A century ago, when one talked about India, it was invariably about snake charmers, yogis and beggars in streets. Now IT is the main tag India shows, the progress it has made is certainly visible in growing strength of its currency (rupee) in international stock markets. Like burgeoning industry, tourism is also expanding very fast in India. Following is a list of places I have visited in India.
Places to visit in India:
Tajmahal (UttarPradesh)-This tomb of Mumtaj Mahal, wife of Mughal emperor Shahjahan has not only found place in the recently concluded hunt for new seven wonders of the world, but also bagged the first slot in it. The Taj truly deserves this position. It is said that 20, 000 workers laboured day and night to build this epitome of love. It is generally considered the finest example of Mughal Architecture. I have been here twice and still want to go back. The beauty of this monument is breathtaking. Taj mahal is built in Agra, where other places of interest are castle of fateh pur sikri.
Shopping : Agra is famous for its sweet dish called “petha”. Agra rugs, marble and leather is also famous.
Jaipur: (Rajasthan)-This city has got another name, “Pink City” because of its pink stone buildings and houses. this is the land of Rajputs, the tribe which is known for its courage, hospitality and deep sense of honor and pride. there are many attractions here e. g. Amber Palace, Birla temple, Jantar mantar, fort of nahargarh(people especially come here at night to watch the beautiful city in the moon light), Jal Mahal, “Water Palace” sits in the center of a lake, Hawa Mahal (palace of winds) is the most easily recalled landmarks of Jaipur and is also its icon.
Shopping: Famous for its precious and semi precious stones, Johari Market is the ideal place to shop for the same. In Jaipur you can shop for various items like handicrafts, lacquered brass work, textiles etc. Textiles in tie and dye (bandhani), Sanganeri and Bagru block print are important trademark varieties and style of fabric.
Kullu-Manali ( Himachal Pradesh)The cool winds seem to play music for your ears. Enjoy the intimacy of the town with the snowline with heat of the natural hot sulphur springs at the same holiday. Besides sight seeing you must try a hand at adventure sports and activities like skiing, hiking, mountaineering, para gliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking or mountain biking for the complete holiday experience. Worth visiting holiday spots in Manali comprise of the wooden hadimba temple in the Dhungiri Van Vihar forest area and the shiny Buddhist monasteries or gompas. Close by is the Rohtang pass the spot where the spectacle of the clouds sweeping the majestic mountains can be viewed. Kullu-manali has a special place in my memories as I went there with our street theater group and we had a lot of fun together.
Shopping: You may pick up woolens for souvenirs like the splendid shawls and caps. Other Himalayan handicrafts like prayer wheels, masks, amulets, and musical instruments add a Tibetan tinge to your shopping.
Goa-If you have been to Goa , you will return again to visit this beautiful city of beaches. Goa’s beaches are what makes the state one of India’s major tourist attractions. Goa offers you fishing beach, naturalist beach, rocky beach white sand beach all in one platter. Goa is a plastic free zone so any use of plastic bags etc is discouraged. The beaches throughout Goa have an abundance of seas shells. The local Indians string the small brown and black littorin shells into curtains. Calangute Beach was the first of the hippie resorts back in the 60’s and 70’s.
Shopping: The ‘shoppoholic’ will never go empty handed as the local handicrafts have great variety to offer. The beach side stall gives the chance to tourist to enjoy the beach and shopping side by side. Some of the most exquisite items produced in Goa are woodcraft including cradles, baby carts, toys, corner stands, etc. Bamboo craft is one of the major crafts industry of Goa. The list of popular Bamboo products include flower baskets, mats, and letter-holders, pen stands, fans and other decorative items.
