15 Most Underrated Cities In India To Visit In 2023

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India is home to numerous destinations that attract tourists from all over the world. While cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Jaipur are often at the top of people’s travel lists, some of the most underrated cities in India are often overlooked. These cities offer unique experiences and are filled with rich culture and stunning landscapes.

In this post, I have compiled a list of the 15 most underrated cities in India that are waiting to be discovered. From the ancient temples of Bhubaneswar to the royal charm of Mysuru, each of these cities has something special to offer. And in case you didn’t know, I wrote a bunch of other posts where I explore underrated cities in Italy, Germany, the Balkans, the United States, and many more countries.

But now, join me on a journey through some of India’s hidden gems!

1) Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha and a center for culture and economy, is often referred to as the Temple City. Here, you can find many historical temples that are rich in heritage resources. As its name suggests – ‘Lord of the Universe’ – Bhubaneswar’s spiritual essence embodies an amalgamation of ancient tradition with modern city life. The city was established in 1948 by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and evidence dating back to the 3rd century BCE has been found here.

The variety of cultures at this destination makes it one of the most visited places in Eastern India alongside Konark and Puri; together forming the Golden Triangle. If you’re looking to experience Indian history through architecture then look no further than this area which has been ruled since Maurya-Gupta times up until Mughal and British rule.Bhubaneswar in Odisha is Known as the Temple City and is One of the Most Underrated Cities in India.

For those interested in spirituality, Iskcon temple is a must-visit site due to its religious significance and dates from 1991 when it replaced Jagannath Temple situated in Puri. Another remarkable example of architecture worth seeing is Hirakud Dam which stands proudly amongst diverse attractions that make Bhubaneswar such a popular tourist spot today.

Besides these sights, food lovers should also indulge their taste buds in some delicious traditional Odisha cuisine while soaking up all that Bhubaneswar culture has to offer!

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2) Pondicherry, Union Territory

Pondicherry is a union territory on the southeast side of India, with its unique blend of cultural diversity and colonial architecture. From its world-renowned spiritual heritage in Auroville to its picturesque coastline, Pondicherry offers something for everyone. With plenty of activities from beach hopping to exploring local culture and cuisine, you can truly experience all that this destination has to offer.

For example, the Promenade Beach flanking White Town area provides an incredible view for those looking simply to take in their surroundings. On the other hand, Paradise Beach has golden sand perfect for sunbathing and provides various water sports opportunities and a great crowd. For those seeking out French-Tamil culture, there are cooking demos of traditional recipes, weaving workshops, and puppet shows which give visitors an insight into the life of locals here.Puducherry in Union Territory is Known for Beautiful Beaches and the French Colonial Architecture.

If you seek to explore further than the beaches and culture, you will not be disappointed by the many sights synonymous with Pondicherry such as Matri Mandir, an important landmark within Auroville dedicated to peace and human unity – or any of the spectacular churches found throughout the region. It’s no wonder why this place has become so popular among tourists seeking relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Overall, Pondicherry is a charming escape where one can enjoy a mix of old-world charm combined with modern amenities allowing them to lose themselves in tranquility while still being immersed in its rich heritage; making it one of India’s most underrated cities worth visiting during 2023.



3) Udaipur, Rajasthan

The historical city of Udaipur – known as ‘The City of Lakes” – has much more than just lakes and royalty! It offers an unforgettable experience for those who seek to enjoy stunning natural scenery or fairytale palaces and scenic forts.

Udaipur culture takes you back in time with its traditional art forms like Kathputli (puppet shows), Tera Taali (folk music), and Ghoomar dance. There are many places you can explore here that have remained untouched by modernity such as Badi Lake Palace, Fateh Sagar Lake, Jagdish Temple, and Eklingji Temple.Udaipur in Rajasthan is Often Referred to as the City of Lakes.

And when it comes to food, Udaipur offers unique flavors from different parts of India: street-side chaat stalls serving pani puri and bhel puri, famous Gujarati thalis at Bawarchi Restaurant, or the delicious Kachoris served with aloo sabzi at Ramchandra’s stall near Sukhadia Circle.

