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The 10 most beautiful cities in India

Stretching from the snow-capped Himalayas to the lush tea plantations of Kerala, India is a vast and incredibly diverse country. The magnificent cities draw visitors from near and far to experience their vibrant culture, delicious cuisine and historical sites. Are you planning a trip to India and still don't know where to go? Here is our pick of the 10 must-see cities in India.

1. Jaipur, Rajasthan

Jaipur is commonly known as the "Pink City" as the city's stunning buildings were painted pink in 1876 to welcome the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria. Jaipur is also the largest city in the state of Rajasthan and its capital. Along with Agra and Delhi, Jaipur is part of the famous Golden Triangle that attracts thousands of Indian and international tourists every year. The most popular sights include the fascinating City Palace, some impressive Rajput fortresses and the many temples throughout the city.

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2. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Varanasi lies on the banks of the Ganges and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It is also one of the holiest cities in India and a special place for Hindus and Jains. Processions can be seen by the river, in which people cremate their loved ones and wash their sins clean in the waters of the Ganges. Rituals around the life and death of devout Hindus always take place here and are open to the public. An intimate glimpse into a foreign culture! Stroll the steps along the river known as ghats and enjoy a sunrise boat ride along the peaceful Ganges. The labyrinth-like old town of Varanasi also shows the hustle and bustle for which India is famous.

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3. Udaipur, Rajasthan

With two nicknames, Udaipur is known as both the City of Lakes and the Venice of the East. It is located on the peaceful Lake Pichola, surrounded by the picturesque Aravalli Hills, and is arguably one of the most romantic areas of India. The incredible Lake Palace seems to float on the water of the lake. The palace and lake, made famous in the James Bond movie Octopussy, are best for an evening cruise to watch the sun set over the marble facade. Another popular place to catch the sunset is the Monsoon Palace, where the royal family resided during the monsoon season. Located high on a hill above Udaipur, it offers a spectacular view of the whole city. During the day, visitors can also discover the city palace, numerous museums, temples and much more.

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4. Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Agra, home of the legendary Taj Mahal, attracts more than 35,000 visitors every day to marvel at this marble-white mausoleum. But while this spectacular monument is well worth the hype, a visit to Agra has several other attractions to offer. Agra was once the capital of the flourishing Mughal Empire. One of the remains of this era is the magnificent Agra Fort. This stunning red sandstone and marble fortress was one of the first monuments in India to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the finest examples of Mughal Empire architecture. The city is also home to a number of other tombs and mausoleums, as well as lively marketplaces. When visiting Agra, don't just stop exploring the Taj!

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5. Kolkata, West Bengal

The former capital of British India, formerly known as Calcutta, is one of the most underrated cities in the country. Although it doesn't offer the world-famous attractions like Agra, Kolkata is home to the imposing Victoria Memorial and is a city where you can get a fascinating glimpse into everyday life in India. Considered the artistic, intellectual, and cultural capital of India, Kolkata is home to several galleries, popular Indian classical music festivals, and a thriving Bengali-language theater scene. Here visitors can also taste the delicious and unmistakable flavors of Bengali cuisine, right at the front: Biryani. The festival of Durga Puja is also famous. At this event, the largest festival in the city, ornate statues of the goddess Durga are carried through the streets with lots of music and dance before they are ceremonially immersed in water.

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6. New Delhi, Delhi

Although New Delhi is the capital of India and is therefore part of the executive, judicial and legislative branches of the government, it may not seem like an exciting travel destination at first. But Delhi is much more than that! It is a creative hub - a large metropolis with many activities related to art and culture. Travelers can enjoy the best restaurants and nightlife here, but also visit numerous sights as the city is home to some of the most beautiful temples, mosques and forts. These include the Red Fort, Jama Masjid, and the Bahai Lotus Temple. Since many flights from Germany to India go via New Delhi, you should take a few days here to get to know India's hip capital.

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7. Madurai, Tamil Nadu

As one of the oldest cities in South Asia, Madurai is a metropolis that even traded with ancient Rome. Located on the banks of the Vaigai, it has been a center of religion and trade since the dawn of civilization in India. The highlight of Madurai is the Meenakshi Temple, a dazzling structure adorned with multicolored mythological figures. It is the largest man-made attraction in the south and attracts over 15,000 people every day. The city is also home to one of India's seven Gandhi Memorial Museums and the Tirumalai Nayak Palace. You should also take a stroll through Madurai's banana wholesaler, where many typical types of fruit are sold, and watch the typical hustle and bustle of an Indian market.

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8. Mumbai, Maharashtra

Mumbai is packed with incredible culture, historic buildings, and the most amazing food in the country. There are so many of the best things to do in Mumbai across the city. Mumbai is by the sea and is the most cosmopolitan metropolis in India. The city used to be known as Bombay. It is also the largest metropolis in India and undoubtedly the country's financial center. The city's greatest attraction, with its myriad of sightseeing opportunities, is the Gateway of India, built in 1911 to commemorate a royal visit.

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9. Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Located on the edge of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan, Jodhpur is a magical city from the 15th century. It is known as the “Blue City” because much of the architecture is blue and contrasts interestingly with its arid environment. The old town is surrounded by around 10 km of medieval stone walls and is dominated by the huge Mehrangarh Fort. This impressive citadel sits enthroned on a steep rocky outcrop above the skyline of Jodhpur and is still run and inhabited by the city's royal family. Another popular landmark is the bell tower in the old town. While walking through the busy and narrow streets, visitors can purchase spices, fabrics, Indian sweets, handicrafts and much more.

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10. Amritsar, Punjab

Amritsar is located in northwest India and is famous for being the sacred center of the Sikh religion. The city was founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das, and has the spectacular Golden Temple. Amazingly, this temple sees a similar number of visitors to the Taj Mahal every year! The temple houses the Adi Granth, the sacred scripture of Sikhism, and is considered to be one of the most revered and holiest sites of this religion. Both travelers and pilgrims are drawn to the temple to admire its golden exterior, magically reflected in the surrounding water. While the temple itself may be a serene sight, the back streets of Amritsar are full of bustling bazaars that are well worth exploring.

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Here you can find all cities at a glance:

The list of the most beautiful cities in India is a mere enumeration without a qualitative ranking.

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