From snow-capped Himalayan peaks and sun-drenched beaches fringed by swaying palm trees to the gilded opulence of Mughal palaces and the vibrant chaos of spice-filled bazaars, India is a land where every turn reveals a new adventure.
For those looking to enjoy luxury travel and a holiday in Asia, a journey into the heart of India offers something for travellers of all ages. In this guide, we dive into some of our favourite things to see and do in this incredible country.
The Top Ten Things To See And Do
1| Witness the Grandeur of the Taj Mahal
One of the Seven Wonders of the World
and an absolute must-see for anyone visiting India, the Taj Mahal is truly a sight to behold. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in honour of his beloved wife, this magnificent marble mausoleum stands as a symbol of eternal love and beauty. With its intricate architecture and stunning white marble, the Taj Mahal is a masterpiece that leaves many visitors in a state of awe.
As you approach the Taj Mahal, the grandeur of this architectural marvel becomes even more apparent. The sheer size of the structure is awe-inspiring, with its towering minarets and majestic dome reaching towards the sky.
The mausoleum is at the centre of the entire complex, complete with glorious gardens, fountains and a reflecting pool which mirrors this masterpiece beautifully. But up close, the intricate carvings on the wall and delicate work on the marble are both a testament to the craftsmanship of the artisans who dedicated their skills to this remarkable building.
2| Feast on Delicious Indian Food
From street vendors to upscale restaurants, there is something to satisfy every palate in India. Known for its spices and considered by many to be one of the world's great culinary destinations, visitors to this vibrant country shouldn't shy away from trying everything on offer. With each region of India offering unique techniques and styles, expect a diverse repertoire of dishes that will excite your tastebuds and keep you coming back for more.
From the fragrant biryanis of Hyderabad to the fiery curries of Punjab, the flavours of Indian cuisine are as diverse as its people. But to truly immerse yourself in the world of Indian cuisine, why not take a cooking class?
Learn the art of blending spices, master the art of kneading dough for rotis and discover the secrets of creating the perfect curry.
3| Experience the Timelessness of Varanasi
Dating back to the 11th century BC, Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It's considered the spiritual heart of Hinduism, a holy place where life and death intertwine. A sacred place of pilgrimage for Hindus, Varanasi is among the holiest of all "crossing places" in India. Stretching along the River Ganges, this ancient city
is a hub of religious activity, with countless temples, ghats and ashrams.
Take a boat ride along the river at sunrise to witness the rituals and ceremonies that take place daily. Explore the narrow lanes and bustling markets, where you can find everything from silk sarees to handcrafted jewellery. Whether you're seeking spiritual enlightenment or simply want to soak in the rich history and culture, Varanasi
is a must-visit destination in India.
4| Visit Mehrangarh Fort, Rajasthan's Most Spectacular Citadel
Towering above the "Blue City" of Jodhpur, Mehrangarh Fort is the crown jewel of Rajasthan. Built in 1459 by Rao Jodha, this impregnable fortress defied countless sieges, making it a symbol of the city's residence and strength.
Climb to the top of the fort's ramparts and you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the city below. Explore the museum within the fort, which houses an impressive collection of artefacts, including weapons, textiles and paintings, and gain a glimpse into the rich history of the region.
5| Discover Authentic Tea in Darjeeling
Darjeeling, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, is renowned for its exquisite tea. Known as the 'Champagne of Teas', Darjeeling is celebrated for its delicate flavour and distinct fruity aroma. Tea plantations stretch as far as the eye can see, with rows upon rows of neatly trimmed bushes.
To truly appreciate the art of tea-making, a visit to one of the tea estates is a must. Here, you can witness the entire process - from plucking the leaves to packaging the final product. The tea experts will guide you through the different varieties and you can even participate in a tea-tasting session, where you can savour the unique flavours and learn to distinguish the subtle flavours of each blend.
6| Delve Into the Origins of Yoga
Yoga is a sensation that has taken over the world, but where did it start? Yoga has its origins deeply rooted in ancient India
and there is no place better to explore its history and practice than the birthplace itself.
Nestled in the Himalayan foothills amid the grounds of a Maharaja's palace, Ananda in the Himalayas
is the perfect setting for those seeking peace, balance and a wellness escape quite unlike any other. Seek sanctuary at this acclaimed spa resort, where the calming embrace of Ayurveda, yoga, meditation and Vedanta philosophy dissolves the anxieties of modern world.
7| Relax on a Picture-Perfect Beach in Goa
Known for its stunning coastline and vibrant culture, the city of Goa offers the perfect blend of tranquillity and excitement. With its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, Goa is a haven for beach lovers and adventurer seekers alike. Whether you prefer to bask in the sun and feel the warm sand between your toes or dive into the waves for a thrilling surfing session, Goa has it all.
8| Witness India's Colourful Side During Holi
One of the most vibrant and joyous festivals in India, Holi is a celebration of colours and unity. During this festival, the streets come alive with people throwing vibrant powders and water at each other, creating a kaleidoscope of hues. But Holi's magic extends far beyond the colourful chaos. It's a celebration that brings people together in harmony and fosters a sense of community. Celebrated enthusiastically by the majority Hindu population, this is an event that shouldn't be missed.
9| Venture through India on the Maharajas Express
The Maharajas Express is a luxurious train journey that takes you through the heart of India, allowing you to witness the country's diverse landscapes and rich history. As you glide through the picturesque countryside, you'll pass by majestic palaces, ancient temples and bustling markets. But the train itself is also a marvel, with elegantly designed cabins and world-class amenities.
10| Look for India's 'Big Five' on a Thrilling 4WD Safari
Embark on a thrilling 4WD safari
and search for India's very own 'Big Five'. Just like in Africa, India has its own set of magnificent creatures that are a must-see for any wildlife enthusiast. From the regal Bengal tiger to the elusive Indian leopard,
the Indian wilderness is home to an array of fascinating animals.
Hop into a sturdy 4WD vehicle and venture into the heart of the national parks, where expert guides will lead you on an unforgettable journey. As you explore, keep your eyes peeled for the majestic elephants, graceful deer and the mighty Indian bison.
With Virgin Atlantic, you can fly direct from London to Delhi and Mumbai, or reach the rest of India with their network of connections.
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