Next week, the Commonwealth Games begin in Delhi, while in the lead-up the city is in a rush to complete the infrastructure by the time the athletes - and tourists - arrive.

India has staked a lot on the Games and tourist officials are hoping for a last-minute surge in Delhi hotel bookings, which at the moment are rather lacklustre.

However, while much of the media attention has been focused on Delhi's readiness, the tourism industry in the rest of India has been thriving over the past year or so.

Arrivals to the country bounced back quickly after the economic crisis, with the growth rate for the most recent month, August, more than double that observed in July 2010.

Since 1997, tourism arrivals have more than doubled to 5.11 million visitors in 2009 - the majority from the US, followed closely by British visitors.


India's thriving capital Delhi is the cultural and political center of the country, boasting several of the world's most famous hotels. The Shanti Home hotel beat the famous Taj Mahal Hotel to second place.

1 Shanti Home
2 Taj Mahal Hotel
3 Wood Castle
4 The Amber
5 Taj Palace Hotel

Average price of top five $174 - $312 / €130 - €234


Mumbai is India's largest city and a commercial powerhouse. The luxury Oberoi Mumbai, recently reopened after Mumbai's 2008 terrorist attacks, topped the list.

1 Oberoi Mumbai
2 Taj Mahal Palace & Tower
3 Le Royal Meridien Mumbai
4 Trident, Bandra Kurla, Mumbai
5 Leela Kempinski Mumbai

Average price of top five $225 - $442 / €168 - €331


India's IT capital has a reputation for expensive hotels, although its top five properties actually came out slightly cheaper than Mumbai at the low end. The Purple Lotus was described as "Just amazingly brilliant" by one traveler.

1 Purple Lotus
2 St Mark's Hotel
3 The Taj West End
4 ITC Royal Gardenia
5 The Leela Palace Kempinski Bangalore

Average price of top five $190 - $278 / €142 - €208


India's Oberoi chain also topped the list of Kolkata hotels, with the five-star Oberoi Grand described as "beautiful, calm and fragrant."

1 The Oberoi Grand
2 Taj Bengal Kolkata
3 Hyatt Regency Kolkata
4 ITC Sonar
5 The Chrome Hotel

Average price of top five $184 - $361 / €138 - €270


Industrial and automotive capital Chennai is cpital of the most visited region in India, Tamil Nadu, and a popular tourist destination. Taj Hotels' new Vivanta chain won two places in the top five Chennai hotels from TripAdvisor users.

1 Vivanta by Taj - Fisherman's Cove, Chennai
2 Taj Coromandel Chennai
3 Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai
4 The Raintree Hotel, St.Mary's
5 ITC Hotel Park Sheraton & Towers

Average price of top five $159 - $235 / €119 - €176

Data is taken from millions of independent reviews and rankings surveyed at TripAdvisor taken on September 22, 2010.