Summer vacations are just around the corner and you are sitting with the family and jotting down all the destinations which you can probably visit and get to spend some quality time there. After a while, you are not sure where to go (overseas vacation or umm somewhere in India?). India is a beauty, from magnificent mountains to a place where Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean can be seen together at once. It has some of the driest places on earth and some places have the highest rainfall. You'll be surprised when you explore each and every corner of it, even then calling India "a paradise" would not be enough. A great dilemma it is, but there is an easier way to decide it- If you have visited these top 20 places of India then you're good to go but if not then you should just relax and visit them first.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Ladakh

Ladakh, the land of jagged peaks and barren landscape is awe-inspiring. Hidden behind this harsh and forbidding faAade is an ancient civilization and people are kind and welcoming there. It is also known as the "land of high passes"; it is situated in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The history of Ladakh is filled with magical Buddhist kingdoms, invaders, invasions and much more. It is enchanting; all of it, from picturesque gompas (monasteries) to beautiful lakes, Ladakh makes you fall in love with it. The best time to visit this surreal land is from April- September because the climate is perfect there then, during winters the temperature goes below 0 degrees and it gets heavy snowfall. Ladakh is perfect for mountaineering, white river rafting, trekking and finding peace.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Spiti Valley

"Spiti" literally means the middle land and it is situated between Tibet and India border, northeast of Himachal Pradesh. It is lying untouched in the lap of the Himalayas and the Spiti river flow besides it making it even more magical. It remains hidden from the rest of India for almost 6 months of the year as heavy snow blocks the mountain pass. Spiti Valley only gets 250 days of sunshine, well rest of the days are harsh for them, especially the winters. In winters the temperature drops to -30 degrees Celsius. Lahul- Spiti District is full of isolated towns and villages. It is a cold desert, full of barren mountains, rugged roads, and picturesque surroundings. It is the land of surrealism because the terrains, the views, the weather and of course the food leave a lasting impact on one's heart. After every mountain or two, a landscape totally different from the previous one unfolds itself.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Manali

A beautiful hill station in Himachal Pradesh, nestled in between snowy mountains and thick lush-green forests, flanked by the Beas River, Manali is truly a travelers paradise. Situated at an altitude of 1950 meters, Manali offers breathtaking views of the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar range of mountains. It is believed that a sage named Manu founded this place so Manali is also short for "Manu's resting place". This paradise is a perfect place to unwind and have the adventure of a lifetime. From awe-inspiring Sohan Valley to amazing temples and monasteries, Manali will not cease to awaken the adventure spirit inside you. Explore this place on foot, visit Rohtang Pass, Pin Valley National park, Jogini waterfall and also don't miss out on the adventure sports which are thrilling and makes your heart jump with excitement.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Valley of Flowers

Valley of Flowers is a vibrant national park situated in West Himalayas. Lying peacefully in Uttarakhand, this place is famous for its picturesque meadows of alpine flowers. This region is home to some rare and endangered animal species. You may spot animals like Asiatic black deer, snow leopard, musk deer, red fox and blue sheep. High in the lofty Himalayas of the Garhwal region sprawls this enchanting valley. Many people believe it to be the place from where Hanuman had collected the Sanjeevani buti to cure Lakshmana. Declared as the National Park in 1982, the valley is a world heritage site as well. The pristine beauty, enchanting surroundings attracts many nature lovers, photographers, and botanists. The Valley of Flowers trek shows you a glimpse of the joys of Himalayan trekking. Once you finish this trek, you find yourself planning your next epic Himalayan adventure. The perfect time to visit is in July and August as you will see the maximum shades covering it.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Jaipur

Jaipur is a place to experience the grandeur of palaces, old traditions, and its charming culture. "Pink City" or the "City of Forts" is filled with the beauty which leaves you awestruck. Be it the famous Nahargarh Fort or the breathtaking Hawa- Mahal(from which the queen used to observe the outside activities in the market nearby), Jaipur will not disappoint you. Visit this place to experience its rich culture, travel the whole day, watch the sunset at the Mansarovar Lake and visit the famous Chokhi Dhani to give your taste buds a treat (try the famous Rajasthani Thali there!). There is so much more to Jaipur that it will leave your soul happy once you get done with exploring every bit of it.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Lonavla

