India attracted about 4 million foreign tourists in 2006 who spent US$8.9 billion. The tourism industry in India generated about US$100 billion in 2008 and that is expected to increase to US$275.5 billion by 2018 at a 9.4% annual growth rate. The Ministry of Tourism is the nodal agency for the development and promotion of Tourism in India. It maintains the Incredible India campaign. According to World Travel and Tourism Council, India will be the world's leading tourism hotspot, having the highest 10-year growth potential. The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2007 ranked tourism in India 6th in terms of price competitiveness and 39th in terms of safety and security.
However, India's tourism sector currently lags behind less endowed countries and faces serious challenges including shortage of hotel rooms. In 2007, there were only 25,000 tourist-class hotel rooms in the whole of India. Among other factors hindering the growth of the tourism industry in India are stringent visa requirements and congested airports. Despite short- and medium-term setbacks, tourism revenues are expected to surge by 42% from 2007 to 2017. India has a growing medical tourism sector. The 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi are expected to significantly boost tourism in India.
Andhra Pradesh has a rich cultural heritage and a variety of tourist attractions. The state of Andhra Pradesh comprises scenic hills, forests, beaches and temples. Andhra Pradesh is the home of many religious pilgrimage centres, one of them being 'Tirupati,' the abode of Lord Venkateswara, which is the richest and most visited Hindu temple in India. Hyderabad is known for its rich history, culture and architecture representing its unique character as a meeting point for North and South India, and also its multilingual culture, both geographically and culturally. Also known as The City of Nizams and The City of Pearls, Hyderabad is today one of the most developed cities in the country and a modern hub of information technology, ITES, and biotechnology. Hyderabad offers many attraction to the tourists. It is famous for its delicious Hyderabadi Biryani. It is India's second largest metropolitan. Andhra Pradesh is the home of many religious pilgrim centres. Tirupati, the abode of Lord Venkateswara, is the richest and most visited religious center (of any faith) in the world. Srisailam, the abode of Sri Mallikarjuna, is one of twelve Jyothirlingalu in India, Amaravati's Siva temple is one of the Pancharamams, and Yadagirigutta, the abode of an avatara of Vishnu, Sri Lakshmi Narasimha. The Ramappa temple and Thousand Pillars temple in Warangal are famous for some fine temple carvings. The state has numerous Buddhist centres at Amaravati, Nagarjuna Konda, Bhattiprolu, Ghantasala, Nelakondapalli, Dhulikatta, Bavikonda, Thotlakonda, Shalihundam, Pavuralakonda, Sankaram, Phanigiri and Kolanpaka. The golden beaches at Visakhapatnam, the one-million-year old limestone caves at Borra, picturesque Araku Valley, hill resorts of Horsley Hills, river Godavari racing through a narrow gorge at Papi Kondalu, waterfalls at Ettipotala, Kuntala and rich bio-diversity at Talakona, are some of the natural attractions of the state. Kailashagiri is situated adjacent to sea in Visakhapatnam, it is one of the beautiful sight which shows the entire beauty of Visakhapatnam having other side sea. A beautiful park is developed on the hill top of Kailashagiri, the city boasts of having a park on hill top that has a luxurious toy train, ropeway and beautiful view of beach front into which Eastern Ghats merge into the sea. Further, Visakhapatnam is home to many tourist attactions like INS Karasura Submarine museum (The only one of its kind in India), the most beautiful and the longest Beach Road in India, Yarada Beach, Araku Valley (Known as poorman's Ooty , a lot of movies are shooted here), VUDA Park, Indira Gandhi Zoological Gardens,etc. The weather in Andhra Pradesh is mostly tropical and the best time to visit is in November through to January. The monsoon season commences in June and ends in September, so travel would not be advisable during this period. Places to visit: Hyderabad -Charminar, Mecca Masjid, Salarjung Museum, Hussain Sagar, Lumbini Park, Snow world, Ramoji Film city, Water world, Hitech city, Golconda, Paigah tombs, Falaknuma palace. Visakhapatnam: Undoubtedly the most beautiful city on the east coast, it boasts of natural and man-made beauties. It is fast emerging as the country's best tourist and party destination.The places to visit are- Kailashagiri, R.K.Beach, Rushikonda beach, Simhachalam temple, Vizag-Bhimili Beach Road, Bojjannakonda, Thatlakonda, Appikonda Beach, Yarada Beach, Bhimili Beach, Gangavaram Beach, Borra Caves, Araku valley, Tenneti Beach Park, Ross hill church, Dolphin's nose mountain, Submarine Museum, Aquarium, Indira Gandhi Zoological Gardens, Duduma waterfalls and Red sand hills. Tirupati: India's most famous and richest temple. Lord venkateshwara temple, Tirumala, Deer Sanctury, Horsely Hills, Sri Kalahasti Temple, Lepakshi. Vijayawada: Commercial hub of AP. Places to visit are- Kanakadurga Temple, Gandhi hill, Prakasham Barrage, Krishna River bank, Mangalagiri Temple.
