Main Attractions and Tourist Regions in India
Taj Mahal tours are just one reason to head north, but with the nearby bustling capital of New Delhi, adventure trips to the Himalayan regions of Kashmir (containing treks that are comparable in beauty to neighboring Nepal and Bhutan), the inconceivably attractive region of Rajasthan (a must see), along with the famous golden triangle, India in the north is nothing short of spectacular.
The city of Agra (location of Taj Mahal) isn't worth staying in any longer than the time you have allocated for the precious Taj Mahal, so swiftly move on to the much more appealing Varanasi to the east or New Delhi to the west. Varanasi, a world away from the comforts of home you are probably used to, is the most shocking and overwhelming of Indian cities, predominantly down to its profound spiritual levels.
Head to the very east to the vibrant Kolkata, the hugely populated Indian city where space is scarce and desperation coexists with a thriving intellectual and cultural scene. North from Delhi are tours and treks of Kashmir, offering scintillating hiking trails and picturesque scenery. Hang out with the hippies and meditate, practice yoga or simply brush up on your Buddhist knowledge in the popular retreat of McLeod Ganj (suburb of Dharamshala).
A tour around Rajasthan is top priority. With an array of charming cities and diverse colors, it is essential that you don't miss this experience. Jaipur is the most popular, with its pink walled citadel and its magical lake palace, but for me, Jodhpur (the blue city) steals all the thunder (not just because blue is my favorite color). The vast amount of conjoined blue merges into one miraculous blue facade, best observed from the top of Mehrangarh fort.
From the pink and blue city, head west to Jaisalmer, a desert city made of sandstone with a large fort overlooking the city. Take desert trips and sleep under the starry desert sky while your camel waits to plod you back to your hotel.
Udaipur is next on your tour. The 'romantic city' is the setting for the James Bond film 'Octopussy' and so many of the opulent palaces and grand hotels are instantly recognizable. Udaipur is also home to some fine restaurants and an abundance of great artisan stores. Do not miss the sunrise/sunset on your stay in this Indian gem.
South India holidays are just as wonderful, with options ranging from the cool and thriving metropolis of Mumbai where university culture mixes with fascinating history, the beach holidays and party holidays of Goa where trance pilgrims and luxury resort seekers head and the labyrinth of seductive waterways of Kerala. The appeal in south India lies not only in its landscape but also in its flawless cuisine. It is here, the home of the Dosa, where arguably the best Indian food originates.