India Travel Guides

Children’s Activities

Travelling to India with your children can be challenging, but often ends up being an extraordinary experience. The entire country is akin to a circus in the eyes of children. The smells, sounds and sights emanating from the bazaars, streets and temples rarely fail to fascinate. From camel rides to magical fortresses and palaces, there are plenty of excursions in each region of India. The beaches are a reliably fun spot and children receive excellent treatment wherever you go.

Beaches
India has dozens of excellent beaches, with the best ones to be found along the Malabar Coast. Goa is the hub in this area, but you may find the quiet of Morjim, Palolem or Asvem a more family-focused experience. Most beaches have bungalow resorts, restaurants and water equipment for youngsters to play with. You can rent bikes, go for a boat ride to see dolphins, or check out the flea market at Goa’s Anjuna Beach.Visit this website for photographs and further information about Top 10 Most Beautiful Beaches In India

Camel Safaris in Rajasthan
In the north, the towns of Pushkar and Jaisalmer are popular places to arrange a camel safari into the sea of desert sands. This is a unique experience, both for the treat of riding atop a camel as well as seeing the vast desert. Several companies arrange everything from day rides to overnight adventures where you camp under the stars.

Elephant Safari Ride
The Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh has the densest tiger population of any park in the country, and practically guarantees a sighting. The most adventurous way to search for a tiger is on the back of an elephant. These popular safaris take you into the heart of the action safely guarded by your guide (and the fact that tigers are afraid of elephants).

Nehru Zoological Park
This 300-acre zoo in Hyderabad offers one of the best chances in India to see many exotic wild animals up close and personal. An early morning safari ride offers an amazing cruise through an enclosure where lions and tigers roam freely. A massive lake in the centre of the zoo is home to thousands of birds, and even hippos and leopards can be viewed close up. Located in Hyderabad.

Cultural Activities

This is a land full of ancient temples, fortresses, palaces, timeless towns and bustling cities. India oozes culture, so whether you want to marvel at Jain architecture, haggle in the bazaars of Rajasthan or ride a boat in the Backwaters of Kerala, you’re guaranteed a great adventure. Each region has its own distinct flavour of Indian culture, as well as its particular highlights.Visit this website for further information about Rajasthan Forts and Palaces

Crawford Market
To see the chaotic, colourful and shocking market world of India, head straight to the buzzing indoor Crawford Market in Mumbai. Don’t expect to do much handicraft or antique shopping here. This is where locals come every day for their fruit, vegetables and meat. The sights and smells are simply mind-boggling in both scale and diversity. This is a photographer’s heaven, and offers serious eye candy for anyone interested in the working side of Mumbai.

Jain Temples
This group had a serious devotion for its religion, and put vast amounts of money and skill into building marble temples. If you’re in Rajasthan or Gujarat be sure and visit one, as the ornate craftsmanship will blow your mind. Palitana is a major hub, with 850 Jain temples and more than 1,000 shrines atop holy Mount Satrunjaya. Dilwara Temple and Ranakpur Temple are also superb highlights.

Mehrangarh Fort
India has plenty of impressive fortresses, but Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort is one of the most dramatic. Seamlessly capping a cliff bound hill, the maze-like ramparts of this 15th-century masterpiece are a wonderful place to explore. The views over the Blue City (Jodhpur) are stunning, and one of India’s best palace museums is located within the fort. Visit this website for further information about Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur

The Backwaters of Kerala
The southern tip of India is an endless web of inland lagoons, canals, rivers and lakes that create the area known as the Backwaters. If you are in Kerala State be sure and take a boat cruise through this wonderful region where riverside life carries on as it has for centuries. Thousands of people live along the banks, farming and raising livestock on what little dirt exists. Boat cruises on traditional kettuvallam boats are available, and well worth it.

Ganges River
One of the most bizarre and engrossing places to witness the spiritual mayhem that encompasses the Ganges is at the town of Rishikesh, in Uttaranchal. During the daytime the sheer numbers of devotees running around meditating, bathing and praying to the statues of Shiva and Vishnu in the filthy waters of the Ganges is overwhelming. But after dark the river comes alive with floating candles, the hum of prayers and beautiful singing. It’s truly a magical setting.

Temples of Tamil Nadu
This amazingly passionate region of southern India is the ideal place to immerse yourself in the spirituality of temples. Temple sites like Mamallapuram’s Arjuna’s Penance, which is cut out of the rock face, is a must-see. But Maduri’s Shri Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar Temple is the epitome of Tamil Nadu’s obsession with their myriad gods, demons and mythical heroes. The action at this colourful temple is unbeatable.

Tirupati Temple
By far the richest temple in India, this marvel of ostentatious wealth dedicated to Vishnu (known as Lord Venkateshwara here) is a wonder to behold. More than 10 million Hindu pilgrims come to Tirupati every year, making it the most visited religious site in the world. Pilgrims line up for hours to glimpse the diamond-covered stone statue of Vishnu, which is stunning. But the real shocker is the massive piles of wealth donated by the pilgrims which are sorted daily by clerks behind a glass wall. The temple is located in Andhra Pradesh.

