• best cities in india wishlist

My Wishlist: 5 Cities to Visit in India

“How much longer are you going to be in India for?”

I’m not sure… but it’s something everyone wants to know. Anytime I think about leaving, I feel upset knowing that there’s so much more to India I want to see. It’s taken over my “travel” thoughts so much that I don’t even consider other countries. I do like balance, but I think until I fill myself up with this India madness, I won’t want to go gallivanting anywhere else. There are just too many beautiful places to see in India.

I’ve sadly not been to the northeast of India, nor have I been to the east coast. There is so much more to see in India!

My Wishlist: 5 cities to visit in India

Two are actually states as I’ve mentioned within the post, but the title “cities and states” was too long and “places” was too boring.. blogging probs!

 1. Pondicherry (and Auroville).

pondicherry india travel wishlistAuro Beach, photo source flickr

pondicherry india travel wishlistfruit salesman photo source flickr

Pondi used to be a French colony and even now traces of that exist. One of the things I love about Goa is the Portuguese influence, so I’d really love to see what the French influence in India looks like. I hear the food is the bomb and Auroville hippie commune is the kind of place you’ll never want to leave (and some don’t). They are so legit that they have their own currency understandings with the government that they’re going to do things their own way. They’re experiencing a fair share of coastal erosion, so with Ben’s job who knows? I may end up here!

2. Sikkim

best cities in india wishlist sikkimsikkim lake source

I’ve always wanted to go to this state, but even more so after reading Renuka’s posts about it. It’s got an Asian look and a mix of cultures since it’s bordered by Bhutan, Nepal, and China. The houses don’t look like typical Indian homes and it’s surrounded by wildflowers (40,000 different kinds if the internet is to be believed). I’m a sucker for wildflowers. They say if you climb from the Kanchenjunga base camp you can see Mt. Everest from afar. I’d love to try out from traditional medicine and take a hike to the famous hot springs.

3. Darjeeling

best cities in india wishlist darjeelingdarjeeling hills source

Not far from Sikkim and an easy train ride from Calcutta sits Darjeeling, a city known for its tea. I love tea and I’ve never been to a tea plantation. I’m interested in West Bengal in general but I want to spend time in the countryside. Darjeeling has become a UNESCO world heritage site. You can take a day trip to Jaldapara National Park and cross your fingers to see a leopard.

4. Assam

best cities in india wishlist assamfields of Assam source

best cities in india wishlist assamelephants source

Also in the northeast, Assam is a state that is overlooked completely in tour books due to safety concerns. There are ethnic military groups having conflict, as well as Indian army involvement, much of which started way back when the British left and divided the area. Many Indian friends of mine have visited and brought back stories that make me want to go, although I probably won’t travel solo here. Assam is great during rainfall and they say it’s the greenest place in India. It has one of the most diverse rain forests in the world. It boasts a couple UNESCO sanctioned National Parks.

5. Leh

best cities in india wishlist lehmagnetic hill source

I don’t want to just be in Leh, I want to learn how to ride a bike and go from Manali to Leh like these Royal Enfield folks do. It’s been said that only the God’s should be allowed in a place this beautiful. High up in the Himalayas, covered in snow, and part of the historic silk route. Here you can see many monasteries and take part in all kinds of winter activities.



About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Justine October 7, 2014 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    I’ve never heard of most of the places on this list, but I can totally see why you’d want to visit all of them! Leh looks especially spectacular. I agree that it’s weird being in a country that has so much to offer. I’m kind of experiencing the same feeling now that I’m living in Jakarta. Part of me doesn’t want to visit any other country until I visit every Indonesian destination on my wishlist — which would take a lifetime!

    • Rachel Jones October 7, 2014 at 8:51 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you can relate! I’d love to go to Indonesia.

      • priya October 13, 2014 at 4:26 pm - Reply

        hii can you write a blog post on chepest plases to live in goa like chepest places to buy property and all

        • Rachel Jones October 17, 2014 at 2:33 pm - Reply

          Hi Priya, It’s on my list of things to do lol, and hope to have it up in the next month

  2. Mark October 7, 2014 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    What is your definition of ‘City’? Neither Sikkim or Assam are cities – but States. Darjeeling is a town in Darjeeling District of the State of West Bengal. In a previous post (27 August) about your favorite cities in India you listed Anjuna as a city. Since when? It is a village that has developed in to a tourist enclave, much like Chapora or Palolem have. Sorry to nit-pick but this is misleading information for would-be visitors.

    • Rachel Jones October 7, 2014 at 8:30 pm - Reply

      Hi Mark, I’m aware they are states but for google (SEO) purposes It’s better for my site to say cities instead of “cities and states” or “places” . I am all about helping people on this site, but I also have to do what it takes to grow the site… also, it’s the same with town/city/village… it’s just a title.

  3. Andy October 7, 2014 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    Consider spending some time in Calcutta on your way to Darjeeling, Sikkim and Assam. It’s an interesting city.

  4. Jo October 7, 2014 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    Pondicherry sounds fascinating. I love seeing former colonies and how they blend the old colonial stuff with their own culture.

