India; a country of sensory overload and enormous travel opportunities. Every region offers something new to explore. Discover magnificent ancient monuments, beautiful palaces and abundant wildlife whilst travelling through rolling tea plantations to deserted palm fringed beaches.
If it’s your first visit to India then you’ll probably want to include a visit to the Taj Mahal which is magnificent beyond words. But India has so much more to experience beyond the obvious palaces, temples and monuments. We have been travelling to India every year since 2005, are totally addicted to its endearing vibrancy and still fascinated by new discoveries. Whatever your interest, be it culture, wildlife, history, religion, cuisine or health and wellbeing, India has options in abundance.
India is the seventh largest country by area, the second most populous country (with over 1.2 billion people) and the largest democracy in the world. There’s a lot to explore and experience. Don’t be surprised if you fall in love with India and return year after year to discover something new, as we did. So our advice would be don’t try and do too much on each trip. Talk to us about what interests you and which area you would like to visit and we’ll craft the perfect itinerary to suit your requirements.
Main Tourist Destinations: (in alphabetical order)
Agra, Amritsar, Darjeeling, Delhi, Dharamshala, Goa, Hampi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kerala, Kolkata, Lucknow, Madurai, Mumbai, Mysore, Shimla, Udaipur, Varanasi
Main International Airports:
New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Kochi, Kozhikode, Trivandrum, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad
Around 8 1/2 Hours from London to New Delhi
Hindi & English & numerous regional languages
230v, 50Hz. Socket type C, D and M
India is one of the main tourist destinations in the world and a place that must be visited, at least once in your lifetime. Its vibrancy, thirst for life and range of colourful cultures is like nowhere else on earth and is totally addictive.
This vast land offers a multitude of unforgettable experiences that cater to every interest. There are plenty of UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the stunning Taj Mahal in Agra and the lesser known but totally fascinating ruins at Hampi in Karnataka.
India’s rich history has resulted in an impressive number of imposing forts and ornate palaces, particularly in Rajasthan, where you can visit the Amber Fort in Jaipur on elephant back. The spectacular fort at Jaisalmer is a rare example of a living fort, the narrow alleys are packed with houses, shops and hotels.
India’s cities are an interesting mix of contrasts; the increasingly modern and opulent structures sitting alongside some of the poorer traditional communities. Exploring both is helpful to truly understand India’s people and their rapidly changing way of life.
Tradition plays an important role in India, from a simple puja ceremony performed on the banks of a holy river, to an extravagant Bollywood style wedding, there is always something fascinating taking place. Experience the spirituality of Hinduism at captivating Varanasi, learn more about the Sikh religion at the magnificent Golden Temple in Amritsar and explore the architecture and cuisines of the Nawabs in Lucknow.
The people are warm and welcoming, you may find yourself being invited into a rural village home to share some chai (tea) and meet the family. Experiences such as this are what really makes a trip memorable and forms a lasting connection.
India also has some excellent wildlife parks, mainly concentrated in the parks of Madhya Pradesh but also at Ranthambore in Rajasthan and Nagarhole in Karnataka.
Kerala in the south of India has beautiful lush countryside bordered by magnificent beaches and sprawling spice and tea plantations along the western ghat mountains. A cruise through the tranquil backwaters of Kerala in a converted houseboat is a magical experience. This is also the home of Ayurvedic therapy and the place to head if you need some time out to relax and rejuvenate.
To complement your India experiences, you can choose to stay in a range of accommodation styles such as gorgeous boutique hotels, authentic family homestays, palatial heritage forts and palaces, and luxurious 5 star resorts. We have the personal experience to guide you in your choice of places to visit and stay.
India is the world's biggest producer and consumer of mangoes - officially India's national fruit.
Known as the “Festival of Light” due to the fireworks, lamps and candles that are lit. The festival celebrates the return of Lord Rama and his wife Sita to their kingdom after defeating the demon King Ravana. It takes place in October or November, depending on the cycle of the moon and lasts for five days.
This eleven day festival celebrates the birth of the popular Hindu elephant headed god, Lord Ganesha. Huge statues of Ganesha are displayed and then paraded through the streets before being submerged in the ocean at the end of the festival. One of the best places to experience Ganesh Chaturthi is Mumbai. The festival is held during August and September, depending on when the date falls.
One of India’s most famous festivals, the “Festival of Colours” involves people throwing coloured powder and water over each other. There is a carnival atmosphere in the streets with dancing and partying. It’s great fun to join in with, providing you don’t mind getting wet and covered in colours. The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil and the arrival of spring. It lasts for two days, typically in March.
Navaratri, Dussehra and Durga Puja
The first nine days of this festival are called Navaratri and involve celebrations to the Mother Goddess. The tenth day, Dussehra, celebrates the defeat of the demon king Ravana by Lord Rama. Mysore in Karnataka is a particularly good place to experience this festival. It also coincides with the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon. In eastern India, this is celebrated as Durga Puja where idols of the Goddess are immersed in the holy Ganges River and a range of cultural performances are held. Kolkata in West Bengal is a good place to experience Durga Puja. The festival takes place typically in September or October.
Pushkar Camel Fair
Held in the desert town of Pushkar in Rajasthan, this colourful festival sees around 50,000 camels converging for five days of trading, racing and parading at the start of the festival. The camels are elaborately dressed up and even entered into beauty competitions! It usually falls at some date in the October/November time frame, depending on the Hindu calendar of the year.
This ten day harvest festival is the largest festival held in Kerala. Beautiful designs are made with flowers to decorate the ground infront of people’s houses and there are feasts, dancing, sports and the famous snake boat race in the backwaters. The festival date falls in August or September.
Kerala Temple Festivals
From February to May, many temples in Kerala hold a festival featuring large processions of decorated elephants, musicians, colourful floats carrying gods and goddesses, and fireworks. The biggest elephant festivals are known as Poorams. In northern Kerala, the ancient and fascinating Theyyam Festival is held at numerous temples from the end of October to May. In a Theyyam performance, the divine force – often the Great Goddess or Shiva, possesses the body of the dancer and acts through it to bless the community. Kerala Tourism has a helpful event calendar which shows the dates of festivals in Kerala for the coming year.
As India is such a vast country, each region has slight variations in climate.
However, in general, the best time to visit India is from October to March. From April onwards the temperatures start to rise before the arrival of monsoon rains during the summer months. Wildlife sighting is generally best in April and May when the land is dry and bare. December and January can get cold in the north and fog tends to linger in the morning.