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India

Open yourself to artistic heritage and magnificent landscapes and culinary delights!

How do you discover a country whose civilisation spans 5,000 years of history yet matches pace with 21st-century progress? How do you explore and understand a nation of such complex, astounding diversity – linguistic, religious, geographical, cultural, artistic, and culinary – where to journey even a short distance is enough to experience a whole new spirit and quality? How do you evoke the quintessence of a land whose vitality comes from ancient myths, enduring legends, and time-honoured traditions? How do you describe India?

The answer is to embark on an extraordinary journey that you must take – to see, to listen, to taste, to savour, to smell, to touch, to feel…to remember and cherish – to experience a country that has no equal in the world. Here is a tropical subcontinent, an enchanting land that will throw open its doors and reveal the assorted treasures of its glorious heritage, architecture, art, music, dance, festivals, customs, attire, cuisines, and peoples to you – layer by secret layer.

The majestic snow-capped Himalayas form a natural barrier in the north and northeast while the beautiful warm seas of the Indian Ocean curve around the peninsular south, ensuring that India’s geographical boundaries are well-defined. India’s South Asian neighbours include Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, and Myanmar. The country also shares borders with China high in the northeast. The archipelago that sits as a cluster of emeralds in the Bay of Bengal on India’s east is the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. In the west lie the Lakshadweep Islands, in the Arabian Sea.

Rainforests, jungles, hills, mountain ranges, glaciers, deserts, valleys, plateaus, caves, coral reefs, waterfalls, lakes, beaches, coastlines, seas, islands, rivers and fertile plains, mangroves, wildlife and bird sanctuaries that are home to some of the world’s most rare and endangered species, and biosphere reserves; summer, monsoon, autumn, winter, and spring – India has nearly every type of terrain and climate making its bio-diversity unparalleled in the world.

Set against this great natural beauty are exquisitely carved temples and sculptures, colossal fortresses, grand palaces, deep stepwells, stunning mosques, mausoleums, and monuments, prehistoric ruins, serene monasteries, beautiful churches, and remarkable archaeological sites – standing testament to how India’s many different histories and legacies have seamlessly come together to form a marvellous tapestry.

India has been home to many dynasties and empires – from the mighty Mughal emperors to elegant Nawabs to the valourous Rajputs to the splendid Maharajas to finally the European colonial rulers – who have given it the finest traditions of not only luxurious living but also superb architecture and craftsmanship, and the finest calibre of classical art, music, dance, theatre, and literature. India is also the birthplace of the holistic healing tradition of Ayurveda and the practice of Yoga.

India’s villages and its tribal regions – where the real India lives – are steeped in beautiful folklore, dance, music, and indigenous craft, imparted by skilled artisan communities. Rural tourism is a wonderful way of enriching a traveller’s India experience – with organic farm visits, homestays, cultural performances, plantation tours, and village tours – blending tradition and comfort.

You can look forward to a marvellous food fiesta when you are here and visit places which represent examples of the finest in local flavours. The astonishing variety of outstanding cuisines you can sample and the overall food experience in India are aspects that are seldom truly captured by Indian restaurants anywhere else in the world.

If you love adventure, the great outdoors, or even the offbeat, India’s extraordinary land and seascapes offer some outstanding activities – from extreme mountain climbing to thrilling whitewater rafting on ferocious rivers; from surfing, snorkelling and diving in the seas to sky-diving; from wildlife, desert or high-altitude road safaris to cycling, motor biking, camel or horseback riding – that not only enhance your experience but also give you the chance to see local communities and cultures up close.

Come calling on India. Come take the first step with us. Welcome to India!

 

Best Time to Visit India


Overview

From the Taj Mahal to the forts and palaces of Rajasthan, to the beaches of Goa, to the backwaters of Kerala, to the highland areas of Western India, to the plantations of Darjeeling, to the mighty Himalayas, to the tigers in Central India, to the temple heritage of Central and South India, to the Buddhist heritage areas of North India and Himalayas, to scuba diving in Andamans, India is a complex country with 22 official languages, divided into 30 states based on language and cultural lines. While traversing India, one can expect authenticity and a wholesome set of crafts, culture, cuisine and heritage experiences alongwith superb hotels and hospitality. Travelling across India can hardly be considered seamless and that’s where the real ubiquity of India lies, with a distinctly unique panorama unfolding with every state and every destination.

Major Festivals of India

India is the land of festivals. Apart from the Cattle Fair that happens only in India, the festival of colours -Holi and the festival of lights – Diwali are two major festivals that are very popular amongst all tourists. With cultural diversity in every region and every state, there are a lot of festivals throughout the year.

Seasons and Weather of India

India is a 365 days destination with all 4 seasons across regions. The temperature can vary from minus 40 to plus 40 degrees centigrade between and within regions.

Best Time to Visit Central India

October -May is the season to travel for wildlife areas of Central India, renowned for their tiger sightings. April and May are hot with temperatures reaching mid-40 degree Celsius, however it is also considered the best season for tiger photography.

