Monday, December 6, 2010

Places to visit in India

It is a country of diverse topographical features, from the legendary Himalayas to the deserts of Rajasthan, the backwaters of Kerala, and the architectural splendours of Taj Mahal and Meenakshi temple.

For a traveller looking to quick travel options, these are two of my favorite must  India visit places for a foreign tourist.

A former Portuguese settlement, Goa has the correct blend of old world Portuguese charms blended with the Indian coastal life. Situated on the West coast of India, Goa offers the ultimate beach experience. The lists of beaches are endless. One must visit the famous yet secluded Dona Paula beach, which draws its name from an old love story, It is where the two rivers of Goa meet the Arabian Sea. Chapora beach on the northern headland is a luxurious retreat in the shadow of an old Portuguese fort, the Chapora fort. Baga beach offers terrific night life as well, with a wide range of eating options and reasonably priced stays in the fishing village alongside the river. Anjuna beach, fringed by swaying coconut palms would be the choice of the yuppie generation, more so for the full moon parties.

Goa is well known for its colourful festivals. You get to see an amalgam of various cultures and religions, in the Hindu festivals of Ganesh Chaturthi , Shigmoutsav and Diwali, as well as the local Feast of Three Kings and San Joao festivals. Christmas time in Goa is packed choc-a-bloc with visitors from all over the world come to experience its exciting and vibrant ambience.

Of course, Goa is synonymous with its famous historic Goa Carnival, a week long festival of parades, song and dance, that has been a major tourist draw for long. The five-day long food festival is an excellent venue to dip into the Goan cuisine.

Goa is well known for its sea-food cuisine too. For those who cannot make it to the food festival, the many stalls and restaurants flanking the beaches offer excellent eating choices. The perfect way to wind down the evenings, are taking the river cruise down to the Sea, to the tune of local song and dance with the backdrop of a beautiful sunset.

The city of lakes, Udaipur, has a great deal to offer. On the historical and architectural front, the palaces, havelis and forts are a must see for every tourist. Udaipur offers plenty of experience to the tourist, with its many temples and museums.

For the outdoor lovers, the four lakes of Udaipur set amidst the deserts of Rajasthan may seem almost a miracle. There are various excursions on offer, to Haldighati, a historical battle site, Chittorgarh which has the famous Chittor fort, the beautifully sculptured Jain temples of Ranakpur and Kumbhagrah fort which has a wildlife sanctuary too.

The Gangaur and Teej festivals and the Mewar festival are unique colourful festive encounters that no traveller is likely to forget. The Shilpagram fair at the craftsmen village is a must visit to take away mementos of this vibrant beautiful place in India.

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