Reasons to Visit
India's central parks are home to a vast range of species - on any game drive you might see spotted and barking deer, sloth bears, Indian gazelle, numerous bird species and of course the majestic tiger. But India can boast a lot more than this - visitors to the Chambal Sanctuary might spot the rare Gangetic dolphin and the elusive Asiatic lion can be found at Sasan Gir.
Whether it's the bright saris and traditional jewellery worn by Indian women, the colourful mounds of spices adorning market stalls, or the soft, pastel pink of a sunset over Agra, every way you turn in India you are confronted by vivid and beautiful colours.
As Brits we are famously fond of a curry, but anyone who has been to India will tell you that traditional Indian food is in many ways very different. The subtle and expertly blended herbs and spices create an incredibly tasty meal and the variation of flavours and ingredients between each region is remarkable.
India has perhaps the greatest diversity of landscape of any country; from the mighty Himalaya range to arid lunar landscapes in Ladakh, forested foothills, tea and spice plantations, deserts, mangrove forests, vast plains, tropical backwaters and remote islands. You won't have to travel far to feel like you are in a completely different world.
From the Mughal forts of Jodhpur and Gwalior to the palaces of Jaipur and Udaipur, there are majestic buildings in every major city. There are also numerous smaller forts and palaces which have been carefully restored, providing an excellent place to stay and experience regal Indian life as it once was.
India is the meeting place of several different world religions. We can suggest the most important places to visit to enjoy the beauty of ancient Buddhist sculptures or marvel at Hindu temples adorned with the pantheon of colourful gods. Our guides will point out the intricacies of mosque design or explain the meaning of a ceremony in a Sikh gurdwara.
Any trip to India should include at least one journey by train. Rail travellers will experience a glimpse of a bygone era, and an overnight journey offers the excitement of waking in your private car to a new and vibrant landscape beyond the window.
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Our country specialists have travelled the length and breadth of India - here are a few of their favourite things to do
With snowcapped Himalayan peaks, emerald green backwaters, verdant jungles and sweeping desert plains, India's diversity enthrals visitors.
A journey to India leaves lasting impressions of an ancient land populated by an eclectic people whose rich history and traditions are still ingrained in daily life.
In the north of the country the deserts and rolling Aravalli hills remain the realm of the Rajputs, whose ancestral forts and palaces dominate the landscape. Away from the plains the rolling foothills, dotted with colonial hill stations, have long provided respite from the summer heat, while beneath the stunning backdrop of the mountain peaks vast tea plantations grow the 'Champagne of the East'.
The centre of India is a mysterious land with cave temples, lost cities, national parks rich in birdlife and healthy tiger populations, and the unique tribal groups of Orissa. To the south, the Keralites maintain a lifestyle seemingly in keeping with the languid pace of the backwater canals, while the towering temples of Tamil Nadu are a vibrant display of colour and devotion.
Throughout India Mughal monuments, elaborate Hindu temples and imposing colonial architecture contrast with a rural patchwork of villages and farms, making this an inspiring, beguiling and unique country to explore
Rajasthan & the North
With shimmering marble domes and towers reflecting in landscaped pools, the Taj Mahal is Agra's highlight and the world's greatest monument to love. Cool and white by moonlight, its elegant façade is at its best glowing pearlescent pink at dawn, but at any time of day this iconic building never fails to take your breath away.
Mumbai, Goa & Central India
Situated in Madhya Pradesh, and accessed by train to Umaria only 45 kilometres away, Bandhavgarh is the smallest of three parks in the region. Covering an area of 105 square kilometres, it is bordered by a small village where the lodges and camps are located.
Calcutta & The East
For centuries the hill station at Darjeeling has provided respite from Calcutta’s fierce summer heat and also the ideal climate for tea planters to cultivate the 'Champagne of the East'. The Raj era estates and bungalows can be seen alongside the more recently arrived Tibetan population.
Many tours will start and finish in Delhi, India's bustling capital. On the surface it is very much a symbol of modern India - contemporary and developing, but scattered throughout the city lie testaments to Delhi's intriguing past. The vast Red Fort and the Jama Masjid Mosque are some of the architectural splendours of northern India.
Although Dharamsala is the better known of these two neighbouring towns, McLeod Ganj is the base for the Tibetan government in exile and their community. The Dalai Lama is often in residence in May and July and may lead prayers at these times.
Jaipur, known as the Pink City because of its brightly-painted stone buildings, is a lively and bustling place founded in 1727. The City Palace houses an excellent, if somewhat eclectic, museum, and the magnificent Amber Palace lies on top of a hill just outside the city.
Kerala & South India
Madurai is a temple town like no other. It is home to the huge Meenakshi Temple, which was built at the same time as the Taj Mahal and is virtually a town in itself.
Mumbai is India’s most cosmopolitan city and its commercial capital, with a progressive and vibrant atmosphere and a wonderful collection of British-built Indo-Saracenic and Gothic architecture.
A large part of Kerala’s considerable charm lies in the Backwaters, a network of canals that lead off Lake Vembanad.
A place of pilgrimage since time immemorial, the holy city of Varanasi is set on the banks of the sacred river Ganges.
8 1/2 hours (New Delhi)
Emirates & Jet Airways
GMT+5 1/2 hours
Read first-hand tips and advice from our travel specialists.
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Further reading:Tours in IndiaRegions of IndiaWhen to GoItinerary IdeasTrain journeys in IndiaPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout IndiaCountry Guides
Other countries in The Indian Subcontinent:BhutanNepalSri LankaThe Maldives
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