A country of incredible diversity, India is a destination that will ignite your curiosity. From the artistic heritage and ancient traditions to the culinary creations and extraordinary landscapes, every aspect of this country will delight the traveler’s sensibilities. The dramatic terrain is matched only by magnificent historic and cultural architecture, fortresses overlooking ravines, temples exquisitely rising out of flat deserts, and monasteries nestled among the mountains. One moment you could be in a vibrant, colorful, cosmopolitan city, and the next you could find yourself in a quaint hill station surrounded by animal sanctuaries. Photo: truba71/Fotolia



Mumbai, the “City of Dreams,” is the largest city in India, known for its fast-paced lifestyle, extreme standards of living, and the making or breaking of dreams. It’s the country’s financial capital as well as the home of the Bollywood film industry. This cosmopolitan city is extremely diverse, offering a little something for everyone to enjoy. Mumbai has an energetic nightlife with several live music venues, unforgettable bars, and low-key traveler hangouts as well as a bustling shopping scene due to its large malls and eclectic markets like the fascinating Chor Bazaar Thieves Market. Its prominent attractions include the Elephanta Caves, Haji Ali, Banganga Tank, Heritage Buildings, and the Gateway of India. Address: Opp. Reserve Bank of India, RBI Staff Colony, Mumbai Central, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400008, India, Phone: +91-22-23-80-22-02 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: saiko3p/Fotolia

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Situated at the Yamuna River’s edge, Agra once served as the magnificent capital of the famous Mughal Empire at the height of its power. Today, it’s best known for its architectural love letter – the Taj Mahal, one of the New Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While this is the main draw for many visitors to Agra, it is by no means the only amazing attraction within the city. Agra is filled with palaces, gardens, temples, mosques, tombs, parks, lakes, and forts, including the vast Agra Fort, which once served as the stronghold of the Mughal capital. This city is also an ideal destination for shopping enthusiasts and foodies. Address: No 64, Taj Road, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001, India, Phone: +91-56-22-22-64-31 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: frenta/Fotolia

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Alappuzha, or the “Venice of the East” as many refer to it, is a region containing boundless natural beauty. With the Arabian Sea to the west and a collection of lagoons, freshwater rivers, and lakes crisscrossing it, Alappuzha is home to a variety of dynamic animal and avian life. This backwater country is known for its beaches, boat races, coir industry, and marine products. Vembanad, India’s second largest lagoon; Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple, a 13th century Hindu temple and monastery dedicated to Lord Krishna; and Krishnapuram Palace, an 18th century Kerala-style king’s palace are among the attractions. The palace features a museum exhibiting historical artifacts. Address: Boat Jet Road, Near KSRTC Bus Station, Alappuzha, Kerala 688011, India, Phone: +91-47-72-25-17-96 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: byheaven/Fotolia

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Located in the southern state of Karnataka, which serves as a gateway to Mysore, Kerala, Ooty, and Coorg, is the city of Bangalore. The “Silicon Valley” of India, it is where Indian history and corporate culture intertwine, offering tourists an eclectic array of attractions and discoveries. It presents a hodgepodge of entertainment hubs, wildlife parks, historical edifices, pilgrimage sites, and shopping malls. Some of its top attractions include Bangalore Palace, the Venkatappa Art Gallery and Government Museum, Lumbini Gardens, Bangerghata National Park, Ulsoor Lake, the ISCKON Temple, and the Bull Temple. Lalbagh Botanical Garden, the extraordinary Shivanasamudra Falls, and the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium are also worth a visit. Address: Raja Seat Road, Madikeri, Karnataka 571201, India, Phone: +91-98-86-66-27-72 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: saiko3p/Fotolia

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Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu and is one of four cosmopolitan cities of India along with New Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata. While it’s a visibly westernized city with sparkling boutiques, luxury hotels, swanky clubs, quirky cafes, and smart contemporary restaurants, Chennai is still teeming with old culture and remains deeply rooted in tradition, and the San Thome Cathedral, Kapalleshwarar Temple, Government Museum, and Fort St. George are all excellent examples of its history. Chennai is also home to several natural attractions, such as Sri Ramakrishna Math, a tranquil, flowery oasis; the Theosophical Society; and Marina Beach, a nearly 2-mile stretch of beach featuring fish markets, fortunetellers, and cricket matches. Address: Williams Road, Melapudur, Cantonment, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu 620001, India, Phone: +91-43-12-46-01-36 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: M.V. Photography/Fotolia