Situated in the Sahyadri range of the Western Ghats, 624 m above sea level, Lonavala is one of the twin hill stations- Lonavala and Khandala. It was once a part of Yadava dynasty and a strategic point of the Peshwa Empire, Lonavla has witnessed the Maratha Empire which is evident from its forts. It is surrounded by bewitching lush green forests rich in flora and fauna, Lonavala is the most visited hill station in Maharashtra and a perfect destination for camping, trekking, and other adventure sports. Filled with caves of archaeological significance, Lonavala holds several mysteries which are sure to ignite the traveler in each and everyone visiting the place. It's an awe-inspiring place which provides you serenity and leaves you happy, away from the chaotic world of cities and towns.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Rann of Kutch

The Great Rann of Kutch is a salt desert spread across 7,505 sq km and it is the largest salt desert of the world. On a full moon night, the desert comes alive with the mystical beauty which soothes your eyes. The Rann of Kutch hosts a three-month-long Rann Utsav annually that attracts thousands of tourists and locals alike. The Kutchi community (locals) paints the desert in hues of beautiful colors. Known for their embroideries and handicrafts, you will find people and camels too, donning these with pride. A camel ride on the Rann of Kutch is an unforgettable experience. The setting sun makes for a picturesque backdrop. If not for anything else, visit the Rann of Kutch for the serene beauty.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Alibaug

A coastal town in the Konkan region, Alibaug is well known for its sandy beaches, crystal clear water, magnificent forts, unpolluted and rejuvenating air. It has many beautiful beaches which are less crowded, it's mesmerizingly calm weather and dense coconut groves soothe your soul. There are many historical and awe-inspiring temples in this region which are also interesting for tourists here. A walk amidst dense, refreshing coconut groves takes you a bewitching journey and makes your trip memorable. Kihim beach, Alibaug beach, Kanakeshwar devasthan temple, Kanakeshwar forest, Kolaba Fort, Hanuman temple are some of the popular tourist spots. You will feel like you're in a completely small but a different world.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Panchgani

Panchgani, or a 'Land of Five Hills' is a beautiful hill station in Maharashtra. Away from the hustle-bustle of Mumbai, Panchgani offers the picturesque and serene beauty of the five hills. Discovered by the British as a perfect summer resort, the climate here remains pleasant throughout the year and the place breathes greenery and mesmerizing beauty. One can enjoy the breathtaking view of Krishna River, which gives you company you all the way through until you reach Panchgani. The lush green scenery, fresh air, and view of the Krishna River are simply unforgettable. Enhancing the charm, Panchgani is dotted with a number of cottages, built in the colonial style. You can experience various buildings of British architecture. This places will make you wonder that how could this place be here.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Mahabaleshwar

Mahabaleshwar, located in the lush green Western Ghats is altogether a different paradise. It offers amazing panoramic views, temples and a pleasant climate that attracts many nature lovers. It was the summer capital of the Bombay Presidency during the British Raj, its colonial past is can be seen in its architecture. The first record of Mahabaleshwar dates back to 1215 when King Singhan of Deogiri visited there. It has a rich and vast history which makes the trip interesting. The British architecture makes it even more charming. Mahabaleshwar is also famous for its strawberry gardens and honey. The famous Elephant shaped hill will leave you amazed. Don't miss out this place as it offers a once in a lifetime adventure.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Sundarbans

The Sundarbans mangrove forest is one of the largest such forests in the world which lies on the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers on the Bay of Bengal. The mystical forest is known for its wide range of fauna and flora. The main attraction is the Royal Bengal tiger; around 400 of these creatures called the Sundarbans home, making this the largest single population of tigers on earth. This place ignites the adventure spirit in you and you are filled with thrill and excitement. Even if you don't spot any tiger, simply sitting on your boat as you float through thick mangrove forests is a dreamy experience. The journey throughout the wild forest gives you goosebumps and makes it unforgettable.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh is a place which will leave you awe-inspiring and be wanting to visit it again and again. It is a wild and least explored state of India, Arunachal which means the 'land of dawn-lit mountains' rises from the Assam plains as a mass of densely forested and steep hills, culminating in snow-capped peaks along the Tibetan border. The culture there is colorful and mesmerizing; a state of around 26 indigenous tribes, Arunachal will offer you breathtaking sights- temples, monasteries, magnificent mountains and the delicious food. Much of the state remains beyond tourism's reach, but now it is slowly opening up to people.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Meghalaya

Meghalaya, commonly known as the "abode of clouds", is one of the most beautiful states in India offering a variety of enchanting sights, activities, food and amazing festivals to the tourists. The place receives one of the maximum rainfalls in the world. Meghalaya can bewitch you with its beautiful lush green hills, valleys, lakes, caves and waterfalls which give a picturesque view when covered with clouds. Once you visit this state, you will feel nature in its best form as you breathe in the fresh air. Travel all day long to the evergreen hills and mountains exploring Meghalaya while eating the delicious food and enjoying the marvelous local handicrafts.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Darjeeling

