BEST TIME TO GO
November – March for Rajasthan
December – April for Kerala and Goa
May – October for Ladakh
Twice daily non-stop flights from London Heathrow to Delhi, 8hrs 30mins
Discover an extraordinary country bursting with life, colour, flavours, religion, history and where ancient traditions are deeply-rooted in all aspects of daily life. There is so much to explore and experience throughout India’s 29 states, all equally captivating with their own appeal, contrasting communities, landscapes and wildlife.
Where to start when faced with the sheer size of India?
A must do and a great introduction to India is the classic Golden Triangle itinerary that incorporates Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Spend time exploring fascinating palaces, ancient forts, temples and mosques. Whilst you’re in Rajasthan incorporate beautiful Jodhpur and regal Udaipur, with its iconic Lake Palace Hotel, which is so worth a visit if only for dinner – try and get a table on the terrace.
Stay in renovated palaces of the splendid Maharajas with unrivalled hospitality giving you a taste of the extraordinary wealth and privilege that these royals enjoyed. The interiors of the palaces are a revelation with their intricate mosaics, pietra dura, precious stones and sumptuous fabrics.
Delve deeper into daily life and learn how the streets kids receive support through charities, take an exhilarating ride through chaotic city streets on a rickshaw, see at first-hand the generosity of the human spirit as volunteers at the Sikh temples feed the less fortunate through their community kitchens that open everyday of the year.
The countryside and smaller towns offers different, but equally wonderful experiences. Go on peaceful bike rides, visit a small elephant sanctuary where they are beautifully cared for and join them on their daily walk through the forest. Stay in an African-style safari camp and enjoy early morning and evening game-drives, on the lookout for leopards and learn how the Rebali shepherds live in harmony them. Stop at Ranthambore National Park, the former royal hunting grounds, to spot tigers, crocodiles as well as rare bird species.
If you find yourself in Rajasthan in March make sure you get involved in the Holi Week festival, celebrating colour and the beginning of Spring by throwing handfuls of brightly coloured powder into the air and at each other – great fun, but don’t wear your best clothes!
Kerala is famous for its lush flora, wonderful fauna, its tea plantations and its meandering backwaters. Be sure your trip includes all these attractions. Starting on a peaceful plantation retreat walk through the hills, visit the local villages, temples and churches. After energetically exploring the hills and jungles of north Kerala, what better to follow this, than to arrive at a pristine coastline and kick back and relax, staying at a top-notch beach hotel with a sophisticated spa? October to March are the best times to go to Kerala, with late September being a good, less crowded, option.
Little known Madhya Pradesh has its own special appeal. Here you find the great Gwalior Fort, over a mile in length, towering 300ft (200m) above the town; which also houses Man Singh’s Palace; the great beauty of the temples of Khajuraho with their erotic facades; the romantic palaces on the banks of the Betwa River in Orchla; ancient rock engravings at Bhimbetka, and the best national parks with the highest density of tiger in India –Bandhavgargh, Kanger Valley, Panna, Khana and Pench, the setting for the wonderful ‘The Jungle Book’.
Feel the rejuvenating effects of walking in the Himalayas, from village to village, and staying in renovated village homes offering guests a rare chance to experience an unchanged rural way of life in the homes of the Ladakhi people. Spend over six days with friends or family without the strenuous effort of trekking, ending with a journey down the river to comfortably in another village house. All along your route you are treated to the hospitality and the charm of the people of the hill tribes, and the simplicity of their way of life. Kumaon and Sikkim are other areas to explore with village walks of varying duration. Unlike Rajasthan and southern India, Ladakh in the Himalayas is best visited between May to October.
Best Time To Go
For the north, the best time is between November and March. But August and September, after the monsoon season, are equally good months with only occasional rain.
For the south, peak season is from December to April, but the months either side of the monsoon season are quieter and very tranquil.