Joe and Kate quite separately made their first forays into India during their formative years and have, over the intervening years, returned on numerous occasions. Both have considerable experience to create exciting, interesting and unusual holidays to India without losing sight of the “must-see” places.
Why we like India
We love India for all the reasons that many people hate India. The kaleidoscope of colours, the smell of incense, the sheer volume of people, cows blocking traffic on a main thoroughfare, the food and the wandering sadhus. If you love it you develop a magnetic attraction which draws you back time and time again.
What to expect on your India holiday
Forget the stereotypes, go with an open mind, don’t expect anything and every day will bring new experiences. Whether it is architecture, food or local customs, India is unpredictable. Go with the flow. There will be delays, there will be seemingly mindless bureaucracy which defies logic and yet somehow everything moves forward on the great wheel of life. Hotels cater to every level of requirement from the utterly fabulous to slightly quirky palaces of Maharajas where old family retainers still look after guests in a wonderfully haphazard fashion. In addition sophisticated African-style tented camps have sprung up near the game parks. Internal flights take time and traffic can be wearisome so consider trains. There is little better way to see the countryside.
Some ideas for travelling in India
- Rajasthan. The desert region of north-west India. Home to the Rajputs and famous for the glorious Hindu architecture of Jodhpur, Jaipur, home to the magnificent Taj operated palaces - Umaid Bhawan and Rambagh Palace.
- Kerala. Spend a few days drifting down the waterways on a luxury river boat of your own. Daily life unfolding as you go.
- Kashmir. At long last this summer mountain retreat is opening its doors to tourism once more. Stay on a house boat and be taken on day trips paddled in style on a shikara water safari.
- Ladakh. The last bastion of true Tibetan Buddhism. Take a private walking tour passing wonderful old monasteries, very traditional culture and still relatively few tourists.
- River cruise. There are now a number of small luxury river boats with very interesting programmes into previously inaccessible areas.
- Tiger Safari. Choose from a number of National Parks with our guidance to get the most out of your jeep, elephant back or walking safaris.
- Watch the sun rise over the Taj Mahal from your private balcony at Amarvilas
- Stay at blissfully cool tea plantations in the foothills of the Himalaya.
- Sight leopards on safari at Jawai Camp, Rajasthan
- Witness the oldest festivals of India from the cattle fair at Bateshwar to the Hornbill festival in Nagaland.
Beyond the ordinary
What clothing should I take?
When visiting any country it is important to respect their dress code. Women should avert from wearing sleeveless and tight-fitting clothing and dress modestly, especially when visiting temples and religious monuments. Short dresses and skirts should also be avoided, loose trousers and long skirts being more favourable and cooler in the heat. If travelling during the winter months or in the north of the country, we advise a jumper for the evenings and early mornings when it can be quite chilly, and of course comfortable footwear for days out and about.
Can I eat food from street markets and stalls?
One of the attractions of India is the tempting array of foods available. We recommend eating at stalls where there are more people and where you can see your food being prepared in front of you ensuring it is fresh. Avoid eating at buffets and where food has been left on display.
Is there an etiquette to photographing people?
When photographing people in India, we always advise to ask the person you would like to photograph beforehand out of politeness. In most cases people are happy to have the picture taken, especially children who will readily pose for several! If photography is prohibited, this is usually clearly marked.
When is the best time to travel to India?
The best time for travel to India is from late October seeing the end of the Monsoon rains to mid March before the daytime temperatures begin to climb in April and May.
Are there lots of mosquitoes in the Keralan
During the day mosquitoes are not too much of an
issue but by night they can be more so. We tend to advise against staying
overnight on the houseboats in the backwaters, instead recommending you cruise
in the day when you are able to enjoy the wonderful scenery in peace!
Do I have to take my luggage with me on the
This would depend on the length of the journey
and whether your car and driver are following the train or not. For many
shorter journeys the car would follow with luggage and you would be met the
other side. As a general rule of thumb if you are travelling overnight by train
or for more than around 6 hours then you will have your luggage with you.