People around the world have been inspired to travel to new destinations by their favourite films. Films have a massive reach, enough to turn the specific houses and locations of their shoot sites into tourist sites. And some films fire up the wanderlust in people to travel to far corners in the world. Indian films were once known for their exotic shoot locales that were mostly abroad. Production houses like Yash Raj Films and Dharma Productions, in fact, did wonders for increasing the number of Indian tourists visiting Europe. However, Bollywood hasn’t left India behind. Many Bollywood filming locations in India have highlighted the country’s diverse natural beauty. Here’s a rundown of Bollywood filming locations in India that have created Bollywood magic and where you can plan your next trip.
Check Out These Memorable Bollywood Filming Locations
1. Romance The Hills: Gulmarg, Kashmir
As a travel destination, Kashmir needs no introduction. The northernmost union territory of India, known for snow-capped mountains and green meadows, has also been home to a number of iconic Bollywood song and dance routines. While the industry’s love affair with the Kashmir valley began with Shammi Kapoor and ‘Tareef Karun Kya Uski’ and ‘Isharon Isharon Mein’, Gulmarg soon emerged as a crowd favourite among Indian tourists. Also, a popular skiing destination, Gulmarg’s beauty lies in its spread of mountains, the changing colours through the seasons, and a profusion of flowers—all of which make it a favourite among Bollywood filming locations all year round. From its green, flower-laden fields in spring to snow-clad slopes in winter, Gulmarg has been featured in movies like ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’, ‘Highway’, ‘Rockstar’, ‘Saat Khoon Maaf’ and ‘Haider’.
2. Star In Your Own Thriller: Agrasen Ki Baoli, Delhi
This historic step-well or baoli is located on Hailey Road in New Delhi. An ancient water reservoir, this Bollywood filming location is a protected monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 of the Archaeological Survey of India. Apart from being a historic monument, this 60-meter long, 15-metre wide structure consisting of 103 steps made of red stone, has been featured in many Bollywood movies such as the Aamir Khan Starrer ‘PK’ and Salman Khan’s ‘Dabangg’. The site is also considered to be one of the most haunted places in India, so beware.
3. Imagine Your Romantic Meet-up Here: Pangong Tso, Ladakh
How can anyone forget the last scene from ‘3 idiots’ with Pia (Kareena Kapoor) riding a red scooter to meet Rancho (Aamir Khan)? This scene is set at the mesmerising Pangong Lake in Ladakh. It stretches across 150 kilometres near the Chinese border and ever since the film was released, has found a lot of admirers within the film fraternity. Other than ‘3 idiots’, the striking and vivid blues of this lake was also featured in ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ when SRK saves a drowning Anushka Sharma at the beginning of the film.
Also read: A complete guide to visiting Ladakh
4. Watch The Sunset With Your Special Someone: Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan
Known as one of the largest forts in India, Chittorgarh Fort is located in Chittoor, Rajasthan. Covering almost 700 acres, the fort is the largest one in Asia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and was the backdrop for the iconic scene from ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’ where Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor) enjoys the sunset with Naina (Deepika Padukone). The fort was captured beautifully by Sanjay Leela Bansali in the film ‘Padmaavat’ too, as this is the actual site where Rani Padmini of Chittor performed jauhar. This Bollywood filming location is a fort complex full of old palaces, temples, towers, and a reservoir. It originally featured 84 water bodies, but today only 22 remain.
5. Experience The Majesty Of White Cascades: Dudhsagar Falls, Goa
This impressive four-tiered waterfall located on the Mandovi river on the Madgaon-Belgaum rail route in South Goa was used in the film ‘Chennai Express’. Along with SRK and Deepika, the second-highest waterfall in India gained a lot of attention in this comedy movie. With a spectacular height of 310 metres (1,017 feet), this picturesque Bollywood filming location is also known as one of the best natural attractions in Goa.
6. A Must For Every Friend Trip: Fort Chapora, Goa
No one can forget that iconic shot from ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ of the three friends sitting on the walls of the fort, which became the symbol for everlasting friendship after the movie. Situated at the mouth of the Chapora river, this picturesque fort was built by the Portuguese in 1617. Its popularity even led to it being called the ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ fort.
Also read: Visit the best heritage sites in Goa
7. More Destinations For Your Friends And You: Nahargarh Fort, Rajasthan
The famous song ‘Masti Ki Paathshala’ from ‘Rang De Basanti’ was shot at Nahargarh Fort in Jaipur. The pink city is filled with mesmerising architecture and historical monuments, and you’ll find Nahargarh perched atop the Aravalli Hills overlooking the city. This Bollywood filming location was built in 1734 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II to defend Jaipur, and featured our favourite gang of young, vibrant college students, Diljeet (Aamir Khan) and Sukhi (Sharman Joshi) drinking together right before free-falling from the public water tank of the fort.
8. The Unknown Gem: Doraha Fort, Punjab
Another location from the movie ‘Rang De Basanti’ is Doraha Fort in Ludhiana. It’s a Mughal Serai, originally built to shelter Mughal caravans, by the Mughal ruler Jehangir. It gained popularity after it was featured in the movie—Remember the song ‘Tu Bin Bataye’ when R Madhavan proposes to Soha Ali Khan? The location for that iconic scene in Doraha fort aka RDB fort!
