A holiday in India is a fascinating experience, so expect to be enchanted by its culture and customs, floating barges on its backwaters, magnificent temples and eating freshly caught fish. Rice paddies, tea and coffee plantations are scattered on the hillsides and the huge mountains ranges are an attraction for climbers who wish for a challenge, whilst sandy beaches provide a welcome relief from the heat.
As you arrive in India you can’t help but notice the densely crowded streets of people scurrying about on foot, motor bikes, cars and carts and in some places the roaming cows, goats and elephants which can induce claustrophobia. In the cities like Delhi, Jaipur and Agra along with its constant noise and its traffic choked roads, you will need to skilfully weave your way through the crammed streets. If however this is not your fancy then a trip to southern India is a more peaceful option as the towns are more spacious and the pace of life more relaxed.
India is known for its classic attractions, the cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur are known as the Golden Triangle because of their cultural splendour. A tour of northern India will surprise you with its tree -lined avenues and low-rise buildings close to the cottage industries providing you with treasures and craft ideal for souvenirs and gifts.
Accommodation in India ranges from splendid luxury hotels to privately run family hotels which vary from villas, to luxury waterside tents or a stay with a family in bungalows on spice and tea plantations.
Your first stop in India will undoubtedly be to Agra’s Taj Mahal an iconic white marble, architectural wonder a tribute by the Shah Jahan to his wife took 22 years to build and has some of the most intricate inlays and elegant domes in perfect symmetry. The Agra Fort made of red sandstone and a moat will captivate you with its picture perfect Pearl Mosque.
A boat trip at dawn or dusk to The Ganges, Varanasi is where many a historic event of life and death is laid bare. Thousands of mourners bring their dead on biers to the river to burn them on the burning terraces above the river. Here you will witness thousands of pilgrims who come to bathe in the waters as they believe a healing will occur despite its filthy appearance. You will also s many come for life changing predictions from the astrologers and palmists who line the ghats- steps down into the water.
The small country side villages of Jaipur offer a refuge from the bustling town and you can enjoy the palace like hotels or stay in luxury tent accommodation by the waters side of the lake in Nimaj.
Jodhpur is worth visiting for the Mehrangarh fort alone, where official guides have an office at the fort entrance and offer good private tours of the old town on foot.
No visit to India is complete without a Hindu temple experience, Tamil Nadu, is a four-hour drive from Munnar and is one of India’s holiest towns. Its Meenakshi Temple is one of the most impressive in the country, with processions and performances of music and an endless stream of pilgrims weaving through pillared halls carved with exquisite figures.
Kerala is a great choice if you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the cities. It has more ordered cities, a slower pace of life and a cleaner environment. Kerala is much greener with lands of rice paddies, coconut groves and hills thickly cloaked in indigenous forest as well as tea and coffee plantations. Families here one of the most literate and earn their incomes from working in the Gulf.
For sight-seeing why not book a stay on a converted rice barge in the ancient trading port of Kochi (Cochin) with its network of inland waterways and canals and pass by coconut plantations and riverside villages clustered around white Catholic churches. Experience the sunset with food and musical entertainment.
Goa offers golden sand beaches, food and music for a relaxing base after days of touring with Leela Beach Resort on Kovalam offering luxury 5 star hotels, whilst a more modest budget opts for the country guesthouse such as Nilaya Hermitage or Fort Tiracol in the north of the state, where the beaches are more peaceful. South Goa is ideal if you want to totally chill out around Velsao, Majorda and Varca, where there are some new resort hotels set in palm-shaded lawns containing large pools.
For adventure lovers why not go by train to Hampi and travel side by side with locals to a village Hampi, a small riverside village boasts some of the best riverside cottages in India. Not far away visit Karnataka’s ruined temples, bazaars and palaces of the 16th-century Kings. It is abundant with rice paddies, shaded by coconut palms and punctuated by boulder hills, with its giant mounds, that glow orange in the afternoon sun.
If you like Bollywood then take a trip to Mumbai a city full of rhythms, great if you want a livelier experience.
Nepal is positioned between Tibet and India and is home to the world’s famous Bengal Tiger and the Indian Rhino, which count amongst some of the world’s endangered species. A holiday to Nepal will captivate you with its enigmatic Mount Everest where hundreds of climbers aim to reach the peaks of the highest mountain on earth.
Kathmandu Valley, Patan and Bhaktapur are hosts to a spectacle of Buddhist shrines, temples in amongst wooden architecture. The most famous in Durbar Square in pagoda style with fifty-five windows and five terraces a majestic temple which overlooks an array of shrines.
In Patan, you can expect to see a bronze collection of temples and shrines a devotion to the beliefs of the Tibetan peoples. Visit the handicraft centre and witness hand weaving of Tibetan carpets and moulds of statues, a perfect place to pick up souvenirs and gifts.
Bhaktapur, also known as the city of the devotees retains a medieval charm and you will be treated to cultural and artistic achievements reflected in the Durbar Square. Pottery weaving and wood carving are its main industries.
However you decide to visit India or the sub-continent, let us help you plan your trip to the Himalayan cities or tour through India, both of which will be sure to have you return to unravel its mysteries