How to describe India? A profusion of colour, chaos, sights, sounds and smells that will assault every sense on every level. Such a rich cultural heritage spans several centuries and takes it influences from its many rulers: Rajput, Mughal. English and Portuguese layered with multiple religions, traditional beliefs and customs, music, dance, architecture and food all combined to make a destination unlike any other. If you want to immerse yourself in local culture, travel in luxury staying in outrageously opulent palaces, drive deep into a national Park in search of the Tiger, or enjoy a serene cruise through the Backwaters of Kerala on a converted rice barge, World Journeys can tailor the perfect Indian experience for you.
• Old Delhi
• The Taj Mahal
The best time to visit India is November to April when the weather is most comfortable. There is also a plethora of festivals during this time to add to your travelling experience. The summer can be oppressive, hot and humid making sightseeing difficult in most places with the possible exception of the highlands.
India had featured in my personal top ten places to visit ever since I was a child. I blame Rudyard Kipling of course – he painted glorious kaleidoscopic pictures in my mind of thick jungles, soaring palaces and beautiful people with shining eyes and wide smiles, adorned in shimmering saris every colour of the rainbow. I was therefore beside myself when I finally had the opportunity to experience it all for myself. The reality of this huge and populous country both delighted and overwhelmed me but thanks to Mr Kipling, I was seriously predisposed to fall in love with the whole experience. From the chaotic markets in Delhi to the inevitable traffic jam as we waited for a sacred cow to cross the road, from the ethereal play of light across the Taj Mahal at sunrise to the collision of colour, scent and sound of local bazaars, India never failed to impress me. We were lucky to travel through India in the lap of luxury staying in palace accommodation which made the journey particularly enjoyable. Many were private homes of India’s Maharajahs, the Rambagh Palace in particular was home to generations of royals for nearly two centuries before becoming the residence of the Maharajah of Jaipur from 1925 to 1957. The Rambagh Palace is feted as a jewel in the crown of all authentic Indian palaces and has rightfully earned its place amongst the most luxurious properties in the world. After a memorable week exploring Rajasthan’s Golden Triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur we headed south to Kochi (Cochin) and I felt like I had arrived into a different country! As I wandered barefoot along a beautiful beach with palm trees swaying gently in a soft sea breeze I reflected on the differences to North India. A slower pace of life in the tropical warmth is evident; men wearing loosely wrapped sarongs called mundu’s and women in their ever-vibrant saris laugh and chat as they shop or wander through the market. Cochin’s famed Chinese fishing nets line the water’s edge and rock gently backwards and forwards like oversized ‘praying mantis’. The fishermen are only too happy to give you a lesson in the primordial art of fishing and will also try to sell you some fish or lobster ‘very cheap’. I was completely fascinated by the South’s laid back way of life – the locals are so friendly and the beach resorts relaxing and full of charm! If you want a healthy, rejuvenating holiday away from it all, with a bit of yoga on the beach, followed by an Ayurvedic treatment and a delicious seafood dinner then Southern India is most definitely for you! Kate
Currency India Rupee (INR), 100 paise = 1 INR
Language India has a number of official languages including: Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali, Kashmiri, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Telugu – and English is widely spoken
Why we love it India has so many faces it really does have something for every traveller. The extravagance of the Maharajahs combined with the complex tapestry of its colonial past has resulted in some truly glorious architecture with huge aesthetic appeal – all begging to be explored. You can almost see shy eyes peeping out from behind latticed windows in the Palace of the Winds in Jaipur, soak in the tangible feelings of devotion in every inch of the Taj Mahal and wonder at the surreal angles and planes of the Jantar Mantar Observatory. It is easy to step back in time by joining a kettuvallam cruise on peaceful Kerala backwaters or leap into the future in the mighty metropolis of Mumbai. Explore the origins of yoga and Ayurveda or pull on your boots as you search for the elusive tiger in any one of a number of national parks throughout the country. Foodies will be well content a range of culinary experiences and of course trainspotters will delight in the 65,000 kms of railway of one of the largest rail systems in the world. India – what’s not to love?
Weather The most comfortable months for travellers over most of the country are October to March. The cooler hill stations are delightful through the early summer months of April – June. India is generally very hot and humid through the main summer months of July – September.
Social customs & quirks The Indians are a very warm, generous and hospitable race. They are also quite curious so expect to be asked lots of questions about yourself! If entering an Indian’s home, please remember to remove your shoes and appreciate that religious beliefs may well dictate certain behaviours. If you adopt a modest approach to your dress, speech and actions you will pretty much guarantee no major social gaffes.
Festivals & events India is renowned for its festivals and celebrations – each one a vibrant and colourful occasion. It should be possible to enjoy at least one festival during your time in India, regardless of the month! Diwali and the Pushkar Camel Fair are two of the most famous festivals celebrated in November each year. National holidays include Independence Day on August 15th and Ghandi’s birthday on October 2nd.
Health* Currently no compulsory health requirements to visit India
Notes *Please be aware that Health information is subject to change at any time and you should always double check these requirements at the time of booking and before travel.