Whether you are looking for great sights, great food, great architecture or just a great vacation, India will never disappoint. India is a land so diverse and so rich in everything, it can boggle your mind. In 2017, India was visited by 10 million travellers. This number is expected to grow more and more with time.
While the number might be a little daunting, once you learn about the place, you will understand why this has been the case. India is a large country and every nook and corner of it is filled with sights to see and activities to do.
This is the reason why you see so many people flock to the country year after year. India offers so much, it will leave you wanting to go back time and again.
And while there are thousands of things that one can look forward to doing, below is a list of the top 20 things to do in India.
1. Beautiful Diversity
India is a goldmine of multiple cultures and heritages. There are so many small Indian cities with their own unique characteristics and cultures that it’s hard to keep count. Not more than 200 years ago, India was a high amount of princely states together.
With Mughal, British and Anglo-Indian influences creating cultural echo-chambers in various parts of the country. With cities like Lucknow, Kanpur, Amritsar, etc. having their own signature specialities, there’s always something new to find in the veins of India.
2. Devour rich cuisines
Even if you are not a foodie, India will turn you into one. Full of rich, delicious cuisine, you will never be running out of options. The sheer variety might leave you confused but the taste makes up for it. You can choose to chow on spicy, tangy street food in Delhi or dine like kings at Choki Dhaani, but the fact of the matter remains that India is a country of exquisite food of all kinds and no matter what your palette, you will find things you will love. You just have to make sure you try.
3. Cook up a storm
If your interests lie more inside the kitchen than outside, then India has quite the surprise in store for you. Every nook and corner of India has a speciality cuisine, all of which you can learn. There are several short-duration cooking classes that you can join if you are in India or even ask locals to help you cook a little bit of Indian cuisine.
Also, since Indian cuisine does not refer to just one type of food, you can learn about any cuisine you find yourself inclined towards, whether that is tangy spicy north Indian food or the slightly sweet Gujarati food, etc. Your friends and family back home are going to be really impressed with the cooking skills you pick up while in India.
4. Lose yourself in Yoga
India is the home of yoga and there is no better place to start your yoga journey or to hone your yoga skills at than India. Choose from a plethora of yoga schools, styles, and teachings. Whichever route you may take, yoga is bound to unite your mind, body, and soul and bring your life to a balance it needs.
Practicing and forming a habit of doing yoga will stay with you long after you have returned home. Use yoga to centre yourself and lead a more meaningful and mindful life.
5. Awaken your spirituality
Spirituality is deeply embedded into India’s culture and defines the country to quite an extent. As the quest for spirituality grows, more and more people are fleeing to India to find a connection with themselves and a higher power. There are several theories, schools of thoughts and philosophies you can study in India.
Indian spirituality when studied and applied right can teach you valuable lessons which might be lost on you while you are stuck in the rat race of life. Use your time in India to know and awaken your spiritual self and go back home happier, calmer and wiser.
6. Marvel at India’s architecture
All through the country, you can enjoy architecture marvels which will leave you wanting for more. Some popular, must-be-seen Indian architecture spots are the Taj Mahal, the Lotus temple, Amer fort, Ajanta Ellora caves, etc.
Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world in the modern era and attracts about 3 million tourists every year. Indian architecture is a combination of ancient architecture with multiple native traditions. It is spread throughout the country and so you can enjoy Indian architecture pretty much any region of India you are in.
7. Please the Adventure junkie in you
If adventure is what gets you going then you will never run out of options during your trip to India. India is the perfect destination for some adventure junkies owing to its towering peaks, beautiful rivers, and some challenging terrains.
Some adventure options of India include Rafting, Waterfall Rappelling, Skydiving, Hot Air Ballooning, Caving, Snorkelling, Trekking, Cliff jumping, paragliding, angling, etc. India’s breathtaking topography ensure that you indulge in some of the best, most fun adventure activities on your trip.
8. Get lost in the history and heritage of India
India is one of the oldest civilizations of the world and with that territory comes heritage and history that is deep. Visiting these historical and heritage sites are a must if you are in India. Some of these include Qutub Minar, Konarak Sun temple, Jaisalmer Fort, etc. All these monuments are not just great to look at but also have a story (millions of years old) attached to these, stories which you won’t want to miss.
9. Spend your time in the lap of luxury
If a luxurious vacation is on the agenda, India has a plethora of options. There is a long list of opulent resorts and hotels which you would love to stay at. Some other luxurious vacation moments include having a private dinner at the Mehrangarh fort which won’t just give you one of your best dinner memories but also fantastic views of the city.
You can also feel like royalty by choosing to participate in private polo matches in places like Delhi and Jaipur. Another interesting way of experiencing the best of India’s luxury is by travelling from Delhi to Mumbai in the Maharajas Express train, which is India’s most luxurious sleeper train where you can expect everything from a live TV to a minibar and delectable meals (customized for you).
10. Make friends with the local tribal people
India has one of the largest tribal populations in the world. Meeting and interacting with these tribal people makes for some unforgettable moments and experiences and is highly recommended. Tribal peoples’ lives are deeply embedded in nature and they remain untouched and unaffected by the problems and stresses of the modern world and there is a lot one can learn from these people.
