Once considered the jewel in the crown of the British Empire, today India remains widely recognised as a treasure by travellers. A country that sits atop many peoples' 'must visit' lists, discover a glimpse of the history and colour of this dazzling country with this India travel guide.
Look at a map of India and you'll have a hard time deciding where to start. Winters can be cold and summers wet depending on where you are in the country so always keep the season in mind when planning your trip.
Explore India's Golden Triangle
Home to traditional festivals, relatively mild food (by Indian standards) and culture complemented by an increasingly tourist-friendly population, bustling capital Delhi is, with good reason, one of the most popular places to start an India holiday.
Cross your fingers you don't get Delhi belly and go in search of local street fare or order a chai and a thali: a platter filled with a variety of curries, rice and sweets. As a general rule, the busier the restaurant the cleaner and better the food.
A few hours from Delhi by road or rail is Agra, home of the magnificent Taj Mahal. Yes, you better believe the hype – the sheer size of this grand tomb constructed by a grieving Mughal emperor for his wife will make you pinch yourself!
Choose one of many India tours that include a visit to the glorious 'pink city' of Jaipur and you will have completed an Indian itinerary known as the 'Golden Triangle'.
Spice it up in the south
Centre of the Bollywood film industry, start your visit with a rickshaw ride or take an iconic black-and-yellow taxi to the famed Gateway of India. Situated on the harbour, this monumental archway was completed in 1924 to commemorate King George and Queen Mary's 1911 visit.
While you're in town, catch a ferry to the Elephanta Caves, one of India's most popular attractions, which are filled with exquisite sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses.
A short train ride from Mumbai is the collegiate city of Pune, home to Osho International Meditation Resort. Along with ashrams in Rishikesh and Pondicherry, Osho is one of the most popular places in India to meditate, practise yoga and rejuvenate your soul in calm surrounds.
Go slow in Goa and Kerala
For a welcome change of pace from frantic Northern India, take a deep breath and set your compass for Goa. Formerly a Portuguese colony, its palm-fringed beaches, kilometres of golden sands and tropical climate makes it an all-season beach destination that's hard (but not impossible) to beat. The one likely contender is Kerala, a state home to magnificent fort city Kochi.
Best accessed from capital Trivandrum, Kerala is home to some of the spiciest and tastiest food in India along with laidback beaches, Varkala and Kovalam.
If you can only pick one destination in India to visit, it would be hard not to choose the holy city of Varanasi, located on the banks of the Ganges. Here, on the steps of the ghats, behold ancient and solemn rituals of life and death. It might be a cliche to say it, but Varanasi definitely will take your breath away.
There is an enormous range of accommodation options available in India, from backpacker hostels to the famous Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, which is replete with luxury rooms and personal butlers. If you want to feed your soul and rejuvenate your senses at the same time, speak to your Flight Centre consultant today about flights to India.