India has an exotic, ancient and diverse culture which makes it more exiting to witness it with your own eyes. It is more than just a country it is a fusion of many languages, religions, and cultural differences, this is what attracts tourist to visit different places in India. The rich history of India, accompanied by its cultural and physical diversity makes it a major tourism destination. Let’s take a look at the top ten tourist destinations of 2012 in India where people from all over the world visited.
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir – the Paradise on Earth is a beautiful place in India, even the political tensions in the state don’t stop tourists from visiting the place in large numbers. The state’s major attraction lies in its picturesque beauty, snow clad mountains, blossoming valleys, cascade waterfalls etc. As tourism is an integral part of Jammu and Kashmir, the state has notable tourist destinations like Srinagar, Dal Lake, Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Mughal Gardens, etc. In recent years, Ladakh has emerged as a major destination for adventure tourism and Leh is also a budding tourist spot.
Goa, known for its exotic beaches, sunset views, golden sand and coconut palms remains the favourite like good old wine. As one of the most happening Indian states, Goa is visited by a large number of people from across India and the world throughout the year. Tourist footfall rises especially in December as lots of events happen during this time like the Sunburn Event and other Christmas and New Year programmes. Goa remains the perfect place for enjoying beach activities, tasty seafood, parasailing, wind surfing, etc. Some of the popular destinations in Goa are Alorna Fort, Arvalam Waterfalls, Chapora Fort, Calangute beach and the churches of Goa.
Kerala is one of the most visited places of tourist interest in South India. The state recently became the number one travel destination in Google’s search trends for India in the year 2012. Kerala’s enchanting backwaters, mesmerizing waterfalls, lush green hill stations and serene atmosphere make it one of the most preferred tourist destinations. The backwaters which lie parallel to the Arabian Sea provide a unique and exciting chance to cruise in house boats giving tourists picturesque views of the surrounding beauty of landscapes and villages. Some of the most preferred tourist destinations in Kerala are Munnar, Wayanad, Thekkady, Varkala beach, Athirapally waterfalls, Padmanabhaswamy temple, etc.
Delhi is the capital city of India and a striking modern metropolis. It has a contrast of old and new, ancient and modern, making it a melting pot of cultures and religions. With its rich historic culture the city has attracted many tourists with its historic and modern monuments, landmarks, museums, shrines, temples, gardens and new-age trendy malls. Some of the popular tourist destinations in Delhi are India Gate, Lotus Temple, Jama Masjid, RashtrapatiBhavan, QutbMinar, PuranaQuila, Lodhi Gardens, Humayun’s tomb, Red Fort, JantarMantar, Akshardham Temple, etc.
Jaipur and Udaipur
Jaipur and Udaipur, located in Rajasthan provide a great insight into the rich and artistic culture of the state. Jaipur – The Pink City is also the capital of Rajasthan. It is famous for its rich and royal historical architecture. One can visit famous tourist destinations like City Palace, HawaMahal, Amber, Jaigarh forts, etc. Udaipur which is also known as the Venice of the East, is a beautiful city with a number of sparkling lakes set against the backdrop of the Aravali hills.
Popular tourist places in Udaipur are Jag Niwas, Jag Mandir, FatehSagar Lake, Udaipur Solar Observatory, Nehru Garden, Lake Palace, City Palace, etc.
The state of Tamil Nadu remains to be one of the most popular places in south India as the state has a plethora of interesting tourist destinations. Tamil Nadu has many archaeological sites dating back to 3800 years and also holds the credit of having the maximum number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. The state has more than 34000 temples and is also known for its Medical tourism. Some of the popular tourist spots and destinations in the state are Kanyakumari – the southernmost tip of India, MathurTottiPalam – one of Asia’s biggest aqueducts, Pichavaram – world’s second largest mangrove forest, Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, Hill stations like Ooty, Kodaikanal, Yercaud, etc.
Maharashtra is one of the most popular destinations among the tourists. The state attracts more than 5 million foreign tourists annually and boasts of many popular and revered sites that are visited by many tourists. The state has various destinations to explore, like the UNESCO World Heritage sites – Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves and ChhatrapatiShivaji Terminus. Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, famous for Bollywood, world’s largest film industry, Elephanta Caves, Haji Ali Mosque, Sanjay Gandhi National Park – the only national park within metropolis city limits in the world, BibiKaMaqbara in Aurangabad, Mahalakshmi temple in Kolhapur, Nashik city – famous for religious sites, Pune city – seat of the Maratha Empire, etc.
This picturesque capital city of the north eastern state of Meghalaya is being ranked among the top holiday destinations in India. The state, along with its capital, houses a clean and scenic environment and the welcoming nature of the people has set it apart from other places in the region. Meghalaya with its thickest surviving forests constitutes one of the most vital eco-tourism circuits in India today. The state forests’ support a variety of flora and fauna and there are two national parks and three wildlife sanctuaries. The state also offers many adventure tourism opportunities. Some of the popular tourist spots in Meghalaya are Cherrapunjee – second wettest place on Earth, popular waterfalls are the Elephant Falls, Weinia falls, Shadthum Falls, Bishop Falls, Langshiang Falls, Nohkalikai Falls and Sweet Falls, hot springs at Jakrem near Mawsynram, etc.
The northern state of Himachal Pradesh is famous for its Himalayan mountain range and popular hill-stations. Many outdoor adventure activities like rock climbing, paragliding, mountain biking, ice-skating, and heli-skiing are popular among tourist in Himachal Pradesh. The state capital Shimla is very popular hill station among tourists, both from India and foreign. The Kalka-Shimla Railway is a narrow gauge mountain railway and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other popular hill stations include Manali, Kulu, Kasauli, Dharamshala – home of the Dalai Lama, known for its Tibetan monasteries and Buddhist temples, etc.
The southern state of Karnataka is also among the most popular tourism destination in India. The state has 507 national protected monuments, maximum in India. Many Kannada dynasties ruled from here and built great monuments. These monuments are preserved at sites like Aihole, Hampi, Belur, Mysore, Nandi Hills, Bijapur, and many more. The state is also famous for Jog falls – one of the highest waterfalls in Asia and has 21 wildlife sanctuaries and five National parks, housing more than 500 bird species. Karnataka has many beaches such as Gokarna, Karwar, Surathkal and Murdeshwara. The cultural capital of Karnataka, Mysore is noted for its palaces and is visited by more than 2 million visitors annually.