India is a vast and diverse country, with a rich culture, history, and landscape. From the snow-capped Himalayas in the north to the tropical beaches in the south, there is something for every traveler to explore.
When planning a trip to India, it’s important to consider your itinerary carefully. The country is so large and diverse that it can be overwhelming to try to see everything at once. It’s best to choose a few specific places to visit and focus on them, rather than trying to cram too much into a single trip.
One of the most popular destinations in India is the Golden Triangle, which includes the cities of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. These cities offer a great introduction to the country’s history, culture, and architecture. Delhi, the capital of India, is home to many monuments, including the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India. Agra is home to the iconic Taj Mahal, one of the most famous buildings in the world. Jaipur, also known as the Pink City, is known for its colorful markets and stunning palaces.
Another popular destination is the state of Kerala, located in the south of India. Kerala is known for its beautiful beaches, backwaters, and traditional houseboats. Visitors can also take a dip in the Ayurvedic treatments, local cuisine, and explore the beautiful tea and spice plantation.
For nature lover, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Meghalaya are some of the best place in India to visit. Himachal Pradesh is famous for its trekking and skiing, while Uttarakhand is known for its beautiful temples, and Meghalaya is known for its living root bridges, crystal clear waterfalls and beautiful caves.
India is also famous for its festivals, which are celebrated throughout the year. Some of the most famous festivals include Diwali, the festival of lights; Holi, the festival of colors; and Navaratri, a nine-day festival celebrating the goddess Durga.
When travelling in India, it’s also important to be aware of the local customs and etiquette. Visitors should dress modestly, especially when visiting temples and other religious sites. It’s also important to be mindful of the local food, as it can be quite spicy.
How To Go India
There are several ways to travel to India, including by plane, train, and car.
- By Plane: India has several major international airports, including Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, and Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru. Many major airlines offer flights to these airports from destinations around the world.
- By Train: India has an extensive railway network that connects many major cities and towns. Visitors can take an international train from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
- By Car: Visitors can also drive to India from neighboring countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. However, it’s important to note that the road conditions in India can be unpredictable, and driving can be challenging for those who are not familiar with the local roads and customs.
- By Bus: Visitors from neighboring countries can also opt for bus travel. This is a convenient option for travelers who want to experience the local culture and scenery while traveling.
Regardless of the mode of transportation you choose, it is important to have all the necessary travel documents, such as a valid passport, visa, and any other required vaccinations. It’s also a good idea to research the best time to visit India, as the weather and tourist crowds can vary depending on the season.
India is a large and diverse country, with a wide range of altitudes. The highest point in India is Kangchenjunga, which stands at 8,586 meters (28,169 feet) tall. This mountain is located in the eastern Himalayas, on the border between India and Nepal. Other high altitude regions in India include the Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir, the Spiti and Kinnaur regions in Himachal Pradesh and the high altitude regions in the states of Uttarakhand and Sikkim.
Visitors traveling to high altitude regions in India should be aware of the risk of altitude sickness. Symptoms of altitude sickness can include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, and nausea. To prevent altitude sickness, it is important to acclimatize to the higher altitudes gradually, by taking rest days and not climbing too quickly. It’s also a good idea to stay well hydrated, eat a high-carbohydrate diet, and avoid alcohol and tobacco.
If you experience symptoms of altitude sickness, it is important to descend to a lower altitude as soon as possible. In severe cases, it may be necessary to seek medical treatment.
It’s also important to note that the weather in high altitude regions can be unpredictable, with temperatures dropping rapidly at night and the chance of snowfall in the winter. Visitors should be prepared for the cold and bring appropriate clothing and equipment.
Where to stay in India
India offers a wide range of accommodation options for travelers, from budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses to luxury resorts and hotels. Some popular options include:
- Hotels: India has a wide range of hotels, from budget-friendly options to luxury properties. Many major cities and tourist destinations have international hotel chains as well as local hotels.