For those who want their nights to be filled with fun and entertainment, there are plenty of options available in Udaipur ranging from rooftop bars offering stunning views over Lake Pichola or live music performances at Jaisamand Island Resort and Spa. Even if you don’t feel like partying, take a stroll through Sajjan Niwas Garden where you can admire beautiful fountains lit up in vibrant colors against the night sky!

4) Kochi, Kerala

As the saying goes, ‘Variety is the spice of life’, this could not be more true when it comes to Kochi and Kerala. This stunning port city on India’s southwest coast serves as a melting pot of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and age-old traditions that have been intricately woven together with modernization. From its expansive tea plantations and numerous spice estates to its awe-inspiring architecture and ancient temples, there are plenty of reasons why Kochi should be on your travel list for 2023.

One of the most popular attractions in Kochi is the Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace, which was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and later renovated by the Dutch. The palace is known for its stunning murals and traditional Kerala architecture.Kochi in Kerala Is One of the Most Underrated Cities in India

Kochi also offers some delightful cuisine choices that will tantalize your taste buds; from freshly caught seafood cooked using traditional recipes handed down through generations to an array of street food options like parottas and idlis – you won’t go hungry here!

The various festivals taking place throughout the year add even more color to the city and allow you to experience firsthand all that makes Kerala so special. Whether it’s Onam or Vishu, every festival has something unique to offer. If you decide to visit Kochi, the city’s captivating charm combined with modern amenities will ensure you have a truly enjoyable stay while giving you plenty of memories to take home with you.

5) Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

Unlike Kerala’s laid-back atmosphere and cool breeze, Lucknow, the capital and largest city of Uttar Pradesh, offers a lively culture wrapped in its unique charm. From breathtaking architecture and world-renowned cuisine to an alluring ‘pehle aap’ (you first) attitude that radiates warmth, this is one city in India you don’t want to miss!

Lucknow is home to some stunning Islamic and British Raj–era architecture which adds an old-world charm to it. Here you can take strolls around wide boulevards or explore epic monuments such as Bara Imambara, a vast complex comprising several courtyards and arches built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah in 1784. Nature lovers can also visit numerous parks and gardens including Hussainabad Clock Tower Garden and Chattar Manzil Park where they can enjoy lush greenery amidst beautiful surroundings.Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh Is One of the Most Underrated Cities in India.

When talking about Lucknow, it’s impossible not to mention its famous cuisine. This ‘City of Nawabs’ has a reputation for delicious food with many dishes like kebabs, biryani, and kulfi falooda being served up at local eateries throughout the area. But perhaps what makes dining here so enjoyable are the friendly people who always show respect towards their guests.

Whether you’re looking for stunning architecture or sumptuous cuisine, head over to Lucknow if you want an unforgettable experience rich with culture and hospitality. 



6) Nagpur, Maharashtra

Nagpur in Maharashtra is a city that offers an array of experiences for the curious traveler. From exploring its diverse cuisine to uncovering its rich history and fascinating culture, this underrated gem in India has something for everyone.

The history of Nagpur dates back thousands of years but it wasn’t until 1817 when The British annexed the city from the Marathas did it become an important commercial hub. This heritage is still visible throughout Nagpur today as many ancient landmarks remain standing, such as Deekshabhoomi – one of the largest hollow Buddhist stupas in the world- and Ambazari Lake & Garden – where visitors can relax by immersing themselves in nature.Nagpur in Maharashtra Is Often Referred to as Orange City

Shopping fanatics will love spending time in Nagpur thanks to its numerous clothing stores offering everything from traditional Indian garments to stylish Western wear. There are also plenty of souvenir shops selling locally made handicrafts if you’re looking to take home a piece of tradition.

But a visit to Nagpur wouldn’t be complete without trying some local dishes like Vada Pav or Misal Paav; these classic street food snacks are best enjoyed with friends or family around the bustling markets and bazaars. For those looking for something more traditional, there’s the famous Bhel Puri – a savory snack made from puffed rice mixed with onions, potatoes, and other spices – which can be found at almost every corner of the city. With so much variety available, shopping here promises to be an exciting adventure!

