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India is a great place of art and historic collaboration and that is reflected in some of the top cities. This is the nation, where some of the world's ancient-most religious monuments are situated and alongside there are many top class historic artistic representations of different dynasties. The Ancient time historical impressions, when races from other parts of the world have not even started creating history, are there in the subcontinent.

Even when the world has started writing their own history, the country surrounded by three water bodies, continued writing her ornamental historic episodes with arts and architectures. Modern great cities of India can even be compared to that with the top cities of the world, but the cities that have their origin encrypted since the ancient times are simply unparalleled.

Here is the short brief about such great cities, which evolved at a different timeframe of Indian history and are still resplendent with their awesome attributes.

best cities to visit in India

1. Hyderabad

The main attraction of Hyderabad is Charminar, built in 1591 in the center of the old perimeter of the city. The majestic Haveli Purani, the palace acquired by the second Nizam, has now become a museum with a fascinating collection. The museum exhibits gifts and souvenirs presented to the past Nizam. A 1930 Rolls Royce, Packard and a Jaguar Mark V are some of the antique cars shown here.

In the middle of Lake Hussain Sagar, located in the center of the city, stands a gigantic Buddha statue. From Hyderabad, you can visit Fort Golkonda. In the vicinity, one kilometer from the Banjara Darwaza of Fort Golkonda, are the tombs of the legendary Qutb Shah.

A place worth visiting is the Salargunj Museum, which houses one of the largest collections of antiquities in the world. Do not miss the temple of the thousand columns, the Warangal Fort, the temple and the Ramappa lake; Kush Mahal, Pakhal Lake as well as wildlife reserve, Tadwai, Bhadrakali Temple, Khazipet Dargha, Fatima Churches, Kolanupaka, Pembarti, Eturungaram, Cheriyal.

2. Agra

Not very far from Mathura this city is, but she remained unexplored till the Mughals empowered the city with Agra Fort and the immensely splendid Taj Mahal. The astounding monument although is the diamond ring to the city, but other jewels are not less here. The best fact is that, very close to this city that is penetrated by Yamuna River, there lies Fatehpur Sikri, another great work of Mughals.

Mixing it all, Agra is something, missing which you will miss everything about Modern India.

3. Kolkata

This city is the ornament of the modern Indian history, as it remained the capital city of the British, during their rule over India. Calcutta has the oldest hanging bridge of the nation, has the oldest and the biggest museum and Library and zoo and tram depot and metro rail of India.

Moreover, there are some of the symbolic features in Kolkata regarding the late 19th-century revolution across India, where Bengal led the nation with her ornaments in the movements related to literature, religion, science and of course humanity.

4. Bhubaneswar

Odisha is the land of temples engraved with deities, farmers, animals, and common masses. These temples have their own archaeological importance. If you love to visit offbeat places in India, then this is a place that you were looking for this whole time.

Orissa is nestled comfortably in the south eastern part of India and is historically significant with a backdrop of over several centuries to boast of. It is also known as 'Odisha' and houses in its midst, several tourist attractions including the world famous Jagannath Temple, the Sun temple, the Lingaraja temple and most importantly the famous Rock Edits of Ashoka.

Bhubaneswar is the capital of the state of Odisha, in eastern India, until recently known as Orissa. If you are planning to visit Bhubaneswar, then do visit the ancient temples. These temples were mostly built before 12th Century BC. Popularly known as the Temple City of India, Bhubaneswar is world famous for its classic example of heritage, history, and urbanization.

Once you step in Bhubaneswar you will get to know why it is called the Temple City. It has many ancient temples dedicated to Shiva. A Bhubaneswar tour should be in your bucket list if you don’t want to miss out exploring the incredible artwork, wildlife sanctuaries and caves of Odisha.

Some of the key attractions you shouldn’t miss on your Bhubaneswar trip include Dhauli Hills, Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves, Ratnagiri Buddhist Excavations, Bindu Sarovara, Nandan Kanan Zoological Park and Lingaraj Temple among others.

About 100 kms from Bhubaneswar is the ancient Buddhist Centers of Lalitagiri and Ratnagiri, which together with the site of Udaygiri form what is known as the diamond triangle of Odisha.

On a day trip from Bhubaneswar, visit the ancient Buddhist sites of Lalitagiri and Ratnagiri, dating from the 1st century BC to the 12th century AD to see the stone coffin containing the relics of the Buddha in Lalitagiri, standing statues of the Buddha and sculptures of the Gandhara School of Architecture.

But apart from these places, have a visit to the world famous Konark Temple (if you have not visited earlier). It is located between Puri and Bhubaneswar. You can also chill at the Chandrabhaga Beach or Ramchandi Beach nearby. For nature lovers Jeypore brings a lot of activities. The city is recognized for offering mesmerizing sights of rocky outcrops, picture-perfect cascades, and verdant biosphere reserves.