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Located in Karnataka, 3,500 feet above sea level, Coorg is a hill station famous for its tea and coffee plantations. It is often referred to as the “Scotland of India” as well as the “Kashmir to the South” due to its cool climate and ethereal beauty. With its hilly terrain and deep valleys, it’s no surprise that the town’s most sought-after attractions are natural areas such as Tadiandamol, the highest peak in Coorg, and the Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. One of the most popular places is Abbey Falls, situated in the middle of coffee plantations and spice estates. Visitors can witness the beauty of the Kaveri River as it cascades down the rocks that form the falls. Address: Raja Seat Road, Madikeri, Karnataka 571201, India, Phone: +91-98-86-66-27-72 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: Hiren Ranpara/Fotolia

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Dalhousie is one of Himachal Pradesh’s most prominent hill stations featuring an abundance of natural beauty and a cool climate. With an elevation of over 6,550 feet, Dalhousie is located in the Chamba District nestled at the Western end of the Dhauladhar Mountain Range. Visitors to this snow-capped mountain station will feel as though they’ve been transported back in time due to the Scottish architecture, Victorian-style mansions, quaint churches, and charming colonial buildings. Spanning an area of over 8 square miles, Dalhousie is framed by the Ravi River and includes five hills, Tehra, Kathlog, Patreyn, Bakrota, and Balun. Dainkund Peak, the Lohali village, Kalatop, and the Tibetan Market are among its top tourist spots. Address: Block No. 28, SDA complex, Kasumpti, Shimla 171009, India, Phone: +91-18-99-22-40-02 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: Mihir/Fotolia

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Located in Northeast India at an elevation of over 6,700 feet and spanning over 6 square miles, Darjeeling is a well-known hill station famous for its aromatic tea that shares the same name. Its numerous sprawling tea estates and the spectacular narrow-gauge Toy Train are among its top attractions. The latter is especially impressive. A marvel of the 1880s, it was created to overcome the curves and steep inclines of the mountains while providing a scenic railway through the hills. The abundant number of attractions featured in Darjeeling make it a top tourist destination. These include historic churches, Buddhist monasteries, temples, museums, gardens, parks, art galleries, and waterfalls. Address: Silver Fir Building, Bhanu Sarani, Darjeeling 734101, India, Phone: +91-35-42-25-48-79 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: happystock/Fotolia

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Delhi is a magnificent city where traveling through time seems like a reality. Visitors can hop aboard the city’s time machine (a smooth and economical metro) where they can travel from Old Delhi, where tradesmen haul sacks of spices, to the modern world of New Delhi, featuring colonial-era parliament buildings. With a population larger than Australia, it can oftentimes feel crowded and overwhelming, but within the relative chaos live beautiful moments, from Sufi devotional songs to an aging man threading temple marigolds. The city’s top attractions include the Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, the Qutb Minar Complex, Jama Masjid, and Mehrauli Archaeological Park. Address: 88 Janpath, New Delhi 110001, India, Phone: +91-11-23-32-03-42 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: Richie Chan/Fotolia

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Located in the picturesque valleys of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh, Dharamshala is perhaps best known as the home of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader who is currently ruling outside of the country due to imposed exile from China. This hill station is situated nearly 5,000 feet above sea level surrounded by snow-laden mountains, thick deodar cedar trees, and quaint old monasteries. It is known for its majestic beauty, peaceful people, and Buddhist culture, making it one of the most popular destinations in India. This station’s highlights include the headquarters of His Holiness the Dali Lama, St. John Church, and Dal Lake. Address: Block No. 28, SDA Complex, Kasumpti, Shimla 171009, India, Phone: +91-18-92-22-44-30 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: OlegD/Fotolia

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Goa is a quaint costal state in West India popular for its beaches and its trance parties. Its entire Western Coast lines the Arabian Sea, providing visitors with an uninterrupted string of golden sand beaches. Each beach has a distinct personality catering to every type of beach-goer, from the laidback vibe of Mandrem to the bold and energetic ambience of Baga, and everything in between. Goa is also known for its fusion of Portuguese and Indian cultures, seafood, and spirituality as well as outdoor and nature-focused activities. Kayak excursions, banana boat rides, bottom fishing, parasailing, watersport packages, hot air balloon rides, and dolphin safaris are just a few of the activities available here. Address: Communidade Building, Church Square, Panaji 403001, Goa, Phone: +91-83-22-22-34-12 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: lena_serditova/Fotolia

