India makes a strong claim to be the most exciting and rewarding travel destination in the world. From the exhilarating pace of life in its colourful and vibrant cities to its exquisite temples and superb scenery, few visitors ever leave disappointed.
History and culture, iconic sights, delectable food and changing landscapes; from the Himalaya to crumbling desert forts, and from national parks towards the lush south – luxury holidays to India invariably feel like a visit to more than one country.
There are not many destinations where you can stay in a former palace and receive first-class service without breaking the bank, yet India offers a superb range of luxurious and characterful hotels at excellent value for money.
Finally, with English as an official language making it easy to interact with the locals, it is no surprise that so many travellers return again and again – whether it’s to take an epic train journey, search for tigers in one of its national parks, live like royalty or simply to admire the innumerable wonders of India.
For most, the biggest problem is where to start.
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Currency Indian rupee
Flying time from London 8 hours
Official language(s) Hindi and English
Time difference + 5hrs 30m
Visa requirements Required for UK passport holders
Spotting one of these magical creatures in the wild is a rare but rewarding experience. Bandhavgarh, Jim Corbett, Kanha and Ramthambore National Parks are some of the better places to spot the Royal Bengal tigers, and with the right guide and patience you should get lucky. Thankfully the national parks also impress with beautiful natural scenery and other native wildlife – enough to keep you occupied while searching for the elusive tiger.
Stay in palaces and forts
India is one of the only countries where you can stay in the luxurious surroundings of former palaces, some of which are still home to the royal family. It’s one of the best ways to experience the country’s heritage, and to gain an inside glimpse into the regal past.
Immerse yourself in the feverish, colourful and spiritual festivities of India – from Diwali the ‘festival of lights’ to the Pushkar Camel Festival, from the World Sufi festival to Holi – perhaps the biggest celebration in India.
Float down the backwaters
Cruise through the tranquil backwaters in a traditional rice barge, where you can also spend the night. Spend time relaxing on board as you float by swaying palm trees, fishing villages and local rural life.
Explore by rail
Taking a train journey in India is one of the country's most evocative experiences. Explore Rajasthan on board the Palace on Wheels, visit the fascinating ruins of Hampi on a journey aboard the Golden Chariot or choose from a number of itineraries on the Deccan Odyssey.
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