India is extravagantly beautiful land and a repertoire of surprises and delights, ready to leave you spellbound. Spending time in India is like spending time at an indelible spiritual, architecturally glorious, astonishingly natural, and fascinatingly cultural place. From mountains to rivers, historical monuments to the rich cultural diversity, when it comes to a destination tour, India has a plethora of sights to showcase.
Home to over 1 billion population and 27 states, that are all exceptionally different from each other, India is a country which needs years to explore and perhaps even longer to understand it from the core. This land may appear like a poor nation with craggy streets and beggars, but on the flip side, it is a land of diverse colors and astonishing landscape that changes the weather after almost every mile. During your incredible India tour, you can explore the streets of the pink city Jaipur, roam around the mesmerizing beauty of Taj Mahal, feel the phenomenal nature in Kerala or trek the imperial Himalayas. The beautiful country of colors has got a plethora of things to showcase that can instantly make you go crazy for it.
The Essence of India:
India is inevitably welcoming and enduringly humble. You can merrily explore the streets and the locals will greet you with a smile. Spiritual cities immerse you in astonishing culture, ensuring that you enjoy connecting experiences with local people and their lifestyles. Temples, Gurdwaras, Monasteries, Masjids, you will get to see various forms of Gods in India and countless ways to worship them.
A land with varied greeting customs, different religions in India has different ways to express their greetings to other people. For instance, in Hindu families 'Namaste' is the most usual way of greeting the elders and outsiders. The gesture of joining both palms together and raising below the face shows respect for others while also making the greeter feel the affection in return. Likewise, Muslims greet each other and outsiders by saying 'Adab', which involves the gesture of raising the right hand towards the face in a manner where the palm is inwards and in front of the eyes with the fingertips almost touching the forehead. While in India, no 'hello' or 'hi' can create that magic which these respectful gestures make.
India is a land of many festivals and events. Festivals are an integral part of Indian culture. They symbolize the beliefs and customs of the country. A land of myriad cultures and religions, Indian festivals portray the devotion of the local people for their respective deity.
The heritage and culture of the country is reflected in the vibrant festivals that are celebrated at different times in India. For Hindus, the Ganesh Chaturthi leads the series of festivals. The festival is celebrated with splendor and glory in the state of Maharashtra. Massive idols of Lord Ganesh are displayed in pandals. A Lot of money is spent on the puja. At the homes of the people, small Ganesh idols are also worshiped. This week-long celebration includes buying new clothes, preparing sweet dishes such as modaks and pandal hopping.
This festival is followed by Durga Puja which is the most famous festival for the Bengalis. Durga Puja is hugely celebrated in different cities of West Bengal. It is believed that Maa Durga descend from Himalaya with her four children and stay for four days i.e. Saptami, Ashtami, Navami, and Dashami.
The Christians in India celebrate many festivals such as Easter and Good Friday, Christmas being the most significant among all of them. The festival is celebrated by purchasing new clothes, organizing Christmas parties at homes, baking cakes and various kinds of sweet dishes, visiting the church and then meeting their relatives. Wine and other drinks constitute the main components of a Christmas party. Cathedrals and Churches are decorated beautifully with candle balloons and streamers.
Muslims in India celebrate festivals such as Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha, and Moharrum. Dishes such as red meat, biriyani, and other non-veg items are prepared and sweet dishes include sewai and others.
Indians are extremely devoted to their religions. If you visit the country in the months of November-December, you will witness the charm of Christmas. The way in which Diwali and Holi are celebrated in India, it is going to remain in your memories for many many years. The Durga Puja, Navratri, and Ganesh Chaturthi are some of the amazing Indian festivals that continue longer than a day. Visiting India during these festivals will make you see a more vibrant and colorful nation.
The Culture of India:
The culture of India varies like its vast geography. Locals follow different religions, speak different languages, eat different food, dress differently, but are of the same temperament. So whether it is a happy occasion or a moment of grief, Indian people participate with their whole heart, feeling the emotion of happiness or pain in extremes. A celebration or a festival is never limited to a family or a home. The entire community or neighborhood is involved in bringing liveliness to the occasion. Furthermore, an Indian wedding is celebrated as a union, not only of the bride and groom but also of their respective families, and perhaps of cultures or religion too! Likewise, in times of sorrow, friends and neighbors play a significant part in easing out the grief.
For first-time travelers, India is undoubtedly, a cultural shock which might make you feel like staying at an overly rugged country. However, do not forget that it is one of the most vibrant and unique countries and thus, you can actually ignore the small garbage you may find on the streets. Try to focus on the rarity and the lively colors of this country and you will get the most out of your India trip.
Plan your luxury India tour today and witness the charm of this colorful country with Leisure.com.
