India is a vast South Asian country with diverse terrain – from Himalayan peaks to Indian Ocean coastline – and history reaching back 5 millennia.
Tourism in India is economically important and is growing rapidly. In October 2015, India’s medical tourism sector was estimated to be worth US$3 billion. It is projected to grow to $7–8 billion by 2020. In 2014, 184,298 foreign patients traveled to India to seek medical treatment.
Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Agra and Jaipur have been the five most visited cities of India by foreign tourists during the year 2015. Worldwide, Delhi is ranked at 28 by the number of foreign tourist arrivals, while Mumbai is ranked at 30, Chennai at 43, Agra at 45, Jaipur at 52 and Kolkata at 90.
There are 36 World Heritage Sites in India that are recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of August 2017.These are places of importance of cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972.
This is the capital of India and one of Delhi city’s 11 districts. Although colloquially Delhi and New Delhi are used interchangeably to refer to the National Capital Territory of Delhi, these are two distinct entities, with New Delhi forming a small part of Delhi.
From historical monuments to crowded shopping malls, from Mughal gardens to Delhi University campus, the capital city has multiple personalities making it ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’.
The Capital city of India and the base location to explore North India, Delhi is considered to be the city with a heart.
The National Capital Region is a much larger entity comprising the entire National Capital Territory of Delhi along with adjoining districts.
Haryana on three sides and Uttar Pradesh on the east, surround New Delhi. The foundation stone of the city was laid by George V, Emperor of India during the Delhi Durbar of 1911. It was designed by British architects, Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker. The new capital was inaugurated on 13 February 1931, by Viceroy and Governor-General of India Lord Irwin. New Delhi has been selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s flagship Smart Cities Mission.
New Delhi is a vivid blend of traditions, cultural diversity, political importance as well as architectural brilliance. It bridges its historical glory with the current modern era. It is a popular tourist spot and also houses multiple theatres and centers of performing arts. Delhi’s architectural brilliance can be traced as back as 4th century AD when the Iron Pillar was built in the Mehrauli area, which hasn’t shown any sign of rusting yet.
Delhi, India’s capital territory, is a massive metropolitan area in the country’s north. In Old Delhi, a neighborhood dating to the 1600s, stands the imposing Mughal-era Red Fort, a symbol of India, and the sprawling Jama Masjid mosque, whose courtyard accommodates 25,000 people. Nearby is Chandni Chowk, a vibrant bazaar filled with food carts, sweets shops and spice stalls.
The Rajpath, a formal boulevard in the New Delhi government district, connects the India Gate war memorial and the massive presidential palace Rashtrapati Bhavan. Other significant sites include Lodi Gardens, a park featuring monumental tombs and acres of greenery; Mughal emperor Humayun’s tomb, a precursor of the Taj Mahal; Qutub Minar, a medieval brick minaret. Delhi also has a strong nightclub scene as well as many prominent museums, including ones dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, leaders of Indian independence.
From 5 stars hotels and restaurants to the Parathe Wali Gali, Delhi has an amazing food culture and if you are not used to Indian street food, you might also get to suffer from Delhi Belly, but it might be just worth it.
Mumbai, previously known as Bombay is one of the most populous and biggest cities of Maharashtra on India’s west coast. A financial center, it’s India’s largest city. On the Mumbai Harbour waterfront stands the iconic Gateway of India stone arch, built by the British Raj in 1924. Offshore, nearby Elephanta Island holds ancient cave temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The city’s also famous as the heart of the Bollywood film industry.
Landmark British colonial buildings include Chhatrapati Shivaj Terminus, an ornate train station melding Gothic Revival and Mughal architecture. The castlelike Bombay High Court features octagonal turrets. Immense Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya is a museum displaying ethnographic and natural history collections. Chor Bazaar is known for its antiques, while Mangaldas Market has textiles, and Zaveri Bazaar is filled with jewelry shops. Marine Drive terminates at popular Chaupati Beach. On the city’s outskirts in Sanjay Gandhi National Park is Kanheri, a cave system carved by Buddhists beginning in the 1st century B.C.
Agra is a city in northern India’s Uttar Pradesh state. Home to one of the 7 wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, Agra is a sneak peek into the architectural history with other structures such as Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri and hence makes for a must visit for anyone living in or visiting India.
Taj Mahal imposing main building features a massive dome and intricately carved white marble inlaid with precious stones. This is set behind a reflecting pool inside a courtyard defined by 4 minarets.
Near the Taj Mahal are the 20m-high red-brick walls of Agra Fort, a grand Mughal fortress and palace, much of it dating to the 16th and 17th centuries. Across the Yamuna River is another striking tomb, Itimad-ud-Daula, which prefigures the Taj Mahal by a few years, earning it the nickname “Baby Taj.” West of the city is the remarkably well-preserved “ghost city” of Fatehpur Sikri, whose red-sandstone royal apartments, harem quarters and pavilions date to the late 1500s, when it was briefly the capital of the Mughal empire.
THE PINK CITY
Jaipur is the capital of India’s Rajasthan state. It evokes the royal family that once ruled the region and that, in 1727, founded what is now called the Old City, or “Pink City” for its trademark building color.
Renowned globally for its colored gems, the capital city of Rajasthan combines the allure of its ancient history with all the advantages of a metropolis. The bustling modern city is one of the three corners of the golden triangle, that includes Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.
With gardens, courtyards and museums, part of it is still a royal residence.
Across from the City Palace is Jantar Mantar, an open-air astronomical observatory from the early 18th century. Also, nearby is the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), a former cloister for royal women fronted by a rippling 5-story screen of pink sandstone. Several kilometers outside the city center, elephants carry visitors uphill to the imposing Amer Fort, which features elaborate wall carvings and paintings. On the way to the fort, many visitors stop on the banks of Man Sagar Lake to photograph Jal Mahal, a partially submerged palace that famously reflects in the water.