The popular notion out in the world is India is a world by itself. A huge country with billion of population and plethora of attractions, including that of the wonders of mighty mountains, soaring high on the north and the vast peninsula by myriad sea waves running an astonishing 6000 miles; India is mesmerizing. But apart from natural wonders, if you want to see the exhibit of human development and prowess of varied culture affecting the same, you must experience the city life of the country.
The cities, in more cases than not situated by the rivers of the country. The serpentine rivers, some of them are the biggest of the world, are running as lifeline for the civilization. By these rivers, the cities have been housing the best of cultural forms from time immemorial. They have stood witness to history from ancient era. Dynasties, colonial era, globalization and development of state of the art infrastructure took place in front of them. Here, we shall be discussing about 11 key cities in India you must include in your visit.
The capital of India, Delhi is an old city whose history dates back to few centuries while the Mauya empire thrived. Standing witness to invaders from the Afghan topography who later seamlessly merged into the multicultural weaving of the society, Delhi has endured way beyond what a google search can tell you. And sure the city has evolved with her own distinctive culture. To bask in the glory of generosity, we recommend a quick visit by availing the cheap flights to Delhi as the holidays are at corner.
There are plenty to see, relics from old era as well as new age. The city is the seat of political power of the country. Do visit the Red Fort, Qutb Minar, Jama Masjid mosque, Humayun’s Tomb, Jantar mantar, Chandi Chawk, the Akshardham Temple, India Gate and many more exotic areas in the city that will surely take your breath away. Along with that, Delhi is also famous for lip smacking Punjabi gourmet scene and great pubs. You may want to explore the Dhabas on the highway that serve the best of Parantha with homemade ghee. Avail the metro services of Delhi that brings distances closer.
Mumbai is the financial capital of india. It is a sprawling metropolis, erstwhile known as Bombay, situated by the Arabian Sea. There are multiple cheap flights to Mumbai from across the country as well as international destinations. The iconic Gateway of India stands tall by the sea. Millions of youth flock to the city in pursuit of the great Bollywood dream. You may want to visit the ancient Elephanta Caves where a temple of Hindu god Shiva is housed. The intricate train system is the pulse of the city and best avoided during rush hour by a novice traveler.
Fondly referred by its residents as “Aamchi Mumbai”, the huge city pulsates with unprecedented energy that encompasses a populace from every strata of life, from millionaires to slum dwellers, religious leaders to liberal artists, and of course the exotic migratory birds. Visit Mumbai to explore the grand mansions dating back to colonial era by the British, the majestic Chatrapati Shivaji terminus and the Taj Mahal Hotel being few of the examples. Do check out the city’s charming night life and incredibly safe standard of women safety. Mumbai is a paradise for solo travelers since the city offers incredible positive vibes and plethora of activities.
Namma city Bengaluru is the icon of India’s IT service prowess in the world and the quintessential answer to America’s silicon valley. The best place for starting and evolving a information technology career, Bangalore is the city behind adding “Bangalored” the word to dictionary, which also suggests outsourcing. However the once a small city, now a bustling metropolis is one of the largest growing city of Asia and oozes a never ending charm of youth.
Often tagged as the party capital of India, the Bangalore populace surely knows how to work hard, party harder. When in Bangalore you need to check out the incredible pub scene from places like Koramangala, Indiranagar, MG road that introduces a new eatery every other week. The wineries from outskirts of the city make up for a perfect weekend tour. If you can bat the traffic and venture out of the home to explore the Kapi (Filter coffee scene, typical to Bangalore), you shall know what it means to be a part of the Garden City. Thanks to beautiful weather, the city houses beautiful parks, dainty ones by the innumerable lakes of the city.
A typical excursion for a Bangalore day should include places like Bangalore Royal Palace, UB city, The ISCON temple, Laalbag garden, Tipu Sultan’s summer Palace, Sankey Tank and a wholesome dinner of Donne Biryani!
