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Traditional henna designs, India

Things to do in India

Perhaps the most vivid nation on Earth, India effortlessly combines a spectrum of things to see and do, from its mountainous tea plantations to its laid-back beaches via holy cities and architectural wonders.

Kerala is a land of swaying palms, sprawling forests, spice plantations and languid waters, and you can explore its backwaters on a traditional houseboat. A safari in one of the national parks allows you to discover India's wildlife, including tigers, while in the cities you can experience India’s urban and cultural highlights. Visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise to avoid the swell, and in Varanasi watch the sacred evening Aarti ceremony from the river.

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Audley Travel Specialist Tara

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Ideas for experiencing India

Experiences you have as you travel often hold the longest memories. As part of their research trips, our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know India, and the best local guides. These activities reflect some of their best-loved experiences.

  • Calcutta street food

    Food and photography in Calcutta

    Calcutta

    Calcutta is a melting pot of cultures, people and history. One of the best ways to really appreciate this is to eat your way through the range of food on offer and take lots of photos along the way.

  • Indian sweets for sale in Amber village

    Evening bazaar, crafts and cuisine in Jaipur

    Jaipur

    Jaipur is widely considered by many as the craft capital of India. You will see busy craftsman in their workshops on this guided walk, sample culinary delights and mingle with the locals.

  • Chinese fishing net, Cochin

    Cochin City Tour

    Cochin

    The tour of Fort Cochin will include Mattancherry Palace, the Jewish Synagogue, St Francis Church, and the Chinese fishing nets. If time permits also visit the Dutch Cemetery, Santa Cruz Basilica and enjoy a walk around Jew Town.

  • Keralan Houseboats / Rice barges, Alleppey

    Keralan Houseboat/Rice Barge

    Locally known as 'kettuvallam', these craft have been converted into simple, furnished houseboats with en-suite bedrooms, an open lounge and eating area, a deck and kitchenette.

  • Flower, The Spice Gardens, Thekkady

    Spice Plantation

    Thekkady & Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

    Driving just a few kilometres from the village of Kumily, you will come to the spice plantations. Owned and cared for by the local villagers, the plots are generally around two acres.

  • Sheyelyon Ki Bari Gardens, Udaipur

    Udaipur City Tour

    Udaipur

    The city palace, overlooking Lake Pichola and the Lake Palace, is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan and houses a thoroughly impressive range of interior decoration, as well as a section on royal paraphernalia, toys and miniatures.

  • Elephanta Island, Mumbai

    Elephanta Island & Bombay City Tour

    Mumbai (Bombay)

    You take the launch from the Gateway of India to the caves on Elephanta island, which date from around the 7th century. During the previous few centuries the Gupta empire had been at its height, literature and the arts had flourished and it is thought that the initial impetus for the creation of the caves was derived from this.

  • Chettinad Palace, Chettinad

    Chettinad Mansions Tour

    Chettinad

    The Chettinad region is fascinating - legend has it that the Chettiars were pivotal in the Chola Empire, dominating coastal business as gem dealers, salt merchants and chandlers.

  • Female tiger and her cubs, Ranthambhore National Park

    Game Drives in Ranthambhore

    Ranthambhore National Park

    Despite being a relatively small park Ranthambhore has a rich diversity of fauna and flora. In addition to the tiger, the park is a good place to see various deer including spotted deer, barking deer and Chinkara or Indian gazelles as well as a wide variety of birdlife.

  • Sunrise on Mount Kanchenjunga

    Tiger Hill Scenic Walk

    Darjeeling

    An early start is recommended for the visit to Tiger Hill, situated around 11km from Darjeeling. This scenic walk takes around two hours.

  • Religious sculptures on Potters Lane, Calcutta

    Calcutta Walking Tour

    Calcutta

    Calcutta Walks is a company run by three young men who love Calcutta and are keen to introduce others to the heart of the city that the tourist doesn't usually see.

  • Dried chillies at a market stall

    Evening cookery demonstration in Jodphur

    Jodhpur

    Experience a typical Rajasthani meal with a local family in their home. You will be able to get involved and will be given the recipe to take away with you.

  • Himalayas, Darjeeling, India

    Tea Plantation Visit

    Darjeeling

    The stunning scenery of the Himalayan foothills can be experienced by walking through some of the many tea plantations, where you can often see the tea-pickers hard at work delicately removing "two leaves and a bud" to create the best quality tea.

  • Sarchu, trekking ponies, Manali to Leh Road

    Explore Around Leh

    Leh

    Immerse yourself in the mountainous scenery of Leh and explore the gompas (Buddhist fortifications) statues and palaces that characterise this special area.

  • Bangles being made out of lac at Maniharon ka Rasta

    The Old Bazaars of Jaipur

    Jaipur

    You will be able to see craftsman working on some fine forms of local art like Zardozi embroidery, Gota work, Kinari, silver ornament work, and precious and semi-precious stonework, all taking place in these old bazaars of Jaipur.

  • Sunset over the Ganges, Varanasi

    Evening Boatride to the Ghats

    Varanasi

    In the early evening the ghats (or bathing steps) come alive once more as hundreds of pilgrims return for evening worship. Young priests from nearby ashrams perform their daily rituals looking out to the sacred Ganga, whilst conch shells and bells create a cacophony of sound.

  • Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

    Discover Amritsar

    Amritsar

    Explore Amritsar, Sikhism’s holiest city. Meaning 'Pool of the Nectar of Immortality', it is justly famed for its Golden Temple, a sacred shrine gilded with 100 kilograms of gold.

  • Nandi Bull, Chamundi Hill, Mysore

    Around Mysore

    Mysore

    One of the principal sights of Mysore is the City Palace, which is not only impressively large, but also a fantasy of eclectic styles.

  • Cooking lesson

    Mopillah Cooking Lesson

    Tellicherry

    Your lesson will begin with a visit to the local fish market, held twice daily in Tellicherry. There is a huge range of seafood caught here and you are sure to find some tasty ingredients.

  • Jama Masjid, Delhi

    Old Delhi City Tour

    Delhi

    Your guide will take you on a cycle rickshaw through the Chandni Chowk Bazaar area. This allows you to visit the narrow winding alleys lined with shops selling all manner of items.

  • Toy Train to Shimla

    Shimla Toy Train

    Shimla

    To appreciate the best views provided by the lofty train ride on the historic metre gauge line, you will catch the train from Shimla to Kandaghat station where you will be met by your driver.

  • Basket Weaving, Palakkad

    Explore Palakkad

    Palakkad

    Palakkad is an excellent place to experience the village life of Kerala. Travelling through the area as the local people do, by bicycle or on foot, you will stop to learn about rice planting, the skills of the potter or basket weaver, find out how to tap toddy - and perhaps even sample some of this local coconut brew!

  • Sunrise at the Taj Mahal, Agra

    Taj Mahal at Sunrise

    Agra

    The principal reason for almost everyone's visit to Agra is to see the Taj Mahal, and its legendary beauty continues to attract more visitors than virtually anywhere in India.

  • Train, Ooty to Mettupalayam

    Blue Mountain Railway to Coonoor

    Ooty

    The famous Blue Mountain Railway which was built by Nilgiri citizens and finished in 1898, is one of the oldest and steepest operating rack and pinion system. Ten years later the link to Ooty was completed.