Expected the unexpected in this vast South Asian country with diverse terrain. From mighty high Himalayan peaks to the spectacular Indian Ocean coastline – not to mention a history dating back more than five millennia – it’s the seventh-largest country in the world, has more than one billion inhabitants, and boasts an almost endless variety of cultures, landscapes, monuments, and places to explore. Discover fascinating religious structures and ancient ruins, or scour through exotic cities filled with awe-inspiring tourist attractions. Aficionados of the great outdoors can even scout for big jungle cats on wildlife safaris or simply breathe in tons of fresh pine-scented air on the array of meditative forest walks available.

Trek through a mind-stirring and truly dazzling country that, along with its multitude of sights and sounds, also offers some of the craziest culinary creations to be found! Look forward to tasty regionally-distinct versions of smorgasbord, or competing flavors of masterfully marinated meats, thalis, and vegetarian curries. India awaits, my friends, so here are the six best places to visit in India.

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Travel To These 6 Incredible Places In India

Don't miss the Palace Of Winds in Jaipur, especially in sunrise and at sunset. Bring a camera!

1. Jaipur & Udaipur

Both Jaipur and Udaipur, which are located in Rajasthan provide ample insight into the rich cultural and artistic traditions of the Indian state. Check out the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of Winds' in the former—it was designed in the form of the crown of Lord Krishna and is a pyramid shaped monument boasting over nine hundred small windows that stands at the entrance of the City Palace. The epic courtyards and stunning paintings within the Lake Palace of Udaipur are also a beauty to behold, not to mention the several sparkling lakes in the area that all stand against a backdrop of the Aravail hills. Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir, islands in Fateh Sagar Lake, are also sites of Udaipur Solar Observatory and Nehru Garden.

Furthermore, back in Jaipur, you’ll understand from one look why it’s been deemed "The Pink City." Glorious stucco buildings line the wide streets. Spend your days exploring the Jaigarh Forts, or look for unique souvenirs at one of the local bazaars. Can you say camel-leather slippers?!

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Take the train to Darjeeling, and prepare for a change of altitude as you head to the Himalayas!

2. Darjeeling

It’s been fondly called the ''Queen of the Hills'' and with an altitude of nearly 2200 meters above sea level, this pleasant area is nothing short of royalty. Nestled among rolling mountains, it offers a nice backdrop of the mighty snow-clad Himalayan peaks and is also surrounded by verdant tea plantations (Darjeeling produces the most popular teas in the world!). Visitors can even admire the world's third highest peak, Mount Kanchenjunga from this popular scenic hill-station, which by itself is home to some of the most popular hill resorts in India- not to mention spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

Escape India’s oppressive summer heat by exploring the numerous Buddhist monasteries, colorful markets, and lush tea plantations in town. The kiddies will love getting to Darjeeling via its famous “toy train,” which climbs more than 8000 feet over eight hours along a narrow-gauge track before reaching the actual city. Fun times.

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Relax on the beach in Goa, and plan to watch the sunset at least once during your stay!

3. Goa

Recline close to the sea on the sandy coast of Goa while lounging within a beach shack and scraping up the last few bites of some delicious curry before washing it all down with a Kingfisher beer. Sounds like heaven, right?

Well, India’s smallest state is the spot to head to for exotic beaches, golden sands, and endless coconut palm trees that blow along with the wind. Goa is the perfect place for rest, relaxation, and to discover “togetherness,” with everything from parasailing, wind surfing, and water-skiing opportunities, to sites such as Alorna or Chapora Forts, the Ancestral Goa Museum, or the Arvalam Waterfalls. Within Old Goa, there’s also a fine example of classic baroque architecture at the beautiful Basilica of Bom Jesus, which happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Plus, you’ll easily be able to get a nice taste of Portuguese culture within most area plazas. There are also those luxurious old estates such as including Braganza Palace situated nearby. Beach, history, and culture--- what more could one ask for?

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See the Taj Mahal when you visit Agra on your trip to India.

4. Agra

Romantics listen up! Discover one of the Seven Wonders of the modern world and the ultimate testament of love at the Taj Mahal. It’s no doubt an enduring Indian icon, one of the world’s greatest monuments, and any trip to India would not be complete without at least a quick visit. Other must-experience destinations in Agra happen to be UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well, including the sandstone Red Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. There’s also the infamous Akbar's tomb, Ram Bagh, and Sikandra.

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Walk around Bombay at night and experience the energy of the city.

5. Bombay

Stroll over to the iconic Mani Bhavan, where Mahatma Gandhi once lived, strategized, and was ultimately arrested. It’s located in Mumbai – or Bombay as it was formerly known— which remains India’s city of dreams. Both crowds and chaos, along with more peaceful and tranquil moments, can be found within this strategic economic center. The city also happens to be home to the country’s prolific Bollywood film industry, which produces more feature films than any other place in the world.

Head on down to the Gateway of India – a former colonial monument and now a popular emblem of the city and a hubbub of life before snacking on some bhelpuri (Mumbai’s favorite snack) at Marine Drive (one of the city’s most popular promenades). Browse, bargain, and shop in the bazaars at Bluleshwar and Kalbadevi. Outdoor adventurers might opt for a boat trip to the gorgeous Elephanta Caves. You can even take a special guided tour of Dharavi – made famous by "Slumdog Millionaire" – for an eye-opening glimpse into what Mumbai life is truly like for millions of locals.

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Learn about ancient Indian history at these incredible caves near Aurangabad.

6. Ajanta Ellora

Experience history and architecture at India's most popular and widely recognized caves. Carved brilliantly into a hillside rock in the middle of nowhere near Aurangabad (in northern Maharashtra), words simply cannot describe the magnificence of these 30 rock-cut cave monuments. They are simply awe-inspiring and clearly show off the rich heritage and splendid architectural wonders that can be found all throughout the country. There are even paintings and sculptures within the caves that remain masterpieces of ancient Buddhist religious art. Any trip to India would not be complete without a trek across this popular horse-shoe shaped cliff.

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This article was written by Pamela Chan.