India is the world’s seventh-largest country stretching from the high mountains of the Himalayas to the tropical greenery of Kerala, and from the sacred Ganges to the sands of the Thar desert. Its more than one billion inhabitants are divided into two thousand ethnic groups and speak over 200 different languages.
Conform its size and population, India has an almost endless variety of cultures, landscapes, monuments and places to explore. From the ancient ruins, fascinating religious structures, exotic cities and diverse landscape there is an endless collection of tourist attractions in India that will never cease to awe and fascinate the visitor.
1 – Taj Mahal, Agra Overview
One of the seven wonders of the world, Taj Mahal is located on the banks of River Yamuna in Agra. It was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. Constructed entirely out of white marble in the 17th century, Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful monuments in the world. Every year visitors numbering more than the entire population of Agra pass through the magnificent gates to catch a glimpse of this breathtaking monument!
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Taj Mahal stands for the Crown of Palaces in the Persian language. The tomb is laid out in a rectangular shape and can be approached through a massive gateway which has an arch and alcoves on either side of it. There are water channels and fountains in the entrance which makes the monument even more spectacular. The reflection of this majestic spectacle in the Yamuna is almost poetic in its perfection!
Covering an area of approximately 42 Acres, the construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1631 and it took 17 years before it was completed in 1648! It was constructed using white marble obtained from Makrana in Rajasthan.
2 – Havelock Island
Ecotourism is encouraged at Havelock Island, the largest island in Ritchie’s Archipelago in the Andaman Islands. Though not as crowded as other islands in Asia, the number of visitors to Havelock Island is on the rise due to its great beaches, casual atmosphere, snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. The best time to visit is mid-January to mid-May, when the weather is sunny with calmer seas. Redhanagar Beach is considered one of the best beaches in Asia.
3 – Dharamsala
Dharamsala is the home away from home for the Dalai Lama who came here in 1959 after escaping from Tibet. The city also is the home to the Tibetan government in exile. Dharamsala means a spiritual dwelling or place for pilgrims to rest, which is appropriate since so many Tibetans live here. With advance planning, it may be possible to attend one of the Dalai Lamas public teaching sessions. Dharamsala is popular with hiking enthusiasts and travelers interested in yoga and Indian cooking lessons.