Must see attractions in India

  • Top ChoiceSights in Agra

    Taj Mahal

    Poet Rabindranath Tagore described it as 'a teardrop on the cheek of eternity'; Rudyard Kipling as 'the embodiment of all things pure'; while its creator, Emperor Shah Jahan, said it made 'the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes'. Every year, tourists numbering more than twice the population of Agra pass through its gates to catch a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse of what is widely considered the most beautiful building in the world. Few leave disappointed.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Jaipur

    City Palace

    A complex of courtyards, gardens and buildings, the impressive City Palace is right in the centre of the Old City. The outer wall was built by Jai Singh II, but within it the palace has been enlarged and adapted over the centuries. There are palace buildings from different eras, some dating from the early 20th century. It is a striking blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Amber

    Amber Fort

    This magnificent fort comprises an extensive palace complex, built from pale yellow and pink sandstone, and white marble, and is divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard. It is possible to visit the fortress on elephant-back, but animal welfare groups have criticised the keeping of elephants at Amber because of reports of abuse, and because carrying passengers can cause lasting injuries to the animals.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Konark

    Sun Temple

    Conceived as the cosmic chariot of the sun god Surya, this massive, breathtakingly splendid temple was constructed in the mid-13th century, probably by Odishan king Narashimhadev I to celebrate his military victory over the Muslims. Around the base, seven rearing horses (representing the days of the week) move the stone leviathan on 24 stone cartwheels (representing the hours of the day). The temple was positioned so that dawn light would illuminate the deul (temple sanctuary) interior and the presiding deity.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Thanjavur (Tanjore)

    Brihadishwara Temple

    Come here twice: in the morning, when the honey-hued granite begins to assert its dominance over the white dawn sunshine, and in the evening, when the rocks capture a hot palette of reds, oranges, yellows and pinks on the crowning glory of Chola temple architecture. The World Heritage–listed Brihadishwara Temple was built between 1003 and 1010 by Raja Raja I (‘king of kings’). The outer fortifications were put up by Thanjavur's later Nayak and British regimes.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Amritsar

    Golden Temple

    The legendary Golden Temple is actually just a small part of this huge gurdwara complex, known to Sikhs as Harmandir Sahib. Spiritually, the focus of attention is the tank that surrounds the gleaming central shrine – the Amrit Sarovar, from which Amritsar takes its name, excavated by the fourth Sikh guru, Ram Das, in 1577. Ringed by a marble walkway, the tank is said to have healing powers, and pilgrims come from across the world to bathe in its sacred waters.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Greater Delhi & Gurgaon (Gurugram)

    Mehrauli Archaeological Park

    There are extraordinary riches scattered around Mehrauli, with more than 440 monuments – from the 10th century to the British era – dotting a forest and the village itself behind the forest. In the forest, most impressive are the time-ravaged tombs of Balban and Quli Khan, his son, and the Jamali Khamali mosque, attached to the tomb of the Sufi poet Jamali. To the west is the 16th-century Rajon ki Baoli, Delhi's finest step-well.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh

    Kanha Tiger Reserve

    Madhya Pradesh is the king of the jungle when it comes to tiger parks, and Kanha is its most famous. The forests are vast, and while your chances of seeing a tiger are probably slimmer than at nearby Bandhavgarh, this is still one of India's best parks for sightings. The sal forests and vast meadows are home to approximately 125 tigers and 100 leopards.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh

    Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

    If your only reason for visiting a tiger reserve in India is to see a tiger, look no further. A couple of days at Bandhavgarh should net you a tiger sighting. India's 2014 tiger census counted 68 tigers here, the great majority of them in the 453-sq-km Bandhavgarh National Park, which forms part of the reserve's core zone. The main base for visits is the small, laid-back village of Tala, 32km northeast of Umaria, the nearest train station.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Old Delhi (Shahjahanabad)

    Red Fort

    Founded by Emperor Shah Jahan and surrounded by a magnificent 18m-high wall, this fort took 10 years to construct (1638–48) and is rumoured to have had the decapitated bodies of prisoners built into the foundations for luck. It once overlooked the Yamuna River, which has now shrunk to some distance away. A tree-lined waterway, known as nahr-i-bihisht (river of paradise), once ran out of the fort and along Chandni Chowk, fed by the Yamuna.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ellora

    Kailasa Temple

    One of India’s greatest monuments, this astonishing temple, carved from solid rock, was built by King Krishna I in AD 760 to represent Mt Kailasa (Kailash), Shiva’s Himalayan abode. To say that the assignment was daring would be an understatement. Three huge trenches were bored into the sheer cliff face, a process that entailed removing 200,000 tonnes of rock by hammer and chisel, before the temple could begin to take shape and its remarkable sculptural decoration could be added.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Bodhgaya