Chennai, earlier known as Madras, is the capital of the southern state of Tamilnadu. One of the largest cities of India, it is a densely populated metropolis, thriving with beautiful local culture and art scene. The city ranks among one of the top ones for clean cities of the world and attracts a lot of people who intend to travel for medical reasons. Situated on the Koramondal Coast, by the Bay of Bengal, the city houses Marina beach, one of the largest beach in the world. Founded by the the British East India during early seventeenth century, Chennai has stood witnessed to changing times. The city now gleams with massive industrialization development.
When in Chennai, you have to see and marvel at the wonder of Kanchipuram sarees. The amazing spread they savour with rice, Dhosai and Idli along with the tangy Rasam is a must try dish, and deemed fit to be treated oneself. Visit Chennai during December to witness the music festival that showcases talent from around the country who excel in classical music. Beside the azure beach, while in Chennai you must also visit temples like Kapaleeswarar Temple, Karaneeswarar Temple, The Parthasarathy Temple, Valluvar Kottam memorial, Basilica of the National Shrine of St.Thomas, National Art Gallery etc.
The capital of Telangana, one of the newest state of Southern part of India, Hyderabad traces back its history for almost five centuries. Although there are initiatives to promote the city as a destination of sprawling industries for the right cause, you can hardly miss the distinctive historical identity has Hyderabad possess.
Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk and his dynasty established the city that is known as Hyderabad today. With the Islamic heritage, the city has retained one of the best Biryani spread of the country. The street food of Hyderabad is mind blowing. Specially during the festival of Eid, the old streets come alive. Stroll by the large Hussain Sagar lake, that houses Secunderabad at one bank. The city features a tropical climate and speaks in the genial language of Urdu.
While in Hyderabad, you may want to rent an auto rickshaw for the entire day and visit the Old city. With Charminar stands as an icon of Hyderabad, Nearby stands Mecca Masjid, Chowmahalla Palace and Falaknuma Palace, each deserving a good amount of time to explore. Visit the old Golconda Fort and surrounding old shops where you get an exquisite collection of bangles. There are multiple Darghas and tombs in the city worth exploring. History comes alive in the much celebrated Salar Jung Museum.
The city of joy, the old capital of India under British Raj, the city of the best of sweetmeats and plethora of fish curries, by the river Hoogly, originating from Ganges is a beautiful city from the eastern part of India with distinctive character traits. You need to live there for a while to assimilate with the slow, laid back lifestyle that emphasizes more on simple pleasures of life. The river flowing by her side is adorned with Howrah Bridge, the one of its kind bridge in India which almost stands as a symbol of Kolkata.
Earlier known as Calcutta, the city houses plenty of historical sites and monuments, namely, the National library, the biggest Zoo of the country, Shaheed Minar, the Maidan or Gorer Maath, a sprawling green mass amid the bustling city, much imitating the Eden gardens from London, grand colonial building that has inspired plenty of writers to draw inspiration, the Princep Ghat, the oldest tube rail in the country and many more. There’s distinctive lifestyle difference in north and southern part of the city. The North is also referred to as old Kolkata. The houses are old styled. College street and Calcutta University area is situated here.
The south grew as post partition populace settled there en-masse. In between lies “Chowrangee” the Firang settlement that still tries to reminisce in the British culture. The food is exotic and ranges from authentic Bengali dishes to great street food and continental dishes from colonial era as well. Plan a visit during Durgapuja or the winter to save yourself from extreme humidity. During winter, you can also visit the amazing book fair Kolkata hosts every year.
It is a union territory and a capital of both neighboring states of Haryana and Punjab. Post independence, the city was born as an experiment to create a planned territory, designed by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier. Summer and winter in Chandigarh often brings forth trying time. Punjabi and English is spoken widely in the city. Since it is a man made city, there are plenty of beautiful park and lakes in the area that attracts visitors.
The artificial Sukhna Lake s a rain fed one and houses a pretty garden on the bank. During monsoon visit their to experience the Mango festival. Then there are Rock garden, Rose garden, Parrot bird sanctuary, an art gallery and many more. Do not forget to try the amazing restaurants and dhabas on the streets.
