India: A Wellness and Healthcare Tourism Destination

Top Five Cities

Picture this: Liz Gilbert is practicing yoga, attending satsangs and meditating in an ashram in India. She is on a quest for self-discovery. On her search for enlightenment she discovers the power of prayers and healing in India. Yeah, you guessed it right, Liz is none other than Julia Roberts from the rom-com, Eat, Pray, Love.

From time immemorial movie stars and famous personalities from around the world like Mia Farrow, Steve Jobs, Oprah and even The Beatles visited India and acknowledged that meditation and spirituality changed their lives.

India is a hub for its Yoga retreats, Ayurvedic centres and spas galore. In the last few years India has become the fastest-growing wellness travel destination attracting many foreign tourists to India.

Among the prominent and obvious factors that have led to the increasing popularity of healthcare tourism in India include the low cost of medical care, lesser waiting time for procedures, the ease and affordability of international travel, the widely accepted English language spoken across the country and development in both technology and standard of care provided.

India is also a treasure trove of rich history, culture and heritage and has grabbed the attention of millions of globetrotters.

Let’s take a look at the top 5 cities that are prominently visited by International and national tourists for healthcare, wellness and rejuvenation.

  1. Chennai


Known as India’s health capital Chennai ranks first on this list. As many as 150-200 international patients come here for treatment on a daily basis. About 45% of foreign tourists coming to India visit Chennai for medical care and 30 to 40% constitute the domestic health tourists. The city has an estimated 12,500 hospital beds, of which only half are used by the city’s population and the rest are shared by patients from other states of the country and foreigners. Dental clinics have also attracted dental care tourism to Chennai.

Treatments that are popular among tourists are bone-marrow transplant, cardiac bypass, eye surgery, hip replacement and alternative medicine that are carried out in some of the best hospitals.

Tourism Highlights: Chennai formerly known as Madras, is known for its beaches, Anglo-Indian architecture, cultural festivals and is India’s largest shopping destination. The city has a cultural history of more than 4000 years making it the most sought after tourist destination too. The city is well-connected to all parts of India by road, rail and air and is seen as the gateway to Southern India.

  1. Mumbai


The capital of Maharashtra, Mumbai is popularly known as the city that never sleeps, for its exquisite night life.  Dentistry, pregnancy, cosmetic surgery, orthopaedic treatment and weight loss surgeries are among some of their specialisations that attract medical tourists. The city is known for various surgeries and Ayurveda and is the most opted city as it is well-connected to all major airports of the world.

Mumbai’s thriving beaches, various tourist spots in and around the city and Bollywood are its standouts. The financial capital and the wealthiest city of India houses world-class private hospitals and medical centres that match international standards.

Tourism Highlights: Bandra-Worli Sea link, Marine Drive, Nariman Point, Gateway of India, Colaba and Cultural tours are some of the most visited places here. Khandala and Lonavala are most sought after tourist destinations around Mumbai.

  1. Bangalore


The IT hub of India, Bangalore is also known as the garden city. It houses some of the best hospitals with modern medical equipment. Bangalore has a cosmopolitan lifestyle and has made better technological advancements attracting many international tourists. The city weather is conducive for travellers from across the world making it a pleasant place to stay in.

Bangalore is also a hub for rejuvenation choices like yoga based treatments, meditation, herbal spas and body massages. Ayurvedic medicinal treatments and eco- friendly environment also cater to diseases like obesity, diabetes and depression.

The city has had the highest number of cardiac surgeries in India with over 30% of paediatric surgeries. It has evolved as a home for minimally invasive cardiac surgery. It has multi-speciality hospitals that cater to orthopaedics, infertility, dentistry and hair implantation.

Tourism Highlights: Bannerghatta National Park, Savanadurga Hills, Ramanagara, Nandi Hills, Kolar, Bheemeshwari, Mysore and many more are scenic tourism destinations in and around Bangalore city.

  1. Goa


Goa which is well-known among the foreign tourists for its beach shacks, yoga, parties and casinos, is now a destination for liposuction, joint replacements, root canals, spinal and urological surgeries and gastrointestinal surgeries. Medical tourism is catching up especially because of its conducive environment for foreigners. The beaches provide a soothing effect and help patients recuperate faster post their treatment/surgery.

Goa is known for surgeries like cardiac bypass, hip replacement and spinal fusion. It has been known for years as a wellness destination.

Tourism Highlights: Goa boasts of innumerable tourist-friendly beaches. You can have the quintessential Goa experience by sitting by the shore and staring at the sea. Apart from this is Dudhsagar falls near Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus, tomb of St. Francis Xavier and Mangesh temple are a few other destinations.

  1. New Delhi


India’s capital city Delhi has numerous private hospitals that specialize in neurosurgery, cardiac surgery, eye surgery, joint replacement, neuro surgery among many other treatments. It is the second most widely used city by international tourists.

Tourism Highlights: Qutub Minar, Red Fort, India Gate, Akshardhaam, Humayun’s tomb are few of the many places that attract tourists to Delhi. The Taj Mahal, in Agra, one of the wonders of the world is another tourist destination that is closer to Delhi and attracts many tourists on a yearly basis.

Apart from these prominent medical and wellness tourism destinations that have attracted tourists from all over the world these states are gaining visibility too. To name a few are Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad, Vellore, Alleppey, and Hyderabad.

Places like Rishikesh, Kovalam and Alleppey are gaining popularity for yoga retreats and Ayurvedic massages.


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