India
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India Tourism And Travel Guide

Planning A Trip To India? Here's a detailed India tourism and travel guide to help you plan a memorable holiday
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Current Temperature:
27° C / 80.7° F
Current Conditions:
Haze
Best Months To Visit:
October to May
Recommended Duration:
7 to 20 Days
Nearest Airport:
Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi)
Nearest Railway Station:
New Delhi Railway Station

Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was India. It is an amalgamation of cultures, values, customs and habits; collected over a period of time spanning millennia.  India can be defined geographically as a subcontinental landmass in the south of Asia, surrounded by the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal on three sides. It is the world’s largest democracy with so many religions and languages that make your head spin while counting. 

 

Hence it is not tactically possible to write down an overview of what tourism in India is all about. So we divided it into 5 main zones to design an overview that suits each. Read on for a brief travel guide to India.

The Himalayas

The Himalayas:  India Tourism And Travel Guide
Photograph by https://sciencing.com/types-rocks-found-himalayas-8523001.html

How to Reach:

You can fly down to Delhi or Amritsar International Airport from almost anywhere in the world. From here on, you have a number of domestic flights to choose from while travelling internally. Some common domestic aircraft carriers are Air India, Indigo, Go-Air, Jet Airways etc. The Indian Railways has an extensive network and Amritsar, Delhi, Lucknow, Haridwar etc form some of the main junctions.

 

If looking for road transport, the Himachal state run buses HRTC are the best. There are Ola and Uber taxis for internal as well as outstation travel and run though an app.

 

Weather and Best Time to Visit:

The winters in the Himalayan towns and cities are freezing, sometimes making the place inaccessible. Rains thunder down during the monsoon while summers are cool and pleasant. Hence the Summer months from March-May are the best to visit Himalayan destinations like Dalhousie, Shimla, Jammu-Kashmir, Leh-Ladakh etc.

 

Things to Do:

The mountains are a great place for sightseeing of course, but the Himalayan settlements boast of a host of other things to do. Namely, trekking, Monastery visits, skiing in Auli resort near Dehradun, pilgriming in the Badri-Kedar belt, photography tours through Kailash Mansarovar, wildlife sighting in Forest reserves like Nanda Devi Park etc.

 

Food:

The Himalayan belt stretches across the upper crown of India, hence a lot of settlements, regions and religions come in its embrace. Depending on each, the food is famous for different regions. Forexample, when in Kashmir, the salty nun chai is a must with the various local breads and naans. Pulao, Dum Aloo, Lotus stem and lamb curries are also mouth watering delicacies. 

 

In the Garhwali region of northern Himachal, dals, green leafy vegetables and stuffed goat are famous, along with Sigri sweet. One thing is clear, when in the mountains, eat a lot of vegetables and enjoy on your meat because the height and dry cool air is very good for digestion and helps you work all the food out.

North India and Rajasthan

North India and Rajasthan:  India Tourism And Travel Guide
Photograph by https://www.welcomerajasthan.com/rajasthan_city_guide.htm

How to Reach:

Delhi, Amritsar and Jaipur are three main International airports in this region. When travelling internally, you have more connecting flights to domestic airports like Dehradun, Mathura, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Agra etc. The trains are regular and routes well developed; around the Indian capital of Delhi especially. Shatabdi and Rajdhani Express are two of the best and fastest. Trains also travel regularly to the mountains. 

 

The RSTC, state run Rajasthan buses and Delhi’s local DTC are your best bet for buses. Ola and Uber are ready for hire. You can hire private cabs or taxis too.

 

Weather and Best Time to Visit:

The North Indian terrain is burning up in the summer, while most regions except Rajasthan get drenched like the dog during monsoon. Therefore the best time to visit the North and Rajasthan is in the winters (between October to February). The Taj Mahal in Agra should be ideally visited during these winter months in the afternoon so that fog doesn’t spoil your view.

 

Things to Do:

Visit the Taj Mahal in Agra, take a day tour of Delhi and old Delhi, visit the Qutub Minar, India Gate, Red Fort in Delhi, shop at Sarojini Nagar, eat street foods at Chandini Chowk. In Rajasthan, visit the Hawa Mahal, Pink Palace in Jaipur, Lake Palace, City Palace and The Leela (world’s most expensive hotel). Visit Amritsar for the Wagah border parade.

  

Food:

The proper North India (Punjab, Delhi etc) is known for rich, buttery Punjabi food including parathas (stuffed breads), tomato-cashew-milk gravies, buttermilk concoctions like lassi, chaas etc and an over-the-top happy mood when it comes to food. Food here is a magnanimous affair.

 

Rajasthani delights are varying from Punjabi, in that very few vegetables are used because its a desert and crops weren’t grown here back in the day. A lot of pickles, flour dumplings (gatte ki sabji), papad etc are eaten here. The Laal maas is a royal delicacy, made with a hot, red gravy and meat. 

 

Shopping:

Delhi Sarojini Nagar street shopping is famous for its latest fashions and dirt-cheap deals. All you have to do is keep your bargaining skills sharp. You will find everything here, from clothes and sandals to first copies, ethic wear and jewellery to bags. 

 

Rajasthan is known for its ethnic, distressed handicrafts. Don’t forget to peruse through the many markets for antique tables, chairs, ottomans, mirrors etc.

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Western and Central

Western and Central:  India Tourism And Travel Guide
Photograph by https://www.routard.com/guide/code_dest/mumbai.htm

How to Reach:

Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Goa are the three International Airports in west and central India. You can then hop onto connecting flights to other domestic destinations. Or take the Western Railways to travel by trains. The Konkan Railways take you through a picturesque route to the south of India.

