India is a vast country with many big and small cities, the culture is different from North to South and east to west India. The languages are different, culture is different, food is different, traditions are different, language is different, there are many diversities in India. I have asked some of my fellow travelers and bloggers, which are their favorite city in India and which is their least favorite city in India. And what are the reasons or experiences which made these cities favorite and least favorite?
Here are some thoughts and selection of favorite and least favorite cities by travelers.
Favorite City – Delhi
As a historical & metropolitan city, Delhi has its own charm. The history of Delhi goes back to the time when it was declared the “Sultanate” and saw the uprising of Mughal culture in India. That said, Delhi still bear the impressions of the Mughal era conserved in the form of monuments. I favor Delhi not because I’m based here but also because of its culture, the places to see and the overall vibe. Not only there are a couple of monuments in Delhi to visit, but the fact that how easy it is to commute here is a perk.
Delhi got its ever-expanding Metro rail network, joining not only in the city but also the suburbs. Being a hub of job center, Delhi has a fair share of traffic, but all that can be avoided by commuting through the metro. Metro is my foremost recommendation as the means to commute in Delhi whoever comes to visit for the first time. I travel often, and coming back to my hometown usually means the food savior, those tempting smells from the food markets & stalls. The street food in Delhi is hard to miss. The range of restaurants coming up with the cafe culture rising, Delhi is a paradise for foodies like me. Delhi not only has its own range of food but any special dish from all over India can be found here – one just has to look. When traveling to Delhi, don’t miss trying out the food here.
Least Favorite City – Mumbai
Mumbai is the city of dreams with Bollywood and actors based here. The sharp impressions of colonial architecture still visible and an extremely fast daily life makes it very different from its counterpart aka Delhi. I have been to Mumbai almost 4 times with an urge to like it but came back disappointed every time. The lack of proper transport and my constant comparison of the local trains to Delhi Metro keeps me at bay in Mumbai. For a newcomer, boarding a local will be a nightmare and so was for me, which is why I choose Uber always. But Uber-ing here means getting stuck in long queues of the traffic light which is a downside if one wishes to explore the city. But what dampens my mood in Mumbai is its dirty roads, muddy lanes, and practically everything. I never dared to walk barefoot on the Juhu beach, so my beach walks are barely a thing when I travel to Mumbai. Even the Chowpatty is the same, I cannot enjoy the amazing vada-pao with dirt clinging to my feet.
Despite all these things put me off, Mumbaikers always welcome tourists. The humble people, the gorgeous architecture and magnificent the marine drive invites me here again & again. Even when my brain is reminding me of the filthy roads, I can hardly stay away from Mumbai. After all, it’s the city of dreams!
Favorite City – Jodhpur
Jodhpur is amongst my favorite city to visit in India. You ask why? The architecture for one. There is no fort as majestic as the Mehrangarh Fort. This massive structure, looming at 410 feet, towers over the old city. And a visit to Jaswant Thada in the morning or late at night is beautiful. But it’s not just grand architectural sites that captivated me in Jodhpur. The old town with its indigo-painted houses built haphazardly like most Indian cities are charming. You come across colorful doors while walking the narrow alleys here. You never know what you can stumble upon – an ancient haveli or a well-laid-out step well with local boys jumping in the deep end!
I love Rajasthani food and Jodhpur offers the finest (but spiciest) local Rajasthani cuisine. The local markets are filled with bright, colorful handicrafts if you fancy that. And I found even chain stores such as Fab India and Amrapali have a better-curated collection here.
Culture, heritage, and food apart, what makes Jodhpur special are the hospitality options. The city has umpteen luxury hospitality options – Umaid Bhawan Palace being the most prominent – if you can afford to stay in one of the largest private residences in the world. There are many other boutique properties to be enjoyed. Backpackers would find quirky guesthouses in the old city as well.
Least Favorite City – Chennai
What grabbed me first and foremost and didn’t let go during my stay in Chennai was the humidity. That coupled with heat is what made my brief visit to this city not enjoyable. The people is another thing that irked me a lot.
Let me state that my first visit to Chennai was when I was a student. There are few large cities in India where I don’t have a friend or acquaintance now, but Chennai at that time happened to be one such place where everyone was a stranger and behaved like one towards me. Perhaps if I now re-visit with a local to show me around, my impressions might be different.
The food is something that I didn’t much care for. I only enjoyed the South Indian tiffin items. And Chennai doesn’t offer delectable seafood unlike Kerala or Andhra (or at least I didn’t know the spots if it did then). The regular South Indian thali is not something I particularly care for.
Transport was a big hassle. Or rather language was. The rickshaw drivers would refuse to understand Hindi and insist on speaking only in Tamil. It became difficult to hail down a rickshaw or explain the destination if I was lucky to get one to stop.
I had accompanied my brother who was there on a visa work trip, and we didn’t have much time to sightsee. Although being uninterested in temples, I am not sure if I would have liked to do any sightseeing.
Favorite City – Mumbai
Mumbai is my favorite city in India and I am prompted to visit that city every year. It is known as the city of dreams because that is where careers are usually made. I love Mumbai because it is the only city in India that remains alive at all times of the day. Other cities in India is full of activity either during the daytime or during the night time, Chennai, for instance, is losing its life by night time and Delhi is alive only at night.
Mumbai is always buzzing with activity be it at 4 am in the morning or at noon or midnight. I am extremely intrigued by the warmth and the welcoming attitude of the people there. Their hospitality will ensure that you feel at home outside home. Mumbai has the best sunset views, especially from terraces and beaches. The colors of Mumbai sunsets are extremely unique and I have not seen them anywhere in India before.
Mumbai has activities which are of interest people of all age groups be it, young kids or old people. I am hoping I get to move there sometime in the near future.
Least Favorite City – Kolkata
My least favorite city in India is Kolkata I would probably say it was due to the unpleasant experiences I had there when I visited the city for the first time. I find it extremely unclean and polluted. There is no place for pedestrians to walk on the footpath as vendors have set up their stalls there. The police there has a very rough and violent attitude.
During my Kolkata trip in 2016, the first place we visited when we landed there was the Victoria memorial museum. There was some rule there that vehicles were not supposed to pass from a particular side of the road that is outside the museum and the police were thrashing the vehicles the passed through that side of the road with a stick. I am highly dissatisfied with the infrastructure and the way in which public property is maintained in the city. One can never travel by public transport in Kolkata because of their unhygienic maintenance. There is not much variety there in terms of activity either. The activity there only suits the interests of culture and heritage enthusiasts.
The only area in Kolkata which I have been to which is somewhat decently maintained is Salt Lake City and its surrounding areas. I only went there once. I am hoping that my first trip is my last trip to the city will be better.
Which is your favorite and least favorite city in India?