Assam is the central state in the North-East Region of India and serves as the gateway to the rest of the Seven Sister States. Assam boasts of famous wildlife preserves – the Kaziranga National Park (pictured) and the Manas National Park, largest river island Majuli and tea-estates dating back to time of British Raj. The weather is mostly sub-tropical. Assam experiences the Indian monsoon and has one of the highest forest densities in India. The winter months (October to April) are the best time to visit. It has a rich cultural heritage going back to the Ahom Dynasty which governed the region for many centuries before the British occupation. Other notable features include the Brahmaputra River, the mystery of the bird suicides in Jatinga, numerous temples including Kamakhya of Tantric sect, ruins of palaces, etc.
Bihar is one of the oldest inhabited places in the world with history of 3000 years. The rich culture and heritage of Bihar is evident from the innumerable ancient monuments that are dotted all over the state in eastern India. Bihar is home of many tourist attractions. Bihar is visited by scores of tourists from all over the World all the year round. Around total 6,000,000 (6 million) tourist visits Bihar every year. In the earliest day, tourism in region was purely based Educational tourism as Bihar was home of some prominent ancient universities like Nalanda University & Vikramasila University. Bihar one of the most sacred place of various religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism & Islam, Many tourist travel to Bihar to visit their pilgrimage. Mahabodhi Temple, a Buddhist shrine and UNESCO World Heritage Site is also situated in Bihar. Mahatma Gandhi Setu, Patna, is one of the longest bridge in the world.
Delhi is the capital of India. A fine blend of old and new, ancient and modern in every stream of life is the soul of Delhi. A melting pot of cultures, religions and castes makes Delhi a diverse place. Delhi has been the capital of India from the mythological days. The rulers left behind their trade marks in the architecture. Delhi currently has many renowned monuments and landmarks such as the Tughlaqabad fort, Qutub Minar, Purana Quila, Lodhi Gardens, Jama Masjid, Humayun's tomb, Red Fort, Safdarjung's Tomb, Jantar Mantar, India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Laxminarayan Temple, Lotus temple and Akshardham Temple. Delhi is famous for its wide roads and crisp winters. It is one of the few places in India where colours of nature changes with the seasons. From Kerala to Kashmir and from Gujarat to Assam all the mouth watering delicacies and shopping goods are found in Delhi. The cosmopolitan nature of the city has only added to the beauty and glory of it. Big gardens, wide roads, ancient structures, and power of politics is what Delhi is all about.
The state of Goa is situated on the West Coast of India, between the borders of Maharashtra and Karnataka and is better known to the world as the former Portuguese enclave on Indian soil. Goa presents a somewhat different picture to the foreign visitor than any other part of India. The state of Goa is famous for its excellent beaches, churches, and Hindu temples. The Bom Jesus cathedral, Mangueshi Temple and Shantadurga are famous attractions in Goa. Recently a Wax Museum (Wax World) has also opened in Old Goa housing a number of wax personalities of Indian history, culture and heritage.
