India is a massive country with dozens of languages, hundreds of unique cultures and more natural wonders than anyone could ever hope to explore on a single vacation. It's cities are sprawling and full of life, and after you visit them, you may find yourself wondering why you would ever want to leave. To get a taste of life in India, you may want to consider visiting its largest cities, Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata. Here are the top sights to discover on your week long journey through India:
When you get your cheap flights to Mumbai, you will arrive in the city that contains the Gateway of India, a spectacular piece of 20th century architecture overlooking Mumbai harbor. The triumphal gate once stood as a monument to the British Raj and now serves as a reminder of the country's history while still welcoming visitors in grand fashion.
To go deeper into India's history, consider taking a day trip to the Elephanta Caves, located on an island in the Sea of Oman near Mumbai. The caves, which are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, reveal signs of human occupancy in the 2nd century B.C. Here you'll discover amazing carvings and monuments to the god Shiva. Many of the likenesses are carved directly into the living rock walls of the ancient caves.
Before you leave Mumbai, be sure to check out Siddhivinayak Temple, an amazing example of 19th century Hindu architecture. If that piques your interest, there are a vast number of other amazing temples to be found throughout the city.
Located roughly 900 miles to the northeast of Mumbai, the capital city of India contains sections that date back to the 16th century. Most notable is The Red Fort, which served as the home to the Mughal emperors for over 200 years. Made of red sandstone, the palace is as beautiful as it is imposing. It is a must-visit for any history buff.
Visitors should also make a point to visit Humayun's Tomb, which was built by the son of Mughal Emperor Humayun in the late 1500's. The elegance of the tomb easily rivals that of the Taj Mahal, and it is easier to reach than that other monument. Even the surrounding gardens are worth lingering in as you enjoy the site's architecture.
Located in the state of West Bengal, Kolkata was originally founded by the East India Company. Today, it is home to a number of museums filled with artifacts from ancient India. Visitors to Kolkata, also known as Calcutta, are sure to notice the influence of 18th and 19th century English designs.
Victoria Memorial and the Indian Museum are two must-visit institutions. At both locations, visitors will get an in depth look into region's past, all the way to times before human inhabitants roamed the earth. And for a look at some living wildlife, including tigers and crocodiles, take a day trip to the Sundarbans, a national park south of the city.