    Mahabodhi Temple

    The magnificent Unesco World Heritage-listed Mahabodhi Temple, marking the hallowed ground where Buddha attained enlightenment and formulated his philosophy, forms the spiritual heart of Bodhgaya. Topped by a 50m pyramidal spire, the inner sanctum of the ornate structure houses a 10th-century, 2m-high gilded image of a seated Buddha. Amazingly, four of the original sculpted stone railings surrounding the temple, dating from the Sunga period (184–72 BC), have survived amid the replicas. Cellphones are not allowed within the temple complex.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Sunder Nagar, Nizamuddin & Lodi Colony

    Humayun’s Tomb

    Humayun’s tomb is sublimely well proportioned, seeming to float above its symmetrical gardens. It's thought to have inspired the Taj Mahal, which it predates by 60 years. Constructed for the Mughal emperor in the mid-16th century by Haji Begum, Humayun's Persian-born wife, the tomb marries Persian and Mughal elements. The arched facade is inlaid with bands of white marble and red sandstone, and the building follows strict rules of Islamic geometry, with an emphasis on the number eight.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Old Delhi (Shahjahanabad)

    Jama Masjid

    A beautiful pocket of calm at the heart of Old Delhi's mayhem, the capital's largest mosque is built on a 10m elevation. It can hold a mind-blowing 25,000 people. The marble and red-sandstone structure, known also as the ‘Friday Mosque’, was Shah Jahan’s final architectural triumph, built between 1644 and 1658. The four watchtowers were used for security. There are two minarets standing 40m high, one of which can be climbed for amazing views.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Varanasi

    Manikarnika Ghat

    Manikarnika Ghat, the main burning ghat, is the most auspicious place for a Hindu to be cremated. Dead bodies are handled by outcasts known as doms, and are carried through the alleyways of the old town to the holy Ganges on a bamboo stretcher, swathed in cloth. The corpse is doused in the Ganges prior to cremation.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Kolkata (Calcutta)

    Victoria Memorial

    The incredible Victoria Memorial is a vast, beautifully proportioned festival of white marble: think US Capitol meets Taj Mahal. Had it been built for a beautiful Indian princess rather than a colonial queen, this domed beauty flanking the southern end of the Maidan would surely be considered one of India’s greatest buildings. Commissioned by Lord Curzon, then Viceroy of India, it was designed to commemorate Queen Victoria’s demise in 1901, but construction wasn’t completed until 20 years after her death.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Khajuraho

    Lakshmana Temple

    The large Lakshmana Temple took 20 years to build and was completed in about AD 954 during the reign of Dhanga, according to an inscription in its mandapa (pillared front pavilion). It’s arguably the best preserved of all the Khajuraho temples. On the southern side of its base are some of Khajuraho's most orgiastic carvings, including one gentleman and a horse, with a shocked figure peeping out from behind her hands.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Sunder Nagar, Nizamuddin & Lodi Colony

    Hazrat Nizam-ud-din Dargah

    Visiting the marble shrine of Muslim Sufi saint Nizam-ud-din Auliya is Delhi's most mystical, magical experience. The dargah is hidden away in a tangle of bazaars selling rose petals, attars (perfumes) and offerings, and on some evenings you can hear the qawwali (Sufi devotional singing), amid crowds of devotees. The ascetic Nizam-ud-din died in 1325 at the ripe old age of 92. His doctrine of tolerance made him popular not only with Muslims, but with adherents of other faiths, too.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Kolkata (Calcutta)

    Botanical Gardens

    Despite being an awkward journey by public transport, Kolkata’s lovely 109-hectare Botanical Gardens makes for a great place to escape from the city’s frazzling sounds and smells. Founded in 1786, the gardens – home to more than 12,000 plant species – played an important role in cultivating tea bushes smuggled in from China by the British, long before the drink became a household commodity. Today, there’s a cactus house, palm collection, river-overlook and a boating lake with splendid Giant Water Lily pads.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Chandigarh

    Nek Chand Rock Garden

    Chandigarh's Rock Garden is unique: it's the surreal fantasy of the much-missed Nek Chand (1924–2015), a local transport official who, starting in 1957, spent almost 20 years personally creating more than 2000 sculptures using stones, debris and other discarded junk that was left over from the 50-odd villages destroyed in order to build the city of Chandigarh. Today, entering this fantastical, 7-hectare (18-acre) sculpture garden is like falling down a rabbit hole into the labyrinthine interior of one man’s imagination.