Home to the some of the most popular Hill Stations, and home also to some exquisite alpine & Trans-Himalayan destinations, the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is a major product in the Indian tourism market. Himachal is famous for its sweet apples. Among the major crowd pullers in Himachal Pradesh are: Shimla, the state's capital, Manali, Dharamshala, Dalhousie and Kasauli.
Jammu is noted for its landscape, ancient temples, Hindu shrines, castles, gardens and forts. Hindu holy shrines of Amarnath and Vaishno Devi attracts tens of thousands of Hindu devotees every year. Jammu's natural landscape has made it one of the most popular destinations for adventure tourism in south Asia. Jammu's historic monuments feature a unique blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture styles. Tourism forms an integral part of the Kashmiri economy. Often dubbed "Paradise on Earth", Kashmir's mountainous landscape has attracted tourists for centuries. Notable places are Dal Lake, Srinagar Phalagam, Gulmarg, Yeusmarg and Mughal Gardens etc. However, the tourism industry is severely affected by the insurgency. In recent years, ladakh has emerged as a major hub for adventure tourism.This part of Greater Himalaya interpreted as "moon on earth" comprising of naked peaks and deep gorges was once known for the silk route to High Asia with the sub continent.
Tamil Nadu or "the land of Tamil" is a beautiful state nestled in the southern Indian peninsula, on the shores of the Bay of Bengal and the deep blue Indian Ocean. Many great rulers including the Cholas, Pallavas, Pandyas and the Vijayanagara Empire ruled over parts of Tamil Nadu. The state is known for its cultural heritage and temple architecture . Tamil literature is amongst the oldest in India. Much of the ancient culture of Tamil Nadu is still alive. We have Carnatic music, an Indian classical tradition. Bharatha Natyam is its twin dance form, always accompanied by this music and the rich tradition of folk music continues to inspire people. Attractions: Chennai - Capital of Tamil Nadu and also India's fourth largest metropolitan, Madurai - Madurai meenakshi amman temple.Oldest cities of southern India, Coimbatore - Industrial centre, Temples, Kovai kutralam waterfalls, Mahabalipuram - World famous for its shore temples, Chidambaram - Lord Shiva in the enthralling form of a Cosmic Dance, Kanchipuram - The Golden City of a thousand temples, Handloom Silk, Kanyakumari - Southernmost tip of India, where the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet, Ootacamund - Queen of southern hill resorts of India, Rameswaram - Well-known pilgrimage in India, Thanjavur - The rice bowl of Tamil Nadu, Tiruchirapalli - City on the banks of river Cauvery, Auroville - International Utopian city being built, Aurobindo Ashram Associations, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary - Wildlife sanctuary, Kodaikanal- Princess of hill stations in southern India, Kolli Hills - Herbal Hills/Quiet Hills/Medium budget
Karnataka, the eighth largest state in India, is a veritable treasure trove of tourist delights. By virtue of its varied geography and long and rich history, Karnataka boasts of numerous spots of interest for tourists. Karnataka has been ranked as fourth most popular destination for tourism among states of India. With its 507 out of the 3600 centrally protected monuments, Karnataka has the second highest number of protected monuments in India, next only to Uttar Pradesh. The Kannada dynasties like Kadamba, Chalukya, Rashtrakuta, Vijayanagara Empire, Hoysala, Ganga, Ratta and many more they ruled Karnataka perticularly North Karnataka and other parts of India. They built great monuments related to Buddhism, Jainism, Shaivism. The monuments are still present at Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal, Hampi, Lakshmeshwar, Sudi, Hooli, Mahadeva Temple (Itagi), Dambal, Lakkundi, Gadag, Hangal, Halasi, Galaganatha, Chaudayyadanapura, Banavasi, Belur, Halebidu, Shravanabelagola, Sannati and many more. The great Islamic monuments are present at Bijapur, Bidar, Gulbarga, Raichur and other part of the state. Karnataka is famous for its waterfalls. Jog falls of Shimoga District is one of the highest waterfalls in Asia. This state has 21 wildlife sanctuaries and five National parks and is home to more than 500 species of birds. Karnataka is a rock climbers paradise. Yana in Uttara Kannada, Fort in Chitradurga, Ramnagara near Bangalore district, Shivagange in Tumkur district and tekal in Kolar district are a rock climbers heaven. Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur, has the second largest pre-modern dome in the world after the Byzantine Hagia Sophia. Karnataka has two World heritage sites, at Hampi and Pattadakal, both are in North Karnataka. Karnataka has many beaches at Karwar, Gokarna, Murdeshwara, Surathkal and many more
