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Tourist Attractions of India

India is a land of rich cultural heritage. But what make it a special destination are its various tourist attractions . Influencing its culture and bringing in various forms of art and architecture, the various empires over the ages have only added value to the tourism industry in India by presenting attractions of world fame such as Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Hawa Mahal. From the snow capped mountains of Himalayas to the enchanting sandy deserts of Rajasthan, there is a contrast to be found in almost every region you visit. Ancient remains such as forts, museums and palaces still speak of the glorious and not-so-glorious days of the country in hands of invaders-turned-rulers from other countries...

Planning a trip to some of these exotic tourist destinations in India is sure to leave you with fond memories and bring you back in future to the country, which is fondly called the "Golden Bird"y

Planning a trip to India this vacation and still not sure what really you should see and do? Looking for a place that introduces you to the topmost tourist attractions of the country? Well, you have just reached there. Here, you will find all that you are looking for - a list of tourist hotspotsin India. The attractions have been categorised for your convenience.

Top States

Rajasthan
One of the most visited states in India, Rajasthan is the abode of the erstwhile royal Maharajas (kings) and Maharanis (queens). A number of magnificent forts, palaces, havelis, museums, monuments and other legacies of royalty dot the land. What also makes Rajasthan attractive is its desert area. A part of Rajasthan lies in the great Thar desert. Traversing through the sandy regions on the back of a camel or on aborad a jeep is a unique experience. Also camping on the sand under the moonlit starry night is a huge attraction for the visitors.

Kerala -
Rajasthan is known more for its royal heritage. In contrast, Kerala is more of nature lover's delight. The state is referred to as called 'God's own country' . The natural beauty of Kerala is refereshing, be it the backwaters of Allepey and Kumarakom or the tea gardens of Munnar. The wildlife sanctuaries - Periyar, Kumarakom and Wayanad - are abode to both ferocious and beautiful flora and fauna. Also, the people of Kerala, their lifestyle, cuisine, festivals are very different from what you will come across in Rajasthan.

Goa -
No other destination in India matches up with the fun loving spirit of Goa. The beaches are the prime attraction here where you can enjoy both leisurely walks and adveturous water sports. The churches are not only attractive because of their architectural style but also because they stand reminder to the centuries of Portuguese rule that Goa has seen in the past. The New year celebration and the Goa Carnival in February are the time when maximum number of tourists visit this state.

Uttaranchal -
Carved out from the state of Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranachal is a destination picked up those looking for a adventurous and religious holiday. The mighty hills, rushing rivers, snowy peaks are just perfect for an adventure activities like trekking, rafting and skiing. The pilgrimage destinations, specially the Chardham offer your soul a peace that you have been yearning for a long time now. Apart from this, Uttaranchal is also quiet well known for its wildlife sanctuaries and ayurvedic therapies.

Himachal Pradesh -
The north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh boasts of a natural beauty that is awesome. Nestling in the arms of the mighty Himalayas, the state has a number of valleys and passes with a captivating beauty. Adventure options in Himachal is as vivid as it is in Uttaranchal. You can go trekking, skiing, rafting, gliding, skating or anyother form of adventure activities. Himachal is also a pilgrimage destinations for Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs. The culture of the state is also distinct.

Top Cities

Jaipur -
The capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur was founded by Maharaja Jai Singh and is also known as the Pink City. The main drawers of tourists in this city are the City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar and Amber Fort. The city is also a stop in the royal journey of the luxury train, Palace on Wheels.

Agra -
Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world is what draws a major bulk of tourists to Agra. However, this city in Uttar Pradesh has whole lot of other attractions to charm tourists after they have paid a visit to the Taj. Prominent amongst them are the Agra Red Fort and Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb. A little distance away from the city, the remains of Fatehpur Sikri is definitely not be missed out attraction. Shopping is also high on the list of visitors here. Apart form the miniature models of Taj Mahal, you can also pick up marble items from the government emporia.

Khajuraho -
Khajuraho is a small place in Madhya Pradesh and is known world over for its cave temples. There were originally 85 temples, however, today you will get to see the remains of only 20 temples. Those of you interested in exploring the cultural heritage of India should not miss out a trip to the Khajuraho.

