A trip to India is filled with promises of beautiful landscapes, rich culture and heritage, and great diversity. Each state in the country has so much to offer that your itinerary may not be able to encompass all of it. So here are the 5 states you absolutely must visit when you’re here. It may not be a lot but it’s enough to summon you back.
The first state on this list is Madhya Pradesh. If the Incredible India advertisement for the state wasn’t enough to have you go there, I hope this article is impetus enough. Located at the heart of the country, MP (as it’s conveniently called) is filled with gorgeous heritage structures.
With hot summers and cool winters, the state offers a very comfortable climate to travel in.
Known for its vast reservoir of flora and fauna, MP is home to 9 national parks and records the highest population of tigers in the state. Some of the popular parks are Kanha National Park, Bandhavgarh National Park, and Sanjay National Park.
MP also is home to a sizeable tribal population. You could visit districts like Mandla and Jhabua to mingle with the tribal population and get a flavor of the tribal way of living.
An absolute must-visit is Khajuraho. The temples of Khajuraho are famous world over and are known for their magnificent erotic sculptures. Once inside the temples compound, you are transported to a different world altogether.
Another point of interest is the Buddhist temples at Sanchi. Famous world over and significant to all Buddhist pilgrims, the Sanchi stupas are emblematic of the tranquility and peace the Buddhist philosophy preaches so well.
Probably one of the most industrialized states in the country, with superfast economic growth, Gujarat is located on the western coast of India. It is steeped in India’s modern history, with the Dandi March led by Mahatma Gandhi. Besides its role in independence, Gujarat is also an extremely vibrant state.
Celebration, cuisine, and clothes are the three reasons why you need to go to Gujarat. If you go during the Navratri time (9 days festival celebrated in honor of the goddess Durga), you are going to see Gujarat in its liveliest form. People in the state celebrate the festival with the folk tradition of Garba where they dance to folk songs in the brightest, most colorful and gorgeous folk dresses.
Gujarati food is an absolute relish. Simple, light, and delightful, traditional Gujarati food is a superb treat for your taste buds with a great balance of sweet and salty.
Ahmedabad is a must-visit. You could see the campus of the mighty and majestic IIM-A. You could also shop here for gorgeous, traditional, Gujarati clothes. Loads of color, lots of mirrored work, and batik prints – it’s a great place to take away a little something of Gujarat back with you.
Gujarat is also home to a number of national parks, therefore those looking for a bit of flora and fauna can find it right here. The Gir Forest National Park is the only place where you can find Asiatic Lions in their natural habitat!
Sabarmati Ashram is a must-visit for all those who want to learn more about Mahatma Gandhi’s life. While there are a number of museums dedicated to Gandhi, Sabarmati Ashram is like none other.
Gujarat stands out for me simply because its culture is so unique. That’s something you definitely will want to experience.
This state is exactly like you see it in the typical Bollywood movies – sprawling acres of mustard fields, the typical Punjabi villages – it’s all the same. The best thing about the state is its people – loud, extremely warm and welcoming, and fully entertaining. Rooted in folk culture, Punjab is an enchanting experience.
Located in the north-west part of India, Punjab is recognized as producing the largest number of soldiers in the Indian army. It’s rooted in India’s struggle for independence and comes with its own stories of struggle and patriotism.
Amritsar is an absolute must-visit for the magnificent Golden Temple and the Jallianwala Bagh. Chandigarh, the capital of the state, is a fairly modern city and extremely well-planned.
You can visit the more remote parts of the state to experience the true Punjabi culture with folk dances and music.
Since agriculture is the main occupation in the state, a trip to the countryside offers you a beautiful sight of acres of fields spread out in either direction.
One excellent reason to go to Punjab is the cuisine. Everywhere in the state, you’ll find delightful food. Fish tikka and chicken tandoori are absolute must-try dishes. A hearty Punjabi meal is an experience itself, a memorable one that will leave you extremely satisfied.
While all the states in the north-east part of the country are worth a trip, I’m going to narrow it down to Meghalaya. The state’s a hilly strip and is known for its large Khasia, Jaintia, and Garo populations.
The state is home to great biodiversity – plants, animals, birds, and forests. It is also home to large tribal groups. So for all those interested in a little bit of tribal life, A visit to tribal-dominated districts in the state is a must.
The state is also known for its breath-taking waterfalls. Some popular ones are the Elephant Falls, the Bishop falls, and the must-see Nohkalikai Falls.
Shillong, the capital, contains every reason to visit Meghalaya. It’s known as the cultural hub of the North-East and is famous for its amazing music scene. You have bands performing in different parts of the city. Once here, you have to listen to the famous and grand Shillong choir. They’re mesmerizing!
Once here, you have to try the momos because they’re just jaw-dropping yum!
Shillong is also perfect for camping. The Shillong Peak is extremely high and makes for a delightful trek for all those who like to rough it out.
If you’re looking to escape from the hustle-bustle of the city and find some peace, Meghalaya is the state to be in. What acts as the perfect icing on the cake is that the people here are extremely sweet and welcoming.
This state in the north-western part of the country is a gorgeous state. Unique in itself, it is rooted in a great cultural heritage. With cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, and Udaipur to visit, the state is ideal for a holiday spot.
It offers a varied landscape with both hills and the desert. Jaisalmer is perfect to explore the deserts, especially on camel rides. Udaipur is home to gorgeous palaces and beautiful lakes. It’s also steeped in Rajput history, so you’re bound to be overwhelmed by the royalty that the city is enveloped in. Jaipur is a great place to shop for traditional Rajasthani prints known as bandini and some amazing jewelry both silver and junk. Ajmer is a great place to connect with your spiritual side.
What’s gorgeous about Rajasthan is its folk culture- it’s vibrant and colorful. Rajasthan is also home to some brilliant folk musicians, so when you visit, you must attend a concert. Rajasthani food also makes for a wonderful cuisine, so that’s definitely something you need to try.
The state also houses extremely famous national parks such as Ranthambore, Sariska, and the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.
Visit the forts and carved havelis in the state and rewind to the rich Rajput dynasty.
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