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Beautifully situated at the point where the Ganges emerges from the Himalayas in the district of Uttarakhand, Haridwar is one of the holiest Hindu cities in the country. It is a popular locale for pilgrims as they arrive en masse to bathe around Har Ki Pauri Ghat, a famous ghat on the banks of the rapidly flowing holy Ganges. At night, the river is alight with the glow of flickering flames as the pilgrims release floating offerings onto the Ganges. Most visitors travel to Haridwar due to its religious importance, to experience the complex culture of India, participate in various Hindu rituals, and explore this ancient civilization through the temples, ashrams, historic monuments, and ghats. Address: N H 121, Ramnagar, Uttarakhand 244715, India, Phone: +91-90-12-46-68-87 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: fabio lamanna/Fotolia

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Hyderabad is a more than 400-year-old city known as the “City of Pearls” and serves as the capital for both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It is known for its culture, history, heritage monuments, handcrafts, and dance. It is home to Tollywood, the Andhra Pradesh film industry. The city’s top attractions include Charminar, a 1591 mosque and historic monument, and Nehru Zoological Park, a lush, green 300-acre animal park with over 250 species of birds and animals. The Goloconda Fort, where the world-renowned Kohinoor diamond was discovered, and Srisailam, a pilgrimage town on the banks of the Krishna River, are also popular attractions. Address: Vanijya Towers, Road Number 5, Kukatpally Housing Board Colony, Kukatpally, Hyderabad, Telangana 500072, India, Phone: +91-40-23-05-20-28 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: SNEHIT/Fotolia

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Rajasthan’s capital, Jaipur is an historic and enthralling city serving as the gateway to the most flamboyant state in India. Its chaotic and colorful streets surge with an intoxicating brew of old and new. Visitors are just as likely to see motorbikes and careening buses as they will dawdling camels and cycle-rickshaws, providing a comforting blend of modern and traditional worlds. In the heart of the city sits the City Palace, which to this day serves as home for the former royal family and which welcomes visitors for tours. Additional attractions include the Royal Gaitor, Central Museum, Maharaja Sawai Mangsingh II Museum, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, and Nahargarh. Address: State Hotel, Khasa Kothi, Jaipur 302001, Rajasthan, India, Phone: +91-14-12-37-22-00 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: Pierre-Jean DURIEU/Fotolia

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Located in Rajasthan, Jaisalmer, or the “Golden City,” is an ancient city that was once the most famous part of the Silk Route from roughly 114 BC to the 1450s AD. Today, it still retains its medieval roots and charm through its opulent havelis (mansions), luxurious bazaars, colorful narrow streets, Rajasthan palaces, and splendid forts. The Jaisalmer Fort is by far the most popular attraction, the second oldest of its kind in Rajasthan. It’s a sight to behold, rising from the desert’s golden sands like a sunbeam. Additional highlights include Gassidar Lake, Vyas Chhatri, and the havelis Salim Singh ki, Patwon ki, and Nathmal ki. Address: State Hotel, Khasa Kothi, Jaipur 302001, Rajasthan, India, Phone: +91-14-12-37-22-00 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: jura_taranik/Fotolia

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The second largest city in Rajasthan is Jodhpur, the “Sun City.” It’s nestled in the depths of the tremendous Thar Desert. A contemporary city with medieval charm, it’s separated into two parts – the Old City and the New City. The former is sectioned off by a 6-mile wall that surrounds it and can be accessed via eight different gates, while the New City resides outside this wall. It’s a popular tourist spot due to its scenic landscape, sunny weather, and stunning historical and cultural attractions such as Jaswant Thada, Mehrangarth Fort, Rai ka Bag Palace, and Umaid Bhavan Palace as well as shopping at Mocha Bazaar, Sojati Gate, and Nai Sarak. Address: State Hotel, Khasa Kothi, Jaipur 302001, Rajasthan, India, Phone: +91-14-12-37-22-00 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: cuckoo_111/Fotolia