7) Jaipur, Rajasthan

The ‘Pink City’ as Jaipur is popularly known, offers you a unique experience for its incredible mix of culture and history. You can explore numerous temples that reflect Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism with intricate carvings that tell tales from centuries ago.

Must visit places like Hanuman Temple, Govind Devji Temple, and Moti Dungri Ganesh Temple to appreciate the true beauty of traditional Rajasthani architecture. Not only do these monuments offer insight into the religion but also provide a glimpse into how life was lived by people many years ago.Jaipur in Rajasthan, the Pink City, Is One of the Most Underrated Cities in India.

Speaking of historic sites, there are also must-visit attractions like Hawa Mahal, famous for its magnificent facade; Amer Fort built atop a hilltop palace complex; Jal Mahal, boasting stunning views over Man Sagar Lake and Nahargarh Fort which gives you breathtaking panoramic vistas. All these places have their own stories to tell about India’s past glories and are worth visiting if you want to get lost in time!

Jaipur is also famous for its traditional Rajasthani handicrafts, including textiles, jewelry, and pottery. The city is home to several markets and boutiques where you can shop for these unique items. All this combined makes Jaipur one of the most underrated cities in India and a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the rich heritage of Rajasthan!

8) Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Ahmedabad in Gujarat is a bustling metropolis with its own unique culture, cuisine, and nightlife. As the sun sets over this ancient city, it comes alive with energy as people flock to its streets in search of adventure.

Its rich history dates back centuries, making it one of India’s most underrated cities. From Sabarmati Ashram – where Mahatma Gandhi started his freedom struggle – to Kankaria Lake which is packed with recreational activities such as jet skiing and zorbing; Ahmedabad never fails to amaze its visitors.Ahmedabad in Gujarat Is a Textile and Handicraft Hub

What’s more? The festivals here add color to the cityscape – from the Navratri celebration featuring music and garba dancing to the International Kite Festival that sees hundreds of kites soar in the sky!

Another aspect that makes Ahmedabad unique is its food. Some popular dishes include Dhokla, Fafda Jalebi, and Undhiyu. And for those looking for a lively evening, Law Garden or Ellisbridge area in Ahmedabad are known for their buzzing nightlife scenes full of food stalls, pubs, and bars playing live music along with street shopping options galore.

From exploring the beautiful architecture of old mosques like Sidi Saiyad Mosque to discovering the artifacts showcased in Calico Museum; a visit to Ahmedabad will make one realize why UNESCO recently included it on their World Heritage Site list.



9) Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

Located on the eastern coast of the country and surrounded by majestic hills on three sides, Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh is a port city that has a lot to offer for visitors who are looking for something unique. From exploring its picturesque beaches and indulging in scrumptious local cuisine to visiting ancient caves and taking part in cultural activities, there’s no shortage of things you can do when you visit Visakhapatnam!

Visakhapatnam is home to some stunning beaches like Yarada Beach, which is known for its golden sands that stretch up against the backdrop of beautiful hills. One of the most spectacular places near Vizag is Araku Valley, where you’ll find gushing waterfalls cascading down mountain cliffs as well as challenging trekking trails through lush greenery.Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh Is One of the Most Underrated Cities in India

Visakhapatnam’s culture will also make every trip memorable. The city boasts a rich cultural past with many festivals that celebrate art forms like theater and dance being held here regularly throughout the year. There are plenty of temples dotting the landscape too – so if you want to experience traditional rituals or pay homage to sacred shrines then Visakhapatnam has got you covered!

As far as food goes, seafood lovers will be delighted by what Vizag has to offer, especially dishes made with freshly caught fish from nearby ports. In addition, there are many regional specialties such as biryani and pakoras that you must try while here!

10) Amritsar, Punjab

The Golden Temple of Amritsar is a sight to behold – its majestic gold domes glistening in the sun and reflecting off its crystalline pool. It’s hard not to feel spiritual as you walk through its gates, surrounded by people from all walks of life paying their respects to this holy shrine. But there’s more to Amritsar than just the Golden Temple!

