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Top Trip Memories

  • Relaxing in Kerala’s floating hotels known as Kettuvallams. 
  • Basking in Goa’s beautiful Palolem beach, and sipping in fresh coconut water to keep you hydrated. 
  • Visiting Jaisalmer, a desert town in Rajasthan.
  • Visiting Varanasi, a city in Uttar Pardesh, which consist of more than 2000 temples and attracts pilgrims and devotees of Hindu, Buddhists and Jains.
  • Enjoying a river cruise in Ganges River.  
  • Seeing Taj Mahal, an epitome built by Shah Jahan, a Mughal emperor for his wife. 
  • For wildlife lovers, a visit to Kanha National Park is must, as it is one of the few best places to see a tiger in India. 
  • Visit to Harmandir Sahib, a popular Sikhs temple also known as the Golden Temple.
  • Riding a camel into the Thar desert, and sleeping beneath the stars.
  • Meditating in a temple in Dharmasala, the home of the Dalai Lama.
  • Hiking through the magnificent Valley of the Flowers.
  • Zig-zagging through mountains while paragliding in the Himalayas.
  • Staying with a local family in a Himalayan village.
  • Bouncing along chaotic city streets and dodging other vehicles (and cows) in a tuk-tuk.
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Tour Tips

  • Trekking in India can be an incredible experience, particularly in the Himalayan regions of the North, however, intensity levels vary. Make sure you pick a trek that is suitable to your fitness level.
  • Pack appropriately. The weather varies greatly in different regions and at different times of the year, so bring suitable clothes and invest in decent gear. If you're hiking, make sure to wear decent hiking shoes that have been fully broken in. Also, make sure that gear advertised as waterproof is actually waterproof (stuck up a mountain in monsoon rain is not the time to be figuring this out!).
  • When booking a tour, find out as much as possible about what is included. For example: Do you need to bring your own drinking water? Does renting a sleeping bag or mosquito net cost extra? Will you be picked up and/or dropped at your hotel?
  • Different operators offer different levels of comfort, so be sure to investigate the sleeping and transport conditions. It's also worth asking how many people will be on the tour, as a comfy jeep becomes a lot less so when over a dozen people are shoved inside.
  • Inform the operator about your dietary needs beforehand. Vegetarians and vegans will usually be well catered for, but some more specific requirements (allergies, etc.) may require additional planning. The food can also be far spicier than the food back home, so let the operator know if you'd like the heat dialed down a bit.
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India Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.8 out of 5

99%

recommend

4,464 Reviews

  • Excellent 3,538
  • Great 847
  • Average 53
  • Disappointing 17
  • Terrible 9

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.8
  • Guide
    4.8
  • Activities
    4.8
  • Lodging
    4.8
  • Transportation
    4.8
  • Meals
    4.8

Tour Reviews

5.0
April 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
This is an amazing introduction to India. A fairly short trip which packs everything in. Krishna Kumar our guide was amazing, knowledgeable, likeable and worked really hard to make this a fantastic holiday. Thanks Krishna ! I'll be back as they say.
Our guide

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Highlights of Northern India

Highlights of Northern India

5.0
April 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
This was a jammed packed introduction to the highlights of Northern India, it was exactly as advertised. The distant between attractions did make for some long days traveling but our guide made sure that we had sufficient breaks, even stopping for us to watch bricks being made by hand, a popular industry. In the countryside you see many chimneys which are used in brick making.
Top had to be the evening boat trip on the Ganges, not part of the trip but our guide, Ronit, encouraged us to witness the cremations & evening prayer, it was extremely moving. Closely followed by the beauty & size of the Taj Mahal & Ranthambore National Park, although we didn't see any Tigers the tranquility of the landscape made for a peaceful few days.

Ronit was excellent, he arranged the evening trip on the Ganges from Varanasi, including all transport. He was knowledgeable & very calm in busy situations!

