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Expat Life

Expat Tour Guide: 7 Must-See Places In India

Expat Tour Guide: 7 Must-See Places In India

Expat Tour Guide: 7 Must-See Places In India

India – the land of all things mysterious and beautiful – is also home to millions of expats, thanks to globalization. Blessed with a rich historical and cultural background, and an astonishing variety of natural treasures such as frozen glaciers, lush valleys, deep rainforests, blistering deserts, and silvery beaches; India has always been fascinating for expatriates. 

From festival and culture tours to nature travels and vacations, India offers an unforgettable experience to foreign tourists and expats, and great value for money. Travelling in India can be an inspiring, interesting and colourful experience. With many multinational companies sending their employees to live and work in India, it is important to have the right information if you truly want to explore the hidden treasures of this country. To help you out, we have rounded up a list of must-visit places for expats, during their stay in India.

1. KERALA*

Expat Tour Guide: 7 Must-See Places In India

One of India’s most beautiful states, Kerala can surprise you in ways you cannot even imagine.

Where To Go

Not many know that it is home to some of the country’s most stunning beaches like Kovalam, Muzhappilangad, Varakala, Kannur and Bekal among others. The state is blessed with breathtaking hill stations and gorgeous waterfalls. The hills of Kerala are home to a wide variety of spices and tea plantations. For those in search of a serene hill station, Munnar is the place to be. The peaceful atmosphere of Kerala never ceases to amaze. You can take an overnight backwater cruise in Alleppey. If you are more of a nature lover, you can explore Wayanad – a region known for its dense jungles with a variety of flora, and fauna. If you love historical places and monuments, you can explore Bekal Fort, Jewish Synagogue, Dutch Palace, Fort Kochi, St. Francis Church and Thalassery Fort, etc. Nature lovers can also spend a day at wildlife sanctuaries and national parks such as Periyar, Parambikulam, Idukki, Chinnar, Wayanad and Neyyar among others.

What To Eat

The cuisine in Kerala is under-represented, yet it is one of the most delicious Indian cuisines to relish. The cuisine’s flavours spring from its cultural diversity and abundance of fresh ingredients like coconut, herbs and spices. Kerala’s cuisine features spicy non-vegetarian dishes while vegetarian food has subtle flavours. So, whatever your preference, the cuisine of Kerala has something to suit all tastes.

Some of the dishes you can’t miss out on are – Puttu and Kadala Curry: Dosa or Idli with Sambar and Chutney, Appam and Stew, Idiyappam and Egg curry, Sadya, Nadan Kozhi Varuthathu (Kerala style chicken fry) and Kerala Style Prawn Curry.

*Kerala recently witnessed the worst floods in a century. To support the rehabilitation of the people affected by the devastating floods in the state, you can now donate to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund through InstaReM. With your thoughts, prayers and support, we’re sure Kerala will spring back to life very soon. 

2. JAMMU & KASHMIR

Expat Tour Guide: 7 Must-See Places In India

Visiting Jammu & Kashmir means getting to explore three incredibly different worlds.

Where To Go

Jammu and Katra in the south are major attractions for domestic pilgrims. The beautiful temples steeped in history make for an enchanting trip to Jammu.

Kashmir, on the other hand, is India’s Switzerland. The cool summer air, alpine landscape and snow-clad peaks bring in tourists from all across the world. While you’re there, you must take a Shikara ride across the peaceful Dal Lake, enjoy the view of the city from the top of the Shankaracharya Temple and stay in the iconic houseboats. Another place you can experience clear water rivers and exhilarating deep valleys is Pahalgam. It is famous for river rafting at Lidder Lake, golfing and shopping for traditional Kashmiri souvenirs.

The third is Ladakh, which for most foreigners and expats, is Jammu and Kashmir’s greatest attraction. Ladakh’s timeless monasteries are found between barren canyons and sky-high peaks. While it also hosts lush green villages on its highland deserts. Ladakh is entirely inaccessible by road except in summers.