If you’re for example looking for a bit of adventure, there is Wagah Border – situated between India and Pakistan. Here you’ll witness an incredible ceremony every evening where soldiers from both sides march proudly along either side of the border before shaking hands at the end. The energy is electric as spectators cheer on alongside them, waving flags and chanting slogans in support of freedom and unity.Amritsar in Punjab Is Known as the Golden Temple of India

You can also take a stroll down Heritage Street near the temple complex where Phulkari dupattas, carpets, and dry fruits abound in abundance; perfect souvenirs for your loved ones back home. Amritsar is also known for having some of the best Punjabi cuisine around! From delicious kulcha bread topped with spices and herbs to lassi served cold in earthen pots, no visit here would be complete without tasting these flavorsome delights.

With so much history, culture, and flavor packed into one city, it’s easy to see why Amritsar should be at the top of any traveler’s list when heading to India in 2023.

11) Guwahati, Assam

Guwahati in Assam is an ancient urban city that has a rich history. Situated on the banks of the river Brahmaputra and the foothills of the Shillong plateau, it’s known for its diverse cultural heritage. A visit to Guwahati can be quite captivating as one can explore many attractions such as Umananda Temple, and Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, or take a river cruise along the Brahmaputra for breathtaking views.

Apart from the many historic landmarks and monuments that showcase its rich history and culture, Guwahati is known for its beautiful natural surroundings. The city is situated on the banks of the Brahmaputra River, and visitors can enjoy scenic views of the river and the surrounding hills. The Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, located about 50 km (31 mi) from Guwahati, is also a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts and offers a chance to see the rare one-horned rhinoceros.Guwahati in Assam Is the Gateway to Northeast India

Food is another aspect that makes Guwahati special, as Assam is known for its delicious cuisine, which includes dishes such as fish curry, bamboo shoot pickle, and pithy (a type of rice cake). Here you can try these traditional dishes at the many restaurants and food stalls throughout the city.

So if you’re looking forward to having a relaxed time amidst nature but still experiencing the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan city then plan your trip to Guwahati. This underrated gem situated in Assam offers something new every time you visit thus making it the perfect destination for those seeking peace and adventure alike.



12) Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

Exploring Bhopal, in the Madhya Pradesh region of India, is a must for any traveler searching for an off-the-beaten-path destination in India. Rich with history and culture, this city has something to offer every type of traveler. From exploring ancient monuments like the Taj-ul-Masjid mosque built by Nawab Shah Jahan Begum in the 1840s to visiting Van Vihar National Park where one can find wildlife such as deer, monkeys, and various birds, there’s plenty to keep you occupied here.

The City of Lakes offers a peaceful respite from bustling cities through its beautiful upper and lower lakes which are surrounded by parks with lots of activities like boating, swimming, and food stalls selling traditional cuisine. There are also many fascinating museums located around the city that provide insight into its rich past including several galleries showcasing fine art pieces from local artists.Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh Is Often Called the City of Lakes and Mosques

A visit to Bhopal wouldn’t be complete without partaking in some local experiences – it’s a great way to explore the unique culture that makes up this incredible city. One popular activity is taking a stroll down Chouraha Road at night time; it bustles with street vendors selling everything from delicious snacks to handmade jewelry. It’s also worth checking out some of the religious temples located throughout the city like Laxmi Narayan Temple or Jama Mosque – both are architectural gems!

No matter what your interests may be, Bhopal promises travelers an unforgettable journey full of exploration and discovery. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or seeking adventure, this underrated gem is sure to fulfill your desires while providing meaningful memories that will last forever.

13) Nashik, Maharashtra

Located in Maharashtra, Nashik has a rich cultural heritage to explore and offers something for everyone. Nashik’s culture is an eclectic mix of ancient beliefs with modern trends. The city has a long and fascinating past and is home to some of the oldest temples such as Panchvati and Ramkund that are believed to be associated with Lord Rama’s exile period. Another highlight is the Pandavleni Caves, which are ancient Buddhist rock-cut caves.

