India Package Holidays & Tours
"When I first visited India, I was stunned by the richness of the land, by its lush beauty and exotic architecture, by its ability to overload the senses with the pure, concentrated intensity of its colors, smells, tastes, and sounds… I had been seeing the world in black & white and, when brought face-to-face with India, experienced everything re-rendered in brilliant technicolor.”
- Keith Bellows, editor National Geographic
Known as the subcontinent, India shares its borders with Pakistan, China, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar. It is the seventh largest country of the world by area and ranks second on the population chart after China.
India is a diverse country, with differences in geography, weather, ethos, language and civilization across its span. It holds great pride in being the largest democracy on Earth. From tropical forests to deep valleys, from vastly stretched deserts to great water reservoirs, from snowcapped mountains to deltas, the country lets you experience various terrestrial landscapes.
Ruled by many kings and royal dynasties in the past, the history of India still captivates hearts around. There is an excellent blend of tradition, culture and religion which brings in great diversity in the lifestyle. With the culture in India changing dramatically in every state, you get to enjoy varied customs and religious practices, be it the languages, way of dressing or for that matter cuisine. India reflects variation in everything and hence attracts travelers from all around the world. Holidaying in the land of mystic geographical features is simply fascinating and a great delight for all avid travelers.
Interesting facts About India
- There are 23 official languages spoken in India along with more than thousand lesser languages and dialects.
- India’s population comprises of 80% Hindus, 13% Muslims, and rest count for Sikhs, Christians and Jains.
- It is the third largest economy
- The Himalayas in India have nine peaks out of the ten highest peaks of the world.
- Tea cultivation in India dates back to centuries before British started it commercially.
- Most of the world’s IT services are outsourced to India.
“In religion, India is the only millionaire - the One land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for all the shows of all the rest of the globe combined” by Mark Twain
Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all." Will Durant
“If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.” French scholar Romain Rolland
Indian subcontinent has a rich and exciting history that enthralls people from across the globe. This is the reason it is a highly popular tourist destination. When on an Indian tour the following are the landmarks that you shouldn’t miss at any cost.
The Taj Mahal
Your tour to India can never be complete until you visit the monument of love, Taj Mahal, in Agra. The Taj Mahal gets around 4 million tourists every year. It was built in the time period of 1632-1653 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is listed among the famous Wonders of the World and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya
Prince Siddhartha Gautama, Lord Buddha, is claimed to have attained enlightenment at this place in Bodh Gaya. Near the temple, you will find the Mahabodhi Tree which is of prime interest for tourists from all over the world.
Tomb of Humayun
The tomb of Mughal Emperor Humayun in Delhi was commissioned in the year 1562 and was built in eight years. It is one of the major highlights of Mughal architecture in India.
The Beaches of Goa
Goa happens to be among the most visited spots in India. The most prevalent spots to visit here are the beaches, predominantly those situated in North Goa. The beaches of Anjuna, Baga, and Calungute attract maximum tourists and are even appreciated for their world class resorts.
If you have taken a flight to Delhi then you just can’t pass through without visiting the Lotus Temple. Officially known as the Baha’i House of Worship, Lotus Temple has got its pet name owing to its unusual shape that represents lotus petals.
It is the second most visited tourist spot in India. The city of Mysore welcomes nearly 2.7 million visitors every year. The palace opens up for the tourists in September and October when it prepares for the Mysore Dassera festival. During the festival, the palace is decked with approximately 100,000 lights to pay tribute to the Goddess Durga.
Gulmarg in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is best known among tourists for its winter sports. A widespread tourist terminus between December and March, skiing aficionados can pick from one of over 40 hotels in the region.
Situated about six miles from the city of Mumbai, the Elephanta Caves happen to be a group of five Hindu caves and two Buddhist caves that contain tortuously carved stone statues.