One of the famous attractions of this place is the forest hills of the southwest. It is home to the tribal people who live in the forest. You can visit their weekly market to meet them. Even if they are tribal people, they are very welcoming by nature.

5. Patiala

Patiala is known as the city of forts and gardens. With its intricate and beautiful works of art, the bright colors of the gardens and the beauty of its temples and the royal residence of Qila Mubarak make the city of Punjab very interesting to visit. Qila Mubarak, located in the heart of the city, was the resident of the Patiala royal family before the former Moti Bagh palace.

Baradari gardens are an unmissable attraction for its colorful range of flowers and the royal house, the cricket stadium and an ice rink. Sheesh Mahal is a work of art, famous for its mirror works and the nearby lake enhances its beauty. The Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib and the Gurdwara Moti Bagh Sahib are important religious destinations dedicated to the Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur.

Lachman Jhoola connects the Sheesh Mahal with the Banasar Ghar and is a beautiful suspension bridge built on a small artificial lake. It is a replica of the famous Lakshman Jhoola in Rishikesh. The tree-lined parks in front of the villa feature exquisite marble statues, including a 1903 sculpture of Queen Victoria.

6. Chandigarh

Chandigarh is an exception in India. It may seem like a small and visionary Brasilia, with its modern architecture of the 1950s. The city is divided into identical sectors, crossed by large avenues. In the north, the sector 1 concentrates the Capitol and all its official and administrative buildings. It is worth going up to the terrace of the Secretariat, the headquarters of the governments of the two states, to admire the fantastic views.

On the one hand, the modern city to the south has the first foothills of the Himalayas. Take a tour of the administrative district and visit its large 220-hectare artificial Sukhna Lake, very close to the High Court. In the sector 10, discover 5,000 years of history of North India in the Museum of Evolution of Life.

Let yourself be drunk by the immense Rose Garden, in the sector 16, where more than a thousand varieties are cultivated (ideal between December and February). To do some shopping, nothing better than the spacious commercial center of the sector 17, in front of the bus station.

7. Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh

Allahabad, also known by it's ancient name Prayag is one of the oldest cities in India. Among the four cities, the place where this pilgrimage is most important is in Prayagraj, the city where the most sacred river Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati converge. Kumbh Mela is considered the largest pilgrimage in the world and in 2018 was named Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. An event that brings together more than 100 million people who come to the banks of the river to bathe.

In Allahabad, people go by boat to the point of union of the three sacred rivers. It is a pilgrimage that takes place four times every twelve years. The most popular tourist attractions in Allahabad are as follows:

Triveni Sangam: The Triveni Sangam is the point of confluence of three rivers namely Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati (a mythical river which is supposed to have dried up thousands of year ago) located in Allahabad. The point of confluence is regarded as one of the holiest places in Hinduism.

Old Naini Bridge: The Old Naini Bridge is a double-decked steel-truss bridge located in Allahabad. It is one of the longest and oldest bridges in India. The bridge runs across the Yamuna river connecting the city of Allahabad to the neighbouring area of Naini. It is used as roadway and railway simultaneously.

New Yamuna Bridge: The New Yamuna Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge located in Allahabad. It was constructed in 2004 in order to minimize the traffic over the Old Naini Bridge. The bridge runs across the Yamuna river connecting the city of Allahabad to the neighbouring area of Naini.

Allahabad Fort: Allahabad Fort is a fort located in Allahabad. The fort was built by the 3rd Mughal emperor Akbar in 1583. The fort stands on the banks of river Yamuna. It is the largest fort ever built by Akbar. Most of the fort is occupied by the Indian Army and a limited area is open for tourists.

Khusro Bagh: Khusrau Bagh is a large walled burial complex and a garden located in Allahabad. Situated over 40 acres and shaped as a quadrangle it includes the tombs of 4th Mughal emperor Jahangir's wife Shah Begum, Jahangir’s eldest son Khusrau Mirza and Jahangir's daughter Nithar Begum.

Allahabad Museum: The Allahabad Museum is a national-level museum located in Allahabad. It is situated inside Chandrashekhar Azad Park. It was originally established in 1931 under the control of Allahabad Municipality as a natural museum. The museum uses solar energy and has become first museum in India to become self-reliant in power generation.

Anand Bhavan: Anand Bhavan is a historic house museum located in Allahabad. It was constructed by Indian political leader Motilal Nehru in the 1930s to serve as the residence of the Nehru family. The mansion once stood witness to the lives of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Anand Bhavan was donated to Indian government by Indira Gandhi and converted into a museum.

Jawahar Planetarium: The Jawahar Planetarium named after Jawaharlal Nehru is a planetarium located inside Anand Bhawan. It has a capacity to seat 80 people.

Chandrashekhar Azad Park: Chandrashekhar Azad Park is a public park in Allahabad. It is also known by it's former name Alfred Park and Company Bagh. It was built in 1870 to mark Prince Alfred's (Queen Victoria's son) visit to Allahabad. With an area of 133 acres, it is the largest park in Allahabad.