What To Eat

Jammu: Kachaloo Chaat, Kaladi Kulcha, Rajma Chawal, Khatta Meat, Patisa

Kashmir: Dum Aloo, Kashmiri Pulao, Seekh Kebab, Rogan Josh, Nadru Yakhni

Ladakh: Ladakhi Pulao, Skyu, Thingmo, Thukpa, Butter tea, Khambir, Chhurpi, and Apricot Jam to take away.

3. HIMACHAL PRADESH

Expat Tour Guide: 7 Must-See Places In India

India’s adventure playground, Himachal is a spectacular state to explore, by bus, car, motorbike, jeep or foot. It is a backpacker’s wonderland surrounded by serene mountains, chilled-out hippie culture and soothing locales.

Where To Go

The place is a series of rocky mountain chains interlocking with villages. Every pass crossing into a new valley takes you into a different world. The villages of Himachal are perched on staggering slopes and their architecture is reminiscent of a magical era. Kasol, a picturesque village in Kullu, stretched along River Parvati, is far from worldly pleasures. You can lie and gaze at the beauty of the full moon in the hills, or go off on treks to Sar Pass, Yanker Pass, Pin Parbati Pass and Kheerganga. You can choose to even wake up in a tent across the fiercely flowing River Parvati. Close-by villages such as Tosh and Malana, offer a lot of trekking and hiking opportunities, and are also dotted with some really cosy cafes for you to rejuvenate after a long trek. The Grand Indrahar Pass is another hiking expedition to experience. 

Other places you must visit in Himachal is McLeod Ganj, the Dalai Lama’s home away from home and Lahaul & Spiti for their century-old Buddhist cultures. You could also get some fresh mountain air and enjoy the snow on the 3978 m Rohtang La Pass in Manali. For adventure lovers, river rafting at the Manali Wildlife Sanctuary can be a great experience. You could also hike across the Dhauladhar range and Pir Panjal Mountains. The hiking trail takes you through green pastures and dense tropical forests filled with Deodar and Rhododendron. Tired souls hankering for peace can find their ‘chi’ at the historic cave where once the Pandava warrior-prince, Arjun, meditated. Another treasure to explore is Hot Water Springs in Vashisht village.

What To Eat

Himachal Pradesh is famous for its authentic Isreali cafes such as Evergreen Café, Moondance Café, German Bakery and Mama’s Café. Apart from that, you must try its local delicacies such as Dhaam, Chambre, Bhey, Chha Gosht, Patande, Nutella Pancakes, Aloo Paratha, Shakshouka, Lafa, Momos and Hummus.

4. RAJASTHAN

From magnificent palaces and forts and joyous festivals and fascinating wildlife, this is India at its vibrant best. Known as the ‘Land of Kings’, Rajasthan is a state full of stories of wars and victories, romance, tragedies and glory.

These stories are reflected in its monuments, magnificent palaces and forts. Rajasthan is home to the Thar Desert, known for its giant sand dunes and rare wildlife.

Where To Go

Of the many must-see places in Rajasthan, Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur cannot be missed out. The major attractions are City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Junagarh, Chittorgarh, Keoladeo National Park and Mehrangarh Fort among others.

What To Eat

There is more to Rajasthan than deserts and historical monuments. The rich culture of Rajasthan has an evident influence on its cuisine. Your trip to Rajasthan is incomplete without experiencing their flavoursome dishes. If you’re a non-vegetarian, you must try Laal Maas and Mohan Maas. Others dishes to be savoured are Dal Bati Churma, Ker Sangri, Gatte Ki Khichdi, Badam Ka Halwa, Aam Ki Launji, Methi Bajra Poori, Mawa Kachori, Gujia and Ghevar.

5. GOA

Expat Tour Guide: 7 Must-See Places In India

The perfect blend of two contrasting cultures – Indian and Portuguese, Goa is the land of beaches, sun, sand and delicious seafood. Goa holds a special place in every traveller’s heart, but each traveller has a different tale to tell about this magical place.

