Want to see a more cosmopolitan side of India? Head to the energetic, coastal city of Mumbai—home to ultra-wealthy entrepreneurs and the hottest Bollywood actors. Tourists are never far from five-star hotels or gourmet restaurants in this luxe city. And even if those activities are out of budget, a cruise down the beloved Marine Drive will make you feel like royalty as you catch a glimpse of the scenic coast and glamorous Art Deco buildings.
You can also see a more authentic, local side of Mumbai in the bustling “Thieves Market” or at the Churchgate railway station, where hundreds of thousands of homemade lunches are packed up for delivery to the city’s office workers every day.
Make sure you devote a day to checking out Sanjay Gandhi National Park and exploring the 2,000-year-old Kanheri Cave carvings.
Translated to “Land of Kings,” Rajasthan brims with remnants of the kings and queens of past centuries. Between its glittering palaces, stately forts, and lively festivals, this western state deserves a starring role in your trip to India.
Jaipur, part of the Golden Triangle Tourist Circuit, which also includes Agra and New Delhi, is one of the top places to visit in Rajasthan. Dubbed “The Paris of India,” it’s known for its characteristic pink buildings, lavish City Palace, and jewelry stores galore.
The “Blue City,” Jodhpur, offers tourists an equally unforgettable experience in its hilltop Mehrangarh Fort.
Udaipur oozes romance with its flower-lined streets and fantastic City Palace Complex, where the royal family still lives today.
One of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, Varanasi is arguably the holiest place in India. The spiritual activities take place along the sacred Ganges River, where pilgrims bathe and mourners cremate recently deceased relatives in plain view of passersby.
Tourists, on the other hand, find their own flavor of spiritualism taking sunrise boat rides, releasing floral blessings that float on the river, and watching the fire-filled Hindu chanting ceremonies from the steep ghats