colors and sounds.
Besides the Chandni Chowk bazaar , one of the main attractions of Old Delhi is the Red Fort, little brother of the Taj Mahal. This huge fortress with Mughal architecture is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
11. Attend the Pushkar Camel Fair
Between October and November, the soil of the town of Pushkar vibrates with the passage of more than 10,000 animals and thousands of pilgrims .
The camel fair celebrates the creator god of Hinduism, Brahma.
While devotees bathe in the sacred waters of Pushkar Lake, camel drivers sell and negotiate cattle, compete in camel races or beauty pageants . This is the opportunity for you to see the spectacle of camels with very elaborate colorful ornaments!
If you find yourself in India during this time, it is truly a unique and local experience to experience.
A former stage on the Silk Road, the city of Jaisalmer is well worth a 3-day stopover. Between discovery of the city, camel ride and night in the dunes , you will have plenty to do!
Located at the gates of the Thar Desert, the city is nicknamed “The Golden City” thanks to its ocher walls with a golden color. The city is famous for the magnificent fortress which overlooks it. It shelters several temples and its ramparts allow to observe a panorama on Jaisalmer.
The old town, located inside the fortress, is particularly pleasant because it is only accessible on foot.
Most tourists come to Jaisalmer for its desert where it is possible to go on camel tours . Be careful when choosing your agency, not all are equal, take the time to shop around and compare quotes and services. You can also sleep in the desert under the stars .The Travel TipsA camel expedition into the desert is being prepared. Bring comfortable clothes and especially a hat and cream.
Nicknamed the Venice of the East, Udaipur , with its palaces and romanticism , is an iconic city of Rajasthan
Here is a quick overview of places of interest in Udaipur :.
The Jagdhish Temple, with multiple sculptures
The City Palace, a collection of palaces with breathtaking views of the city
The Sahelion Ki Bari, a garden with fountains and lush vegetation
The Lake Pichola
The Fateh Sagar Lake
On Lake Pichola, there is also a superb hotel that should not be missed (if only for the moment photo!): The Lake Palace Hotel , showcase of the luxury of the Maharajas.
The filming location of the James Bond Octopussy , this 18th century palace offers a princely service with its gourmet restaurants, luxurious suites and facilities that meet all your dreams.
If you can, I recommend spending at least one night there. It is not every day that you can feel like a maharajah!
As the hotel is in high demand, I advise you to book your night at the Lake Palace Hotel now by clicking here!
Jodhpur is nicknamed the blue city. The blue facades once symbolized the noble caste of the Brahmins.
Animated by a very popular atmosphere , it is in the districts of Jodhpur that you will find all the typical scenes of a trip to India : children playing in the street, cows ruminating, neighbors chatting …
Here are the must-see places in Jodhpur:
Fort Mehrangarth for the unique panorama it offers over the city
Jaswant Thada, a royal cenotaph in white marble surrounded by a peaceful garden
Ghanta Ghar or the clock tower located in the middle of the market
The market of Jodhpur
The old town district , a veritable labyrinth to explore on foot
It is also in Jodhpur that the best hotel in the world is located (2016 Trip Advisor ranking). Umaid Bhawan Palace , a palace part of which has been converted into a luxury hotel . The other part still houses the private residence of a grandson of Maharadja.
In the palace, you can enjoy the botanical garden, the swimming pools, the spa but also a ride in a vintage car or play squash in a marble room!
Fancy a luxury stay in Jodhpur? To book your night now at L’Umaid Bhawan Palace, it’s here.
15. Navigate the Ganges
In India, the Ganges is more than a river . He is a god but also a companion in each stage of the life of the Hindus. We pray for the soul, we bathe the body, we find eternal rest …
You can choose to borrow gracious steamers going down the Ganges for a few hours or a few days.
On the shores you will then see a succession of temples erected in fertile plains and fields cultivated by peasants. The opportunity to admire all the beauty of India from another angle.
More surprising and a little more bizarre as Westerners, you will also be able to attend cremation ceremonies . Indians from all over the country come here to burn the bodies of their dead.
Sailing on the Ganges is a must on an itinerary in India.The Travel TipsIf you choose a short excursion, the 2 best times for the boat trip on the Ganges are:
At sunrise to enjoy the colors of the morning
At sunset , time of the prayer ritual on the banks of the Ganges.
