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Thursday
Aug242017

Top 5 Places To Visit In  India

No two regions are the same and the extent to the cultural, religious and philosophical history of this civilisation is difficult to match! Although difficult to condense, we’ve picked 5 places in India that are fundamental to any backpacking-itinerary for travellers touring this captivating country! 


Kumarakom

Flickr | Ashwin KumarOne of South India’s finest destinations is sited on the shores of Kerala’s largest lake, Vembanad. Visitors to India’s southernmost state are compelled to relish in the world’s most enchanting waterscapes of Kumarakom, meander through the mesmerising backwaters and sojourn in the serenity of the islands composing this unhurried backwater village. Kerala ranks as one of ’50 destinations of a lifetime and the ‘kettuvallams’ (Kerala Houseboats), originally grain barges, are a primary source for tourist attraction. Glide across the still, blue expanses or enjoy an experience in traditional Keralan fishing! Nearby, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary acquaints visitors to 14 green acres frequented by migratory birds from all origins – call in on this ornithological paradise to encounter everything from the Siberian crane to the native kingfisher! 

Lakshadweep Islands

Flickr | Jennifer Located 400km off India’s west coast in the Arabian Sea but proving that Kerala is indeed God’s own country; Lakshadweep is a hidden treasure that shares a submarine mountain range with the Maldives! Offering endless snorkelling opportunities in the shallow lagoons of these 36 mostly uninhabited islands, the tropical waters are home to copious marine dwellers amongst miles of untouched coral reefs. Lakshadweep is accessed from major port city, Kochi and requires a special permit – but once obtained each exquisite and heavily protected island offer visitors a different tourist charm: from diving to relaxation to biodiversity. The must-see Ujra mosque resides in the capital of Lakshadweep, Kavaratti which is the most developed island and a major tourist abode!

Kaziranga National Park

Flickr | Malcolm WilliamsThis UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in Assam in north-eastern India, on the edge of the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity spot.  Crossed by India’s 4 major rivers, the Kaziranga National Park is a breeding ground for elephants, water buffalo and swamp deer as the terrain is largely tropical rainforest and alluvial grasslands. Indian Rhinoceroses are a vulnerable species that are endemic to these Indo-Gangetic plains but only 3000 remain in the wild (2000 in Kaziranga National Park) due to excessive hunting! Holding the highest density of Bengal tigers and two thirds of one-horned rhinoceroses, the reserve was granted maximum protection under conservation law to enforce maximum punishment on poachers. The best season to visit Kaziranga National Park is between November and April to avoid the monsoon rains and guarantee the best sightings!

Varanasi

Flickr | Juan Antonio SegalAlso known as Benares, this ‘spiritual capital of India’ has been termed the ‘India of the imagination’ being home to the finest silks, the longest river in India and most popular pilgrimage site to Hindus. Sunrise or sunset over the River Ganga is one of India’s most spectacular sights and with over 60,000 devotees descending on the sacred waters daily, dusk and dawn are best witnessed on the popular boat journey between the Dasaswamedh and Manikarnika Ghats. Tourist attractions are few in this holy city but forts, temples and Asia’s largest residential university, the Banaras Hindu University or the ‘Oxford of the East’ cannot be missed. The city of Varanasi comprises of ancient alleys, winding waters and dated settlements that create an existential spectacle to theists and atheists alike!

Ladakh

Flickr | Patrik M. LoeffLadakh in India’s northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir with its dramatic topography and striking scenery is our final recommendation. Centred between the Karakoram and Himalayan mountain ranges, you’re never short of an adventure sport while exploring the peaks, precipices and plateaus of this desert terrain! Marvel at the soaring Leh Palace, roam the remarkable gompas (Tibetan Buddhist monasteries), and amble through the local markets at Leh. A visit to Ladakh is incomplete without encountering the immense blue Pangong Lake (Tibetan for ‘high grassland lake’), a shimmering ecological wonder shared with China. Accessibility in Ladakh involves tortuous high passes – fortunately disabled during snow seasons – as the world’s once highest motorable pass, the Khardung La remains true to its former title, located at 17,582ft!

That concludes our 5 top places to visit in India – spanning across the mainland, Himalayan and coastal regions of India as well as the island territories, where will you visit first? Let us know in the comments!

By Anaka Nair - Online Journalism Intern

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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