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New Delhi is all at once chaotic and calm, a complicated city where cows often... more
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New Delhi
New Delhi is all at once chaotic and calm, a complicated city where cows often wander the shanty-lined streets. The 17th century Red Fort is a mass of domes and turrets, while Chandni Chowk is an exercise in friendly haggling. Jantar Mantar features larger-than-life sundials and astronomical instruments that are still used to predict the weather. Travelers and locals flock to the India Gate, the national monument of India that honors the soldiers who died in World War I and the Third Afghan War.
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Known as both the "Garden City" and "The Silicon Valley of India," Bangalore... more
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Bangalore
Known as both the "Garden City" and "The Silicon Valley of India," Bangalore (officially "Bengaluru") is a techie’s paradise, boasting the highest concentration of IT companies in the country. When you’re done geeking out, there are plenty of gardens, museums, natural features, palaces and temples to fill your dance card. Visit Vidhana Soudha, Cubbon Park and the Ulsoor Lake of Bangalore, well known for its beautiful locales and boating facilities. Bangalore is also a major center of Indian classical music and dance, and of vivid, cutting-edge nightlife.
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Though Mumbai can feel chaotic and crowded, there are peaceful moments to be... more
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Mumbai (Bombay)
Though Mumbai can feel chaotic and crowded, there are peaceful moments to be found here. Nibble a paper cone of bhelpuri while you stroll the sands of Chowpatty Beach. Then, take a short walk to Mani Bhavan, where Mahatma Gandhi once lived, strategized, and was ultimately arrested. The markets are spirited places to bargain for spices or souvenirs. Take a guided tour of Dharavi – made famous by "Slumdog Millionaire" – for an eye-opening glimpse into what Mumbai life is like for nearly a million people.
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If you take one look at the glorious stucco buildings that line Jaipur's wide... more
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Jaipur
If you take one look at the glorious stucco buildings that line Jaipur's wide streets, you'll understand why this is nicknamed "The Pink City." Spend your days exploring City Palace, Hawa Mahal, and Amber and Jaigarh forts. And if you're looking for a unique souvenir, head to one of the bazaars, where you can pick up a pair of camel-leather slippers.
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Udaipur, known as the Venice of the East, boasts several sparkling lakes against... more
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Udaipur
Udaipur, known as the Venice of the East, boasts several sparkling lakes against a backdrop of the Aravail hills. Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir, islands in Fateh Sagar Lake, are the site of Udaipur Solar Observatory and Nehru Garden. Famous palaces include the magical Lake Palace, now a luxurious five-star hotel, and the massive City Palace on Pichola’s east bank, featuring epic courtyards and stunning paintings.
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Located near the National Capital Region of Delhi, this upcoming district houses... more
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Gurgaon
Located near the National Capital Region of Delhi, this upcoming district houses numerous multinational companies and as a result, has plenty of tourist-friendly malls, hotels and restaurants. The area's top attraction is the Sheetla Mata temple, a popular pilgrimage site named for the Indian goddess who could dispel small pox; a festival is held there in March and July. For a more rural setting, visit nearby Sohna, which is surrounded by ancient ruins and known for its hot springs.
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This former British colonial stronghold boasts evidence of over two millennia of... more
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Kolkata (Calcutta)
This former British colonial stronghold boasts evidence of over two millennia of habitation, with ornate, architecturally diverse buildings, ranging from crumbing ruins to Victorian treasures. Home to lively festivals and a vibrant artistic community, clamorous markets and packed temples, this city is crowded and polluted, but ultimately invigorating.
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Where better to go for a romantic vacation than to the great testament of love,... more
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Agra
Where better to go for a romantic vacation than to the great testament of love, the Taj Mahal? Built by the grieving Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his late wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal’s unrivaled beauty explains why it’s regarded as one of the eight wonders of the world. A visit to India wouldn’t be complete without it. Other must-experience destinations in Agra are two other UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the sandstone Red Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.