The Gujarati hospitality, close proximity to the capital of the state, Gandhinagar, a crown of being the UNESCO World Heritage Site and a bustling commercial scene together encompasses to build the city of Ahmedabad. There are multiple cheap flights to Ahmedabad operating on a daily basis to bring in discerning tourists from different parts of the world. Earlier known as karnavati, the city predates 11th century. It is situated on the banks of Savarmati river. The ever expanding spree of the city has been the perfect hub of international business center with emphasis on textile.
Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad, Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, National Institute of Design, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU), Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information & Communication Technology, IHM, MICA are some of the institutes of repute, critical in making the city a world name. When in Ahmedabad, do visit the Gandhi Aashram, the house of father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Also make a list that includes the likes of Sidi Sayed mosque, Bhadra Fort, heritage houses of the poles and Akshardham Temple. Do not forget to treat yourself with some Dhokla while exploring the city.
Often referred to as the cultural capital of Maharashtra, Pune houses multiple universities and educational institutes in different streams (some of them are the rime ones of the country) and is frequented by a transient student populace. As a result the city has a youthful and vibrant nightlife. The city is beautifully built and is close to Mumbai, Lavasa and many other areas of attraction.
Even though the official language is Marathi, if you manage to speak English, you are fit to get by almost anything in Pune. There are amazing restaurants and street food scene in the city. An ideal day in Pune should help you to explore Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum (Do check out the Mastani mahal, epitome of Indian art), Darshan mahal Museum, Tribal Museum, National War museum etc. The palace of Shaniwar Wada deserves special mention for it stands defying trying time from medieval age. The Bhimshankar Wildlife Sanctuary is the origin of two major tributaries of Krishna River named Bhim and Ghod.
Visit Pune during the Ganesh mahotsav to with the great enthusiasm in which the festival is celebrated. For the adventure lovers and thrill seeker there is a Paragliding school and flying club at Kamset, the oldest one of the country.
Built by Sawai Jai Singh as India’s first planned city, Jaipur, the largest city from the North Indian state of Rajasthan attracts massive tourist footfall from across the globe for being a part of the golden triangle of India that encompasses Delhi and Agra as well. Jaipur is also the transit point for tourists heading for Jodhpur and Jaisalmeer. Also referred to as the Pink city, the pretty city of Jaipur is primarily built of red sand stones as the Rajput rulers has perceived it.
From Jaipur, you can visit the old forts like Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh Fort. The forts are astounding and retains bouts of luxury practiced from old era. The city Palaces, afloat on the water body is a sight to behold. So is the beautiful Jal Mahal. Do visit the UNESCO Heritage Site of Jantar Mantar, one of the multiple astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh during the period 1727-1734 in north India. The adjacent Hawa Mahal showcases life of Rajput women from the days of yore. A show in the Raj Mandir theater is a must do while in Jaipur. You can also tag along with one of the companies that conducts food tour in Jaipur. This is a great way to acquaintance with Rajasthan’s unique local culture.
The port city of Gujrat, Surat is located by the banks of Tapti river. Diamond trading is the glittering business here. the Old Fort or Surat castle, built by Khudawand Khan is the prime historical monument in the city. So is Mughal Sarai (literally translates to travelers’ inn) built during the reigns of Mughal emperor, Shah Jehan. Plan a day in Surat to explore the wonders of sobre Dutch, English and Armenian Cemeteries, vibrant Dutch Garden, the grand Sardar Patel Museum, and of course the Diamond market. Locho, Surti Undhiyu, Rasawala Khaman, Cold coco and Surti Ghari are the unique dishes of the city. Do not forget to try them either.
With this, we end the list of our favorite cities of India. They differ widely from one another in the expanse of the huge country. They are culturally very different and need to be explored with time and demands awe. The monuments, history, local culture, religious practice has been active for building the specific identity. Some of them are huge and houses millions of residents while rest are tier 2 ones. However the offerings are plenty in any case. It is a joy to live there and experience the culture of India. Let us know what has been your favorite stint in any of the Indian cities in the comment section. We would love to hear your recommendation!
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