Have you ever thought about getting to know India a little better? This country harbors a rich culture, full of colors, flavors, and aromas. The opportunities on Indian holidays are so many that it is possible to take part in adventure tourism, take a religious or spiritual journey, for knowledge of history or even to just relax on the coast.
Even with all the pollution and the noise, India is a country that should never be left off your travel to-do list. It is said that at first India can awaken in the traveler two distinct sensations: love at first sight or desire to leave. Because we believe that love, at first sight, must prevail, we will point out reasons why India is worthy of being visited and loved.
Those who go on Indian holidays must be prepared to feel a great cultural shock: the experience is unique and must be experienced with open minds. Some Indian customs can be classified thus.
The gesticulation of swaying your head from side to side during a conversation is very common and most often means that the person is agreeing or simply understanding what you say.
Do not be frightened by seeing cows on the streets, and it is worth remembering that they are sacred and stay where they please, that is, if it is stopped in the middle of the street, in the road or even the door of your house, deviate around them. In addition to the cows, the streets are also packed with motorbikes, which often carry more than two people - helmets are used in only in rare situations.
Another aspect that differs from our culture is the habit of men walking hand in hand and hugging each other, which does not mean that they are homosexual; Women do not usually express this kind of affection. A very complicated subject is the Indian toilet. Even though there are Western-style toilets in many places, Indian-style toilets, or cesspits, still prevail in most parts of the country. The most modern pits are structured with space to put the feet, but using this type of squatting toilet is not as simple as it seems.
The best time of year for holidays to India depends on a lot on the person and the places you aim to visit on your tour. It is common to have temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius in the south of the country while it can be still snowing in the Himalayan Mountains in the north. There are three distinct seasons in most of the country - summer, monsoons, and winter. In general, most tourists find winter the most comfortable season to visit most of India, while summer is the most pleasurable time to go to many places in the mountains.
Summer in India lasts from March to June. In most of the country, it is very hot in summer. Several cities in the hinterland of India have maximum temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius or more, on average, in the month of May. In the extreme, thermometers have registered 50 degrees Celsius several times in the Rajasthan desert! Temperatures do not rise so high in the coastal regions (about 32-36 in the summer), but these regions are very, very humid.
Winter lasts from November to February in India. In most of the south of the country, in particular on the coast, it is still warm in the winter - only slightly less than in the summer. In Kerala and Goa, for example, temperatures reach up to 30 degrees Celsius during the day and not less than 20 degrees Celsius at night, even in December and January. The higher interior regions of the south have colder temperatures in the winter, reaching 15 degrees Celsius night on average in Bangalore, for example.
India is an immense country with large geographical and cultural variations, and it would take many months of holidays in India to get to know its wealth well. The most common itinerary for the first experience of India is the so-called "golden triangle" which includes the cities of Agra, Delhi, and Jaipur. We would add Varanasi to this lot, a destination decidedly not to be missed, turning the triangle into a square.
Jaipur - Just take a quick look at the magnificent stucco buildings along the narrow streets of Jaipur, and you'll understand why it's called the "pink city." Spend your days on holidays to India exploring the City Palace, Hawa Mahal and the forts of Amber and Jaigarh. If you are looking for an exclusive souvenir, visit one of the markets where you can get a pair of camel leather sandals.
New Delhi - New Delhi is both calm and chaotic, a complicated city, where cows usually walk through the streets lined with tents. The 17th-century Red Fort is a set of vaults and towers, while Chandni Chowk offers the irresistible practice of friendly bargaining.
Jantar Mantar presents a collection of the largest astronomical instruments and sundials still used for weather forecasting. Tourists and locals flock to India Gate, the national monument honoring soldiers killed in World War I and in the Third Afghan War.
Mumbai – Although Mumbai is chaotic and crowded, the city can also offer moments of tranquility. Enjoy the paper-packed bhelpuri as you stroll along the sands of Chowpatty Beach before a brief tour to Mani Bhavan, where Mahatma Gandhi lived, strategized and was ultimately arrested. The markets are hectic places where you usually barter the price of seasonings or relics. On holidays in India take a supervised tour in Dharavi, famous after the movie Slumdog Millionaire, to get an idea of what life in Mumbai is like for almost a million people.
