India, a country identified by its traditions, culture, intelligence and mysteries, has history and meaning attached to all aspects of life, including food, customs and monuments. Here are our top seven must-see places in India.
by Himanshu Agarwal
1. Bibi ka Maqbara, Maharashtra
Most people who have paid a visit to India have visited the famous Taj Mahal in Agra. But very few people are aware of the ‘Taj of Deccan’: The Bibi ka Maqbara (Tomb of the Lady), located in Aurangabad in the coastal state of Maharashtra. Located 5km from the Aurangabad Railway station, the mausoleum was constructed by Prince Azam Shah in memory of his mother. The Mughal architecture is inspiring and there are two mosques, to the west of the mausoleum also worth visiting. It is open to visitors seven days a week from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.
2. Aguada Fort, Goa
Serene, clean, vibrant and calm beaches come to mind when one thinks of Goa. But what is even more inviting about this place are the many forts which stand overlooking the sea. The Aguada Fort is a beautiful example of a well-preserved Portuguese fort on the Senquerium beach. This coastline attracts nature lovers, history buffs, architecture enthusiasts and photographers alike.
3. Akshardham, Delhi
Reminiscent of a beautiful castle of yore with lush greenery around, a magnificent structure stands in the middle of a huge complex which emanates peace and spirituality from every stone and brick. The Swaminarayan Akshardham (abode of God) is the most prominent structure in Delhi. This immaculate, elegant complex is a Hindu Mandir situated on the banks of river Yamuna and comes surrounded with over two hundred idols representing many of the spiritual stalwarts over many millennia. Inside the complex are a water show, a thematic garden and three exhibitions including an IMAX film of the early life of Swaminarayan. It is open to visitors all week except on Mondays 9:30 am to 7:00 pm.
4. Kaziranga National Park, Assam
A world heritage site, the pride of India and a sanctuary known to house the majority of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceros; the Kaziranga National Park in Assam is a once in a lifetime experience. It boasts vast expanses of marshlands and elephant grass. People come here to see the one-horned rhinoceros, wild Asiatic water buffalo, wild boar, hog deer and several birds such as Indian roller and swamp francolin. Visitors can sign up for an elephant safari and a jeep safari to tour the park.
5. Talakaveri, Karnataka
Talakaveri is the source of the river Kaveri, which originates in Kodagu district and flows through Tamil Nadu and across the southern Deccan Plateau. This sacred place is home to a temple where people worship Goddess Kaveriamma. On Cauvery Changrandi Day water gushes up from the spring at a predetermined moment and is an amazing sight to witness. In the vicinity of Talakaveri is the Triveni Sangama where Rivers Kannike, Kaveri and Sujyothi meet and the water here is clear, cool and refreshing. One can hire a jeep or taxi from Madikeri to Talakaveri and the best time to visit would be in the months of January-March & October-December.
6. Daman and Diu
Once a part of the Portuguese empire and neighbouring Goa, Daman and Diu now form a coastal union territory of India known for its beach and heritage attractions. Tourists are often left spellbound by the many beautiful beaches found here like. These include Nagoa beach, Devka beach, Goptimata beach and Jallandhar. For heritage one can visit the Nani Daman Fort, Jain Temple in Daman, St. Thomas Church in Diu and the Diu Museum.
7. Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
Renowned as a curious tourist attraction, the Krishna’s butterball is a giant balancing rock perched on a smooth slope. The mythical interpretation of the ball of butter is that Lord Krishna stole it from a town 60 km south of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. Formerly known as Mammalapuram, this town has many historic structures with intricate carvings showing a true depiction of Pallava art. Other important structured in the area include The Descent of the Ganges, Varaha Cave Temple and five monolithic pyramidal structures known as Pancha Rathas.
About the Author:
Himanshu has a keen interest in history, mythology, culture and loves to travel within India to revive those precious moments of Indian heritage that are sprawled across the country. In his contributions to Pearls India Tour & Tour To India he has talked about the most important and sought after places in India. He likes to cook and eat while not travelling…. He believes that it’s good to get fat with your own cooked meal!