Best Activities To Do When You Visit In India

Estimated read time 8 min read


India is a vast and diverse country that offers countless memorable experiences for travellers. From the lofty Himalayas to the sands of Rajasthan, India packs in adventures, spirituality, cuisine, art and architecture. While the options can seem overwhelming, here is a look at some of the top activities and destinations that should be on every India itinerary.

Paragliding in Bir Billing

Paragliding in Bir Billing

For an adrenaline rush, head to the town of Bir Billing in Himachal Pradesh, home to one of the world’s top paragliding sites. Situated at a height of 8,000 feet, the area provides optimal conditions for paragliding with its slopes and thermals. Glide over forests and tea plantations as you get spectacular views of the Dhauladhar mountain range. The best time for paragliding in bir billing here is from October to November and March to June when the skies are clearest. The paragliding world cup is held every year in October attracting enthusiasts from around the globe. Operators provide equipment and guidance to ensure a safe and thrilling flight over Bir Billing.

Camel Safari in Jaisalmer 

Embark on an iconic camel safari across the sweeping sand dunes of the Thar desert in Rajasthan. The desert city of Jaisalmer is one of the best places to experience the camel safaris that typically last from one to several days. As you sway atop a camel, this is a great way to enjoy the desert landscapes, sand dunes, rural villages and sunset views. Most rides will include stops at local settlements to get a taste of desert life and culture. Operators also set up camp in the desert providing cultural performances and meals under the stars.

Houseboat stay in Kerala

For a relaxed experience, spend a night or two floating on the tranquil backwaters of Kerala. Your houseboat will slowly cruise along palm-fringed canals and lakes, passing by small villages and paddy fields. Most houseboats are comfortably furnished with cozy bedrooms and lounge areas where you can sit back and watch river life go by. Food is prepared fresh on the boat and apart from relaxing, you can swim, fish, or visit villages along the way. This region around Alleppey and Kumarakom offers the best houseboat stays.

Volunteering with elephants in Chiang Mai  

Thailand offers many opportunities to ethically interact with elephants, especially in the northern city of Chiang Mai. Numerous sanctuaries care for rescued and retired working elephants where you can volunteer for a day or longer. Activities typically involve feeding, bathing and caring for the elephants while learning about their habits from trainers. For an even more immersive experience, stay on-site and help with daily tasks like making food and medications under staff supervision. This provides insight into the realities of proper elephant care in Thailand.

Yoga retreat in Rishikesh

Yoga retreat in Rishikesh

There is no better place to immerse in the ancient discipline of yoga than its birthplace – India. The spiritual town of Rishikesh in northern India offers scenic ashrams and retreats to learn and practice yoga. Nestled alongside the holy Ganges river with a backdrop of lush Himalayan foothills, this tranquil setting will deepen your yoga experience. Ashrams here provide daily classes, meditation, vegetarian food and hatha yoga – the physical yoga with postures and breathing techniques. Some also offer teacher training programs for those interested in teaching yoga long-term.

Tiger safari in Ranthambore 

One of the most thrilling experiences in India is spotting a wild tiger in its natural habitat. Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan provides one of the best opportunities for this. This historic former hunting ground has a healthy tiger population that can be spotted on morning and evening safari drives through the jungle. Apart from tigers, over 300 bird species, leopards, marsh crocodiles and more can be seen here. The park is spread across 400 sq km of deciduous forests interspersed with canyons, lakes and ancient temples, creating a rich and bio-diverse landscape.

Hampi ruins

The ancient town of Hampi with its UNESCO World Heritage Sites is a must-visit in southern India. As capital of the Vijayanagar empire, it was enriched with magnificent temples, structures, markets and aquatic features in the 14th to 16th century. Though abandoned and ruined over time, the remaining relics give insight into its prominent history. Giant rocks form natural chariot streets leading to temple ruins, shrines and carved pillars. The 16th century Vitthala temple with its elaborate stone chariot is a highlight. With surreal landscapes, boulders, rice paddies and palm groves all around, Hampi is both historically and scenically enchanting.

