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Most Beautiful Cities Of India

India is a captivating tapestry of vibrant traditions and cultures, mind-blowingly diverse landscapes, overwhelming rituals and celebrations, and mind-numbingly beautiful architecture. A nation of astonishing tales and tunes, India has allured wanderers to its mystical lands for decades. 

Whether it’s the bustling streets of Mumbai, the palm-fringed beaches of Goa, or the ghats of Varanasi, India has something for everyone.

While some cities attract visitors with their high-rise IT towers and posh wine-and-dine parties, others captivate your heart through their charming homestays and toothless grannies narrating stories of yesteryears while they serve you some steaming dumplings and chai

This comprehensive guide offers a glimpse into India’s 10 most beautiful cities and tells you everything you need to know for an effortless holiday.


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1. Jaipur



No better city to kick start this article with than JAIPUR – the crown jewel of RAJASTHAN, one of the most beautiful cities in India, it also has a popular title of – the Pink City. 

Named after its founder, Sawai Jai Singh II, this charming city was established in the 18th century and has been characterized ever since by its Rajput heritage and affluent history. 

From its bustling bazaars to larger-than-life celebrations, Jaipur tugs at you from the get-go. And, the culinary marvels of the city such as Laal Maas (red mat curry) and Ghewar (sweet fried disc) are a sensory explosion. 

Must-see: Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Jaigarh Fort, Johri Bazaar, and Bapu Bazaar

Best time to visit: October to March

Recommended Experiences

  • Elephant Festival in March when hundreds of elephants adorned with colorful decorations can be seen racing, playing elephant polo, and tug-o-war.
  • If you are a literature buff, the Jaipur Literature Festival in January each year is where the who’s who of the literary world gathers. 
  • You can also experience the Kite Festival (January 14th), Holi (dates vary but usually in March), Teej (dates vary but usually in July-August), and Diwali (dates vary but usually in October-November).

2. Varanasi (also known as Benaras)



Mark Twain defined Varanasi as “older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend” and rightly so! Referred to as Kashi in the Rig Veda, the city is about as holy as it gets. In the land of Gods, Varanasi, souls come to attain moksha (salvation). 

The holiest city in Hinduism, Varanasi dates back to 1800 BC and is apparently among the oldest continually inhabited places in the world. Every nook and cranny of this city steeps a spiritual atmosphere. 

But, that’s not all! Located in the north-eastern part of India, Varanasi is also known for some of the most unique dishes in the country – Kachori (fried stuffed bread, a popular breakfast choice), Aloo Tikki (potato patty), and the 70-year-old Blue Lassi shop serving over 100 varieties of lassi (a sweet or savory drink made by churning yogurt or buttermilk with added water and flavors).

Must-see: The Ghats (Embankments of the river Ganges), Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Manikarnika Ghat, Sarnath, and Ramnagar Fort.

Best time to visit: October to March

Recommended Experiences

  • Sunrise boat ride across the river Ganges
  • Evening aarti ceremony (traditional Indian prayer ceremony) at Dashashwamedh Ghat
  • Walking tour through the narrow alleyways of one of the oldest cities in the world


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3. Delhi



The capital city of India, Delhi boasts an opulent history that dates back millennia. Founded in the 11th century, the city has been the resting seat of many powerful kingdoms, including the Mughals and the British Raj.

While the old quarters ooze architectural and historical prominence, visitors also come to the city for its many bustling street markets such as Janpath and Sarojini Nagar. Party lovers can head to one of the many entertainment hotspots scattered around the city. 

But, the best part – the food! The metropolis is a gastronomical haven. From Karim’s Mutton Korma and Defence Colony’s Shawarma Rolls to Momos at Dolma Aunty in Lajpat Nagar and Masala Dosa at Sarvana Bhawan, the cuisine of Delhi is one for the history books. 

Must-see: Red Fort, Qutab Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, India Gate, National Museum, Lotus Temple, Gurudwara Sri Bangla Sahib, and Lotus Temple.

Best time to visit: October to March

Recommended Experiences

  • Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, is one of the most important festivals celebrated in the city. Dates vary but it’s usually between October and November.
  • Watch India’s Republic Day celebration and the grand parade in Rajpath every year on January 26th.
  • The New Delhi World Book Fair held usually in November at Pragati Maidan is not to be missed even if you are not a bibliophile.

4. Mumbai



Formerly called Bombay, the financial hub of India is often referred to as the City of Dreams. The home of the second-largest movie industry in the world, Bollywood, Mumbai is where hundreds and thousands of aspiring actors and performers come to turn their rags to riches.

A melting pot of cultures influenced by many national and international communities; the commercial hub of India was once a group of seven islands. 