- Homestays: Homestays are a great way to experience local culture and hospitality. Visitors can stay with a local family and learn more about their way of life.
- Guesthouses: Guesthouses are a budget-friendly option for travelers. They often offer basic amenities and are a good option for budget travelers.
- Hostels: Hostels are a great option for budget-conscious travelers, especially for solo and backpackers. They offer basic amenities and a dormitory-style accommodation.
- Resorts: India has a wide range of resorts, from budget-friendly options to luxury properties. These are a great option for travelers looking for a relaxing and comfortable stay.
- Camping: Camping is a popular option for those who want to explore India’s natural beauty. Visitors can stay in tents or camping grounds and enjoy the outdoors.
- Heritage Hotels: India has a wide range of heritage hotels, which are often housed in restored palaces, forts, and havelis. These hotels offer an authentic experience of India’s rich culture and history.
It’s also important to note that the cost of accommodation can vary widely depending on the location and season. It’s a good idea to research and compare different options before making a decision.
Water Safety in India
India is a developing country, and the safety of its water sources can vary widely. Visitors should be aware of the risks associated with drinking tap water and take precautions to ensure their safety.
- Bottled water: The safest option is to drink only bottled water, which is widely available in India. It’s important to check that the seal on the bottle is intact before drinking.
- Boiling water: Boiling water for at least one minute is an effective way to kill any harmful bacteria or parasites.
- Filtering water: Portable water filters and purification tablets can also be used to make tap water safe to drink.
- Avoiding ice: Avoid using ice in drinks, especially if you’re uncertain of its source.
- Avoiding street food: Street food may be a great way to experience local cuisine, but it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with eating food that has been prepared in unsanitary conditions.
- Avoiding raw and undercooked food: Be careful when eating raw or undercooked meat, fish, and eggs, as they may be contaminated with bacteria or parasites.
It’s also important to note that swimming in open water sources in India can also be risky, as the water may be contaminated with bacteria or parasites. It’s best to stick to swimming in chlorinated pools, or swimming areas that are known to be safe.
It’s also worth to note that many of the popular tourist destinations, such as Goa and Kerala, have good water quality and sanitation, and the water is safe to drink. However, it’s always best to check with locals or hotel staff for specific recommendations for the area you’re in.
What to pack
When packing for a trip to India, it’s important to consider the climate, cultural customs, and the type of activities you plan to do. Here is a general list of items you may want to bring with you:
- Passport and visa: Make sure to bring all the necessary travel documents and keep them in a safe place.
- Travel insurance: It’s a good idea to have travel insurance to protect yourself in case of any unexpected events.
- Clothing: Pack light and comfortable clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect yourself from the sun. It’s also a good idea to bring a shawl or scarf to cover your shoulders and head when visiting temples and other religious sites.
- Footwear: Bring comfortable walking shoes, as well as a pair of sandals or flip-flops.
- Toiletries: Pack your usual toiletries, including sunscreen, insect repellent, and any personal medications you may need.
- Cash and credit cards: India is a cash-based society, so it’s a good idea to bring a mix of cash and credit cards. Make sure to inform your bank of your travel plans to avoid any issues with your card.
- Electrical adapter: India uses a different type of plug than most countries, so you will need an adapter for your electronic devices.
- Camera and other electronics: Bring a camera or smartphone to capture your memories, but be aware that India can be hard on electronics due to the heat and humidity.
- Mosquito repellent and netting: Mosquitos are common in India, especially in rural areas and during the monsoon season.
- Travel guides and maps: A good travel guide and a map can be helpful in planning your itinerary and getting around.
- Water bottle: Bring a reusable water bottle that you can refill with purified water.
- Comfortable backpack: A comfortable backpack will be useful to carry your belongings while travelling.
This list is not exhaustive, but it’s a good starting point. Make sure to check the weather forecast for the places you’re visiting and adjust your packing list accordingly. Remember to also check with your airline for any restrictions on liquids and other items in your carry-on baggage.
