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Five Of The Best Cities And Places To Visit In India

India is one of the largest countries in the world, with an area of 3,287,263 square kilometers, a population of just under 1.5 billion, and an abundance of incredible things to do and places to see.

Daily activity in Old Delhi shows congestion, overpopulation and lifestyle
New Delhi can be overwhelming but it’s a great place to explore a different culture © Getty Images

Since India is so big, you’ll almost feel like you’re in a different country wherever you visit. Major cities like New Delhi in the north are totally opposite to seaside areas like Goa in the southwest. Mumbai is an old charm of India, whereas Varanasi is a holy city that all pilgrims hope to visit at least once.

Planning a trip to India requires a great deal of planning because there are so many wonderful places to go and see. Here at Kiwi.com, we’ve created a list of five vacation ideas in India to inspire you for your upcoming trip.

When Is The Best Time To Travel To India?

Many travelers plan their trip to India during the winter season, from December until the beginning of March. The coldest months are December and January, with temperatures between 10 and 15°C. Once February and March come, temperatures start to pick up and average at around 23°C. This will all depend on what part of the country you visit, as India is massive in size.

From April, the summer season is on the horizon, and temperatures rise throughout the country, hitting the high 30s and getting extremely hot.

June to September is the monsoon season, and not recommended to visit India. Many parts of the country begin to flood, and storms are pretty common, especially in warm places.

Do your research beforehand on the places you plan on visiting to understand what the weather will be like. For example, the southeast area of India experiences a rainy season from October to December, whereas the northern regions don’t get that much rain then.

Five Top Places To See In India

  1. New Delhi
  2. Mumbai
  3. Goa
  4. Agra
  5. Varanasi

 

New Delhi – One Of The Best Places For Street Food In The World

To experience the real side of India, you need to fly to New Delhi. The Indian capital will stun everyone from the most experienced travelers to families in amazing ways with its chaotic streets, overwhelming traffic, and curious locals. Bustling New Delhi has enough history, tasty food, and tourist attractions to keep you occupied for months.

Cool Places To See In New Delhi

Walk around the Red Fort – Step back to the Mughal empire at New Delhi’s world-famous Red Fort. The historic structure served as a residence for a number of emperors that were a part of the empire. Be sure to tour to discover impressive architectural works and learn about its history and important role today.

Check out India Gate – The 42-meter-high India Gate is a classic landmark in New Delhi. Its walls hold the names of 70,000 people who died fighting for the British Army in World War 1 when Great Britain colonized India. The monument is shaped like an archway and resembles the Arc-de-Triomphe in Paris.

India gate, New Delhi, India, Asia
One of India’s most prominent landmarks © Getty Images

Admire Jama Masjid – If you’re a fan of mosques, you have to check out the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in New Delhi. It was built back in the 17th century and can hold up to 25,000 worshippers. Head down there for Friday prayers, and you’ll be amazed at how busy it gets. Anyone who wants to take pictures must pay a fee before entering.

Dishes To Try In New Delhi

Chole Bhature – A trip to New Delhi wouldn’t be complete without trying Chole Bhature. It’s a rich dish that consists of chana masala and bhatura/puri, a type of deep-fried bread. You can find it almost on every street, costing roughly 80 to 150 rupees depending on where you buy it.

Aloo Chaat – Aloo Chaat is a well-known street food that’s eaten all over India, but New Delhi does it best. The simple dish is just cut-up fried potatoes cooked in a handful of spices, tamarind sauce, sweet and sour dates, and coriander leaves; the perfect snack if you’re on the go.

Must-Know Tips For First-Timers Visiting New Delhi

  • If you land at Indira Gandhi International Airport, the best way to get into the city center is by taking the metro. That way, you won’t face the risk of being ripped off or scammed by taxi drivers.
  • New Delhi is notorious for pickpocketing. Keep your belongings safe at all times.
  • Don’t drink tap water in New Delhi. It’s not clean, and you more than likely get sick if you drink it. Purchase bottled water in a shop and ensure it has yet to be opened beforehand and refilled with dirty water, which is common practice.

Mumbai – One of India’s Most Iconic Places

The huge city of Mumbai is unique in that it follows the authentic Indian lifestyle and has a western side to it. One minute you’ll be walking through a crowded street market beside a slum; the next, you’ll be in a business district surrounded by massive skyscrapers. Prepare yourself for lots of noise, ancient landmarks, and curious people who will approach you at random times throughout the day to ask if they can take their picture with you.

Activities To Do In Mumbai

Take a rickshaw ride – Get to know Mumbai in style by taking a rickshaw ride around the city center. Rickshaws are the ultimate way of getting around Indian cities. They’re three-wheeled passenger carts that have engines, almost like mini taxis. Mumbai’s traffic isn’t exactly the prettiest thing, so relaxing in a rickshaw and watching the bedlam of the city is a great way to pass the time.