Be aware that there is a lot of traveling, there are long periods in the minibus, perhaps have a couple of extra days in Delhi to unwind at the end? But really if you want to see Northern India in 10 days I cannot fault it!

It was a great trip, my fist time with Exodus & it was excellent.

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Grand Tour of India

India Grand Tour

5.0
April 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
This was an excellent trip. The places and sites visited were fantastic and had a great variety of interest - from temples, palaces, forts, places of historical interest, wildlife and a fantastic scenery throughout.
I really enjoyed visiting the temple caves of Ellora and Ajanta near Aurangabad. What an an amazing feat of construction, being carved from the volcanic lava mountains. The intricate and beautiful paintings at Ajanta were especially inspirational.

Our group leader was Naveen Bazaz. At our initial group meeting he said that he wanted our group to think of him as a member of our family and this he undoubtedly achieved. His vast knowledge of everything about India (history, places, religion etc.) was beyond expectation. Any time of day or night he was always there to advise, care and look after our health and welfare requirements. I feel so thankful to have had him as our group leader and I strongly feel that without him the holiday would not have been so memorable.

The holiday is aimed at seeing and experiencing as much of North and South India as possible in 31 days, which means that there vast distances to travel. Therefore be prepared for this and do not over pack as although hotel porters will help, inevitably a lot of responsibility for your luggage is down to yourself especially on the overnight trains.

I would thoroughly recommend this holiday to anyone who loves travel and wants to experience all aspects of India's culture, religion, cuisine etc.

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Colours of Rajasthan

Colours of Rajasthan

5.0
April 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
A fascinating trip, packed with the vibrant cultures of India. The tour was excellently planned and managed.
It has to be The Taj Mahal in the morning light. Also the beautiful countryside between Udaipur and Jodphur.

Harish was the perfect group leader. Very well informed, intelligent and amusing. And very thoughtful too, ensuring everyone was feeling good and enjoying the trip.

Be aware that there is a lot of travelling on some days but it is well managed. If you want to see the many places in the intinary, it is worth the travelling.

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A wonderful experience of Northern India

Colours of Rajasthan

4.0
April 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
This trip was a wonderful taster of all that Rajasthan had to offer. Travelling long distances, although tiring, meant that experiencing all of Rajasthan was possible. From the bustling of Delhi to the calm of Ranthambore, this trip will have something for everyone.
I loved the Taj Mahal, which is a wonderful memorial to love and a beautiful sight. However, it was also wonderful to visit India during Holi, a bright and colourful festival.

Ronit was a wonderful tour leader who ensured that everyone was happy throughout the trip. He couldn't have done more for us throughout the trip.

The days are long on this trip and there is a lot of travelling. The trip notes are quite accurate, but don't underestimate how hard 5-6 hours on a coach may be for you. However, the view out of the window is always interesting in India.

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Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies


Classic Itineraries

Traveling India's Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle is a famous northern route that connects the national capital of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. This is India’s most well-traveled route, providing visitors a glimpse of India’s diverse landscapes.

Day 1, Delhi: See the Gandhi memorial museum, Red Fort, and the Jama Masjid, the largest Mosque in India.

Day 2-3, Jaipur: Visit the Pink City of Jaipur, former residence of the royal family, and the capital of Rajasthan. See the Hawa Mahal, the “Palace of Winds”, and Amber Fort, the former capital. Optional: Watch a Bollywood film at the famous Raj Mandir Cinema.

Day 4-5, Agra: See the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, a palatial walled city of sandstone.

Day 6-7, Delhi: Return to Delhi and enjoy some shopping or a rickshaw ride around the city.

Trips that follow this itinerary:

Golden Triangle with Tucan Travel - 8 Days, basic trip

The Golden Triangle with Explore! - 7 Days, premium trip

Golden Triangle with Intrepid - 8 Days, value trip

Or see All Golden Triangle Guided Tours

The Best of Northern India

A trip to northern India for first timers necessitates a visit to the Golden Triangle coupled with at least one holy city. Some trips consist of a river cruise down the sacred Ganges river, where you unpack once and see all the sights along the way.

