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We have a selection of guidebooks to some of our most popular countries in Asia. Written by our specialists, they detail destination information, a wildlife guide, some suggested itineraries and plenty more to inspire your holiday. Fill in the form below and if you live in UK, your guidebook will arrive by post within the next couple of days. For those who live abroad, we will send this via a PDF to your email.
The Golden Triangle is a great starting point for anyone visiting India for the first time. The journey is made up of three of the most visited cities in north India – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, offering a fantastic combination of history and culture.
Only after stepping foot in India will you realise that Indian cuisine, as you know it, just doesn’t exist. To paint both the delicate and punchy flavours of India with the same broad brushstroke overlooks the smorgasbord of dishes on offer from north to south. Tried and tested recipes balance coriander, cumin and cardamom with almost scientific precision, guaranteeing a culinary experience you will never forget.
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.
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.
Taj Gateway Pasumalai
Madurai, Kerala and the South, India
Best for: Culture History
Set among sixty acres of tree-filled grounds on top of Pasumalai Hill, with panoramic views of the sprawling Madurai and its steep temple gopurams, the Gateway Hotel Pasumalai Madurai is an attractive blend of colonial architecture and local influences.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
The main building, built in 1891, is decorated with hunting trophies and includes a well-stocked colonial-style bar with deep verandahs, wicker chairs, and whirring overhead fans. The elegantly appointed accommodations have a charming colonial feel to them and are spread across five blocks (the best being the very spacious executive rooms with balconies offering fantastic views of the city and Meenakshi temple) but superior rooms are also very comfortable, offering either pool or garden views.
The Taj Gateway’s old-world atmosphere and warm, attentive service (sometimes a little slow!) make this our favourite option in Madurai. There is a refreshing swimming pool and a good spa, as well as a choice of restaurants serving vibrant Tamil cuisine and western dishes that feature fresh local produce, and the kitchen never closes, meaning you can eat when you choose. Harvey's Lounge Bar is an atmospheric place with an old-world ambience and makes a great spot for a game of billiards, relaxing with a book or just enjoying an after-dinner drink.
Famed for its Meenakshi temple, Madurai is one of India’s oldest cities with a history dating back to the 6th century BC, when it used to trade with the ancient Greeks and Romans. The city is most famous for its Meenakshi Temple, an outstanding example of southern Indian architecture built at the same time as the Taj Mahal, which features nine towering gopurams covered in a riot of colourful stucco images. It’s an amazing place to absorb the sacred atmosphere and observe bare-chested priests and thousands of pilgrims in its dark halls filled with the scent of flowers, coconut and ghee.
When to go
Southern India’s tropical climate means the area isn’t as dry as much of India, though temperatures stay pretty consistent all year round. You can expect a light sprinkling of rain any time of year but the beaches are best visited during the months of November to February with warmer temperatures and minimal rainfall. The hot season between March to June brings high levels of humidity making it best to visit the hill stations which provide relief from the hotter lowlands. Monsoon season begins in July lasting until September, bringing marginally more rain than other times of the year. Once the monsoon subsides in September, the stunning emerald landscape marks an exceptional time for hiking or visiting hill stations.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Things to do
Cycle rickshaw tour through local markets
A cycle rickshaw tour through the local markets surround the Meenakshi temple in Madurai with a visit to a metal pot workshop.
Dinner with a local Hindu family in their home
A memorable experience of dining with a local Hindu family. You will help them shop for and prepare the meal whilst being shown excellent Indian hospitality.
Early morning walking tour of Madurai town
An early morning walking tour from 6am of Madurai town. Immerse yourself in local culture and interact with local people as they begin their days work.
Madurai evening temple ceremony
Visit this stunningly decorated temple for the evening 'going to bed' ceremony.
Holiday ideas including a stay in this property
Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Shahpura, Udaipur, Cochin, Munnar, Madurai, Thekkady and Periyar National Park, Backwaters, Marari
Discover beguiling India and all it has to offer on this 19 night itinerary, taking you from the glittering palaces and mighty forts of the north to the rolling hills, vibrant temples, and enchanting backwaters of the south.
Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Tanjore, Chettinad, Madurai
Discover Tamil Nadu on this culturally enriching ten night itinerary, taking you to soaring ancient temples, architecturally stunning 18th century mansions, and charming sea-side towns with rich colonial histories.
Chennai, Pondicherry, Tanjore, Chettinad, Madurai, Dinidgul, Thekkady, Backwaters, Cochin
Combining Tamil Nadu’s ancient temples with the rolling hills and stunning backwaters of Kerala, this 15 night itinerary is the perfect introduction to two of south India’s most entrancing states.
Cochin, Munnar, Dindigul, Maudrai, Tanjore, Pondicherry, Chennai, Andaman Islands
A truly tempting two and a half week itinerary that combines the beauty and culture of south India with the pristine sandy beaches of the Andaman Islands.
Cochin, Munnar, Madurai, Thekkady and Periyar National Park, Backwaters, Marari
From cosmopolitan cities and temple towns to the enchanting backwaters and mountainous hill stations, this twelve night itinerary introduces you to some of the best sights and experiences Kerala has to offer.