Darjeeling is a beautiful hill station located in West Bengal. It is a divine amalgamation of evergreen hills, serene monasteries, tea plantations and the marvelous toy train. The city is also known as the Queen of Hill Stations. Darjeeling was the most visited location of the British because of its pleasant climatic conditions and magnificent mountains. It is very famous for its Darjeeling tea. The town is rich in diversity with the common languages spoken being Nepali, Tibetan, Hindi, Bengali, and English. Best time to visit this awe-inspiring land is months from March-May, and September-November. In the month of July, Darjeeling gets heavy rainfall and due to the deforestation, landslides occur, thus, the rainy season should be avoided.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Sikkim

Sikkim, a paradise known for its warm-hearted people and fairytale destinations is one of most beautiful places in India. Being the right shoulder of India, Sikkim is a hidden treasure, away from the chaotic urban life. Sikkim offers an incredible experience full of adventure, vast history, natural beauty, and rich culture. High altitude lakes, gorgeous waterfalls and soothing rivers; and peace of mind find you at serene monasteries make you fall in love with this beauty. The Best time to visit Sikkim is between March and June.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Coorg

Coorg, a breathtaking hill station which is located amidst mountains is a perfect place for you to spend your summer vacations. It is famous for its lush green hills, coffee plantations and steams cutting right through them. Coorg, officially known as Kodagu, is the most affluent hill station in Karnataka. It is well known for its enchanting exotic scenery and pleasant weather. Forest covered hills, spice and coffee plantations add more charm to the landscape. Visit some of its most beautiful towns like towns like Virajpet, Kushalnagar, Gonikoppal, Pollibetta, and Somwarpet, and experience the wonderful concept of "homestays" to make your trip more memorable.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Chikmagalur

Chikmagalur in Karnataka is a mesmerizing hill station which reflects the best form of green nature and pleasant climate letting everyone escape from the fast life of the cities. The number of hills is not fixed and the waterfalls are located at regular intervals. This small town is truly blessed with the mighty Western Ghats. The never-ending greenery has numerous attractions to share with everyone which fills up your mind with solace. The traditional and delicious food and the native villages give the guests a memorable holiday there.

Alleppey

Kerala's backwaters, Alleppey is home to a vast network of waterways and more than a thousand houseboats. It is famously known as the 'Venice of the East'. When you head west to the beach or in any other direction towards the backwaters, Alleppey becomes enchanting and greenery-fringed, disappearing into a watery world of wonderful villages and the beautiful houseboats. Float along and watch over paddy fields of shades of green, rice barges and village life along the banks. This is no doubt one of the few experiences which will be forever forged in your memory.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Munnar

You will see shades of green as far as eyes can see in every direction. The hills around Munnar, it is one of the largest tea- growing region in South India. It is covered up in emerald green plantations which soothe your soul. The scenery leaves you wonderstruck with the clouds spreading in the sky like a white sheet clinging to the mountain tops. It is a small town which is bit congested but few kilometers away from that, you'll find yourself in a different world.

Shall one go overseas vacation first or visit Top Indian Destinations first?

Puducherry

Away from the hullabaloo of big cities, Puducherry is a quiet little town on the southern coast of India. The old French connection, beautiful tree-lined boulevards, the rich colonial heritage buildings, the peaceful sceneries, the stretches of untouched virgin beaches provide a perfect mix of experience that lures travelers from all over India and abroad. The union territory of Puducherry was under French rule until 1954. You may experience the French culture in hotels, restaurants and 'lifestyle' shops, enhanced by Gallic creative types and Indian artists and designers. The internationally famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram and its offshoot just north of town, Auroville, is a spiritual hub of Puducherry. This places will make your soul filled with serenity.

These places were just small glimpses of India covering all the directions. After visiting them you will find that traveling really grows on you. If you have been to beautiful places then it is hard to go back to your normal lifestyle. "Incredible India", a phrase which is going to be on the back of your mind when you'll be covering miles with a backpack and a small diary to write all about it so that you never forget that these places are real.

Image Courtesy:

toorizter.com, traveltriangle.com, thelastresort.in, nativeplanet.com, thebetterindia.com, footloosedev.com, kalitatourtravels.com, trawell.in, trawell.in, thrillophilia.com, cntraveller.in, blog.indiatrail.org