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The 10 best places to visit in India

Close-up of a boatman holding oars on the Ganga River at night, Varanasi, India

India’s array of world-class sights and experiences is astonishing – and overwhelming.

Mughal palaces, sacred Hindu temples, lost Indian kingdoms and British imperial remnants all jostle for attention in a land that ranges from Himalayan peaks to Indian Ocean beaches. It’s hard to think of another country with such a diversity of sights and landscapes. So where do you start?

Subcontinent-sized India is a huge place, so the best advice for any traveler might be to focus on one region rather than try to cover the entire country in a single, exhausting trip. Wherever you go, you are guaranteed a mind-spinning and exhilarating daily blast of color and chaos alongside soul-soaring splendor and earth-shaking history. Equal parts magic and mayhem, this mix is what makes traveling to India such an intense and addictive experience.

While this was no easy list to compile, we’re proud to present our picks of the 10 best places to visit in India.

1. Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Best for romantics and fans of Mughal history

At the top of everyone’s bucket list, the Taj Mahal is every bit as fantastic as you imagine. The views of the world’s most beautiful building framed in a Central Asian-style portal or floating above the misty Yamuna River will be a defining moment of any trip to India (or anywhere in the world, for that matter).

But there’s more to the former Mughal capital than the Taj. Add on a couple of days and visit the architecturally stunning tomb of Emperor Akbar, his rose-red sandstone former capital at Fatehpur Sikri and the sprawling Agra Fort, one of India’s most epic.

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An evening excursion on the sacred Ganges in Varanasi will broaden your horizons © De Visu / Shutterstock

2. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Best for spiritual seekers and lovers of the intense

There are few places as beguiling, challenging and potentially perspective-changing as the sacred Hindu city of Varanasi. Millennia-old death rituals play out daily at the string of burning cremation ghats that line the bank of the sacred Ganges, while the bewildering maze of nearby old-town alleys reveals further dizzying surprises at every turn.

This is one place where you are guaranteed to come face to face with the hard-edged realities of life and death. Take a deep breath, join the yogis – and throw yourself in at the deep end. 

3. Mumbai, Maharashtra

Best for…

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