The Gateway of India, Mumbai, India
The Gateway of India, Mumbai, India © Getty Images

Experience Crawford Market – If you want to see authentic Mumbai, visit Crawford Market. Stretching over 72,000 sq ft, this iconic bazaar in southern Mumbai has hundreds of stalls where you can buy everything. Watch locals shop for their vegetables and poultry. Feast your eyes on mini mountains of spice. It won’t be long before your senses explode.

Take a break at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) – Escape Mumbai’s madness for a short while at the National Gallery of Modern Art. This museum displays some beautiful works present in the form of plastic and visuals from big-name artists like Pablo Picasso and Jamini Roy.

Must Try Food And Drink In Mumbai

Bombay Sandwich – Think of a sandwich with the most random ingredients. That’s Bombay Sandwich. The famous street food is served with two slices of soft white bread, and in between them, you have sliced tomato, cucumber, beetroot, onion rings, and some chutney. Every chef cooks it with different ingredients. This is just one of the many ways.

Nimbu Pani – Also known as Indian lemonade, Nimbu Pani is an excellent go-to if you need to cool down from Mumbai’s humidity. It’s made with mint, salt, chat masala, and cumin and is sometimes described as an energy drink minus the caffeine.

Need To Know Tips Before You Visit Mumbai

  • Tourists are recommended to avoid using trains during rush hour in Mumbai. They’re incredibly crowded and can take pretty long to get from A to B.
  • While you might want to try out street food, be cautious. Sanitary standards in Mumbai aren’t like any other city or town in the world, so you could end up with an upset stomach.

Goa – Where Couples Go For Honeymoons And The Youth Go Listen To Music On The White Sandy Beaches

Stunning Goa is all about a relaxed pace of life, picturesque beaches with the nicest weather for sun lovers, and captivating sunsets. As well as that, it’s where a lot of Indians and foreigners come together to party in beach clubs and bars. The western Indian state is also soaked in history, blending different roots, such as Portuguese, Islamic, Hinduism, and Buddhism. When you walk through the streets, you’ll be able to see evidence of this through the buildings and structures.

Goa – What To Do There

Go snorkeling – Deep dive into the sea around Goa and its surrounding tropical islands. Visit awe-inspiring enclaves like Monkey Beach and Bat Island before heading underwater to spot fascinating corals and multi-colored fish. Exciting day tours can be booked online or through vendors along the beach.

Beach in Goa, India
The best place to relax © Getty Images

Take a tour of a spice plantation – Everyone knows India is famous for its spices. Learn about their origins and how they’re grown on an interesting spice plantation tour. Wander through one of the few spice estates in Goa and let the scents of cinnamon and turmeric hit you in the face.

Walk around Reis Magos Fort – Take a break from the beaches and check out Reis Magos Fort. It was used to defend the state’s old capital Goa Velha and dates back to 1493. Look out for fascinating remains like old cannons, and from the top, you’ll be treated to outstanding views of the Mandovi River.

Which Are The Best Foods And Drinks To Try In Goa

Goan fish curry – A dish in every Goan’s food plan is the scrumptious Goan fish curry. Consisting of a whole of spices, coconut, raw mango, and pomfret, this dish will excite your stomach if you’re one for seafood. It will have a slight tang depending on how much spice the chef uses. Since you’re in India, ask for mild spice when ordering, as they tend to load up on it if you don’t specify.

Chicken Xacuti – This Portuguese-influenced dish is a tasty curry with fresh spices, Kashmiri red chilis, poppy seeds, and boiled rice. The chilis give an overpowering hot flavor, so brace yourself. Every major curry restaurant and food stall will have it available.

Tips For Anyone Traveling To Goa

  • Keep an eye out for no photograph signs in Goa. They’re common in museums, temples, forts, and other sights. If you’re one for taking pictures of people, ask beforehand.
  • Swimming is prohibited at some beaches in Goa due to the nature of the high waves. Look out for signs and follow the rules of lifeguards at all times to avoid finding yourself in trouble.

Agra – Home To The Taj Mahal

Known for being the home of one of the world’s seven wonders, Agra is one of India’s most popular holiday destinations. The city sits on the banks of the Yamuna river, only 230 kilometers from the Indian capital, New Delhi. Most travelers base themselves in Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, but there are so many more things to do and see in this city that people forget about.

Exciting Spots To See In Agra

See the Taj Mahal – We have all seen pictures of the breathtaking Taj Mahl, but in person is a whole different story. The magnificent white marble mausoleum was built between 1631 and 1648 and is now seen as the pearl of India’s Islamic architecture. Having the whole Taj Mahal to yourself is rare, but get up at sunset for the best chance possible. Who knows, you might be lucky.

Taj Mahal, Agra city, India.
India’s wonder of the world © Getty Images

Stroll along the Paliwal Park Lake – Paliwal Park is one of the oldest parks in Agra and acts as a refuge for those looking to unwind after a full day of exploring. Wander through the 70 acres, seeking out flora and fauna and the Bal Vihar Jheel, a lake where boat rides are available.

