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Laid out by British architect Edwin Lutyens, the Indian capital is a striking... more
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New Delhi
Laid out by British architect Edwin Lutyens, the Indian capital is a striking modern metropolis. A gracious contrast to Old Delhi's winding streets, the grand avenues and stately buildings of New Delhi are rich with history and culture, from Gandhi's Delhi home (and the site of his assassination) to the tomb of Humayun, a complex of Mughal buildings reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. Chaotic traffic is best left to the locals. Negotiate a good price for taxis or travel on the new Delhi Metro.
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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 centre of Indian classical music and dance, and of vivid, cutting-edge nightlife.
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Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), India, is famous for its chaotic streets. For... more
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Mumbai (Bombay)
Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), India, is famous for its chaotic streets. For bargains and people-watching, outdoor bazaars top the list of attractions. Popular waterfront destinations are Marine Drive, where visitors go to watch the sun set over the Arabian Sea, and the carnival-like Juhu Beach. More sightseeing options are the Gandhi Museum, in the leader's former home, and the cave temples of Elephanta Island. For tranquillity, Mumbai has many religious sites, lakes and parks.
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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 holiday than to the great testament of love,... more
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Agra
Where better to go for a romantic holiday 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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Look for spicy dishes flavoured with tamarind and coconut in Kochi, and don’t be... more
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Kochi (Cochin)
Look for spicy dishes flavoured with tamarind and coconut in Kochi, and don’t be surprised if your dinner is served up on a banana leaf. The region is a major banana-growing area, and traditional Kochi cuisine employs the fruit in many dishes, both sweet and savoury. Coconut water provides a refreshing and sweet contrast to the piquant food.
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East meets West in this sun-soaked state, where Indian culture intertwines with... more
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Goa
East meets West in this sun-soaked state, where Indian culture intertwines with Portuguese influences left over from a 500-year occupation. The beaches have long served as a magnet for serene hedonists. To the north, the tourist-centric scene is prevalent, with an international flair that is now skewing more hip than hippie. Travel south for stretches of unspoiled sand and an escape from large resorts. Temples, mosques and wildlife sanctuaries provide diversions from the beach.
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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 mediaeval 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 people of Tamil Nadu consider providing food to others a service to... more
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Chennai (Madras)
The people of Tamil Nadu consider providing food to others a service to humanity. Thus the service in the state capital, Chennai, is first-rate. Treat your senses to some of the richest South Indian flavours in traditional dishes like sambar, rasam, fish curry or kootu. And don't forget to have a cup of full-bodied Tamil coffee, enhanced with chicory—no visit is complete without it.
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Want a taste of being royal? Eat in Hyderabad, where culinary traditions have... more
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Hyderabad
Want a taste of being royal? Eat in Hyderabad, where culinary traditions have been passed down from the Nizam monarchy. Arabic, Turkish and Mughlai influences are easily recognisable. The city is famous for its rich, aromatic biryani made with lamb, chicken or vegetables and served with fragrant basmati rice. Satisfy your sweet tooth with double-ka-meetha, a bread pudding.
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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 centre will cleanse what the ocean missed.
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Love garlic? You’ll love the food in Pune. Unlike other cuisines of the... more
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Pune
Love garlic? You’ll love the food in Pune. Unlike other cuisines of the subcontinent, Pune cuisine relies heavily on the aromatic bulb. Soothe your palate with sweets like bhakarwadi, a pastry rolled with coriander, tamarind and sesame seeds, or cool off with a thick milkshake made with dried fruit.
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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 neighbouring 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 travellers, 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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Blossoming bougainvilleas, crumbling cathedrals on leafy boulevards and... more
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Pondicherry
Blossoming bougainvilleas, crumbling cathedrals on leafy boulevards and 18th-century colonial buildings colour the former French colony of Pondy, which sits on the Bay of Bengal. But it's also unmistakably Indian, with colourful festivals throughout the year, several mosques and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Quiet beaches stretch north and south from town, good for swimming and sunrise strolls. Pondy is a popular weekend getaway destination from Chennai and is easy to navigate on foot or by bicycle.
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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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