10 Stunning Destinations to Visit in Eastern India

10 Stunning Destinations to Visit in Eastern India

Feast your eyes on an absolutely beautiful part of India.

Being the largest country in South Asia, India definitely has lots to offer. Its vast and diverse terrain lets you experience just about everything – from beautiful beach coastlines to the magical summits of the Himalayan Mountains. With friendly locals, delicious cuisine, and awe-inspiring sights, India’s culture is something you need to experience at least once in your lifetime. Of course, it’s virtually impossible to explore every city and state of the entire country in a limited amount of time; but, to kick your incredible Indian journey off, here’s 10 places to visit in Eastern India for an enriching holiday you won’t forget!

1. Darjeeling

Image credit: shankar s.

The name ‘Darjeeling’ shouldn’t be an unfamiliar one – the world-renowned “champagne of teas” hails from this very town in East India! For the tea-enthusiasts, there’s nothing like a freshly-brewed cup right from its source! Indeed, Darjeeling houses innumerable tea plantations that prize a delicate and complex harvesting process to cultivate your favourite minty aromatic tea. Apart from its thriving tea industry, Darjeeling is also known for its diverse culture that’s made up predominantly by the Tibet, Nepali, and Bihari ethnic traditions. When you’re there, do be sure to visit the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, affectionately called the “Toy Train”, for a scenic trip around the Himalayan foothills.

2. Sundarbans National Park

“Sundarban” is the Bengali word for “beautiful forest”, an apt title for the wetland reserve and tiger sanctuary located along the Ganges Delta in West Bengal. Sundarbans National Park is a breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site brimming with wildlife, flora and fauna – perfect for nature lovers to experience this natural wonder! The national park is home to over 400 Royal Bengal Tigers, India’s national icon, which visitors can spot from the many watch towers and village expeditions.

3. Nalanda

Image credit: Michael Eisenriegler

Take a step back in time and visit the ruins of the Nalanda Mahavihara, the longest running Buddhist monastery in the country’s history. The ancient grounds date back to the 5th century, and now house an archaeological museum and memorial hall for tourists to learn about its historical significance, as well as to admire some of the works created during the monastery’s heyday.

4. Kolkata City

places to visit in india

Image credit: Samitkumarsinha

A trip around Eastern India isn’t complete without visiting West Bengal’s City of Joy! Formerly named Calcutta, the cultural and economic capital is the second largest city in India, and exemplifies a perfect conflation of modernity with its colonial past. Some of the more popular tourist attractions include the grand Marble Palace, a prominent mansion with stunning 19th century design, and the Victoria Memorial which has over 25 galleries and exhibitions commemorating the period of British rule in the country. Another must-see place in Kolkata is the Chowringhee Market, one of the most bustling areas in the city packed with shopping and local eateries!

5. Tiger Hill

places to visit in india

Image credit: Judith

One of the best places in Eastern India to discover the country’s magnificent beauty is at Tiger Hill, the summit of the Darjeeling Himalayan regions. There, you’ll be treated to a panoramic view of the mountain ranges, and even a peek of Mount Everest and Mount Kanchenjunga on a clear day.

6. Bishnupur

Image credit: Amartya Bag

Bishnupur is a quaint and charming small town tucked away in the Bankura District of West Bengal. Dating back to the local Malla Kingdom’s reign during the Gupta period, the town is famed for its well-preserved terracotta temples that survived through the period of India’s colonialism. There are plenty of gorgeous temples to visit, but two of the more popular ones include the Madan Mohan Temple built by King Durjana Dev Singh in the late 17th century, and the massive Shyam Rai Temple that celebrates the brilliant vernacular Pancharatna style. The complex architecture and temple designs are immediate testament to the superb craftsmanship of the region’s artistic talents, as well as the steep history and traditional culture that exudes in Bishnupur.

7. Chilika Lake

Image credit: Aditya Bhattacharjee

Spread over 1100 square kilometres in the state of Orissa is Asia’s largest salt-water lagoon, a popular tourist attraction for nature lovers. Due to its unique ecosystem with sandy ridges and highly brackish waters, Chilka Lake attracts all sorts of migratory and aquatic birds to its shores. For us, it makes the perfect place to admire the alluring beauty of this quiet lagoon, and an amazing location to do some bird-watching. You can even spot some bottlenose dolphins and the rare irrawaddy dolphins at the Satapada viewing point. If you’re planning on visiting Chilika Lake, be sure to head there in the winter, for that’s when the migratory birds settle in!

8. Konark

places to visit in india

Image credit: Srikumar Mitra

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the Konark Sun Temple, which is esteemed as one of the most stunning architectural masterpieces in the world. The massive monument is a splendid sight to behold, with labyrinthal structures and carved stone patterns intricately designed to showcase the Central Indian aesthetics. And with the captivating sight comes a mysterious legend, where it was said that the Sun Temple had a gravitating power that disrupted naval fleets around the region and drew vessels in Konark.

9. Puri

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Orissa’s pilgrimage town is one of the hidden gems located along the east coast of India. Puri is a charming city that’s steeped in traditional art and culture; just take a walk around town and you’ll find locals selling their exquisite applique art crafts, or artists sculpting sand art on the picturesque coastlines.

Throughout the year, there are religious festivals held by the temples that are attended by over 1 million people! For a unique look into the local heritage and religious culture, a visit to Puri’s famous Jagannath Temple would definitely be an eye-opening experience. This temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, a form of Lord Vishnu, way back in the 12th century and considered to be extremely spiritual as it is one of the four great Char Dham pilgrimage sites in India (places where the Hindu people believed that they could receive cleansing for their sins).

10. Bhubaneswar

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If you’re looking to discover Eastern India like a local, one of your best bets will be the city of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha. Experience the best of both worlds at this region, which fuses the rich history of the empire with the bustling metropolis. Some popular attractions include the Bindu Sarovara lake, Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, and the Odisha State Museum, but apart from that, take a walk along the hawker streets and be immersed in the simple local culture.

With all these spectacular destinations the country has to offer, we can’t wait to visit them on our next trip! For more information, check out Incredible India’s website and Facebook page, and you’ll be all set to discover the amazing sights, history, and culture unique to Eastern India.

Brought to you by India Tourism Singapore.

About Author

Stephanie Lauw
Stephanie Lauw

Stephanie is an English literature and film student who has succumbed to the occupational hazard of over-analysing her favourite TV shows. She enjoys theatre and music, and dabbles with both by writing bad plays and experimenting with her band. Her current dream is to island hop the filming locations of all the seasons of Survivor.