Jaisalmer – The dramatic and romantic fortress of the Jaisalmer Desert is an exotic city in the stunning Thar Desert in Rajasthan. "The Golden City" achieved prominence as a result of its position on the commercial camel routes. Today it is most famous for the fort of the 12th century and the ornate "Havelis", the beautiful houses and pavilions built by merchants in the medieval alleys of the city. The nearby Desert National Park offers opportunities to observe antelopes, desert foxes, and gazelles amid undulating dunes, rugged cliffs, and springs.
Udaipur – Udaipur, perceived as the Venice of the East, possesses several bubbling lakes contrasting with the curtain of Aravail hills. Jag Mandir and Jag Niwas, islands on Lake Fateh Sagar, house the Udaipur Solar Observatory and the Nehru Garden. Splendid palaces incorporate the enchanting Lake Palace, now a deluxe five-star hotel, and the magnificent City Palace on the east bank of the Pichola with epic courts and remarkable paintings.
India is a country where hygiene and safety are the most important issues when choosing a hotel for holidays to India rather than the lowest price or the best comfort. Of course, there are five-star hotels in the country, of all the important international networks - such as Radisson or Holiday Inn - but it's not the type of lodging that fits in the pocket of most travelers. If you want to make a cheap trip, but without a hitch, get ready for simple hotels with old furniture, restaurants without great variety and where service is not always the first rate. But you can find places where you stay on holidays in India clean, safe, honest, well located and well-reviewed without spending too much.
When searching for your lodging, look for referrals from friends who have already been there or travel bloggers. Guest reviews are your primary source for choosing where to stay in India without major problems. Always read the latest and check for any safety or cleanliness complaints, including if someone has been sick there. That's because the best place for the tourist to dine in India is the hotel restaurant. It is not good to risk eating anything on the street because of hygienic conditions.
Lastly, avoid hostels or any shared housing in India, especially if it is a woman traveling alone. The hostels are still a mode of lodging in development in the country and are considered dangerous. Just take a chance if you have an external referral or if the evaluation of the sites is splendid.
There is a short answer and a long answer to the question of when to go on Indian holidays. The first is that the best time to go to India is between November and April. If you're satisfied, fine.
If you are one of those who wants to know more about the climates and atmospheric conditions of the country, the period from November to April is the Indian winter. In the north, including New Delhi, temperatures may fall to near zero until about the beginning of March, when the weather reheats. In the region near the Himalayas, get ready for lots of snow.
Farther south, in cities like Mumbai and the states of Goa and Kerala, it is hot year round, with temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius at this time of year, when the weather is still bearable. But hot or cold, the best of this season is that it is dry, as it is unaffected by the dreaded and grand monsoon regime.
Several European companies are flying to New Delhi such as Lufthansa, KLM or British Airways and are a good starting point for holidays to India. Ideally, you should find a flight to one of these enterprises, which connects a European city to New Delhi (e.g., London, Frankfurt, Madrid), and then try to arrange a cheap flight to that town.
Middle East companies such as Qatar and Emirates are the ones that have consistently offered the best fares to Asia. They always oblige one more stopover for those who leave Europe, but it may be worth it when planning your holidays in India.
When planning Indian holidays, the mandatory point is the Taj Mahal. The rest - simply dozens of places - can be slotted in and out. Just as the traditional route Rio, São Paulo, Salvador and Foz do Iguaçu does not represent all of Brazil, you certainly will not be able to exhaust all of India in 20 days. The idea is to see at least the basics. A good example of a road map for India is:
Delhi (the capital and gateway).
Agra (the city of Taj Mahal).
Jaipur (the pink city in Rajasthan).
Jaisalmer (the Golden City, also in Rajasthan).
Varanasi (one of the most sacred cities and where the ceremonies roll on the Ganges River).
Khajuraho (the city of the temples of the Kama Sutra).
Rishikesh (known as the world capital of Yoga).
McLeod Ganj (at the foot of the Himalayas, is the city where the Dalai Lama lives and the Tibetans in exile).
Amritsar (where is the Golden Temple, sacred to the Shiks).
All the suggested cities are in the north. Those who have more time can try other places further away, such as Mumbai and Goa, for example.
Two days in each city suffice (three at the most), but take into account the travel time, which is huge. In India, you will spend 7, 8 hours to go 200 miles. So do not make your holidays to India itinerary too tight, otherwise it will be impossible to cross off everything on the list.
Once you have written everything down, just plan and start the trip. And remember that nothing will prepare you for the fact that India has the best (and worst) to offer: a large culture shock. So, no matter how you plan, know that it is impossible not to experience several problems while you are there.
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Here are some of our picks of where to stay for Indian holidays: