Whenever we are traveling, at the end of the trip we always ask the children what their favorite moment of the trip was. At times it is swimming with the sharks, playing with cousins, rolling down the grass, even jumping down the bunk bed!
To my relief, never have they said that “Screen Time” was their best time of the day!
Encouraged, every month we are ready with our battered suitcases heading to new destinations seeking new experiences, creating lovely memories.
So if traveling India with children is on your mind, read on as top Travel Bloggers pick 10 best places to visit in India for an amazing family vacation. Read more for tips on when to go, what not to miss and tricks on saving money and avoiding the crowd at the attractions.
1. National Rail Museum – New Delhi, India
Recommended by: Desi Traveler from http://desitraveler.com
Why Go A toy train that actually takes you places, some trains from the former Maharajahs and engines with muscles that carried 1000s of passengers across India and some more at the National Rail Museum in New Delhi India.
While the kids will enjoy the joyride on the toy train they will also learn about the role Indian Railways played in connecting India and making of a modern nation as the Railways network crisscrossed from the fertile plains to the dry desert and the snow-capped Himalayas bringing in the feeling of One India from the diverse princely states we were at one time.
Best For: Children of all ages. If your kid has the engineering type tendencies don’t miss the “Bheem Engine Simulator” (separate ticket to be purchased besides entry ticket).
Hot Tip: Preferably go in the first half of the day to avoid crowds. On the weekends the price doubles and crowds multiply 10 times so best go during a weekday.
Where: National Rail Museum Shanti Path, Chanakyapuri, Near Bhutan Embassy, New Delhi, 110021Timing: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 AM To 17:00 PM (Entry will be closed after 04:30)
Admission Fees: Adult Rs. 50/-, Kids: Rs. 10/-
2. Elephant Conservation and Care Center
Recommended by Apoorva ReddyWhy Go: So children can experience and understand that all living things, from the smallest insect to the largest elephant deserve the same freedom that we humans do and have i.e. to live free.Spending time with these magnificent creatures is sure to impress any child’s mind and help them understand why elephants need to stay in the wild and not in captivity. My favorite quote says it all – “In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” (Baba Dioum 1968).Best for: Children of any age. (Introduction video may not be appropriate for children aged 10 and under).Hot Tip: If you have limited time, buy the 2 hours slot and you can get a guided tour, learn about their rescue stories and depending on the schedule, feed and walk with the elephants, etc.Where: Elephant Conservation and Care Center – Near Sachdeva Institute of Technology, Thurmura Ghari, NH2, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh 281122, IndiaTiming: Open 10:00 am to 6:00 pm 2 hour slots – 11 am – 1 pm, 2 pm – 4 pm and 4 pm – 6 pmAdmission Fees: 2-hour slot – Minimum donation INR1500 Full day – Minimum donation INR 5000Website: http://wildlifesos.org/
3. India’s First MADAME TUSSAUDS MUSEUM at Delhi
Richa from www.lighttravelaction.comWhy Go: Cricket and Hindi Film are not only the most popular talking subjects in India but also take center stage at India’s First MADAME TUSSAUDS MUSEUM at Delhi.Famous for over 250 years for detailed and lifelike wax figures, the Delhi version pays homage to Indian icons from Bollywood, Sports, History & Leaders, Music, and Hollywood. You can touch, hug, play and even kiss the wax statues of the famous personalities.Best for: All ages! The museum is wheelchair friendly; however, only 1 wheelchair at one time is accommodated for safety reasons. Entry for Children under age 3 is free, however, Baby food and Baby prams are not allowed to be carried inside the attraction.Hot Tip:
- Have your own hand cast in wax – Take your wax hand home and display it with pride, showing your friends and family that you are a star too. Wax hands are not recommended if you have a skin allergy, sensitive skin, high blood pressure or you are under the age of 5 or pregnant! Phew!
- It takes around an hour to two to see the museum. Since eatables (including baby food) are not allowed to be carried inside, fill yourself up with food before entering the museum.
- It is best to visit the museum during the early hours to avoid the rush. We were amongst the first ones to reach the museum and so had ample opportunity to click pics with the wax figurines.
4. Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad, India
Recommended by Aditi Kapoor from http://travelogueconnect.com/Why go: Ramoji Film City is the grandfather of all film studios in the world! It is one of the largest and most glamorous film studios which attracts both kids and adults alike. It holds a prestigious place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Every day it receives 10,000+ tourists from all over the world!Best For: Founded in 1996 by Ramoji Rao, it is spread across a vast area of 2500 acres and you can easily spend 2 days here. It is best for kids aged 5 and over. All the attractions are spectacular and enjoyable for both kids and parents.Hot Tips:
- The best attractions are Eureka, Princess Street, North Town, Birds Park, Fundustan, Butterfly Park, Vaman-Bonsai Garden, Fort Frontier Wild West Stunt Show, Lights Camera Action (Hollywood Black Light Spectacular Show), Opening & Closing Ceremony to name a few.
- There are Non AC vintage buses running within the facility with knowledgeable guides who give you a detailed orientation of each attraction.
- There are 1-day passes and other combo packages available online and at the venue.
- There are plenty of reasonably priced restaurants and cafes to choose from such as Galaxy, Hollywood, Super Star, Dil Se, Jimmys Drive In.
5. Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, Banglore, India
Ashwini Neetan from www.hoppingmiles.comWhy Go: As a kid, my first visit to ‘Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, Banglore’ was on a field trip from my school. We were seated in a huge room with chairs set in an elliptical form, very much unlike a movie theatre. And once the show started, we were on a virtual ride inside the solar system except that our chairs were stationary.In the Sky theatre, the concept of sun, moon and the planets were shown in hi-resolution graphics and explained with simple English which could be understood by school children. And I vividly remember, emerging out of the room, so much in awe of the Solar system and the Milky Way.Outside the Sky Theater, there were small exhibits of interesting facts and figures about our Solar system. And in the park located opposite the main building, which was also called as a Science Park had interesting experimental set-ups that spiked the curiosity.Best for: Ages 5 and above when they can understand the concepts of science better. Very young kids might get scared when the absolute black backdrop is achieved for projecting night sky inside the Sky Theatre.Hot Tip:
- Sky-Theatre is the star attraction of Planetarium. It comprises 15-meter hemispherical dome on which projection is made. The shows have educational and interesting narrations about history, anecdotes, science facts, cultural aspects that keep children engaged with the program.
- Visitors can use PAYTM wallet to buy tickets at the counter.
- NOTE: Children below 3 years are not allowed inside the Sky-theatre.
6. Tribal Heritage Museum, Munsiyari, Uttarakhand, India.
Richa from www.lighttravelaction.comWhy Go: Tribal Heritage Museum or as is locally (read fondly) called Masterji’s or Massab’s Museum is the labor of love and tireless efforts of a single person, Dr. Sher Singh Pangtey, a Ph.D. on Bhotia Tribes in Johar Valley.Afraid, that the Bhotiya culture and its legacy would soon be forgotten, Dr. Pangtey took upon himself to record, document, and archive the community’s heritage.Today, the museum is a treasure trove of artifacts in the form of herbs, cooking utensils, ornaments, weapons, musical instruments, vessels used to distill alcohol, spinning wheel, trade treaties before independence from China and Tibet, maps & local spices and local handicrafts. It gives you a glimpse of the culture and traditions of the Bhotiyas.Best For: Children aged 5 and above. There is an audio guide to help you understand the artifacts kept there.Hot Tip:
- Like traditional Bhotiya households, the entrance of the museum has a unique taal (a sickle-shaped key) and Gareli (a lock in shape of a wooden block)! Ask someone at the museum to demonstrate the locking system to your little ones
- (Side Note: My kids were excited to find the outdated Indian 500 and 1000 rupee notes in the collection of the museum. It was amusing to see how happy they felt to have been through that part of history.)
7. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
Recommended by Dipanwita Chakraborty from www.dipanwita.comWhy Go: The city that is now the financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India was once just a small settlement of Kolis (an indigenous fishing community). Mumbai has grown from a collection of seven islands and has a rich history, which, however; is now overshadowed by the high- rises and steel skyscrapers.In the heart of the city stands the oldest city museum of Bombay Presidency, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum (erstwhile Victoria and Albert Museum) showcasing the cultural heritage, life of people of Mumbai, music, art and crafts practiced by them, maps, lithographs, rare books and photographs from 18th century to late 20th century.Best For: Best for children aged 6 to 16 years. This museum is a great place for children to make familiar with the history of their own city.Hot Tip:
- The tour should not take more than 1.5 to 2 hours. The museum is not crowded and the tour can be completed at your leisure.