Things to do in India
India is a vast and diverse country with many things to see and do. Here are a few popular activities for visitors to consider:
- Visit historical monuments: India is home to many famous historical monuments such as the Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Qutub Minar, and the Ajanta and Ellora caves.
- Explore temples and religious sites: India is known for its rich cultural heritage, and visitors can explore many ancient temples and religious sites, such as the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, and the Khajuraho temples in Madhya Pradesh.
- Enjoy a traditional Indian spa treatment: India is known for its Ayurvedic spa treatments, which use natural herbs and oils to heal and rejuvenate the body.
- Take a cooking class: India is renowned for its delicious cuisine, and visitors can take cooking classes to learn how to prepare traditional Indian dishes.
- Go on a wildlife safari: India is home to many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, where visitors can spot tigers, elephants, and other exotic animals in their natural habitat.
- Go for a trek: India offers many opportunities for trekking and hiking, from the Himalayas to the Western Ghats.
- Visit a Bazaar or market: India is a shopper’s paradise, and visitors can find a wide variety of goods in the local bazaars and markets, from hand-woven textiles to jewelry and spices.
- Take a boat ride: India has many beautiful rivers and lakes, such as the Ganges and the backwaters of Kerala, where visitors can take boat rides and enjoy the scenery.
- Explore the street art: India has a vibrant street art scene, and visitors can explore the murals and graffiti in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore.
- Attend a festival: India is known for its colorful festivals, such as Diwali, Holi, and Navaratri, which are celebrated throughout the year.
This list is not exhaustive, there are many more things to do in India, depending on your interests and the region you are visiting.
Indian Local festivals
India is a country known for its diverse cultures and traditions, and it celebrates many festivals throughout the year. Here are a few popular local festivals in India:
- Diwali: Celebrated in October or November, Diwali is the festival of lights and is celebrated all over India. People light candles and lamps, and there are fireworks displays, music, and dance.
- Holi: Celebrated in March, Holi is the festival of colors and is celebrated all over India. People throw colored powder and water on each other and there are music, dance, and sweets.
- Onam: Celebrated in August or September, Onam is the harvest festival of Kerala, and it is celebrated with traditional music, dance, and feasts.
- Pongal: Celebrated in January, Pongal is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu and it is celebrated with traditional music, dance, and feasts.
- Durga Puja: Celebrated in September or October, Durga Puja is a Hindu festival honoring the goddess Durga. It is celebrated mostly in West Bengal, Assam and Odisha.
- Navratri: Celebrated in September or October, Navratri is a Hindu festival celebrated for nine days, where people worship the goddess Durga. It is celebrated all over India, but it is particularly popular in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Best time to visit India
The best time to visit India depends on the region you plan to visit and the type of weather you prefer.
- October to March: The winter months are the best time to visit India, as the weather is pleasant and cool in most parts of the country. This is the ideal time to visit Northern India, including Rajasthan, Agra, and Delhi, as well as the hill stations of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
- April to June: The summer months are the best time to visit India’s beaches, as well as the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka. However, it can be very hot in some parts of the country, especially in the northern plains and the desert regions of Rajasthan.
- July to September: The monsoon season is the best time to visit the Western Ghats and the northeastern states, as well as the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This is also the best time to visit the hill stations of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim.
It’s also worth noting that certain festivals and events may also impact the best time to visit specific regions. For example, the Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan is held in November and can be a great time to visit that region, while the Kerala’s Onam festival in august is a great time to visit the state.
It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast and any potential festivals or events before planning your trip, to ensure that you have the best possible experience.
Overall, India is an incredibly diverse and fascinating country that offers something for every traveler. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, nature, or just looking for an adventure, you’ll find it in India.
Please note that this is just a brief overview and there’s a lot more to explore in India, while traveling. It’s a country of diversity, with different languages, cultures, and traditions, so it’s worth taking the time to research and plan your trip carefully to make the most of your time in India.