We defy any traveller not to be enthralled by the diversity of the Indian Subcontinent. Holidays to the Indian Subcontinent promise to ignite the senses with ever-changing scenery and fascinating heritage to be found amongst sprawling metropolises, desert plains, rolling hills and lush jungles.
Gastronomes can treat the tastebuds with the countless expertly-spiced dishes on offer throughout the Indian Subcontinent, each uniquely infused with local flavours. Wildlife enthusiasts will delight in exploring India’s National Parks in search of tigers and other spectacular wildlife including sambar deer, sloth bears and leopards.
India is home to many well-known festivals and celebrations, including Diwali; the festival of lights, and Holi, known as the festival of colour owing to the coloured powders thrown during the event.
The most popular area to explore for first-time visitors to India is the Golden Triangle that begins with taking in the Red Fort and Jama Masijd mosque in Delhi. Agra is the second location, to admire 16th century Agra Fort and visit the majestic Taj Mahal at sunrise before the crowds arrive. The final point is the pink city of Jaipur, home to the beautiful Amber Fort.
Northern India possesses a rich cultural heritage, with aforementioned Agra and the blue city of Jodphur, known as such due its large numbers of blue-washed houses. Varanasi, on the banks of the sacred Ganges River, is considered to be a place of salvation and enlightenment, whilst the lake city of Udaipur and is one of the most romantic and picturesque places in the whole of India. The region of Rajasthan is a spectacular region boasting an endless number of forts and palaces, along with atmospheric towns and incredible desert scenery.
For a change of pace, head to Kerala in the tropical south. Experience the tranquillity of the backwaters with a cruise on board a traditional rice barge and witness traditional rural life. Explore the old spice warehouses and churches of capital Kochi before unwinding under a coconut tree on the palm-fringed beaches. Goa is India’s smallest state and is another ideal location for a beach break at the end of a tour, with long stretches of inviting sand and interesting architecture.
Gujarat offers an off-the-beaten-track holiday experience with its colourful villages, vibrant bazaars, embroidered handicrafts around every corner, and opportunities for wildlife-spotting in Sasan Gir National Park; home to over 300 Asiatic lions. Shimla, in the Himalayan foothills, provides a cool retreat from the heat and was once the summer capital of ‘British India’.
The Himalayan republic of Nepal is nestled between the mountains and the plains of north east India. Diverse landscapes from snow-capped mountains to dense jungles, dotted with ancient temples and beautiful stupas, offer dramatic scenery sure to captivate even the most seasoned of traveller. Scenic walks through the Annapurna region, where luxury lodges staffed by the Gurkhas provide a fascinating cultural experience and guided treks to Mount Everest through Sherpa villages and past ancient Buddhist monasteries are also available. Alternatively, let a gentle giant take the strain and jump on elephant back to ride through Chitwan National Park, where elusive tigers and the endangered one-horn rhinos roam.
The Dragon Kingdom of Bhutan is a remote country that has only recently opened its arms to tourists. Here incredible monuments and fascinating culture wait to amaze visitors amongst spectacular mountain scenery. One of the most iconic sights is Tiger’s Nest overlooking the lush Paro Valley. Buddhism is embraced in every element Bhutanese life and is valued far more than material goods . Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, is well worth a visit for a wander around the medieval streets and to experience the bustling markets.