- Look out for the art installations by various artists and members of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) every once in a while.
- The museum also has a museum shop, museum café, and museum education center.
8. Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad, India
Recommended by Stuti Shrimali from www.meandmysuitcase.comWhy Go: Salar Jung is the largest one-man collection of antiques in the world which dates back to the first century. One of the three national museums of India, it is an undefinable beauty with a huge collection of coins, sculptures, paintings, manuscripts, metal artifacts, furniture from India, Japan, Nepal, Burma, Europe, North America to name a few.The collection of the Museum can be divided into Indian Art, Middle Eastern Art, Far Eastern Art, European Art and Children’s Section.Best For: Everyone! Children or adult, this museum has everything to offer to everyone. It’s one of the fascinating museums I have ever come across, so well maintained and well organized. You need 2 to 3 hours to cover it but it wouldn’t surprise me if you take longer.Hot Tip:
- The center of attraction in the children’s section is the huge glass case in the center of the gallery that houses a toy train complete with railway stations, platforms, and tracks.
- Don’t miss the English Bracket Clock at Salarjung Museum. It contains a mechanism by which a small toy figure of a bearded man comes out from the enclosure three minutes before every hour and exactly at 60th minute strikes the gong as per time.
- My favorite was the collection of the walking sticks. They were in hundreds, each one different, depicting the part of rulers’ personality they belonged to.
9. Shankar’s International Dolls Museum, New Delhi, India
Recommended by Anjali Chawla from https://travelmelodies.comWhy Go: A complete museum dedicated to dolls!!! Isn’t it exciting?This 49-year-old museum has a beautiful and quirky collection of around 67,000 dolls displayed in the glass cases, from 85 countries.Shankar’s International Doll Museum (the brainchild of renowned political caricaturist K. Shankar Pillai)offers learning-with-fun for kids; as children understand the dance forms, cultures, traditions, and customs of different countries. It’s like seeing the whole world in one museum.Best for: Children aged 2 to12 but I’m sure grownups would also love to immerse in long forgotten childhood days by exploring the museum. I relived my childhood; with my daughter!Hot Tips:
- The museum doesn’t have a parking of its own. Take Delhi Metro to ITO or park your car somewhere else and walk up to the museum.
- Food and drinks are not allowed inside the museum and there is no cafeteria inside, only drinking water is available.
- Don’t worry! You can gorge on delicious street food and Indian sweets at Bengali Market near to the museum.
- Photography is prohibited inside the museum
10. Padmanabhapuram Palace, Kanyakumari
Recommended by Suman Doogar from www.nomadicshoes.comWhy Go: Kids can learn about the history of Padmanabhapuram, which is located at the foot of the Veli Hills in Thuckalay, on the way to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. Though the Palace lies in Tamil Nadu, its managed by the Govt. of Kerala. The magnificent 16th-century wooden palace inside a granite fortress is spread around four kms and highlights the best of Kerala architecture.Best for: All ages of children esp if your child is fond of history. A visit to Padmanabhapuram will transport you back to the era of Kings. It will be a truly enriching experience to learn about the organic materials like egg whites, coconut shells, jaggery, lime etc used in their architecture.Hot Tip: Remember to carry a bottle of water and something to munch on. A whole day is required to see the palace which houses intricate wood carvings, delicate latticework, Mica colored windows, secret passages, murals depicting scenes from Puranas, a wooden cot made up of 64 medicinal trees with healing properties.Where: Chakala, Thuckalay, Tamil Nadu 629175When: 9.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 4.30 pm (All days except Mondays)Admission Fees: Rs. 35 [Adults], Rs. 10 [Children], Rs. 300 [Foreign nationals – adult], Rs. 50 [Foreign nationals – children], Rs. 50 [Camera], Rs. 2000 [Videography]Website link: http://www.kanyakumaritourism.in/padmanabhapuram-palace-kanyakumari
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