India, the seventh largest country in the world, is home to some of the most breathtaking sights and views. There is just so much to explore and experience that perhaps one lifetime may not be enough!
Where we've read about travel itineraries for the gastronomical capitals within India, the famous temple trails and even the most popular road trips- the one we don't read about so often, is an itinerary that guides you to discover India through its most famous landforms.
To recap, landforms are naturally occurring features on the Earth's surface in other words, the different terrains found in a given region. India has five prominent landforms or relief features (as you might recall from your 4th-grade geography books!). They are:
1. The Great Mountains
2. The Thar Desert
3. The Great Plains of North and Middle India
4. Peninsular Plateau
5. The Coastal Areas and Islands
We're going to help you explore these five landforms of India through their most popular destinations. So without further ado, here are the five landforms of India through five exquisite destinations:
1. The Great mountains through Sikkim
Home to India's highest mountain peak, the Kanchenjunga, Sikkim is a scenic delight. The second smallest north-western state of India shares its borders with Nepal and Bhutan and boasts of one of the most significant biodiversity in the country. It also happens to be India's most extensive and the second-largest producer of cardamom and other spices in the world. It was the first state in India to proclaim that its agriculture is completely organic.
Its capital, Gangtok, is no stranger to tourism and offers several adventurous activities like helicopter rides with a view of the famous Gangtok valley and aerial gondola rides over the city.
One can even enjoy the views of the majestic Kanchenjunga from Pelling and possibly indulge in an adventurous trek up its base camp.
For the more spiritually inclined traveller, we recommend visiting the Pemayangtse monastery, which dates back to the early 1700s and is situated near Pelling.
2. The Thar Desert through Rajasthan
The largest Indian state, Rajasthan is a history lovers paradise. Being the capital of many a dynasty, it is dotted with grand palaces and castles that tell a tale of an era gone by. Most of these palaces today are now fully functional hotels that allow their guests to relive the era of the maharajas with their uber-luxurious interiors and impeccable service.
The state is also home to the famous Ranthambore National Park, which beckons travelers from around the globe who come to catch a glimpse of the national animal of our country in its natural habitat.
Rajasthan's vibrant culture mesmerizes its visitors with its enthralling music and dance and, of course, its finger-licking food. But sites and cuisine aside, Rajasthan is a shopper’s heaven! You can find a rich variety of exquisite handicrafts and textiles along with precious gems and jewels that are handcrafted to perfection.
3. The Great Northern Plains through Delhi
The nation's capital, Delhi, is perhaps a lot smaller than all the other states on this list, but it offers so much. There is something for everyone to enjoy here. The list of must visits and must-dos are endless, so we highly recommend taking a week out just for Delhi and the National Capital Region the next time you visit north India.
The India Gate, the Qutub Minar, and the Red Fort are some of the most famous monuments of Delhi. The grand Rashtrapati Bhavan, apart from being the country's political nexus, is also a beautiful building that houses stunning gardens that are open to visitors.
Since no mention of Delhi is complete without a nod to its gastronomical prowess; we are compelled to advise you to go on a week-long diet before you visit Delhi, because once you're here, you won't be able to resist the indulgences!
4. The Peninsular Plateau through Maharashtra
The Gateway of India, Maharashtra, is one of the country's biggest commercial and economic centres of India. Apart from being the epicentre of the Indian Film Fraternity, it is also steeped in history and culture and offers to take you back in time, with a visit to the famous and highly intriguing Ajanta and Ellora caves.
The heavily populated state is a must-visit, especially during the famous Ganpati festival, which takes place in September. During this 10-day festival, the capital city is bathed in colour and celebration, and the vibe is purely infectious.
Maharashtrian cuisine is delectable and offers a wide selection of spicy, savoury, and sweet dishes! Situated on the country's western coastline, the state has as some of the country's most famous beaches to its name.
5. The Coastal Areas and Islands through Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Situated in the Bay of Bengal, this union territory of India has more than 300 islands within its boundaries. Some are open to tourism, while others are reserved for the tribal natives residing there, and not open to outside visitors.
The tropical weather, the white sands, and the quiet breeze of Andamans provide a heavenly backdrop for tourists to enjoy!
Since it's the largest island, we suggest that you slate the most number of days of your vacation to enjoy the relaxing and scenic views of Havelock Island. You can hop islands and visit Port Blair, the other island that also receives tons of tourist footfall. Remember to indulge in the exotic island cuisine that specializes in seafood.
We have listed the top destinations representing the various landforms of India, but there are so many more. For one, Himachal Pradesh, nestled in the Himalayas, is another fabulous way to witness the grandeur of the roof of India. The heart of India, Madhya Pradesh allows you to dip your feet into history and soak in the cultures that highlight the country's northern plains. Kerala will enable you to soak in the serenity of the backwaters and the plateau of India. And finally, Goa, the party central of India, gives you a glimpse of India's vibrant island life.
Have you discovered all the landforms of the country yet? Here’s hoping you can very soon!