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India is a land of diversity and those who do not explore it will only know what it is portrayed as!
People living in foreign countries know India as a place of Bollywood, colors, and spicy food. But don’t judge a book by its cover, and explore India for yourself, and then only you will realize the bigger and better things it has stored for you.
This thought has made us come up with the top 10 places to visit in India for first time travelers. These travel destinations are diverse, different, and dazzling and will fill your diary of memories with the best experience in India. You get a chance to explore this wonderful destinations in India with tastefully crafted India tour packages by Indian HOliday Pvt. Ltd.
Just like people, we really have to explore a destination to fully understand its depth. Don’t you agree?
Check out the Top 10 Places to visit in India for First Time Travelers.
There is something unique about each of these places, which is why they have made it to this list. Enjoy!
- Agra, Uttar Pradesh
- Mumbai, Maharashtra
- Kolkata, West Bengal
- Goa (Union Territory), along the Arabian Sea
- Kerala, a southwestern coastal state
- Jaipur, Rajasthan
- Amritsar, Punjab
- Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
- Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
1. Delhi – The Capital of India
Start your India tour as a first-timer from the heart of India, Delhi. Discover historical sites like Red Fort, India Gate, Humayun’s Tomb, and Qutub Minar. Visit the President’s House or Rashtrapati Bhawan, seek blessings at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, and join the ceremonies at ISKCON and Akshardham Temple.
Ah, food! You cannot afford to miss the lip-smacking food Delhi is known for. For the best experience, dine-in at a fancy rooftop restaurant for city views and discover some new flavors in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk narrow lanes.
Useful Tip: Delhi Metro is the most convenient way to reach tourist places in Delhi. To avoid getting scammed, watch out for touts and fake guides at major tourist places in Delhi.
2. Agra – The City of Love
After Delhi, approximately 250 km away lies the land of Taj Mahal, Agra. Shah Jahan, a Mughal Emperor built an architectural marvel in memory of his beloved wife, which we today call “the symbol of love”. And to admire its beauty, millions of people visit Agra every year from all over the world as they are unable to miss these stunning monumental places in India on your first visit.
Beyond Taj Mahal, there are other tourist places in Agra you can visit like the Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Itimad-ud-Daulah’s tomb, Mehtabh bagh (from where you can see Taj Mahal), and Taj Museum. Also, before exiting the city, do try petha, a soft translucent candy.
Useful Tip: Tourists are not allowed to carry anything except their mobile phones, a camera, and a water bottle inside the Taj Mahal.
3. Mumbai – The City of Dreams
Heading to the South, we reach Mumbai, the city that never sleeps (literally!). It is known as the ‘City of Bollywood’ as many people come here to try their luck in Hindi cinema. Apart from this, Mumbai offers spectacular ocean views from Marine Drive, Gateway of India, and Juhu Beach. To explore the religious side, head to Siddhivinayak Temple, Elephants Caves, and Haji Ali Dargah.
Another really unique way to explore this city is to get on board named Deccan Odyssey, an Indian luxury train, which starts and ends in Mumbai and covers some incredible places to visit in India (and that too in just 7 days!). And trust us, it is totally worth it!
Useful Tip: Respect ‘no selfie’ zones. Visit beaches early in the morning or evening to avoid heavy crowds. DO NOT miss Mumbai’s specialty, vada pav!
4. Kolkata – India’s Former Capital
Home of grand colonial architecture, art galleries, and cultural festivals, Kolkata lies in the eastern part of India. It is a city known for its sweet-voiced people and sweet dishes. Explore the ‘City of Joy’ starting with the famous landmarks Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge, and Birla Planetarium. Also, visit Fort William, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Marble Palace Mansion, and other major attractions.
For a memorable time in India as a first-time visitor, witness Durga Pooja, a famous festival of West Bengal. Stop by a local store to relish the luscious Rasgulla or how Bengali people say “Roshgulla”.
Useful Tip: Visit Kolkata during September or October to be a part of Durga Pooja. Avoid visiting Kolkata in the summers; you will burn your skin.
5. Goa – Abode of Fantastic Beaches
Honeymooners, youngsters, and foreigners love Goa for many reasons. Be it the crazy all-night-long parties, an array of nightclubs, luxurious casinos, cheap booze, or the sight of stunning beaches. Goa is amongst the best places for first time travel to India. Relax by the seaside while sipping a can of whatever beverage you prefer, and soak in the laid-back vibes, and be a party animal for a night. Goa is truly one of the coolest places you will visit in India.
Calangute Beach, Deltin Royale Casino, Chapora Fort, Baga Beach, Vagator Beach, Fort Aguada, Dudhsagar falls, are some of the best attractions in Goa. And if you love adventure, even better. Scuba diving, hot air balloon flight, banana boat ride, snorkeling, and white water rafting are Goa specialties. All of these activities could be a part of customizable Goa tour packages by IHPL,
Useful Tip: Go beyond the famous beaches, there is a lot more to explore in Goa (on a bicycle for the best experience). Attend Sunburn, Asia’s biggest electronic music festival, which happens in end-December.
