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India

INDIA TRAVEL GUIDE

India is an extremely diverse country, with vast differences in geography, climate, culture, language and ethnicity across its expanse, and prides itself on being the largest democracy on Earth and a hub of trade in Southeast Asia. India provides a vast canvass for touring whether it may be cultural, adventure, religious, history, beach or wildlife.

 

India offers a myriad of flavours mingling in the steam of a country coming of age. Teeming with over a billion people who voice over a million concerns in fifteen hundred different languages, India is where people live with variety, thrive on diversity and are too familiar with largeness to let it boggle them.


Travellers and tourists to India may, however, find it daunting. Mud huts and mansions face off across city streets and luxury and limp are inhabitants of the same lane. Just like in the masala box in every Indian kitchen, measures of Calm and Kaam (work) craft the people of India. In this beautiful and bountiful land that is India, events, experiences and sensations heap themselves on the tourist at every step. India will be one of the most stimulating places you’ll ever visit.

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  • Capital: Delhi
  • Currency: Indian Rupee (₹, INR)
  • Area: total: 3,287,263 km²
  • Population: 1,353 billion (2018)
  • Language: Hindi, English and 21 other official languages
  • Religion:79.8% Hindu, 14.2 Islam, 2.3 Christianity, 1.7% Sikhism, 0.7% Buddhist, 0.7% Other religions, 0.4% Jain
  • Electricity: 230V/50Hz, Indian (Old British) and European plugs
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BEST TIME TO VISIT INDIA

India has four main seasons:

  • Winter (December to February) - This is the coldest season in most parts of India, with temperatures ranging from cool to very cold in the northern regions.
  • Summer (March to June) - This is the hottest season in India, with temperatures ranging from hot to very hot. This season is characterized by high humidity, especially in the coastal regions.
  • Monsoon (July to September) - This season is characterized by heavy rainfall and strong winds. Many parts of India receive the majority of their annual rainfall during the monsoon season.
  • Post-monsoon (October to November) - This season marks the end of the monsoon and is characterized by clear skies and mild temperatures. The weather is pleasant and comfortable during this time.

It's worth noting that the seasons can vary depending on the region of the country you are visiting. Some areas might have a more extended monsoon season, while others might have a shorter winter season.

 

The best time to visit India depends on the specific regions you plan to visit and the type of weather you prefer. Generally, the best time to visit is between October and March, when the weather is cooler and more comfortable. However, if you plan to visit the southern parts of India, it is best to visit between November and February, when it is less humid. On the other hand, if you plan to visit the northern parts of India, it is best to visit between April and June, when the weather is warmer.

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INDIA WEATHER SYNOPSIS

India’s climate is influenced by the presence of the Himalayas in the northern part of the country and the Thar Desert in the west. The Himalayan Mountains act as a barrier to winds from Central Asia and China, enabling India’s climate to be warmer than other countries at similar latitudes. The northern part of the country is characterised as a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. The coastal regions of the country, however, experience warmer temperatures with little variation throughout the year and frequent rainfall.

India

SEASONS AT A GLANCE

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

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SNOW SPORT IN INDIA

HIKING & CYCLING IN INDIA

The best time for outdoor activities in India is from October to May when the weather is dry. June and September can also be fine in some regions, but many areas are off limits during July and August due to the wet monsoons.

BEACH OPTIONS IN INDIA

The best time for a beach holiday in India is from October / November to March. These are some great beach destinations: Gokarna in Karnataka, Calangute beach in Goa, Tiny Ganpatipule in Maharashtra, Kovalam in Kerala, Marari Beach in Kerala and Mandarmani beach in East Midnapore.

SURFING IN INDIA

India has surfable waves all year round, with the season for big waves from May to September and excellent conditions for beginners from December to March.

KITESURF IN INDIA

India can have around 250 days of suitable wind per year! The stronger Southwest wind blows from April to September while the North wind blows from December to March. Check out these great kitesurfing spots: Rameswaram Island (Tamil Nadu) Swami's Bay, Manapad Lagoon (Tamil Nadu), Blue Bell Beach Dwarka (Gujarat), and Morjem Beach (Goa).

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TRAVEL SAFETY IN INDIA

Always consider the current safety risk of each destination and do not travel without travel / medical insurance. For the latest travel health notices and recommended precautions click

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Travel Safety

HEALTH RISKS IN INDIA

Be aware of possible health risks in 

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Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.

Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.

Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.

INDIA TRAVEL COSTS

The cost of traveling to India can vary greatly depending on your travel style, the time of year, and the specific regions you plan to visit. Some expenses to consider include transportation, accommodation, food, and activities.

