India is hosting this year’s World Tourism Day. And the times have never been this supportive.
As per the reports of 2018, the no. of foreign tourist visits to Indian States/UT showed a comprehensive growth of 7.4% (28.87 million, up from 26.89) annually.
And there has been a steady rise in some of the states recently.
Accordingly, the top ten States which received the maximum number of foreign tourist visits in 2018 were–
Tamil Nadu (6.07million)
Maharashtra (5.08 million)
Uttar Pradesh (3.78 million)
Delhi (2.74 million)
Rajasthan (1.75 million)
West Bengal (1.62 million)
Punjab (1.20 million)
Kerala (1.10 million)
Bihar (1.09 million)
Goa (0.93 million)
In 2017 alone 5.51 million NRIs visited the country on an annual basis.
Let’s explore what makes these places special-
- Tamil Nadu: The land to some of the best Dravidian Architecture and beaches, Tamil Nadu culture is as ancient as it can get.
To add more, this state has been receiving the maximum no. of visitors for the past two years.
September onwards, Coonoor and Courtallam are the best places to visit in the monsoon time.
Coonoor- Dolphin’s nose view point, Sim’s park, Lamb’s Rock, Katary Falls
Courtallam (Kutrallam) – For witnessing the ‘Five falls’. And because it is the spa town of India.
A trip to Kanyakumari, Yercaud, Ooty and Kodaikanal are equally tantalizing as well. All these places make you feel rejuvenated, relaxed and refreshed after a mundane life routine.
Tamil Nadu in monsoons and winter offer an array of festivals, and occasions to rejoice. Major of them are Navatri, Krishnanattam, Kathakali, Brihadeshwara Festival and so on.
You can indulge in vadas, sandal, puttu mayam for relishing your taste buds during the rains.
2. Maharashtra: With a brave history and home to the commercial capital of India, Maharashtra is rightly called the ‘dream city’.
With 5.08 million foreign visitors in the previous year, Maharashtra has ample to enrich your trip.
In monsoons, you can visit a multitude of places to choose from.
Pune turns out to be a major attraction. The reason, it is in close proximity to a number of waterfalls, scenic spots and historical places.
You can opt for Malshej Gha, Kasara Ghat, Tamhini Falls, Lonavala, Harihareshwar, Bhimashankar, Bhandardara and a host of other such places.
Scenic beauty wrapped in green glory of the mountains with added creamy layers of waterfalls. A perfect combination of when nature meets human in full glory.
Ganesh Utsav is celebrated here like no other place. It shadows all other festivals of Maharashtra. Still, Dahi Handi and Nag Panchami are celebrated with a festive demeanor.
Masala Pav, Kanda Poha, Meesal Pav, Keema Pav are one of your best gastronomic companions.
3. Uttar Pradesh: Getting to know Uttar Pradesh starts with Taj Mahal. And Taj needs no introduction. The beauty engraved and inscripted on marble is the main attraction of the state.
Taj Mahal still attracts 35000-60000 people on a regular basis.
At present, Varanasi, Lucknow, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri witness the highest no. of foreign arrivals.
During the fall, you can visit the following places for a rejuvenated you-
Pilibhit: For Tiger Reserve and Natural spots staycation
Allahabad: For getting to know the religious and pre-independent history. And of course, to witness the confluence of the three main rivers of India.
Dudhwa: For its National Park
Varanasi: For one of the oldest Shiva Temple, historical forts (like the Ramgarh Fort and Chunar Fort)
You can gorge on Keema Dum, Galouti Kebab, Allahabad ki Tehri, Baingan k Lonje( Brinjal dish), Aloo Rasedar, Mutton Kofta, Kakori Kebab, Bhindi ka salan and much more in UP.
International Airports serving here are- Lucknow Airport and Varanasi Airport.
