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About India

India is a medley of fascinating colours and cultures, an historical legacy, a canvas of architectural masterpieces, and an extravagant exuberance of royal splendour. This land of sages and ancient legends is home to the eternal symbol of love – the Taj Mahal, magnificent forts and palaces of Rajasthan, emerald beaches of Goa and Kerala, ancient caves of Ajanta and Ellora and the Golden Temple of Amritsar.

Crowned by Himalayas in the north and surrounded by oceans in the south, India offers a platter full of variety, packed in one country. Ranging from walking trails through Himalayan villages, to desert camps in the sand dunes, tribal and rural experiences, modern metropolitan cities, wildlife parks, serene backwaters, luxury trains, river cruises and adventure tours, the choice is only limited by your imagination!


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    City

  • Agra

    The city of Agra was founded in the 16th century and marked the world’s architectural splendour map with the construction of the Taj Mahal. Today, Agra has become synonymous with the Taj Mahal, "the epitome of love" and one of the most beautiful wonders of the world.


    Taj MahalTaj Mahal: This monument of love in sparkling white marble is the epitome of beauty and grandeur. The Taj Mahal was built in the 17th century by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Situated on the banks of sacred river Yamuna, the construction of Taj took 22 years. Beautiful gardens, gateway structures and mosques complete the entire Taj complex.

    Agra fortAgra Fort: Built by Emperor Akbar in the 16th century, the Agra Fort is another masterpiece of Mughal architecture dotting Agra's landscape. The Agra Fort is regarded as a great fusion of Islamic and Hindu styles of architecture. The entire monument has been built using red sandstone.

    Itmad Ud DaulahItmad-ud-Daulah's Tomb: Built in memory of her father by Mughal empress Noorjahan, the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah is also called the 'Baby Taj'. This mausoleum is known for its elaborate carvings and inlay work. The tomb contains cenotaphs of Empress Noorjahan's parents. This tomb is also built in white marble.

    Fethpur SikriFatehpur Sikri: Fatehpur Sikri, within close proximity to Agra, speaks of the architectural splendor of Mughal rule. The one thing that strikes tourists on entering Fatehpur Sikri are the magnificent buildings in red sand stone. Fatehpur Sikri was built by Mughal Emperor Akbar in the 16th century.

    Amritsar

    Amritsar, the city of Golden Temple earns its fame as a Sikh pilgrimage site with numerous holy places of the Sikh religion in and around the city. Golden Temple is the cradle of Amritsar with the city growing around it nurtured by its divine sanctity. The temple is coated in gold and placed within a reservoir of holy water – the only holy place of Sikhism where one has to descend to reach the temple!

    Tourist Attraction of Amritsar

    Golden TempleGolden Temple: The holiest shrine of the Sikh religion is in the centre of the old part of town. The temple itself is surrounded by a water reservoir, which gave the town its name. A causeway connects the temple in the middle of the reservoir and a loudspeaker broadcasts a continuous reading of the Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib, in Punjabi. The high priest who reads from the holy book sits on the east side of the temple. On a daily basis, free food is served to all devotees and visitors to the temple, a trademark of Sikh religion, which firmly believes in community welfare.

    Jallianwala BaghJallianwala Bagh: This park is just five minutes walk from the Golden Temple and commemorates the sacrifice of 2000 Indians at this site, who were shot indiscriminately by the British in 1919. This was one of the major events in India's struggles for independence. Remains of the horrific massacre, with bullet marks and the well into which some people jumped to escape can still be seen here.

    Wagah BorderWagah Border: About 28 kms from Amritsar, is India – Paskistan’s border, the Wagah Border. Wagah border is popular with tourists to see "Beating the Retreat" ceremony performed by the soldiers from both countries every evening. Soldiers from India and Pakistan perform a flag march and bow flags of both countries as a sign of respect for each other.

    Ram BaghRam Bagh: This beautiful garden is in the new part of town and also has a museum in the small palace built there by the Sikh Maharajah Ranjit Singh. The museum contains weapons dating back to the Moghul times and some portraits of the ruling houses of Punjab. The museum is closed on Wednesdays.

    Tarn TaranTarn Taran: Tarn Taran is an important Sikh tank, about 25 km south of Amritsar. There's a temple and tower on the east side of the tank which was also constructed by Ranjit Singh. The temple pre-dates Amritsar and is considered to have healing powers.

    Aurangabad

    The city of Aurangabad was founded in the 15th century. The city has always been a prominent region on India’s Deccan plateau and has a long artistic and cultural history to which several dynasties have made major contributions over the years. Today, Aurangabad is renowned as one of the fastest growing industrial towns in India, especially in the automobile sector.

    Tourist Attraction of Auranabad

    Bibi Ka MaqbaraBibi Ka Maqbara: Commonly known as 'the poor man's Taj Mahal' the Bibi Ka Maqbara was constructed in 1679 by Aurangzeb's son, as mausoleum for his mother Rabia-ud-Darani. Situated to the north of the city, Bibi ka Maqbara is the poor imitation of the Taj Mahal both in design and execution, and is the only example of Mughal architecture on the Deccan plateau.

    Daulatabad FortDaulatabad Fort: One of the finest examples of war strategy and intrigue, Daulatabad Fort is situated enroute between Aurangabad and the Ellora Caves. The magnificent hilltop fortress of Daulatabad Fort lies at a distance of 13 km from Aurangabad city. Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, known as the 'mad sultan of Delhi’, built this fort in 14th century. Daulatabad fort is surrounded by 5 km of sturdy wall, while the central bastion tops a 200 mtr high hill. Climb to the top of the fort for getting fantastic views of the surrounding areas.

    Ellora CaveEllora Caves: Located at a distance of 30 km from Aurangabad, Ellora Caves complex is home to 34 monasteries and temples dedicated to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. Built between 5th – 11th century, Ellora caves are home to the largest single monolithic structure in the world. Ellora Caves bring the civilization of ancient India to life and are a unique masterpiece of co-existence and amalgamation of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religions.

    Ajanta CaveAjanta Caves: Ajanta Caves, the first Buddhist caves, date back to the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. are one of the world's greatest historical monuments. There are 30 caves at Ajanta, of which 5 are chaitya-grihas and the rest are monasteries. Ajanta caves are a masterpiece of mud-plaster paintings in tempera technique, made over centuries since the 2nd century. All paintings show heavy religious influence and centre around Buddha, Bodhisattvas, and incidents from Buddha’s life. Today, the sculptures and paintings at Ajanta are considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art.

    Bikaner

    The royal fortified city of Bikaner has timeless appeal. Lying in the north of the desert state of Rajasthan, the city is dotted with many sand dunes. Popularly called the ‘Camel Country’, Bikaner is renowned for the best riding camels in the world.


    Tourist Attractions of Bikaner

    Junagarh FortJunagarh Fort: Built in 1593 A.D by Raja Rai Singh, a general in the army of Emperor Akbar, Junagarh fort is a formidable structure encircled by a moat and has some beautiful palaces within.  These palaces, made in red sandstone and marble, make a picturesque ensemble of courtyards, balconies, kiosks and windows dotted all over fort.

    Lalgarh Palace MuseumLalgarh Palace Museum: Located 3km north of the city centre, this red sandstone palace was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh (1881-1942) in memory of his father Maharaja Lal Singh. Apart from its architecture, sprawling lawns with blooming bougainvillea and dancing peacocks make this Palace a not-to-be missed visual treat.

    Lakshminath TemplShri Lakshminath Temple: One of the oldest temples of Bikaner, this is the temple where the foundation of Bikaner was laid in the year 1488 A.D. by Rao Bikaji.

    Chandigarh

    Chandigarh is the best-planned city in India with world renowned architecture by Le Corbusier. As the joint capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana, the Union Territory of Chandigarh is a prestigious city of India.



    Tourist Attractions of Chandigarh

    Capitol ComplexCapitol Complex: This complex consists of the famous Secretariat, the High Court and the Legislative Assembly. These buildings are the hallmark of high profile architectural creation. In the center is situated the official emblem of Chandigarh, 'The Open Hand'.

    Rock GardenRock Garden: Created by celebrated artist Nek Chand, the garden has been made completely from waste materials, industrial waste and thrown away items. Rock garden has been established in the form of an open-air exhibition hall and houses sculptures made by using a variety of different discarded waste materials. A unique creation, the rock garden attracts tourists from different parts of the world who visit Chandigarh to see this amazing site. Several world-class performances have taken place in this creative and naturalistic open-air theatre of Rock Garden.

    Rose GardenRose Garden: The largest rose garden of Asia named the Zakir Hussain Rose Garden is located in Chandigarh and displays an amazing range of over 1600 rose species. The best season to visit this place is during the end of February when the Rose Festival is celebrated here.

    Art GalleryGovernment Museum and Art Gallery: The Government Museum and Art Gallery is renowned for its collection of stone sculptures, miniature paintings, decorative arts and coins. The collection of the Art Gallery is one of the most distinctive of its kind not only because of its richness but also because it contains some objects of art unparallel in the country. The most famous section of the museum is undoubtedly the Gandhara Sculpture Section, which contains 627 Gandhara works of art.

    International Doll MuseumInternational Dolls Museum: This museum has a wonderful collection of more than 300 puppets and dolls from various countries of the world for the purpose of entertaining the children. It is one of the most popular places for children to visit in Chandigarh.

    Delhi

    Delhi, the capital city and power seat of India, is divided into two parts – Old and New Delhi. The walled city of Old Delhi narrates the history of the city, whilst the contemporary New Delhi reflects the cosmopolitan face of India. From the chaotic streets of Chandni Chowk to the imposing features of Lutyen’s Delhi, this capital city encapsulates the extremities of historic and modern India.

    Tourist Attractions of Delhi

    India GateIndia Gate: Located at the heart of Delhi, the names of all the soldiers who laid down their lives during the Afghan war are inscribed here. India Gate pays homage to all Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives to uphold the honour of their motherland. India gate is surrounded by lush green lawns on both sides.

    Red FortThe Red Fort: The Red Fort in old Delhi is a magnificent example of Mughal architectural style. The fort was constructed by Shahjahan in the 17th century when he decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi. The beautiful interiors of the fort, including intricate carvings, throw light on the luxurious lifestyle of Mughal rulers.

    Qutab MinarQutab Minar: Qutab Minar is located at Mehrauli in south Delhi. A fine example of early medieval period architecture, Qutab Minar was built by Qutub-ud-din-Aibak in the 13th century. Built in red sand stone, the Minar rises to a height of 72.5 metres from the ground. There are intricate carvings and verses from the holy Quran inscribed on the walls of the Minar.

    Jama MasjibJama Masjid: The great mosque of Old Delhi is both the largest congregational mosques in India and the final architectural extravagance of Shahjahan. Having three gateways, four angle towers and two minarets standing 40m high, the mosque is constructed with alternating vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble. The courtyard can hold about 25,000 people.