  • Transportation: Internal flights and trains are relatively inexpensive in India, but prices can vary depending on the time of year and how far in advance you book. Bus rides can be even cheaper but can be quite uncomfortable.
  • Accommodation: The cost of accommodation in India can also vary greatly, depending on the type of accommodation you choose. Budget options like hostels and guesthouses can cost as little as $5-$10 per night, while mid-range options like hotels can cost $20-$50 per night. Luxury options like resorts can cost $100 or more per night.
  • Food: Indian cuisine is known for its rich flavors and spices, and it is relatively inexpensive. You can find a variety of street food and local restaurants that offer delicious meals for as little as $2-$5.
  • Activities: The cost of activities in India can vary widely, depending on what you choose to do. Entrance fees to popular tourist sites can range from $1-$5, while more adventurous activities like trekking or safaris can cost $20-$50 per day.

Overall, it is possible to travel to India on a budget of $25 to $50 per day, but you could spend more or less depending on your travel style.

 

Here are some sample costs for traveling to India, based on different travel styles:

  • Budget: On a budget of $25-$30 per day, you can find budget accommodation, eat street food and local restaurants and use local transport (buses and trains) to get around. This will allow you to experience the culture and see many of the major sights, but you might have to sacrifice some comfort.
  • Mid-range: On a budget of $50-$75 per day, you can stay in mid-range hotels, eat at a mix of local restaurants and more upscale places, and use local and internal flights to get around. This will give you a comfortable and enjoyable experience while still allowing you to see many of the major sights.
  • Luxury: On a budget of $100 or more per day, you can stay in luxury hotels and resorts, eat at high-end restaurants, and hire a private driver or guide to get around. This will give you a very comfortable and luxurious experience, but it will be more expensive.

It's worth noting that these are just estimates, and the actual cost of traveling to India will depend on a variety of factors such as the time of year, the specific regions you plan to visit, and the type of accommodation, transportation, and activities you choose.

 

Also, you should consider the cost of tourist visa, travel insurance and any other travel-related costs.

Cost & Spending

INDIA TRAVEL TIPS

Here are some travel tips to keep in mind when planning a trip to India:

  • Be prepared for the heat and humidity. India can be quite hot and humid, especially during the summer months, so make sure to stay hydrated and bring loose, lightweight clothing.
  • Be aware of the cultural differences. India is a diverse country with many different cultures and customs, so it's important to be respectful of the local people and their way of life.
  • Plan ahead. India can be quite chaotic and disorganized, so it's a good idea to plan your itinerary in advance and make sure you have all the necessary information and documents before you arrive.
  • Be flexible. India can be unpredictable, so it's important to be flexible and go with the flow. Expect delays and unexpected events, and try not to let them spoil your trip.
  • Be careful with your valuables. India is a relatively safe country, but it's still a good idea to keep an eye on your valuables, especially in crowded areas.
  • Learn some basic Hindi or local language. Knowing some basic Hindi or local language can make communication easier and help you navigate the country more easily.
  • Try local food. India is famous for its delicious and diverse cuisine, so make sure to try as many local dishes as possible.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings. India can be quite intense, so it's important to be aware of your surroundings and take care of yourself.
  • Be prepared for the traffic. India's traffic can be quite chaotic, so it's important to be prepared for the traffic and take the necessary precautions.
  • Research the place you are planning to visit. Make sure you know about the customs, culture, and any taboo or rules in the place you are planning to visit, this will help you navigate and respect the local community.
Travel Tips

SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF INDIA

India is a large and diverse country with many different regions, each with its own unique culture, history, and attractions. Here are some of the main regions of India and the highlights of each:

  • North India: This region includes the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi. The highlights of this region include the famous Taj Mahal in Agra, the forts and palaces of Rajasthan, the Himalayan mountain range, and the sacred Ganges River in Varanasi.
  • West India: This region includes the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Goa. The highlights of this region include the ancient cave temples of Ajanta and Ellora, the beaches of Goa, and the city of Mumbai, known for its historical sites and vibrant nightlife.
  • South India: This region includes the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh. The highlights of this region include the ancient temples of South India, the backwaters of Kerala, and the hill stations of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
  • East India: This region includes the states of West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, and the Seven Sister States. The highlights of this region include the Buddhist monasteries of Bodh Gaya, the temples of Odisha, the tea gardens of Darjeeling, and the wildlife sanctuaries of the Seven Sister States.
  • Central India: This region includes the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The highlights of this region include the ancient cave temples of Bhimbetka, the Khajuraho temples, and the tiger reserves of Kanha and Bandhavgarh.

It's worth noting that these are just a few examples of the many regions and attractions that India has to offer. Each region has its unique culture and history, and offers different experiences, therefore it's important to do your research and plan your trip accordingly.