4. Delhi: The capital of India has a long history of invasions, famous rules, markets, and mouth-watering food.
Home to 37 world heritage sites, Delhi is a dream destination for travelers. Whether it’s the Humayun Tomb calling from its gazebos, or the proud and tall Qutub Minar, Delhi is an endless experience.
The unparalleled beauty of its exotic gardens like the Lodhi Garden, Mughal Gardens, Garden of Five senses gives a deep sense of satisfaction. Its Deer Park, Japanese Park is equally beautiful to visit.
Experiencing the Sadar Bazar or the Trade fair in Nov makes Delhi a perfect mix of the old and the new.
In Sep, Oct Delhi turns into a crazy festival loving place. From Janmashtami to Diwali, everything and everyone goes into frenzy mode.
You can head for Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, Damdama Lake, Manesar for a treat in the lap of nature. Of course, you can visit Chhatarpur Temples and all of its important monuments as well.
Tasting the good old Samosa, Momos, Kachori, Kebabs and Chaat remain as popular as ever.
5. Rajasthan: The land of the royals, Rajasthan literally means land of the kings.
Rajasthan needs no introduction when it comes to famous places to visit in India.
Famed for its forts and palaces, Rajasthan displays grandeur and royalty.
In monsoons and pre-winter, the entire Rajasthan becomes lively in some of its lesser-travelled places. You can opt for Kumbhalgarh, Pushkar, Narlai, Nagaur and Jhalawar to roam at this time of the year. Additionally, you can also choose Udaipur, Banswara, Mount Abu, Bundi, and Jalore to experience Rajasthan in a different mood sans the desert.
Ashwa Pujan, Teej, Rajasthan International Folk Festival etc. are fine events to witness.
Ghewar, Dal Batti, Choorma, Dal Pakore, Mirchi ke Tapore (Chillie fritters), Kadhi Kachori are some of the best delicacies you can enjoy in monsoon and autumn in Rajasthan.
and get welcomed into the land of royals.
6. West Bengal: The British capital till 1910, Kolkata in West Bengal is what defines West Bengal in all its former glory.
West Bengal has a diverse geographical structure. In the north is the abode of the Himalayas, and the South is the Bay of Bengal with world-famous Mangrove forests.
With an imperial past, West Bengal is home to Indian Renaissance (Bengal Renaissance to be precise) as well.
Majestic churches (like St. Paul’s Cathedral), world-famous temples (Dakshineshwar and Kalighat), colonial buildings in an around Kolkata (Dharamtalla, Shyambazar) makes for most of its monuments and buildings.
You can choose to visit the Coochbehar palace (modelled after the Buckingham Palace), the Bishnupur and Muktomonipur Temples in Bankura District, Nizamat Imambara in Murshidabad, and the Belur Math on the bank of Ganges.
Also, Bakreshwar, Barrackpore, Shantiniketan, Maithan, Bakkhali, and Sonajhuri Forest are equally good to go.
Durga Puja is the first and foremost thing to not miss at this time of the year.
Alur Chop, Ginger Tea, Khichuri, Begun Bhaja (Brinjal fritters), Posto Bara, Ilish Paturi, Shorshe Ilish are some of the best delicacies to satiate your soul in the fall.
7. Punjab: Named after the five rivers which once flew through its lands, Punjab is the birthplace of courageous kings and patriots.
When you land here, the first thing that catches your attention is the greenery. It is the granary state of India and agriculture is still the backbone of its economy.
Famed for its Golden Temple in Amritsar, it attracts a large no. of people globally.
Sheesh Mahal, Kali Temple, Moti Bagh palace, Quila Muabark complex in Patiala mark the spectacular places to visit.
You can also choose to go to Devi Talab Mandir, St. Mary’s Cathedral in Jalandhar.
For forts and museums, Raja Ranjit Singh Memorial in Ludhiana and Lodhi Fort welcomes you to its valorous history.
Aam Khas Bagh in Sirhind is one such place of tourist attraction in Punjab. You can also visit the recently opened Gobindgarh Fort in Amritsar for an enhanced understanding of Indian history.