Kerala is a state on the tropical Malabar Coast of southwestern India. Nicknamed as one of the "10 paradises of the world" by the National Geographic traveller, Kerala is famous especially for its ecotourism initiatives. Its unique culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demography, has made it one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Growing at a rate of 13.31%, the tourism industry significantly contributes to the state's economy. The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, the government agency that oversees the tourism prospects of the state, has adopted the brand "God's Own Country" for its campaigns. The slogan holds global Superbrand status. Kerala is gifted with 42 rivers running as the life stream of the culture. This state has a variety of land scapes which can attract the tourists such as coastal regions,backwaters,Nilgiri mountaing on one side,malabar highlands,and so on.
Madhya Pradesh is called the "Heart of India" only because of its location in the centre of the country. It has been home to the cultural heritage of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism and Islam. Innumerable monuments, exquisitely carved temples, stupas, forts and palaces are dotted all over the State. Madhya Pradesh is also known as Tiger State because of tiger population in MP (Madhya Pradesh). Many Famous national parks like Kanha, Banthavgadh and Pench are located in MP. The natural beauty of Madhya Pradesh is equally varied. Consisting largely of a plateau, the State has everything. Spectacular mountain ranges, meandering rivers and miles and miles of dense forests offering a unique and exciting panorama of wildlife in sylvan surroundings.
Unlike most other states in India, Maharashtra boasts of a large number of popular and revered religious venues that are heavily frequented by locals as well as out-of-state visitors. It also boasts of the City of Mumbai with its Bollywood fame, ancient cave temples at Ajanta and Ellora, the Bibi Ka Maqbara at Aurangabad, the Mahalakshmi temple in Kolhapur, the city of Pune the seat of the Maratha Empire, the fantastic Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.
Orissa has been a preferred destination from ancient days for people who have an interest in spirituality, religion, culture, art and natural beauty. Ancient and medieval architecture, pristine sea beaches, the classical and ethnic dance forms and a variety of festivals. Orissa has kept the religion of Buddhism alive. Rock-edicts that have challenged time stand huge and over-powering by the banks of the river Daya. The torch of Buddhism is still ablaze in the sublime triangle at Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, on the banks of river Birupa. Precious fragments of a glorious past come alive in the shape of stupas, rock-cut caves, rock-edicts, excavated monasteries, viharas, chaityas and sacred relics in caskets and the Rock-edicts of Ashoka. Orissa is also famous for its well-preserved Hindu Temples, especially the Konark Sun Temple. Orissa is the home for various tribal communities who have contributed uniquely to the multicultural and multilingual character of the state. Their handicrafts, different dance forms, jungle products and their unique life style blended with their healing practices have got world wide attention.
Punjab is one of India's most beautiful states. The state of Punjab is renowned for its cuisine, culture and history. Punjab has a vast public transportation and communication network. Some of the main cities in Punjab are Amritsar, Chandigarh, and Ludhiana. Punjab also has a rich religious history incorporating Sikhism and Hinduism. Tourism in Punjab is principally suited for the tourists interested in culture, ancient civilization, spirituality and epic history. Some of the villages in Punjab are also a must see for the person who wants to see the true Punjab, with their beautiful traditional Indian homes, farms and temples, this is a must see for any visitor that goes to Punjab.