Apart from its spiritual significance, Nashik holds great historical importance too – it was once home to some powerful dynasties including those of Chandragupta Maurya, Harshavardhan, Akbar, and Aurangzeb who have all left behind monuments worth visiting.Nashik in Maharashtra Is the Wine Capital of India

One of the things that makes Nashik special is its beautiful natural surroundings. The city is surrounded by the Western Ghats mountain range, which offers breathtaking views and numerous hiking opportunities. Here you can take a trek to the nearby hills of Kalsubai or Anjaneri, which offer panoramic views of the region. Nashik is also known for its association with the Godavari River, one of the most sacred rivers in India where you can take a boat ride along the river or visit the Ramkund, a holy bathing ghat on the banks of the river.

Another aspect that makes Nashik unique is its wine industry. Nashik is home to many vineyards and wineries, and visitors can take tours of these facilities and sample some of the delicious wines produced in the region. All in all, there’s plenty to discover here making it an ideal place to plan your vacation next year!

14) Vadodara, Gujarat

Vadodara in Gujarat is a city full of history and culture. It was the royal residence of the Gaekwads from 1721 to 1947, with many grand structures built during this time still standing today. The Laxmi Vilas Palace for example is an opulent home that serves as a reminder of the glorious past of Vadodara. This palace has been designed in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture and sits amidst sprawling green grounds which also house a golf course.

To explore what Vadodara has to offer you should begin by visiting popular sights in the city such as Makarpura Palace, Sayaji Baug Zoo, and Maharaja Fatehsinhrao Museum & Picture Gallery. A visit to EME Temple (also known as Dakshinamurti) is highly recommended; this temple is perched on top of Pratap Hill near Kirti Mandir whose walls feature murals depicting Indian mythology. Other places worth exploring include Nyaymandir or Court Hall Complex, Baroda City Railway Station, and Bhutnath Mahadev Temple amongst others.Vadodara in Gujarat Is One of the Most Underrated Cities in India.

Regarding food, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to cuisine in Vadodara. Gujarati dishes like Undhiyu, Kadhi Khichdi, Puran Poli, and Dhokla are some local favorites you can try here. There’s plenty of street food too – such as samosas, kachori, and pav bhaji to name just a few! Besides these traditional delicacies, several multi-cuisine restaurants are offering international fare at reasonable prices.

Overall, Vadodara offers visitors an immersive experience where they get to sample authentic Gujarati cuisine while exploring its rich cultural heritage and unique atmosphere, making it one of India’s most underrated cities to visit in 2023!



15) Mysore, Karnataka

Mysore in Karnataka is known as the “City of Palaces” due to its grandiose heritage and culture that have been preserved over centuries. The palatial buildings here are some of the most impressive examples of Indo-Saracenic style architecture that you can find in India today. The iconic Mysore Palace stands tall with its 98000 bulbs illuminating it during nighttime, making it one of the most spectacular sights in the country.

Mysore is also surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, such as the Chamundi Hills and the Brindavan Gardens. Here you can take a hike to the top of the Chamundi Hills and enjoy the panoramic views of the city and the surrounding landscape. The Brindavan Gardens, on the other hand, is a stunning example of Mughal-style landscaping, with its fountains, terraces, and flowerbeds.Mysuru-in-Karnataka-the-Royal-Palace-and-Gardens-in-India

Mysore is also known for its vibrant and colorful markets, such as the Devaraja Market and the Mysore Silk Saree Udyog, where you can find everything from fresh produce and spices to silk sarees and handicrafts.

And for those looking for more spiritual pursuits during their trip to Mysore, countless yoga centers guide beginners and experienced practitioners alike. Whether it be soaking up all the beauty around us or exploring history at its finest, a visit to Mysore promises unique experiences and unforgettable memories that last long after your journey ends!

Conclusion

In a country as vast and diverse as India, countless underrated cities are waiting to be explored. The 15 cities I’ve highlighted in this post are truly special, each offering its own unique charm, culture, and natural beauty.

From the serene backwaters of Kochi to the bustling markets of Ahmedabad, these cities are a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be had. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie, these cities have something to offer for everyone.

And if you would like to find more underrated places around the world, feel free to check my other blog posts. There you can find the most underrated cities in Italy, Germany, the Balkans, the United States, and many more countries!

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Irich Photography
4 months ago

Beautiful Places

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