Leisure.com provides a wide range of thoroughly planned India tours. We make all the arrangements so that you can completely enjoy your dream vacation! The entire trips can be tailored to meet your specific requirements or class or can be customized completely around particular destinations and special interests.
So, whatever might be your choice; a family vacation, an adventurous one, a luxury vacation, or a romantic one, we will present the perfect plan for you. Your safety and respect for privacy is our top concern, and the travel agents plan your India tour accordingly, either a group tour or an independent private tour. In any case, we ensure a hassle-free and safe experience with expert local guides, luxurious accommodations, and remarkable excursions.
India is not a country that you visit to see but to feel, to become a part of and get enriched by its essence. It is basically a unique country that one just have to experience! An incredible India tour is going to be more than just a trip. Though, a little challenging, but with an open heart and an open mind, your India tour has the potential to transform your life.
While traveling in India slowly and without many plans is the best way, you still need some guidance to start. India is such a huge country that experiencing everything this incredible country has to offer would take a lifetime! Here are some of the most common and fascinating experiences one must definitely try during their luxury India tour:
Taj Mahal is certainly a cliche, however, no India trip would ever be complete without a visit to this wonder of the world. Try to visit early in the morning so as to avoid the worst crowds and enjoy your views of the beautiful Taj Mahal without any obstruction.
Daily life activities in India often become memories to remember. Board a train and witness the gorgeous countryside passing by and share a fun picnic with a local family.
Embark on a boat ride down the holy Ganges river in Varanasi and witness the ceremonies that take place in one of the oldest and holiest inhabited cities in the world.
Laze and relax peacefully on the beaches, explore the countryside and vibrant old Portuguese churches by motorbike or party in quaint Goa.
Cities in India might feel a little overwhelming or chaotic at first, but it’s all part of a beautiful and memorable experience. Delhi is one city which is overflowing with history. Witness the Mughal monuments such as Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Humayun’s Tomb or just roam freely the streets of Old Delhi. Getting lost amongst the chaos of Old Delhi is a significant part of your India tour.
Savor the taste of sweet hot tea or creamy mango lassi and discover the uniqueness of Indian cuisine.
Get your senses captivated by the most vibrant and flamboyant Indian state and feel like a king while exploring the magnificent forts and palaces of Rajasthan.
Ride across the Thar desert on a camel safari and feel like a real explorer.
Mumbai is a colorful city of dreams and an answer to Hollywood from India. Enjoy the colonial architecture, and the city’s buzzing nightlife, hang out in amazing Colaba and perhaps you could even catch yourself acting in a Bollywood film!
You are going to experience surprises around every corner of India. Immerse yourself in one of India’s flamboyant and colorful festivals and celebrations or witness an impromptu festival marching down the streets.
Shop for colorful and sparkling sarees and learn how to drape them like a pro!
Step back in time by exploring and uncovering the blissfully remote and unspoiled lands of North East India and connect with the unique tribes from this part of India.
Experience the colorful and serene beauty of Tibetan culture and you could even get to meet the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.
India is a spiritual country and many tourists come here to ‘discover themselves’. During your India tour, practice yoga, balance your chakras and get in touch with your inner peace at an ashram in Rishikesh - the world’s yoga capital!
Continue your spiritual quest by visiting the sparkling Golden Temple in Amritsar, which is the holiest place for Sikhs.
Visit Kerala and cruise through the ravishing palm tree-lined backwaters on a classical barge converted into a house-boat. This is going to be one of the most beautiful and relaxing experiences of your lifetime.
Make your way to the ancient temples of Khajuraho and witness the remarkably intricate alluring sculptures that adorn these temples.
Ride on a tuk-tuk (rickshaw), learn to drive a motorbike, fall in love with the chaos and get used to negotiating the ever-busy and crowded Indian streets.
Fall in love with the other-worldly, enigmatic landscape and the temple ruins in magical and chilled out Hampi.
Trek around the mountains of Himachal Pradesh and experience its adorable villages and towns that have become famous hangout destinations for travelers. Manali offers a wide array of adventurous activities such as paragliding offering most splendid views of the valley.
India is home to some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife, from camels, tigers, lions, rhinos, bears, leopards, various kinds of birds to majestic elephants.
Experience the spirit of patriotism at its best by witnessing the extraordinary Wagah Border Ceremony between India and Pakistan.
Embark on a shikara across beautiful Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir - one of the most stunning landscapes of India known famously as ‘Paradise on Earth’.
The best time of the year when you should plan your India trip is from October to March. India is a large country with varied weather patterns. The winters in India remain warm as the Himalayas stop the cold winds from reaching most of the country, while summers can get really hot. Most part of India is tropical and thus is affected by three major seasons - summer, winter, and monsoon.
