While the large metros in India have become too crowded and too polluted for a healthy living environment, we unearthed some really cool smaller cities and towns which make for great places to live in. Here is our list of the Top 10 cities and towns in India to live in.
What we noticed while doing our research on the top most towns to live in was that education levels play a very important role in deciding the quality of life in a place. We had not set any such parameters to start off, but we found that the towns which made to the top our list were invariably places where the literacy levels were much higher compared to the rest of the country. Sundarnagar in Himachal Pradesh is also one such place.
This beautiful town in the Himalayan foothills is spread out around the Sundernagar lake and makes for some breathtaking aerial shots.
The local populace is soft-spoken, warm and hospitable. Besides the fact that the literacy levels are high, the town has also emerged as an education hub in the region. It is located in the Mandi district of HP.
If you plan to visit the place, try to stay at the government guest houses. They are well-maintained and will take you back to the days of yore. You will need to make your bookings in advance, though.
Forget the big metros like Delhi and Kolkata, even Guwahati, the capital of Assam, has become too crowded and almost unliveable. However, we found a real gem only about 200 km north-east of Assam. This fabulously great town to live in is called Tezpur. Tezpur does not boast of any glitzy malls or any other great infrastructure but lives here for a few days, and you will know why it is such a perfect place to make your home in! The town has a laid back charm of the old days, while you can still find all the comforts of modern living. The residential areas are green and beautiful, with pretty water bodies doting all around. Tezpur is considered to be the cultural capital of Assam. The literacy levels are well over the national averages, and you will rarely find any rowdy characters disrupting the tranquil scenes. Another great feature of the town is the lovely waterfront. Unlike in Guwahati or Dibrugarh, the Brahmaputra is a little away from the town, but it is a great spot for some lovely winter picnics. There is also a nice water park nearby.
Like other modern steel towns of India, Durgapur too boasts of an organized urban set-up. The roads and city blocks are planned, educational institutions are of good quality and the city's population enjoys a higher than average literacy and income levels.
One of the most low-key cities in this list, yet we highly recommend Durgapur for the general pleasantness of life and quality infrastructure. The new Durgapur Expressway is one of the best in the country.
McLeodganj is the seat of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. It is also the seat of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.
One of the smallest towns in this list, this Himalayan town scores highly due to its scenic beauty and cool climate. McLeodganj is far removed from the heat and dust of the plains of India, and if you are allergic to heat and summer, this is a great place for you to stay in.
The one drawback of the place is that it is not as well connected to other parts of India, and you will need to spend a longer time and effort to travel to mainland Indian cities.
As per a Mercer Report from a few months back, Hyderabad was ranked as India's no.1 city in terms of quality of living. The swanky new airport and a large number of English public schools were a major factor in pushing Hyderabad up their list.
While we too count these positive factors, we also gave climate, commute time, ease of life and general pleasantness of behavior important weight ages.
Hyderabad is the largest city on our list, and our factors make it difficult for the largest cities to pass muster. But this city still had enough factors to make it to the list.
If you are looking for a metro, with job and business opportunities, Hyderabad is probably the best city to choose from our list.
Chandigarh is, without any doubt, India's best-planned city. The city blocks are divided into an organized grid format, allowing for several different access paths from point a to b, thus reducing the pressure on the roads. Compared to other cities, the population growth has been controlled and you won't find little dirt and squalor in the main areas of the city.
Like many other towns and cities, it is also an important education hub. Another factor which works for Chandigarh is its close proximity to hill stations such as Kashaul. In just a couple of hours, you can check out a number of great weekend spots.
Though much smaller compared to the largest cities of India, the facilities and infrastructure are almost at par with the metros. In Chandigarh, you can enjoy all the comforts of modern living without needing to go through the hassles of a Mumbai or Delhi, and at much lower cost of living.
Mysore can be a real pleasant surprise if you land there without finding out much beforehand. For one, the pleasant weather is a real positive.
The people are soft spoken, the streets clean and you will see a general sense of well-being and cheer.
It is one of the world's most important centers of Yoga, and the benefits of Yoga can be seen in the general behavior of the citizens of Mysore.
The city also offers accommodations at very affordable prices, and there are plenty of good eating out options at really cheap prices.
Of late, IT companies such as Infosys have arrived in town and job and business opportunities have grown. We expect Mysore to go up on the list when we update it next autumn.
Candolim has one of the prettiest beaches in Goa, and no wonder it attracts thousands of tourists to its shores. Yet, the town doesn't appear to be so crowded and is a great place for a long stay.
In spite of it being a popular tourist destination, living expenses are low, and you will find a simple but good living quarters at a very affordable price. Beer is quite cheap too!!
While we tried to steer clear of the largest cities in India due to the sheer pollution levels and poor ratio of living expenses: quality of life, Pune still managed to make the cut. In this list of top 10 most liveable places, Pune is the 2nd largest city.
There are a lot of factors which work for Pune: compared to most cities it offers a better climate year round. While it does get hot during the summers, the temperatures generally don't go over 40. The hilly terrain (Sahyadris) provide for a picturesque setting and better weather.
The city is quite green, and an important historical, cultural and educational center of Maharashtra. For long, it has been called a pensioner's paradise, and for good reason.
If you wish to settle down after retirement, Pune is definitely a top choice.
Alappuzha is a popular tourist town, and stunningly beautiful. Famous the world over for its backwaters, the place is a great place for a long stay.
Alazppuzha is considered to be the oldest planned town in the area, and the lighthouse is one of the first of its kind built.
For its picturesque canals, backwaters and lagoons (which start off right in the town center), Lord Curzon called it the 'Venice of the East'.
Us city birds were quite pleasantly surprised to find that water was still an important medium of transport widely used by the local population. Imagine catching the ferry back home after a hard day's work in your office!