Highlights
What To See & Do
Travel Map

India is a vast and diverse country with many things to see and do. Here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting India:

  • Visit the Taj Mahal: The Taj Mahal is one of the most famous and iconic landmarks in India, and it is a must-see for any visitor to the country. The white marble mausoleum is located in Agra and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Explore the forts and palaces of Rajasthan: Rajasthan is known for its rich history and culture, and it is home to many beautiful forts and palaces, such as the Amber Fort, Jaisalmer Fort and City Palace in Jaipur.
  • Take a cruise on the backwaters of Kerala: Kerala is home to a network of interconnected canals, lagoons, and lakes that are known as the backwaters. Taking a cruise on these waterways is a great way to explore the local culture and see the beautiful scenery.
  • Visit the temples of South India: South India is home to many ancient temples, such as the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai and the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam. These temples are famous for their intricate architecture and beautiful sculptures.
  • Visit the wildlife sanctuaries: India is home to many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, such as the Kanha National Park and the Ranthambore National Park, where you can see a variety of animals such as tigers, leopards, and elephants in their natural habitat.
  • Experience the culture of Varanasi: Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, located on the banks of the Ganges River. It is considered one of the most sacred cities in India and is a must-visit for those interested in Hindu culture and history.
  • Explore the Himalayas: The Himalayas are a mountain range that runs through northern India, and it offers some of the most beautiful and majestic landscapes in the world. You can go trekking, mountaineering or just enjoy the stunning views.
  • Visit the Golden Temple: The Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, is a beautiful Sikh temple located in Amritsar. It is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Sikhs and is known for its stunning architecture and tranquil atmosphere.
  • Take a cooking class: Indian cuisine is famous all around the world, take a cooking class to learn how to make traditional Indian dishes, this will give you a deeper understanding of the culture and cuisine.
  • Shop at local markets: India is known for its vibrant and colorful markets, such as the bazaars of Jaipur and the Chandni Chowk market in Delhi. You can find a wide variety of goods, including textiles, jewelry, and spices.
India
What To Eat

WHAT TO EAT IN INDIA

WHAT TO EAT IN INDIA

India is famous for its delicious and diverse cuisine, and there are many different dishes to try when visiting the country. Here are some popular and traditional Indian dishes that you should try:

  • Curry: Curry is a staple dish in India and it comes in many different varieties. From the creamy butter chicken, to spicy vindaloo, and the flavorful biryani, there's a curry dish to suit every taste.
  • Tandoori dishes: Tandoori dishes are cooked in a clay oven called a tandoor. Some popular tandoori dishes include tandoori chicken, tandoori prawns, and tandoori lamb.
  • Dosa: Dosa is a thin and crispy crepe made from fermented rice and lentils. It is often filled with a variety of different fillings, such as spiced potatoes, and served with chutney and sambar.
  • Biryani: Biryani is a flavorful rice dish that is usually made with meat or vegetables and a variety of spices. It is often served with raita, a yoghurt-based side dish.
  • Chole bhature: Chole bhature is a popular Punjabi dish made of chole (chickpeas) and bhature (deep-fried bread). It is usually served with pickles and chutneys.
  • Samosas: Samosas are triangular-shaped fried or baked pastries filled with a variety of savory fillings, such as potatoes, peas, and meat. They are often served as a snack or as an appetizer.
  • Chaat: Chaat is a popular street food that is made up of a variety of different snacks and dishes, such as pani puri, bhel puri, and dahi puri. They are usually served with tangy and spicy chutneys.
  • Lassi: Lassi is a popular yogurt-based drink that is often flavored with fruit or spices such as mango, rose or cardamom. It is a great way to cool down in the hot weather.
  • Kulfi: Kulfi is a traditional Indian ice cream that is denser and creamier than Western-style ice cream. It is often flavored with cardamom, saffron, or pistachios.
  • Chai: Chai is the most popular drink in India, it is a tea made with black tea, milk, and spices such as ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. It is commonly served with or without sugar and it is a great way to start the day or refresh during the afternoon.

It's worth noting that Indian cuisine is quite diverse, and it can vary greatly depending on the region you are visiting. Make sure to try as many different dishes as possible, and be sure to inform your waiter if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies.

LGBTQ IN INDIA

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in India may face legal and social difficulties not experienced by non-LGBT persons. India does not recognise same-sex marriage or civil unions.

 

Despite recent political movements in favour of LGBT rights, there remains a significant amount of homophobia present among the Indian population, with more than half the population still objecting to same-sex relationships in a 2019 opinion poll.

