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Travel Destinations In India

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Jantar Mantar, DelhiAcross the length and breadth of India are thousands of enchanting tourist destinations. Such is the volume and diversity of her tourist attractions that it may not be possible to visit all of them in a lifetime. Most of India's cities are acquiring a modern outlook but have carefully preserved their ancient heritage for the future generations. India also has diverse flora and fauna which could be best seen in the wildlife sanctuaries. Along the long coastline of India are some of the most picturesque beaches. If the Indian summer heat becomes unbearable, plenty of mesmerizing hill stations are available to beat the heat. But India is most popular for her pilgrimage destinations. India being an ancient civilization, most of these pilgrimage destinations date back to thousands of years. There are pilgrimages for every religion in India.

The Indian Cities :
A travel to India should always begin with New Delhi, the capital and pride of India. The monuments of Delhi mutely tell the story of her eventful historical past. Some of the popular monuments dotting the landscape are Qutab Minar, Red Fort, Humayun's tomb, Jantar Mantar, Jama Masjid and India Gate. Agra to the east of Delhi houses the Taj Mahal-one of the wonders of the world. A symbol of eternal love, the beauty and grandeur of Taj could hardly be surpassed by any other monument in the world. Jaipur, the pink city is actually a riot of colours where some of medieval India's best palaces and forts could be seen. Mumbai, the commercial capital has everything for tourists. The attractions include Gateway of India, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mahalaxmi Temple and Siddhivinayak Temple. Bangalore with its swanky restaurants, glitzy malls, multi storied multinational offices and shopping complexes is the new face of corporate India. On the other hand, Hyderabad is a city both with an old and a new look. Old Hyderabad has some magnificent monuments that are the best specimen of Islamic style of architecture. Char Minar is the best example. New Hyderabad, like Bangalore has seen the mushrooming of gorgeous restaurants, malls, shopping complexes and offices of software companies. The metropolis of Chennai also has an old and a new order. Marina beach, the second longest beach of Asia is Chennai's best attraction. Kolkata, another metropolis in eastern India has some magnificent legacies left behind by the British . The best are the Victoria memorial and Howrah bridge.

Wildlife Sanctuaries :
The best thing about India's wildlife sanctuaries is that many of them are popular for one animal species. Corbett National Park in Uttaranchal is India's first national park. Located in the foothills of Garhwal Himalayas, it is famous for tigers. Equally famous for tigers are the national parks of Ranthambhore and Sariska located in Rajasthan. Ranthambhore is regarded as one of the best places in the world to see the big cat. Keoladeo Ghana in Bharatpur of Rajasthan is a world famous bird sanctuary having over 400 varieties of birds. Gir in Gujarat is the only remaining habitat of some 300 Asiatic lions. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is thronged by nature lovers to have glimpses of the gigantic elephants. Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh is another safe habitat of the tiger which also boasts of a diverse variety of fauna. Sundarbans in West Bengal is a sanctuary of a different kind. The largest delta in the world, the tigers of Sundarbans reside in the midst of water. Sundarbans also has the biggest mangrove forests in the world. To India's extreme east, more than half of one horned rhinos of the world roam in their safe habitat of Kaziranga. Kaziranga National Park is also a bio diversity hotspot.

Calengute Beach GoaBeaches :
India has a long coastline along which are many picturesque beaches. The tiny Indian state of Goa is known as a paradise for beach holidaying. Near the beaches are many exotic resorts that rank among the best in the world. While the beaches of Baga and Varca are known for their serene ambience, Candolin , Majorda and Covla are beaches where a host of activities take place. Water sports activities like sailing, skiing and swimming are very popular in the beaches. Anjuna beach is known for a great nightlife. The beach remains in party mode all the time. Calangute is Goa's most commercial beach offering everything from scenic beauty to water sports. Down south, the beaches of Tamil Nadu are no less beautiful. Marina beach offers some of the most mesmerizing sunrise and sunset views. Mahabalipuram beach has a spiritual tilt with some ancient monuments right on the shore like Shore temple and Arjuna's Penance. Kerala's best beaches are Kovalam, Varkala and Alleppey having great scenic beauty and serenity.

Hill Stations :
The mind relaxing hill stations of India are visited in large numbers. To India's north, Shimla, Kullu, Manali and Dharamshala perched on the lap of Himalayas rank among India's best hill stations. The whole of Kashmir is full of snow capped mountains. In Rajasthan, Mount Abu at an altitude of over 1000 metres is the state's only hill station. To India's south, Ooty and Munnar are hill stations known for lush greenery and splendid hills. Picturesque Mahabaleshwar is a popular hill station of Maharashtra. To India's east, Darjeeling and Gangtok are great places for a summer break. Located strategically, the hill stations offer a great view of the snow capped Himalayas.

Pilgrimage :
The pilgrimage destinations are spread all over the country. Starting with small communities, Sikhs have the Golden Temple at Amritsar as their most revered pilgrimage destination. The gold plated temple is also an architectural masterpiece. The Jain community visits the Dilwara temples of Mount Abu and Palitana in Gujarat in large numbers. The temples of Dilwara display splendid carvings in marble. There are many Buddhist pilgrimage destinations also most of which are located in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Bodhgaya is where Lord Buddha had attained enlightenment. The attractive Mahabodhi temple stands at the place. At Vaishali, Lord Buddha had delivered his last sermons. Ragjir is where he spent considerable part of his life. Buddhists also hold Nalanda, Sarnath, Dharamshala, Leh and Tawang in great reverence. The list of Hindu pilgrimage sites in the country is endless. Most devotees throng to India's south where some of the magnificent and most revered temples belonging to ancient period dot the landscape. The most prominent temples are Meenakshi and Rock Fort in Tamil Nadu, Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, Badami Caves in Karnataka, Sabarimala and Guruvayur in Kerala. Rameshwaram is also a sacred pilgrimage destination with many temples. In Orissa, the Jagannath temple of Puri, Sun temple of Konark and Lingaraja temple of Bhubaneshwar are the most visited. The temples of Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh display the best art forms of ancient India in the form of exquisite carvings and sculptures. However, some of India's most sacred pilgrimages are either located on the banks of holy river Ganges or perched on the lap of Himalayas. They include Haridwar, Rishikesh, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. The last four are regarded as Char Dham and it is believed that a pilgrimage to them paves the way for one's salvation. Varanasi has a number of ghats belonging to the ancient period where river Ganges is worshipped regularly. The temples of Mathura and Vrindavan are dedicated to Lord Krishna. The festival of Holi and Janmastami are celebrated in a big way in these places.

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Tea Plantation in Munnar
- Red Fort, Delhi
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