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India

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Simultaneously sprawling and bustling, modern and ancient, India is a country of vibrant contrasts.

From the soaring Himalayas of the north to the palm-fringed beaches of the south, from stately Mughal palaces to colorful Hindu temples, the Indian subcontinent is one of the most diverse places on earth, in every possible way. The scents of spices fill the air, dozens of languages waft through cities, and one of the world’s biggest tech industries comes into its own.

-°C / -°F Indian Rupee English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, Punjabi

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  1. Taj Mahal
    Agra
    1. Taj Mahal
    Agra

    One of the Seven Wonders of the World, this marble mausoleum is the world’s most famous monument to love. An architectural marvel – with its four soaring minarets, delicately inlaid arches, and dramatic symmetry – the Taj Mahal was built in the mid-17th-century by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved late wife, Mumtaz Mahal, next to whom he lies under the central dome. Perched on the banks of the Yamuna river, the monument is surrounded by manicured gardens and a reflecting pool.

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  2. Red Fort
    New Delhi
    2. Red Fort
    New Delhi

    Built as a royal residence in 1648, the Red Fort was commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan, who was known for his grand, theatrical tastes: not only was he the emperor who commissioned the Taj Mahal, but he regularly paraded out of the red sandstone fort atop an elephant onto the streets of Old Delhi. A synthesis of Persian, European, and Indian styles and a symbol of Mughal power, the fort's palatial buildings, majestic pavilions, and elegant gardens are surrounded by a 10-meter-deep moat.

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  3. Khan Market
    New Delhi
    3. Khan Market
    New Delhi

    One of Delhi’s most popular high-end shopping areas, Khan Market is centrally located in one of the greenest pockets of the city, near the Lodi Gardens. From diplomats to robed Tibetan lamas, a diverse clientele shops at Khan Market for everything from clothing to books. The area is also known for its authentic street food, as well as its trendy coffee shops and international restaurants.

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  4. Johari Bazar
    Jaipur
    4. Johari Bazar
    Jaipur

    Jaipur’s most famous bazaar is a labyrinthine marketplace that feels almost unchanged by the contemporary world. Both locals and tourists alike wander its alleys, perusing and haggling at the many tiny stalls selling traditional jewelry, textiles, sweets, and more. Those in search of styles aimed at foreigners should head to Roop Sagar, whose back section sells fabrics and clothes made for international designers.

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  5. Jal Mahal
    Jaipur
    5. Jal Mahal
    Jaipur

    Dawn-colored palace walls reflect from the waters of Mansagar Lake, welcoming visitors to Jal Mahal. Built in the late 18th century, this private pleasure resort of the Jaipur royal family is now an impeccably restored cultural destination. The rooftop garden pavilion offers breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding Nahargarh Hills. The lake and shores have been transformed into a healthy biosphere complete with a thriving wildlife.

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  6. Chowmahalla Palace
    Hyderabad
    6. Chowmahalla Palace
    Hyderabad

    Emblems of a historic ruling family, the four majestic, 18th- and 19th-century palaces that form the Chowmahalla Palace complex honor the legacy of Hyderabad’s great Nizams. Within the awe-inspiring Durban Hall, 19 Belgian crystal chandeliers testify to this city's splendid past, while exhibitions of palace treasures illustrate a vivid legacy. Wander the grounds, filled with bubbling fountains and manicured gardens, and admire architecture based on the Shah’s Palace in Tehran.

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  7. Elephant Island
    Mumbai
    7. Elephant Island
    Mumbai

    The three faces of the holy Hindu icon known as the Mahesamurti statue greets visitors as they enter the northern entrance of the Elephanta Caves. This immense complex of temples and shrines dates back to the fifth century, and is filled with reliefs that illustrate the accomplishments of Lord Shiva. The island is located 10 kilometers from the city, in Mumbai Harbor, and an hour-long boat journey from the Gateway of India.

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  8. Bannerghatta National Park
    Bengaluru
    8. Bannerghatta National Park
    Bengaluru

    Covering more than 100 square kilometers of natural South Indian wilderness, Bannerghatta National Park preserves and protects the subcontinent’s natural splendor just 22 kilometers from Bengaluru city. Embark on a guided safari to witness the likes of elephants and lions in their natural habitats, or visit the Bannerghatta Biological Park, a conservation center within the larger park that houses a zoo, animal rescue center, and safari park.

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  9. Kapaleeshwarar Temple
    Chennai
    9. Kapaleeshwarar Temple
    Chennai

    Tier upon tier of towering vibrant sculptures rise toward the sky on the gopuram, or tower, of one of Chennai’s most iconic temples, dating back to the 7th century. Blue-skinned deities and noble heroes cover every conceivable surface in this notable example of Dravidian architecture. Explore the surrounding Mylapore neighborhood, the oldest part of the city, home to a number of impressive architectural sites and temples, including the Madhava Perumal Temple.

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  10. Kerala Backwaters
    Alappuzha, Kerala
    10. Kerala Backwaters
    Alappuzha, Kerala

    A maze of palm-fringed canals, lakes, rivers, and lagoons, the quiet backwaters of India’s southwesternmost state are the stuff of dreams. Cruise lazily along the water on a traditional wooden houseboat, waving to fishermen and exchanging pleasantries with locals walking along the banks. Marvel at the rare birds soaring overhead, wander across small wooden bridges and between rice paddies and coconut groves, and forget for a moment that the modern world exists.

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