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India Travel Guide

A journey to India can most certainly be defined as a life-changing experience. Existing as a destination that will leave you awestruck or enlightened, and maybe even shocked at some points, this bizarre place must really be seen to be believed. Explore majestic temples, treat your eyes to architectural feats and consume as many local dishes as your taste buds can handle. 

The Highlights

  • Hampi

    Hampi is one of the most incredible places to visit in the Karnataka region. Surrounded by masses of rock formations and Jurassic Park-style boulders as far as the eye can see, the ancient city of Hampi can be explored on foot, or on a bike. Within the ancient city, there are a number of strikingly beautiful monuments, temples and palaces to please the eyes. 

  • Agra

    Do we even need to introduce Agra? Home to three of India’s most beautiful icons; the great Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort, every year the city lures thousands of visitors who come to witness the remnants of the Mughal era at every corner. To further yourself into the cultural depths of Agra, make time to visit the Kinari Bazar where locals sell everything you could possibly imagine. 

  • Varanasi

    Varanasi epitomises everything that makes India so special; from it’s great spiritual traditions to its vibrant landscapes, an Indian exploration remains incomplete without a sojourn to the northern parts of this country. As the holiest of cities, Varanasi is where pilgrims come to cleanse their sins in the Ganges River or on the other end of the spectrum – to cremate their loved ones. 

  • Goa

    As breathtaking as India can be, you might just need a break from the frenzied cities. Enjoy some time to yourself in Goa at the beaches of Anjuna, Palolem and Patnem. Aside from the beaches, you can also take in the traces of Portuguese colonial architecture visiting the many cathedrals and churches.

  • New Delhi

    New Delhi itself is a true icon of India, and the bustling capital makes for one of the most exciting destinations in the country. Teeming with overflowing bazaars, street food to fill your heart’s desire and heritage monuments standing tall are there to remind you of it’s rich and diverse past. If you want to travel back in time, jump to Old Delhi, then back into New Delhi, and then repeat.

  • Jaipur

    Jaipur tucked away in Rajasthan, is filled with glorious sights and together with Agra and Delhi, the three cities form what many visitors know as the ‘Golden Triangle’. Commonly referred to as the ‘Pink City,’ it was said to have been painted this colour in order to welcome royals from neighbouring areas. Here you will find many aesthetically-pleasing temples, monuments and Rajput forts. 

The Basics

When to Visit

when to visit
  1. Peak Season

    December to March

    Over the peak months (from December through March) visitors will enjoy pleasant temperatures without the searing heat in the middle of the year and cool evenings for a reprieve from the sun.  Keep in mind that India is a gigantic country, and the weather will vary greatly between the north and south. Over the peak season, prices will be high however you will also be treated to a number of festivals. From Carnival in Goa through February, to Taj Mahotsav in Agra (a ten-day cultural and arts festival) to, of course, the Hindu Holi Festival in March will show much to impress visitors.

  2. Low Season

    April to June

    A note to all travellers: do not travel in India during this time if you do not fare well in the heat. The temperatures will be at their highest which can make visiting outdoor temples and monuments quite exhausting. In addition to the rising temperatures, it will is likely to be raining in most parts of the country with monsoon season well and truly in full swing. If you’re hoping for a break to escape the rain, a visit to Ladakh would be ideal. Travellers should also note that Ramadan will take place during May (timing will vary each year) and you might want to plan your travels accordingly as this involves daily fasting. 

India Tours

  • Visit Responsibly

    Travelling responsibly means respecting the communities, culture and environment of the places you visit. Keep these tips in mind when travelling to India:

    Go green. Be environmentally conscious on the road by taking short showers; turning off the lights in your hotel room when you leave; and resisting the urge to collect any plants, seashells, or other natural flora.

    Respect cultural differences. Before travelling, read about the local culture and customs – even just knowing the dress code and a few basic phrases in the local language will go a long way.

    Support local businesses. Enjoy a more authentic experience and directly support the local economy by travelling with a local guide, eating in local restaurants, buying from local artisans, and staying in locally-owned and operated accommodations.

    Wherever possible, avoid single-use plastics. Pack reusable items such as your own shopping bags, utensils, a water bottle, and a straw. These items are typically lightweight and compact, and will greatly reduce your consumption of plastics.

    Be conscious of overtourism. Opt to visit the lesser-known regions of India or travel outside the peak season – you'll likely even get a better deal and won't have all the crowds!
  • Sustainable Tourism in India

    Ecotourism in India
    Now a thriving industry in India, ecotourism has helped preserve the resplendent natural beauty of this country. India boasts a biological park, wildlife sanctuaries, various zoos, tea plantations, vast mountains, and lush forests. A few popular ecotourism activities include hiking, cycling, observing wildlife, and staying in local homestays.

    The Green India Awards
    Organised by the Green Society of India (GSI), the Green India Awards are held annually to celebrate India’s Green Champions. Anyone striving to create a more sustainable model of eco-friendly living may qualify for this award. This includes individuals, all types of corporations both big and small, and NGOs. The winners of the prestigious award then have the opportunity to serve as role models for others.

    India’s Eco-Hotels
    World famous for its eco hotels in India, the ITC Hotels group offers luxurious accommodations that are harmonious with the environment. In fact, ITC boasts the largest LEED Platinum certified hotel in the world, the ITC Grand Chola. In addition to using sustainable materials during its construction, this fantastic hotel employs wind farms to provide electricity and solar energy for the majority of its hot water.
     

FAQs about India

  • Do you tip in India?

    Tipping is not compulsory in India, however, it will always be appreciated if you round up your bill and leave a few extra rupees. Avoid handing out sweets or money to small children as it encourages begging. 
  • What is the internet access like?

    Internet connection can range in quality, but you should have no problem with day-to-day tasks like emailing or surfing the web while in India.  WiFi is available in many cafes, hostels and hotels for free, but outside urban areas, this is not as common.
  • Is the tap water safe to drink?

    No. Buy bottled water, or you can boil the tap water or use water purification pills.
  • Can I use my credit cards?

    Yes, credit cards are widely accepted throughout India but it's always good to carry a modest amount of cash at all times. Please check with your bank about any foreign transaction charges.
  • What are the public holidays?

    There are many public holidays celebrated in India based on the Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian celebrations that can vary between regions. National public holidays include Republic Day on January 26, Independence Day on August 15 and Mahatma Gandhi's birthday on October 2. 
  • What are the toilets like?

    Be aware that many Indian toilets are squat toilets. There are not many public restrooms outside restaurants and transportation terminals, and sometimes you may be charged to use one. It is a good idea to carry around spare toilet paper.
  • Is it safe to travel solo in India?

    There is no doubt that travellers can safely travel through India solo, but you do need to make sure some extra precautions are taken. Take note of local emergency numbers, carry a portable charger, buy a local sim-card and avoid unfamiliar neighbourhoods to stay safe in India.
  • Is it safe for female travellers in India?

    Of course, females can travel solo, however, there is an even greater need to take caution while travelling through India can be overwhelming at times. If you’re uncertain about a solo venture, you might want to think about joining a group tour for peace of mind.
A TRAVEL MAGAZINE BY TOURRADAR