India is a huge country with a population of 1.3 billion people and counting. The country boasts an incredible atmosphere with different sights, sounds and scents at every turn. When you’re pressed for time, it can be a challenge to decide on the most worthwhile places to visit. We’ve tried to help by narrowing down the options with our Top 3 India Day Tours.
India’s capital, New Delhi is a remarkable city bustling with people, rickshaws, cars and motorcycles. While the traffic can be a nightmare, Delhi itself is a truly beautiful city. There are historic monuments, incredible food and amazing people. If you start your day at around 7am, you can maximise your time allowing you to witness Humayun’s Tomb in the soft morning light. Humayun’s Tomb is the tomb of India’s second Mughal Emperor, commissioned by his first wife and designed by a Persian architect.
Following your visit to Humayun’s Tomb take a 20-minute drive to Jama Masjid. Made from red sandstone and marble, Jama Masjid is the biggest and most well known mosque in India. This masterpiece was Mughal emperor, Shah Jahans final architectural extravagance following the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort.
From there, take a walk through the busy shopping area, Chandni Chowk. Enjoy delicious street food (Ask your guide what’s good and what isn’t) and spend some time shopping for souvenirs and other trinkets. Your walk brings you to the infamous Red Fort. This colossal red sandstone fort is an iconic symbol of India’s Independence. Constructed in 1639, the fort served as the main residence for emperors of the Mughal Dynasty for over 200 years. Despite vast destruction by the British forces in the aftermath of the Indian rebellion in 1857, the size of the Red Fort and its beautiful inner courts and pavilions, continue to mesmerise its visitors and transport them to the time of the great Mughal Empire.
After your Red Fort visit, it should be time for lunch. There are honestly over 100 dining options, and depending on where you are, your guide can direct you to one of his favourite places or somewhere you’ve heard of that you’d like to try.
After lunch, take a drive to Akshardham. This is a spectacular Hindu Temple opened to the public in 2005. Akshardham took only five years to be built with the help of 11,000 artisans and thousands of BAPS volunteers. It currently holds the Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple. The architecture of this monument is outstanding and is definitely a ‘must see’ for anyone travelling to Delhi.
Following Akshardham, take a drive to south New Delhi, through the India Gate en route to Qutab Minar. Qutab Minar is a 73 m-high tower symbolising victory, founded in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the defeat of Delhi’s last Hindu kingdom. Walk around the complex and explore ancient ruins of mosques and tombs, as well as a mysterious iron pillar, notable for its resistance to corrosion. The perfect monument to conclude your India day tour in Delhi, Quatab Minar is one of India’s most famous landmarks.
While it’s hard to fit all of Jaipur into a day, you can certainly visit the highlights. Start your day in Jaipur at 8am with an excursion to the Amber Fort in Amer. Located 12km from Jaipur, the drive is usually 20 minutes but can be longer or shorter depending on where your hotel is. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Amber Fort is a beautiful monument. While it may not look like the most appealing of places from the outside, the inside is truly remarkable with a range of different buildings each boasting their own wondrous artworks and incredible architecture.
Following your visit to the Amber Fort, drive back to Jaipur to visit Hawa Mahal (also known as the Palace of Winds). Built in 1799, it comprises of 953 windows on the outside walls, designed to allow for the Royal ladies to enjoy every day street scenes to royal processions on the street without being seen by strangers. The name “palace of winds” comes from the cool breeze that blows through the Mahal that keeps it cool and airy in summer.
A few hundred metres away from Hawa Mahal is the City Palace. Jai Singh II built the outer wall of the palace, but the buildings within the palace have been adapted and expanded upon by the consequent successors of Jai Singh II. Comprising of a selection of gardens, buildings and courtyards, it is a striking blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The temple and museum reflect its historical importance and royal grace.
After a tour of the City Palace, conclude your day tour at the Jantar Mantar. It is the largest stone and marble crafted observatory in the world. An astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century. Designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye. This is the most significant, most comprehensive, and the best preserved of India’s historic observatories. It is an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II at the end of the Mughal period.
Most people only visit Amritsar for the magnificent Golden Temple; however, this beautiful city is full of so much more.
Upon visiting the temple you will be required to cover your head with a scarf and remove your shoes before you enter. If you want to avoid the longest wait times, it’s best to arrive at the Golden Temple at around 4am. Event at this hour , you will most likely be waiting in line for upwards of 2 hours. One of the main benefits of arriving early is being able to witness the temple at sunrise; the sky turns to a beautiful orange pink and the temple glistens in the sunlight.
The Golden Temple is a place of religious significance for the Sikhs; it is a symbol of brotherhood and equality. Everyone, irrespective of cast, creed or race can seek spiritual solace and religious fulfilment without any obstruction. It also represents the distinct identity, glory and heritage of the Sikhs.
The Golden Temple offers langar (a free meal offered to everyone regardless of race, religion, gender or economic status). The langar at the Golden Temple is one of the largest in the world, feeding up to 100,000 people each day. Each day volunteers serve and cook the meals; some volunteer for a few hours while others volunteer for days.
Following your visit to the Golden Temple, the next place you must visit is Jallianwala Bagh. Known for its awful history, with the massacre of innocent and unarmed Indians on 13th April 1919, Jallianwala Bagh today is a memorial commemorating their sacrifice and suffering.
After visiting the Jallianwala Bagh, a great place to conclude your Amritsar day tour is the Wagah Border. Approximately 30km from Amritsar lies the town of Attari, separated from its Pakistani counterpart Wagah by the Radcliffe Line (the line dividing the two countries). Every day thousands of visitors flock to these borders to witness the elaborate ceremony between soldiers. Timing is important when it comes to watching this spectacle. Arriving early is a good idea to avoid the crowds and get a good view of the display.
The ceremony titled, “The Beating Retreat” occurs at sunset and involves elaborate rapid dance-like movements symbolising the rivalry as well as brotherhood and cooperation between the two nations.
The pride and patriotism amongst everyone in the crowd fills you up with similar enthusiasm. The border gates are opened as the sun sets and the flags on both the sides are lowered and folded. With a formal and rather brisk handshake between the soldiers on either side, the gates close for the day, and the ceremony comes to an end.
Those are only three of the countless possible India day tours. For the best Indian experience spend as much time as possible in this beautiful country so you can truly experience everything this beautiful country has to offer.