23 November 2020
Cultural riches of India
India continues to draw travellers from across the globe for its natural wonders, cultural richness and awe-inspiring sights. India boasts a startling array of world-famous attractions: from the historic Red Fort of Old Delhi, to the glimmering Golden Temple of Amritsar, the ghats of Varanasi, the desert palaces of Rajasthan, the tranquil backwaters of Kerala, the cool alpine air of Darjeeling and, of course, the immortal Taj Mahal.
Explore India’s spiritual heritage at one of its many festivals. The most famous ones are the festival of lights ‘Diwali’ and colourful celebration ‘Holi’ where guests playfight with coloured-water. If you’re in Kerala between August and September, you can join the ten-day ‘Onam’ harvest festival which marks the homecoming of legendary King Mahabali and involves eating a sumptuous nine-course meal served on banana leaves. Head to the tiny desert town of Pushkar in Rajasthan between October and November for the ‘Camel & Cattle Fair’ which involves ten days of camel trading, racing and even beauty contests!
For something truly unique travel to Haridwar or Allahabad between January and March for ‘Ardh Kumbh’. Held only once every six years, in this sacred festival celebrants ritually bathe in three points of the Ganges. You can also attend the planet’s largest religious gathering once every 12 years at the ‘Kumbh Mela’ mass Hindu pilgrimage to holy sites in Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik and Ujjain which is next due to take place in 2022. A good festival to attend with children is the Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race held in the southern city of Alleppey every August. Here they can watch vibrantly-hued 100-foot canoe-style boats race with 100 rowers at the oars in a thrilling event!
Discover the extraordinary wildlife of India, from the tigers of Ranthambore National Park to the families of elephant at the Periyer Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala. West Bengal’s famed Sunderbans National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose marshlands are teeming with exotic wildlife like crocodiles, or if you’re a birdwatcher you may prefer Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur – home to the rare Siberian Crane.
The Golden Triangle
Explore the sights and sounds of the Golden Triangle including the iconic Taj Mahal at Agra and the pink city of Jaipur. Dive deep into the rich culture of Delhi, the capital of seven different dynasties and rulers for over thousands year, and discover authentic Rajasthan handicrafts, from textiles to jewellery and pottery.
Backwater cruise, Kerala
The scenic backwaters of Kerala comprise serene stretches of lakes, canals and lagoons located parallel to the coast of the Arabian Sea. The tranquil backwater cruises are a once in a lifetime experience - an overnight or a day houseboat cruise takes you through the scenic manmade islands and beautiful sights of coconut fringed backwaters and paddy fields.
Did you know
There is no single best time to visit India, it depends where you want to go. Throughout most of the country, especially the south, the October to April season is the ideal time to visit as temperatures and humidity are low. The monsoon season ranges from mid-June to the close of August, and the country’s wildlife national parks are closed within this period, so think carefully before travelling at this time. But it’s often better to plan a holiday in India’s far north during this period, as this region is inaccessible in winter, and April to June is the best time to visit India’s wildlife national parks.