Harimandir Sahib or the Golden Temple
More popularly known as the Golden Temple, Harimandir Sahib has its onion shaped dome roof covered in gold. The construction of the temple was completed in 1604
The Mountain Railway
Visit a colonial past when engines ran on steam. In the hot summer months the British retreated to the cooler climes of the hills and these railways were their main means of transport. There is a wide variety of options: Darjeeling and Shimla in the North and Matheran and the Nilgiris in the South.
Indian culture is world’s oldest dating back to nearly 5,000 years. It is a rich and varied country, and all regions have their own distinct cultures.
Language: It has 28 states and seven territories, where each has one official language. National languages are Hindi and English, but there are around 22 official languages and closely 400 living languages spoken in different parts of the country.
Religion: The country is known to be the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism. Hindus form the majority here with 80% occupancy while Muslims are said to be around 13%. Christians and Sikhs form a small percentage of the population, and there are even less Buddhists and Jains.
Food: Indian cuisine boasts of the Arab, Turkish and European impacts. It is known for its large mixture of dishes and its generous use of herbs and spices. Cooking styles also varies from region to region. Food in the country is rich with curries and spices, comprising ginger, cardamom, hot peppers, cinnamon coriander, cardamom, turmeric, etc.
Clothing: Sari is the traditional dress code for women in India. The way of draping a sari again varies from state to state. Men generally wear shirt and trouserss but as you visit varied regions there can be a change in the way the locals dress with the wrap around lungi in the South and the pleasted Dhoti in the Centre and North.
Customs and celebrations: India has innumerous festivals and everything is associated with some or the other ritual or ceremony. Among the national festivals, it celebrates Republic Day on January 26, Independence Day on August 15 and Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday on October 2.
Population: 1.27 billion
Capital City: Delhi
Language: Hindi and English
Currency: Indian Rupee
Major Airports: Indira Gandhi International Airport (New Delhi), Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (Mumbai), Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (Kolkata, West Bengal), Chennai International Airport (Chennai, Tamil Nadu)
Local Transport: Every city and region of India has a wide network of local transports inclusive of rickshaws, taxis, cars, buses, trains etc.
Best Time to Travel: The weather varies dramatically and the travel time must be planned as per the destination state.
Choose your route sensibly
India is a vast place and to enjoy it to the fullest, you must plan your trip considering the places that interest you the most. The Golden Triangle happens to be the most popular of all Indian tours. It begins from Delhi, covers Agra and finally ends at Jaipur. However, more specific interests, you can check the following:
Shopping – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Jaipur
Beaches – Goa, Kerala, Odisha, Karnataka
Trekking - Himachal Pradesh
Tigers - Madhya Pradesh, Maharasthra
Thrill-seekers - Manali
Religious fervour – Varanasi. Thrissur, Bhubaneshwar, Madurai, Goa
Scenic Nature – Kerala, Goa, Sikkim, Himachal, Uttrakhand, Kashmir
As said, it is the second most populous country in the world and therefore you will have to be a bit careful about the crowd on the streets. If you’re look for solace then consider visiting Kerala backwaters or the hill stations of Ladakh.
Stay away from tap water, and refrain from eating street food as it can affect your health badly. You can always look for nice restaurants or eateries for indulging in the Indian delicacies.
When out in the streets, there are chances you will come across pick-pocketing, bargaining and many other sort of scams. It is impossible to avoid them fully but by staying alert will save you a lot of trouble.
These are links that would help you gain more knowledge about travelling to India:
For all health information: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/india
Updates about accommodation and travelling: sadhakagrama.org/srsg-ashram/important-information-for-travel-in-india
If the amazing facts about India have thrilled you then it's time to plan a trip to this exotic land. Check out our fascinating tour packages to India. Choose your desired package and get ready to experience a whole new world by availing cheap airfare to India.
I had attempted to obtain tickets for the Palace on Wheels (POW) from a specialist rail tour company in the United States, only to be informed that the ticket allocation has been exhausted on the date we wanted to travel. I incidentally mentioned this to Andre as part of a broaderPeter Bermingham