    Chandi ChowkChandni Chowk: Meaning ‘Silver street’, Chandni chowk is the main street of Old Delhi, one of the most congested and most colourful bazaar of India. At its eastern end (towards the Red Fort) is a Digambara (sky-clad) Jain Temple, a Shiva temple and Gurudwara Sis Ganj dedicated to the 9th Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur who was beheaded here by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The western end is marked by the Fatehpuri Masjid, which was built by one of Shahjahan's wives. The bazaar is one of the largest and busiest wholesale and retail markets of India, where you can find almost everything ranging from clothes, fabrics, watches, shoes, books, gems and jewellery etc.

    Humayun TombHumayun's Tomb: built in the mid-16th century by Haji Begum, the senior wife of Mughal Emperor Humayun, this tomb is a wonderful example of early Mughal architecture. It is considered to be the predecessor of Taj Mahal. The Emperor along with his wife and other members lay buried here. It is built in classic Persian char bagh style - a central tomb surrounded by gardens.

    Bangla SahibGurudwara Bangla Sahib: Located in the heart of Delhi, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, one of the most popular Sikh temples of India, was the erstwhile royal palace of Raja Jai Singh, who dedicated this palace to the sacred memory of the 8th Sikh Guru Harkishanji. Today, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is one of the most popular Sikh temples in active worship, visited by thousands of devotees on a daily basis. The Gurudwara also houses one of Delhi’s largest holy water reservoirs and communal kitchen where tons of food is cooked and served for free daily.

    Lotus TempleBahai (Lotus) Temple: Among the relatively newly built attractions adorning Delhi's landscape is the magnificent Bahai Temple, more popularly called ‘Lotus Temple’. Built with meticulous care in the shape of a lotus, the temple is a great example of modern architecture. A deep serenity pervades the entire place. The temple is surrounded by beautiful gardens on all sides.

    Jantar MantarJantar Mantar : located in the vicinity of Connaught Place, Jantar Mantar is an astronomical observatory with masonry instruments designed by the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur in 1725. It's a collection of salmon-coloured instruments including a sundial and others that plot the course of planets and determine the time based on the direction of the sun.

    Rashtrapati BhawanRashtrapati Bhawan: The official residence of President of India is a superb example of British architectural style during colonial period. There is a slight ascent of Rajpath from India Gate leading to Rashtrapati Bhavan. The gardens of Rashtrapati Bhavan, particularly Mughal gardens rank among the gardens in India.

    Raj GhatRaj Ghat: Raj Ghat is the place where the samadhi of Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, is situated. Located in a sprawling well maintained campus, people in large numbers visit Raj Ghat to pay respect to the Mahatma. The place has a very serene ambience.

    Cannaught PlaceConnaught Place: In the heart of New Delhi, this is the stylish circular commercial and tourist centre of Delhi. It is an architecturally uniform series of white buildings mainly occupied by shops, banks, restaurants, state tourist offices, airline offices and travel agencies.

    Akshardham TempleAkshardham temple complex: this temple epitomizes 10,000 years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking grandeur and beauty. The Akshardham experience is an enlightening journey through India’s glorious art, values and contributions for the progress, happiness and harmony of mankind. A relatively new addition to Delhi’s tourist map, Akshardham is unique and modern and strikingly different to any other temple in India.

    Dharamasala

    Dharamsala is the closest one can get to Tibet while still being in India. This quaint hill station is home to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political head of the Tibetan Buddhists and a destination for those seeking spiritual salvation.


    Tourist Attractions of Dharamsala

    Mcleod GunjMcLeod Gunj: Tibet has lent importance to Mcleod Gunj. Fondly referred as the little Lhasa, McLeod Ganj draws more fame from the residence of His Holiness Dalai Lama more than anything else. The little township with clusters of monasteries and Buddha Statues is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Dharamsala. McLeod Gunj is also known for its Tibetan market and has several handicrafts which are made by the Tibetans themselves.

    St. John ChurchChurch of St. John in the wilderness & Lord Eligin's Memorial: Fifteen minutes' walk from McLeod Gunj, the Anglican church lies in the forest near Forsyth Gunj. This neo-Gothic stone church was built in 1852 and has some fine Belgian stained-glass windows. It miraculously survived the 1905 earthquake - only the spire collapsed. A memorial to Lord Elgin stands in the churchyard. The British Viceroy died in Dharamsala and is buried here.

    ThekchenDip Thekchen Choeling Monastery: The Dip Thekchen Choeling Monastery is the best place if one intends to know deeply about the Buddhist faith. The monastery stands tall in the pine forests and is visible from a distance due to its golden roof. The first floor of the monastery is a museum with bronze figures, Buddhist images and a collection of mandalas (works of sacred art in Tantric (Tibetan) Buddhism).

    NorbulingkaNorbulingka Institute: This Tibetan Institute is the premier institute in the world which offers courses of study for Tibetan culture and arts. The Norbulingka Institute houses three academies namely 'The Centre for Arts', 'The Academy of Tibetan Culture' and 'The Literary and Cultural Centre'. The institute is famous for producing Tibetan gift items, paintings, woodworks, metalwork, fashion accessories, silk paintings, furniture, Buddhist artifacts and much more.

    Chamunda DeviChamunda Devi: Chamunda Devi is the famous temple dedicated to the Goddess Chamunda Devi. It is situated in the village of Dadh,15 km from Dharamsala. The pilgrimage site holds immense reverence for devout Hindus and whenever in Dharamsala people of the faith make it a point to visit the shrine here.

    SchoolTibetans Children Village School: From its humble beginning half a century ago, Tibetan Children's Village has today become a thriving, integrated educational community for destitute Tibetan children in exile, as well as for hundreds of those escaping from Tibet. An interesting experience, this brings you close to local life in the region.

    Art InstituteThe Tibetan Institute for Performing Arts (TIPA): TIPA is located a short walk from the center of town. Another impressive complex built around an open courtyard, the Institute trains Tibetans (and occasionally foreigners) in the traditional Tibetan forms of opera, theatre and dance. Performances are held in the courtyard and an opera festival takes place here each spring.

    Goa

    Gorgeous Goa is one of the most idyllic beach holiday destinations in India. Breathtakingly beautiful blue beaches, sensuous silvery sands, fabulous flora and fauna, rich cultural heritage, captivating churches, and terrific temples, Goa has it all!


    Tourist Attractions of Goa

    Aguada FortAguada Fort: Fort of Aguada is situated in north Goa, 18 km from Panaji. The Fort of Aguada was built by the Portuguese to control enemy entry into River Mandovi and to protect old Goa from attacks. The fortification skirts the seashore. At the center of the fort is a circular lighthouse tower which was built in 1864. The Fort presently houses the central jail of Goa.

    Bom JesusBasilica of Bom Jesus: The church of Bom Jesus, "Good" or "Infant" Jesus, is known principally for the tomb of St. Francis Xavier. In 1946, it became the first church of India to be elevated to the status of Minor Basilica. The basilica, where the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier are kept, is the best specimen of baroque architecture in India. St. Francis's body was brought to Goa almost 150 years after his death.

    TerekholTerekhol (Tiracol) Fort: Situated on the northern most tip of Goa on a hillock overlooking the Arabian sea, Tiracol Fort was an ideal vantage point for soldiers who had to keep a look-out for enemy warships. In its courtyard is the century old church of St. Anthony. If the urge to escape to the ends of the earth strikes you, visit Fort Tiracol. Once an armed fortress that belonged to the Portuguese, Fort Tiracol is now content to spend the rest of its days on a cliff enjoying the kaleidoscopic view of the Arabian Sea and the spectacular estuary of the Tiracol River - the fort is now converted into a tourist resort.

    AncestralAncestral Goa: Located at Laoulim, 10-km from Margao, ancestral Goa is a mock up village dating back a century. Built in a verdant hillside, a guided trek takes one down the Goan memory lane. This sprawling village has a natural spring, a fisherman's hut, marketplace, mansion of 'Dona Maria' and traditional Goan artisans at work. One can stop by the 'Traverena', the country liquor shop, warm up with a peg of Goan Feni distilled at the 'Bhatti' and play an ancient game of 'tabla'.

    Saraswati TemplesTemples Of Goa: Among the temples of Goa, the Saraswati temples hold much significance amongst the local people. Besides, the Shanta Durga temple, the Ganapati temple, the Maha lakshmi temple, the Shri Nagesh Maharudra temple are also important places of visit.

    Menezes Braganza InstituteMenezes Braganza Institute: The Menezes Braganza Institute, formerly known as the Institute Vasco da Gama was built to impart knowledge in arts and sciences. It is an excellent example of 19th century Portuguese civic architecture. The present name of the institute derives from philanthropist Luis de Menezes Braganza. Today it is Goa’s central library with a good collection of rare books. The Institute also houses an art gallery with works by late 19th and early 20th century European artists. The exhibits are now housed in the State Museum.

    Jaipur

    Jaipur - land of the Rajputs, is an exuberance of colour, dance and traditional arts and crafts. Known, as the 'Pink City', Jaipur is home to a wonderful selection of ancient forts and palaces. One of India's most well planned cities, Jaipur is built in 9 rectangular sectors symbolising 9 divisions of the universe, as per Indian cosmology!


    Tourist Attractions of Goa

    City Palace jaipurThe City Palace: The City Palace is a wonderful blend of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles. The walls, ceilings and floors of the palace are richly carved and decorated. A huge building, City Palace occupies total one seventh of Jaipur's area. The palace also houses a museum having an impressive collection of costumes and armoury belonging to both Mughals and Rajputs.

    Jal MahalJal Mahal: Encircled by the clear blue water Man Sagar lake, Jal Mahal is one of the most fascinating buildings of Jaipur. The palace was built by Sawai Pratap Singh for royal duck shooting parties. It is interesting to note that many varieties of migratory birds still come to the lake in the winter season. The palace is built in red sandstone.

    Jaigarh FortJaigarh Fort: Perched on top of a cliff on the outskirts of Jaipur city, Jaigarh Fort is regarded as one of the best examples of medieval period military structures. The main attraction of this rugged military structure is Jai-Ban, believed to be the largest cannon on wheels in the world. The fort also houses a museum where a large collection of weapons and cannons used by the Rajputs have been kept for display.

    Amber fortAmber Fort: Built in red sandstone and marble, Amber Fort is one of the most attractive forts of Rajasthan. Essentially a military structure, an element of luxury is also associated with the fort. The construction of this fort was initiated by Raja Man Singh in the 17th century but could only be finished by Sawai Jai Singh in the eighteenth century. Influences of Hindu and Mughal forms can be seen in the architecture of this fort.

    Laxmi Narayan TempleLaxmi Narayan Temple: More popularly known as the Birla temple, this temple was constructed by the Birla family. Located on top of a hill surrounded by lush green gardens, the exteriors and interiors of this white marble temple has many exquisite carvings showing various mythological themes and images of saints.

    Hawa MahalHawa Mahal (Palace of Winds): built in the 18th century, this palace with its innumerable windows and screened balconies was especially built for the royal women to view the city and processions. Hawa Mahal is famously known as a palace, but it is actually a royal curtain or a see through wall, from where women of royalty could see the outside world, without being noticed.