Dining & Shopping

Like the people and the land itself, Indian cuisine varies from region to region. The ubiquitous curries known as tikka and korma can be found everywhere, but with subtle differences. The basic staples of almost every meal include rice, lentils (dahl) and some form of bread known as roti. Whenever possible, try and order a wonderful multi-course meal called a thali to ensure that you get to try a few different dishes.

From the northern Mughal states come most of the meat dishes such as the famous clay oven tandoor cooking, kebabs, rogen josh and korma dishes. The north-eastern Punjab region specialises in parathas, thick bread stuffed with all manner of tasty things, served with fattening ghee butter.

Southern India is where the sea and tropical climate play a major role in the cuisine. Coconut is found in virtually every dish, from the creamy curries to garnishes. This is where you’ll find the best dosas, those incredibly addictive rice pancakes. Some of India’s best chutneys and sambar also come from the south, often accompanying the bounty of local fresh fish and seafood.

Spices (masalas) form the basis of nearly every Indian dish, and there are hundreds of them. From bitter yellow turmeric to sweet clove and cardamom, foodies will find themselves in flavour heaven no matter what dish you try. Some curries can be extremely spicy, so start mild and work up your chilli tolerance.

Although many Indians (and dishes) are vegetarian, there are still plenty of sumptuous meat dishes to try. Stick to chicken or fish unless you’re in a top-end restaurant as these meats are the most reliable (i.e. it really is chicken). Plenty of tropical fruit is available in India, just be sure you peel it before eating.

For drinks, you’ll find the milky tea known as chai everywhere you go. It’s the national drink and delicious. Yoghurt lassi is also a big favourite, but avoid ice unless you can be sure it comes from purified water.

Shopping can be a lot of fun in India as it produces an incredibly wide range of items. Each region has its specialty, and many towns are famous for certain crafts. If you are a fan of carpets, textiles, leatherwork, silverwork or antiques, you’ll find that India is a superb place to shop. No matter how big or small the shop, bargaining is a way of life. The shopkeeper will expect you to haggle down the price, so have fun with it and settle on a price you feel is fair.

One of India’s main products is textiles. Rajasthan and Chennai cotton, Varanasi silk brocades, and Kashmir woollen shawls are all excellent buys. A cloth with a blend of cotton and silk called himroo is unique to India. Carpets are another major industry, and if you care to ship one home each region produces its own unique style of weaving and patterns.

Traditional Indian jewellery is quite heavy and very detailed. The skill and design of Indian silverwork is renowned throughout the world, and great bargains can be found in cities where the craft is practiced. India produces plenty of handicrafts as well which make good souvenirs. Leather sandals and slippers are popular, as are sandalwood carvings from Karnataka and rosewood from Kerala. Agra is famous for its intricate inlaid marble and alabaster carvings. If you are an antique hunter, remember that art and antiques over 100 years old cannot be taken out of the country.

Outdoor Activities

Exotic wildlife, countless beaches and the towering Himalayas all provide a playground for travellers looking to get some fresh air and exercise to go with their cultural experience. There is incredible trekking in the northern mountains, some of the best game parks outside of Africa and more beaches than you can shake a bikini at. You can even play a round of golf at the world’s highest golf course.

Beaches
The Malabar Coast is home to some of the best beaches in the world. Goa forms the social hub for the southern beach scene, but for something quieter check out Palolem, Morjim or Asvem. Many beaches have places to sleep, and most offer simple grilled seafood and cold beers. Another great option is Lakshadweep and its 36 islands. 10 of these remote islands are populated by friendly islanders, and the diving is excellent.

Golf
Golfers can boast of playing a round at the highest golf course on the planet in Gulmarg. As you’d expect, the views of Nanga Parbat Mountain (one of the world’s highest) are stunning. In the winter, Gulmarg is transformed into a modern ski resort.

Safaris
The next best thing to an African safari is an Indian safari. In Kerala’s Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary there are large herds of wild elephants. Banghavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh offers the best chance to see a tiger in the wild. Travelling atop an elephant ensures a unique and memorable way to experience this safari in relative safety.

Trekking
They don’t call northern India the ‘Land of the Gods’ for nothing. The southern foothills of the Himalayas provide hikers and trekkers with endless choices. Sublime alpine landscapes, snowcapped peaks, Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and high-altitude villages that literally cling to the mountainsides await those willing to walk into the mountains. Himachal Pradesh’s Shimla is a major hub for treks, as are Kumaon in Uttar Pradesh and Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu.

Whitewater Rafting
The Zanskar River is one of the world’s most exciting and challenging rivers for rafters. Those willing to undertake the journey are rewarded with some of India’s least seen and most spectacular scenery. Leh is the town where trips are organised, and everything from half-day jaunts to a 12-day epic rafting odyssey is available.