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The “City of Joy,” Kolkata, is the capital of West Bengal, a cultural epicenter that is both vibrant and intimate. The city features an eclectic mix of cultural, spiritual, and historical attractions such as the Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge, the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, and Belur Math. Mother Teresa’s Mother House is one of the most iconic attractions here. It houses the bedroom where she lived, her tomb, and a quaint museum displaying her life. Items displayed include handwritten letters, personal belongings, and spiritual exhortations. This is also a prominent trading hub, making an excellent destination for shoppers thanks to places like the New Market, Mullik Ghat Flower Market, Old Chinatown, and Kumartuli. Address: Embassy, 4 Shakespeare Sarani, Kolkata 700071, West Bengal, India, Phone: +91-33-22-82-14-02 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: deyroop/Fotolia

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Ladakh, affectionately known as the “Land of High Passes,” is a desolate yet magnificently beautifully region in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. Situated between the Himalayas to the south and the Kunlun Mountains to the north, Ladakh is known for its rugged terrain, majestic mountains, and scenic beauty. Its remoteness makes it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiast, naturalists, and especially mountaineers. The city also has several culturally and historically important attractions, such as the Thiksey Monastery, Matho Nagrang, Alchi Monastery, and Khardung La, the highest drivable road in the world with an elevation of 18,379 feet. Address: Changspa, Opp. Eagle Guest House, Leh – Ladakh 194101, India, Phone: +91-94-19-17-77-45 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: f9photos/Fotolia

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Located in Tamil Nadu, Madurai is a pilgrim town nestled along the banks of the Vaigai River. The former capital city of the Pandyn dynasty, it is a cultural hotspot and a popular tourist destination known for its architecture, cuisine, people, and shopping. Its most famous attraction is the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, a historic Hindu temple dedicated to Parvati. Thirumalai Nayak Mahal, considered a wonder of South India, and the Vandiyur Mariamman Temple are also worth a visit. The most prominent shopping areas in the city are Town Hall Road, East Masi Street, and South Avani Moola, which sell everything from hand-woven silk and batik textiles to bronze images and stone carvings. Address: 154, Anna Salai, Chennai 600002, Tamil Nadu, India, Phone: +91-44-28-46-14-59 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: Rafal Cichawa/Fotolia

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Manali is a popular hill station located a little over 6,200 feet above sea level in the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh. A stunning natural oasis, it’s surrounded by woody forests, majestic hills, snow-covered roads, and flowering apple trees. The sparkling River Beas is perhaps its most notable feature as its powerful waters flow right through the town, creating an enthralling scene. Its activities and attractions are just as diverse as its landscape, with everything from adventure sports to cultural and historic sites. Visitors can paraglide at Solang Valley, ski through the Rothang Pass, trek along the Beas Kund, and visit the remote snow-topped Hadimba Temple, among many other incredible sites. Address: Rohtang Road Tibetan Colony, Manali, Himachal Pradesh 175131, India, Phone: +91-86-28-82-83-61 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: Witthawas/Fotolia

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Munnar is a gorgeous hill station located roughly 5,200 feet above sea level in the district of Idukku in the southwest state of Kerala. Its pristine beauty and cool climate make it one of the most sought-after tourist destinations. Rolling hills wrapped in mist, enchanting waterfalls, a virgin forest, and its scenic valley create an ethereal setting calling to nature and wildlife lovers. It is the home of several wildlife sanctuaries, including the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Eravikulam National Park, Rajamala Wildlife Sanctuary and the Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary. Adventure seekers will also find an array of activities to suit them, such as trekking, cycling, rappelling, rock climbing, boating, and rafting. Address: Kochi – Madurai – Dhanushkodi Road, Moolakadai, Munnar, Kerala 685612, India, Phone: +91-48-65-23-15-16 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: Alexander/Fotolia

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The capital city of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is one of India’s most popular hill stations and is situated at an elevation of over 7,200 feet, surrounded by deodar, pine, and oak forests. It’s easy to reach, provides well-developed amenities, and boasts numerous attractions. Shimla is an excellent base location for those who want to enjoy outdoor recreational activities such as trekking through its surrounding hills, fishing at Tattapani, and skiing at Narkanda and Kufri. Local attractions include the Himachal State Museum, Jakoo Temple, and Mall Road, a legendary shopping market. Shimla’s most prominent attraction is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Kalka-Shimla Railway, where visitors can hop aboard a train. Address: Block No. 28, SDA Complex, Kasumpti, Shimla 171009, Phone: +91-17-72-62-59-39 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: saiko3p/Fotolia