Explore Agra Fort – By the time you leave India, you’ll have seen your fair share of forts, but the Agra Fort is a special one you don’t want to miss. Famed for its Mughal architecture and Phenomenal views of the city, the Agra Fort was finished in 1573 and was where the leaders of the Mughal Empire lived.

Typical Dishes And Drinks Everyone Should Try In Agra

Petha – Agra’s famous street food Petha is a soft candy that’s made with pumpkin or ash gourd, and sugar will provide you with a flavorful snack after your dinner. There are two versions of it, one hard and the other soft, and both are equally appetizing.

Thandai – The north Indian drink of Thandai is drunk all over Agra. It’s a cold milk-based beverage connected to the Holi festival that’s created from a selection of nuts like almonds, cashews, and spices.

Essential Tips For Visiting Agra For The First Time

  • Don’t plan your Taj Mahal trip around a Friday because it’s the only day of the week that it doesn’t open.
  • For sunset and sunrise, there are many areas around the Taj Mahal where you can see it that don’t require you to enter the gates. Do your research beforehand.

Varanasi – Where Pilgrims Go To Wash Away Their Sins

If you want to experience the spiritual side of India, Varanasi is the city to visit. It’s seen as a place of pilgrimage for Hindus and one of the holiest places on earth. Those who go there pray for a beautiful life and the power to face death with mental calmness and composure. Seeing the way everyday life in Varanasi plays out will open your eyes, to say the least.

Beautiful Places To See And Things To Do In Varanasi

Take a boat ride on the Ganges river – Get up bright and early to hop on a boat ride on the Ganges river to watch the pilgrims perform their rituals along the ghats, the steeped hills on the banks. Upon arriving back to land, purchase an offering of flowers from one of the vendors and set it off down the river to give thanks and make a wish.

India, Varanasi, Ganges River, pilgrims on ghats
The Ganges river is the main attraction in Varanasi © Getty Images

Watch an evening Aarti Ceremony – Once the sun goes down, head to Dasawamedh Ghat to watch a traditional Aarti Ceremony unfold. Hear the sounds of people chanting, watch the huge lamps being waved, and see hundreds of people worship a god.

Get some goods at Weaver’s Village – Varanasi is known throughout India for its silk production. Tour Weaver’s Village to learn about how the Momin Ansari Muslims produce some of the country’s finest silk and the history behind this fascinating community. If you’re one for eye-opening experiences, you’ll love this.

What Are Some Nice Food And Drinks To Try In Varanasi?

Kachori Sabzi – When you’re visiting Varanasi, you’ll find it hard to resist sampling the city’s famous breakfast, Kachori Sabzi, which is stuffed lentils mixed with potatoes smothered in gravy. When you see the kachoris being fried right in front of you, your mouth will start watering.

Aam Panna – This is a seasonal drink consisting of mango and roasted cumin seed powder that’s mainly consumed during the summer months. The idea of the cumin seed powder is to rehydrate the body and restore nutrients lost through sweat.

Tips For Varanasi

  • Dress conservatively when in Varanasi. It’s one of the holiest places to travel in India, so there are certain expectations regarding the dress code, especially when visiting temples or religious sights.
  • Scams are everywhere in Varanasi. Unless you’re 100 percent sure something is legit, don’t cough up money to strangers.

Want more interesting tips and information on traveling? Read more Kiwi.com articles!

Frequently asked questions

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Travel To India?

To really have the weather on your side, you should travel to India between December and March, temperatures are at their lowest, and you won't have to brave high humidity levels. These months are also when the skiing season takes place around Christmas in the northern parts of the country, like the Himalayas, so if you're fond of the slopes, you know where to go.

The summer months are the warmest and have a lot of rain which will greatly impact your plans. Storms, floods, and landslides are all regular occurrences. The last thing you want is to be faced with something like this on your holidays.

How To Find The Cheapest Flights To India?

Kiwi.com understands that our customers are obsessed with finding cheap places to fly to. Our travel hacks have transformed the travel industry and help people like you find the most affordable fares so you visit wherever you like without limits.

To find low-cost fares to India's top travel destinations, check out our India destination page, tell us where you'd like to go, and discover the endless options.

What's India Known For?

All over the planet, India is known for its sensational cuisine, successful sports like cricket, Bollywood dancing, huge population, and so much more.

What's The Best Food In India?

India's culinary scene is so vast and varies from region to region. What's eaten every day in one city might be unheard of in another. That's the beauty of it.

Dishes like butter chicken, samosas, chaat, and Dal Tak Tadka are all loved by tourists.

Try everything that's put in front of you in India, but with caution, as you don't want to end up sick during your trip.

How Many Days Do I Need To Spend In India?

To get a real feeling for India, you need to spend a month there.

The country is massive, so you're better off sticking to one region and exploring it in depth rather than trying to cram everything in. You'll only waste time on buses and trains when you could be out exploring new destinations.