India is a traveler’s paradise, with all kinds of places to explore, from secluded sandy beaches to tropical islands and expansive deserts to snow-capped mountains and rain-drenched forests. Some of these places, however, are more popular than others, as evident from the crowds of tourists and travelers they attract from across India and the world. The most telling indication of popularity, however, would be Google; specifically, how often a travel destination is searched on the site. Luckily, Google India has recently released a report of its search data and trends in the country, and there are some surprising, and not so surprising, results. Since we have covered the top 15 offbeat places to visit in India in 2017, here is a look at some of the most popular travel destinations in India in 2017, according to Google.
Obviously, because it’s Goa. What’s not to like about Goa? The tiny state packs a big punch when it comes to fun, adventure and relaxation. You have beaches like Candolim and Anjuna where the best parties happen. You have the more secluded beaches like Arambol and Agonda where the only roar you hear is that of the ocean. And you have family-friendly hangouts like Calungate, Palolem and Baga. Several of Goa’s more popular beaches, like Candolim, Mabor and Rajbaga, also offer a wide range of watersports like wakeboarding, windsurfing, scuba diving, kayaking and even whitewater river rafting. For instance, here are the ten best beaches in Goa according to us. Water and sand aside, Goa offers a friendly and chilled-out vibe, plenty of Portuguese architecture to ogle at and some fantastic food. Like we asked before, what’s not to like about Goa?
The next entry in this list is Manali, the Himachal hill station that is everyone’s favorite summer vacation destination, from solo tourists to families, couples and first-time and repeat honeymooners. Manali lies surrounded by the mountains of the Beas valley, and it has as many as a thousands guesthouses, hotels and other accommodations within the small boundaries of the town and in its outskirts. So popular is this place that during the peak season of April to October, finding accommodation becomes difficult and rather costly despite so many options. Despite its popularity, Manali remains a small town in terms of its infrastructure, so there are traffic jams on the narrow roads during peak season. Nevertheless, there is a reason for Manali’s popularity. It offers opportunities to go climbing, river rafting, trekking and skiing. It lets couples embrace in the cold mountain air, surrounded by snow, and it lets families experience an atmosphere not seen in most of India.
Udhagamandalam, the hill station more popularly known as Ooty, also ranks among the most popular destinations in India. And like the above-mentioned places, it too is quite packed. The place offers a pleasant climate and beautiful view no matter what time of the year, though its beauty is best experienced in the monsoon and winter months. This is when the hill station and the nearby Nilgiri hills glow in different shades of green and mist rolls through the forests and tea estates that cover them. The main town of Ooty is particularly crowded, but you can find a lot of places outside that are more quiet and to your liking. Called the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’, a title contested by Mussoorie up north, Ooty is a sensation and welcome change from the tropical weather of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The hill station is as popular for its British heritage as it is for its tea plantations and scenic beauty. And then there are the sprawling gardens, especially the botanical garden.
The hill resort of Shimla lies around 250 km south of Manali, along a ridge that overlooks the snow-capped Himalayas in the distance and forested foothills around it. With its rich history as the summer capital of the British Raj and its incredible views, Shimla has long been a favored destination for people from all over India. Given all this, it comes as no surprise that many people think of Shimla first when considering Himalayan hill stations. And in spite of its popularity and the fact that there are lots of tourists during the peak seasons of March to June, Shimla remains a great place to visit. You can walk along Mall Road and explore the restaurants, cafes and churches, some o of which date back centuries, or you can walk through the forests around the place, full of pine, oak and deodar trees. You can go trekking, river rafting, golfing and shopping here. And Shimla also plays host to several cultural events over the year.
Andaman and Nicobar
Havelock, Andaman Islands
The islands of Andaman and Nicobar is getting really popular, as evidenced by the Facebook feeds of friends and Google’s own search trends. Indians are quickly learning that they have their own tropical island paradise right here to compete with the likes of Phuket and Bali, and it lies around 1,300 km away from the eastern coastline. A great place to visit any time of the year except from June to September, the Andaman and Nicobar islands are our own exotic beach destination, aside from the tried and tested Goa. There are plenty of reasons to visit the islands, 8 of which we have mentioned before, and the place has a lot to offer. For honeymooners, the serene white sands and crystal blue waters make for the perfect setting for some romance. For adventure seekers, there are scuba-diving and other water sports on offer here. And all this is offered at a relatively low cost when you consider that other alternatives lie outside the country.
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