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Things to Do in India - page 3

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Basilica of Bom Jesus (Borea Jezuchi Bajilika)
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Built at the turn of the 17th century by Florentine sculptor Giovanni Battista Foggini, this red-stone church is one of the oldest in India. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While it's dedicated to the baby Jesus, many people choose to visit because the basilica holds the remains of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Goa.

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Fort St. George
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The British East India Company constructed Fort St. George (their first fortress in India) in 1640. The 20-foot (6-meter) thick outer walls surround a complex of white colonial structures, known historically as ‘White City,’ including St Mary’s, the oldest Anglican church in Asia.

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Lake Pichola
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Created in 1362, centuries before Udaipur was established, the freshwater Lake Pichola is surrounded by beautiful old palaces, temples, and homes, many dating back hundreds of years. The whitewashed Lake Palace that is situated on an island in the north part of the lake is now a hotel run by the luxury Taj Group.

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Mecca Masjid (Makkah Masjid)
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Dating back to the 17th century, the landmark Mecca Masjid (also spelled Makkah Masjid) is one of the oldest mosques in Hyderabad, not to mention one of the largest mosques in the world. It’s made of granite and features exquisite interiors, including a large prayer hall that can accommodate more than 10,000 people.

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St Paul's Cathedral
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The seat of the Diocese of Calcutta of the Church of North India, St. Paul's Cathedral was built in 1847, effectively shifting the hub of Anglicanism in the city from St. John's Cathedral. Though its main function is as a house of worship, the imposing cathedral also features a decent library with numerous books on theology and general interest.

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Lalbagh Botanical Gardens
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Spread across 240 acres (97 hectares) full of plants and flowers, not to mention dozens of types of birds, the sprawling Lalbagh Botanical Gardens is one of Bangalore's best green spaces and a big part of how the city got its nickname: the Garden City. It's as popular with locals and tourists alike and is a great place for a morning jog.

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Bharat Bhavan
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This vast complex was opened in the early 1980s as an homage to India’s thriving art scene. In addition to a well-curated gallery, Bharat Bhavan (also spelled bhawan) is home to an open-air theater, studio, auditorium, library, music hall and a handful of other spaces to celebrate visual and performing arts. Travelers who make their way to this destination will find plenty of modern and tribal art, as well as a movie house for classic films and a center for Indian poetry. Bharat Bhavan attracts artists in residence from across the country, as well as tourists seeking a deeper understanding of the diversity, color and culture that’s present in India’s dynamic art scene.

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Laxmi Vilas Palace
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Built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890 (and designed by British architect Major Charles Mant), Laxmi Vilas Palace still serves as the residence of the Vadorada royal family. The Indo-Saracenic architectural style of the facade features elements of European, Indian and Islamic traditions, and when it was completed, the palace ranked among the largest private residences in the world.

The equally elaborate interiors feature beautiful mosaics, including a Venetian mosaic floor in the Durbar Hall laid by the Murano Company of Venice over a period of 18 months. Carrara marble, Italian sculptures by Signor Fellicci, stained glass windows from England, paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and Venetian chandeliers put the finishing touches on this magnificent Raj-era palace. The landscaped gardens also house the small Maharaja Fatesingh Museum, worth a visit if you’re already at the palace.

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Kadathanadan Kalari & Navarasa Kathakali
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Kerala has given the world many great cultural treasures, two of which are showcased at the Kadathanadan Kalari & Navarasa Kathakali Centre. Visitors can watch live performances of Kalaripayattu, one of the oldest martial art forms on earth, as well as Kathakali, a classical Indian dance known for its intricate eye movements, often used to depict epic tales.

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KR Market (Krishnarajendra City Market)
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The lively KR Market (also know as City Market or Krishnarajendra City Market) is Bangalore’s largest and most vibrant market. It is also one of the city’s oldest, having opened its doors in 1928. A visit here is a great way to get a taste of local life and experience the ambiance of a traditional local market.

The market’s original red and white brick building still stands, but just behind it is the newer and much larger market complex. This is the main fruit and vegetable market, but it is not confined to these buildings, and spills out onto the sidewalks and neighboring streets and lanes. A walk through the market can be an intense experience: vendors haggle loudly with their customers, and the earthy and pungent smell of vegetables, flowers and spices and the riot of brilliant colors is an exhilarating feast for the senses.

The best time to visit the market is in the early morning, when business is at its peak as shopkeepers come to stock up on goods for the day. At sunrise, the southern end of Avenue Road becomes the city’s biggest flower market. The huge piles of fresh-cut flowers of every variety and color covering the streets and sidewalks is a spectacular sight.

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More Things to Do in India

Sabarmati Ashram

Sabarmati Ashram

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Those with an interest in Mahatma Gandhi won't want to miss a stop at his former ashram-turned-museum, where the Father of Modern India lived with his family for many years. The ashram is full of paintings, photos, and documents related to the Mahatma and houses a large library for those interested in deepening their research.

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Dhanushkodi Beach

Dhanushkodi Beach

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The ghost town of Dhanushkodi sits at the southeast tip of Pamban Island in India’s Tamil Nadu state, just 30 kilometers from Talaimannar in Sri Lanka.

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Rama built a bridge between the mainland and Sri Lanka in order to bring his army across. After the war, Rama was said to destroy the bridge with one end of his bow, hence the name Dhanushkodi, which means 'end of the bow'. Hindu pilgrims come to bathe in the waters here before completing their pilgrimage to the city of Rameswaram.