Known for its lively street life, a picturesque sea link, and a mouth-watering combination of Maharashtrian and Parsi cuisine, Mumbai will truly blow your mind. Don’t leave the city without trying the Vada Pav (potato patty served in a bun) and Misal Pav (spicy lentil curry in a bun).

Must-see: Gateway of India, Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Marine Drive, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Colaba Causeway, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and Elephanta Caves.

Best time to visit: November to February

Recommended Experiences

  • Walk through Colaba Causeway and try local food at hip café’s at Kala Ghoda.
  • Watch Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge at Maratha Mandir, the longest-running movie in the Indian cinematic history.
  • Go shopping at Crawford Market.
  • Hire a local guide and take a walking tour through the historical landmarks.


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5. Bangalore



Currently known as Bengaluru, Bangalore is the capital and the largest metropolis in the southern state of Karnataka. The hotspot of India’s IT industry, the city effortlessly blends its affluent historical heritage with its rocketing tech sector.

Also known as the Garden City of India, Bengaluru has a massive number of day and overnight trekking and hiking opportunities nearby. Popular ones include Channarayana Durga Trek, Makalidurga, Ramanagara, and Skandagiri.

Relish the wholesome flavors of South India with iconic dishes such as Masala Dosa (crispy lentil crepe and Filter Coffee (strong milk coffee with chicory).

Must-see: Vidhana Soudha, Cubbon Park, Bangalore Palace, National Museum, ISKCON Temple Bangalore, Lalbagh Botanical Garden, and Bannerghatta National Park

Best time to visit: Throughout the year

Recommended Experiences

  • Go shopping at Commercial Street or Brigade Road.
  • Visit Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace dating back to the 18th century.
  • Go boating or picnicking at Ulsoor Lake.
  • Take a day trip to Mysore.

6. Kolkata



Once known as Calcutta, the former capital of India during the British era is an urban development immersed in a prosperous historical, cultural, and artistic heritage. From its Victorian architecture reflecting the enchanting colonial past to its awe-inspiring literary scene, Kolkata is a sensory overload. 

Don’t leave the city until you have some of the best foods that Bengali cuisine has to offer. Maach-Bhaat (Fish curry with rice) is easily the staple food while Roshogolla (sweet, syrupy balls) and Shondesh (dim sum-like sweets made with milk).

Must-see: Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge, Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, Indian Museum, Birla Mandir, St. Paul Cathedral Church, Nakhoda Mosque, and Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary

Best time to visit: October to February

 Recommended Experiences

  • Enjoy the vibrant nightlife of Park Street. There are many new places, but Trincas, Mocambo, and Olypub are some of the oldest running resto bars in the city
  • Attend a Durga Puja celebration, the biggest festival of West Bengal that commemorates the many avatars of Hindu Goddess Durga and the victory of good over evil
  • Take a literary tour through the abodes of iconic Bengali authors such as Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray.
  • Biryani at Arsalan and Zeeshan at Park Circus can’t be missed at all


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7. Hyderabad



The capital of Telangana, Hyderabad is where history meets modernity. Nicknamed the ‘City of Pearls” for its association with the ancient pearl trade, the metropolis is home to one of the most iconic landmarks of South India – the Charminar.

Dotted with uncountable constructive marvels and a thronging nightlife scene, Hyderabad has an ever-growing young and energetic crowd. The city is also home to some delectable flavors, the most famous of which is the Hyderabadi Biryani (a fragrant rice dish paired with meat and veggies). 

Must-see: Charminar, Golconda Fort, Chowmahalla Palace, Salar Jung Museum, and Hussain Sagar Lake. 

Best time to visit: October to February

Recommended Experiences

  • Explore the historic Charminar Bazaar and Laad Bazaar famous for pearls, handicrafts, and local items
  • Go on a guided walking tour to understand the history and architecture of the city
  • Visit the 17th-century Bansilal Stepwell in Secunderabad

8. Srinagar



Famously known as ‘Heaven on Earth’, the beauty of Srinagar is unsurpassable. Nestled amidst the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas, this northern city is characterized by its pristine beauty and controversial yet rich history. 

Set against the backdrop of some of the most majestic peaks in the world, Srinagar is situated on the banks of River Jhelum and is home to many lush gardens and crystal-clear lakes. 

Kashmiri cuisine is one of the richest, most famous cuisines in the country. You must try the mouth-watering Rogan Josh (lamb curry), Yakhni Lamb Curry (mutton cooked with bay leaves, cardamom, and other spices), and Modur Pulav (sweetened Kashmiri rice).

