|Visit the Taj Mahal at sun rise
Itâ€™s something to visit the iconic Taj Mahal at the best of times; but watching as the sun rises over this spectacular marble palace will be an experience youâ€™ll never forget. Built by the emperor Shah Jahan to honour the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, the Taj Mahal took a staggering 22 years to complete, using the labour of 20,000 men, and is estimated to have cost around 3 million rupees (or $70 million). This major highlight is well worth experiencing in person!
|See a Bengal tiger in the wild
With just 2,500 left throughout Asia, itâ€™s a rare opportunity to see a Bengal tiger in the wild. To witness this mighty predator displaying natural behavior in its home environment is a truly memorable experience. Visit Ranthambore National Park and see for yourselves not only these magnificent animals, but also leopards, crocodiles and many different species of birds.
|Stare up at the towering Meenakshi temple
While visiting Madurai, donâ€™t miss out on paying a visit to the historic Hindu temple located in the southern bank of river Vaigai. The famous temple forms the heart and history of the 2500 year old city. With a total of 14 gateway towers (known as gopurams) and around 33,000 sculptures inside the temple, itâ€™s a significant symbol for the Tamil people, attracting around 15,000 visitors a day (thatâ€™s approx 60 million a year!). Itâ€™s no surprise then that it has been nominated as one of the top 30 New Seven Wonders of the World.
|Travel through Kerala on a houseboat
The locals call it â€˜Godâ€™s own countryâ€™ and youâ€™ll understand exactly why when you arrive in Kerala. Cruising on a traditional houseboat, journey through tranquil backwaters, searching for wildlife, and stopping off to visit tea and spice plantations. And thatâ€™s all before you reach the spectacular sandy beachesâ€¦
|Explore the Pink City of Jaipur
As the largest city in Rajasthan, Jaipur forms part of the Golden Triangle (along with Delhi and Agra). Highlights include the Hawa Mahal Palace, Nahargarh Fort, and Jantar Mantar â€“ a well-known world heritage site. In 1876, Maharaja Ram Singh had the entire old city painted pink, a colour associated with hospitality. Hang around for sunset and youâ€™ll see why itâ€™s known as the â€˜Pink Cityâ€™ (the buildings bask in a magical pink and gold glow).
|Visit the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Keoladeo National Park
Known as one of the finest bird parks in the world, the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Keoladeo National Park plays host to thousands of birds, including 230 different species. It was declared a protected sanctuary in 1971, a national park in 1982, and is now a World Heritage Site. Unlike Indiaâ€™s other parks, Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary is the only habitat created by a maharaja.
|Admire the Golden Temple in Amritsar
No visit to Amritsar would be complete without seeing the Golden Temple. Known locally as the Harmandir Sahib, itâ€™s the holiest shrine in Sikhism. Itâ€™s great spiritual meaning also makes it hugely popular with curious tourists from around the world. In fact, Frommer's rates the Golden Temple "the most tangibly spiritual place in the country." The Golden Temple remains fully alive with religious fervor and sacredness, and visitors are welcomed to join in the experience.
|Take a boat ride on the Ganges at sunrise at Varanasi
A moving, yet unforgettable experience, witness the burial ceremonies at the ghats of Varanasi, and drift past the timeless landscapes of the sacred Ganges by traditional sail boat. This is an incredible journey to the city of lights, and a chance to view life from the mythological side of Ganges, discovering the less known aspects of this age old city and legends behind it.
|Lose yourself in the Maharajaâ€™s Palace in Mysore
The sight of the Mysore Palace illuminated against the dark black sky by 97,000 light bulbs is a sight you will never forget! This enchanting Palace, situated in the middle of the city, is a reminder of the grandeur of a bygone era. Today itâ€™s an invaluable national treasure, home to the royal family of Mysore (the Wodeyars). With more than 2.7 million visitors a year, Mysore Palace is one of Indiaâ€™s greatest attractions for visitors to the country.
|Discover the desert city of Jaisalmer
The best way to explore Jaisalmer is on foot. Visit the Gadi Sagar Tank, Jaisalmer Folklore Museum. Also well-worth a visit are the fort (a lively hub of activity, with shops and restaurants) and the many elaborately carved Jain Temples and havelis including the Patwon-ki Haveli - considered to be the finest in Jaisalmer. Set in the vast Thar Desert, the city still retains much of the medieval atmosphere as camel carts pass through the narrow streets alongside rickshaws. Famous for handicrafts (including stone carvings, leather ware and brass items) the bazaars team with stalls offering almost everything you can imagine.
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