Kerala backwaters houseboat stay

Cruising the tranquil backwaters of Kerala in a traditional houseboat is one of the most memorable experiences in southern India. These beautifully converted barges feature cozy bedrooms, lounges, and open sit-outs from which to view life on the water. As your houseboat slowly motors along palm-fringed backwaters, lakes and canals, you’ll pass through small villages, paddy fields, temples, and more. Most trips include home-cooked meals prepared on the boat along with stops to swim, fish, or walk through little villages. The scenic backwater networks around Alleppey and Kumarakom provide ideal locations.

Holi festival 

India comes alive in colour and revelry during the Holi festival in March. People spill into streets donning colourful powders and dousing friends and strangers in hues of every color. Celebrating the triumph of good over evil, this festival brings out energy, camaraderie and exuberance throughout North India. While it’s observed widely, the Holi celebrations of Mathura and Vrindavan near Delhi are especially enthusiastic. Folk dances, devotional songs, parties, and processions fill the air along with colored powders of all hues. It’s an unforgettable spectacle that visitors are welcomed to join in.

Golden Temple Amritsar

Golden Temple Amritsar

The dazzling Golden Temple is a top pilgrimage site for Sikhs and visitors from across the globe. Located in Amritsar, Punjab, this temple complex houses the holiest Sikh shrine – Harmandir Sahib – built in the center of a sacred pool that seems to glow. Its gold and marble architecture is enriched with gemstones and the water surrounding it. Arrive just before sunrise to witness the reflection of the glowing temple on the water amidst the melody of hymns – an ethereal experience! Visitors can tour the temple premises, savor langar meals, and find inner calm within the complex.

Kochi sights

The historic port city of Kochi in Kerala offers a peek into old world colonial charm combined with rich culture and cuisine. Wander through Jew Town to see spice shops, stroll the iconic Chinese fishing nets or see traditional Kathakali dances. The intricately decorated 16th century Mattancherry Palace and St. Francis Church are interesting to visit. Don’t miss the Kerala cuisine, especially the fresh seafood, coconut curries and fluffy appams. Side trips to rural villages on backwaters or hill towns nearby add to the experience.

Bhangarh Fort haunted tour 

For an eerie adventure, head to the ruins of Bhangarh Fort for a haunted tour. Located on the edge of Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, this fort is fabled to be India’s most haunted site. While entry is banned after sunset, daytime visits reveal temples, palaces, markets and more within its abandoned ruins. Local stories tell of a magician’s curse, haunted spirits and strange incidents for those who dared to stay after dark. Though beliefs of its hauntedness varies, the dramatic ruins combined with legends of the supernatural make this an intriguing visit.

Himalayan trekking

Himalayan trekking

With towering peaks, flower valleys and gushing streams, the Himalayas are every trekker’s dream. Enthralling multi-day treks are available across Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and other northern mountain states. One legendary route is the Chadar trek on frozen Zanskar river in Ladakh. Other top treks go to mountain bases like Kanchenjunga and Mt Everest or valleys like Roopkund. With towering snow-capped peaks around, walking through remote high-altitude trails is an experience like no other. Choose from moderate to difficult treks as per your fitness.

Konark Sun Temple odyssey 

Journey back in time at the 13th century Sun Temple at Konark. Built in the shape of a giant ornamented chariot with stone wheels and horses, this temple honours the sun god Surya and is an architectural marvel. Intricate carvings depicting court scenes, celestial bodies, military processions, and ritual dances adorn the temple walls. While the main structure is in ruins from natural damage over centuries, the temple remains iconic for its elaborate designs. Konark is also home to a fascinating annual sand art festival featuring craftsmen creating colourful art. 

Kanyakumari sunrise 

Make a trip to India’s southernmost point at Kanyakumari for a magical sunrise. Perched right by the ocean, this is where you can witness both the sun rising in one direction and the moon setting on the opposite

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