    • Rachel Jones October 7, 2014 at 9:38 pm - Reply

      Agree! Goa has this with the Portuguese as well and I love it.

  5. Rika | Cubicle Throwdown October 7, 2014 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    I would like to visit all of these!! Plus Goa, of course :)

  6. Lisa October 8, 2014 at 12:40 am - Reply

    I know exactly how you feel. I feel so at home in Medellin and didn’t even want to go to the States for 2 weeks. I have no desire to see anywhere else and tearing myself away from Medellin brings me to tears too. We’re definitely meant where we are if we feel like this x

  7. Veena October 8, 2014 at 1:47 am - Reply

    I want to go to all these places, too! I was lucky enough to get to visit Assam and Meghalaya last year, and they were amazing. I have a friend in Shillong who took me to Cherrapunji, formerly the “wettest place on earth”, where we trekked for 3km to see the double decker root bridge. It was, hands down, one of the greatest days of my life. Definitely try and get up there if you can! And until you make it up to Darjeeling, you should check out Munnar in Kerala. Lots of tea plantations to be seen, and there is even a tea museum where you can see how the tea is made and drink some samples. It’s a lovely little getaway if you need it.

    • Rachel Jones October 8, 2014 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      I want to see that bridge too! Thanks for all the tips :)

  8. john obrien October 8, 2014 at 4:13 am - Reply

    hi Rachel,
    we have been to 3 places on your wish list.Pondicherry,Leh,and Darjeeling.all of which we loved for their individual uniqueness.highly recommended all.check weather first especially Leh.respect the altitude.

  9. Kaleena's Kaleidoscope October 8, 2014 at 6:07 am - Reply

    Wow, these places look amazing! India has never been high on my list for some reason, but places like this change my mind. India looks like such a geographically diverse country, I never realized!

    • Rachel Jones October 8, 2014 at 7:17 pm - Reply

      It really is. Mountains, desert, jungle, beach, city…

  10. Tim | UrbanDuniya October 8, 2014 at 7:10 am - Reply

    OMG this is like my current wish list for India!! I wonder if, once you’ve seen the major sights, these are the “secondary” places for travellers – those who really love the subcontinent. I know I do!

  11. Rebekah October 8, 2014 at 7:43 am - Reply

    these look amazing, I actually have a been looking at a yoga school in Pondicherry, I think it would very cool and hopefully a good place to Start in India? this looks amazing, I love that once you’ve been somewhere awhile you can start to explore the lesser known places.

    • Rachel Jones October 8, 2014 at 7:13 pm - Reply

      I think that’d be a great place to start! I’d love to go and you’re right it’s always better the second time to a place too

  12. Christie of The Butterfly Editions October 8, 2014 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Eeek so many exciting places to go! I hadn’t heard of Auroville until I read an article about it last year and it seems like such a fascinating place – I too would love to visit there. Darjeeling is also right at the top of my list when I make it back to India (next year, fingers crossed!).

    • Rachel Jones October 8, 2014 at 7:12 pm - Reply

      Awesome! Yeah I had a friend just stay at Auroville farming and she’s been telling me about how cool it was.

  13. Renuka October 8, 2014 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    Your wishlist is cool! I wrote a similar post in the beginning of 2014, which had Sikkim ad Darjeeling in it. I’m glad I was able to tick off at least two of the places I put on my radar. And thank you for mentioning my blog!

    • Rachel Jones October 8, 2014 at 7:11 pm - Reply

      You go girl! I haven’t ticked anything of my lists in a while.

  14. Laura October 8, 2014 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    That photo of Darjeeling is stunning. I love wandering through tea fields (or rice fields or any lush agriculture, is that weird?). They’re so peaceful. That would definitely be on my list and seeing a leopard would just about make my life.

    • Rachel Jones October 8, 2014 at 7:09 pm - Reply

      The rice fields here are full of cobras lol! We just saw one last night- so scary. Other than that I would like wandering through them too :)

  15. Cyra @ Gastronomic Nomad October 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    I loved Darjeeling and Pondicherry! I actually felt like I could have stayed and lived in Pondicherry. It had a really nice vibe to it. Darjeeling seemed more like somewhere in Nepal than India. I only recently finished drinking the tea I got there on my wanders around the tea plantations. :) You must go!

    • Rachel Jones October 9, 2014 at 5:03 pm - Reply

      Ahhh that is great to hear. I would love to spend time in Pondi. Thanks Cyra!

  16. Alex October 12, 2014 at 9:43 am - Reply

    Sikkim and Darjeeling are great. I’d also put Varanasi and Kashmir on the list, though I’d love to get over to Ladakh in the future. 10 times in India and there is still so much to see!

    • Rachel Jones October 12, 2014 at 7:37 pm - Reply

      Yes, Varanasi is amazing!! You’re right India has so much you have to take many many trips to see it all.

  17. Tushar November 1, 2014 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    Leh I am thinking to visit for past 2 years and unable to visit. Next year I wish and I pray I visit for sure. And Darjeeling hills photo – that is lovely snow capped mountains.
    I have seen few such snow capped mountains during Uttarakhand tour. Early morning hours they look so good. Thanks for sharing beautiful photos. Keep traveling.

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