What are the top ten things to do in North India?
Plan your North India vacation around the top ten things to do in North India with tips from our experts.
North India is a veritable cornucopia of treasures. There are stately palaces, rugged forts, marvelous gardens, world-renowned architectural marvels to explore, a vibrant history and culture to discover, tantalizing cuisine to taste – a wealth of experiences await!
While Delhi, the capital city of India, beckons with its Mughal architecture, eclectic cuisine, and shopping options, you can’t get more romantic than Agra and the Taj Mahal. Live the regal life in Rajasthan’s palace hotels, experience spirituality in Amritsar’s Golden Temple and on the banks of the River Ganga, and embrace serenity amid the majestic Himalayas – there are so many places to visit in North India!
If you are wondering how to plan your trip to North India, and which cities and attractions to include, our destination experts can help curate the perfect trip for you. From Indian safaris to authentic food and fabulous monuments, our experts can create the best India tours, customized to your preferences and needs.
Here is a list of the top ten things to do in North India that should definitely be part of your India vacation!
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1Visit the Taj Mahal in Agra
The world’s monument of love, the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Taj Mahal in Agra is the most popular with guests who visit India – and it is understandable why. Sunrise and sunset visits are the best time to explore. If you are lucky enough to visit on a full moon night, you may be able to witness this beautiful white marble structure change colors as the reflection hits the facade.
Why was the Taj Mahal built? Mughal emperor Shah Jahan ordered the Taj to be built to house the tomb of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Admire its dome, minarets, intricate inlay work, beautiful gardens and fountains on your tour of the Taj Mahal!
2Attend a Traditional Cooking Class in Delhi
What better way to get a taste for the country than with a private cooking class in the home of a local cook? Understand the complex spice combinations that make the signature Indian dishes the world has come to love.
With strong Central Asian influences, North Indian cuisine is all about rich curries, delectable meats and vegetables cooked in the tandoor, a wide variety of breads, flavorful vegetarian dishes, tangy street food and, of course, delectable desserts! From Butter Chicken to Dal Makhani, Naan and Tandoori Chicken, there’s so much to taste and savor!
3Go on a Tiger Safari in Ranthambore
Considered one of the top highlights of India, take a wildlife safari into North India’s national park of Ranthambore where you can experience the joy of India’s wildlife. The jungles are home to India’s national animal, the tiger. If you are lucky, you can have your own close encounter with Shere Khan!
Ranthambore is one of the largest national parks in the country and ranks among the best safari destinations in India.
4Embark on a Boat Ride on the River Ganges in Varanasi
Where life and death coexist in harmony, the River Ganges is India’s holiest river and a major pilgrimage site for Hindus, the world over. The best way to explore the River Ganges is with morning and evening boat rides, during you can respectfully observe the busy ghats where hundreds of people gather.
Experience the spiritual beauty of this river in Varanasi as you watch the atmospheric Ganga Aarti, a sunset prayer ceremony, characterized by scores of devotees, chantings and lamps. You can also experience the majesty of this river in other holy cities such as Rishikesh and Haridwar
5Head out on a Bishnoi Jeep Safari in Osian (near Jodhpur)
For a more unusual village experience, we highly recommend a visit to the desert outside of the blue city of Jodhpur. Meet the ethnic Bishnoi, a community of nature worshippers who live simply in harmony with their environment and learn about their time-honored rituals, both weird and wonderful. Admire the intricate silver jewelry worn by the women, as well as the age-old handicrafts traditions!
There are several things to do in Jodhpur – discover its stately forts and private mansions called havelis on your tour of Jodhpur. The most popular fort is the Mehrangarh Fort.
6Dine at the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur
Built in the center of Lake Pichola which gives it the impression it is floating, Taj Lake Palace is one of the world’s most extraordinary hotels. Even if you aren’t staying there, a lunch or dinner is a wonderful and romantic reminder to your time spent in Udaipur, the City of Lakes, with its authentic and regal Mewar cuisine.
Other things to do in Udaipur include going on a boat ride on Lake Pichola, exploring the magnificent Chittorgarh Fort, as well as visiting popular nearby temples like the Eklingji Shiva temple.
7Experience the Sound and Light Show in the Temples of Khajuraho
The UNESCO World Heritage site of Khajuraho with its exemplary ancient temples and erotic Kama Sutra style carvings pays testament to rich Hindu mythology. The Sound & Light Show, which happens in Khajuraho most evenings, is a colorful and vibrant testimonial that shines a light on the fascinating heritage of the Chandela kings.
8Visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar
The holiest shrine for Sikhs, the Golden Temple in Amritsar – officially known as the Harmandir Sahib – brings together pilgrims from around the world. Best visited at night when it is beautifully lit up, you can witness the Palki Sahib ceremony when the Guru Granth Sahib (the central religious scripture of Sikhism) is carried in procession along a human conveyor belt of male pilgrims, from the main shrine to its nighttime abode.
Other must-visit places in Amritsar include the historically important Jallianwala Bagh and the Wagah Border.
9Go on a Rural Rail Ride in Rajasthan
Gain an immersive local experience of rural Rajasthan aboard a small train, as it travels through viaducts and tunnels across forested hills.
Little has changed in these villages, and time will appear to have stood still as you meet and converse with friendly people, delighted to see a visitor using their local rail service!
10Take a Victorian Walk in Lucknow
Discover the days of the British Raj with a unique guided walk through the spaghetti streets of Lucknow, where you can learn all about the colonial history and legacy of the East India Company. Learn how the British impacted arts, literature, architecture and culture – including establishing a nation of chai or tea lovers!
Other popular attractions in the city include the Jama Masjid, the Bara Imambara and the Rumi Darwaza (Gateway), among others. Popular day trips from the city include those to Sravasti, where Lord Buddha a lot of his life, and the city of Ayodhya, the birthplace of the Hindu god Rama.
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Taj Special: Tiger Trails of India
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Ajabgarh is a picturesque garrison fort between Bhangarh and Pratapgarh, with a scenic nearby reservoir.
This is a great base for short walks and hikes to surrounding areas through picturesque hills and forests.
Just 15kms from Delhi and equidistant from Jaipur, Alwar nestles amidst a cluster of small hills in the Aravalli range.
Amritsar is the spiritual home for Sikhs across the world and is brimming with narrow streets.
The charming little rural hamlet of Bajana is part of the unique landscape of the Little Rann of Kutch.
Bajana (Little Rann of Kutch)
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