The Himalayas, home to nine of the ten highest peaks on the planet, span ten states across India. Although there is plenty to marvel at across the country, the Himalayas are one of the most unique and impressive sites. Unlike the Nepalese section, which is highly frequented by adventurers, the mountains within India are lesser-travelled and feel like a hidden world. With dramatic mountains, sacred rivers and ancient spirituality, a luxury holiday to the Himalayas
offers an incredible wellness break.
The holy town of Rishikesh is dubbed the 'yoga capital of the world' and you can enjoy a getaway to a wellness or spa resort on your visit. And of course, as well as enjoying some zen, make sure to get out into the landscape whether it's mountain biking or forest bathing, there is plenty to do and see.
You may not instantly think of rainforests and jungles when imagining India, however, the country is filled with brilliant natural landscapes and a rich selection of plants and animals. The sounds of a rainforest and jungle are primal, with monkeys calling and trees rustling as life emanates from every branch.
For the ultimate experience, there is no better location than Madhya Pradesh.
Replete with thick forest canopies and waterfalls, the flora and fauna here are unbeatable and as you explore the jungle, you'll hear over three-hundred kinds of tropical birds calling for mates and might even be lucky enough to see tigers prowling through the vegetation.
One thing many will know about India is its rich culinary heritage benchmarked by the diverse and warm range of spices used in cooking. As you walk the streets of towns and cities, you'll enjoy a mixture of smells coming from homes and restaurants as meals are cooked, but you can also enjoy them at a spice market. With mounds of colourful spices on offer, weaving through a bustling market taking in the smells of the spices and foods being peddled is a treat for the senses.
If you are looking to enjoy a spice market, then Khari Baoli in Delhi
is the most famous and the largest in the whole of Asia. Described by many as an 'attack on the senses', the Old Delhi spice market is frenetic in energy and an experience any foodie will adore. Dating back to the 17th century, you can buy spices, herbs nuts, rice and tea by the kilo. Although, if you want to keep your luggage weight down, you can enjoy smaller servings too and take them home with you to enjoy traditional and authentic flavours when your trip comes to an end. Plus, they make excellent gifts for loved ones (if you can bring yourself to give them away!)
It's not only amazing smells that Indian cuisine has to offer, but wonderful tastes as well. Dishes with a depth of flavour and fresh ingredients can be found around every corner, and, as the country is so large, different regions can offer their own flavour palettes and customs meaning that, even if you've visited India before, another region will offer another experience.
A region with plenty to boast in terms of cuisine is Kerala,
at the south of India on the coast it's a hub of tea, coffee and spice plantations and coconut trees! Its coastal position means that seafood is a core part of the food scene, however, like the rest of India, there is plenty for vegetarians to enjoy as well. Dishes are freshly spiced and full of flavour, often containing the local favourite coconut, and from dosas at breakfast to fresh-grilled fish for dinner, your taste buds will thank you for a trip here.
The Holi Festival of Colours is a Hindi festival best known for its bright and vibrant celebrations. Celebrating the love of Radha Krishna as well as the triumph of good over evil, the festival entails rituals, prayer, bonfires and most famously Rangwali Holi - a festival of colour.
People throw bright, coloured powders in the air and smear them on one another, filling everything with an explosion of colour. Be sure you don't wear clothes that you don't mind getting dirty, as, by the end of the experience, you'll be a rainbow from head to toe (and smiling as wide as possible from the fun!) Just be aware, the festival brings people together and it becomes a community experience so be ready to get drawn into it and don't be surprised if you end up in someone else's firing line.