India is an intriguing yet overwhelming place. It is a melting pot of several religions, several hundred languages, and several million people. Due to its staggering size, it can be difficult to know where to start when planning a trip there. Luckily a helping hand isn’t far away. We’ve stripped India back to basics, compiling a list of India’s highlights and more importantly, how, where and when to see them. Exploring the nooks and crannies of its cities, discovering its ancient charm, experiencing its age old rituals, and falling under the spell of India’s irrepressible charm makes for an adventure you will never forget.
India is a magical country which welcomes travellers with a chaotic and colourful assault on the senses. Never is this more prominent than during one of the many festivals. Below we have listed the dates for the major festivals in India in 2017. Speak to one of our specialists about incorporating one of these into a tailor-made itinerary.
With millions of passengers on the move every day, travelling on some 71,000 miles of track, India's intricate network of railways are the arteries of the country, connecting its bustling cities with its sleepy villages and everywhere in between. The sprawling rail network reaches the nooks and crannies of India which are otherwise impossible to find. Amongst the country's miles of train tracks are some of the most picturesque rail journeys in the world, most notable of which are its famed toy trains. Whilst perhaps not the most efficient way of getting from A to B, the experience is an absolute must to add to your India itinerary.
Enjoy a sneak peek into daily life in India by staying at a haveli or in a homestay. If only for a few nights, you will be shoehorned into a family, enjoying traditional Indian hospitality, sampling home cooked food and exploring the path less travelled. Staying at one of these unique lodgings will give you an incredible insight into real India, and you will be welcomed with open arms by hosts whose wealth of local knowledge knows no bounds. Coming in all shapes and sizes, from plantation bungalows to historic houses, majestic forts and charming cottages, a short stay in one of these unique properties allows you to immerse yourself in India rather than simply visit it.
When to go to the Himalayas and North India
The best time to visit the northern region of India is after September, avoiding the monsoon season, and before June. Ideal months being January, February and March, to avoid biting winds in Delhi coming from the Himalayas.
Winter - November to March
The weather is very pleasant and this is the best time to visit this part of India. This is a good time to be out sightseeing in Varanasi as the weather is pleasant and very cool. In Amritsar, winters can touch a freezing -4°C, the highest temperature going up to 18°C. If you visit Darjeeling, take woollen clothes in winters and may avoid chilly days in January.
Summer - April to June
Summers are hot with temperature soaring to a peak of about 40-45 °C. Due to temperatures and precipitation, Delhi can be an extreme place to visit during summer. The most comfortable climate is now found in Darjeeling with mild temperature never crossing 25 °C. Ladakh is open for tourists only during the summer months as it is the only season when the passes open.
Monsoon Season - July to October
Monsoons offer mild to heavy rains and are pleasant after the hot summers. In Darjeeling, monsoons are accompanied by intense torrential rain causing roadblocks. In Delhi, during this time the humidity is very high. Varanasi experiences high humidity levels as well, and it is not advised to visit during these months. In Ladakh, the monsoon season brings rainfall and due to the land slides, the area is closed.