From Aloo Tikkis, Paneer Tikka, Chhole Bhature, Chicken Tikka, Amritsari Fish delicacy is a must when your stomach calls you.
And taste the beauty of Punjab apart from Sarson ka Saag and Makke ki Roti.
8. Kerala: The land of backwaters and God’s own country. Kerala is painted with an imagination of seas, greenery, and mountains.
Visiting Kerala is like stepping into a fairyland set among the seas, mountains and forests.
To sum up Kerala in a mere paragraph is impossible. Kerala’s list of places to travel in Sep-Oct are as follows-
- Thekaddy – For scenic forest
- Kumarakom – A favorite in the monsoon destinations
- Munnar – Tea Plantation Heaven
- Wayanad & Athirapally – For gorgeous Waterfalls
- Kovalam – An Iconic Beach Destination
- Ashtamudi Lake – For Houseboats and Homestays
- Alappuzha –Backwaters
- Bekal – Coastline beautified with a fort
- Varkala – A Peaceful hamlet
- Periyar River – For national park and river
The festival of Onam is what makes it stand out from the rest of India at this time of the year.
Payasam, Varatti, Kootu Curry, Unniyappam, Pazham Pori, Pazham Narukku, Kalan are some of the treats that you can savour.
and let Kerala grow on you.
9. Bihar: Once the land of intellect and knowledge, Bihar is also the birthplace of Buddhism.
Getting to travel in Bihar means you would be traversing in a lot of historical places.
Additionally, it homes some major pilgrimage hubs of India. You can get to know a lot of India’s past in Bihar.
Traveling in Sep-Oct in Bihar is different and a bit pleasant.
You can opt for Navlakha Palace, Patna, Vaishali, Munger, Nalanda, Buxar Fort, Rajgir and Gaya.
All of these places offer a unique perspective of traveling in India.
Navratri followed by Diwali and Chhatth Pooja are the festive highlights of Bihar in this period.
Tasting Litti Chokha, Kheer Makhana, Chana Ghugni, Khaja and Thekua are some of the mouth-watering snacks to try in Bihar. Rugda mushroom dish is a must-try.
The International airport serving here is Gaya International Airport.
10. Goa: The party capital of India remains in the list of most visited places.
Goa is not only all beaches, sand, and music. It also has a rustic side to it as well. Its peak season starts with the advent of winters. And autumn is the time to get prepared for it.
Get strolling in the Anjuna Flea Market and enjoy the time before the peak season starts.
Chapora Fort and Dudhsagar Falls are one of the best places to visit this time.
For beaches, you can choose Siridao, Sinquerim, Pallilem, Majorda, Butterfly, and Tiger Beach.
Dussehra and Diwali are the major highlights in Sep and Oct.
Choris, Patoleo, Chao and Pakoras, Dried fish are not to miss while in Goa at this time of the year.and get going.
Some interesting facts to make you aware of Indian tourism-
- It is a billion-dollar industry already. In 2015 alone it contributed to $124.8 billion in the Indian economy. Meaning, you can be assured of traveling to a country who is prepared to meet you.
- It is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the world.
- It is expected to grow at an annual rate of 7.3% by the year 2023. This means better tourist infrastructure for you to witness.
- It is on 7th position in the Asia Pacific region in terms of having international tourists. You are more than welcome here.
- It provided 23.5 million jobs in 2015 in India. More jobs clearly mean better ways to serve the industry.
- The Kumbh Mela held in Allahabad (Prayagraj), is one of the most visible gatherings on earth. You can witness it by yourself too.
While India is home to a diverse range of foods, culture, geography and mindset, it is never enough to wrap the soul of India completely in some words.
It takes a whole lot of your psyche to understand what it means to be in India.
Get your travel bags ready because India has started calling. The World Tourism Day falls on the 27th of Sep.