Discover why India’s most livable cities are great for travelers

India's livable cities

Pune is a busy city in the state of Maharashtra in west Central India. Source: Atharva Tulsi / Unsplash

FOR the first time ever, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has released a report detailing India’s best cities to live in.

In total, 111 cities were surveyed by the ministry for the Easy of Living Index. The findings are based on four parameters: governance, social, economic, and physical infrastructure.

Included in these categories were housing, waste management, education, pollution and public open spaces.

The three highest ranking cities are all in Maharashtra, a west-central state of India. Pune came top of the league table, closely followed by Navi Mumbai and Greater Mumbai.

At the bottom of the table is Srinagar, a city in the northern Kashmir region.

It was recently listed as the 10th worst polluted city in the world by the World Health Organization (WHO). But all is not lost, as the city is worth visiting just for its famous spicy mutton dish, Rogan Josh.

However, Maharashtra didn’t climb to the top of the league table for just being a wonderful place to live. The region also offers travelers an array of activities, sights, history, and culture. The city is also easily navigable with a great transport infrastructure.

Each city offers something a little different, from a humming nightlife to fascinating architecture and natural beauty to ghost stories.

Here are our suggestions of what to do when visiting Pune, Navi Mumbai, and Great Mumbai.

Pune

The 18th-century Shaniwar Wada Palace is a must see in the city. It is known for its beautiful architecture and well-kept gardens.

It also attracts ghost hunters as the palace is said to be tormented by the ghost of a 13-year-old prince who was brutally murdered by a family member.

Another place of historical significance is Lohagad Fort which is only accessible via a day’s trekking.

The fort is steeped in history from several centuries of dynasty occupations, including the Mughals.

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, head to Adlabs Imagica for rollercoasters and topsy-turvy rides.

There’s also an onsite waterpark to cool off at.

Navi Mumbai

Nature lovers will enjoy Navi Mumbai’s many offerings, including the Pandavkada Waterfalls.

You wouldn’t want to go over the 107-meter-high waterfall in a barrel, but you can play in the pool below.

The Karnala Bird Sanctuary is also well worth a visit especially if you want to put your hiking boots to good use.

The 500-square-kilometer sanctuary has over 150 species of resident birds and 37 migratory species.

Greater Mumbai

The Taj Mahal Palace is Mumbai’s most iconic landmark. The hotel was built in 1903 and blends Islamic and Renaissance styles.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya is the by far the best museum in Mumbai.

The building itself is a fascinating mix of Islamic, Hindu and British architecture and the displays offer a glimpse of Indian art through the ages.

Unfortunately, West Bengal refused to participate in the survey, much like it has for all other urban schemes, and Kolkata was excluded from participating in the index.

Also, if you’re thinking of visiting India’s capital, New Delhi, don’t be put off by its low score.

The ministry confirmed the city only managed to reach 65th place on the list partly due to problems of data gaps.

“Data aggregation was not easy owing to the multiplicity of agencies that control various aspects and area of New Delhi such as NDMC, the three municipal corporations of Delhi, Delhi Jal Board, Metro among others,” said officials.