I’ve been in India quite a long time and still feel like I haven’t seen enough of it, but I have done some pretty significant exploring in the last two years. I’m going to share the places that I loved the most.
For each place is a link in the title that will take you to a specific post with more information if you’re interested to go to these places.
My 5 Favorite Cities in India
1. Udaipur, Rajasthan
This town is not just my favorite in Rajasthan, but maybe my favorite in all of India. There’s a reason Kings took to this place, “India’s Venice”, and it’s not just the spicy food! The people here may not all be rich, but they sure look it. Jewelry is layered on heavily, eyeliner is drawn on even the youngest of babies and men have huge colorful turbans on with big gold rings adorning their fingers. The lake palace floats out in the distance so you can look at the lights from a rooftop table. There is so much to do: get a massage, volunteer with animals, learn Reiki, learn traditional dance, and ride elephants to the gates of a palace. Take in the culture here, as it’s a pilgrimage spot for Hindus and ceremonies take place at the Ghats every day.
2. Bombay, Maharashtra
Bombay (Mumbai) is wild. That is the best word to describe it. Everywhere you look people full of life and something will surprise you. You don’t just have a “simple” day in Bombay. The streets are packed to the brim, slums are shadowed by skyscrapers, some kids beg while others sleep on the streets, and just as you feel surrounded by poverty a Mercedes goes by. It’s the definition of culture shock. People are friendlier than you’d ever guess and the city is safer than anyone assumes. You might spend two hours in traffic cursing as people honk for no reason then right after, enter a dimly lit quiet restaurant serving 15-dollar cocktails. Nothing makes sense here and that’s why I love it.
3. Anjuna, Goa
Okay, it’s a village not a city but still. If you’ve read this blog more than once you don’t even need the description of Goa, but in case you’re new here: Goa is the beach, the party, and the tropical paradise of India. There are other’s of course, but none is quite like Goa. The hippies ended their long trip across Europe down on these shores and although it’s not the same, people strive for that feeling every day and beach parties rage all night through the sunlight hours. Check out my ebook the Insider’s Guide to Goa. After five years of living here, I’m sure this 170-page book is the most comprehensive guide to Goa on the market. Click here to buy it.
4. Hampi, Karnataka
This small town in Karnataka has recently become a UNESCO world heritage site. There are boulders strewn all over the ground, but how did they get there? There is a river separating the Hindi temples and the Hippie café’s. A tiny boat will take you across each morning. Rent a bike and ride out to the reservoir for cliff jumping and incredible paddy field views. Are their crocodiles? They say yes, but that doesn’t stop the women from washing their clothes in the river.
5. Amritsar, Punjab
When I look back on all my travels, seeing the Golden Temple in Amritsar was something that I didn’t appreciate enough at the time. I hadn’t been in India longer than a few months and didn’t really know until after living here a while how amazing it was. People putting caste aside, free meals for everyone, complete respect and extreme devotion in a place (with serious history) they will let tourists sleep for convenience. Seeing men bathe in the water while women are completely covered on the side chatting to one another not allowed in seemed unfair at the time, but now I understand it more. Volunteers made the entire thing happen. It’s a place I want to go back and learn more about. It’s great that in the same place you can take time to see the Wagah Border ceremony at the Pakistan border.
So there you have my 5 favorite cities in India! (and if you’re curious, check out my 5 favorite cities in the world!)
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