Every adventurous traveler should visit India at least once in their lifetime and when they do, they need a bucket list! This awe-inspiring destination has something for everyone. Don’t be put off by the stories about India being crowded, stinky and intimidating. Sure, it is all of those things on occasion but so much more besides. There are so many awesome things to do in India that we’ve decided to narrow it down to what we consider to be the ultimate things to do; worthy of being on your India Bucket List anyway!
Here’s our pick of the top 10 India Bucket List experiences
Golden Temple, Amritsar
The shimmering Golden Temple is also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib and is in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. It’s the holiest Gurdwara and the most important pilgrimage site of Sikhism. An endless stream of pilgrims arrive here daily. While here visit the Langar Hall which is the community dining hall and typically feeds up to 100,000 people per day. All visitors, Indians and tourists are able to enjoy a free meal here.
Kick back and experience rural India on a Kerala houseboat river cruise. Kerala is most famous with travelers for it’s houseboats and there is no better way to slip into the laidback rural Indian way than by gliding down the river taking in the sights of villagers going about their day. Stop off in Kerala’s cutest city or Cochin as the locals like to call it and watch the Chinese fishing nets get cast early in the morning.
Read more: Kooky Places To Stay In Kerala South India
The Taj Mahal, Agra
Nearly 4 million tourists arrive at the Taj Mahal every year, and it’s the most famous and visited attraction in India. Built between 1632-1653 in honor of Mumtaz Mahal who the wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal is one of the Wonders of the World and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Blue City, Jodphur
Blue is the signature color in Jodhpur and it’s everywhere you go making this place a photographer’s dream. This ancient city also known as the Blue City is famous for its 6 miles of beautifully pigmented azure and indigo buildings that run along the historic walls of the Old Town. The 15th century Mehrangarh Fort offers a great view of this ‘Blue City’. Other amazing things to see in Jodphur include Jaswant Thada (the royal tombs) and the Umaid Bhawan Palace.
If you can survive more than a few days here you should give yourself a pat on the back. Varanasi is possibly the most intense place to visit in India. Witness open cremations on the banks of the river Ganges and get lost in the narrow suffocating lanes. Do yoga or just observe the religious ceremonies and everyday chaos. Whatever you do, a visit to this 3800 year old city will never be forgotten.
The Beaches in Goa
I’ve written a lot about Goa and I’m a huge fan of the beaches too. The most popular spots to visit in Goa are the many beaches, particularly those in North Goa. Anjuna, Baga and Calungute draw the largest number of tourists. Low-key Palolem Beach is my favorite as it offers an affordable mix of beach huts in a cosy village setting. White sand, palm trees and perfect calm water to swim in make this a must visit slice of paradise in India.
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Ride a camel into the Thar Desert
Do a 2-3 day camel safari and sleep out under the stars when in Jaisalmer. A place worth visiting anyway for the oldest still-inhabited fort in the world, the camel safari is just the icing on the cake. Riding a camel in the Rajasthan desert is one of the most memorable things you can do In India. There is nothing quite like being perched between the gentle rocking of a camel’s humps.
This is one of the most impressive temples in India made with the carvings of several thousand Indian artists. Inside you’ll get to learn about the story of Hinduism from the pillars to the walls to the domed ceilings high above, in intricate drawings and adornments.
Catch a train
Sounds so simple but train travel will actually be one of the most memorable things you can do here and should definitely be on your India Bucket List. No train journey is ever the same and each carriage is a microcosm of India – chaotic, noisy, stinky (depending on your ticket class) and exhilarating. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Tamil Nadu is a steam locomotive railway that passes through 26 miles of land over about nine hours. Travel over 250 bridges and experience the steepest train track in Asia.
Finally, find inner peace in India
India is a spiritual supermarket with so many different religions and customs. Why not use a trip to the holy land as an opportunity to ‘find yourself’. Do this by staying in one of the hundreds of Ashrams dotted about India. Or dip your toes into the Ganges while in Varanasi or in front of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Your options for spiritual enlightenment are endless. Let the Sadhus in India lead the way (if you dare!).
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There is so much more to see and experience in this amazing country so creating an awesome India Bucket List is actually super easy. Plan ahead so that you can take your time exploring and be prepared to be flexible because sometimes travelers you meet along the way will have the best suggestions for undiscovered gems and awesome things to to do.
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