Here is your detailed guide on what to expect from your India tour, where and when:
The Himalayan foothills which include Darjeeling and Shimla have varied seasons, however, travel is possible here year-round. December and January tend to be the coldest months when the temperature in Darjeeling drop to almost 13°C to 19°C. The temperature in Shimla remains a few degrees warmer all year-round and has a shorter monsoon season from July to August. On the other hand, Darjeeling experiences heavy rain from the month of June to September.
The best time to visit Delhi is during the winter season, i.e. from October to March. It is relatively dry during this time of the year and temperatures are moderate. From November to February, nights can be chilly with temperatures dropping to around 8°C. May and June tend to be very hot with temperatures reaching an average of 40°C. The city experiences monsoon season through July to September, with humidity and heavy rains in the months of July and August.
If you plan to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra, then do consider the time of the day and the season you visit. For instance, from November to February, sometimes fog in the early morning can blur your view and so it is better to go later in the day. Sunrise usually happens to be the best time of the day to visit for the rest of the year, when the midday heat is yet to set in and there are fewer tourists.
Rajasthan is a part of India which is a tropical desert and the temperatures within its state are similar to nearby Agra and Delhi. Temperatures in summer around Udaipur can be a welcome few degrees cooler, while the ‘dry west’ has maximums reaching an average of 45°C.
South India is the closest to the equator which makes the temperatures here hot year-round. The temperature rarely goes below 22°C and peaks between 28°C and 31°C, except in the hottest months of the year, i.e. May and June when it reaches 34°C. June to August experiences rain falls prevalent throughout the day. The weather remains warm and pleasant to travel here during the months of September to December.
When it comes to accommodation, India doesn’t really have the greatest reputation. Yet India has a much famous and millennia-old history of entertaining royalty with high-spirited luxury. Here are some of the staying options one could consider during India tour:
Airbnb: It is the most famous platform for home rentals with locals in a city. In India, their services are noticeable in big cities only. The positive point is that you can find a room starting at just $10 even in the most expensive cities such as Delhi or Mumbai.
Hotel booking sites: These companies have just lately entered the hospitality industry so as to standardize hotel stays in India in a budget. OYO rooms is their biggest chain. Others are Qik Stay, Treebo hotels, etc.
Homestays: If you wish to understand the local culture and true essence of India, choosing homestays over hotels is recommended. These can be easily found in villages or even in big cities. Even in remote villages, you can find ‘Guest Houses’ which offer you an opportunity to experience traditional home accommodation and Indian food.
To visit India, you must have a visa which you can obtain from the Indian embassy in your respective country or through a travel agent who will do the legwork for a fee. You can also apply for the visa online and this facility is available for the citizens of the US, Canada, and EU nations.
As mentioned earlier, India is a diverse land - stretching from the cold and snow-covered Jammu and Kashmir and ending at Hot and Humid, Kanyakumari. Because of this, the weather conditions too vary from state to state. Tourist restaurants in India are well-acquainted in toning down the heat to visitors. Though the craggy street food won’t pacify every stomach, the hotel restaurants, and gourmet experiences have a Western approach when it comes to food hygiene.
India has a lot of great experiences to offer tourists, however, some precautions are still necessary during India tour. Here are some of the safety measures one should take when traveling in India:
Avoid going out alone at night: Indian cities boasts some amazing nightlife. From themed bars and concept restaurants to a number of well-acclaimed performing arts, there are plenty of options. While a solo night out might seem like a nice idea, it’s always better to have someone with you while going out during night hours.
Travel in women’s compartments of trains: If you are a woman and traveling in India, it is always best to use the compartment or coach reserved for women. It is much more comfortable, less crowded and you can also escape the occasional staring of men.
Indian etiquette is a curious blend of British and Asian influences. Thus, in some ways, their customs will appear familiar to westerners, and in other ways, they vary hugely.
Some of the ways in which etiquette in India differs from western etiquette are as follows:
Dining etiquette can be quite different in India. It is considered appropriate and fine to use your hands while eating, and while eating with locals or in some traditional restaurants, cutlery may not be provided. Although, in most places, spoons, if asked for, can be provided. If you feel like trying to eat using your fingers, make sure to only use your right hand and not the left one, even if you are left-handed, since the left hand is considered to be ‘unclean’.
Sharing of food is considered good manners in India. It is usual in restaurants to order a number of dishes and then shares these all between the members of the party. However, never take food from someone’s personal plate or share cutlery or drink from someone else’s glass, as this is considered very offensive. Praising the food and presenting your appreciation will be well received.
Social etiquette in India varies hugely across different religions. In general, if you are hosting an event and have invited Indian people, expect them to be late. It is also acceptable for guests to bring other people with them such as their friends or colleagues.