It is not often you wonder what India holds in store for you. As it happens, people have no idea how much is hidden away in each part of India – a melting pot of remarkable history, culture and people. Here, rich living history coexists in harmony with a vibrant citylife. While not as popular, there are plenty of remarkable cities to visit in India, overlooked maybe because of their proximity to better-known locales. The cities mentioned below are definitely worth more than a quick stop before you head elsewhere.
Most Underrated Cities in India – Ranchi
The capital of Jharkhand, Ranchi, has certainly been left out of the travel itinerary of the normal India traveler. Once the summer capital of Bihar under the British rule, Ranchi has several tourist attractions for you to choose from.
The beautiful Rock Garden lies 4 km from Ranchi town and is carved out of the rocks of Gonda Hill. At the base of the Hill is Kanke Dam, a place certainly worth visiting. Ranchi acts as a gateway to Betla (Palamau) National Park and numerous waterfalls dot the countryside.
Take some time out to check out the picturesque waterfalls of Ranchi – the Hundru Falls, Jonha Falls and the Panchghagh Falls, Dassam Falls and the Hirni Falls. The water cascading down from different heights is a sight to behold!
Your heart will swell in pride when you visit the Jharkhand War Memorial, dedicated to the soldiers from Jharkhand who had sacrificed their lives for the country from the period before independence to the current updated list. Do visit the museum with exotic collections from Jharkhand’s past; rare traditional weapons, modern weapons and models of Jharkhand’s industry and heritage. Nakshatra Van with trees that have been planted to represent particular Zodiac signs is also a must see.The Jagannathpur Temple hosts a Rath yatra every year.
Most Underrated Cities in India – Puri
Spirituality reigns supreme at Puri! Best known for its rich history, religious sanctuaries, architectural grandeur, seascape beauty and spiritual significance, it attracts a number of visitors every year. The magnificent coastal shoreline is one of the best kept secrets of Orissa.
The ancient art of Patta-Chitra, stone sculpture, murals and a variety of handcrafted objects d’art that thrive at the Raghurajpur village are certainly worth a visit.
The largest salt-water lake in Asia, the Chilka Lake, is home to more than 200 local and migratory birds, dolphins and more than 200 species of fish. Make it a point to visit the magnificent Konark Sun temple and Dhauli, a historical site which marks the Kalinga war of Emperor Ashoka.
Most Underrated Cities in India – Calicut
Although not as popular as Kochi or Thiruvananthapuram, Calicut or Kozhikode tends to fly a little under the radar of the average tourist. Known as the “City of Spices” it was once the capital of the formidable Zamorin dynasty. Vasco da Gama first landed near here in 1498 and the rest is history.
A great city to visit and explore, Calicut has many places of architectural and historic interest. The Tali temple, Mater Dei Church, Kuttichira Mosque, Beypore boat building yard… to name a few. The Pazhasiraja Museum depicts many historical artifacts and paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, the master painter!
Most Underrated Cities in India – Gandhinagar
Named after Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of our Nation, Gandhinagar, the second planned city in India has broad avenues and greenery. Sabarmati Ashram here has preserved Gandhiji’s spartan living quarters and a museum presents a moving and informative record of his life and teachings.
Surrounded by manicured gardens the spectacular Akshardham Temple is the biggest tourist attraction in Gandhinagar.
Do not overlook a visit Dada Hari Ni Vav in all its architectural splendour! A step-well, built by the supervisor of Sultan Mahmud Begada’s harem, it descends through five levels of carved stone columns to two small wells.
Most Underrated Cities in India – Madurai
Madurai, commonly known as the Athens of the East, claims to be the soul of Tamil Nadu! One of the oldest cities of India, the metropolis even traded with Rome in the ancient times.
The Meenakshi Amman Temple dominates the centre of the town and this labyrinthine structure ranks among the greatest temples of India.Other must-sees include Gandhi Memorial Museum and the Art Museum. Drink in the strong filter coffee to keep you refreshed as you continue to explore this lovely place!
Most Underrated Cities in India – Faridabad
Unless you are a Faridabad native or a history buff, you may not be familiar with the refined taste of this city. Named after Shaikh Farid, the treasurer of Jahangir, Faridabad is a haven for arts and crafts enthusiasts and shoppers.The many facets of this city make it an interesting destination not to be overlooked.
The rich history of Faridabad lies in its beautiful temples and churches, forts and palaces. The Suraj Kund Mela here is a major attraction.
Most Underrated Cities in India – Udaipur
Romance is in the air when you are in Udaipur. Magnificent palaces, temples, Havelis and countless narrow, crooked, colourful streets weave their magic on you here on the banks of Lake Pichola. Udaipur charms you with serene boat rides on the lake, the bustle of its ancient bazaars, its lively arts scene, quaint old-world feel, tempting shops and the lovely countryside.
The imposing City Palace with its balconies, towers and cupolas towering over the lake is an excellent example of architecture. Bagore-ki-Haveli, a gracious 18th-century haveli, houses a gallery featuring period photos of Udaipur and replicas of monuments carved out of polystyrene.
It is hard not to fall in love with the aesthetics and vibrations of this wonderful place!
Most Underrated Cities in India – Mysore
If you are interested in the glittering royal heritage of magnificent monuments, keep Mysore in your list of places to visit! A premium centre for silk, sandalwood and incense, Mysore has the World Heritage–listed Mysore palace at its centre. This Indo-Saracenic marvel of architecture is a kaleidoscope of stained glass, mirrors and gaudy colours. The interiors have carved wooden doors, mosaic floors and paintings depicting life in Mysore during the British era.
Charming buildings like the Government House, Silver Jubilee Clock Tower and the imposing Rangacharlu Memorial Hall dot Mysore. The beauty of St. Philomena’s Cathedral is emphasized by its colourful stained-glass windows. The Chamundi Hills and Chamundeshwari temple are places not to be missed.
Most Underrated Cities in India – Chandigarh
Prosperous, comfortable and cosmopolitan defines Chandigarh – the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana. The first planned city of independent India designed by the Maestro Le Corbusier, the city has sweeping boulevards, lakes, gardens and grand civic buildings.
The Nek Chand Rock Garden here has 2000 sculptures built using stones, debris and other discarded junk that was left over from villages destroyed to build Chandigarh. The Government Museum and Art Gallery, and the Le Corbusier centre are surely worth a visit.
Most Underrated Cities in India – Trichy
Tiruchirappalli or Trichy is a huge, crowded, busy city with a strong character and long history having been ruled by the Pallavas, medieval Cholas, Pandyas, Delhi Sultanate, Vijayanagars and Madurai Nayaks. Sri. Ranganathaswamy Temple with towering Gopurams, halls and museum, the Rock Fort Temple and main bazaar are a must see in Trichy.
As a true traveler, bring out the wanderer in you and choose any of the above spots for your next trip to India and explore to your heart’s content.