Hathi Park: Hathi Park also known as Sumitra Nandan Park is a public park situated opposite to Chandrashekhar Azad Park in Allahabad. A huge stone elephant slider is the main attraction of the park. The park also has a small zoo. It is the most famous children’s park in Allahabad.

8. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Explore the history behind ghats and temples, visit the families of weavers, and get your hands on a special Banarasi saree – all in one riveting trip! Set off for a getaway to explore the city of Banaras intimately. Book your spot and explore the local Banarasi flavour!

Varanasi is the spiritual land of India. It is located in the in Uttar Pradesh alongside the river Ganges and is considered one of the best tourist places along the riverside. It is said to be one of the oldest cities to be colonized and one of the oldest pilgrimage places in the world. It is believed that people come to Varanasi to wash away all their sins.

Varanasi was the name of the ancient Kashi Dham of Biswanath. It is said that this was the favorite abode of Lord Shiva at one time. The beauty and religious depth in the city are still there. Bordered with the Ganges, this is still regarded to be the holiest city of India and about the origin of the city – this is not expressed in years, but in Yugas and Kalpas.

Many people believe that this is the place that holds the key to rebirth and this is where the cycle of one’s life begins. Varanasi is a place that has witnessed the end of one’s life and has initiated a new life for others. It is a place of God that controls the cycle of life.

Kachodi - Sabzi is a staple breakfast for the Banarsi. You can find this snack in every nook and corner of the city. The Kachodis fried in Ghee had an amazing flavour. Try the Ghee fried Jalebis which literally melt in the mouth. Varanasi is a paradise for Chat lovers. Do try some spicy Lemon Tea from Assi ghat. Do try the Lassi in Lanka.

The guys make Lassi in the traditional, hand churning way. The awesome taste will make you forget the extra calories added by the thick layer of Malai. At the end, you would need some help for digestion. So don't forget to stuff your cheeks with a traditional Banarasi pan!

9. Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

Rishikesh is definitely the Holy Grail for solo travellers in India. While the charming valleys and lush greenery weaves magic for the wandering soul in you, Rishikesh is also popular as the Adventure Capital and Yoga Capital of India. A female friendly destination in Uttarakhand, solo travellers must indulge in adventure activities like white-water rafting, rappelling fox flying and camping.

Even if you come alone, you will leave Rishikesh with lots of memories for lifetime of friends that you make during your trip. Solo travellers can also join some yoga and meditation sessions that the ashrams impart amidst the scenic backdrop of the Himalayas. Rishikesh is easily accessible by road and trains from all major cities.

10. Puri

Puri, the popular beach town, is one of the four char dhams in India. It is very famous for the Jagannath Temple, which contributed with the word juggernaut to the English language. The temple is famous for the Ratha Yatra that is held annually. Apart from this you can chill at the sea beach or have some spiritual knowledge by visiting the Mutts in Puri.

Almost all spiritual preachers starting from Adi Shankar, Ramanujacharya, Shri Chaitanya to Guru Nanak Dev has established mutts in Puri. Chhappan Bhog is served everyday in Jagannath Temple; Abadha, Mahaprasad, Tanka Torani being one of the most famous.

Mind it that the above mentioned top cities of India are only the top most – there are lots more to be explored about India, exploring which can cost a full life.
Kalyan Panja Kalyan Panja Author
Adventures Of A Mum said...

I absolutely loved reading this because I am heading to the Himalayas in October and I want to learn all about these amazing places to visit while I'm there. Thanks for sharing! x

Staying Afloat said...

This is really great!! We'd love to get to India some day :) Sounds like picking a city will be a touch decision!

kumamonjeng said...

I have only been to Agra and there are still so many places that I have not been. Would like to explore India again.

Myrah Duque said...

Reading about these destinations is great! We are planning on visiting next year!The Himalayas have always been a bucket list. Thanks for sharing!

Jasmine said...

great bucket list! i'd love to go to India!

Alexandra Cook said...

Never been to India and never thought that there beautiful places to visit there. Def. I would love to visit here.

Mighty Mama Bear said...

This was such an interesting read. I'll admit I know very little about where to visit in India so this was so useful.

Kara said...

I would love to visit India one day and had not heard of many of these cities, we have to do some more research

Katie said...

My first visit to India only hit one of your recommendations - Agra. So I totally need to go back to visit more of your top 10!

bye:myself said...

I've never been to India and actually do feel a bit intimidated by the size and variety. Your list is a great golden thread to follow and will certainly help to put together my itinerary once I'm going.

Carmen | Wellington World Travels said...

I have only been to Delhi, and I have always to explore other cities. You have enumerated lots of them. I soo wanted to visit Agra and see Taj Mahal

travelblogstories said...

Thanks for this List! I've never been to India

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