    Jantar Mantar JaipurJantar Mantar: An astronomical observatory with masonry instruments, Jantar Mantar is a collection of salmon-coloured instruments including a sundial and others that plot the course of planets and determine the time based on the direction of the sun. This observatory in Jaipur is more popular than its counterpart in New Delhi.

    Nahargarh fortNahargarh Fort: Situated atop the Aravalis, Nahargarh Fort offers a spectacular view of the city of Jaipur. ‘Nahargarh’ means ‘the Abode of Tigers’, so this fort is also known as the Tiger Fort. The fort was constructed in the 18th century with additions being made by successive rulers till the 19th century. The geometrically designed Nahargarh Fort forms a remarkable backdrop of Jaipur and offers glittering views of the city.

    Jaisalmer

    Jaisalmer, in the heart of the desert is also known as ‘the golden city’. Covered with sand dunes, Jaisalmer was founded way back in the 12th century. During the medieval period, Jaisalmer had emerged as a major trade route centre between India and the western countries.


    Highlights of Jaisalmer

    Jaisalmr FortJaisalmer Fort: The fort of Jaisalmer is the second oldest fort of Rajasthan. The fort is located on Trikuta Hills and has a 250 feet high pedestal. There are five beautiful palaces inside the fort- Sarvottam Vilas, Akhai Vilas, Gaj Mahal, Rang Mahal and Moti Mahal. Very strong but beautiful looking latticework screens have been installed to protect the interiors from the fierce heat and desert winds. Rang Mahal, the most popular of the palaces, features some exquisite mural paintings.

    Jain TempleJain Temple: Three exquisitely sculptured Jain temples dedicated to Rishabhdevji, Sambhavanathji and Ashthapadi are another highlight of Jaisalmer. The ornamentation of the temples has been done in the style of the Dilwara temple at Mt. Abu and looks fabulous. There is also an emerald icon of Mahavira inside the temple premises.

    Jaisalmer havelisThe Havelis of Jaisalmer: The Havelis of Jaisalmer are examples of the architectural brilliance of the Rajputs. Some of the popular Havelis are Patwon-Ki-Haveli, Salim Sing ki-Haveli and Nathmalji-ki-Haveli. The elaborate designs on the walls and luxurious interiors give a splendid look to the Havelis.

    Desert CultureDesert Culture Centre and Museum: The Desert Culture Centre and Museum has an impressive collection of traditional items of the state. These include old coins, different kinds of textiles and traditional Rajasthani instruments. Some fossils found in the desert have also been kept for display. A visit to the museum would give you a good idea of the history and culture of Rajasthan.

    Jodhpur

    Located near the Thar desert, Jodhpur, is the second largest city of Rajasthan. Jodhpur was established by Rajput chief Rao Jodha in the 15th century. Like Jaipur, Jodhpur is also surrounded by a long wall consisting of 8 doors and 100 towers all around the wall. Owing to its architecture, characterised by pale blue shade, Jodhpur is also known as the ‘blue hued’ city of India.


    Tourist Attractions of Jodhpur

    Mehrangarh FortMehrangarh Fort: The fort of Mehrangarh is regarded as one of the most impressive and formidable structures in Rajasthan. The fort stretches to a length of 5 kms and is located on a 125 metre high elevated land. The fort was built in such a way that it becomes almost impossible for enemies to intrude it.

    Jaswant ThadaJaswant Thada: Jaswant Thada houses the cenotaphs of many Rajput royals. It was built in white marble in the year 1899 A.D. in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. There are portraits of various Jodhpur rulers within the main cenotaph.

    Umaid BhawanUmaid Bhawan Palace: The Umaid Bhawan Palace is an example of the early modern period architecture. A relatively new building, the magnificent Umaid Bhawan was built in early 20th century. Taking 16 years for completion, the purpose of building Umaid Bhawan Palace was to give employment to the famine struck population of Jodhpur. The descendants of some former royals still stay at the palace. A section of the palace has been converted into hotel and museum.

    Khajuraho

    A UNESCO world heritage site in central India, Khajuraho is famous for its erotic sculptured temples. There are a complex of famed Hindu and Jain temples in Khajuraho built during the 9th and 10th century A.D under the patronage of Chandela rulers. The Chandelas were known for their love of art and luxury and gifted to the world some of the best sculpted images. Khajuraho sculptures and carvings are highly erotic and sensual attempting to depict in pure form a whole range of human emotions and relationships.


    Tourist Attractions of Khajuraho

    Khajuraho TempleKhajuraho Temples: The temples of Khajuraho are divided into three categories-Western Group Temples, Eastern Group Temples and Southern Group Temples. The western temples are the largest, precise and centrally located. The eastern temples comprise of five separated sub-groups in and around the present village of Khajuraho. The southern temples are located at some distance and are least visited by tourists.

    Kochi

    Kochi (Cochin) is the commercial capital and the most cosmopolitan city of Kerala. Kochi, also known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, has one of the finest natural harbours in the world and an important spice trading centre. Starting from the Dutch, Portuguese and the British, Kochi was the site of the first European colonial settlements in India.


    Highlights of Kochi

    Mattancherry PalaceMattancherry Palace: The Dutch Palace at Mattancherry is a favourite with tourists at Kochi. The palace exhibits beautiful mural paintings that depict scenes from Ramayana. The palace was built by the Portuguese and gifted to the Raja of Cochin, Vira Keralavarma. Later, some contributions were made to the palace by Dutch invaders.

    Fort KochiFort Kochi: Fort Kochi is inhabited by Anglo-Indian community, presenting a very different and unique aura and ambience to the region. The culture is quite unique representing the Eurasian culture. Dwelling places built by the British traders and colleges established by the Dutch are worth observing here.

    St. Francis ChurchSt. Francis Church: St. Francis Church located in Fort Kochi region, was built by the Portuguese in the year 1503 A.D. Initially built in timber, this church was later changed into a stone structure. It is said that Portuguese explorer Vasco-da-Gama was originally buried here and his remains were later taken to Lisbon.

    Santa Cruz BasilicaSanta Cruz Basilica: Built by the Portuguese, the Santa Cruz Basilica is known for its Gothic exterior with soaring spires. Apart from imposing facade, the interiors are equally impressive. The stained glass and life-like columns looking over the confession boxes add to the beauty of the church.

    Jewish SynagogueJewish Synagogue: Among all the common wealth countries of the world, the Jewish Synagogue, Kochi is the oldest existing synagogue. The prosperous Jewish trading community built it in 1568 AD. The synagogue is one of the exemplary sightseeing spots in Kerala. Being centrally located in Mattancherry, the synagogue is easily accessible.

    Kolkata

    Once the greatest colonial city in the Orient, Calcutta (now ‘Kolkata’), today ranks among the four major metropolis of India along with Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai. It originated largely due to the expansionist ambitions of the European powers, especially the British Raj. Little wonder, Kolkata has some of the finest British edifices built in a variety of styles.


    Tourist Attractions of Kolkata

    Victoria MemorialVictoria Memorial: Built to commemorate Queen Victoria's 1901 diamond jubilee, the structure of Victoria Memorial was finally finished nearly 20 years after her death. A vast, beautifully proportioned confection of white marble domes set in attractive, well-tended parkland, this is the most enduring of remains of the British Raj in India. The memorial is most photogenic at sunset across reflecting ponds from the northeastern side. The structure, which is now floodlit at night, is a fascinating site of sparkling white marble. It has been now converted in a museum that houses the most impressive collection of memorabilia's from the days of Raj.

    Indian MuseumIndian Museum: Built in 1874, this is the oldest museum in India, housing a rare collection of archeological artifacts. The museum fills a glorious colonnaded palace with aging glass-and-hardwood display cabinets that are almost attractions in themselves. The entrance to the museum houses an original Lion Capitol, the national symbol of India.

    Eden GardenEden Garden: Located in the northwest corner of the city, this is a small and pleasantly laid-out garden. The place also houses the renowned cricket ground by the same name.

    Howrah BridgeHowrah Bridge: Kolkata's 700m-long architectural icon, is a vibrating abstraction of steel cantilevers, traffic fumes and sweat. Although over 60 years old it probably remains the world's busiest bridge catering to around 100,000 vehicles and innumerable pedestrians.

    Dakshineshwar Kali MandirDakshineshwar Kali Mandir: Kalighat's Kali Temple is Kolkata's holiest spot. The temple is dedicated to Kali, goddess of destruction. The current structure, painted silver-grey with rainbow highlights, dates from 1809. Of course the site is many, many centuries older and possibly the source of Kolkata's name.

    Birla PlanetariumBirla Planetarium: Loosely styled along the lines of Buddhist stupa at Sarnath, the Birla Planetarium is one of the worlds largest and looks impressive when floodlit. Its outer circle forms a small but well-presented, tomb-like gallery featuring astronomer busts and planetary pictures.

    Belur MathBelur Math: The headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math is situated in the north of the city. The place was founded in 1899 and houses a structure that was designed to be a church, temple, and mosque all in one. That's perfectly in keeping with the message of 19th century sage Ramakrishna Paramahamsa who preached the unity of all religions

    The Marble PalaceThe Marble Palace: This palace is built of Italian marble, stands amidst a lawn which has sculptures of Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary, other Hindu gods, Lord Buddha and Christopher Columbus. The rooms have numerous statues, paintings and oriental vases. Chandeliers dangle from its ceilings. The lamps on the stair cases bear testimony to creativity

    Kovalam

    On the Malabar coast along Kerala’s shore line is a small village, called Kovalam, meaning ‘a grove of coconut trees’. Kovalam is home to some of the most serene and beautiful beaches in India. A sheltered natural bay with cool soothing palms and gentle waves makes Kovalam a perfect beach paradise. Apart from its fantastic beaches, other places of interest include an Art Museum, Observatory and a Science and Technology Museum.


    Tourist Attractions of Kovalam

    YogaAncient Indian wisdom has created the practical science of Yoga which provides mental peace, radiant health and spiritual fulfilment to soothe the stress of modern life. Kovalam is home to a large number of Ayurveda ashrams, clinics, resorts, centres and spas.

    Kumarakom

    Kumarakom slumbers on the banks of the famous Vembanad Lake. The Vembanad Lake with its majestic canals, streams, lagoons and distributaries along its banks weave an intricate and beautiful network of Kerala’s famous backwaters. The best way to experience the real Kerala is aboard a backwater cruise in Kumarakom.


    Tourist Attractions of Kovalam

    Kumarakom Bird SanctuaryKumarakom Bird Sanctuary: The bird sanctuary on the banks of Vembanad Lake is spread over 100 acres and is home to thousands of resident and migratory birds. Some commonly found species include egret, darter, waterfowl, heron, bittern, kites, marsh harries, kingfishers, woodpeckers and wild ducks.

    Aruvikkuzhi WaterfallsAruvikkuzhi Waterfalls: The waterfalls are located some 18 kms from the Kottayam town and within close proximity of Kumarakom. This is a beautiful waterfall, where water cascades down the mountains and falls to about 100 ft.

