Top 5 reasons to visit India

"India presents a beguiling assault on the senses; colourful, crowded and full of charm, its vibrant abundance of people and landscapes will never leave you indifferent."

September 2014 • Jules Verne

Top 5 reasons to visit India

tour of India offers such a mesmerising variety of experiences, meaning there is plenty to suit the personal inclinations and interests of every kind of traveller.

If you’re still deliberating over whether exploring India is for you, here are five of the many reasons to visit incredible India:

1. Iconic India

India’s classic Golden Triangle, comprising imperial Delhi, Agra – home of the magical Taj Mahal – and the Rajasthani ‘pink city’ of Jaipur, is a highlight of any visit to Asia.

Both Delhi and Jaipur offer many beautiful sights to behold, but nothing quite compares to the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal.  This legendary monument of love has become an icon of India, and a visit at sunrise, before the crowds arrive, will never be forgotten.

2. Remarkable Railways

A quintessential component of a truly Indian experience is a cross-country train journey on India’s extensive rail network.  India’s unique railways have been a great source of inspiration for authors, film directors and documentary-makers alike, and it’s easy to see why.

The experience of rail travel in India begins at the stations, where all classes and castes wait to travel on bustling platforms alongside chai wallahs, cattle and coffins, presenting a scene as rich as a bazaar.

While any train journey in India is memorable, there is none finer than a trip through Rajasthan on board the ‘Palace on Wheels’.  One of India’s most famous railway experiences, this train journey recreates the ambience once enjoyed by India’s Maharajas with authentic Rajasthani décor in the carriages and VIP courtesies afforded to all passengers.

For a spectacularly scenic journey travel through tunnels and bridges to the hill station of Shimla on the narrow gauge ‘Toy Train’, or wind through busy hamlets and mountain terrain on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which is one of only three railways to be granted World Heritage status.

3. History & Architecture

India’s rich history is almost as colourful as the vivid silks and sarees that adorn the Indian women. This is reflected in India’s magnificent architecture, from the marble fortresses of Delhi and Agra to the temples of Varanasi and the carved sandstone palaces of Rajasthan.

Each fortress, palace and temple will enthral, amaze and surprise visitors as they divulge the secrets and stories of the country’s past.

The dramatic forts and majestic palaces of the ancient desert state of Rajasthan represent for many quintessential India.  Jaipur’s Amber Fort, the City Palace and Observatory are particularly impressive, as is the spectacular Mehrangarh Fort, which has been owned by Jodhpur’s Maharajas for more than five centuries.

Meanwhile, India’s colonial legacy of the British and Portuguese is ever-present, particularly in New Delhi, where the architectural heritage reflects the era of the British Raj, and at Mumbai’s Gateway of India, Victoria Terminus and Prince of Wales Museum.

4. Religion and Culture

India has a complex religious history and remains a cultural melting pot of Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism and Christianity with its abundance of temples, mosques and churches.

To truly understand the significance of religion in India, a visit to the sacred Hindu capital of Varanasi is both spiritually uplifting and fascinating.  Varanasi’s uniqueness is best understood on an early morning boat ride on the holy Ganges, where the river’s banks, cremation sites and colourful bathing ghats are a hive of activity despite the unholy hour.

5. Wildlife & Natural Beauty

For nature enthusiasts, India’s jungles, deserts, coast and backwaters offer profound natural beauty, as well as diverse wildlife.

With over 400 wildlife sanctuaries and 80 national parks, India is home to a great variety of animals including the elusive tiger.  A visit to the Rajasthani wildlife park of Ranthambore offers the biggest opportunity to glimpse this magnificent feline in the wild.

Meanwhile, a visit to the green landscapes and beautiful coastline of Southern India, is a rich and diverse experience, where a houseboat cruise or canoe ride through the Keralan backwaters is unforgettable.