But sometimes the best travel experiences are those that are lesser known and further afield. Here are nine unexpected adventures to take you off the typical tourist trail — after you’ve had a chance to marvel at the Taj Mahal, of course.
Take a hike in tiger territory
Wildlife filmmaker Naresh Bedi takes us on a tour of Jim Corbett National Park, India’s oldest national park and a top safari destination.
Thanks to conservation efforts in recent years, the number of tigers — and opportunities to spot them — in the central state of Madhya Pradesh is on the rise.
Track paw prints and scan the trees for wildlife by day then fall asleep to the sounds of the forest by night.
Visit a salt desert
When monsoon season ends in October and the water evaporates from the low-lying salt marsh in the Rann of Kutch, a layer of salt is left behind — forming one of the largest salt deserts in the world.
This sparkling saline-covered landscape is especially magical under a full moon.
Located in the western state of Gujarat, it’s quite removed from the well-trodden tourist trail (though domestic tourism to the region has grown in recent years), so you’ll want to stay at least a few days to explore the history and culture of the area.
Cycle at high altitude
Seasoned cyclists ready to escape the crowds and take a ride to new heights can join a high altitude adventure with Cycleit.
Tour the world’s largest estuarine mangrove forest
Make a stop at the watchtowers and take a stroll on the caged canopy walkway to get a view of the forest and wildlife safely from above.
Due to the unique natural environment, remote location and presence of tigers, life in the Sundarbans is unlike anything you’ll experience elsewhere in India.
Changing water levels during monsoon season can make for a difficult and even impossible journey, so it’s best to avoid travel to the area during the months of July to September.
Go ice climbing on Himalayan waterfalls
Outdoor enthusiasts undeterred by freezing temperatures can try their hand (and feet) at ice climbing in Himachal Pradesh.
Check out the cherry blossoms
Japan isn’t the only place travelers can enjoy a burst of cherry blossoms in full bloom.
India has its own indigenous cherry trees in a number of regions — which means multiple chances to kick back under a pink and white canopy.
Watch the sun rise and set from the same place
Worlds — or, rather, waters — collide in Kanyakumari, a coastal town at the southernmost edge of India where the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal meet.
Start and end your day at the water’s edge as you witness the sun rise and set from the same spot.
Named for the Goddess Kanya Kumari, this area of Tamil Nadu is of spiritual significance and regularly visited by pilgrims who come to meditate, cleanse themselves in the sacred waters, and make offerings at the Kumari Amman Temple.
Track snow leopards and search for red pandas
India is home to some incredible — and sometimes elusive — wildlife, including the adorable, endangered red panda and the rare and brightly-colored tragopan pheasant.
The remote Himalayan setting and the shy nature that’s earned these cunning cats the nickname “gray ghost” makes the sight of one all the more exciting.
And snow leopards aren’t the only ones roaming the snow-covered landscape: keep an eye out for yak, ibex, Himalayan blue sheep and Tibetan wolf as well.
Sleep in a mobile camp
Lack of infrastructure and access may hinder visitors from venturing to the truly remote areas of India, where rarely visited historical sites, rural villages, tribal markets, nature trails and wildlife await.
The nomadic nature of a mobile camp itinerary means that each day brings new views and new opportunities to experience the India that few experience.