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A blending of several small villages on the southwestern coast created the... more
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Kochi (Cochin)
A blending of several small villages on the southwestern coast created the current incarnation of Kochi (or Cochin), where sunset strolls, sampling fresh fish from seaside vendors and boat rides through the islands just offshore top visitors' to-do lists. Art centers showcase the traditional dance, Kathakali. European influences are seen in the 16th-century Portuguese-built churches and forts, while the mark of early Chinese traders is visible in the unusual fishing nets dotting the shoreline.
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The sandy coast of Goa is perfect for reclining by the sea. Nestle into a... more
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Goa
The sandy coast of Goa is perfect for reclining by the sea. Nestle into a cushioned chair at a beach shack and savor a curry while you sip a Kingfisher beer, watching the sun slip lazily below the horizon. In Old Goa, the beautiful Basilica of Bom Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a fine example of baroque architecture. Visit during Christmastime to experience a fantastic religious and cultural mash-up of East and West.
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The dramatic and romantic desert fortress of Jaisalmer is an exotic city in... more
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Jaisalmer
The dramatic and romantic desert fortress of Jaisalmer is an exotic city in Rajasthan’s great Thar Desert. "The Golden City" rose to prominence as a result of its position on camel trade routes. It's now most famous for the 12th-century fort and ornate "Havelis," fine merchant-built houses and pavilions in the city’s medieval lanes. The surrounding Desert National Park offers opportunities to observe blackbucks, desert foxes and chinkaras amid the rolling dunes, rugged crags and waterholes.
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The holy city of Rishikesh, in the base of the Himalayas, holds deep cultural... more
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Rishikesh
The holy city of Rishikesh, in the base of the Himalayas, holds deep cultural and spiritual significance for local Hindus. Sacred rivers and mountains set the scene for yoga and reflective hikes, and rafting here is an absolute must. The Beatles got in touch with their Eastern spiritual side here, writing several songs during a 1968 stint at a local ashram.
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The diverse population of Chennai (Madras) is reflected in its rich cultural... more
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Chennai (Madras)
The diverse population of Chennai (Madras) is reflected in its rich cultural scene. You’ll find serious theatre as well as the glitz and glamour of Kollywood. Chennai is also an important center for the Bharatanatyam, a local form of classical dance. Visit in January, for the festival of Pongal, or in April, when Chennai celebrates its new year.
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Find the perfect Hyderabad hotel
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Let the beautiful coastal town of Varkala melt your worries and tensions away.... more
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Varkala
Let the beautiful coastal town of Varkala melt your worries and tensions away. Varkala’s peaceful seaside cliffs adjoin the Arabian Sea, setting the scene for several water spouts and wellness spas. The waters lapping at Papanasam beach are considered to have holy, sin-cleansing properties, and the nearby Ayurveda treatment center will cleanse what the ocean missed.
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Education, the arts and music are staples of life in the culture-rich city of... more
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Pune
Education, the arts and music are staples of life in the culture-rich city of Pune. The Pataleshwar Cave Temple, dating to the eighth century and dedicated to the god of the underworld, is a marvel of rock-cut architecture. For a panoramic city view, climb to temple-topped Parvati Hill.
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Surrounded by a huge fortress wall with bastions, the striking blue buildings in... more
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Jodhpur
Surrounded by a huge fortress wall with bastions, the striking blue buildings in Jodhpur contrast sharply and beautifully with the neighboring Thar Desert. Exploring the palaces, forts and temples will keep you busy and in awe of the city’s historic grandeur. Bazaars offer a range of beautiful textiles, embroidered leather goods, lacquerware, antiques, carpets, puppets and figurines. Jodhpur is a popular tourist destination and a convenient base for travel in the region.