Visitors can hire a jeep or join a minibus to traverse the beach, visiting the Kodanda Rama Temple, which juts out into the ocean, along the way. The beach is a stunning strip of white sand and, since there is little commercialism here, it remains clean and picturesque. The tour vehicles will navigate the sand and water up to the ‘ghost town’ resettlement colony, which was destroyed in a devastating cyclone in 1964, with only the remnants of railway platforms, the church, and an old post office remaining.

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Humayun's Tomb

Humayun's Tomb

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A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Humayun's Tomb is the final resting place of Humayun, whose father Babur founded the Mughal Empire. It's considered one of the earliest examples of true Mughal architecture; ironically, the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah II, was captured here during the 1857 Indian Rebellion.

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Office and Residence of the President of India (Rashtrapati Bhavan)

Office and Residence of the President of India (Rashtrapati Bhavan)

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At the heart of New Delhi is one of its most remarkable buildings, the Office and Residence of the President of India (Rashtrapati Bhavan). The 320-acre (130-hectare) complex comprises a palatial 340-room main building and sprawling Mughal gardens. Many visitors come to witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony, complete with horses and a brass band.

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St. Catherine’s Cathedral (Sé Cathedral)

St. Catherine’s Cathedral (Sé Cathedral)

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The largest church in Goa and the seat of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, this huge white Portuguese Gothic structure was constructed from 1562 to 1619 to commemorate a Portuguese military victory over Goa that was won on the feast of Saint Catherine. Inside, images of the saint adorn the cathedral walls.

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Beas River

Beas River

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The Beas River rises in central Himachal Pradesh and is a natural attraction for those visiting Manali, a small tourist town situated along the banks of this gushing Himalayan river.

From Manali, the Beas River travels through dense evergreen forests and through the town of Kullu. The Beas covers some 470 kilometers in total, traveling through hills and valleys, towns and districts, before joining the Sutlej River at the southwestern boundary of Kapurthala in Punjab, before finally flowing into Pakistan.

With its mountain views, tranquil surroundings, and fresh clean water, the Beas River at Manali is a popular place to visit. Unfortunately, it’s also the site of a recent tragedy; in June 2014, 24 students and one tour operator were drowned when the floodgates of a dam suddenly opened, apparently without due warning, causing the river to surge.

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Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

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According to local Sikh belief, a boy prophet by the name of Sri Guru Hari Krishan Sahib moved among poor Hindu and Muslim communities during a time of small pox and cholera in New Delhi in the seventeenth century, distributing sanctified water to the sick which was believed to cause miraculous healing. Gurudwara Bangla Sahib his dedicated to his memory.

The most important place of worship for Sikhs in New Delhi, this golden-domed gurudwara still distributes sanctified water to devotees who come from around the world seeking its healing properties. Unlike many Hindu temples, non-Sikhs are welcome into the gurudwara, where it’s possible to listen while hymns are sung from the Granth Sahib (the Sikh scriptures) or take prasad, the Sikh equivalent to Communion.

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Fort Aguada

Fort Aguada

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Built at the confluence of the Arabian Sea and the Mandovi River in Goa, Fort Aguada was once one of the country’s most important sea defenses. Nowadays, visitors can tour the remains of the buildings, enjoy panoramic views from the top of the walls, and learn about Goa’s history under Portuguese colonial rule.

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Indo-Portuguese Museum

Indo-Portuguese Museum

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The Indo-Portuguese Museum was set up by the late bishop of Kochi to preserve and showcase the significant influence of the Portuguese Catholic community in Fort Kochi and its surroundings. A popular attraction, it depicts the art, architecture, and culture of this community and gives visitors a glimpse of the original fort’s foundations.

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Dutch Cemetery

Dutch Cemetery

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Believed to be the oldest burial ground in the country, the Dutch Cemetery in Kochi dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. It houses the tombs of Dutch soldiers and traders who left their homeland in order to expand their country’s colonial empire—and as a result changed the entire course of history in India.

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Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace

Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace

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Built in the late 18th century, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace served as a retreat for Mysore’s ruler. This beautiful teak structure—once part of Bangalore Fort—attracts visitors with its beautiful Indo-Islamic architecture, interior frescoes, and selection of ephemera, including Tipu Sultan images along with his robes and a crown.

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Ganges River (Ganga)

Ganges River (Ganga)

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India’s holiest river, the Ganges (Ganga) runs east for 1,560 miles (2,510 kilometers) from the western Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal. A lifeline for north India’s plains and towns, the river is also a place of Hindu pilgrimage at cities such as Rishikesh and Varanasi—drawing visitors with humbling scenes of religious devotion.

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Dhobi Ghat

Dhobi Ghat

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At the world’s largest outdoor laundry, every day for over 120 years the dirt has been washed from thousands of kilos of clothes by the dhobis (washermen and women) of Mumbai’s Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat.

Formed back in 1890, the famous laundromat is much loved by photographers who come to take colorful images of row upon row of washing troughs where hundreds of families clean piles of laundry that come from all over the city. Strings of brightly-colored clothes drying under the Mumbai sun also make for a popular picture. More than just a laundry, Dhobi Ghat is also a great place to see old saris being brought back to life under expert hands.

Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat is owned by the city council, who charges rent and maintenance costs to the dhobis. If you love the smell of clean laundry and want to get right into the thick of things at Dhobi Ghat, an escort can show you around and introduce you to the workers for around 200 rupees per person.

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Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)

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Formerly known as Victoria Terminus (and still called "VT" by many), this train statio, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is best known for its over-the-top Indo-Saracenic architecture, which blends neo-Gothic elements with Mughal and Indian features. It's Asia's busiest train station—one you may have seen in the film Slumdog Millionaire.

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