India is correctly described as a country with ‘unity in diversity’. It would be difficult to find another such country with similar variations in its natural beauty. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, India has beautiful landscapes, lush valleys, and naturally mesmerizing places. These are some of the picturesque locations that one should definitely visit in a lifetime.
Taj Mahal, Agra
“India mein Taj Mahal nahi dekha toh kya dekha!” I don’t recall if anyone actually quoted this, but definitely, if quoted, there’s nothing as true as this. India’s beauty is not complete without mentioning the iconic piece of art- The Taj Mahal. Built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a symbol of love in memory of his third wife? Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is a feature of Mughal architecture. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it attracts around 9 million visitors in a year. Both the tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal is buried in this marble mausoleum.
Commonly known as the ‘Pink City’, Jaipur is also Rajasthan’s desert capital. Back in 1876, during the visit of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, Maharaja Ram Singh painted the entire city pink, a color that represents hospitality. The residents continue the tradition till today. It is difficult to not visit the Amber Fort, the 16th-century hilltop, the City Palace and the Hawa Mahal. The Hawa Mahal is also known as the Palace of Winds which have window-filled high walls that allow royal females to watch the street below yet, stay unseen.
Chand Baori, Abhaneri
A village, situated outside Jaipur, fails to appear on every tourist’s to-visit list. Thus, the beauty of this place remains hidden. The gem that remains hidden in Chand Baori, is a four-sided stepwell of 13 stories having 3,400 perfectly symmetrical terraced steps. The 1,200-year-old stepwell appears to be a treat to the eyes. These stepwells were built before irrigation began to provide water for agriculture to the residents of the arid regions of India.
After Rajasthan’s ‘Pink City’ it’s time for the ‘Blue City’, Jodhpur. Among most of the Instagram users, this place is the most Instagrammable places in India. Well, they aren’t very wrong- this place has a jumble of buildings painted in the brightest shades of blue which empty into bazaars and public squares. The 400 ft high Mehrangarh Fort offers a bird’s-eye view of the entire city.
Nubra Valley, Ladakh
You would need a permit and a well-knowledged guide to reach this cold desert valley situated in remote Ladakh. But the natural beauty is absolutely breathtaking. This is a no vegetation spot due to the very little or no precipitation. There is just one single road of transport that carves its way through the entire valley and for the locals? The Bactrian Camel does its job.
Dal Lake, Kashmir
It is “the jewel in the crown of Kashmir” which has inspired the slow-paced life of some of the Indian cities. Enjoying the scenic beauty seated in a shikara along the water is a landmark feature of this place. Another beauty of this place is the Shalimar Bagh on the right bank of the lake which is also considered one of the finest Mughal gardens in India.
One of the tropical states in South India that is growing in popularity, Kerala has managed to get a wide tourist attraction for its natural beauty. The best of the beauties lie in Munnar, the tea and spice plantation and the Tata Tea Museum, a must for tea-lovers. Another famous beauty of Kerala is its backwaters, a network of lagoons linked by canals fringed with palm trees, stilted villages and rice paddies. The best way to enjoy the backwaters is in a houseboat which moves through the waters making it a completely relaxing journey.
Yumthang Valley, Sikkim
Have you visited the “Valley of flowers”? Not yet? Then you should immediately. As far as natural beauty is concerned, nothing can be better than Yumthang Valley in the valleys of North Sikkim. Trekkers are allowed only in the months of July to September when they can witness the meadows painted with different colors of orchids, rhododendrons, and other native wildflowers. To increase your excitement you might also come across blue sheep or musk deer.
Though exploited by excessive pollution, the Ganges remains a lifeline of Hinduism in India. Varanasi and Haridwar, built along the river's banks serve as a center of pilgrimage where Hindus from all over the world submerge in order to erase their sins. Not very far from Haridwar is Rishikesh considered to be the self-proclaimed Yoga capital of the world.
Also known as The Great Indian Desert, Thar Desert serves as an impenetrable line between India and Pakistan. One will have to visit till Jodhpur or Jaisalmer to experience the shifting sand dunes and the desert culture. During the Desert Festival, one will see Thar women in traditional garb with their great pots of water and other traditions which involve events like turban tying, camel dress-up, performances on folk music.