    Vembanad LakeVembanad Lake: Vembanad is a beautiful lake that runs through the town of Kumarakom into small rivers and canals. The lake is a great picnic spot and activities here include boating and angling.

    Backwaters CruiseBackwaters Cruise: The best way to explore Kumarakom and the village life on the banks of the backwaters, is through a backwater cruise. Every year thousands of tourists embark on house boat tours and experience the real Kerala. With on board chef cooking seafood specialities from Kerala, you will love the experience of the serene backwaters.

    Mandawa

    Mandawa, in the heart of Shekhawati region, is a small town abound with Havelis and temples. The compact and busy little market town of Mandawa was settled in the 18th century, and was fortified by dominant merchant families. Today, Mandawa has some of the finest painted havelis in the region, and is a perfect place for wandering at random. Some of the famous havelis of Mandawa are the Chokhanis, the Goenkas and the Sarafas.


    Mumbai

    Mumbai is the city of dreams. The financial capital of India, it is also the primary center for the entertainment industry. A population that comes from diverse ethnic backgrounds and speaks over a dozen languages, adds colour, flavour and vibrance to cultural exuberance of Mumbai.


    Tourist Attractions of Mumbai

    Gateway of IndiaGateway of India: Gateway of India is the principal landmark of Mumbai and thronged by thousands of visitors everyday. A conventional Arch of Triumph, Gateway of India was conceived after the visit of King George V to India in 1911 and officially opened in the year 1924. Architecturally its designs have been derived from the 16th century Muslim styles of Gujarat. Built in yellow basalt, the gateway stands on the Apollo Bunder, and is Mumbai’s most famous landmark.

    Marine DriveMarine Drive: Officially called Netaji Subhash Road, Marine Drive was built on land reclaimed in 1920. Marine Drive runs along the shoreline of the bay, starting at Nariman Point, passing Chowpatty Beach and runs up to Malabar Hill. One of Mumbai's most famous attraction, Marine Drive is backed with the high rising buildings and provides fascinating views of the city’s skyline.

    Mahalaxmi TempleMahalaxmi Temple: The oldest temple in Mumbai, the Mahalaxmi temple is dedicated to the goddess of wealth. Mahalaxmi temple houses the images of goddess and her two sisters, which are said to have been found in the sea.

    Prince of Wales MuseumPrince of Wales Museum: Prince of Wales Museum is an impressive colonial building surrounded by a huge garden. The museum was built in 1905 to commemorate King George V's first visit to India. The first part of this museum was opened in the year 1914. Prince of Wales Museum houses archaeological findings dating back to 2,000 BC from the Indus Valley Civilisation and has a fine collection of Indian art and artefacts from across the country.

    Mani BhawanMani Bhawan: Mani Bhawan is the building where Mahatma Gandhi lived between 1917 and 1934 and today has been converted into a museum. Located near the August Kranti Maidan, the museum secures a large collection of Mahatma Gandhi's books, photographs and personal belongings.

    Elephanta CavesElephanta Caves: A short ferry ride from Mumbai harbour takes you to the Elephanta Island, home to 7th century rock-cut temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Elephanta caves are located two-third of the way up two hillocks, at the centre of the island. Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the main central cave houses the Maheshamurti, a three-headed sculpture of Shiva resplendent in all his forms namely the creator, preserver and destroyer. The caves also feature delicately-carved panels depicting the life of Lord Shiva.

    Mysore

    Mysore, not far from Bangalore, is a famous South Indian city, which is popular for its exotic sandalwood and rich skills. Small, easygoing and a crafts-crazy city, with friendly people Mysore features beautiful gardens, tree lined boulevards, art galleries and a fascinating palace.


    Tourist Attractions of Mysore

    Mysore PalaceMysore Palace: Once the seat of the Maharaja's of Mysore, the Mysore Palace now dominates the skyline of Mysore city. Built in Indo-Saracenic style, the palace has strong Afghani influence - an extravaganza of stained glass, mirrors, gilt and loud colours. The Palace features beautifully carved wooden doors, mosaic floors and interesting paintings depicting life in Mysore during the Edwardian Raj.

    Chamundi HillChamundi Hill: Chamundi Hill lies 1050 mts above sea level, within a short drive from Mysore city. You can spend a very pleasant half day, taking a walk up the 1000 steps to the top of the hill where the temple of Sri Chamundeswari stands. From the temple, you get superb views of Mysore city and the surrounding countryside. The temple also houses the statue of Nandi (Shiva's bull), carved out of solid rock.

    St Philomena's CathedralSt Philomena's Cathedral: One of the largest churches in India, St Philomena's Cathedral is built in neo-Gothic style. It is an interesting place to visit in Mysore and there is a beautiful image of Philomena in an underground chamber.

    Sri Jayachamarajendra Art GallerySri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery: Housed in the Jaganmohan Palace, the art gallery displays fascinating paintings, handicrafts, historical objects of interest and rare musical instruments.

    SrirangapatnamSrirangapatnam: Located just 14 km north-east of Mysore, on the Bangalore Highway, this island fortress was once the capital of the warrior kings Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Across the other side of the road from the fort stands the Daria Daulat Bagh, the summer palace of Tipu Sultan. Built in 1784, Daria Daulat Bagh is now converted into a museum and narrates stories of the sultan losing battle against the British. Daria Daulat Bagh has ornate and beautiful frescoes. Tipu's Fort at Srirangapatnam houses a mosque and the Ranganathswamy Temple.

    OOTY

    Ooty, also called the Queen of Nilgiris, is the most popular hill resort in south India, located amidst Nilgiri mountain ranges. At a height of 2,268 meters, Ooty is known for its salubrious climate and scenic beauty.



    Rolling Meadows, gardens and lakes vaguely reminiscent of England, characterize Ooty. The place still retains the aura of the British Raj with its cottages and stone churches. Ooty is also famous for its beautiful Botanical gardens, with 2,000 species of plant. A fossil of a tree trunk is a unique exhibit here and is believed to be 20 million years old. There is also an artificial lake where facilities for boating are available. Pony rides, mini train rides, and quiet walks amidst the forest tracks are enjoyed by tourists. The highest peak in the Nilgiri range is Doddabetta, 2.623 mts in height and 10 km from the main town.

    Shimla

    The hillside town of Shimla is popular as the erstwhile British Summer Capital of India. With strong architectural impressions from the British Raj, today Shimla is one the most popular mountain destination for locals and tourists alike.



    Rolling Meadows, gardens and lakes vaguely reminiscent of England, characterize Ooty. The place still retains the aura of the British Raj with its cottages and stone churches. Ooty is also famous for its beautiful Botanical gardens, with 2,000 species of plant. A fossil of a tree trunk is a unique exhibit here and is believed to be 20 million years old. There is also an artificial lake where facilities for boating are available. Pony rides, mini train rides, and quiet walks amidst the forest tracks are enjoyed by tourists. The highest peak in the Nilgiri range is Doddabetta, 2.623 mts in height and 10 km from the main town.

    Tourist Attractions of Shimla

    Chadwick FallsChadwick Falls: Tourists visiting Shimla like to visit the Chadwick Falls - 67 meter waterfall cascading into a deep gorge. Best views of the falls are available after monsoons when it is full of water. The falls are surrounded by thick forest which further adds to the beauty of the place.

    Taradevi TempleTaradevi Temple: The temple of Taradevi set in a picturesque location is widely visited by tourists. The deity worshipped here is Tara Devi, a Hindu version of the Tibetan Goddess Drolma.

    Himachal State MuseumHimachal State Museum: At a distance of 3 kms from the city centre, the Himachal State Museum is located in a beautiful building that is regarded as a great piece of colonial architecture in Shimla. The museum has a wide collection of statues, miniatures, coins, photos and other items from around Himachal Pradesh. A visit to the museum gives a good idea of the history and culture of Himachal Pradesh.

    Jakhoo HillsJakhoo Hills: Jakhoo hills offer a great panoramic view of Shimla town. The Jakhoo peak is the highest in Shimla. There is also an attractive small temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman (the Hindu monkey god) here.

    The MallThe Mall: The mall is the main commercial centre of Shimla. The place is full of little shops and restaurants. Gaiety Theatre, the main centre in Shimla for cultural activities is also located here. The theatre is a reproduction of an old British theatre. Excellent views of the nearby mountain ranges are also available from the Mall. At a point called the 'Scandal Point' in the mall area, a statue of nationalist leader Lala Lajpat Rai has also been erected.

    KufriKufri: Kufri is a beautiful hill resort within close proximity to Shimla. Kufri is known for its scenic beauty. Located at an altitude of 2510 metres, Kufri is a popular destination for hiking. Tourists come in large numbers to the place in winters to participate in a winter sports festival held here

    Udaipur

    If the colours pink and blue are common to the landscapes of Jaipur and Jodhpur, Udaipur may very well be regarded as a vision in white for its shining marble palaces and buildings. Popularly known as the lake city of India, Udaipur is also famous as one of India’s most romantic cities. The beautiful city was established by Maharana Udai Singh after an astrologer advised the warrior to shift his capital to the banks of Lake Pichola.

    Tourist Attractions of Udaipur

    The City PalaceThe City Palace: The largest palace of Rajasthan, with a fine combination of marble and granite, the City Palace is a jewel in Udaipur's crown. The palace overlooking Lake Pichola is renowned for exceptional crafting of its interiors. The mammoth palace complex houses three mahals – Baari Mahal, Dilkush Mahal and Moti Mahal. Apart from the mahals, there is also a temple dedicated to Dhuni Mata and a museum displaying the collections of Rana Pratap. The floor mosaics giving shape to peacock images are most impressive.

    The Lake PalaceThe Lake Palace: From a distance, the view of the Lake Palace is mesmerizing. Built entirely with marble, the architecture of the palace is such that it gives the impression of the palace floating on Lake Pichola. Now converted into a luxury hotel, this magnificent palace can only be reached by boat.

    Jagdish TempleJagdish Temple: Located close to the City Palace, Jagdish Temple has some fine sculpted images and ornamented interiors. Near the temple complex is Sahelion-ki-Bari or the Garden of Maidens. The garden has four pools and meticulously carved kiosks in marble.

    Crystal GalleryCrystal Gallery: Located at Fateh Prakash Palace, the Crystal Gallery features an exquisite collection of crystals ordered from F & C Osler England by erstwhile Maharana Sajjan Singh. The gallery was opened to public in 1994. The gallery houses masterpieces in crystal including tables, sofa sets, dressers, fountains, beds, washing bowls, decanters, perfume bottles and even a richly ornamented crystal carpet.

    Jag MandirJag Mandir: The temple of Lord Jagdish, this is where Maharana Jagat Singh I (1628-1652) gave shelter to Prince Khurram when he was about to attack his father Emperor Jehangir. It is believed that Shah Jahan was so mesmerized with the architecture of this temple, that this became his inspiration to build the magnificent Taj Mahal in Agra

    Varanasi

    Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India (also known as Kashi and Benaras) is regarded as an eternal holy city. Varanasi is the oldest living city in the world and has been a popular centre for learning for centuries together. Even today, people come to learn Sanskrit, the mother of all languages, and yoga in Varanasi.


