When it comes to the most fascinating mix of sights, sounds, smells and culture, few nations do it better than India. This breath-taking country is an assault on all the senses at once, in the most appealing and captivating of ways – so it’s little wonder it is one of the most visited countries worldwide, attracting some 14.6 million tourists each and every year.
Although travel to India is of course limited at the moment due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there’s no reason you can’t start planning ahead, and with hundreds of enchanting places to visit and limitless things to see and do, working out an itinerary is certain to take some time. With numerous cities to choose from, each offering its own brand of Indian charm and allure, knowing where to start can feel overwhelming – but these five cities offer a great mix of all the country has to offer.
When you’re feeling suitably inspired, check out the Air blue ticket price for your destination and get planning for 2022 – because this is one luxury trip to get excited about.
New Delhi is the capital city of India and is a vast and lively city, with a population of more than 26 million people living within its metropolitan area alone. It is impossible to see the whole of the city in just a few days, so if you’re short on time then it’s best to choose a few key sights you’re interested in visiting and then plan an itinerary around them to ensure you don’t miss them. Find more inspiration on the very best monuments and restaurants that New Delhi has to offer here.
One of the most famous spots in New Delhi is the Red Fort, which we suggest visiting in the late afternoon because the view you get of the outside at sunset is simply a treasure you’ll never forget. As the sun slowly descends, its rays hit the red stone of the fort to create a beautiful visual effect. A second must-see place is Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India. Surrounding the building there also is a folkloristic Indian bazar that is worth exploring for a fully immersive experience of India’s colours, sounds and scents.
Also known as Calcutta, Kolkata is the capital of West Bengal state. With a population of over four million people, it is the third biggest city in India and one of the richest, too.
In Kolkata, you can find what many people dub ‘the true India’ and, it’s an especially appreciated city due to the fascinating buildings that line its streets and the friendly people that live here, who will go out of the way to make you feel welcome and share tips and information to help you get the most out of your trip. Most visitors love exploring the area around Maidan Park, which is home to the iconic Fort William, Shaheed Minar and the Victoria Memorial Hall. Other sites not to miss are the neighbourhood of Chowringhee and the National Museum – the perfect place to learn about the history and culture of India.
Mumbai is the second biggest city in India, and with a population of over 12 million people living in an area of only 600 square kilometres, it is also the most densely-populated city in the world (21,000/km2). Not only that, but Mumbai is also the financial capital city of the country, and is a beautiful mix of various cultures and colours, with exquisite restaurants, fantastic hotels, amazing western gothic buildings and the famous arch-monument Gateway of India.
Also known as ‘the Jewel of Punjab’, Amritsar is the second biggest city of Punjab and home to the astonishing Golden Temple, a 400-year-old building that is the main pilgrimage destination for millions of Sikhs making the journey across India, and from elsewhere in the world. Interestingly, a second temple that is very similar to this is also located in the city, but the Durgiana Temple or Durgiana Mandir, as it’s known, is a Hindu temple.
Not far from New Delhi, Agra is one of the most beautiful cities in India and the former capital of the Moghul Empire. Located in Uttar Pradesh, it is home to the world-famous Taj Mahal, a Muslim mausoleum that emperor Shah Jahan had built-in memory of his favourite wife – and a must-visit site for any first-timers in India. Set on the banks of the iconic River Yamuna, the small city of Fatephuri Sikiri – which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is also located here, so if you’re looking for some spectacular photos and an all-round breath-taking experience then Agra should be at the top of your travel list.