By Abbey Halter
I know I’m not alone in saying I absolutely CANNOT WAIT to be able to backpack across the globe again once COVID-19 has passed.
In the meantime, I’ve compiled this list of my favourite cities in one of the craziest, most colourful and exhilarating countries in the world (in my opinion, of course). Prepare for some travel nostalgia and the desire to start planning your first trip for when this pandemonium is over.
- Agra, Utter Pradesh
First, is the famous cultural hub of Agra, the city known for the intense and dramatically beautiful Taj Mahal.
If you ever plan on visiting, wake up early to catch the sunrise over this royal tomb. Also, try not to misplace the little blue token you’re given that gets through the gates. You will have to pay a fine and security will not be impressed. Trust me.
- Amristar, Punjab
Next is the “golden city” of Amristar. This city has one of the most beautiful temples in the world, which is entirely plated with real, solid gold.
The Golden Temple completely took my breath away. The overwhelming grandness of this wondrous temple is a sight to behold and the energy that radiates from the whole landmark is a feeling I’ll never forget. There is no cost to enter the temple, only a donation is recommended of whatever you can afford. Also, the line to enter into the main temple can be hours long (I waited for 2!) but it is so worth it. You definitely want to add this iconic landmark to your bucket list.
- Jaipur, Rajasthan
The city of Jaipur is known as ‘The Pink City’, as every building was painted light pink in 1876, when the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria toured the country.
If you’re planning a trip to this incredible place make sure you take the time to check out the handmade wooden block printed textile markets, where you can purchase beautiful ethical fabrics in all forms straight from the manufacturers. While admiring the many prints and designs, I fell in love with a stunning traditional handmade lehenga that I spent all the rest of my money on (I have no regrets whatsoever). Once you have somehow found the strength to finish shopping, I recommend you catch a ride to the famous and entirely pink Amber Fort located just outside of the city.
- Jodphur, Rajasthan
This absolute gem of a city was my travel friend’s top fave we visited. We became obsessed with the insane blue colour that’s painted everywhere. Jodphur, Jaipur’s neighbour, is known as ‘The Blue City’ and has the most stunning architecture mixed with vibrant markets that continue late into the night.
The best view in the house is from Jodphur’s Castle. Take a short rickshaw ride to the bottom of the steps (and there are a lot – bring water!) leading to an absolutely magnificent royal fortress transformed into an amazing museum. Our favourite memory from each day was watching the captivating sun set into the blue hue of the city while drinking cocktails and smoking shisha from a trendy rooftop bar.
- Vagator, Goa
Ah, Goa. My absolute favourite place in the world. I honestly cannot think of anything I didn’t like. From the black sandy beaches, to the surrounding tropical rainforest, down to the streets filled with movie-like local bars where the drinks
are cheap and the vibes are unmatched from anywhere else I’ve visited.
I recommend hiring a scooter, it’s definitely a fun adventure. Just try not to hit a pole, and I’d avoid being pulled over by the local police without a valid licence. Luckily I did escape without any fines, but learn from my mistakes.