Photo Gallery: 20 Extraordinary Pictures of India

  • 01 of 20

    Golden Temple Sunrise

    Golden Temple, Amritsar.
    ••• Golden Temple, Amritsar. RascalRJ/Getty Images.

    These pictures of India showcase the country's most colorful and diverse landscapes. From cities to villages, and mountains to desert plains, it's impossible to take a boring India picture. Browse this photo gallery and enjoy a sweeping visual tour of India.

    The exquisite Golden Temple is a sacred Sikh shrine, made out of marble with a distinctive gold plated upper and dome. It's located in Amritsar, the spiritual capital of the Sikh religion in Punjab.  The number of people who visit the Golden Temple rivals the Taj Mahal. It's particularly magical at sunrise and sunset.

    Read More: Amritsar and Golden Temple Essential Travel Guide

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  • 02 of 20

    Ladakh Monastery

    Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh.
    ••• Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh. Natapong Supalertsophon/Getty Images.

    In the furthest far flung corner of northern India, remote Ladakh has become a popular tourist destination for adventure enthusiasts. Leh is the common entry point to the region. Attractions in the vicinity include Buddhist monasteries and trekking.

    Read More: Leh Ladakh Essential Travel Guide

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  • 03 of 20

    Kolkata Garland Sellers

    Kolkata garland seller.
    ••• Kolkata garland seller. Izzet Keribar/Getty Images.

    Far from its impoverished past, Kolkata has evolved into a vibrant city full of culture. These eye catching garland sellers can be found under the left side of the Howrah bridge, as you approach it from Kolkata.

    Read More:12 Compelling Places to Visit in Kolkata

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  • 04 of 20

    Rajasthan Thar Desert

    Village near Jaisalmer in Thar Desert.
    ••• Village near Jaisalmer in Thar Desert. Aaron Geddes Photography/Getty Images.

    The great Thar Desert is found in India's north western state of Rajashtan. It's a huge expanse covering 44.6 million hectares, and is believed to be between 4000 to 10,000 years old. A little over three quarters of it lies in India, while the remainder is in neighboring Pakistan.

    The Thar Desert is a fascinating place full of folklore and village life. One of the best ways of experiencing the desert is on camel safari from Jaisalmer or Bikaner.

    Read More: Explore the Desert on a Camel Safari in India

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  • 05 of 20

    White Salt Desert

    Great Rann of Kutch salt desert.
    ••• Great Rann of Kutch salt desert. Manish/Getty Images

    The Great Rann of Kutch, India's surreal white salt desert, is an arid expanse that lies to the north of the Tropic of Cancer. It covers about 10,000 square kilometers and almost reaches Pakistan border. It's particularly eerie at sunset, and especially under the stars on a full moon night.

    Read More: How to Visit Great Rann of Kutch

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  • 06 of 20

    Mahabalipuram Stone Carving

    Stone carving at Mahabalipuram.
    ••• Stone carving at Mahabalipuram. Kevin Clogstoun/Getty Images.

    Mahabalipuram, not far from Chennai in south India, is most well known for its windswept Shore Temple that's located right on the water's edge. However, it also has a thriving stone statue carving industry. Keep some money aside for shopping!

    Read More: Mahabalipuram Essential Travel Guide

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  • 07 of 20

    Theyyam Performer

    ••• Theyyam at Kannur, Kerala. Mitchell Kanashkevich/ Getty Images

    A distinctive and mysterious thing about Kerala is its theyyam rituals, representing mythological, divine or ancestral spirits. The masked performers are believed to be possessed by the spirits. Most theyyam rituals take place in the Kannur district of northern Kerala.

    Read More: 15 Top Attractions and Things to Do in Kerala

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  • 08 of 20

    Old Goa Church

    St. Francis of Assisi church, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Old Goa.
    ••• St. Francis of Assisi church, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Old Goa. Yadid Levy / robertharding/ Getty Images.

    Goa has a large Catholic population due to its Portuguese heritage and there are some magnificent churches. One of the best places to see them and absorb Goa's history is in Old Goa, near Panjim.

    Read More: 6 Popular Tourist Places to Visit in Goa

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  • 09 of 20

    Cherrapunji Root Bridge

    Cherrapunji Double Decker Root Bridge
    ••• Cherrapunji Double Decker Root Bridge. Amos Chapple/Getty Images.

    Meghalaya's most famous root bridge, the "double decker" root bridge, can be found near Cherrapunji (often referred to as the wettest place on earth) a couple of hours from Shillong. This 150 year old root bridge is not easily accessible. It requires a strenuous but it's worth it!

    Read More: Meghalaya Living Root Bridges Essential Travel Guide

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  • 10 of 20

    Kumbh Mela Sadhus

    Sadhus at the Kumbh Mela.
    ••• Sadhus at the Kumbh Mela. Kuni Takahashi / Getty Images.

    The mesmerizing Kumbh Mela is the world's largest religious gathering, attended by millions of people every day. Sadhus of all sects converge to bathe in the waters of India's holy rivers, discuss their faith and disseminate information about their religion.