16. Attend an Aarti ceremony in Varanasi
I told you about it just above, it is at sunset that the Aarti ceremony takes place , the ritual of prayer on the banks of the Ganges.
Attending this ceremony, especially in Varanasi, is an incredible experience that will leave a lasting memory of your trip to India.
Candles and torches set the Ganges on fire, drums fill the sacred silence, incense cloud the air and the spirits … Every evening , an endless ritual takes place on the Ghat Dasaswamedh .
Called Ganga Aarti, this ceremony pays homage to deities and the Universe. To attend I recommend that you arrive at least an hour in advance . The surroundings of the Ganges are indeed very quickly taken by storm.
17. Fort Chittorgarh
Fort Chitttorgarh is located in western India , in the state of Rajasthan, 115 km from Udaipur.
The largest fort in India, Fort Chittogarh alone symbolizes the strength of character and heroism of the Rajputs. Rather than giving in to the invader, the population preferred to commit suicide three times collectively. The men fought to the death while the women chose to set themselves on fire.
Listed as a Unesco heritage, it was erected in the 8th century on a 10km long hill. Its imposing wall dominates all the banks of the Berach river and protects superb ruins, in which one can still see many deities carved in stone.
The victory tower is the most emblematic monument of the fort. 9 stories high, it is completely covered with sculptures. The view at the top is breathtaking.
18. The temples of Khajuraho
The temples of Khajuraho are world famous for their erotic frescoes. If you want to improve your skills in Kamasutra, this is the place. Some scenes can have up to 9 participants, not sure however that you can put it into practice so easily!
Khajuraho was one of the greatest religious centers in India over a millennium ago. Originally there were 85 Hindu temples. Today there are only 25 left, in a good state of conservation .
The most important, the temple of Kandariya-Mahadev alone is more than 30m long. Its facades are adorned with more than 872 statues, including many surasundari, the erotic “celestial nymphs”.
The temples are located on a night train from Delhi or Varanasi and to 5 hours of Orccha road.
Many kings and princes of the Bundela dynasty have succeeded one that is called ” the Hidden City “.
Lost in time, Orccha has kept all its medieval charm. Its sumptuous ruins make it one of the jewels of Madhya Pradesh, not far from Khajuraho.
A pure product of Mughal architecture, the Jahangir Mahal impresses with its two stone elephants framing Persian-inspired doors. Built by the emperor, it will have stayed there only one night! From the palace you will have a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside.
Also not to be missed in Orccha:
The Raja Mahal with its superbly crafted paintings
The luminous Chaturbhuj temple , endowed with a superb Sikhara , with Hindu and Arab influences intertwined.
20. Go on a safari in Madhya Pradesh
Equip yourself with binoculars and a camera before entering Bandhavgarh Park .
Incredible Bengal tiger reserve , the park allows you to go by jeep in search of these majestic felines , whose population is estimated at around fifty tigers today.
With an area of 453 km², the park was declared a national park in 1968 in order to protect the richness of its fauna and flora. In the heart of the jungle hides plains, valleys, hills, and swamps in which more than 37 species of mammals such as axis deer, leopard, langur …The Travel TipsTo be able to go on a safari in the park, it is essential to book your tour in advance, especially for the Tala area, the most popular. Note that the best time to try to see a tiger is from April to June when the vegetation is less dense.
21. Explore the Ajanta and Ellora Caves
Listed as a UNESCO , the cave sites of Ajanta and Ellora are incredibly preserved sets of 29 and 36 caves.
These temples and monasteries, lost in the middle of the mountains , carved into the cliffs, formerly welcomed Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monks. They are decorated with engravings illustrating the life of Boudha.
The site of Ellora is distinguished by its cavities and its titanic architecture like the temple of Kailasa, a cave dedicated to God Shiva.
For its part, Ajanta stands out for its paintings traced in 200 BC.The Travel TipsTo visit the Ajanta and Ellora caves , I advise you to stay in Aurangabad, the nearest town (30 km from Ellora and 100 km from Ajanta).
I also highly recommend the Green Olive hotel or the Vivanta By Taj hotel (a little more upscale). To book well in advance!