Best Time to Visit Northern India

Winter (October -March) is the best time to visit princely Rajasthan (the cities of Jaipur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, etc), Punjab (Amritsar), Uttar Pradesh (Agra, Varanasi) and the capital of India, Delhi. Summer here is very hot with temperatures going above 40 degrees Celsius in the plains. October -December and March -May are good months for the Himalayan destinations of Dalhousie, Dharamsala, Shimla and Manali (it can snow in January and February). For the remote Himalayan regions of Ladakh and Spiti Valley, June-September are the best months as mountain passes open up during this time. The shadow regions of Sangla Valley, Banjar Valleys are good to travel from April-October.

For birding and wildlife areas of Uttarakhand (Corbett, Binsar, Sattal), October – May is the best time barring January, (even February and March for higher areas) when it can be too cold.

Best Time to Visit Western India

October – April are the best months to visit this region. This is the coastal part of the country including the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa. These are drier months with calmer oceans and temperatures ranging between 20 and 35 degrees centigrade during day and night. April and May are normally hot with temperatures touching 40 degreeCelsius during the day in inland areas and mid-thirties in coastal areas (with a lot of humidity). June to September are monsoon months and when highland / hill station areas of Western India come alive with green carpet like character and many spontaneous waterfalls.

Best Time to Visit South India

Coastal areas of South India, are good to travel all through the year with temperatures rarely reaching mid-30 degrees Celsius. For highland areas of South India, October to May is the best season with only hill stations of Ooty and Kodaikanal getting very cold in January. For heritage circuit of Karnataka (Hampi, Mysore), October to March is definitely the best time, as Hampi gets really hot during summer (can touch mid-40 degree Celsius).

Best Time to Visit East India

October -March is the best season for coastal areas of Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar and Puri and the birding haven of Sunderban National Park. October to May is good for Highland and Himalayan areas of the East such as Darjeeling and Sikkim with October to March being the best season for Himalayan Views (even though it may snow in Darjeeling in January & February). The remote North Sikkim areas are better visited during October & November and March-May.

Highland and wildlife areas of North East India (Assam, Meghalaya) are best visited during November to April. This is the driest season and parks are open for safaris. Remote Himalayan destinations or Arunachal Pradesh have a limited window for a visit during March-April and October &November. During other months it could be too rainy (May-September) or too cold (December – February).

 

India Travel Advice

Visa

As per Indian immigration laws, all foreign nationals are required to hold a passport valid for the next 6 months from the date of arrival in India and a valid visa issued by an Indian Mission or Post located in home location.

The visa process has been simplified by introducing e-Visa facility where an individual can apply for obtaining the visa online. Please refer to https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/.

Tipping

Tipping is not mandatory but a general norm as prevalent in most other countries, as a sign of good service.

Tour Guides, Drivers, Hotel bellboys, etc. do expect tips. We recommend around 100 for hotel service personnel/porters and Rs. 300-500 per day for drivers and guides. No tip is payable at restaurants that levy a”Service Charge” ranging between 5% to 10%.

Currency and Currency Exchange

The official currency is Indian Rupee (symbol). Currency notes are available in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 2000. Coins are in denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 10.

The country has a well-established banking system with 24-hour ATMs available in most locations, except in remote areas like hills and villages. Home currency can be exchanged easily with money changers available at all airports, train stations and places of tourist interests, hotels etc. Larger notes can be difficult to change outside big cities. We advise you to look for authorised money changers offering best rates.

Health Advisory & Travel Insurance

India is the size of a continent with a tropical climate in general. However, climatic conditions vary from region to region, state to state and location to location, which can sometimes can result in minor infections.

We recommend some precautions for a favourable stay:

  • Drink only bottled water that is easily available everywhere
  • Avoid roadside food kiosks

In case you ever need any medical assistance then most tourist destinations have world-class medical facilities and practitioners. We recommend visiting hospitals, nursing homes or polyclinics. Travel Insurance is a must as medical treatment can be expensive.

Cultural Etiquette

India has a very diverse and rich cultural heritage. Guests are equated to God (“Atithi Devo Bhavah”). Barring religious places (where one must be modestly dressed), there are no specific restrictions in terms of dressing. The only word of caution is that the clothes should be formal/semi-formal/smart casuals.

A common gesture used for greeting is “Namaste” (said with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms joinedwith fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest) meaning“I bow to the God within you”. “Hello” is also a commonly used greeting.

Public Transport

Metro transport systems are available in major cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Cochin and some are under construction. These can be used for easy and quick navigation within a city.

Uber and Ola are popular radio cab providers available in most cities.

City Buses are not advisable unless under a proper guidance from a local. Inter-State and long-distance bus travel is not advisable unless accompanied by a local or an experienced India traveller.

Language

India has 22 official languages and hundreds of dialects. However,English(alongwith Hindi) is widely spoken for official and commercial purposes and is understood across the country. Understanding of English by drivers, porters, bellboys may be basic and therefore, use a few words and keep it simple while passing any instruction.

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