7 Places to See in India That Aren’t the Taj Mahal
The Taj Majal is a must-visit for anyone traveling to India for the first time, but there are equally awe-inspiring yet lesser-known landmarks you really shouldn't miss. JS correspondent Hannah Rheaume shares 7 underrated spots to put on your bucket list.
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport has daily flights from international travel hubs making Mumbai the perfect starting point for your Maharashtra journey. There is so much to be discovered in Mumbai, it’s as if it is its own world, separate from anything you’ve ever seen or experienced before. A series of juxtapositions and fascinating polarities are around every corner you turn. Some of the can’t miss spots are the largest outdoor laundry in the world, the Gateway of India, Colaba Fish Market, Elephanta Caves, and catching the sunset along Marine Drive.
Located in the center of the holy city Nashik, the Godvari Ghats are sacred baths where many Hindu rituals are performed. On any given day, locals and travelers alike flock to the area to shop at the markets and witness the ancient Hindu practices.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ellora Caves is one of the largest stone cut temple complexes in the entire world. Dating back to 600 AD, whilst walking around the grounds it will feel like you’ve taken a step back in time.
A vibrant town known for its ancient temples and winding alleyways, Kolhapur is best explored by foot. Start in the center at the 1,300-year-old Mahalakshmi temple and let your curiosity guide you from there. The Palace Museum and Town Hall Museum are two must-sees in this ancient city as well. While you’re here, pick up a pair of Kohlhapuri chappals, hand-crafted leather sandals unique to this area in the Maharashtra region of India.
These rock cut caves date back to the 2nd and 1st century B.C. Each of the 29 caves is carved differently each depicting different Buddhist stories about the life and rebirth of Buddha.
In the southern part of the region, is this oceanside city widely known for its beaches. But the real discovery lies in its capital area, Panjim. Home to ancient churches, ruins of the St. Augustine tower, a labyrinth of alleyways leading to delicious bakeries and small boutiques, and countless photo opps. You can’t miss Confeitaria 31 De Janeiro in the heart of Panjim. A seemingly hole in the wall bakery with delicious Portuguese and traditional Goan treats. A must have are the Pinaca, an eggy treat made of rice, coconut oil, Goan jaggery and spiced with cardamom. Perhaps the areas best kept secret are the Pinaca from Confeitaria 31.
Also located in the holy city of Nashik, Naroshankar Temple dates back to the 18th century. The layout of this temple is striking because it is on a platform, really drawing you into its ancient allure of hand carved sculptures and engravings of animals. It’s enough to make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.