As the word suggests, sights are something worthy of seeing. Obviously, there is some kind of global consensus on what falls into this category. Typically, these are architecturally or religiously significant buildings, historical sites, natural beauty spots, city districts or entire towns.
Many tour plans revolve around visiting landmarks – ours is no exception. India and our other destinations really do have a lot of them to offer. Right at the top is the classic: the Taj Mahal! Despite having seen countless photos and possibly films/documentaries, seeing it in real life is a surprisingly different experience. You think you’ve seen it before, but you are overwhelmed by the effect of this unique, harmonious building complex.
The religiously significant places in India such as Varanasi, Rishikesh and Haridwar are definitely worth seeing. Countless worshippers in the temples and at the ghats create a very special atmosphere. You can just sit and watch the hustle and bustle – or go with the flow. Another place worth visiting is Jaisalmer in the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. Medieval flair surrounds the golden city of sandstone that rises in the desert. Bygone times can be seen in the abandoned cities of Vijaynagar (Hampi) in Karnathaka, Dholavira and Lothal (Gujarat) or Fatehpur Sikri near Agra.
There is also an abandoned town in Kyrgyzstan, Engilchek, which was a mining stronghold in Soviet times. These were closed after the collapse and the employees moved.
In Nepal, the two ex-king towns of Patan and Bhaktapur could be mentioned, as well as the capital of Mustang, Lo Mantang.
In Armenia, the abandoned towns of Halidzor, Khot and Shinuhayr in Syunik Province are worth visiting, along with their new sister towns. Picturesquely situated on the slopes of the Vorotan Gorge, they lacked proper water supplies and sanitation – so in Soviet times, new towns were simply built up on the plateau and factories were also settled and people resettled.
The large old town of Tbilisi with a great variety of beautiful and often decaying buildings, leafy backyards and special veranda culture holds architectural treasures for several forays.
It is pointless to list the natural beauties in our travel destinations – there are too many! Some have been declared as National Parks, some even as UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh, the Kaziranga Park in Assam, the Keoladeo Bird Park in Rajasthan, the Backwaters in Kerala or the unique Sundarbans. The western Tian Shan Mountains and Skazka Canyon in Kyrgyzstan, Sagarmatha and Chitwan National Park in Nepal, remote Tusheti in Georgia and the sandstone formations near Goris in Armenia are other natural attractions in our other destinations. In many cases, natural sights also go hand in hand with impressive wildlife. What would you like to marvel at? We show you the most beautiful nature!
Religious sites – whether Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam or Christianity – are definitely always worth a visit. Not only are the buildings often magnificent and beautifully situated, the greater part is actively used and you experience a part that makes up the everyday life of the people. Some are important pilgrimage sites (e.g. many important temples in Uttarakhand, Buddha’s place of enlightenment Bodhgaya or the Golden Temple in Amritsar), others house monastic communities (e.g. the Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh and Sikkim), in some rituals take place or regular masses and community prayers. Special are the Buddhist mask dances in the monasteries of Ladakh, the community kitchens in the Gurudwaras of the Sikhs, the mosques in Kashmir or the old big churches in Old Goa and the numerous very old ones in Armenia and Georgia.
British colonisation has left many interesting buildings in India – there are especially many well-maintained ones in Kolkata and in the hill stations such as Shimla or Darjeeling. The planned city of Chandigarh by Le Corbusier is quite different, as is the Lotus Temple in Delhi, which is looking similar to the Sydney Opera House. The old stepp wells are particularly exciting in Rajasthan and Gujarat. The old magnificent Maharaja palaces are also mainly found in Rajasthan. Not a palace, but of course at the top of the list of architectural sights is the Taj Mahal. A contrast to this are the Soviet concrete buildings in Kyrgyzstan and Armenia (here, for example, also the cascades in Yerevan). The entire old town of Tbilisi is an architectural jewel.
Of course, many of the previously listed sights are also of historical significance – but there are also other places steeped in history, e.g. where a historical event is commemorated. Very sad, but definitely worth a visit is the Genocide Museum in Yerevan. In old caravanserais in Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, you can learn about early trade routes – in the Shekhawati region in Rajasthan, the magnificently painted trading houses also give an impression. In Sikkim, the foundation site as well as the ruins of the old capital can be visited. In India (and Nepal), the significant sites of Siddhartha Gautama give you an idea of a world religion spreading. In Georgia, abandoned old sanatoriums in Tskaltubo as well as the unique cave town of Wardzia attract visitors. Petroglyphs in Ladakh and Kyrgyzstan take you even further back in history (up to 5,000 years). Ancient Christian engraved stones are everywhere in Armenia. So there are many opportunities to include places steeped in history in an itinerary.