Believe me there are so many fabulous places to see in India but to compile a list of only 20 best places was not an easy task. Still I tried my level best to cover the best of India. In my last article 20 Places to see in India Before You Die (Part I), I covered Leh Ladakh, Kashmir, Goa, Rajasthan, Bombay, Kerala, Ooty, Madurai, Uttaranchal and Kodaikanal. In this article I’ll cover Golden temple, Akshar Dham, Taj Mahal, Khajuraho, Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Coorg, Lakshadweep, Tirupati Balaji, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Kanyakumari.
11. Golden temple :
Golden Temple, Amritsar is one of the famous Sikh Shrines in India. People across the world come here visit Shri Harmander Sahib. It is one of the holy pilgrimages where not only Sikhs but people from different countries and of different religion pay their homage. It is popularly known as “Golden Temple” because of the Gold coating on the main building of the Darbar Sahib. The Harmandir Sahib was invaded and destroyed many a times by the Afghan and other rulers. Sri Harmandir Sahib, is built on a 67ft. square platform in the center of the Sarovar(tank). The temple itself is 40.5ft. square. It has a door each on the East, West, North and South. Main attractions to see inside Golden Temple premise are Akal Takht, Baba Atal, Sri Guru Ramdas Niwas, The SGPC Office, Central Sikh Museum and the food at Guru ka Langar.
The Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar Gujarat is one of the popular pilgrimage sites in India. The Temple attracts nearly 2 million visitors each year. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan. The temple is famous for its unusual and massive architecture. The Akshardham temple is the largest temple in Gujarat in terms of the complex. The surroundings are peaceful and clean. About 6000 metric tons of long durable pink sandstone was imported from Rajasthan and has been engraved by the skilled artisans of Bansipahadpur. It stands tall with a height of 108 feet. The shrine is located in the multi-acre patch, called Sahajanand van, with convoluted figurine of Hindu Gods, magnificently landscaped patch of land, eatery and amusements. The interiors have stunning columns that mount up to an elevated dome. A special light and sound show is organized for the visitors here. The show depicts the glorious past of Sanatan Dharam.
13. Taj Mahal :
I guess no one in the world is unaware of this Monument of Love. This monument has found a place in the Seven Wonders of the World. Taj Mahal was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal. Thus the Monument was also named after her name. The monument was constructed by 20,000 workers and took about 16 years to complete. The white marble which was used to build Taj Mahal was brought from the quarries of Makrana, in Nagaur district of Rajasthan. Over 1000 elephants were used to transport the big rocks of white marbled used in construction. 28 kind of rare & semi precious and precious stones were used to decorate the ineer inlay of Taj Mahal. The central dome of Taj Mahal is 187 feet high at the centre. May people say that after the completion of Taj Mahal Shah Jahan ordered amputation of the hands of all the workers. So that nobody is able to construct a monument like this again on this earth.
The Heart of India is Madhya Pradesh, and the hearth of Madhya Pradesh is Khajuraho. Khajuraho is an example of rich cultural heritage of India. Khajuraho is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Khajuraho is one of the best tourist destinations famous for its sculptures, temples and architecture. The realistic sculptures of the temples are famous world wide. These temples were built during the Chandela Empire. Most of the temples depict the lifestyle of a woman in medieval age. They represent life in 11th century. The Sculptures of Khajuraho are an example of a highly matured civilization. These temples were constructed in between 950 – 1050 A.D. The name Khajuraho came from the tree “Khajur” (the date palm tree) which is found in good number in this region. Now there are only 22 temples left after the natural calamities. Prior there were a total of 85 temples at Khajuraho.