22. Be in a Bollywood film in Bombay
Yes, you read that right !!!
Bollywood is a film industry unique in the world. Follower of very colorful and lively musicals (see kitsh!), More than 800 to 900 films are shot each year in its studios.
If you want to discover Bollywood from the inside out , become a part of a movie for a day . Nothing could be simpler: agents are always on the lookout for Westerners passing through in order to make up the figures, so don’t hesitate to stroll through the streets of the Colaba district or to ask directly at your hotel to be spotted. .
A little song or dance later, you will have become a Bollywood star!
23. Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace is located in the South of India, in the city of Mysore.
An architectural monument of granite and pink marble, the Mysore Palace is considered one of the most beautiful palaces in India.
Easy to understand when you discover the richly decorated interior of stained glass , carved doors and floral frescoes. In the center of Dunbar Hall dominates with his majesty a throne of gold and diamonds , symbol of the Wodeyar dynasty.
The heir to the Maharajas of Mysore still lives in the palace, which is why you can only visit part of it.
But the house did not reveal its centerpiece: more than 100,000 lights on the facade of the building illuminating the Mysore Palace every Sunday evening at 7 pm . The duration being variable, do not hesitate to be present from 7pm sharp!
24. The Temple of Mînakshi
Inside one of India’s oldest cities, Madurai, stands an important Hindu pilgrimage site: the Temple of Mînakshi .
A monument of colossal proportions, the temple complex covers over 18 hectares and is surrounded by a dozen entrance towers called gopurams , the highest of which is the famous south tower, which rises to 52 m.
Over 33,000 colorful statues, representing animals, deities and folk creatures adorn the walls of the temple dedicated to the goddess Mînâkshî and her husband Shiva. Formerly made of unpainted granite, the addition of colors was done late, and these are repainted every 12 years to keep their rainbow shine.
A real gem to discover during your tour in India.
25. Embark on a Houseboat on the Kerala backwaters
Peace is perfect on the Backwaters, a huge area of canals in Kerala.
I recommend that you choose a houseboat cruise to explore them. Houseboats travel quietly, offering their spectators the beauty of the jungles and lakes of this region in South India .
Former transport boats transformed into a floating house with air-conditioned room, houseboats are the best way to discover the wealth of backwaters.
It is also an opportunity to see the life of the locals who use the canals to wash their clothes, or travel by canoe to the nearest school.
A relaxing way to discover the rich biodiversity and the Kerala lifestyle.
26. Do an Ayurvedic cure in Kerala
The lush landscapes of South India are home to the oldest medicine in the world: Ayurveda .
A particular approach to human beings, Ayurveda works to detoxify and revitalize the soul and the body , through various treatments.
Between yoga sessions, meditations, oil massages and personalized follow-up with an experienced Ayurvedic doctor, the treatment allows you to take stock of yourself and relax. All in an idyllic setting , Kerala offering superb sandy beaches and lush jungles.
27. Attend a Kathakali dance performance in Cochin
Oil lamps illuminate a theater stage , on which actors with elaborate make-up and costumes dance and dance.
In the midst of all the Indian performing arts, Kathakali has established itself, inspired by the oldest forms of theater in the world . A spectacular combination of dramatic narrative, dance, music and ancient rituals , the Kathakali literally means ” representation of tales “.
Telling the great Hindu epics like the Mahâbhârata, the Rāmāyana or the life of Krishna, it is a real cultural and musical immersion in the traditions of Kerala that will be offered to you during a performance.
Note that the show is only performed by men (even female roles) who are sometimes trained for 10 years!
If you wish to attend, it is in the city of Cochin in particular that the performances of Kathakali take place.
Coming to Pondicherry is to discover the curious mix between French and Indian culture.
Former counter of the Compagnie des Indes , the city amazes with its calm and the beautiful European villas adjoining the Hindu temples. Another curiosity of the White City: a still present practice of pétanque . All that’s missing is the southern accent and a good glass of Pastis to feel like you’re in the old port of ! (Well, I’m exaggerating a little!) Do you know that it is possible to to kayaking in Pondicherry? Yes you can buy a cheap blow up inflatable Kayak in Amazon and go fishing in Pondicherry.