6. Kerala – Paradise of Ayurveda
At the southernmost tip of India lies Kerala, also known as ‘God’s Own Country’. With the tea fields, breathtaking beauty, greenery everywhere you look, exotic beaches, adventure activities, Kerala has everything you need to have a great time on your first time travel to India.
While on a Kerala tour, explore the tourist favorites like Alleppey for backwaters, Munnar for its soothing weather, Wayanad for its paddy fields, Thekkady for wildlife, and other places like Kumarakom, Kovalam, and Thrissur. Kerala is undoubtedly an incredible place that might leave you spellbound.
Useful Tip: Carry cotton clothes as it is warm in some places. And for places like Munnar and Thekkady, carry woolens. While on the beach, do wear sun protection, a hat, and sunglasses to avoid sunburn.
7. Jaipur – Timeless Tales of India
For a rich cultural experience, Jaipur is the ideal place to visit in India for a first-timer. Dotted with majestic forts, royal palaces, and heritage hotels, Jaipur is covered in pink tint and is therefore known as ‘The Pink City’. Here you can enjoy colorful folk performances and savor a Rajasthani Thali.
Other than this, explore the most popular Jaipur attractions that include Amer Fort, Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Albert Hall Museum, Jal Mahal, Nahargarh Fort, Jaigarh Fort, and other significant historical monuments. Each of these has its own tale to tell, from which you can learn so much more about India.
Useful Tip: Take a certified tour guide to help you understand the stories behind each of the places in Jaipur better. Book a stay in a heritage hotel in Jaipur and spend your time feeling like a King with royal facilities.
8. Amritsar – Home to Holiest Sikh Shrine in India
Amritsar is most famous for two things, Golden Temple and food. With more than a lakh visitors to Golden Temple, it is one of the most visited places in India and the world. It is a sacred place for the Sikhs and almost 1.5 lakh people can eat langar or free food at a time. Along with the temple, food is also a big part of the city. Amritsari Kulche, naan, paneer tikka, and lassi are some of Amritsar’s specialties.
The city also houses some well-known attractions such as Wagah Border; Border of India and Pakistan where the evening parade can be seen. Jalianwala Bagh, Durgiana Temple, Akal Takht, Tarn Taran, Bhatinda Fort, and Harike Wet Land are some other places of interest in Amritsar.
Useful Tip: Remove your shoes and cover your head with a handkerchief/ scarf before entering Golden Temple. Avoid wearing shorts, skirts, or dresses above the knees.
9. Varanasi – The City of Gods
Varanasi is a pilgrimage city in India and one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, where people from all around the globe visit to explore ancient Indian culture. The narrow lanes, the sacred river Ganges, sadhus, beautiful temples, and ghats, puts Varanasi amongst the unmissable places in India for first-timer travelers.
It is said that whoever dies in this city gets free from the cycle of birth and death. Yes! It is true. On your Varanasi tour, partake in soulful Ganga aarti and witness the mesmerizing view of artisans performing the pooja followed by a boat ride in Ganga. Visit famous places here like Kashi Vishwanath Temple (a highly revered Hindu Temple), Panch Ganga Ghat, Dasaswamedha Ghat, Tulsi Manas Temple, Bharat Mata Temple, and Sarnath.
Useful Tip: Beware of the people asking for money in the name of God. Spend alone time at Ganga, explore the narrow lanes, and interact with the locals to have the best time in Varanasi.
10. Khajuraho – Erotic Architectural Temples
Temples built a long time back are the prime attraction of Khajuraho. If you are someone who loves to explore new types of architecture, then Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh is your place to be. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its Group of Monuments and its nagara-style architecture displaying erotic sculptures.
These Groups of Monuments in Khajuraho include Kandariya Mahadeo Temple, Lakshmana Temple, Adinath Temple, and more. For wildlife exploration, you can head to Panna National Park and relax for some time amidst nature. Raneh Falls, Ken Gharial Sanctuary, Archaeological Museum, Jain Museum, Ajaigarh Fort, and Beni Sagar Dam are some other important places that are worth visiting near Khajuraho.
Useful Tip: Take a tour guide otherwise you will get lost. Do not hurry to see all the temples at once. Each temple has its own uniqueness and exploring it might take some extra time. Start visiting places early in the morning as the sun can get really harsh here.
India sounds too good to be true right? But it is what it is! There is so much to see, do, and experience. So, why not start with this list of the best places to visit in India as a first time traveler? Get on board in the most diverse country in the world and have the best culturally rich experience that will last for a lifetime.