Rajasthan, literally meaning "Land of the Kings", is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Northern India. The vast sand dunes of the Thar Desert attract millions of tourists from around the globe every year. Attractions: Jaipur - The capital of Rajasthan, famous for its rich history and royal architecture, Jodhpur - Fortress-city at the edge of the Thar Desert, famous for its blue homes and architecture, Udaipur - Known as the "Venice" of India, Jaisalmer - Famous for its golden fortress, Barmer - Barmer and surrounding areas offer perfect picture of typical Rajasthani villages, Bikaner - Famous for its medieval history as a trade route outpost, Mount Abu - Is the highest peak in the Aravalli Range of Rajasthan, Pushkar - It has the first and one of the very Brahma temples in the world, Nathdwara - This town near Udaipur hosts the famous temple of Shrinathji, Ranthambore - Situated near Sawai Madhopur, this town has one of the largest and most famous national parks in India.
Originally known as Suk-Heem, which in the local language means "peaceful home", Sikkim was an independent kingdom till the year 1974, when it became a part of the Republic Of India. The capital of Sikkim is Gangtok, located approximately 185 kilometers from New Jalpaiguri, the nearest railway station to Sikkim. Although, an airport is under construction at Dekiling in East Sikkim, the nearest airport to Sikkim would be Bagdogra. Sikkim is considered as the land of Orchids and mystic cultures and colorful traditions. Sikkim is well known among trekkers and adventure lovers, as West Sikkim has a lot to give them. Places near Sikkim include Darjeeling also known as the Queen of hills and Kalimpong. Darjeeling, other than its world famous "Darjeeling tea" is also famous for its refined "Prep schools" founded during the British Raj. Kalimpong is also famous for its Flora cultivation and is home to many internationally known Nurseries.
Situated in the northern part of India, Uttar Pradesh is important with its wealth of monuments and religious fervour. Geographically, Uttar Pradesh is very diverse, with Himalayan foothills in the extreme north, the Gangetic Plain in the centre, and the Vindhya Mountain Range towards the South. It is also home of India's most visited site, the Taj Mahal, and Hinduism's holiest city, Varanasi. The most populous state of the Indian Union also has a rich cultural heritage, and at the heart of North India, Uttar Pradesh has much to offer. Places of interest include Varanasi, Agra, Mathura, Jhansi, Prayag, Sarnath, Ayodhya, Dudhwa National Park and Fatehpur Sikri.
Kolkata, one of the many cities in the state of West Bengal has been nicknamed the City of Palaces. This comes from the numerous palatial mansions built all over the city. Unlike many north Indian cities, whose construction stresses minimalism, the layout of much of the architectural variety in Kolkata owes its origins to European styles and tastes imported by the British and, to a much lesser extent, the Portuguese and French. The buildings were designed and inspired by the tastes of the English gentleman around and the aspiring Bengali Babu (literally, a nouveau riche Bengali who aspired to cultivation of English etiquette, manners and custom, as such practices were favourable to monetary gains from the British). Today, many of these structures are in various stages of decay. Some of the major buildings of this period are well maintained and several buildings have been declared as heritage structures. Notable site of West Bengal: Cooch Behar · Cooch Behar · Darjeeling · Kalimpong · Kurseong · Dooars · Digha · Bishnupur · Mukutmanipur · Ayodhya Hills · Murshidabad · Kolkata. Places of Worship: Dakshineswar Kali Temple · Kalighat Temple · Birla temple · Belur Math · Bhoothnath · Tipu Sultan Mosque · Nakhoda Mosque · St. Paul’s Cathedral · St. John's Church · Parsi Fire Temples · Japanese Buddhist Temple · Pareshnath Jain Temple.