India is a beautiful country that is blessed with nature, history, and diverse cultures. Every state in India has a unique set of cultures and people that have played a part in developing the nation’s identity. This is what makes travel interesting in India—there is something unexpected around every corner. Since all states have special bits of nature, culture, and heritage to offer, the best states in India will be determined based largely on the ease of travel in and around the state. While it is impossible to rank only one state as the best in the country, here are some of the best states in India to visit. 

Travel Through The Best States In India 

1. Sand Dunes And Palaces: Rajasthan

Amber Fort Jaipur, India
Amber Fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan

Rooted in history and culture, Rajasthan is a visual delight. One of the best states in India to explore, Rajasthan has some of the most beautiful palaces in the country namely, Hawa Mahal, Samode Palace, Umaid Bhawan Palace, and more. Cities like Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, and Jodhpur attract most travellers’ attention. These colourful cities have old world traditions, delicious cuisine, and art that has been handed down through centuries. The Land of Kings is also home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the six Hill Forts, the walled city of Jaipur, and Keoladeo Ghana National Park. The Sam Sand Dunes situated on the outskirts of Jaisalmer make the state unique. One of the most beautiful states in India, Rajasthan is a very popular destination, with places like the Shekhawati region, Bikaner, Mount Abu, and Bundi being visited most often. 

2. Of British, Portuguese, Arab And Indian: Kerala

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thekkady, Kerala.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thekkady, Kerala.

Backwaters, beaches, mountains, wildlife, history, and culture—Kerala has it all. Kerala has around 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as it lies on the Western Ghats. Kerala is home to six national parks and many wildlife sanctuaries like the Periyar National Park and Eravikulam National Park that protect diverse flora and fauna. Among the best states in India, Kerala has an array of historical and architectural sites with cities like Kochi and Muziris with old churches, mosques, and buildings showing off Dutch, British, Portuguese and Arabian architectural influences. On the other hand, cities like Trivandrum are filled with famous temples like the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Places like Sargaalaya and Kannur strive to keep rituals, dance forms and art alive. 

3. Wildlife Sanctuaries And Beaches: Goa

Ruins of Cabo De Rama Fort Goa, Things to do Goa, Heritage sites
Ruins of Cabo De Rama Fort Goa

One of the most beautiful states in India, Goa is also one of the most visited tourist destinations in India. What makes Goa one of the best states in India is its beautiful beaches, churches, historical sites, food, nightlife, and its laid back lifestyle. Once the capital of Portuguese colonists, Old Goa has towering cathedrals, buildings and churches. One of the most prominent UNESCO World Heritage Sites is the Church of Bom Jesus, which contains the tomb of St Francis-Xavier. The Portuguese influence is spread over cities like Panaji, a UNESCO Heritage Zone that is filled with colourful homes and winding lanes. If you prefer busy beaches, head to Baga or for isolated spots visit Agonda and Patnem. Wildlife sanctuaries in Goa are spread over 290 square miles as the state is also a part of the Western Ghats.

4. Home Of The Nawabs And Lord Ram: Uttar Pradesh

Rumi Darwaza, places to visit in Lucknow
Rumi Darwaza, Lucknow

Uttar Pradesh is the location of the most popular Indian tourist destination—the Taj Mahal. The state has always been a cultural and historical hotspot. The capital city of Lucknow is also called the Land of Nawabs and is the centre for culture and food. Uttar Pradesh is also home to Varanasi, considered one of the holiest and oldest cities in the world. The river Ganges flows through the city making it a prime pilgrimage site. Other cities considered holy in the state include Vrindavan, Ayodhya, and Mathura. Top UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Uttar Pradesh are Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort. 

5. Beauty And Adventure: Himachal Pradesh

Beautiful view of Himalayan mountains, Kasol, Parvati valley, Himachal Pradesh, northern India, places to visit in north india
Himalayan mountains, Kasol, Parvati valley, Himachal Pradesh

An abundance of nature welcomes you at Himachal Pradesh. Located at the foothills of the Himalayas, Shimla is also called the Queen of The Hills, with breathtaking views and colonial structures. Some regions in Himachal Pradesh are covered in blankets of snow making for pristine and white landscapes. Other popular destinations include Manali, Kasauli, Kasol and Dharamshala. These destinations are home to a number of Tibetan monasteries, deodar forests, various churches, and multicultural communities. Among the best states in India, Himachal Pradesh is ideal for adventure activities like trekking, hiking, mountain biking and whitewater rafting. Spiti Valley is also a unique attraction that has many rural villages, Buddhist monasteries and varied wildlife. Himachal Pradesh also has UNESCO World Heritage Sites like  the Kalka Shimla Railway Line and The Great Himalayan National Park with rare wildlife like the snow leopard and Himalayan tahr. 

