Welcome to India, a land of over a billion people and home to ancient temples, imposing forts, fairy-tale palaces, wildlife-filled jungles, golden beaches, verdant tea plantations and the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. A holiday here opens both the eyes and the mind, feeds the imagination and the spirit, enriches the soul, astounds, excites and confounds in equal measure. The sheer volume of people, rather than being oppressive, is often exhilarating, a feeling that’s further fuelled by the beaming smiles and unbridled optimism of almost everyone you meet along the way.
India’s civilisations, from the Mughal Empire to the British Raj, have spawned a rich and remarkable history dating back to at least 2,500 BC. Throughout the country you’ll find a wealth of mesmerising monuments, such as the iconic Taj Mahal, the great temples of Tamil Nadu and Jaipur’s magnificent Amber Fort, to name just a few. Our India holidays take in the very best of these man-made icons, and plenty of lesser-known gems, too. And, you'll explore them all in the company of guides who can really bring their often colourful histories to life.
India is a country of vibrant celebration, and its festivals showcase the diverse cultural traditions and intoxicating religious fervour that make it one of the most spiritual nations on earth. Expect things to get loud and lively, especially if you happen to be around during Holi. Known as the 'festival of colours', devotees take to the streets in incalculable numbers to dance, eat, drink and cover each other in riotously coloured paints – it really is an incredible spectacle.
A foodie's paradise
Food and drink play a vital role in Indian life. And, from aromatic curries to the steaming glasses of chai served on almost every street corner, each region has its own flavours and cooking styles. Perhaps the best way to experience the culinary diversity of each region is to tuck into a thali – a collection of small-plates designed to showcase the very best of a region's cuisine, whether that's the fresh fish and tropical flavours of Kerala or the richly spiced curries of Rajasthan. And, don't miss out on the street food which, from kati rolls to chaats and puris, are a staple of traditional Indian cuisine and a true insight into the sheer breadth of spices that make India one of the world's tastiest nations.
India’s wildlife is also extraordinary, with elephants, leopards, rhinos and over 1,250 species of birds found throughout the country. You can see many of these species in India’s national parks such as Ranthambore, where crumbling forts and mist-shrouded hills provide the ideal habitat for a whole host of species, including the royal Bengal tiger. And, to the southeast, the national parks of Madhya Pradesh – Bandhavgarh, Pench, Panna and Kanha – offer similarly diverse nature, as well as arguably the best tiger spotting opportunities in the country. No matter where your travels take you, you can expect the very best in service and facilities, at luxury lodges that pair standout locations with gourmet dining and activities that truly bring these region's and their wildlife into the sharpest focus.