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In Hinduism, Manu was said to have survived a great flood that destroyed the... more
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Manali
In Hinduism, Manu was said to have survived a great flood that destroyed the rest of the world. He then recreated mankind in this Kullu Valley town. What a rush, huh? No wonder the towering peaks and verdant terrain of Manali attracts adventure travelers, with heli-skiing, hiking, mountaineering and river rafting the favored active pursuits. Come down from your endorphin high by breathing deeply at the four-story, wooden Hidimba Devi Temple, which sits in the middle of a nearby deciduous forest, or take a medicinal soak in the hot springs burbling from the ground a 30-minute walk from town.
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Snow-capped Himalayan peaks and green pastures surround Shimla, the capital of... more
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Shimla
Snow-capped Himalayan peaks and green pastures surround Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Enjoy a heritage walk through Shimla’s Victorian-era architecture, labyrinthine bazaars and lengthy pedestrian shopping mall. Don’t cause too much trouble taking in the town from Scandal Point, a large, open square; keep in mind that Shimla was a retreat destination for Mahatma Gandhi, who frequented a Georgian mansion in Shimla’s suburbs from the mid-1930s to '40s.
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Founded in the 15th century, Ahmedabad is the largest city in the state of... more
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Ahmedabad
Founded in the 15th century, Ahmedabad is the largest city in the state of Gujrat. The city is a vibrant business district and rising centre of education, information technology and scientific industries. Divided in two - the old city and the new city; The city offers different moods right from the hustle-bustle of C.G. Road in the heart of Ahmedabad to the quite retreat of of the Sabarmati Ashram. Ahmedabad enjoys a thriving cultural tradition, being the centre of Gujarati cultural activities and diverse traditions of different ethnic and religious communities. Popular celebrations and observances include Uttarayan - an annual kite-flying day on 14 January and the nine nights of Navratri - celebrated with people performing Garba - the folk dance of Gujarat - at venues across the city.
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Visakhapatnam truly offers something for every type of traveler, from the beach... more
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Visakhapatnam
Visakhapatnam truly offers something for every type of traveler, from the beach bum to the culture vulture. There are eight beaches in this southeast India port city, as well as hilltop parks, a nature preserve, caverns, wildlife sanctuaries, temples, sacred Buddhist monuments and a fascinating submarine museum. Take a day trip to visit the fragrant coffee plantations of the Araku Valley.
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The buildings and monuments in Tirunelveli are astonishing. The famous... more
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Tirunelveli
The buildings and monuments in Tirunelveli are astonishing. The famous Nellaiappar Temple in particular is a kaleidoscopic feast, an explosion of color and detail that’s supported by musical pillars. Needless to say, it should be on your itinerary. Tour a nearby tea plantation, enjoy the cooling cascade of one of the area’s many waterfalls, or nibble on halwa (a local sweet) while you take in a Tamil film at the Central Theatre.
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The holy city of Haridwar translates to "Gateway to God," and the breathtaking... more
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Haridwar
The holy city of Haridwar translates to "Gateway to God," and the breathtaking city, replete with temples, is a magnet for religious pilgrims from all over the globe. Religious festivals hold even further draw, and tourists can’t helped but be compelled by the city’s aura of intense spirituality. Don’t miss the Har ki Pauri and the Chandi Devi Temple.
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Pondicherry’s bougainvilleas, crumbling cathedrals and leafy boulevards might... more
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Pondicherry
Pondicherry’s bougainvilleas, crumbling cathedrals and leafy boulevards might occasionally make you wonder if you’re in the south of France instead of a former French colony. But it's also unmistakably Indian, with colorful festivals, the famous monument of Aayi Mandapam, and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Quiet beaches stretch north and south from town, good for swimming and sunrise strolls.
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Thrissur is regarded as the cultural capital of Kerala, a beautiful coastal... more
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Thrissur
Thrissur is regarded as the cultural capital of Kerala, a beautiful coastal region of southwest India with a history deeply rooted in the spice trade. For an exercise in absolute serenity, schedule an overnight houseboat tour of the local backwaters. If you’re lucky enough to visit during the temple festival of Pooram, you’ll experience lively music performances, fireworks, shadow puppet shows and processionals of beautifully adorned elephants.
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