    Tourist Attractions of Varanasi

    Ghats of VaranasiGhats of Varanasi: The ghats of Varanasi are the prime attractions of this holy pilgrimage city. Regarded as sacred by Hindus, every ghat of Varanasi has a history attached to it. Some of these sacred ghats also find mention in ancient Indian scriptures. The most prominent is the Dasaswamedh ghat. Stretching up to a distance of 4 kms, many religious rituals are held at the ghats on a regular basis. The ghats of Varanasi are best viewed at dawn, when devotees perform various kinds of rituals and earthen lamps are immersed in the waters.

    Durga TempleDurga Temple: The Durga temple of Varanasi is also held in high reverence by Hindus. In this temple, Goddess Durga is worshipped as an embodiment of shakti or female power, clad in red and riding a tiger. The deity is shown in an angry posture armed with a sword. The earlier ritual of animal sacrifice in the temple has now been discontinued.

    Bharat Mata TempleBharat Mata Temple: The Bharat Mata Temple is a relatively new building in this ancient city. Inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936, the temple houses a perfect relief map of India carved out of marble. The most unique feature of this temple is that instead of worshipping any religious deity, the temple is dedicated to motherland India.

    Bharat Kala BhawanBharat Kala Bhawan: Bharat Kala Bhawan is famous for its impressive collection of miniature paintings. The wide collection includes Rajasthani paintings, pahari paintings, Nepalese & Tibetan Thankas, and also paintings of many contemporary artists. The museum has also preserved many ancient scriptures and offers a nice break from the religious places of Varanasi.

    SarnathSarnath: One of major Buddhist pilgrimage centres, Sarnath is 10 kms from Varanasi. Sarnath is the place where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon after gaining enlightenment. Later, Emperor Ashoka erected several magnificent stupas like Dharmarajika Stupa and Dhamekh Stupa and other impressive buildings. Sarnath also houses the Ashoka Pillar, dating back to the 3rd century, which bears the Ashokan symbol of four back-to-back lions, which is today the national emblem of India.

  • Travel Tips of India

    Travel Tips

  • Currency

    India's currency is the Indian Rupee (INR). One Rupee is equal to 100 Paisa. Coins are in denominations of 50 paisa, 1, 2 & 5 Rupees. Notes are in denominations of Rs 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000.
  • Credit Cards/Travelers Cheque

    Renowned Credit Cards like American Express, Master Cards, Diners Club, Visa, are generally accepted by large establishments, including hotels, shops and airlines. We advice you to use travelers’ cheques of well reputed organisations like Thomas Cook, American Express and Visa. Please note that small shops and vendors may not accept credit cards or travelers’ cheques, therefore, we advice that at any given time you carry cash and loose change with yourself.
  • Climate

    Indian climate comprises of a wide range of weather conditions across a varied and large geographic area. Cool weather lasts from November to March, with December to February being the winter season. April marks the start of Indian summer, with peak summer commencing from mid May and lasting to the start of July. July to September is the monsoon season in most parts of India.
  • Clothing

    As a general rule, please remember that India is a conservative country. While the young generation is relatively modern, a large population of India, especially in non metro areas prefers to see people in covered clothing.
    Accordingly, we recommend that women should try and dress conservatively. Avoid tank tops or short skirts/shorts. The best outfit, especially during the summer months is a shirt or T-shirt worn with loose cotton trousers. These are comfortable, cool and easily washable. You can purchase them anywhere in India, at reasonable prices. If you are adventurous, try wearing the Indian 'salwar-kameez'. It is comfortable and free sized, and will guarantee a more friendly and receptive attitude from the Indian public.
    Indian winters can get chilly at night and early morning, but during the day the temperature could be as high as mid 20’s. Hence, it is recommended to wear layers that can be removed during the day.
    The Indian summer sun can be harsh. Remember to use sunscreen on exposed parts of the body. Covered clothing, a pair of sunglasses and a hat or umbrella would help in screening out harmful rays.
    Do not forget to remove your footwear when visiting a place of worship or mausoleum. At some places, you may even be requested to cover your head with a scarf and remove any leather apparel e.g. belts.
  • Experiencing Indian Roadways

    Even before you land in India, be very clear of what to expect on Indian roads - chaos, endless horn blowing, erratic driving, an occasional stray animal and an apparent lack of traffic rules would be a good start to create a picture of Indian driving conditions. However, amidst all this confusion, is a sense of direction, best known by Indian drivers! Be assured, you will be chauffeured by an experienced driver, who has grown up learning the tactics of Indian driving.
    Average driving speed in India is quite low, around 50-60 km/h. It is normal for drivers to stop frequently to ask directions; with the boom of new roads everywhere, maps are often not detailed enough or up to date, hence the age old way of discussing with passers by is very practical on the road!
    Watch out for cyclists, pedestrians and general traffic, when opening car doors – please bear in mind traffic can come from any direction! To ensure your comfort, please tell the driver if you wish to go faster or slower or stop for photographs or refreshments.
    Please bear in mind that due to poor infrastructure, distance is often deceiving in terms of driving time, as the latter is heavily dependent on road conditions. Please note that you do not need to reimburse the driver for his accommodation and meals. You may tip the driver, based on his service and your appreciation for those services. It is customary to tip the driver at the end of the day, but the amount of tip is entirely up to your satisfaction level with the service received.
  • Electricity

    Electric current in India is 220 -240 volts. India uses round pin plugs and socket sizes vary, therefore it is advisable to carry a multi-purpose adapter - one with a triple round pin plug would be most useful.
    Please note that the country is prone to frequent power failures and heavy voltage fluctuations. 3* standard and above hotels usually have 24/7 power backup, so you may not experience power outages at your hotel. However, smaller hotels, heritage havelis in remote areas, small shops and vendors may not be well equipped with large generators.
  • Food

    We would recommend you drink only purified bottled water. You can ask your tour escort for a few respectable brands for purified water. In restaurants, insist that a sealed bottle of water is brought to your table.
    Non vegetarian food should be eaten only at reputed restaurants and hotels. The meat at cheaper and smaller places could be of dubious quality. Beef and Pork are not easily available in India.
    Vegetarian food is easily available, cheap, and of excellent quality. Curd or yoghurt is served with most meals; it is a natural aid to digestion and helps temper the spicy food.
    It is not recommended to eat at street shops or stalls. The quality of food at small street shops could be poor and could lead to stomach infections.
  • Foreign Exchange

    You can exchange money at international airports where 24-hour exchange facilities are available through banks and approved money changers. You can also exchange currencies at nationalized banks and other banks in the country. Insist on a receipt when exchanging your money. Retain all exchange receipts with you, as without them you cannot reconvert your unspent money on your final departure from India.
    Some of the larger nationalized banks include the State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Punjab and Sindh Bank, HDFC bank, ICICI, Canara Bank, Allahabad Bank and Union Bank of India. International banks such as ANZ Grindlays, Standard Chartered, Citibank, BNP, Bank of America, HSBC and others can be found in major metro cities. Most banks have 24-hour ATMs. American Express and Thomas Cook offices may be found in major metros and tourist cities.
    Banks timings are usually from 1000 hrs to 1600 hrs on week days and 1000 hrs to 1200 hrs on Saturdays. Please remember that not all banks will exchange foreign currency or travelers cheques — particularly in small towns.
  • Health Requirements

    No vaccinations are officially required for a visit to India. Travellers should check with their GP / doctor in their home country regarding the advisability of vaccination against typhoid, hepatitis, tetanus and Japanese encephalitis and malarial prophylaxis. Should you have transited a yellow fever area within 10 days prior to arrival in India, a vaccination certificate is mandatory. Prescription drugs are not widely available and visitors should carry any required medication with them. If carrying a lot of medicines, it is advisable to have a doctor's prescription stating that medicines are required for personal use.
    Carry a tube of mosquito repellent with you. Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. Most incidences of stomach bugs are actually heat strokes. Fresh lemon juice with water or soda and coconut water are some of the most refreshing and re-hydrating drinks available and are advisable to be consumed in plenty to avoid dehydration.
  • Public Convenience

    In India, public toilet facilities are few, and we would advise you against using public toilets. Take every opportunity you can to use a clean toilet in places such as hotels and restaurants. It is worth making this a habit throughout your stay.
  • Public Transport

    Unfortunately, in India public transport like buses, local taxis and auto-rikshaws are not of a high standard. For all its guests, Travelite (India) ensures the provision of luxury tourist vehicles. However, should you wish to experience a local transport feature then please be vigilant of the following:
    • Taxis and auto-rikshaws fares change frequently. Before paying for your trip, insist on seeing the latest fare chart
    • Taxis and auto-rikshaws may not have meters in all cities. However, where they do, please insist on the meter being flagged in your presence. Where there are no meters, bargain a good price with the driver before you start your trip. You should ideally start bargaining with 50% of the asking price.
    • When using public buses, please ensure you get a ticket from the bus conductor when boarding the bus. For your own safety, please try and be seated in the bus. Should you have to stand in a moving vehicle, please place yourself as far from the door as you can, i.e. try and move towards the middle of the bus
  • Religion

    Four of the world’s main religions - Hinduism, Sikkism, Jainism and Buddhism - originated in India. Hinduism with its millions of gods is practiced by approximately 80% of the population, Islam by 12%, Christianity by 2.5%, Sikhism by 3%, Buddhism by 1% and small numbers practicing Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Judaism. Religion and spiritual life are closely intertwined with everyday life in India.
  • Shopping

    India is a country of bargains; if you are good at it you can make the most of it! We recommend our guests to be accompanied by their tour escorts when going shopping. Having a local person with you helps in negotiating better price and selecting good quality. It can sometimes be hard for tourists to negotiate with shopkeepers and distinguish inferior quality products from good ones.
    If having a tour escort is not an option, then we recommend you shop from reputed emporiums, government handicraft shops and fixed price malls.
    At all times, keep a close eye on your handbag and/or wallet. With a population of more than a billion, pick pocket is not uncommon in crowded places in India, so please be vigilant at all times.
  • Street beggars and hawkers

    Given the population and widespread poverty in India, it is more than likely that you will have an encounter with street beggars at some stage during your stay in India. Please be advised that India does not want to encourage street begging and the Indian government is constantly evaluating measures to reduce street begging. As general advice:
    • Don’t keep your wallet in the rear pocket. Keep it in an inside jacket pocket or side trouser pocket.
    • All valuables and important papers (jewelry, passports, return tickets, etc) should be kept in your hotel's safe deposit box. It is not advisable to carry these around, when sightseeing or shopping.
    If you have seen the famous 2009 Bollywood Oscar winning film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, then please beware that film is not far from reality. During your sightseeing and shopping excursions, you are likely to come across hawkers, who may try to sell you inferior quality products at exorbitant prices. For all group tours, we strongly recommend that you follow the advice of your tour escort. For independent travelers, we advice you not to engage in any conversation with street hawkers and when in doubt take advice from your driver or contact your 24/7 tour manager.
  • Tipping in India

