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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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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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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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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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Goa is a beloved spot for beachgoers from all over the world who also want to... more
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Bardez
Goa is a beloved spot for beachgoers from all over the world who also want to experience the rich culture of India. You could easily spend your entire trip to Bardez hanging out at a beach shack, sipping a beverage, gazing at the sea. But when you want to venture inland, there’s plenty to do. Tour a local spice farm, brave the climb to the top of Fort Aguada Lighthouse, or try your hand at haggling at Anjuna Market.
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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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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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Known as both the "Garden City" and "The Silicon Valley of India," Bangalore... more
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Bengaluru (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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Canacona, located in South Goa, offers an extraordinary getaway for activity... more
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Canacona
Canacona, located in South Goa, offers an extraordinary getaway for activity seekers and avid beach bums. It’s easy to relax on the popular Canacona beach with the majestic Sahyadri Hills as your backdrop. Feeling adventurous? Try one of the many water sports. Other bustling beaches are the Agonda and Palolem, both teeming with shops and eateries. There are also lesser-known, secluded beaches available for those seeking nothing more than peace and tranquility. Two fresh water springs, Puroner and Gogel offer a break from the saltwater experience.
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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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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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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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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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An ancient granite fort keeps watch on this city of mosques and bazaars. On the... more
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Hyderabad
An ancient granite fort keeps watch on this city of mosques and bazaars. On the site of the former town center sits its most iconic building, the Charminar, built in 1591 with a quartet of 160-foot minarets. Across Hussain Sagar, a man-made lake, is Hyderabad's twin, the city of Secunderabad.
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Amritsar is a major commercial and cultural centre in the heart of Punjab. The... more
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Amritsar
Amritsar is a major commercial and cultural centre in the heart of Punjab. The city is the spiritual and cultural center of the Sikh religion and is home to the Harmandir Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple. Respectfully marvel at the Indian and Pakistani soldiers who march-off nightly at the Wagha Border, and at the Jallian Wala Bagh the site of the 1919 Amritsar Massacre in 1919.
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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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The Ladakh capital city of Leh lies near the eastern parts of Jammu and Kashmir,... more
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Leh
The Ladakh capital city of Leh lies near the eastern parts of Jammu and Kashmir, on the crossroads of the historic "Silk Route" from Sinkiang to West Asia and to the plains of India. The humbling monasteries of Shey, Hemis, Alchi, Thikse and Lamayuru will nurture your spiritual needs, and the landscape of Leh provides for a number of adventure activities including mountaineering, white-water rafting and trekking along the Markha Valley.
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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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Situated by some of Goa’s most popular beaches, the village of Arpora is lovely... more
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Arpora
Situated by some of Goa’s most popular beaches, the village of Arpora is lovely and quiet. Ayurveda enthusiasts will love rejuvenating at the riverside Ayur Clinic. And once the sun slips below the Goa horizon, the Arpora Night Market is the place to be. Food stalls, spice vendors, local musicians – it’s a whirlwind of sights, sounds, smells, and tastes.
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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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The north Indian city of Varanasi, or Benares, is regarded as sacred by Hindus,... more
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Varanasi
The north Indian city of Varanasi, or Benares, is regarded as sacred by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Situated in the fertile Ganga valley and on the banks of the Ganges, Varanasi is a place of pilgrimage for Hindus, who come to bathe in the holy river. Known as the City of Temples and a beacon of culture, Varanasi has produced many renowned writers. It’s also a center of silk weaving, so practice haggling at the chaotic bazaar for some beautiful souvenirs. Rickshaws are the best way to get about.
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Known affectionately as “Tiger City,” Sawai Madhopur’s most famous residents are... more
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Sawai Madhopur
Known affectionately as “Tiger City,” Sawai Madhopur’s most famous residents are orange and black. A guided safari in Ranthambore National Park is the best way to spot these majestic animals, plus other wildlife like sambar deer and hundreds of species of birds. Make time to visit the ancient Ranthambore Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most important buildings in Rajasthan history.
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Khajuraho is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Madhya Pradesh. It's known for its... more
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Khajuraho
Khajuraho is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Madhya Pradesh. It's known for its enormous, intricately sculptured temples adorned by vignettes of passion, eroticism, dance, music and creative pursuits. It has 85 original temples, divided into three complexes. The western is the largest and best known, containing the magnificent Shaivite temple Kandariya Mahadev.
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Laidback Bundi is perfect for travelers who want to go a little off the beaten... more
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Bundi
Laidback Bundi is perfect for travelers who want to go a little off the beaten path to experience splendid Indian architecture, food, and hospitality. For photo ops, visit one of the city’s elegantly carved step wells, especially the 17th century Raniji ki Baori, or “Queen’s step well.” Wind your way past the colorful havelis and market stalls of Old Town before visiting Taragarh Fort and Bundi Palace.
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