Day 1-3, New Delhi: See New Delhi and Old Delhi. Visit Jama Masjid, India’s oldest Mosque, and see the Red Fort, where the last Moghul emperor was exiled.

Day 4-5 Agra: See the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, a palatial walled city of sandstone.

Day 6-7, Jaipur: Visit the Pink City of Jaipur, former residence of the royal family, and the capital of Rajasthan. See the Hawa Mahal, the “Palace of Winds”, and the most photographed building after the Taj Mahal. Optional: Watch a Bollywood film at the famous Raj Mandir Cinema.

Day 8-9, Varanasi, Kalna, or Sawarda: Visit Varanasi, one of the most holy cities in India, Kalna, the region’s densest concentration of temples, or Sawarda, a village of temples including one dedicated to the Sikh religion.

Day 10-13 (optional): Take a boat ride down the Ganges River, and see the various buddhist temples.

Trips that follow this itinerary:

North India Highlights by Intrepid - 12 Days, premium trip

North India Highlights by G Adventure - 8 Days, premium trip

North India Explored by Exodus - 21Days, value trip

Or see All Northern India Guided Tours

Highlights of Southern India

Stark differences exist between subtropical landlocked Northern India and tropical Southern India, characterized by long coastlines. In Southern India, you’ll visit coastal cities, wildlife preserves, and enjoy unique Southern Indian cuisine.

Day 1-2, Kochi: Explore Kochi, a former trade center with a history of Portuguese, Dutch and British rule throughout different time periods. See Chinese fishing nets dotted along the coast of Fort Cochin.

Day 3-4, Coonoor or Kalpetta: Drive to Coonoor, most famous for its Nilgiri tea, or Kalpetta, famous for its dense coffee plantations.

Day 5-6, Mysore: Considered the cultural capital of the state, Mysore is home to the opulent Mysore Palace and the centuries-old Devaraja Market.

Day 7-8, Puducherry: Formerly the largest French colony in India and important trading town.

Day 9-10, Madurai: Madurai is known as the Tamil Culture’s most vital centers. See the famous Meenakshi Temple and the Gandhi Memorial Museum.

Day 11-13, National parks: Visit Periyar National Park, wildlife preserve, or Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary.

Day 14: Return to starting city.

Trips that follow this itinerary:

Best of Southern India by G Adventures - 14 Days, value trip

Southern India by Intrepid -15 Days, value trip

South India Explored by Exodus - 20 Days, value trip

Or see All Southern India Guided Tours

India Trips & Tour Advice

India is often described as being an assault on the senses -- an explosion of sights, sounds and smells that can be exotic, spicy, colorful, chaotic and overwhelming, all at the same time. Whether exploring Mumbai or old Delhi, relaxing on a canal boat in Kerala, riding a mountain train to Darjeeling, waking up for an early morning bathing ritual in Varanasi, attending the Camel Fair in Pushkar, or marveling at the sheer perfection of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India is an experience not to be missed.

This vast country is home to vibrant cities, golden deserts, architectural wonders, serene beaches, cultural celebrations, and gigantic mountains. A visitor could spend years in this immense and diverse land and still find new experiences to uncover each day.

Cities

Indian cities are chaotic. An array of honking vehicles weave along dusty roads, stopping for the occasional crossing cow. Crowds of people in colorful clothes squeeze their way through even more colorful marketplaces. The air is filled with the smells of spices and the sounds of temple bells. Embrace this chaos and you'll find that these cities are some of the most vibrant and lively places on earth. Flag down a tuk tuk or a cycle rickshaw and hold on for the rollercoaster journey. Visit a temple to attend a puja (religious ceremony), and receive a smear of red on your forehead. Get lost in a market trying to find the perfect scarf or henna tattoo. And, of course, when the spicy aromas start to make your mouth water, stop for a tasty curry.

