Best Cities to Visit In India (10 Cities to Mark on Your Map)

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India is a massive country with 28 states, covering a subcontinental region with amazing diversity.

Given the size and diversity of India, one of the best ways to experience the people and places of India is by visiting its cities.

Whether you’re backpacking, looking for a city break, or enjoying a private tour, here are 10 of the best cities in India to visit!

10 Best Cities to Visit In India

These must-see destinations offer a taste of what India is really about.

You’ll enjoy outstanding natural beauty, historic palaces, and a hospitable and vibrant culture that goes back millennia.

Here are the best cities to visit if you’re keen to explore India:

10. Kolkata

Kolkata’s numerous colorful festivals have earned it the name ‘City of Joy’! It is culturally and socially diverse with amazing art and cultural sites.

Highlights of a visit to Kolkata include the iconic Howrah Bridge and Fort William, a magnificent landmark built by the British as an administrative palace. 

9. Chennai

Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu, and the birthplace of Tamil, one of the world’s most ancient classical languages.

This southern Indian gem is known for its music and culture, in particular, Indian classical music, with the Chennai Music Season every December. 

8. Jaipur

India’s ‘Pink City’ is truly a palatial city. The capital of the royal state of Rajasthan has been a seat of Maharajas for centuries and is known for its fine craftsmanship of jewelry, fabric, and clothing.

It is an impressive city for touring with outstanding examples of Indian forts, gardens, and palaces. 

7. Amritsar

Amritsar is the heartland of Punjabi culture and, of course, is the location of the Golden Temple, the center of the Sikh religion.

Apart from Sikh pilgrims, you’ll find this city filled with amazing food, and great shopping.

6. Jodhpur

Jodhpur in the Thar Desert is known as the Blue City of Rajasthan, due to the striking blue shade of so many of the buildings.

You can see impressive sites like the artifact-filled Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada, and the impressive Jaswant Thada.

5. Bangalore

Bangalore is the ‘Silicon Valley’ of India and has a global reputation for its advanced infrastructure and digital economy.

In this bright, ethnically diverse metropolis, you’ll see contemporary culture and architecture and some beautiful older and traditional buildings.

Highlights of Bangalore include the Nandi Hills, Bannerghatta National Park, Innovative Film City, and Bangalore Palace.

4. Hyderabad

Hyderabad is another southern Indian gem and capital of southern India’s Telangana state. It is ideal for a luxury break as it has many beautiful stores, restaurants, and jewelers.

Be sure to check out the ancient gemstone trading center of Golconda Fort, take in the aromas and flavors of the Gachibowli, or explore the historic Laad Bazaar.

3. New Delhi 

A trip to India’s capital brings you close to the impressive administrative buildings of India’s Government, including the Supreme Court, Rashtrapati Bhavan, and the Sansad Bhavan.

There are many exquisite gardens like Nehru Park, the Lodhi Garden, and Nehru Park, as well as museums like the National Crafts Museum, and the National Rail Museum. 

2. Agra 

Agra in Uttar Pradesh is best known for the Taj Mahal, the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site and symbol of love.

Other sites in this famous city include the Agra Fort with its impressive illuminations and sound show explaining Mughal history. 

1. Mumbai

Mumbai is a must for anyone who wants to experience the very best of Indian urban living. It has some cool hangouts like Marine Drive, which is the place to people-watch in the evening.

For Bollywood lovers, Mumbai is the heartland of Indian film, so be sure to visit FilmCity to get close to the movie action.

You can learn more about where to visit Mumbai in my article: Best Places to Visit in Mumbai (My Top 10 Picks).

India’s best cities to visit FAQs

Which is the No. 1 beautiful city in India?

For me, India’s most beautiful city has to be Darjeeling, previously a resort of the British Raj, which continues to be known for the fragrant black tea cultivated on its mountain slopes.

You’ll be unprepared for the outstanding natural beauty of this city, which boasts numerous botanical gardens and tea plantations that you can tour.

A highlight of travel to Darjeeling is the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a delightful narrow-gauge railway that winds its way around the slopes of the magnificent Mt. Kanchenjunga.

Which is the No. 1 tourist place in India?

India’s number one tourist place is undoubtedly the Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh.

This world-famous white marble mausoleum is a  UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts over 8 million visitors each year.

This landmark is forever associated with love because it is the tomb of the wife of Shah Jahan, a Mughal emperor who ruled in the 17th century. 

Which city is best to explore in India?

Explorers will find plenty to see and do in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It has a pretty large international population and many areas that can be safely roamed.

As the home of Bollywood, you’ll find many great film locations and lots of interesting exhibits and infrastructure related to India’s film industry.

What are the 3 most important cities in India?

India’s most important cities are New Delhi (the Capital), Mumbai (home of Bollywood), and  Bangalore (the home of technology and commerce).

These well-known Indian cities are economic powerhouses and lead in terms of geographical size, population, and GDP. 

Which is the cleanest city in India?

For several years, the city of Indore in Madhya Pradesh has been awarded the title of India’s cleanest city.

This populous metropolis has some of India’ most advanced waste management infrastructure, collecting, sorting, and processing over 1,900 tonnes of waste each day

The city’s army of municipal sanitation workers known as ‘safai mitras‘ (sanitation workers) work hard to keep waste under control, with clean streets and collection points for residents. 

What is the safest city to visit in India?

Crime stats from India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) indicate that Kolkata in West Bengal is the safest city in India.

It not only has a lower crime rate but also less violence against women, making it one of India’s safest cities for women.

Which is the richest city in India?

Mumbai is India’s richest city and one of the world’s wealthiest, with a net worth of over $1 trillion.

It is home to the nation’s wealthiest people including 48 billionaires, 46,000 millionaires, and many Bollywood movie stars.  

Which city has the most crime in India?

The capital of Delhi has India’s highest crime rate with high rates of kidnapping and robbery. This makes it unsafe to travel alone especially if you are a woman. 

Rounding up

India has some of the world’s most amazing cities, with an intriguing combination of history, culture, and color.

These vibrant world cities are set to grow and grow as India takes its place as a global economic powerhouse and will definitely become a bucket list destination for an increasing number of adventurers. 

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