15. Ajanta and Ellora Caves:
Ajanta and Ellora are the pride of Maharashtra, India. The rock-cut caves of both these sites are world famous and illustrate the degree of skill and artistry that Indian craftsmen had achieved several hundred years ago. Ajanta dates from 100 B.C. while Ellora is younger by some 600 years. The village of Ajanta is in the Sahyadri hills, about 99 kms. From Aurangabad; a few miles away in a mammoth horseshoe-formed rock, are 30 caves overlooking a gorge, each forming a room in the hill and some with inner rooms. Al these have been carved out of solid rock with little more than a hammer and chisel and the faith and inspiration of Buddhism. Here, for the Buddhist monks, the artisans excavated Chaityas (chapels) for prayer and Viharas (monasteries) where they lived and taught. Many of the caves have the most exquisite detailed carvings on the walls, pillars and entrances as well as magnificent wall paintings. Ajanta and Ellora has formed an epicenter of interest for those who appreciate and are eager to know more about Indian history and art.
16. Coorg :
Also known as Kodagu, Coorg is a place said to haunt you forever with its timeless beauty. Described as the Scotland of India, Coorg lies at an altitude of 1,525 m on the Western Ghats about 252 kms from Bangalore in Karnataka. Misty hills, lush forest, acres and acres of tea and coffee plantations, orange groves, undulating streets and breathtaking views are what make Coorg an unforgettable holiday destination.Coorg has many verdant trekking routes in the midst of forests and hills, and it’s best to go in the months from October to February. Some of the known trails are in the hills of Brahmagiri, where you could trek your way to the Iruppa Falls. Or you could trek to Pushpagiri, the second highest peak of Kodagu, or even Tadiandamol, the highest peak.For white water rafting check out the camps around Madikeri, which offer rafting down the Cauvery. Some fast paced action visit the Upper Barapole River to the south of Coorg in Brahmagiri. The best time for rafting is from mid-June to mid-September.
Lakshadweep is located at about 200 -300 km away from the west coat Kerala in the Arabian Sea. Lakshadweep is basically a group of 36 small islands. these islands are small and flat and hardly 4-5 m. above the sea level. Lakshadweep is the smallest UT of India. Out of 36 coral islands of Lakshadwep only 10 islands are inhabited. These islands in the Indian Ocean are surrounded by lagoons, tall coconut trees, and crystal clear blue water.he coral formations underwater form an amazingly colorful garden and the variety of fish that inhabit these waters is truly exotic. It is a great tourist destination for Divers.
18. Tirupati Balaji :
Tirupati Balaji is one of the sacred Hindu temple in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The ancient and sacred temple of Lord Venkateshwara is located on the seventh peak of the Tirupati Hills. The Peak on which the temple is situated is called Venkatachalam. The other manes of Lord Venkateshawara are Balaji, Srinivasa and Perumal. The Balaji temple is the richest and most visited place of worship not only in India but around the globe. The temple encounters a huge number of visitors. The temple is visited by about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily, while on special occasions and festivals, like the annual Brahmotsavam, the number of pilgrim shoots up to 500,000, making it one of the most visited holy places in the world.
19. Andaman and Nicobar Islands :
Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a group of 572 emerald island islets in the eastern part of the Bay of Bengal south of Myanmar. The Islands float in the crystal clear blue water of Bay of Bengal. Andaman and Nicobar is one of the Union Territories of India that stretches over a length of more than 700 km from north to south. Andaman and Nicobar islands are the most beautiful beach destinations in India. The clear blue sea, the sunny sands and the colorful corals lure visitors to these islands. The Islands are in two groups; the Andaman and the Nicobar. The rare flora and fauna, underwater marine life, corals, tall coconut trees sway to the sea rhythm, crystal clear blue water, slow pace life makes this place an exceptional tourist destination.
20: Kanya Kumari:
Kanyakumari is a small town in the state of Tamil Nadu and is the southern most tip of the Indian sub-continent. Kanyakumari takes its name from the virgin Goddess Kumari Amman of Kanyakumari Temple situated in the town, on the sea-shore. Lakhs of tourist, round the year are lured by the serene beauty of this place and the spectacles of sunrise and sunset. Though sunrise can be viewed throughout the year, sunset is visible only from October 15 to March 15 from this southernmost tip. The sunset and moonrise can be seen almost simultaneously on full moon days from the same spot. It is a unique spectacle. Kanyakumari lies at the meeting point of the three oceans, Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.