Delhi-The capital of India has many historical places hidden beneath its modern metropolitan look. Kutub minar: The 238 feet Qutab Minar is 47 feet at the base and tapers to nine feet at the apex. The tower is ornamented by bands of inscriptions and by four projecting balconies supported by elaborately decorated brackets. Humayun’s tomb: One of the greatest examples of architecture in India, Humayun’s Tomb is known for influencing the structure of the Taj Mahal as well. Jama Masjid: Showcasing a rich influence of Persian architecture, the Jama Masjid is one of the oldest mosques of India. Red fort: It was from its ramparts that the first Prime Minister of India, Jawharlal Nehru, announced to the nation that India was free form colonial rule. The piece de resistance of the fort, the Diwan-I-Khas once housed the famous Peacock Throne, which when it was plundered by Nadir Shah in 1739, was valued at six million sterling. Jantar Mantar: At first sight, the Jantar Mantar appears like a gallery of modern art. It is, however, an observatory. Sawai Jia Singh II of Jaipur (1699-1743), a keen astronomer and a noble in the Mughal court. India gate: Built as a memorial to commemorate the 70, 000 India soldiers killed in World War I, India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and completed in 1931. Every year on 26th January, the day celebrated as the Republic Day of India, the Indian President places a wreath at the eternal flame Amar Jawan Jyoti under the arch of India Gate to pay his respects to the Indian armed forces. t is followed by a grand parade that moves along Rajpath, which comprise of marching contingents, tanks and weaponry, vibrant floats, folk dances and school children from different parts of India who participate in this colorful ceremony.
Shopping: Connaught Place, the modern hub of New Delhi houses many a state govt. emporia. he Central Cottage Industries Emporium, a rambling six-storey government shop where you can buy anything from a 12ft ornamental elephant god to a packet of Darjeeling tea. Prices are clearly displayed and fixed. This is a good place to buy gifts for friends at home.
Pondichery – Pondichery was a French colony and the French influence shows clearly. The entire town is divided into 2 sections, the French Quarter or ‘White town’and the Indian quarter or ‘Black Town’ Many streets still retain their French names and French style villas are a common sight here. The city has such a laid back attitude, nobody seems to be in a hurry to do anything or go anywhere. For sun-bathing, swimming or merely strolling, Pondichery’s beach and the 1 1/2 km-long promenade alongside, are the most delightful parts of the city. Pondichery Museum is a treasure-house of antiques. Besides a section on French India with rooms done in typical French style, the museum devotes sections to Archaeology, Geology, Sculpture, Bronzes, Arms, Print, Handicraft and Art. The botanical garden preserves a large variety of exotic species of plants. Auroville (the city of dawn) is where 2000 people hailing from 30 different countries are living up to their dream of a united human race. The charter of Auroville is ringingly postnationalist: “Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. “
Shopping: The Auroville and Ashram handmade paper factory have popularized the use of handmade paper. These papers have their own beauty of different textures. Pondichery has excellent ceramic artists. Most of their work is in tableware and decor. Various studios have evolved distinctive styles, such as “Golden Bridge” and “Rhinestone Art” which are both contemporary and Pondicherrian.
Shimla ( Himachal Pradesh) -The Ridge is the center of Shimla’s cultural and social life – an excellent place to view the surrounding mountains. Jakhu Temple, Jakhu Hill. Open every day. Offers spectacular views of the mountains from its location above the town. According to the epic Ramayana, the monkey god Hanuman rested here during his journey to the Himalayan mountains. State Museum is Housed in a reconstructed Raj-style building, the State Museum displays a collection of around 10, 000 artifacts gathered from all over Himachal Pradesh. You can take a leisurely walk at the Mall – this 7km thoroughfare is famous for its Victorian Architecture, and retains much of its Raj-era charm. English author Rudyard Kipling spent his childhood in Shimla.
Shopping: Shimla is famous for exclusively designed Kinnauri shawls, Himachali Caps and traditional local wooden handicrafts. I bought a beautifully crafted walking cane for my grand mother from Lakkar Bazar adjacent to Ridge.
Other places: North India
Kasmir: Srinagar, Gulmarg, Sonmarg
Uttarpradesh: Nainital, dalhuji, dehradun, mansoori
Rajasthan: Pushkar, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Mount Abu Himachal
Pradesh: Chamba, Kangra
Gujrat: Ahmedabad, Sabermati, Champaner
Maharashtra: Mumbai, Elephanta, Ajanta and Ellora caves
Tamilnadu: Chennai, Tanjavur, Mahabalipuram, Ootty
Kerela: Allapuzha, trivendrum, kochi
Karnatka: Bangalore, HAMPI, Golkunda
Andhrapradesh: Tirupati, Hyderabad, Guntur
West Bengal: Kolkata, Darjeeling, Kalimpong