    Read More: All You Need to Know About the Kumbh Mela India

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  • 11 of 20

    Hampi Boulders

    Virupaksha Temple and boulders on Hemakuta Hill.
    ••• Virupaksha Temple and boulders on Hemakuta Hill. Richard I'Anson/Getty Images.

    Hampi is one of the Top Tourist Destinations in Karnataka, as well as one of India's Top Historical Places. It has some extremely captivating ruins, intriguingly intermingled with large boulders that rear up all over the landscape.

    Read More: Hampi Essential Travel Guide

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  • 12 of 20

    Step Wells in India

    Step well in India.
    ••• Step well in India. Tuul and Bruno Morandi/Getty Images.

    A lesser-known but important part of India's history and architecture, the construction of step wells can be traced back mostly to between the 2nd and 4th centuries. The majority of the wells are located in the the hot, dry states of northern India -- particularly in Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Haryana. Many are sadly crumbling, although some have been well preserved and are worth exploring.

    Read More: 6 Abandoned Step Wells with Amazing Architecture in India

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  • 13 of 20

    South India Temples

    Corridor of Ramanathaswamy temple, Tamil Nadu.
    ••• Corridor of Ramanathaswamy temple, Tamil Nadu. CR Shelare/Getty Images.

    The south Indian state of Tamil Nadu is particularly well known for its towering and intricate temples, which reflect the ancient Dravidian culture. The special feature at Ramanathaswamy Temple in Rameshwaram is the astonishing pillared hallway that lines its perimeter. Apparently, it's the longest of its kind in India.

    Read More: 9 Top South India Temples and Where to See Them

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  • 14 of 20

    Varanasi Burning Ghat

    Manikarnika burning ghat, Varanasi.
    ••• Manikarnika burning ghat, Varanasi. photosindia/Getty Images

    Varanasi both attracts and repulses tourists at the same time. This sacred Hindu city in Uttar Pradesh has an ancient history and is one of India's Top 6 Spiritual Destinations. Known as the city of Lord Shiva, the god of creation and destruction, it’s believed that anyone who dies there will be liberated from the cycle of reincarnation. The fascinating thing about this mystical city is that its rituals are revealed openly to along the many riverside ghats, including the ritual burning of dead bodies.

    Read More: 8 Important Ghats in Varanasi that You Must See

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  • 15 of 20

    Kerala Fishermen

    Kozhikode fishing harbor, Kerala.
    ••• Kozhikode fishing harbor, Kerala. Tuul and Bruno Morandi/Getty Images.

    Fishing is one of the main sources of income in Kerala. Fishing communities are spread all along the state's beaches and backwaters. It's a difficult life. The fishing often involves significant manual labor, just like old times.

    Read More: Kerala Backwaters and How to Best Visit Them

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  • 16 of 20

    Jaisalmer Fort

    Jaisalmer fort.
    ••• Jaisalmer fort. thipjang/Getty Images

    Forts and palaces are a distinguishing feature of Rajasthan. Jaisalmer, one of the Top 10 Tourist Destinations in Rajasthan, is often referred to as being straight out of a romantic Arabian Nights fable. This remarkable sandstone city rises magically from the sand dunes of the Rajasthan desert. Inside, the fort is alive and spellbinding. 

    Read More: 12 Top Palaces and Forts in India

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  • 17 of 20

    Mumbai Railway Station

    Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Railway Terminus.
    ••• Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Railway Terminus. Tuul and Bruno Morandi/Getty Images

    India's "Maximum City", Mumbai is known for its extreme standards of living, fast paced lifestyle, and the making (or breaking) of dreams. The train is the most popular and quickest way of commuting in Mumbai, and the local railway transports an astonishing 8 million commuters per day!

    Read More: A Look at Daily Life in Mumbai

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  • 18 of 20

    Lodhi Garden Tombs

    Architectural details, tomb of Mohammed Shah in Lodhi Gardens, New Delhi.
    ••• Architectural details, tomb of Mohammed Shah in Lodhi Gardens, New Delhi. Danita Delimont/Getty Images.

    Delhi is dotted with ancient mosques, forts, and monuments left over from the Mughal rulers. Lodhi Gardens was built by the British in 1936, around the tombs of rulers from the 15th and 16th century. One of the earliest and most impressive tombs in the garden is that of Mohammed Shah. It was completed in 1444 and has some incredible architectural detail.

    Read More: Top 10 Delhi Attractions

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  • 19 of 20

    Worshiping Cows

    Cows being worshiped on Mattu Pongal.
    ••• Cows being worshiped on Mattu Pongal. Paddy Photography\Getty Images.

    Cows provide essential help to farmers in the fields. They're decorated and worshiped on the third day of the Pongal Festival (known as Mattu Pongal) in Tamil Nadu.

    Read More: Essential Guide to the Pongal Festival

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  • 20 of 20

    Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds)

    Behind the Hawa Mahal, Jaipur.
    ••• Behind the Hawa Mahal, Jaipur. Leonie von Hausen/Getty Images

    Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, is a vibrant desert city with some spectacular forts and palaces. It forms a part of India's Golden Triangle, and is a popular place to visit from Delhi. The intricate and fascinating facade of the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) is probably Jaipur's most recognized building. However, did you know it's possible to go inside it for a totally different perspective?

    Read More: Top 10 Jaipur Attractions