Contrary to popular belief, tribals are not hostile people but are welcoming until the time their community is safe and unaffected. Odisha, Chattisgarh, North East India, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra have some tribal communities you can visit (and sometimes live with). It is important to respect their traditions and cultures while paying them a visit. There are multiple organized tours you can take for such an activity.
11. Experience festivals like a local
Indians love to celebrate and so they have a lot of festivals all year round. One of the top things to do in India is not just to witness these festivals but become a part of them. Tours and travel companies can create your trip or vacation around these festival dates so you can experience India and its culture in all its glory.
Some of the biggest Indian festivals you should try and be a part of our Diwali (the festival of lights and crackers), Holi (the festival of colours), Navratri (extremely popular in Gujarat and a period of high activity and buzz), etc. Visiting the country during a festival will bring you close to the roots of India and you will experience true Indian culture.
12. Shop till you drop
India is a shopper’s paradise. There are some things that are made best in India and you should definitely stock up on these while on your trip. Get your hands on big, beautiful ornate jewellery. Lose yourself in the wide variety of all types of tea.
Splurge on pashmina shawls for yourself or your friends back home. Go back home with a huge collection of spices you will not find anywhere else in the world. And last but not least, handcrafted arts and crafts are best made in India.
13. The chaos of the cities
The world’s second most populated country, combined with the most diverse cultural background, you’ve got yourself chaos that if you experience once will leave you wanting for more. With buzzing streets full of colours and heavenly aromas, every corner becomes chaos to cherish. This rush becomes even more apparent during festivals like Holi and Diwali.
14. Stop and smell the roses in a calm countryside
If the buzzing chaotic streets aren’t your cup of tea then reaching the calm countryside might just do the trick for you. Fresh air, no noise, and away from the dusty and polluted cities. The Indian countrysides are a delight for the cosmopolitan citizen. The simple countryside lifestyle juxtaposed with scenic landscapes ranging from the tea plantation hills in Ooty to the beachside villages in Tamil Nadu.
15. Have a rendezvous with the wildlife
India is a goldmine for wildlife. India is full of rich and diverse wildlife which often attracts tourists, especially nature lovers, from all over the world. Almost every part of India has national parks which offer safaris and stays so you can see and interact with the wildlife (within reason, of course) like you never have before. A great example is the Ranthambore National Park wildlife safari in Rajasthan. It is well known for its Tiger trails and bird watching tours. You could even enjoy a trip in a hot air balloon which will give you enthralling views of the park.
16. Take a hike in the Himalayas
For the nature lover in you, there is nothing better than a hike in the Himalayas. Himalayan mountain range, of course, is huge and so there are multiple options available to you for hiking. Also, you can pick and choose from a long list of treks depending on the level of complexity and difficulty you want to go for. An easy trek for beginners is Kareri Lake trek.
For the more experienced trekker, Chadar trek is a popular choice. Whatever your preference may be, time spent trekking the Himalayas is time well spent. The snow-capped mountains, the fresh mountain air, and the gorgeous views cannot and should not be missed.
17. Get a taste of Indian Cinema
The Indian cinema industry comprises of Bollywood (Hindi cinema industry), Pollywood (Punjabi cinema industry), Kollywood (Tamil cinema industry) and more such regional cinema industries. Indian cinema is known for bringing the best of drama and larger than life movies. Cinema is hugely popular in India and the Indian cinema industry produces more films watched by more people than anywhere else in the world.
If you happen to visit India, make sure to at least watch one regional film and it is guaranteed to blow your mind with the opulent sets, gorgeous outfits, songs and stories that you will never forget.
18. Indulge in some spirits
While spirituality, yoga, meditation are big in India, do not think it is a country full of sober people. India is home to some gorgeous vineyards, all of which provide tours and tastings of the different kinds of wines being made there. If you enjoy booze and want to class it up, this is definitely something you should do.
Some vineyards also conduct courses which will help you learn about how wine is made, how it is stored, etc. Sula festival is the most famous wine festival in India, which happens in Nasik. Expect a lot of great wine, music, food, and fashion if you plan to attend this.
19. Live the farm life
India’s economy is an agricultural based one. History has stood witness to Indian farmers not only supporting but at times saving the economy of the country. With years of rich history connected to the profession, India is also one of the top destinations in the world for Agro-Tourism.
People from all walks of life and different parts of the world take the time of their busy city lives to experience the simple life of a farmer. From sowing to harvesting and everything in between, India’s agro-tourism offers an experience like no other.
20. Meet the beautiful Indian people
Indian people are known to be some of the kindest, most hospitable in the world and no matter which walks of life they are from, you will find them to be a treat to talk to and spend time with. The locals are more than happy to guide you if you are lost and are full of suggestions about the things you should experience while in India. If you have the time, make sure to sit with a local over a nice hot cuppa and you will be astonished by some of their life stories.
India is a big country and so the people are divided into many states, regions, and cultures. But there is a single thread that runs through all of them and that is of hospitality. We understand that by the time you finish this list, you will be rambling to plan your next trip to India. Don’t let us stop you!