9. Get Started On Your Next Adventure: Hadimba Mandir, Himachal Pradesh
Locally known as Dhungari temple, Hadimba Devi temple lies in the famous hill station Manali in Himachal Pradesh. Surrounded by gorgeous cedar forests, this beautiful temple is a shrine to Hadimba Devi and was featured in 2013’s romantic comedy ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ as well as the critically acclaimed 1992 drama ‘Roja’. In the former film, as Bunny aka Kabir (Ranbir Kapoor) and the gang begin their trek, their first day is shot at this temple.
10. Rich With History And Culture: Udaipur, Rajasthan
The city of lakes, Udaipur, is known for stunning palaces, an abundance of natural beauty, and mesmerising temples. It was once the capital of the Mewar kingdom, and in modern times has been featured in many blockbuster Bollywood movies, making it one among the most favoured Bollywood filming locations. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela’ starring Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh has various scenes that were filmed in Udaipur, including the areas of Gangaur Ghat, Hanuman Ghat, and City Palace. Even the 2016’s ‘Mirzya’ starring Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher was shot in Udaipur’s Shiv Niwas Palace and Fatehgarh Palace.
11. Gaze At Glacial Peaks: Rohtang Pass, Himachal Pradesh
This high mountain pass is located at a very high altitude of 3,978 m, and lies 51 kms from Manali. It’s usually covered with snow for several months during the year. It’s been immortalised in films like ‘Jab We Met’, ‘Dev D’ and ‘Highway’. Geet (Kareena Kapoor) elopes to Himachal with Aditya (Shahid Kapoor) amid the beautiful mountains here at Rohtang Pass, in the movie ‘Jab We Met’. And who can forget the green meadows, colourful flower beds, and snow-capped mountains of Rohtang in the beautiful filming location of the song ‘Ye Ishq Haye’.
12. Be Spiritually Alive: Banaras (Varanasi), Uttar Pradesh
Known as the spiritual capital of India, and considered one of the holiest cities in India for Hindus and Jains, Benaras or Varanasi has attracted many filmmakers. Many Bollywood films have tried to capture the true essence of the city. Some of the best known include ‘Masaan’, ‘Raanjhana’ and ‘Laga Chunari Mein Dag’. Anand L Rai’s ‘Raajhana’ had the perfect Banarasi pandit Kundan played by Dhanush, while Neeraj Gaywan’s ‘Masaan’ used Varanasi as a great backdrop to capture the emotive quality of his uniquely charming film.
13. Walk, Dance Or Sing Past Lush Greenery: Darjeeling, West Bengal
This scenic hill station is situated at an elevation of 2,050 metres in West Bengal. The beautiful Bollywood filming location is spread over a steep mountain ridge and is surrounded by emerald-green tea plantations. Known as the ‘Queen Of The Hills’, Darjeeling is towered over by majestic Kanchenjunga – the world’s third-highest mountain peak – and has an iconic link with Bollywood. Several blockbuster Bollywood films have been shot at this beautiful location. Out of them, the most known would be ‘Jagga Jasoos’, ‘Main Hoon Na’ and ‘Barfi’. Feel ‘Chalein Jaise Hawaein’ from ‘Main Hoon Na’ at the campus of St Pauls or look for the famous clock tower which Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor) climbed up to impress Shruti (Ileana D’cruz) in ‘Barfi’.
14. Get Lost In Vibrant Narrow Lanes: Old Delhi, Delhi
The charm and grandeur of Old Delhi was pleasantly showcased in the movie ‘Delhi 6’ released in 2006. This Abhishek Bachhan and Sonam Kapoor starrer revisited the terraces, havelis and old buildings of the ancient city. The song ‘Sasural Genda Phool’ has many sequences featuring rooftops in the Walled City of Old Delhi, Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib, Jama Masjid and Lal Qila. Experience the inescapable magnetism of this old city that continues to enthral us on the big screen and in real life.
15. Relax In The Quaint Resort Town: Ooty, Tamil Nadu
A tranquil retreat in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Ooty has been one of the most popular hill stations in India since the times of the British Raj. As it is nestled deep in the Nilgiris, this stunning filming location has been featured in many famous Bollywood Films. You will recognise this Southern ‘Queen Of Hills’ from the song ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ where SRK danced on top a moving train, the collection of heritage buildings in ‘Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani’ and even ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’s’ ‘Shimla Camp’ which was actually Wenlock Downs in Ooty.
Also read: A different way to enjoy Ooty – run there!
How Many Of These Bollywood Locations Have Your Visited?
While some of these might be unknown, you can easily recognise most of them from their respective quintessential Bollywood scenes. The fantasy that Bollywood aims to create through its scenes is all the more enhanced when placed against these backdrops, some of which have existed for centuries with their own stories to tell. Let us know in the comments below which of these Bollywood filming locations have inspired you to plan your next trip.