India

WHERE TO STAY IN INDIA

For a first-time visit to India, choosing the right area or region to stay in depends on your interests, whether you're drawn to cultural heritage, natural beauty, or urban adventures. Here are some recommendations along with accommodation options in different price ranges:


WHERE TO STAY IN NEW DELHI:

New Delhi, the capital city, serves as a gateway to India's rich history and diverse culture, offering a mix of ancient landmarks, bustling markets, and modern amenities. Explore attractions like the Red Fort, Jama Masjid, and Chandni Chowk.

  • Budget: The Prime Balaji Deluxe: Situated near New Delhi Railway Station, The Prime Balaji Deluxe provides affordable accommodations with modern amenities. Guests can stay in clean and cozy rooms, enjoy complimentary breakfast, and take advantage of the hotel's travel desk for sightseeing arrangements.

  • Mid-range: The Claridges: The Claridges is a stylish mid-range hotel located in the upscale neighborhood of Lutyens' Delhi. Guests can enjoy elegantly appointed rooms and suites, a variety of dining options including Indian, Chinese, and Mediterranean cuisine, a swimming pool, and a spa.

  • Luxury: The Leela Palace New Delhi: The Leela Palace is a luxurious hotel known for its opulent decor and impeccable service. Situated in Diplomatic Enclave, the hotel offers spacious and luxurious rooms and suites, multiple dining options including an award-winning Indian restaurant, a rooftop infinity pool, and a world-class spa.


Tip: Consider visiting Delhi during the winter months (November to February) for more pleasant weather and lower rates on accommodations.


WHERE TO STAY IN JAIPUR:

Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, is known as the Pink City for its distinctive pink-hued buildings, offering a glimpse into India's royal heritage and vibrant culture. Explore attractions like the Amber Fort, City Palace, and Hawa Mahal.

  • Budget: Hotel Pearl Palace: Located in the heart of Jaipur's old city, Hotel Pearl Palace offers budget-friendly accommodations with vibrant decor and a cozy atmosphere. Guests can choose from colorful rooms and dormitories, enjoy the rooftop restaurant serving Indian and continental cuisine, and participate in cultural activities organized by the hotel.

  • Mid-range: Lemon Tree Premier, Jaipur: Lemon Tree Premier is a stylish mid-range hotel located near Jaipur International Airport. Guests can stay in contemporary rooms and suites, enjoy access to a rooftop swimming pool, fitness center, and spa, and dine at the hotel's restaurant offering a mix of Indian and international dishes.

  • Luxury: The Oberoi Rajvilas: The Oberoi Rajvilas is an opulent luxury resort set amidst 32 acres of landscaped gardens. Guests can stay in luxurious villas and tents inspired by Rajasthani architecture, enjoy access to a spa, outdoor swimming pool, and multiple dining options offering Indian and international cuisine.


Tip: Look out for special deals and discounts on accommodations in Jaipur during the off-peak seasons (summer and monsoon) but be prepared for hot weather.


WHERE TO STAY IN GOA:

Goa is famous for its pristine beaches, Portuguese colonial architecture, and vibrant nightlife, offering a laid-back atmosphere and a mix of relaxation and adventure. Explore beaches like Calangute, Baga, and Palolem, as well as historic churches and temples.

  • Budget: Casa de Goa Boutique Resort: Casa de Goa Boutique Resort offers budget-friendly accommodations near Calangute Beach. Guests can stay in comfortable rooms with modern amenities, enjoy access to a swimming pool, and dine at the hotel's restaurant serving Goan and international cuisine.

  • Mid-range: Neelams The Grand: Neelams The Grand offers mid-range accommodations in Calangute, close to the beach and shopping areas. Guests can stay in spacious rooms and suites, enjoy access to a swimming pool, fitness center, and spa, and dine at the hotel's restaurant serving Indian and international cuisine.

  • Luxury: St. Regis Goa Resort & Spa is a luxury hotel located in North Goa, India. Situated along the picturesque Vagator Beach, this five-star resort offers upscale accommodations and a range of luxurious amenities. Guests can enjoy elegantly appointed rooms and suites with modern decor and scenic views, along with facilities such as multiple swimming pools, a spa offering rejuvenating treatments, fitness center, and several dining options serving international and regional cuisine.


Tip: Consider visiting Goa during the shoulder seasons (October to March) for better weather and fewer crowds, but book accommodations in advance, especially during festivals and holidays.


For hassle-free bookings, use platforms like Booking.com for competitive rates or Holiday Swap for unique homes worldwide. Ensure to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, and align your preferences with nearby activities such as surfing, snorkeling, or cultural exploration.

These are just some of the best places to stay in India for first-time visitors. There are many more places to discover in India, such as Varanasi, the holy city on the Ganges River; Chennai, the cultural capital of South India; Kochi, the port city with a blend of influences; and many more. No matter where you choose to stay in India for your first trip, you ill surely have an unforgettable experience.

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