New Delhi, the country's capital, is a common first stop for visitors, and offers quite a modern, cosmopolitan Indian experience. Mumbai is the place to go to sample the Bollywood scene. Kolkata can be quite jarring at first, but provides visitors with a rich cultural experience. Jodhpur, Jaipur and Jaisalmer all boast impressive historic buildings and forts, and are the starting points for desert treks. The city of Varanasi hosts unique religious events, such as bathing in the Ganges or burning bodies on the riverbank. In the south, Trivandrum boasts beautiful palaces and beaches, while the northerly mountain cities of Manali (in the northwest) and Darjeeling (in the northeast) are rich in Nepalese and Tibetan culture.

Desert   

The Thar Desert, in Northwest India, covers an impressive 120,000 square miles, most of which is located in the state of Rajasthan. The golden sand dunes, blue skies and lush oases are the perfect setting for a camel trek. Rocking back and forth on a camel, stopping to sample fresh goats milk at an oasis, followed by a night spent underneath the stars makes for an unforgettable experience.

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is a major tourist attraction in India, and it's easy to see why. This stunning white marble memorial from Shah Jahan to his late wife Mumtaz Mahal is a must see. Strolling through the picturesque gardens and marveling at the ethereal structure is well worth the journey to Agra (and the early morning start to beat the crowds).

Mountains

The Northern tips of India are dominated by the Himalayas. Here, the culture is largely influenced by neighboring Nepal, and Nepali is the dominant language in many areas. The Himalayan region is also rich in Tibetan culture, and many towns are centered around Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. The cities here move at a far slower pace to their more southerly counterparts, and the surrounding towns and villages make for a relaxing break. Don't get too relaxed though, as the mountains are also home to adventure activities such as paragliding and rafting.

Food

Indian cuisine is world famous. The flavorful dishes here are unlike anywhere else. It is also the perfect place for vegetarian and vegan dining. Be warned, however, that curries here are far spicier than their western imitators.

Despite the concern of catching the infamous "Delhi belly", food in India is generally perfectly safe to eat. Digestive difficulty usually comes from drinking contaminated water. Drink purified water only, don't put ice in your drinks, and avoid uncooked vegetables, and you should have no problems.

Trains

Trains are the preferred method of long distance travel across the massive subcontinent, and this in itself is a draw for many visitors. Many routes offer scenic window views. In the Goan region, the Vasco de Gama- Londa route takes in postcard beaches and picturesque mountains, before passing by the immense Dudhsagar waterfalls. The relatively short journey from Jaipur to Jaisalmer takes in a beautiful desert landscape. Darjeeling and its surrounds are home to the UNESCO protected "toy train"- the highest railway in the world, winding its way through cloud covered mountains and tea plantations.

Overnight trains are perfectly comfortable to sleep on. A first class ticket will usually get you a private cabin, while second class will get you a fold-out bunk bed in a shared carriage. Third class is hard wooden seats only, definitley not a good option for the comfort traveler!

Wildlife

High on every visitors wildlife check list is undoubtedly a glimpse of a tiger. While this is far from guaranteed, tiger reserves such as Kanha and Tadoba-Andhari offer the best chances. Even if the tigers remain elusive, there's a good chance of spotting wild dogs, sloths, and deer, as well as an abundance of exotic birds.

While riding an elephant is an essential bucket list experience for many, be very careful where you go. Many tour operators have eliminated elephant rides from their itineraries in the interest of animal welfare. Try to find an elephant sanctuary where they are well looked after. And of course, let's not forget the monkeys that can be found in the mountains, cities, temples, roads, and, well, just about anywhere.

Related Guides

Continent:             

Asia

Local Attraction:  

Taj Mahal, Kerala (Backwaters), Varanasi, Jaisalmer, Goa, Ajanta and Ellora caves, and Many More

Top Activities:      

Explore CultureHistory Sightseeing & Train Tour

Similar Destinations:                    

Nepal, Malaysia

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