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Nestled in the Himalayas in the state of Himachal Pradesh, Spiti is one of the country’s most remote cities. Often referred to as Little Tibet, it’s surrounded by mountains, villages, glaciers, charming old monasteries, and crystal-clear streams and rivers. Visitors to this area are often struck by its similarities to Tibet, with monks in their traditional robes as well as prayer flags fluttering in the wind. Nature-focused activities are popular here, such as trekking popular trails like Parang-La, Pin-Parvati, and Pin-Bhaba; river rafting down the Spin River; and taking Jeep safaris. The Key Monastery, Udaipur of Himachal, and the Lhalung Monastery are three of Spiti’s most prominent sights. Address: Block No. 28, SDA Complex, Kasumpti, Shimla 171009, Phone: +91-17-72-62-59-39 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: kiwisoul/Fotolia

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Udaipur is located in southwest Rajasthan, situated at the foot of the Aravali Mountain Range. Once the historical capital of the Mewar Kingdom, Udaipur is known as the “City of Lakes” due to its collection of pristine and beautiful lakes. These include Udai Sagar, Swaroop Sagar, Fateh Sagar Lake, and Lake Pichola, which has four islands, Jag Mandir, Arsi Vilas, Mohan Mandir, and Jag Niwas. The latter is the home of the Lake Palace, which is now a heritage hotel. The city is also filled with various temples and palaces, such as the City Palace of Udaipur, Sajjangarh Palace, Ranakpur, and Eklingji Temple. Address: State Hotel, Khasa Kothi, Jaipur 302001, Rajasthan, India, Phone: +91-14-12-37-22-00 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: Boris Stroujko/Fotolia

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One of the oldest cities in the world to be continuously inhabited, Varanasi is located on the banks of the Ganges River, which is famous for its bathing ghats in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is one of India’s most revered religious destinations, receiving its name from a combination of the two rivers that converge here – Varuna and Assi. Varanasi has long been synonymous with the Ganges River, which pilgrims use for taking a holy dip to wash away their sins. For a truly breathtaking scene, visitors are encouraged to visit Dasashwamedha Ghat in the evenings for the nightly Ganga Aarti. Additional holy sites include Kashi Vishwanath Temple, a manifestation of Lord Shiva, and the Assi Ghat. Address: 15-B, The Mall Varanasi 221002, Uttar Pradesh, Phone: +91-54-22-50-17-84 25 Best Places to Visit in India - Photo: deyroop/Fotolia

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25 Best Places to Visit in India

  • Mumbai, Photo: Courtesy of saiko3p - Fotolia.com
  • Agra, Photo: Courtesy of frenta - Fotolia.com
  • Alappuzha, Photo: Courtesy of byheaven - Fotolia.com
  • Bangalore, Photo: Courtesy of saiko3p - Fotolia.com
  • Chennai, Photo: Courtesy of M.V. Photography - Fotolia.com
  • Coorg, Photo: Courtesy of Hiren Ranpara - Fotolia.com
  • Dalhousie, Photo: Courtesy of Mihir - Fotolia.com
  • Darjeeling, Photo: Courtesy of happystock - Fotolia.com
  • Delhi, Photo: Courtesy of Richie Chan - Fotolia.com
  • Dharamshala, Photo: Courtesy of OlegD - Fotolia.com
  • Goa, Photo: Courtesy of lena_serditova - Fotolia.com
  • Haridwar, Photo: Courtesy of fabio lamanna - Fotolia.com
  • Hyderabad, Photo: Courtesy of SNEHIT - Fotolia.com
  • Jaipur, Photo: Courtesy of Pierre-Jean DURIEU - Fotolia.com
  • Jaisalmer, Photo: Courtesy of jura_taranik - Fotolia.com
  • Jodhpur, Photo: Courtesy of cuckoo_111 - Fotolia.com
  • Kolkata, Photo: Courtesy of deyroop - Fotolia.com
  • Ladakh, Photo: Courtesy of f9photos - Fotolia.com
  • Madurai, Photo: Courtesy of Rafal Cichawa - Fotolia.com
  • Manali, Photo: Courtesy of Witthawas - Fotolia.com
  • Munnar, Photo: Courtesy of Alexander - Fotolia.com
  • Shimla, Photo: Courtesy of saiko3p - Fotolia.com
  • Spiti, Photo: Courtesy of kiwisoul - Fotolia.com
  • Udaipur, Photo: Courtesy of Boris Stroujko - Fotolia.com
  • Varanasi, Photo: Courtesy of deyroop - Fotolia.com
  • Cover Photo: Courtesy of truba71 - Fotolia.com