A land of powerful kingdoms ruled by flamboyant maharajas, and the birthplace of yoga and Ayurveda, India is a country steeped in history and colour. From the high Himalaya and the deserts of Rajasthan to the tropical backwaters of Kerala and the colonial architecture of Goa, India is a captivating world waiting to be explored.
Dramatic landscapes, spectacular temples and resplendent palaces are surrounded by lush national parks and myriad wildlife in India. Don’t miss these highlights: • Join the nationwide festivities during Holi festival, where thousands of revellers douse each other in colourful powder and water. • Marvel at the forts and palaces of Rajasthan, built by the wealthy kings that once ruled over the land. • Cruise the backwaters of Kerala on a liveaboard houseboat, watching the jungle and rice-paddies float by. • Dive into the swirling hubbub of life in Mumbai’s markets and bazaars, and experience modern India in the business districts of south Mumbai. • Travel to the Himalayan Kingdom’s of Nepal and Bhutan from India for breathtaking scenery and unique, once in a lifetime experiences.
When to visit
India is an enormous country with a climate that varies dramatically from north to south. The monsoon moves across the country from south to north from May to October. The best time to visit is mid-October until March, when the climate is warm and dry in most parts of the country.
There is evidence of developed social structures in the Indus Valley dating back 5,300 years, making northern India a birthplace of modern civilisation. Today, it’s the seventh largest country in the world and a melting pot of different cultural influences. Though heavily affected by Hindu beliefs and traditions, daily life and national character is unique in each region, shaped by the country’s varied geography, climate and years of foreign trade and rule.
Hinduism flourished in India 3,000 years ago and gradually gave birth to Buddhism and Jainism, as warring dynasties and powerful kings fought over the land. European traders arrived in the early 17th century, and Britain ruled the subcontinent as the British Raj from 1858 until 1947. The Republic of India was officially created in 1950 following an acrimonious split with Pakistan – a rivalry that would go on for decades. Economic reforms in the late ‘90s have helped India become one of the world’s largest economies.
Bandhavgarth National Park