Top 10 experiences... in the Indian subcontinent
Don’t just tick off the main sights on a holiday to India. Do something a bit different that brings you into closer contact with the welcoming people and vibrant culture of this exciting country. Cox & Kings ensures that every group tour includes a number of ‘signature experiences’, providing one-of-a-kind opportunities to meet with local people, share in their customs, and see the remarkable architecture, changing landscapes and exotic wildlife from a different point of view. Here are my suggested top 10 signature experiences from our extensive collection of group tours to the Indian subcontinent.
Night ceremony at Meenakshi temple
Dedicated to Meenakshi, Lord Shiva’s consort, this magnificent temple in Madurai is a sight to behold with ornate gopurams (entrance towers), a hall with a thousand pillars, a sacred pool, elephant sheds, countless shrines, gardens and murals galore.
Experience the temple in all its glory at the night ceremony on our Treasures of Southern India group tour. This daily procession of dancing and music is to accompany Lord Shiva when his image is taken from his quarter of the temple to join Meenakshi in hers.
Meenakshi temple, Madurai, India
Changing of the Guard at the President's Palace
This time-honoured tradition takes place every Saturday on the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President’s Palace in New Delhi, amid much pomp and ceremony. Brass bands play as impeccably dressed soldiers on foot and horseback are put through their paces. Open to the public, it’s a chance to see a government ceremony in action.
Watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony on our Exotic India Solo Travellers tour.
Changing of the Guard, Rashtrapati Bhavan Palace, Delhi, India
Experience rural Sri Lanka
Often it’s not the celebrated sights but the small activities of daily local life that take you to the heart of a country.
The group tour Sri Lanka Summer Explorer takes you out of the capital Colombo to a traditional rural community where you will meet local people, see inside a village home, watch the production of cinnamon and oil and see how rubber is tapped from trees. Round this off with a delicious, authentic Sri Lankan lunch.
Man with old bicycle in rural village, Sri Lanka
Exclusive access to La Martinière College
Founded in 1845 at the request of a wealthy officer of the French and British East India Company, today La Martinière College is an exclusive school for boys and girls with premises in Lucknow, Kolkata and Lyon.
Enjoy privileged access to La Martinière’s full estate on our Taj, Lucknow and Sacred Ganges group tour. Meet with students, attend morning assembly, see classes in progress and watch children playing sports such as boxing, rugby, shooting and horse riding.
Constantia House, La Martiniere College, Lucknow, India
Ride on the Kangra mountain railway
There’s no better way to view the landscapes of a country than aboard a train. The Kangra mountain railway is a narrow-gauge train that wends its way through the sub-Himalayan foothills, crossing high bridges and passing spectacular mountain scenery. What’s more, it’s a train serving the local population, not tourists, so you will see all manner of people going about their daily lives. It goes slowly but why hurry when you have scenery as stunning as this passing you by?
You can ride a section of the Kangra mountain railway on our Journey Through the Himalayan Foothills group tour.
Kangra Valley Railway, India
Intimate wilderness experience in Satpura
Central India is peppered with stunning national parks but only a safari in Satpura will get you really close to nature. With just a small tiger population, this beautiful park remains off the radar to many tourists. This is the only park in Central India where walking safaris are possible.
Enjoy a 3-night stay in Satpura on An Indian Wildlife Odyssey group tour, including a stargazing excursion and an opportunity to get up close to the flora and fauna on a walking safari.
Sloth bear, Satpura National Park, India
Meet with a retired Gurkha
The Gurkhas are loyal and fearless fighters who have played an important role in British history, serving as part of the British Army for almost 200 years.
Our Majestic Nepal group tour stops in a small village en route to Kathmandu for a rare opportunity to chat with a retired Gurkha and find out about his fascinating life serving in the army.
Why eat in a run-of-the-mill restaurant when you can appreciate India’s delicious cuisine in distinctive architectural surroundings?
Dine in the mesmerising surroundings of Rawla Narlai stepwell on our Passage Through Rajasthan group tour. Stepwells are the Indian version of a well but, typically, so much more beautiful than a simple hole in the ground. Row upon row of stone steps lead down to the water source, creating hypnotic patterns. Add to this twinkling lights lining every step, reflecting in the still water below, and you have a magical dining location.
Panna Meena ka Kund stepwell, Jaipur, India
Bhutanese cooking class
Bhutanese cuisine will, quite literally, blow your mind away. With influences coming from India, Tibet, Nepal and China, the variety of dishes on offer will surprise you, many cooked using a complex array of spices including a heavy dose of chilli and cheese.
Our group tour Bhutan: The Dragon Kingdom includes an interactive cooking class, showing you how to cook authentic dishes that you can try again in your own kitchen.
Selection of Bhutanese dishes
Holi celebrations in Udaipur
Also known as the Festival of Colours, Holi is one of India’s most vibrant celebrations. Coloured powder is thrown in the streets and people sing and dance around huge bonfires. Some of the most joyous festivities are in Udaipur, where hundreds of pyres are lit across the city.
Get involved in the festivities at the Maharajah’s Palace in Udaipur on our Grand Tour of India, which features special departures to coincide with Holi celebrations.
If you are interested in incorporating any of these experiences in a private, tailor-made tour, please either call one of our specialist travel consultants or complete our tailor-made request form and one of our experts will get back to you to help you plan an itinerary.
- Tags: Art & Architecture, Bhutan, Cox & Kings Staff, Culture & History, Food & Wine, India, Indian Subcontinent, Landscape, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Train Journeys, Wildlife