Varanasi -
Varanasi, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, is one of the holiest destinations for the Hindus. The ghats and temples of Varanasi see a number of tourists coming in every day to pay their respect to sacred river Ganges and prominent Hindu deities. A visit to Varanasi is important for those desirous of knowing more about Hindu religion.

Cochin -
A city in the south Indian state of Kerala, Cochin attractions are multifold. Santa Cruz Basilica, Mattancherry Palace and St. Francis Church showcase the cultural heritage of the city while the Cherai Beach and the Cochin backwaters expose visitors to the natural beauty of the area. Take a trip to it and unravel its other treasures.

Top Monuments

Taj Mahal -
Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan's greatest contribution to the world - a magnificient masoleum built in the memory of his beloved spouse Mumtaaz Mahal. An insignia of eternal love in white marble, the Taj, appears amongst the seven architectural Wonders of the World and accounts for over 3 million tourists per year. A trip to it inevitabel once you come to India.

Red Fort -
This red-sandstone multiplex was once the palace of the erstwhile Mughal Maharajahs who ruled India for generations. A plethora of other palaces in its campus and the antique Meena Bazaar where the royality once shopped make it a day-long tourist jaunt. Indian Prime Ministers till date deliver the Independence Day speech for the nation from the Red Fort.

Jaisalmer Fort -
Witness to generations of tired merchants and travellers, caravans and camels, a 10th century fort still stands proud and tall amidst endless expanse of deserts and sand-dunes. The temples, intricately carved havelis and a feel of the life in the arid desert make Jaisalmer a must-visit for tourists. Camel and jeep safaris add to the excitement all the more.

Hawa Mahal -
Jaipur's Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds is an architectural marvel, befitting the appelaltion well with its abundance of windows that circulate tranquil breeze and its look, that resembles more a cascading screen than a building.

City Palace -
A blend of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture, the City Palace of Jaipur was once the emblem of power of the mighty Rajputs that lorded the deserts. The palace complex is knitted with lush lawns and a deluge of theme palaces making it one of the most visited tourist hangouts.

Top Religious Attractions

The Golden Temple -
Adherents of the Sikh religion need no introduction to their sacred pilgrimage seat. Sri Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple, named so due to the quintessential golden hue that the monument is bathed in, is laced by the equally sacred waters of the Amrit Sarovar or the Pond of Nectar. On a jewel-studded platform is the Adi Grantha or the sacred scripture of the Sikhs wherein are enshrined holy inscriptions by the ten Sikh gurus and various Hindu and Moslem saints.

Meenakshi Temple -
Lord Shiva and his consort Meenakshi or the Fish-eyed one are the reigning deities here in this typical, yet classic representative of Dravidian temple architecture with its gopurams (large sclupted gateways) and mandapams (multi-pillared halls). Don't miss out a regal safari on elephants embellished in bright clothes and the regal umbrella.

Konark Sun Temple -
The 13th Century Sun Temple or the Black Pagoda at Konark is one of the World Heritage Sites built in the shape of a magnanimous 24-wheeled chariot with 7 huge stallions - a classic vehicle for the Sun God to soar the heavens. The fascinating beach flanking it is ideal for holiday-makers.

Akshardham Temple -
Flanking the banks of river Yamuna across is this 2 billion architectural grandeur - an initiative of the Bochasanvasi Aksharpurushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS). A fine blend of faith and technology, Akshardham Temple complex is replete with a majestic 11 ft statue of Lord Swaminarayan, 20,000 other statues, an IMAX theatre, artificial lakes and an elaborate musical fountain.

Lotus Temple -
A piquant lotus-shaped insignia of the Bahai faith - the Lotus Temple - its quietitude a stark contrast to the bustling purlieu of Kalkaji where it stands. The Lotus Temple is the meditative refuge that draws people from across the globe irrespective of creed and community.

Top Wild Attractions

Ranthambore National Park -
One of Rajasthan's premier wildlife sanctaury, Ranthambore National Park is well known for its Tiger and also variety of floral variety. The Ranthambore Fort stands impressively in the park.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary -
The most famous sanctaury of Kerala, Periyar is where the large herds of elephants, over 300 species of birds and around 120 species of butterflies greet visitors. The park also has a tiger population which you can look out for during your trip.