    Tipping is a personal expense and depends entirely on the quality of services provided to you and your appreciation of those services. Whilst tipping is not mandatory, it is expected at restaurants and by drivers, guides and escorts. The following estimated guideline may help you in determining the tip amount, should you wish to tip any service provider in India:
    Restaurants: Approx 5 - 10% of your food bill
    Guide for half a day: INR 300 - 500
    Guide for full day: INR 500 - 600
    Driver for half a day: INR 250 - 350
    Driver for full day: INR 350 - 400
    Driver on outstation: INR 350 - 400 per day
    Escort: INR 400 - 500 per day
    Check-in and Check-out at hotels: INR 50 - 100
  • Indian Visa

    Visa

  • Specific Visas are granted for a variety of purposes. The principal types of Visa issued are mentioned below. Please contact the High Commission of India for further details if you are visiting India for purposes other than tourism. The visa application form is, however, the same. Separate forms are available for Pakistani and Bangladeshi Nationals.
    Visitors to restricted/protected areas need Special Permits and for this purpose an additional form has to be completed. Please contact the High Commission of India, in your country if you wish to ascertain whether any of the places you intend to visit fall in the category of restricted/protected areas.
  • Requirements for Visa
    • 1. Original passport valid for at least 6 months
    • 2. Appropriate Visa Fee
    • 3. Two Passport size Photographs (5 photographs in case of Pakistani Nationals)
    • 4. Supporting Documents, where necessary
    • 5. Duly completed Application Form (Pakistani and Bangladeshi Nationals need to apply on special application forms)
  • Additional requirements for different types of Visa are given below
    • Tourist Visa: Tourists wishing to visit India will normally be granted a Tourist Visa, effective from the date of issue. Tourist Visas are non-extendible and non-convertible. People who have to visit India frequently may be granted tourist Visa for a longer duration.
    • Business Visa: Business Visas are normally granted for 3 or 6 months. However, multiple - entry Business Visa for up to 2 years validity may be granted to technicians/experts going to India in pursuance of bilateral agreements or joint venture projects, having government approval.
    • Student & Employment Visa: Student Visa can be obtained on furnishing proof of admission to recognized Universities/Institutions in India. Employment Visa can also be obtained on furnishing of proof of employment with companies in India.
    • Transit Visa: Transit Visas are valid for halts of up to 72 hours in India. The visa remains valid within 15 Days from the date of issue and must be obtained before departure. Transit Visa cannot be obtained from immigration counters at ports of entry in India. Evidence of onward travel to a destination outside India is required.
    • Entry Visa: Entry Visas are issued to persons of Indian origin for duration of up to 5 years. These can be obtained, depending on the purpose of visit and eligibility, on a case by case basis.
  • Festivals Of India

    Festival

  • India, the land of colour and celebrations, is a rich country exuberating festivities 365 days a year! The large population, geographic and cultural variety, and the number of religions practiced by the people of India, makes every day an occasion and a reason to celebrate! Where ever you are in India, you will never be far from festivities…
    We present to you, our hand picked selection of few popular Indian festivals from different parts of the country that are sure to impress tourists. Not only are these festivals entertaining, they are also educative, allowing you to learn more about our country, its people and their customs and beliefs.
    So come along and celebrate the festivals of India!
    Contact us at info@traveliteindia.com for festival dates and tour bookings.
  • JANUARY

    THE ELEPHANT MARCH, Thrissur & Trivandurum : Elephant Fest The Great Elephant March is celebrated with a large gathering of Indian tuskers touring around Kerala - all decked up and ready to be worshipped and pampered! Elephants are associated with the famous Hindu God with a trunk – Lord Ganesha, who is worshipped as the lord of wealth and fulfillment. Rather than being a religious occasion, the elephant march is a unique festive occasion, enjoyed by both locals and tourists in Kerala
  • DESERT FESTIVAL, Jaisalmer : Desert FestThe Desert Festival of Jaisalmer, as the name suggests, is held in the deserts of Jaisalmer, in January (or February) every year. Celebrated with a number of cultural events, camel races, folk music and dance shows, turban tying competitions etc, the festival brings to life the traditions of the nomadic desert life of Jaisalmer. The rich culture of the region is on display during this three day long colourful extravaganza. The festival attracts a large number of foreign tourists, who are intrigued by the unusual customs of the region.
  • INTERNATIONAL KITE FESTIVAL, Ahmedabad : Kite FestIn India’s western state of Gujarat, the International Kite Festival is held in Ahmadabad on January 14, to coincide with the festival of Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti. It is a day when families and friends meet outdoors playing and competing against each other's kites. The people of Gujarat celebrate Uttarayan with a lot of enthusiasm and all business comes to a grinding halt for a couple of days. The festival lures expert kite-makers and fliers not only from major cities of India but also from around the world! A plethora of designer kites are also put on display. The festival is also a celebration to mark the end of winter.
  • PONGAL, Tamil Nadu : PongalPongal, a huge harvest festival in southern India, is India's equivalent of Thanksgiving and is celebrated with much enthusiasm. The festival is an important one because much of the state relies on agriculture to generate an income. The most important part of the festival is cooking the Pongal dish, made out of boiled milk and rice, on the auspicious second day. Families gather to feast and dance.

  • BIKANER CAMEL FESTIVAL, Bikaner : Camel FestThe Camel Festival is held in Bikaner in Rajasthan, every year in the month of December or January. It is a festival when the ships of the desert are seen at their best - camels fascinate tourists from all over the world! The Bikaner camel festival is a spectacle of unusual camel performances including camel races, camel dances, and the bumpy, neck shaking camel rides. The festival starts with the procession of beautifully decorated camels, heading towards open sand grounds. The Camel Pageant is held on the first day where the camel owners show off their decorated camels. Competitions are held for best decorated camel, camel milking and the best camel hair cuts. Camel dance performances are also held, where camels display amazing footwork, dancing gracefully to the slightest direction of their drivers. Camel races also take place, with thousands of locals and tourists cheering the camels. The evenings end with a rendezvous with the folk music and dances of Rajasthan. The jubilant, skirt swirling dancers, the awe inspiring fire dances and many other equally interesting performances entertain the visitors. The grand finale is a magnificent display of fireworks, illuminating the desert city of Bikaner.
  • REPUBLIC DAY PARADE, New Delhi : Republic DayIn celebration of the Constitution of India being founded in 1950, a spectacular Republic Day parade is held in New Delhi on 26 January every year. The parade, which marches down Delhi's central Rajpath Avenue, features the three divisions of the armed forces (Army, Navy and Air Force) who showcase their strength and stride. It also includes traditional dance troupes from various regions of India, and culminates with a dramatic aero show by helicopters and other aircraft.
  • FEBRUARY

    NAGAUR FAIR, Nagaur : Nagaur FairThe picturesque town of Nagaur is home to the famous Nagaur Fair, Rajasthan’s second largest cattle fair held every year during the month of January or February.
    Nagaur Fair is renowned for its cattle trading including cows, bullocks, oxen, camels and horses. Rajasthani villagers are seen wearing colourful turbans and flaunting their long moustaches. Regional crafts such as wooden artifacts, iron craft and leather accessories are available in abundance during the fair. Various games such as tug-of-war, camel races, cock & bullfights intrigue locals and tourists alike. The festival comes to life with folk music and dance performances by local village artists.
    Flocked by thousands of tourists every year, the Nagaur fair is a unique experience - a spectacle of colours that signifies the true essence of Rajasthan, allowing you to experience the local lifestyle and blending yourself in the colourful culture of Rajasthan.
  • TAJ MAHOTSAV, Agra : Taj MahotsavThe Taj Mahotsav is a 10 day carnival held in the month of February every year, at Shilpgram, near the magnificent Taj Mahal, in Agra. The festival commences with a spectacular procession inspired by Mughal splendour, with elephants and camels, drum beaters, folk artists and master craftsmen recreating the glorious past of the Mughals. Taj Mahotsav offers a great opportunity for local artists to display their exquisite works of art and folk musicians and dancers to perform on stage for visitors. The festival is an intriguing journey into the customs and traditions and local lifestyle of the erstwhile Mughal era, enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
  • KHAJURAHO DANCE FESTIVAL, Khajuraho : Khajuraho Fest Khajuraho Dance Festival is held every spring in the town of Khajuraho, to celebrate the glory of the fascinating Khajuraho temples. This festival is a cultural extravaganza, celebrating Indian arts - dance and music learnt from generation to generation. The Khajuraho Dance Festival presents the best classical dances of India, performed by well reputed dance groups from around the country.

  • SURAJKUND CRAFTS MELA, Surajkund, in Faridabad district : Surajkund FestInto its 25th year this year, the Surajkund Crafts Mela showcases the finest handloom, handicrafts, and Indian cuisine. Surajkund becomes alive with the rhythm and beats of folk dances and riot of colors. Over 400 artisans display and demonstrate their crafts from all over India. There are also cultural programs, and an amusement zone for children.T he mela has a different theme every year.

  • MARCH

    HOLI, All over India, particularly in the north : Holi Holi is commonly referred to as the "Festival of Colors". People exuberantly throw colored powder and water all over each other, have parties, and dance under water sprinklers. On the eve of Holi people light bonfires to mark the occasion and ward off evil spirits. Holi is a very carefree festival that's great fun to participate in if you don't mind getting wet and coloured!

  • ELEPHANT FESTIVAL, Jaipur : Jaipur Fest The Elephant Festival is a unique event held annually in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. As the name suggests, the Elephant festival is in honour of the Indian tuskers. Groomed to perfection, glittering in gold, row upon row of elephants catwalk before an enthralled audience. Elephant races, elephant-polo matches and a most interesting tug of war between elephants and men, are all part of this spectacular event.

  • MEWAR FESTIVAL, Udaipur : Mewar FestThe Mewar Festival is celebrated to welcome the arrival of spring. The festival is celebrated in the romantic lake city of Udaipur and coincides with the Gangaur Festival. The highlight of the Mewar festival is a procession of Rajasthani women, dressed in colourful saris, carrying idols and images of goddess Gauri to the serene Lake Pichola. An unusual procession of boats on the lake, amidst loud chanting of folk Rajasthani ballads, offers an exhilarating finale to this splendid celebration. The festivities also feature cultural events where Rajasthani culture is portrayed through folk songs, dances, drama performances, and a colourful display of fireworks.
  • APRIL

    THRISSUR POORAM, Thrissur, Kerala : Thrissur FestThrissur Pooram is the biggest and most colorful temple festival of Kerala. It is celebrated in Vadakkumnathan temple in the Thrissur district. The festival is famous for its unique decorated elephant procession (Kudamattom), which involves participation of elephants from various temples across Kerala. Apart from this splendid procession, other attractions of Thrissur Pooram festival include a spectacular display of colorful fireworks, parasol exchanges, an umbrella showing competition, and drum concerts. Lasting for 36 hours, the festival draws the largest crowds in Kerala, fascinating locals and tourists in the region.
  • BAISAKHI, Punjab : BaisakhiBaisakhi is a harvest festival, a Punjabi New year festival, and commemoration of the founding of the Khalsa….. all rolled into one occasion. Baisakhi is celebrated with a great deal of feasting, dancing, folk music, and fairs. A carnival atmosphere prevails in the area surrounding the Golden Temple in Amritsar.


