With a rich cultural legacy and inimitable historical wealth, India remains the most fascinating and enigmatic holiday destination for travellers around the world. Visit some of the country’s old cities to learn about it all.
Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh
Also known as Saketa, Ayodhya is one of the most ancient cities in India. The birthplace of Lord Rama, this beautiful city is a fascinating melting pot of different religions and customs prevailing in the country. Ram Janmabhoomi, Hanumangarhi and Kanak Bhawan Temple are few of the prominent temples in the city. Ram Lila (the enactment of the story of Lord Rama) and Ram Navami Mela are among the popular fairs and festivals celebrated here. Make sure you try the famous Indian delicacy Paan (a preparation combining betel leaf with areca nut) in the city.
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Renowned as the spiritual capital of India, Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in the world. Originally built during 11th century B.C., this sacred city on the banks of River Ganges is famed for its ancient shrines and age-old buildings. Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Manikarnika Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat and Chaukhandi Stupa are some of the popular attractions in the city. Chena Dahi Vada (bhallas prepared with lentil), Malaiyyo (sweetened milk and saffron dessert), Thandai (Indian cold drink prepared with a mixture of elements and sugar) and Lassi (yogurt-based drink) are among the must try drinks and delicacies here.
Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
Nestled beside the Kshipra River in Madhya Pradesh, Ujjain is a popular Hindu pilgrimage site in India. Famed for its centuries old Mahakaleshwar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, the city has been long been a cultural and literary hub for poets and saints.
Ram Ghat, Kal Bhairav Temple, Harsiddhi Temple and Vedh Shala are among the popular temples and attractions in the city. Pachmarhi Utsav, Lokrang Samaroh, Malwa Utsav, Maha Shivratri Festival and Tansen Music Festival are some of the most celebrated festivals in Ujjain.
Madurai, Tamil Nadu
Well-known for its spectacular gopurams (gateway towers) and colourful temples, Madurai is much popular with travellers holidaying in South India. Featuring some of the ancient Dravidian style structures and traditional buildings, the city is a classic example of India’s rich royal legacy. With beautiful paintings and fascinating carvings temples such as Meenakshi Amman Temple, Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal, Koodal Azhagar Temple and Alagar Koyil are some of the top spots to hit. Jallikattu (bull taming), Chithirai Festival, Avanimoolam Festival and Pongal are among the biggest celebrations in the city.
Home to around dozens of ghats and several pilgrimage sites, Pushkar remains a terrific travel destination in India.Situated in the state of Rajasthan, it is home to some really old temples and historic structures. Brahma Temple, Pushkar Lake and Savitri Mata Temple are few of the top attractions in the city.
An annual livestock fest and cultural festival, Pushkar Fair is one of the most celebrated events in the city.Malpua (pancake served as a dessert) and Dal Bati Churma (boiled lentils, wheat rolled into dough, either fried or baked and crushed wheat with ghee and sugar) are among the must try dishes in Pushkar.
Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
Home to the popular 11th century Brihadeeswarar Temple built during the Chola Dynasty (one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the history of South India), Thanjavur is a charming Indian city.
Situated in the state of Tamil Nadu, it is home to some of the oldest temples, gopurams, mandapas and other ancient structures. Royal Palace Museum, Great Living Chola Temples, Thanjavur Maratha Palace and Aiyarappar Temple are few of the well known attractions in the city. Featuring the centuries-old Saraswathi Mahal Library, Thanjavur Maratha Palace is among the most popular sites here. While you are here, make sure you try out the famous Thavala Adai (dosa cooked with a powder made out of Raw Rice, Boiled rice, Bengal Gram Dhal/Kadalai Paruppu and pulses) with rasam (tamarind juice).
Famed for its opulent temples and magnificent palaces, Mysore is another Indian city that enamours tourists in South India. Located in the state of Karnataka, the city is packed with beautiful attractions and interesting things to do. Featuring a collection of paintings, artefacts and interesting carvings, Jaganmohan Palace is one must visit sites in the city. Chamundeshwari Temple, Mysuru Sand Sculpture Museum, Folk Lore Museum, Melody World Wax Museum, Regional Museum of Natural History and Gun House are among the top sightseeing spots in Mysore. A popular 10-day festival held annually, Mysore Dasara is one of the most celebrated events in the city. If you are an animal lover, you’d be much interested in visiting the famous Mysore Zoo.
Also known as the ‘Land of Bhagwad Gita’ (a highly revered 700-verse Hindu scripture in Sanskrit), Kurukshetra is in the state of Haryana and is renowned for its magnificent structures, forts, palaces and other interesting attractions. Besides the Mahabharata battleground, Brahma Sarovar, Sheikh Chilli’s Tomb, Sannihit Sarovar, Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple and Dharohar Museum are few of the top spots to hit in the city.