6. Heritage And Natural Treasure: Karnataka

Ganesha temple in Hampi, Karnataka
Ganesha temple in Hampi, Karnataka

Also located on the UNESCO Heritage Site of Western Ghats, Karnataka has dense forests, spiritual destinations, historical monuments, pristine hill stations and waterfalls. The city of Hampi, the last capital of Vijayanagar empire, has temples and architectural ruins from the 14th century. Other empires like the Chalukya and Palegar Nayakas have left behind the Chitradurga Fort, that has 18 temples, 35 secret entrances and 2,000 watchtowers, and Chalukya style architecture at heritage sites in Badami and Aihole. Other religious destinations in Karnataka include Shravanabelagola, Murudeshwar, and Belur. There are also natural attractions like Nagarhole National Park, Nandi Hills, Coorg and Chikmagalur. Karnataka also has breathtaking coastlines with lesser-known beaches in places like Mangalore, Udupi and Gokarna.

7. Religion, Architecture And Archaeology: Gujarat

The water tank at the Sun Temple, Modhera, Gujarat
The water tank at the Sun Temple, Modhera, Gujarat

One of the most beautiful states in India, Gujarat is home to India’s many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Ranging from Rani ki Vav (Queen’s Stepwell) in Patan to the first UNESCO Heritage City of Ahmedabad, the state is filled with architectural wonders. Enjoy the salt desert landscape of the Great Rann of Kutch in all its glory. Gujarat also has the Gir National Park, which has strived to conserve the Asiatic lion and around 300 species of birds. There are also prominent religious pilgrimage cities like Somnath, Dwaraka, and Junagadh. The state also treasures Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site, that has reservoirs, places of worship and fortresses that date back to between the 8th and 14th centuries. 

8. Farms And Food: Punjab

Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, India.
Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, India.

Famous for its agricultural lands, the charm of rustic life, and the energetic and happy bhangra (folk dance), Punjab is a must-visit state. With temples like the Golden Temple and Anandpur Sahib, Sikhism is the prominent religion in Punjab. Among the best states in India, Punjab is famous for its authentic flavours of parathas, lassi, dal makhani and chole. The state also offers a lot of farm stays where you can experience the true countryside.

Also read: A City With Traditions, Faith, And Food: The Best Places To Visit In Amritsar 

9. Flourishing Culture: West Bengal

Biggest Cats, Bengal Tiger in Sundarbans tiger reserves in india
A Bengal tiger in the Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal

The birthplace of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, West Bengal is a culturally vibrant state. The capital city of Kolkata gives us a glimpse of the British Raj with colonial-era buildings and trams, as well as Indian temples like Kalighat Kali Temple and Belur Math. West Bengal is also endowed with the dense mangrove forests of Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. The Sundarbans National Park protects animals like the Bengal tiger, Olive Ridley turtles, king cobras and estuarine crocodiles. The Jaldapara National Park also has the unique one-horned rhinoceros. You can also visit cultural cities like Mayapur, Bishnupur and Kalimpong. 

10. Covered In Snow And Flowers: Uttarakhand

Nanda Devi biosphere national park in Uttarakhand
Nanda Devi biosphere national park in Uttarakhand

Untouched forests and valleys make Uttarkhand stand out in the list of the best states in India. Against the backdrop of the Himalayas, the beautiful state offers hill stations like Nainital, Mussoorie and Auli. Prominent pilgrimage centres Haridwar and Rishikesh are also home to adventure sports like river rafting, cliff jumping, bungee jumping, and rappelling. The Valley of Flowers National Park is ornate with a blanket of 300 different varieties of alpine flowers. Visit the valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, during monsoon to witness its true beauty. Among the most beautiful states in India, Uttarakhand also has the first-ever national park established in India, the Jim Corbett National Park.

Other Gems

Some of the best states in India like Meghalaya and Nagaland also have beautiful views and heritage sites but are not easily accessible. Jammu and Kashmir has ethereal destinations like Gulmarg and Sonamarg but due to the current political disturbances and emergency implemented you cannot visit the state. Other popular destinations like Delhi and Andaman and Nicobar Islands could not make the list because they are Union Territories. 

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