Must-see: Dal Lake, Shalimar Bagh, Hazratbal Shrine, Shankaracharya Temple, Jama Masjid, and Pari Mahal

Best time to visit: March to June and September to November

Recommended Experiences

  • Rent a houseboat and stay overnight at a houseboat on Dal Lake
  • Take a shikhara ride through Dal Lake
  • Wander around the many Mughal Gardens in the city
  • Go hiking in the Himalayas


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9. Darjeeling



A modest yet renowned hill station nestled in the lap of the Eastern Himalayas in the state of West Bengal, Darjeeling is one of the most beautiful cities with breathtaking landscapes, gorgeous colonial architecture, and a laid-back atmosphere.

Dotingly referred to as “Queen of the Hills”, the iconic Mall Road is where it all happens. Charming cafes, old vintage shops, colorful street markets, and the yummiest north-eastern foods such as dumplings, thukpa, and of course, the world-famous, Darjeeling Tea. 

Must-see: Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Tiger’s Nest, Mahakal Temple, Tea Plantation Tour, Peace Pagoda, Rangeet Valley Ropeway, and Yiga Choeling Monastery

Best time to visit: January to June and September to December

Recommended Experiences

  • Take a ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (Toy Train), a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Immerse in the warm and friendly Tibetan community at the Tibetan Refugee Self-help settlement
  • Attend a local Lepcha and Sherpa Dance.
  • Book a hillside hotel so you can wake up to unperturbed sunrise views of Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain

10. Udaipur



Tucked on the foothills imposing Aravalli Hills in the state of Rajasthan, Udaipur, with its glistening lakes and throbbing art scene, is one of the prettiest cities not just in India but perhaps the entire Asian continent. Dating back to the 16th century, Udaipur, named after Maharana Udai Singh II, used to be the capital of the Mewar kingdom. 

The confluence of Rajputana and Mughal architectural styles in its palaces, forts, luxury hotels, as well as small alleyways will mesmerize you. It’s also a popular honeymoon destination among locals.

The number one dish to try here is Dal Bati Churma (baked wheat ball served with lentil soup and sweetened powdered cereal. Gatta Curry (chickpea flour balls curry), Kadhi Pakora (fritters with creamy yogurt sauce), and Banjara Murg (nomadic chicken curry)

Must-see: City Palace, Lake Pichola, Lake Palace, Jagdish Temple, Saheliyon ki Bari

Best time to visit: October to March

Recommended Experience

  • Take a boat ride traversing through the dazzling waters of Lake Pichola
  • Attend a traditional Rajasthani dance and musical performance 
  • Wander through the bazaars of Udaipur shopping for local handicrafts, jewelry, and other souvenirs


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Frequently Asked Questions


Which is the number 1 beautiful city in India?


There is no definitive answer to this question as India is a land of endless beauty and magnificence. From the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas in the North and North-East to the lush Greenery in the East and Center to the glistening beaches in the South, the country has no shortage of beautiful cities. 

However, some of the top-rated cities in terms of beauty are:

  • Srinagar (a.k.a. Paradise on Earth)
  • Pondicherry (a.k.a. the French Riviera of the East)
  • Cochin – Fort Kochi (a.k.a. Queen of the Arabian Sea)
  • Shillong (a.k.a. Scotland of the East)
  • Darjeeling (a.k.a. Queen of the Himalayas) 


Which is the cleanest small town in India?


Mawlynnong, a village located in the East Khasi district in Meghalaya, is often regarded as the cleanest small town in not just India but all of Asia. This little town is characterized by its efficient waste management planning and an environmentally-conscious community.


Which city is known as Paris of India?


Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, is known as the Paris of India due to its breathtaking architecture, romantic vibe, and rich heritage emanating the same romantic vibes of Paris. 


Which is the Love city in India?


Whether it’s a series of stunning lakes or the grandeur of majestic forts and palaces, Udaipur, a famous city in Rajasthan, is known as the City of Love in India. But, some also consider Agra as the City of Love because of the prominent Taj Mahal – the epitome of love not only in the country but in many other parts of the world. 


Which city is called the London of India?


Undoubtedly, Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, is commonly known as the London of India. The notion stems from the fact that this vibrant city, with all its Victorian-era architecture and historical significance, used to be the British Capital of India until 1911.


What is the Heart city of India?


This is a tricky question to answer. Geographically, Nagpur should be the idyllic heart city of the country as it is located almost in the middle of the Indian subcontinent.

However, a majority of online resources and past travelers claim that Delhi, the capital of India, should be considered the Heart City of India because of its political implications and cultural diversity. Also, Delhi is sometimes written as Dilli – ‘Dil’ meaning heart in Hindi. 


Which city is known as the romantic city?


Often also known as the “City of Lakes”, “Venice of the East”, and of course, the “City of Love”, Udaipur is regarded as the most romantic city in the country because of its charismatic palaces and forts, plush cultural significance, and spectacular lakes.

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