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Delhi remains #1, while Mumbai knocked off popular Goa to #3 spot in top destinations

Top destinations Indians are travelling to in the country has some surprises according to Agoda booking data.

Among the top 5 destinations with the largest jump in rankings are ( from June 1, 2020- 2021 YTD) Kanyakumari (47 spots), Shirdi ( 42 spots), Allepey ( 29 spots), Puri ( 27 spots), and Rameswaram (24 spots).

So if these are your top destinations for travelling, you can thumbs up the destination!

Delhi Lodhi Gardens - Top destinations Indians are travelling to
Delhi Lodhi Gardens Top destinations Indians are travelling to

Domestic booking data released by global digital travel platform Agoda, shows that four states (in order of ranking) – Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan – accounted for 50% of the top 100 Indian destinations (year to date). New Delhi, Goa, and Mumbai retained their spots in the top three, with Mumbai surpassing Goa as the second most popular travel destination, while the national capital, Delhi, retained its pole position.

Top destinations Indians are travelling to 
Mumbai Worli Sealink
Top destinations Indians are travelling to
Mumbai Worli Sealink Kishore.easwaran, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Biggest movers in the midst of pandemic travel

Amidst the uncertainty over the last year, travel took a backseat briefly. However, as things began to ease up, Indians looked for newer experiences and ways to escape their daily routine.

 Top destinations Indians are travelling to - Goa Beach
Top destinations Indians are travelling to – Goa Beach

The restrictions gave Indians an opportunity to rediscover the many hidden gems, with trips closer to home and off-the-beaten-track destinations jumping up the rankings.  Places like Kanyakumari, Puri Shirdi, Alleppey, and Rameswaram jumped over 20 spots.  Conversely, Lucknow and Shimla dropped in popularity by more than 15 and 13 spots respectively.

Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan dominate the top 100  

Sixteen cities from Tamil Nadu made it to the top destination list featuring usual suspects like Kanyakumari, Chennai, Ooty, Kodaikanal, and Madurai as well as less known less-known destinations like Tiruvanamalai, Tirunelveli, Kumbakonam, and Thanjavur. Kerala and Maharashtra have 12 and 9 destinations respectively.

These encompass all the scenic hotspots like Kochi, Munnar, Alleppey, Kovalam in Kerala. Maharashtra contributed 10 cities to the top 100 list, with Mumbai and Pune ranking in the top ten list and popular hill station spots Mahableshwar and Lonavala rising the ranks, compared to 2020.

Rajasthan’s destinations encompass all the scenic hotspots like Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur.

Leh witnessed the biggest jump in popularity last year

 Top destinations Indians are travelling to - Leh, Ladakh
Top destinations Indians are travelling to – Leh, Ladakh

Leh witnessed the biggest jump in popularity last year, moving into the top 100 from 169 the previous year.

Seven out of the eight union territories in India feature in the top 100 destinations again this year, three within the top 15. Delhi leads this pack, with Puducherry not far behind, both featuring in the top 10.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands come in at number 11 (compared to 17 in 2020). Andaman and Nicobar islands were to quick to move up.

Chandigarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, and Daman & Diu round up the rest of the union territories in the top 100. Only Lakshadweep didn’t make the top 100 cut.

Mountainous and coastal spots are top destinations

18 of the top 100 destinations in India are mountain regions. Ooty beat Lonavala in 2021 as the top hilly getaway, with Munnar coming in a close third.

Ooty Aerial View
Top destinations Indians are travelling to
Ooty Aerial View Hemant meena, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Goa retained its position as the #1 beach destination in the country, with Puducherry in second place. Kanyakumari moves up incredibly securing a spot in the top 50, as opposed to rank 91 the year before.

Religious experiences saw an upswing

While Tirupati stayed at the same spot for Indians in both years, other religious destinations like Puri, Shirdi, Amritsar, Pushkar, and Varanasi came up in rankings this year compared to 2020.

Shirdi Temple Lake
Top destinations Indians are travelling to – Shirdi Temple Lake

Additionally, almost 25% of the top 100 cities travelled to have a strong religious significance, with Varanasi and Tirupati the top spiritual destinations.  

In fact, Shirdi witnessed a rise in popularity, making its entry into the top 25, from rank 62 the previous year. Puri and Rameswaram, known for their exquisite temples, also entered the top 50.

“Our booking data shows that Indians across the country still desire to travel and prioritize safety, which has led to innovative holidays – opting for nature, less touristy destinations often not far from home. With the government’s immense efforts towards the ongoing vaccination drive, Indian travellers are once again packing their suitcases and heading off for weekend breaks and longer road trips.  With so much diversity to explore within our own borders, there is always somewhere yet to visit or to explore again,” said Krishna Rathi, Country Director – India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, Agoda.

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