Jim Corbett National Park -
The first National Park and Tiger Reserve of India, Corbett National Park in Uttaranchal offers visitors great opportunity to spot wild animals and birds. Spotting tigers, however, requires bit of patience since the king of best doesn't gives frequent appearance.

Gir Wildlife Sanctuary -
The last natural habitat of the Asiatic Lions, Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat makes for an interesting visit. Apart from the Lions, the park is also home to 300 species of birds.

Kaziranga National Park -
The Kaziranga National Park in the Jorhat district of Assam is just the place if you wish to see the one horned rhino. The park also houses a healthy population of tiger, wild buffalos and elephants. Rare species of birds like hornbill are also a major drawer of tourists.

Top Luxury Trains

Palace on Wheels -
This is perhaps the most luxurious and popular of all the luxury trains in India. The Palace on Wheels begins its royal journey from the Indian capital city, Delhi and takes its visitors on a memorable trip to Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Ranthambore, Udaipur and Agra before returning to Delhi. On board, for eight consecutive days, it is the royalty of the erstwhile Rajasthani rulers that replaces the monotonous lifetsyle of the passengers. A trip on the Palace on Wheels is a must for those looking to enjoy a royal and luxurious lifestyle.

Deccan Odyssey -
If the Palace on Wheels lets you explore the regality of Rajasthan, then the Deccan Odyssey is no way behind in unfurling before you the glorious past of Maharashtra. For a week, the Deccan Odyssey takes its passengers on a tour to the heritage spots of Maharashtra. Beginning from Mumbai, the train proceeds to Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Goa, Kolhapur, Pune, Aurangabad (Ellora), Nasik (Ajanta) and Mumbai. At the end of the tour, the experience is something that is difficult to encapsualte in words.         

Top Hill Stations

Munnar -
This beautiful and serene hill station is located in the south Indian state of Kerala. Prime attractions here are the green tea gardens, breathtaking waterfalls and the Ervikulam National Park. Shopping is Munnar means picking up items like tea, strawberries and spices. A visit to Munnar is for those looking for a quiet but enjoyable time.

Shimla -
One of the most famous hill stations in India that draws tourists in large number, Shimla is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. The hill station has been benevolently blessed by mother nature and offers its visitors a visual treat in form of pine clad hills, beautiful valleys and waterfalls. The Mall is the prime attraction of Shimla.

Natural Attractions

Dal Lake, Kashmir -
A pristine lake nestled in the enchanting Kashmir Valley, amidst the lush Mughal gardens flanked with multi-colored flora and avian metropolis, antique monuments and plummetted orchards. Other than to feel nature-at-its-best tourist attraction is the quiet boat ride in one of the thousand odd elongated and elegant shikaras or houseboats that float on the Dal.

Kerala Backwaters -
The Backwaters of Kerala are the place meant for those in search of a peaceful moments amidst natural beauty. The main backwater destinations in Kerala are Kumarakom, Allepey, Cochin, Trivandrum and Kollam. Cruising along these backwaters on board the houseboats or Kettuvallom is one experience that is forever cherished by visitors to the state.

Famous Fort and Places in India

Of all the Indian monuments, forts and palaces are most fascinating. Most of the Indian forts were built as a defense mechanism to keep the enemy away. The state of Rajasthan is home to numerous forts and palaces. Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh are also not far behind. In fact, whole India is dotted with forts of varied sizes. The magnificent forts and palaces of Rajasthan were built during the medieval period. The notable feature about each of the forts and palaces is the exquisite carving work that has survived till date and still receives appreciation from people worldwide.

These magnificent forts can not be described in words as they will look too small in front of splendor of forts that beautify India. Some prominent forts of Rajasthan are Amber fort, Chittorgarh fort, Jaisalmer fort, Lohagarh fort, Bikaner fort and Jaigarh fort. Delhi, the capital of India also boasts of some great forts. Some of the notable forts of Delhi are the Red fort, Purana Quila and the Tughlaqabad fort. These grand forts clearly depict the glory of Indian majestic past. There are many other forts of importance in India. Some of the most notable are the Red fort, Agra, the Gwalior fort and the Junagarh fort.

