Monday, March 15, 2010

List of States in India - Tourism

The Union of India is a diverse country that is made up of 28 States and 7 Union Territories. Each State, district, city and Union Territory is known for its unique India sightseeing attractions, festivals, landscape and handicrafts. For more about the main draws of each State, check out the list of States in India below -

tourist map of india showing list of states, union territories and state capitals

1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands - These islands lie in the Bay of Bengal, about 1,190 km east of Chennai. Topographically, the islands have hilly tropical jungles, fringed with coconut palm trees and flat stretches of crescent shaped beaches which are perfect for backpacking adventures. Adventure sports such as SCUBA diving, snorkeling, trekking and surfing are available at the islands for backpackers. A major monument in the islands is the Cellular Jail at Port Blair.

2. Andhra Pradesh - The fifth largest state of India, Andhra Pradesh is irrigated by the mighty Krishna and Godavari rivers. The main languages spoken here are English, Telugu and Urdu. The State was once a part of the Mauryan Empire ruled by Ashoka and became an important centre of Buddhism. Amravati and Nagarjunakonda are two important Buddhist archaeological sites in the State which most backpackers on southern India tourism trips visit. Other international tourism sites that people on backpacking trips enjoy visiting in Andhra Pradesh are the Charminar, Golconda Fort and the temple town of Tirupati.

3. Arunachal Pradesh – Also known as the ‘land of the dawn lit mountains’, Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India is well known for its wide array of flora and fauna, that exists in a habitat which combines glacial terrain, alpine meadows and sub-tropical rain forests. This is simply perfect for international tourists who are on a backpacking vacation and enjoy trekking. Major attractions for backpackers in Arunachal Pradesh are the Namdapha Wildlife Sanctuary, Ita Fort in Itanagar and the monastery of Bombdila.

4. Assam – This State in the list of States in India, is the gateway to Northeast India and is dominated by the powerful Brahmaputra River. The people of the State include a mix of Dravidians, Aryans and Tibeto-Burmans. Assam is famous for mainly two things – its lush green tea gardens and the one-horned Rhinoceros, which is found in large numbers at the Kaziranga National Park. The golden silks of Sualkuchi are an important handicraft which international backpacking tourists pick up from the colorful shops of Assam.

5. Bihar - The name 'Bihar' is derived from 'Vihara', which means monastery. Bihar was once a great religious centre for Jains, Hindus and Buddhists. Some religious places for international travellers to visit while in the State are the temples at Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Nalanda and Sasaram. The Patliputra Mahotsava and Sonepur Mela are two colourful festivals of the State that make for great vacation photos for backpackers in India sightseeing.

6. Chandigarh – This Union Territory is situated at the bottom of the Shivalik Hills. Chandigarh gets its name from the Goddess Chandi Devi, whose white - domed temple stands on a hill to the north east of the city. Some of the main attractions for international backpacking travelers in this city are the Capitol Complex, Rock Garden, Sukhna Lake and a range of beautifully landscaped gardens.

7. Chhattisgarh – A relatively young State in the list of states in India, Chhattisgarh has been referred to in ancient texts as ‘Dakshin Kosala’. Places of interest for backpackers include the ancient caves of Bastar District, the waterfalls in the hilly areas and the Kawardha Palace. Tribal medicine and artifacts such as bell metal castings are the main mementos that backpacking tourists take back from this State.

8. Delhi – The capital city of India, Delhi is situated on the banks of the Yamuna River. According to legends, the Pandavas established Delhi during the times of the epic Mahabharata (circa 1500 B.C.). Some of the major places of interest for backpacking tourists in the city are the Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, Birla Mandir, President’s House, Jama Masjid, Jantar Mantar and the Red Fort.

9. Dadra and Nagar Haveli – This Union Territory is located in between the States of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The landscape of Dadra and Nagar Haveli consists of flourishing green mountains, waterfalls and winding rivers which is an amazing experience for backpackers hiking in the State. Key tourist spots for foreign tourists in the area include the Vanganga Lake Garden, Hirwavan Garden and the Water Sports Centre at Dudhani.

10. Daman and Diu – The Union Territory of Daman and Diu is located on the southern coast of the State of Gujarat and has a long beach front with a well-kept amusement park. Other attractions of the area which are visited by international backpacking tourists are the twin forts of Moti Daman and Nani Daman, the Gothic style churches and the Panikotha - Fortim Do Mar.

11. Goa – This State in the list of States in India is situated along the Konkan Coast and boasts of a range of palm-fringed beaches popular with backpackers. Other attractions for tourists backpacking in the State include the churches of Old Goa, the temple of Shri Mangesh and the wildlife sanctuaries. Carnival and Shigmotsav are two Goan festivals that are celebrated in the month of March. If you love a riot of colour, then make sure you visit Goa during this time of year.

12. Gujarat – Many historical events from the life of Lord Krishna and Mahatma Gandhi took place in Gujarat. The ancient city of Dwarka was once the capital of Lord Krishna’s empire while Dandi, Porbander and the Gandhi Ashram on the Sabarmati River host various memorabilia of the Indian freedom movement. Other interesting places for foreign tourists in Gujarat are the Lothal excavations, the lion filled Gir Forests and the Shaking Minarets of Ahmedabad.

13. Haryana – The history of Haryana dates back to the Vedic age. This State in the list of States in India was home to the legendary Bharata dynasty, after which the country was named ‘Bharat’. Kurukshetra, the scene of the epic battle between the Kauravas and the Pandavas in the Mahabharata, is also situated in Haryana. Every February, the Surajkund Mela is held in Haryana to promote fine arts and handicrafts from around the country.

14. Himachal Pradesh – This mountain State lies in the heart of the Himalayan region. The landscape consists of a spectacular transition from the northern plains to the trans Himalayan heights of Lahaul and Spiti. The rugged snow clad mountains of the Himalayas India invite backpacking hikers, mountaineers and adventurers to explore their grandeur. The breathtaking scenery includes lush green valleys, snow capped mountains, glaciers, rivers, conifer forests and miles of pastures. The ancient Buddhist monasteries and temples are another attraction for backpacking tourists in Himachal Pradesh.

15. Jammu and Kashmir - The State of Jammu and Kashmir lies in the northern part of the country in the Himalayas India. It is a region of widely varying people and geography. Srinagar, the capital of the State is known for its scenic Dal Lake, Mughal Gardens and the ornate Shikhara boats. Interesting places for backpackers to visit in other cities are the ‘Meadow of Gold’ in Sonmarg, the highest golf course in Gulmarg and the Gompas of Leh. The Amarnath Yatra and the Summer Festival are important events of the State.

16. Jharkhand – Jharkhand is the 28th State of the Indian Union and came into existence in the year 2000. Forests and woodlands occupy more than 29 per cent of the State. Major tourist spots for backpackers in Jharkhand include the waterfalls around Ranchi city such as Dassam, Hundru and Jonha Falls. The temples of Deogarh, the National Park at Hazaribagh and Netarhat are other places of tourist interest in the State.

17. Karnataka – This western coastal State in the list of States in India, is known for its twin contrasts of modern information technology and rural agricultural expanses. Some of the backpacking attractions for those on southern India tourism packages in Karnataka are the Lal Bagh in Bangalore, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Ranganathitoo Bird Sanctuary, Fortress of Srirangapatna and the exquisite Palace of the Maharaja in Mysore. The coast is dotted with numerous secluded beaches that offer a dazzling view of the azure Arabian Sea and are a haven for foreign tourists

18. Kerala – Also known as ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala offers backpacking travelers on southern India tourism packages a range of out-of-the-way beaches, glorious temples and thrilling snake boat races. The coastal town of Alleppey is a mini Venice with numerous canals that meander through the city. If you are a wildlife fan, then visit the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary where you may spot elephants, sambar deer, tigers, leopards and langur monkeys in their natural habitat. Kerala is also popular with international tourists for Ayurvedic medicine and other forms of holistic healing.

19. Lakshadweep – Lakshadweep is a group of coral islands located in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Kerala. When translated from the Malayalam language, Lakshadweep means ‘a hundred thousand islands’, however, it consists of only 36 islands. Some tropical islands have been earmarked for diving and water sports while others have been developed for those international backpacking tourists who want a quiet relaxing beach holiday.

20. Madhya Pradesh – This State in the list of States in India is also the oldest part of the subcontinent. It is famous for its cave paintings that date back to the Stone Age. Located in central India, Madhya Pradesh was ruled over the ages by different groups of royalty and hence, the major attractions of this State include remnants of the maharajas such as the Gwalior Fort, Jai Vilas Palace, Tansen’s Tomb and the Raj Mahal in Orchha. Other tourist attractions for India sightseeing include the temples of Khajuraho and the Sanchi Stupa.

21. Maharashtra – The name ‘Maharashtra’ originated in the 7th century and comes from the word ‘rathi’ which means ‘chariot driver’. The 720 km long coastline of the State is dotted with a range of popular beaches and grand forts which make for great holiday photos for backpacking tourists on an India sightseeing visit. The Western Ghats that rise up to 2000 metres is home to summer hill stations such as Khandala, Matheran and Lonavala. Another attraction of Maharashtra is the Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta caves that date back to the 2nd century BC. The Sai Baba temple complex at Shirdi is an important pilgrimage site.

22. Manipur – The name of this State translates into, ‘the land of jewels’. Manipur, in northeast India, boasts of an exotic landscape with gently winding hills, emerald green valleys, blue lakes and dense forests which are amazing for backpacking trekking adventures. The major tourist spots of the State are the Khonghampat Orchidarium where one can view over 120 species of orchids and the Keibul Lamjao National Park, which is the only floating national park in the world.

23. Meghalaya - Meghalaya or ‘abode of the clouds’ is the ideal picturesque retreat for those tourists who are looking for a mix of beauty and solitude. Located in Northeast India, the State is known for its rich cultural heritage, heather covered hills, sparkling waterfalls and wide variety of flora and fauna. Main tourist activities for backpackers include caving, trekking and angling. Other places of interest are the churches of Shillong, the Jakrem health resort and the Gleaneagles golf course.

24. Mizoram – The word ‘Mizoram’ means the land of Mizos or highlanders. Mizoram is a rather small State in the list of States in India. Situated at the tip of northeastern India and borders Myanmar and Bangladesh. The landscape consists of steep hills, deep gorges and rivers with a yearlong temperate climate which backpackers find very attractive. Some attractions for India seeing visitors are Tamdil Lake, Vantawng waterfalls and the Dampa Wildlife Sanctuary.

25. Nagaland - This State is located in northeast India in a remote tribal area of the country. The main activities for backpacking tourists here are rock climbing, fishing and trekking through the unusual terrain. Colourful shawls, hand woven shoulder bags, decorative spears, table mats and wood carvings are great souvenirs which international tourists pick up for their friends back home. Tigers may be spotted at the Fakim and Pulie Bazde Sanctuaries.

26. Orissa - The tropical state of Orissa lies along the eastern coast of India, facing the azure waters of the Bay of Bengal. Its major travel attractions are the temples of Bhubaneswar, the long sandy beach at Puri and the great Sun Temple at Konark. The Jagannath Temple at Puri is a major pilgrimage site in India and celebrates an annual festival called the Rath Yatra. The lush green forest cover of Orissa plays host to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including the famed Royal Bengal Tiger.

27. Puducherry – Formerly known as Pondicherry, this Union Territory is known for its chic streets, elegant houses and ornamental gardens. The highlight of this well planned town is the 3 km long esplanade that borders the beachfront. Some backpacking places worth a visit while on a southern India tourism package are the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Government Square and the Botanical Garden with its collection of 1500 species of plant life.

28. Punjab – Also known as the land of five rivers, Punjab is a treasure trove of history. The golden fields and blue mountains of the land boast of a range of ancient monuments, sacred sites and wildlife sanctuaries. The Golden Temple and Ram Tirth in Amritsar, Jain Swetamber Temple in Ferozpur and Anandpur Sahib are the main pilgrimage spots. Other interesting places for international backpackers on northern India travel itineraries are the Bhakra Nangal Dam, Beer Moti Bagh Sanctuary and the Wagha Border.

29. Rajasthan – The name ‘Rajasthan’ translates into ‘land of the kings’. Situated in the golden sands of the Thar Desert, this State in the list of States in India is renowned for its towering forts, elaborate palaces and colourful handicrafts. Rajasthan is also a centre for adventure tourism and has facilities for water sports, parasailing, ballooning, trekking, camel safaris and horse safaris. Top backpacking attractions of Rajasthan for India sightseeing visits are the Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal, Sariska Tiger Reserve, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary and the Dilwara Temples of Mount Abu. The Pushkar Mela in November is a local event that should not be missed.

30. Sikkim - The lofty mountain peaks, grassy valleys, gushing rivers, terraced hills and beautiful flowers make a backpacking trip to Sikkim, in northeast India, a unique and memorable experience. The State is mainly known for its Buddhist monasteries. Other than this, the view of the towering Kanchenjunga Peak, the Nathula Pass and the Orchid Sanctuary are places that any backpacker in Sikkim would find interesting.

31. Tamil Nadu – This State is the home of Dravidian art and culture, characterised by its elaborate temples and their soaring towers called Gopurams. Some of the more famous temples to be visited on southern India travel trips are located in the towns of Chidambaram, Kanchipuram, Madurai and Thanjavur. Other places of interest to international backpackers in Tamil Nadu are the beaches along the eastern coast, the hill station of Kodaikanal and the Swami Vivekananda memorial at Kanyakumari.

32. Tripura – There is common belief that the name of the State comes from the presiding deity ‘Tripura Sundari’. Tripura is a major Buddhist pilgrimage center located in northeast India, and is known for its many ornate Buddha temples. Some of the other international backpacking attractions in the State are the rock carvings of Unakoti, the grand palaces of the Tripura kings at Agartala and the serenity of Jampui Hill.

33. Uttar Pradesh – This State is a vast land of tall mountains, rivers, heritage monuments and religious shrines. If you are a backpacker on northern India travel packages looking to view the eternal Taj Mahal, then Uttar Pradesh is the State to travel to. Other backpacking attractions here are the Jhansi Fort, the Imambaras of Lucknow, the Stupas of Sarnath and the wildlife at the Dudhwa National Park. Important pilgrimage sites in the State are Ayodhya, Mathura, Vrindavan, Varanasi and Allahabad. The woollen carpets, ‘chikan’ embroidery, woodcarvings and glassware manufactured in Uttar Pradesh can make for great souvenirs of your trip.

34. Uttaranchal – Blessed with abundant natural beauty in the form of shimmering glaciers, snow capped mountains, radiant valleys of flowers and dense jungles; Uttaranchal is truly a backpacking traveller’s dream. Located in the Himalayas India, this State in the list of States in India, is a stopover on most northern India travel packages. Facilities for adventure activities popular with backpackers such as skiing, rafting, kayaking, trekking, camping, mountain climbing and bird watching are abundant. The State also has many holy shrines such as the four temples at Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.

35. West Bengal – Situated in the eastern part of India, West Bengal stretches from the rugged Himalayan slopes in the north to the Bay of Bengal in the south. The major attractions of the State are the Victoria Memorial and Howrah Bridge in Kolkata, Toy Train in Darjeeling and the town of Shantiniketan. The Durga Puja festival in the late autumn months is a major event of the State which is a treat to watch out for tourists on India sightseeing trips. Handicrafts popular as souvenirs with backpackers are terracotta horses, conch shells, clay models and batik.

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