India is more than Europe put together so it can get pretty overwhelming to select the best places to visit. If you are a first time traveller in India, there are chances you might miss out on the most important details like visiting the most ancient city or visiting some of the historical sites rich in architecture and culture. Lucky for us, there are many tours that help in unearthing the charm of India effortlessly. Like the famous Golden Triangle Tour and the Yoga and Spiritual Tours. So, in order to help you ease your worries, we have listed down 5 popular places you can visit in India that comes under the Golden Triangle and Spiritual Route.
Delhi: The Historical and Capital City of India
It is believed that continuous inhabitation existed ever since the 6th century BCE in Delhi. So, this sole circle-shaped metropolitan has seen many rulers and kingdoms come and go, from the Slave Dynasty to the Khilji Dynasty, Tughlaq Dynasty to Sayyid Dynasty and Lodhi Dynasty. Each dynasty built several monuments leaving the present world we live in marvel at these ancient masterpieces. Delhi is segregated into Old and New, each offering breath-taking sites. The Old Delhi houses rich historical ruins like the massive 17th-century Red Fort (annual Independence Day is celebrated here). This fort was the seat of the Mughal Empire for over 200 years until it fell into British hands.
The biggest mosque Jama Masjid is also located in Old Delhi with magnificent facade constantly reminding Mughal architecture which was commissioned by Shah Jahan 400 years back. Old Delhi has the largest spice market in Asia known as Khari Baoli. This market has been providing rich spices ever since the Mughal era. Speaking of New Delhi, It also has bits of history in every corner like the Qutab Minar and the oldest city in Delhi, Mehrauli. But the newer Delhi mostly displays structures representing the British Colonization in India. From the famous Connaught Place to Parliament House, India Gate to the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidents Residence). You can visit Delhi and watch history slowly unfold.
Jaipur: The land of the Maharajas and Massive Forts
One of the major draws that attract tourist to Jaipur is the recently given status as a UNESCO World Heritage City. But Jaipur was always a beloved destination because of its wonderful remnants of a bygone era. The city is surrounded by palaces, forts, temples displaying elaborate architecture that reminds us of their royal heritage. Jaipur helps form the Golden Triangle Circuit with many rich architectural wonders to see from the Amer Fort located in Amer to 1734 built Nahargarh Fort and even the calm 18th-century Jal Mahal located amid the Man Sagar Lake. Amer Fort which overlooks Maota Lake once served the residence of Rajput rulers.
Till the time, Jaipur was constructed and the impressive grand City Palace came into existence. It is a remarkable attraction with a sequence of the garden, courtyards and many buildings making it exciting to explore. The palace reflects on the historical importance of the royals. One of the not to miss items which even holds the Guinness World Record is the Silver Urns completely made of melted silver coins. The Hawa Mahal is an iconic structure adorned in red and pink, and the bustling market of Johari Bazaar and Bapu Bazaar are some of the must-visits where you can buy souvenirs to take home.
Agra: Home to the Seventh Wonder of the World
Agra captures every traveller’s attention; after all, it houses the Seventh Wonder of the World, Taj Mahal which was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. This majestic structure was built to commemorate his third but favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. However, Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb was laid down to rest in Ahukhana, a 16th-century deer park for Mughal emperor Shah Jahan now in ruins. It is located in a sleepy city of Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh. Her casket was laid down for around 22 years till the completion of Taj Mahal in 1653 A.D. Agra also has many other Mughal-era buildings apart from Taj Mahal.
The majestic red stone residence of the royals, the Agra Fort is one of a kind structure. This UNESCO World Heritage Site sits few kilometres from Taj Mahal alongside the Yamuna River. Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan’s son declared Shah Jahan incompetent to rule the kingdom and put him under house arrest in Agra Fort. Shah Jahan’s only wish was to be imprisoned in his room from where he could see the Taj Mahal. While you visit Agra Fort, you can see Shah Jahan’s room where he spent all his time overlooking the Taj Mahal. Besides, Agra also makes a great pit stop if you are visiting Fatehpur Sikri. A planned city with many historic buildings, including the iconic Buland Darwaza (Gate of Victory) and white marble encased tomb of Salim Chisti, a Sufi Saint.
Varanasi: The Oldest Inhabitant City in the World
Inner spirituality seeps into your soul from here, the oldest inhabitant city in India, Varanasi. This holy city for Hindu and Buddhist is believed to be more than 5,000 years old with over 2,000 temples located across the winding streets. Earlier known as Banaras, it is believed that the city was created by the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva. The mystic charm of the city calls people to dip into the holy Ganga River which descends from Devprayag. The locals believe that it’s a tirtha, a crossing point between heaven and earth. You can be a part of the auspicious evening Ganga Aarti that can be witnessed from the building balconies and the boats across the Dasaswamedh Ghat.
One of the unique experiences you must experience is visiting the infamous Manikarnika Ghat, Hindu cremation site. Millions of Indians come here to get cremated believing doing so will give them salvation. One unique fact that baffles even the locals is that Varanasi has salvation homes like 1920 built Mumukshu Bhawan for the terminally sick people whose wish to breathe their last breath in Varanasi, further, their body to be cremated in Manikarnika Ghat. Today, there are over 200 such homes for the ill to stay. In Varanasi, Paan is the ultimate sweet dish. Betel leaf stuffed with dried coconut, areca nut, clove and tobacco wrapped around in silver foil is an absolute must-try if you want to win the hearts of the locals.
Rishikesh: The Birthplace of Yoga and Meditation
One of the most popular places to visit in India is Rishikesh, why? Because Rishikesh is amongst the holiest cities and it is believed that God himself appeared as Rishikesh to please his devotee Raibhya Rishi. Besides that, the city is also an institutional destination for people to study yoga and meditation. In fact, every year during the month of March, the International Yoga Festival is organized where thousands of enthusiasts come to be a part of the festival from all over the world. Rishikesh is a holy city with so many ashrams.
Amongst the many ashrams, there is one dedicated to the classic band, The Beatles who came to Rishikesh, lived in that ashram and wrote some of the famous songs. Every year, thousands of people come to wash away their sins similar to Varanasi by dipping into the holy Ganga River which flows from Devprayag. The holy river then traverses several holy destinations from the mountains all the way to the northern plains. You can find several temples dotted alongside the banks of the Ganga. Rishikesh, located on the foothills of the Himalayas is also a thrilling adventure destination for white water river rafting and various mountaineering activities.