It’s virtually required that any traveler to India visit the Taj Mahal — one of the New Seven Wonders of the World — along with UNESCO World Heritage-designated cities such as Jaipur and Udaipur. Yet a culture that reaches back more than 5,000 years is sure to have treasures that often get overlooked. India has many other fascinating sites to discover.
Here are just a few of the other sites that you will want to visit when in India:
- Bhubaneswar — Located in the northeast state of Orissa and known as the “Temple City,” Bhubaneswar lives up to its moniker. The most famous is the fantastical Lingaraja Temple, its entire 180-foot facade covered in carvings.
Konark Sun Temple — Around 40 miles from Bhubaneswar in the Puri district, you’ll find the town of Konark and this 13th-century masterpiece; shaped like a massive chariot, it is one of the most extraordinary temples in the world.
Shravanabelagola — This village in Southern India is a major Jain pilgrimage site, noted for its temple and the world’s largest monolithic stone statue, dedicated to Lord Gomateshwara; believers bathe it in milk and ghee each morning.
- Darjeeling — Besides sipping its namesake tea in old British teahouses, adventurers here can ride the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a miniature steam engine affectionately known as the “Toy Train.”
- Goa— Favored for its excellent beaches, Goa was ruled by Portugal for hundreds of years; its unique architecture blends Indian, Mughal, and Portuguese styles. Visit the Sahakari Spice Farm, where you can see how a huge variety of spices are grown.
- Kochi (formerly Cochin) — A major port in the state of Kerala, this amazing seaside city claims Fort Kochi with its morning fish market and an impressive Old Jewish Quarter with one of the oldest synagogues in Asia.
To find out more about the sites of India and to arrange a custom independent or escorted tour, contact Covington’s expert vacation advisors.
Source: Virtuoso Exotic Lands, March 2012