This unique blend of flavors is the delight of Indian and European tourists, looking for another face of India, mixed with European influences.
In Pondicherry, the smells of pastries and spices float in the air as the sun sets over the Bay of Bengal.
29. Party on the beaches of Goa
Goa is unlike any other state in India. The white churches and European villas bear witness to its past as a Portuguese colony.
Since 1961, Goa has become Indian again and has turned into a paradise for tourists adept at yoga, veganism and gentle therapies.
As alcohol laws were more flexible than in the rest of India, the place quickly became popular as a party spot . Many tourists come to party there on the beaches or in the numerous clubs of Anjuna, although the government has recently tightened the laws.
30. Diving in the Andaman Islands
Secret paradise in the heart of the Indian Ocean, the Andaman Islands are more confidential than the Maldives while equaling their beauty.
Mangrove landscapes, kilometers of fine sand, crystal clear turquoise waters … the 204 islands that make up this archipelago are an invitation to calm and romance .
For lovers of underwater exploration , the Andaman Islands prove to be an exceptional diving and snorkeling spot . In the middle of the corals evolve hammerhead sharks, manta rays, barracudas, dugongs and multicolored fish, to the delight of divers.
Visit India: Our 3 suggested itineraries
To help you prepare for your stay in India , we have prepared 3 suggested itineraries for you depending on the region you wish to visit.
Visit Rajasthan in 10 days
Days 1 & 2: Discover the historic heart, Old Delhi , and the superb Red Fort as well as New Delhi.
Day 3 : On the way to Agra, do not miss Fatehpur Sikri , the ghost town, treasure of the Mughal empire.
Day 4 : Agra , cradle of one of the seven wonders of the world, finally reveals itself to you. Take advantage of the sunrise to admire the Taj Mahal.
Day 5 : Then leave for the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur. Stroll through the medieval town, before visiting the famous Palace of the Winds.
Day 6 : Pushkar is an important passage if you wish to discover Hinduism: it is one of the most important places of pilgrimage in India. Do not hesitate to stop in front of one of its many religious celebrations.
Day 7 : Direction Fort Chittorgarh , overlooking the Berach river.
Day 8 : Udaipur offers you a glimpse into the life of Maharaja thanks to its many princely palaces like the City Palace.
Day 9 : Jodhpur, the blue city , is perfect for immersing yourself in the lively atmosphere of a typical Indian city.
Day 10 : End your trip to Jaisalmer, at the gates of the Thar Desert.
Visit North India in 10 days
Day 1 : Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan , is the first stop on your trip to North India.
Days 2 & 3 : You continue towards Agra to admire the Taj Mahal while enjoying a day in Fatehpur Sikri, former Mughal capital.
Day 4 : Delhi opens its doors to you. Take a rickshaw to explore the old town and the cosmopolitan and colorful bazaar.
Day 5 : Direction Rishikesh, capital of yoga , whose calm and serenity of the temples contrast with the noisy Delhi.
Day 6 : The Kalka – Shimla “Toy Train” takes you on a journey back in time to the era of steam in the heart of the Himalayan mountains.
Day 7 : Take advantage of being in Shimla to discover the streets and churches of the former summer capital of the British Empire.
Days 8 & 9 : Dharamsala, “Little Lhasa”, allows you to discover Tibetan culture. Don’t hesitate to venture into the foothills of the Himalayas on the second day.
Day 10: Your trip ends in Amritsar , the sanctuary city of the Sikhs, and its beautiful Golden Temple.
Visit South India in 10 days
Days 1 & 2 : You start your trip in Bombay , cosmopolitan city home to Bollywood.
Day 3 : Destination Kerala, with a flight to Cochin.
Day 4 : In Cochin, do not miss the Kathakali dance performances .
Day 5 : You then travel to Pondicherry , a town witnessing the French presence in India.
Day 6 : Around Pondicherry, do not hesitate to take advantage of the many temples to visit.
Days 7 & 8 : Destination Madurai and its superb Mînakshi Temple.
Days 9 & 10 : You end this trip resting in the heart of Megamalai tourism and return back to your flight.
So what are you planning to do on your trip to India? Let me know in the comments!
This is a guest post by the author L. Srinivas who is the founder of Knowledge Vibes and a passionate traveller.