  • MAY

    INTERNATIONAL FLOWER FESTIVAL, Gangtok, Sikkim : Flower FestThe International Flower Festival held annually in May, in Gangtok in the state of Sikkim, is one of the most popular flower shows of India. This festival features exotic varieties of local flowers, orchids and other plants of Sikkim. During this time, the state of Sikkim blooms with about 600 species of orchids, 240 species of trees and ferns, 150 varieties of gladioli, and 46 types of rhododendrons, along with a variety of magnolias and many other foliage plants. The flora displayed in the Gangtok Flower Festival mainly comprises of climbers, alpine plants, cacti, herbs orchids, creepers, gladioli, ferns, roses, etc.
  • JUNE

    GANGA DUSSEHRA, Varanasi & Haridwar : GangaGanga Dusshera is a holy festival, devoted to the worship of the Holy River Ganges. It is believed that the ‘Gangavataran’ (the descent of River Ganges) took place at this time. On this day, holy places along the Ganges plain such as Varanasi, Haridwar, Rishikesh, hold special significance. A large number of devotees flock to numerous ghats located along the banks of River Ganges to worship and wash away their sins in the holy water. At dawn and dusk, the banks of River Ganges are lit up with thousands of earthern lamps and candles with priests performing holy rituals and worshipping the River Goddess.
  • URS FAIR, Ajmer Rajasthan : Urs FairHeld in the holy town of Ajmer in honour of the Sufi saint, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Urs Fair is marked by special prayers offered at the mosque, and huge amounts of food offered from the large, steaming cauldrons that were a gift from Emperor Akbar. While quwallis are sung at night, the celebrations unite people of all faiths, and the complete town is decorated with buntings, and wears the spirit of festivity. It is an occasion for thousands of believers to congregate at the shrine and offer their prayers. All of Ajmer seems to take on a festive air and several programmes are organized to mark the festival.
  • JULY

    HEMIS FESTIVAL, Ladakh : Hemis FestThe Hemis Festival is held every year in the Hemis Monastery, the biggest Buddhist monastery of Ladakh. It is celebrated on the tenth day of lunar month in the Tibetan calendar. The festival is celebrated in the commemoration of the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. Hemis festival is celebrated with a colourful fair displaying some of the most exquisite handicrafts of Ladakh region and the display of the two-story high 'Thanka' of the monastery. The Thanka is beautifully embroidered with pearls and semi-precious stones, and depicts Guru Padmasambhava –it is put on display once in twelve years.
  • MANGO FESTIVAL, New Delhi : Mango FestThe Mango Festival is celebrated in India’s capital city, New Delhi, every year in the month of July. Held at Talkatora stadium, it is one of the most awaited fairs in the capital city. The festival also marks the advent of mangoes and presents more than 500 varieties of this king of fruits. Mangoes from different states of the country, are brought under one roof, where visitors can taste the summer fruit and learn more about each variety. Given the exotic seasonality of mangoes, the festival is a tasteful delight for locals and tourists visiting the capital region.
  • AUGUST

    NEHRU TROPHY BOAT RACE (SNAKE BOAT RACE), Alappuzha, Kerala : Boat RaceNehru Trophy Boat Race (also referred as ‘snake boat race’) is an annual event organized in Alappuzha, Kerala. It is held every year on the second Saturday of August. The event is promoted as a major tourist attraction by the state of Kerala and draws a large number of domestic and international tourists. The first boat race was held in the year 1952 in honour of India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, hence deriving its name ‘Nehru Trophy Boat Race’. Each boat comprises of approx 150 men, of which 4 are helmsmen, 25 singers and 125 oarsmen. The most remarkable feature of the Boat Race is the depiction of great team spirit – the race displays the importance of being united and in harmony with nature. One of the most famous boat races of Kerala, Nehru Trophy Boat Race promotes unity and fraternity among people.
  • JANMASHTAMI, Vrindavan & Mathura : JanmashmiJanmashtami, marks the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, one of the most popular Hindu Gods. The epicenter of the festival is Vrindavan and Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna. However, the Janmashtami euphoria spreads all across India. Festivities include various rituals being performed by followers. Temples all over India engage in various ceremonies and prayers in honour of Lord Krishna. The festival is celebrated all across the country with the chanting of shlokas, readings from religious texts, singing devotional songs and a number of dance and drama performances depicting the life of Lord Krishna.
  • TEEJ, Rajasthan : The Teej is a much anticipated monsoon festival for women. It commemorates the reunion of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Women apply henna to their hands and feet, get dressed up, and parade around. Artists such as folk singers and dancers follow the procession. Caparisoned elephants, bullock carts, and chariots add to the delightful spectacle.
  • RAKSHA BANDHAN, All Over India : Raksha BandhanThe Teej is a much anticipated monsoon festival for women. It commemorates the reunion of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Women apply henna to their hands and feet, get dressed up, and parade around. Artists such as folk singers and dancers follow the procession. Caparisoned elephants, bullock carts, and chariots add to the delightful spectacle.

  • EID UL FITR, All Over India : EidEid ul Fitr or the 'festival of fast breaking' is the most celebratory of all Muslim festivals. The festival is significant as much for its timing, as for its religious implications. It is celebrated after the long fasting month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Islamic calendar). The festival of Eid ul Fitr marks the beginning of celebrations for a period extending over three days. Women prepare sweets at home and all Muslims are seen adorned with new dresses on this day. Eid ul Fitr is synonymous with joy and thanksgiving. Such is the spirit of this great festival that even a lot of Non-Muslims participate in Eid celebrations in India.
  • SEPTEMBER

    ONAM, Kerala : OnamOnam is the biggest festival celebrated in the South Indian state of Kerala. Onam Festival falls during the Malayali month of Chingam (Aug - Sep) and marks the homecoming of legendary King Mahabali. Carnival of Onam lasts for ten days and brings out the best of Kerala culture and tradition. Intricately decorated ‘Pookalam’ floral decorations on the ground; elaborate grand meals called ‘Onasadya’; ‘Vallamkali’ fascinating boat races; decorated elephant processions and exotic dances are some of the most remarkable features of Onam - the harvest festival in Kerala. The beauty of the festival lies in it's secular fabric - people of all religions, castes and communities celebrate Onam, spreading the message of peace and brotherhood.
  • DURGA PUJA, Kolkata : Durga PoojaDurga Puja, the most important festival of Bengalis signifies the worship of 'Shakti' or the devine power. It is celebrated throughout India, but more so in the state of West Bengal, with Kolkata being the central hub of celebrations. Durga Puja commemorates the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. Temples are lit up with thousands of lights, earthen lamps and candles and carnivals are held to celebrate the festival and spread the joy. Singing, dancing, drama performances along with rich Indian delicacies and sweets mark the celebrations of Durga Puja.
  • Ladakh Festival, Ladakh : Ladakh festLadakh festival takes place annually from 01 - 15 September every year in Leh and the villages of Ladakh. The festival highlights the sports and culture of the region. It has plenty to offer tourists, including polo-match, music concerts, mask dances from the monasteries, motorbike / cycle expedition to Khardung-la, Thanka painting exhibition, archery, river rafting, and folk songs. A delightful cultural experience to enjoy in the Himalayas!
  • OCTOBER

    MARWAR FESTIVAL, Jodhpur : MawarThe Marwar Festival is celebrated in the blue hued city of Jodhpur, in Rajasthan. A two day long event, the festival takes place during the full moon. The Marwar Festival is mainly dedicated to the folk heroes of Rajasthan.
    The festival features Rajasthani folk music, dance and drama performances, bringing to life the myth and legends of the region. The festival also holds various competitions including the regal games of horse riding and horse polo.
  • DUSSEHRA, various places across India : DussehraThe festival of Dussehra is an important celebration in many parts of India. It is celebrated with great fanfare in most parts of North India, some parts of south India, and in the form of Durga Puja in West Bengal. Dussehra is a popular Hindu festival, which marks the defeat of Ravana by Lord Rama. Dussehra also symbolises the triumph of warrior Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon, Mahishasura. To mark the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana and celebrate the joy, paper statues of Ravana are set on fire on Dussehra day, followed by carnivals held in the cities and suburbs. Celebrations are in the form of religious ceremonies, followed by carnival entertainment with rides and games, music, dance and drama performances, grand feasts and a lot of Indian sweets.
  • DIWALI, various places across India : Diwali One of the most popular Hindu festivals, ‘Deepawali’ or ‘Diwali’, is celebrated to mark the homecoming of Lord Rama from exile. Also called the 'Festival of Lights', Diwali is symbolized by people lighting up their houses, shops, offices with lights, earthen lamps and candles. Lakshmi Puja is performed in the evening to seek divine blessings of Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth. After the religious puja ceremony, friends and family share a grand feast and sweets, followed by a splendid display of fireworks on almost every street of the country. Diwali gifts are exchanged amongst all near and dear ones.
  • NAVARATRI, Across India : navratri Navaratri is a nine day festival that celebrates the Mother Goddess in all her manifestations. Worship and fasting take place in the daytime, while the nights are reserved for feasting and dancing. The festival culminates with Dussehra, the victory of good over evil, on the tenth day.


  • NOVEMBER

    PUSHKAR FAIR, Pushkar : pushkarPushkar festival, held every year in the month of October / November in Rajasthan, is world famous for its camel trading, cattle auctions and camel races along with traditional activities like folk music and dances, colourful village shops and eateries serving traditional delicacies.
    Flocked by thousands of tourists every year, the Pushkar fair is a unique experience - a spectacle of colours that signifies the true essence of Rajasthan, allowing you to experience the local lifestyle and blending yourself in the colourful culture of Rajasthan.
    The Pushkar fair also coincides with full moon day of ‘Kartik Purnima’ when thousands of devotees immerse themselves in the Holy Pushkar Lake. Witness the rituals and see the believers wash away their sins, understand the customs and traditions and experience a stay at desert camps within walking distance to fair grounds….with a visit to the fascinating Pushkar festival.
  • HAMPI FESTIVAL, Hampi : Hampi FestThe Hampi Festival is celebrated in the deserted city of Hampi (in Karnataka), once the capital of the historic Vijayanagar Empire. Every year, the city of ruins, Hampi, plays host to a festival of dance and music, known as the Hampi Festival or Vijaya Utsav of Karnataka. The Hampi Dance and Music Festival attracts some of the most distinguished artists from the field of art, dance, music and drama. Splendid performances by reputed artists, against the backdrop of the ancient city of Hampi, is a fascinating experience. Other attractions of the festival include magnificent fireworks, puppet shows and elaborate processions, bringing back to life memories of the bygone era.
  • ELLORA FESTIVAL, Aurangabad : Ellora FestThe Ellora Festival is held every year in the Ellora Caves, situated at a distance of approximately 30 km from Aurangabad, in the state of Maharashtra. Ellora festival is a festival of dance and music, showcasing some of the best talents of the region. Some of the most distinguished singers as well as dancers of the country participate in this festival, performing against the backdrop of the structural magnificence of the ancient Ellora caves. This is a unique time to visit Aurangabad and see the city sparkle in the lights and celebrations of the Ellora festival.
  • KOLAYAT FAIR, Bikaner : Kolayat FairThe Kolayat Fair held in Kolayat, Bikaner is also called the 'Kapil Muni Fair'. This fair is observed on the banks of Lake Kolayat. On the day of the festival, devotees take a dip in the lake to wash away their sins. The 52 Ghats along the banks of Lake Kolayat, are lit up to sparkle with festivities. Devotees and pilgrims perform their religious rituals and offer prayers, sugar drops, sweets and milk pudding to the deity. With a serene finale at dusk, several oil lamps are lit and floated on leaves in the calm lake water.
  • GANGA MAHOTSAV, Varanasi : Ganga MahotsavHeld along the banks of the holy Ganges River, this unique and mystical festival features cultural programs of classical Indian music and dance. The highlight of the festival is on the last day, when more than a million clay lamps are floated down the holy river Ganges at dusk amidst chanting of Vedic Hindu hymns.