Where To Go

You can knock your stress away with adventure sports at Baga, Candolim and Calangute beaches, or recharge yourself amidst the serenity of Palolem, Anjuna, and other untouched beaches. Shopaholics can have a great time at the day markets at Anjuna. Your Saturday nights are sorted at the Arpora night markets, where the best of musicians entertain you while you eat, drink and shop. If you’re not a beach person, Goa can also surprise you with a lot of meditation activities, wildlife sanctuaries and temples.

If you truly want to experience Goa, you can head to Panaji aka Panjim to the Basilica of Bom Jesus where St. Francis Xavier’s tomb is kept as memorabilia. You could even step a little out of Goa and soak up the scenic beauty of Dudhsagar Falls.

What To Eat

A foodie’s paradise, Goa offers a variety of flavours. With seafood as the mainstay of the Goan cuisine, it offers mostly non-vegetarian food. Some of the must tries are Pork Vindaloo, Crab Xec Xec, Prawn Balchao, Sorpotel, Bebinca – local sweet dish and Feni – local drink.

6. UTTAR PRADESH

Expat Tour Guide: 7 Must-See Places In India

There are few states that are as quintessentially Indian as Uttar Pradesh. A true amalgamation of India’s historic and religious roots, its a melting pot of Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic cultures.

Where To Go

Uttar Pradesh is home to Varanasi, the holy land of India, where the chants in Varanasi Temple on the banks of River Ganges, take you on a spiritual journey. The state is also the birthplace of Lord Krishna (Mathura), and Lord Rama  (Ayodhya) and has millions of pilgrims and tourists thronging these sites. Uttar Pradesh isn’t just a place for Hinduism, but is also close to the hearts of Buddhists. Lord Buddha gave his first sermon in Sarath and died in Kushinagar. Another wonder is the beautiful architecture that has been influenced by all cultures.

What To Eat

The food and flavours of Uttar Pradesh are just as diverse as its contrasting culture and geography. When you walk down the streets of Varanasi, you must indulge in delicious Kachoris, Jalebis and Samosas. While the Awadhi region gives you a taste of the Nawabi culture, literally. It will be a sin to miss out on the amazing Biryanis and melt-in-the-mouth kebabs. Mathura is heaven for those with a sweet tooth as you can feast on scrumptious fares like Khurchan, Shahi Tukda and Melting Pedas.

7. GUJARAT

Expat Tour Guide: 7 Must-See Places In India

Home to the Asiatic Lion, Gujarat is the state that lies between India’s Western Ghats and Pakistan. Rich in tradition, architecture and natural treasures like wildlife, Gujarat is also the largest producer of artefacts.

Where To Go

The state offers its tourists the scenic beauty right from the Great Rann of Kutch up to the hills of Satpura.

The Great Rann of Kutch is an enormous stretch of white salt that is under water for almost a quarter of the year. While you visit here, you can experience the true culture with folk music and dance performances, camel safaris, and live the Kutch experience by staying and eating at local places. Apart from this, you must explore the national parks and sanctuaries. Take a Gir Safari or head to Nalsarovar where birds migrate in the cold months of the year.

What To Eat

Although the long coastline ensures variety in non-vegetarian dishes, especially seafood, the influence of Jain culture in the rest of the states makes it favourable to vegetarians.

Traditionally, a Gujarati thali consists of rotli, kadhi or dal, rice, and shaak/sabzi. The region gives you the best of snacks aka farsan to feast on. You can carry snacks like Khakra, Dhokla, Khandvi, Chakri and Fafda, back home.

While you are out exploring these marvels, carrying cash might seem essential. Although India offers great value for money in travel and exploration, it’s always better to stay safe and have a practical monetary option. You can go to the remotest of villages and get stranded. Over a time, withdrawals from ATMs will start hurting your pocket too. For you to have a shackle free travel spree, we have a perfect solution – InstaReM. The ripple wallet lets you enjoy hassle-free instant money transfers at a minimal rate. So you can digitally transfer and receive funds with no extra marginal rates or hidden charges. With InstaReM, your wildest travel adventures are always possible. You can now dare to not just complete the above listed 7 places, but touchdown every nook and corner of India.

Happy Exploring To You!