The Indian sub-continent can be somewhat daunting to those who haven’t yet visited. Apart from anything, India’s a large country. Climatically and culturally diverse, it’s a good idea to have a broad knowledge of the country to ensure that you enjoy the best bits. Whether you’re more partial to a houseboat cruise through the backwaters of Kerala, spotting the country’s unique wildlife or taking a highland holiday in the majestic Himalayas, here’s a guide to making the most of your trip to the exotic land of India and the tours that will suit you best.
The Golden Triangle
Many group tours in India tend to stick to the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra and Jaipur) in the north-east of the country, combining one or more other important regions along the way. If you’ve never been to India before and you’re looking for a great introduction to the country, this region is ideal. The Golden Triangle is where you’ll see sites like the world-famous Taj Mahal (Agra), soak up the atmosphere of the nation’s capital Delhi, and see the legendary pink city of Jaipur. Some of the best tours in the Golden Triangle and beyond include the Taj Express, Taj & Raj and Golden Triangle and Goa: a little something different for those who want to get in a bit of beach time!
The Highway to the Himalayas also takes in the popular Golden Triangle, but then heads to holy Varanasi before taking on the Himalayas. The highest mountain range in the world offers spectacular scenery as well as a unique convergence of culture and history, making it one of the most rewarding places to visit in India. This particular tour carries on through to Kathmandu, Nepal, making it an excellent choice for anyone with an interest in the Himalayas. This is one tour that’s on my to-do list!
Rajasthan is the largest state in India and also home to the Thar Desert. Its capital, Jaipur, is an architecturally flamboyant city often referred to as ‘The Pink City.’ Visit the City Palace, the Amber Fort and Jantar Mantar, a medieval astronomical observatory. You can also take a balloon ride over the city! Check out Passage to India, which gives you the option of exploring Rajasthan before finishing off in Mumbai – perfect if you want to combine a little of the south of India.
Kerala is a tropical region of hill stations, tea plantations and beautiful waterways. The houseboat is the preferred mode of transport on Kerala’s backwaters. Spend a night or two on a traditional rice boat as it glides along the palm-fringed waterways. There’s a reason they call this ‘God’s own country.’ Try it out yourself with ‘Captivating Kerala.’
There aren’t many places where the famous Bengal Tiger can still be glimpsed in the wild, but India’s 25 tiger reserves make it somewhat easier to track this majestic animal and have a close-up encounter of your own. As it’s an endangered species and the size of the tiger reserves varies (as does the tiger population) sightings aren’t guaranteed, but Bandhavgarh, Ranthambhore and Kanha National Park are prime tiger conservation areas offering the best opportunities for a sighting. Check out Ranthambore to Kanha or Shere Khan.
Looking for a party? We’ve got a handle on the best festivals on the sub-continent, including Diwali, the Pushkar Camel Fair and Hemis Festival up north in Laddakh. For a full list of festivals that you can enjoy, take a look at our India festivals section.
India’s a fascinating country, and a group tour is probably the best way to see a great deal and do so with ease. But if you’ve got a special itinerary up your sleeve, don’t forget that you can put your very own schedule together with our Tailor Made department. Take a look at our site for more information on the tours we offer and if you’d like to get in touch directly.