  • CHHATH PUJA, Banks of River Ganges : Chhatha PujaThe north Indian festival, traditionally celebrated by the people of Bihar, has grown to be a big occasion in Mumbai as well. Chhat Puja is devoted to worshiping the sun. People flock to the holy river Ganges to offer prayers to the Sun God at sunset. Hymns and folk songs are sung, and women fast and pray for the wellbeing of their family and friends.

  • DECEMBER

    CHRISTMAS, various places across India : ChristmasChristmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and conveys his message of love, tolerance and brotherhood. It's a celebration of humanity and mankind. Though Christmas is primary a festival of Christian calendar, it is celebrated as a universal festival through out India. Christmas is the most important festival of Indian Christians, but celebrated with equal joy by non Christians as well. In India, people decorate banana or mango trees instead of traditional pine trees. They also light small oil-burning lamps as Christmas decorations and fill their churches and homes with red flowers. Gifts are exchanged between near and dear ones, prayers are held in the church, followed by a grand feast. Unlike their western counterparts, Indians are not big turkey eaters; so, don’t be surprised to see a grand Christmas feast that is pure vegetarian! Although at most places turkey, chicken, lamb or fish will be served.
  • KOCHI CARNIVAL, Kochi :
    Kochi CarnivalKochi Carnival is held in the last week of December, in Kochi, every year. Fort Kochi is decorated and tourists flock to this lovely port city to participate in the festivities. Inception of the Kochi carnival can be traced back to the Portuguese New Year revelry, held here during the colonial days.
    Preparations generally begin months in advance for hosting the carnival, which involves unique activities such as Kalam Vara (floor drawing), tug-of-war, bicycle race, swimming in the sea, beach volleyball and a variety of north and south Indian dance performances. The highlight of the carnival is the massive procession led by embellished elephants accompanied by drums and music. Color white dominates the concluding 10 days of December, during the Kochi Carnival. The festivities and revelries continue till midnight of December 31st with fireworks marking the grand finale.
  • MT ABU WINTER FESTIVAL, Mt. Abu, Rajasthan :
    The cool, green hill settlement of Mt Abu in Rajasthan becomes vibrant during the annual Winter Festival which captures the spirit of Rajasthan tribal life and culture. Enjoy ceremonial processions, folk performances, fireworks, and competitions such as skating races, boat races, horse races, and tug-of-war. A mix crowd of locals and tourists alike make the festival enjoyable for all.
  • Indian Cuisines

    Food

  • The finest of India's cuisines are as rich and diverse as the country's civilization! Indian cooking is a form of art that has flourished through generations purely by word of mouth. Indian cuisine, renowned for its exotic gravies, is wide ranging in variety, taste and flavour. Given the geographic diversity of the country, each region has its own cuisine and distinct style of preparation.
  • North Indian Cuisine North IndiaNorth Indian flavours have become an important part of international cuisine. Beloved for its specialized 'Tandoori' dishes, North Indian cuisine is popular world wide, be it with the Asians, Brits, Americans, Aussies and now even the Kiwis! The conventional Indian Tandoor is now widely used and advocated by the likes of Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay.
    Food from North India is characterized by its thick and tasty gravies. Bread is preferred over rice. North Indians love chillies, saffron, milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, ghee (clarified butter) and nuts. Their meals are hearty and often include several specialized non-vegetarian Mughlai dishes (especially chicken) and famous vegetarian delicacies. Sweets, especially those made of milk and ghee (like mithai, rus-malai, kheer, rabri) are a huge favourite too !
  • West Indian Cuisines West Indian FoodWest Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujarat are largely vegetarian, owing to their hot and dry climate. Due to the peculiar climate conditions, vegetables are preserved as pickles and chutneys, so they last longer and can be consumed throughout the year.
    The state of Maharashtra, which includes the city of Mumbai (land of Bollywood) is famous for its coastal food and extravagant meals prepared with strong Gujarati influence. Peanuts and coconut are important ingredients as they are freely available in the region.
    On the extreme west, the Indian beach paradise, Goa, specializes in fresh fish and exotic seafood. The local Goan dishes have a strong Portuguese flavour, with extensive use of chillies (like the famous Nandos Peri-Peri) and coconut.
  • East Indian Cuisine East Indian FoodSimple is the key word for food of this region of India. Steaming and frying are popular methods of cooking. In coastal regions fish is the non-vegetarian food of choice. The people of no other region in India can rival the love for sweets and desserts that Eastern Indians have! The geographical location of this region means its food bears the strong influence of Chinese and Mongolian cuisine.
  • South Indian Cuisines South Indian FoodSouth Indian cuisine is perhaps the hottest of all Indian food. Meals are centered around rice or rice-based dishes and dosa (south Indian crepe made from rice and lentils). Rice and / or dosa is combined with Sambar (a soup-like lentil dish tempered with whole spices and chillies) and rasam (a hot-sour soup like lentil dish), dry and curried vegetables and meat dishes, fish and prawn dishes, and a host of coconut-based chutneys and poppadums (deep-fried crispy lentil pancakes). South Indians are great lovers of dark filter coffee.
  • Magic of Indian Spices

    Chili

    They made ancient India, the richest nation in the world,
    Ancient Romans bartered slaves for them,
    Arabs risked their lives trading them,
    Columbus discovered America while searching for them,
    The Dutch and English Empires fought over India for them,
    The British ruled India for centuries & made a business of them,
    It was not for Gold, Pearls or Diamonds...history was created with the magic of Indian Spices!

  • India is known the world over as 'the Home of Spices'. No country in the world produces the amount of spices that India does - close to 3 million tones of spices valued at more than US$ 4 billion a year. Today, India is one of the largest exporting nations of spices in the world.
    The climate of India is ideal for the growth of almost all spices. Garlic, ginger and caraway seeds come from North India, while fenugreek, red chillies and fennel originate in West India. East India is abundant with ginger, turmeric and large cardamoms. South India is known for cardamom, mace, cinnamon, clove, pepper and even vanilla.
    There is a popular belief that spicy foods are bad for health. Contrary to this belief, Indian history supports the medicinal properties of spices and considers them good for health. Spices are well known as appetizers and digestives and are considered essential in culinary art all over the world. Some of them have anti-oxidant properties, while others have preservative properties and are used in some foods like pickles and chutneys. Some spices also possess strong anti-microbial and antibiotic capabilities. Many of them possess medicinal properties that have a profound effect on human health, since they affect many functional processes. For example ginger is believed to prevent dyspepsia, garlic reduces cholesterol and hypertension, pepper serves as an antihistamine, and turmeric acts as a natural cosmetic and an antiseptic for internal and external injuries.
    Although every state in India uses spices in their daily cooking, some spices are more posh than others and come at a higher price. From the north Indian state of Kashmir comes the world's most expensive spice - 'saffron'. Saffron appears like orange strands, which are the stigmata of the Crocus Sativus. One gram of saffron requires the stigmata of 1500 flowers and the spice is so dear to Indians that its vibrant orange colour is represented in the Indian flag!
    The various Indian spices together create that typical Indian aroma and the delicious Indian flavour loved worldwide. Indian celebrity chefs seldom talk about their secret ingredient, 'the garam masala', which adds a special zest to any Indian dish. Simply spoken, garam masala is the magic created by the combination of cardamom ('ilaichi'), cinnamon ('dal chini), cloves ('laung'), dry coriander powder ('dhania'), black pepper ('kali mirch'), and cumin ('jeera'). Indians believe that garam masala is the key ingredient in any special Indian dish. So next time you try your hand on Indian cooking, don't forget this magical spice powder, called 'garam masala'!
  • Tourist Info - India

    Info

  • Location : South Asia.
  • Area : 3,166,414 sq km (1,222,582 sq miles).
  • Capital : New Delhi.
  • Government : Republic since 1947.
  • Language The main language is Hindi which is spoken by about 40% of the population; English is also enshrined in the constitution for a wide range of official purposes. In addition, 17 regional languages are recognized by the constitution. These include Bengali, Gujarati,Oriya and Punjabi, which are widely used in the north, and Tamil and Telugu, which are common in the south. Other regional languages include Kannada, Malayalam and Marathi. The Muslim population largely speaks Urdu.
  • Religion : About 82% Hindu, 12% Muslim, with Sikh, Christian, Jain, Parsi and Buddhist minorities.
  • Time : GMT + 5.5
  • Electricity : 230-240 volts AC, 50Hz. Some areas have a DC supply. Plugs used are of the round two- and three-pin type.
  • Telephone : Country code: 91
  • Mobile Telephone : Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is limited to major towns but is increasing all the time.
  • Internet : E-mail can be accessed from an increasing number of hotels and from Internet cafés across the country, many now with Wi-Fi.
  • Post : Airmail service to Western Europe takes up to two weeks.
  • Post office hours : Regional variations, but generally Mon-Sat 1000-1300 and 1330-1630 in bigger towns and cities.
  • Contact Information
    Indian Ministry of Tourism in India
    88 Janpath, New Delhi, 110001, India
    Tel: (011) 2332 0008.
    Website: www.incredibleindia.org
  • STD codes of India

    Phone

    Telephone Numbers & STD codes


    Ahemdabad Bikaner Jaipur Patna
    079 0151 0141 0612
    Agra Bundi Jaisalmer Pushkar
    0562 0747 02992 0145
    Ajmer Chennai Jodhpur Pune
    0145 033 0291 020
    Alwar Chandigarh Kota Rajkot
    0144 0172 0744 0281
    Aurangabad Chittorgarh Lucknow Ranthambore
    02432 01472 0522 07462
    Bangalore Coimbator Manipal Sariska
    080 0422 08252 0144
    Barmer Dholpur Mount Abu Shimla
    02982 05642 02974 0177
    Beawar Dehradun Mumbai Srinagar
    01462 0135 022 0194
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