 

Maharashtra state run buses, MSRTC (Madhya Pradesh), GSRTC Goa) are a few cheap ways to travel internally on road. You can also hire a private taxi or book an Uber/Ola via the app. When in Mumbai, travel by local trains or the black-yellow auto rickshaws, these are worth experiencing. 

 

Weather and Best Time to Visit:

The peak of summer here is quite hot, hence winter and the beginning of summer (October-April) is the best to visit Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and Madhya Pradesh. Most areas experience heavy rainfall in monsoon and outdoor activities are hindered, so it is not the best time.

  

Things to Do:

Take a day tour of Mumbai’s Gateway of India, Juhu Beach, The Taj Mahal Hotel; spend  few days hopping Goa’s beaches, visit the many temples of MP, without missing the famous Khajuraho Temple. To see Asiatic Lions, visit Gir Forest in Gujarat. Check out the plains of Kutch and participate in the kite festival during January.

 

Food:

Food in Mahrasthra is influenced heavily by Marathi style of cooking, as well as Konkani. Generous use of coconut, curry leaves and mustard seeds is seen here. Mumbaiya food however is completely unique to the city. Do eat vada pav, roadside toast sandwich, pav bhaji and bhel Puri when scouting the streets of Mumbai. Goa is known for its Portuguese-style gravies and coconut-milk base curries. 

 

In Gujarat, food is the only way of life. Gujarati cuisine is usually full and heavy, with at least four dishes in one meal. Do not miss the famous khau-galli in Ahmedabad for sev-khaman, parathas, Indian style Chinese, pastas, ice creams and golas (shaved ice with your choice of syrup). 

 

Shopping:

Aside form the many malls in Mumbai, shop at Fashion Street at Colaba Causeway and Hill Road in Bandra for latest street styles. Bargaining is again your way to go. Goa is cheap to shop for cotton T-shirts, vests, kurtas, souvenirs and cashews. If you want something Indian to carry back home, do pick up the special Gujarati Bandhini sarees (9 yards of fabric tied and dyed).

East and North East

East and North East:  India Tourism And Travel Guide
Photograph by https://www.oyorooms.com/blog/the-most-beautiful-places-in-gangtok-sikkim/

How to Reach:

Kolkata and Guwahati Airports are your destinations if you are traveling from outside India to the East / North East. You can either take connecting flights to your holiday destination or hop onto a train. The train journeys in the North Eastern mountains especially are very picturesque and give a toy-train like feel.

 

Assam and Kolkata state run buses ply on a regular schedule. Or you can book your own car or use Ola/Uber.

  

Weather and Best Time to Visit:

The best time to visit cities like Kolkata (which have a distinct tropical climate) is the winter months (October to April). Summers are very hot and humid while monsoons are wet. 

 

But as you go up north-east, the summers as well as winters are a good time. Monsoons are very wet and roads sometimes get closed due to landslides.

 

Things to Do:

Visit Kolkata’s Victoria Memorial, Howrah bridge, take hand-drawn rickshaw rides, eat puhckas. Visit Sikkim for its views and hikes, winding treks and wild flowers. Rhododendron flower valleys and snow-capped hills pave way for the Meghalaya’s all-year round rainy areas. Cherrapunji living root bridges are a must-see. The North East is basically a sight for soar eyes and trekkers’ paradise.

 

Food:

Kolkata is renowned for its unique style of cooking with mustard oil. Rice and fish curries here are exquisite, as are the puchkas, bhel and Bengali sweets. Eat Roshogulla, Mishti doi, cham-cham and malai sandwich - all sweets made from cottage cheeses or condensed milk. Kathi roll is another favourite on the streets of Kolkata.

 

Shopping:

Shop for the many types of Calcutti saris, including the famous Bengali red-white saree in Kolkata. Pick up souvenirs and trinkets from Gangktok.

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South India

South India:  India Tourism And Travel Guide
Photograph by http://wildplanetresort.com/blog/2016/05/here-is-why-you-must-visit-south-india-at-least-once/

How to Reach:

International Airports in the South include Kochi, Bangalore, Chennai and Coimbatore. Connecting flights to other cities are available from here. Kozhikode, Alleppey, Bangalore, and Chennai form seem of the major Railways stations and junctions in South India. Trains are regular and cheap. 

 

KSRTC, BMTC and TNSTC are state run buses in Kerala, Bangalore and Tamil Nadu. Private buses also ply the same routes but are a little expensive. Ola Outstation and Uber are available for many cities. But when in south, the intricate network of streams and backwaters make it possible to use ferries and boats to travel or go island-hopping. 

 

Weather and Best Time to Visit:

Summers in the South are warm and sultry, not to mention very humid. Monsoons bring torrential rainfall for over 6 months. Therefore the best time to visit the lowlands and plains of South India is winter (October-March). The hill stations however, are good even during summer (March-June). 

  

Things to Do:

Visit the backwaters of Kerala, relax in the Ayurvedic massages and meditation centres, lounge in the chill vibes of Pondicherry and explore the cutesy French cafes and churches there. Or visit Karnataka for its hill stations, waterfalls and herds of elephants. Take a trip of the ancient city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, visit the Meenakshi Temple, Tirupati temple in TN and Jagganathpuri in Orissa

  

Food:

Idli-dosa (savoury rice discs and pancakes) are some of the most famous vegetarian fare of South India, now famous worldwide as an ideal breakfast menu. Eat these with coconut chutney and sambhar (lentil soup). 

 

The sea food is great here, as are rice dishes like lemon rice, curd rice, pepper rice etc. A heavy use of tamarind, shallots, curry leaves and coconut is seen in South Indian cooking.

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