Agra Fort
The majestic Agra fort was built by the great Mughal emperor, Akbar in 1565-75. The Agra fort contains numerous impressive structures like the Jahangir Mahal, Khas Mahal, Diwan-i-Khass, Diwan-i-Am, Machchhi Bhawan and Moti Masjid. The Agra fort is enclosed by a double battlemented massive wall of red sandstone.

Amber Fort
The Amber fort is set in a picturesque location a little away from Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan state. The Amber Fort presents a fascinating blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture. Raja Man Singh built the Amber fort in the sixteenth century (the construction of the Amber Fort was started in 1592).

Chittorgarh Fort
In the pages of history Chittorgarh holds a proud place and regarded as the symbol of Rajput chivalry, resistance and bravery. The Chittorgarh fort is situated 175 km to the east of Udaipur and is named after Chitrangad Maurya. Chittorgarh covers an area seven mile covering 700 acres of land with its fortifications, palaces, temples and towers.

Delhi Fort
The Red fort (Lal Qila) at Delhi was built by Shah Jahan on the banks of river Yamuna. The Red fort at Delhi is one of the massive forts in India and is a witness to the heyday of the Mughal Empire. Shah Jahan built the Red fort as the citadel of Shahjahanabad, his new capital at Delhi.

Gwalior Fort
The Gwalior fort spreads out over an area of 3 square km, surrounded by concrete walls of sandstone. The Gwalior fort encloses three temples, six palaces and numerous water tanks. At a point of time Gwalior fort was regarded as North and Central India's most invincible fortress.

Jaigarh Fort
The magnificent Jaigarh fort is located near Jaipur. Jaigarh fort or the fort of victory was constructed by Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur in 1726. The Fort stands in the middle of thorn and scrub hills, which impart it a stout look. The Jaigarh fort gives an amazing view of the city below.

Jaisalmer Fort
One of the oldest and massive forts of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer fort is located in the remote Thar Desert. In the medieval times, the location of Jaisalmer on the trade route made it a prosperous town. Jaisalmer came to be celebrated for the chivalry and bravery of its rulers and also for the aesthetic sense represented by its palaces and Havelis.

Junagarh Fort
Located in Bikaner, the Junagarh fort is one of the most impressive fort complexes in India. Junagarh fort was built by Raja Rai Singh in 1588 AD. Junagarh fort is one of those few forts that are not built on a hilltop. The fort complex consists of palaces, courtyards, pavilions and balconies.

Lohagarh Fort
Lohagarh fort or the Iron fort was built in the early 18th century by the Jat ruler, Maharaja Suraj Mal. The Lohagarh fort is a living testimony to the chivalry and bravery of the Jat rulers of Bharatpur. Due to its impregnable defenses the fort came to be known by name of Lohagarh.

Purana Quila
The Purana Quila or the old fort was constructed by Humayun and Sher Shah. The old fort complex covers an area of about a mile. The walls of Purana Quila have three gates (the Humayun Darwaza, Talaqi Darwaza and Bara Darwaza) and are surrounded by a moat, which was fed by river Yamuna.

Tughlaqabad Fort
In a state of total ruin, the Tughlaqabad fort was once a symbolic of the might of the Tughlaq dynasty. The Tughlaqabad fort was built by Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, the founder of the Tughlaq dynasty. The fort is spread over an extensive area and a piece of architectural marvel.

Golconda Fort
A majestic fortress on the outskirts of Hyderabad, Golconda Fort is one of the grandest forts of India. Built around 12th and 16th Century by various Qutub Shahi rulers, this fort has a rich history that is almost 400 years old. It is definitely a place worth visiting in case you are traveling to the south of India.

Srirangapatna Fort
One of the prime attractions in Mysore, Karnataka is the famous Srirangapatnam fort. Built in the year 1537 by a feudal lord, this magnificent fort is considered to be the second toughest fort of India. The Srirangapatna Fort has four main entrances known by the names of Delhi, Bangalore, Mysore and Water and Elephant gates.